5 Bad Mom Habits I have

There is nothing like being a parent that exposes your weaknesses.  I actually (always in hindsight) am thankful that I have little people who say things daily to help me be a better me, like:

“Mom, your roots are showing.”

“Mom, why are you talking to me like you’re mad?” (uh, because you just dumped all the clean clothes from the dryer on the floor looking for your missing cheer gear and then walked away….but you’re right, I should try to have a more calm tone when I call you back in to the laundry room, yes.)

“Mom, you just went through a red light.” (barely)

“Mom, you have flabby arms.”

“Seriously, you can’t help me with my Trigonometry homework mom?”

“Mom, how come I can’t have a soda but you have one every day.” (um, good point)

“Mom, you are having BSS again” (They have coined this term BIBLE STUDY STRESS  as I get dinner finished and the house ready to host bible study each Monday)

Yep, I love it.  Not in the moment of course, but later as I process, it really makes me think about how I’m speaking, thinking, acting, modeling my life for my children (and reminds me to schedule an appointment with the hairdresser).  Our kids are also very sweet and loving, but bantering and respectful honesty is something we have permitted in our home–keeps us in check and helps us all learn how to take some constructive criticism, laugh a little at ourselves, and hopefully be less defensive in life.

Through this process of “child imposed awareness” I have discovered that I have developed some mom habits that are not so appealing:


This is not food off their plate, but mainly candy they have stashed in their dresser or closet that I seek out when I realize after lunch that there is absolutely no dessert in the kitchen.  I try to only eat enough that I satisfy my craving, always promising myself that I will replenish their supply.  Which I forget to do 100% of the time.  And I get caught.


In the converse, I hide the sweets that I buy for myself because with three teen/pre-teen’s living here, anything really good to eat disappears faster than a water droplet on a hot rock.  Often my stash is found, but I get to stretch the York Peppermint Patties out a little longer when they are in the VERY back of the fridge behind the tall milk and OJ containers.


I haven’t really developed enough guilt  regarding the first two bad habits to make any changes, but this one I am actively working on. My phone has become a rectangular not so soft attachment of me.  I find myself annoyed at how much my kids are on their phones, yet as soon as I pull into the garage I have to check my messages and email.  And while I’m cooking and doing laundry. And sometimes at a stoplight (see, I do stop at red lights).  You get the picture.  So, I am trying to not touch my phone unless I have to when my kids are around.  It stays in my purse or my pocket so it is visually out of sight.  This is harder than it seems when we all seem to have the habit of “checking” our phone as much as we….well I can’t think of anything else we check as much.


This is definitely part of my controlling nature, but I remind my kids about an awful lot.  This shouldn’t be the case as my husband and I are well versed in the Love and Logic parenting style, which frowns on any reminding.  But, it is in our nature to prevent our kids from forgetting something, or not doing chores, because it makes more work for us to enact consequences.  Yet, I know that it is when I choose not to remind, even when that means stepping over a sock, wrapper and backpack for two days as I go up the stairs, my kids learn faster (because then they earn an extra chore or pay me money).  So, I am trying to REMIND LESS.


So this is one I just choose to do because I’m in denial.  With three mixed-gender hormone laden kids sharing a bathroom, you would think nothing would surprise me.  Well, think again.  A month ago I walked into the bathroom (my fault, I should know better) to this:

2014-01-26 21.30.44



Yep, that is a PLANT growing out of the sink!  I stood there befuddled for about 10 minutes.  How the heck? ? ? Then, my motherly detective brain kicked in and I remembered that my son has birds which we feed bird seed, and for some reason he thought that it would be okay to send the bird seed remains down the sink instead of the trash.  The most scary part for me was that it took long enough for a plant to germinate for me to look into their sink.

So this goes on my “bad mom-habit” list.  I need to pay more attention to the goings-on of my children’s bathroom.

While I’m sure there are many more not-so-desirable habits I entertain, these ones currently stand out.  Hopefully this gave you a laugh or at least an encouragement that motherhood is a work in progress!  I try to remind myself daily to have grace for myself and my parenting journey, while trying to seek excellence as much as possible.  With God’s help, both these things are possible!

On another note, I would greatly appreciate you sharing this link, or asking your friends to “like” this on FB if you are a fan of this blog.  I am trying to grow it this year!

Have a great day,



Judging The Crabby Mom


A couple of weeks ago I led a bible study with my kids on humility.  This is a topic I have wanted to tackle with them more than just a comment here and there, because it is so important to the Christian faith.  My children don’t go around talking about how great they are at this or that, but there are times when the deceptive hint of pride peeks out with comments such as, “So and So really didn’t contribute anything to the game–he was such a slacker–did you see how much effort I put in?”  I understand what it means to be frustrated by another’s effort in a team sport, but sometimes I sense a lack of grace for someone who is having a bad day on the field–which my child may have had a week ago, but forgotten. Or, “Mom, do you see what that girl is wearing?” (more surprise than condescending, but if left unchecked it can grow into that).  Those comments reveal to me this sense of “better than.” Our kids know what it means to outright brag, because they experience it with others at school and on the soccer field, but I realized they may not understand humility:



A modest or low view of one’s own importance; humbleness.

To me, humility is a vast topic that boils down to one element: remembering that the gifts and talents that God has given us are from him, and not of our own accord.  From that, a sense of “placement” occurs.  I am not “above” that other person because I have a gift that excels their gift, because it is not my gift to be proud of, but Gods.  Pride and boasting come  from this feeling that we are better or “above” someone because we are better than them in a particular area, or they are “less than.”  When she was younger our  daughter Maddie would wait until we were done disciplining another child and sweetly say, “But I’m doing great in that area right?”  In other words, “Notice me!  Notice how good I am compared to them!”

Interestingly enough, our children tend to express verbally what we adults still struggle with inwardly.  I may not seem boastful to you, but that’s because you don’t see my heart.  I have learned to keep my thoughts to myself.  I deceive myself, because I think I am doing fine in this area, until a thought becomes a casual off the cuff remark about someone who is in my opinion making bad choices in their life, or is “doing things differently” than I would…..and my pride is fully exposed.   I want to shout out,  “But I am doing great in that area right?” Not really, but I do want that recognition from the world, or from God that I am not doing what that person is.   I also easily forget my own sin in the light of someone elses.  How easy it is for me to judge.

You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
~Matthew 7:5

Who am I to judge?

Sometimes I catch myself in this wayward thinking when I am peacefully strolling the isles of the grocery store, with my cold Diet Pepsi that I had plenty of time to stop and get, because my kids are all in school.  I am deep in thought about which brand of peanut butter I would like to bring home today–the non-organic but on sale?  Or the organic but a little pricier….when all of a sudden down the aisle appears a mom with three kids attached to her cart and body, one with food all over his face, and she is snapping at them, and at least two are crying.  Hmmm, a thought flicks through my brain, that mom is awfully crabby today.  At that moment I am QUICKLY brought back into the reality that that scene was me just a few short years ago when I didn’t have the luxury of school or older more independent children to allow me to grocery shop all alone.  I am immediately ashamed of my fleeting but real thought towards that mom, and I know because God has a sense of humor and loves me that I will probably have about 3 humility-defining moments in the next week with my children.

I often tell my kids, “You can be critical of something your brother or sister is doing when you have figured out how to be perfect and are no longer making any mistakes yourself.”  Which I usually followed up with, “You just worry about yourself.”

YOU JUST WORRY ABOUT YOURSELF.  That is what I need to recite to myself daily (maybe hourly).

So what I tell my children is just as applicable for me:

~Don’t judge outward appearances

~Have grace when someone is not performing in the way you think they should

~Remember your own sin and work on that

~Don’t forget you may have just been or will be in someone’s shoes that you are judging

Humility is realizing I do not have it all figured out, and acknowledging that there is only one person who walked on earth that did.

Thank you Jesus that I don’t have to be perfect, and that I am in the same boat of mistakes with everyone around me.  You are the only one not in the boat, and I need to just keep my eyes fixed on you.  Please help me to have a spirit of humility with my husband, my children, and my neighbors.  Gently reveal to me the areas where I need a little or a lot of work, give me perspective on my place in the world, and thank you for using the lessons I want to teach my children to teach me.




Mom Thoughts

Written By Amy

We are so thankful for the comments we receive…they are always so meaningful to Jen and I because they are heartfelt, honest, and let us know that you, Jen and I are connecting at some level.

Yesterday, Liz, my mother-in-law, responded to Jen’s post by email.  We wanted to share it with you becasue it is another real voice speaking into this topic.  Liz is a faithful woman of God.  She allows Him to speak into her life, things both difficult and beautiful.  Thank you, Liz, for sharing your heart with us:

I really enjoyed today’s post written by Jen.  The continuation of that line of thinking is how competitive we are with our children – sports, grades, behavior.  How I would judge (a long while ago) a child or family by how that child dressed, combed or didn’t comb their hair etc.  How I could feel jealous of another child and wonder why my child didn’t achieve the same recognition.  Or the flip side – what sort of parent would allow a child to behave that way in a store or restaurant.  It is such an easy trap to fall into – although I have been known to tell a child I did not know to return to their seat or to go and stand by their parent rather than run around the clothing racks in a store.  Just saying!!!

Now take that back to Elizabeth and Mary.  One woman would be the mother of our Lord and the other would be the mother of someone living in the desert, dressed in funny clothes and eating weird food.  Yet there was shared joy.  Don’t we all need that sort of trust in the Lord and His plans?  Do we all need that sort of grace to extend to each other?  And just think how both of these mothers must have suffered as they watched their children – just as we sometimes suffer when we watch ours.  And then remember how both of these children – second cousins – died.  John was beheaded and Jesus was crucified.  

Do we ever know the full story behind other parent/child relationships?  I think this is just another opportunity given to us by God to extend grace, leave things in His hands and at the same time recognize that perhaps the best reaction we can have in almost any situation is to smile, offer a quick prayer and praise God that He can be trusted and He is in control.
Thank you for your post today.  I just LOVE when it opens the door for God to stir my soul.

Guest Blogger: Erin on Motherhood


Last week I posted an unknown author’s variation of Corinthians 13, and challenged us all to rewrite it for our own lives.  Well, a friend of mine did.  Erin is a mom of three and teaches at the school where Jen’s and my kids attend (I have been blessed to have my children in her class!).  She also has a blog called ThreeByThirty (click on our blogroll on the right) and she posted her version last week in response to this challenge.  It is inspiring and heart warming.

Erin with two of her kiddos

Here is what she wrote:

This morning, I read an entry written by Amy
entitled “How Well Do You Love?”.
I had never read that variation of 1st Corinthians 13 before, but immediately
began drawing parallels with my own life.  Of course, there are parts of that
version that don’t yet apply to my life, which is why I was inspired by the
challenge Amy presented, in re-writing a version that reflects where I am in my
life now.  Despite the non-stop pace of this day (and so many more before it, as
well as those to come), I found myself thinking about this post.  The hour is
late, the science tests that rode home with me sit unscored in my work bag, and
the laundry needs switched (sidebar: the washer buzzed just as I typed
that…a little extra reminder from God, since laundry is, in my opinion, the
worst.chore.ever.??).  All of these factors aside, I feel compelled to take on
this challenge tonight.  I know it won’t be my ‘ideal’, but that illustrates
just how organic motherhood and womanhood can be–tomorrow, this whole
thing could be different.

Here goes…

I can sing the theme song
to Spongebob and recite The Little Mermaid by heart, but without love, I am
merely a car alarm going off during nap time.

I can change the diaper of a
squirmy baby in ten seconds flat while watching a three-year old’s impromptu
dance routine and listen to my five-year old read a book for his homework  I can
chop veggies so fine they can’t pick them out of the sauce, while making a
grocery list complete with a stack of neatly trimmed coupons.  I can hold a
conversation with a magical fairy princess and a Storm Trooper from Star Wars
while tossing a football and blowing bubbles, but without love, I am

Love is patient while listening to the
minute-by-minute account of a fight, told by a frustrated child who wants
validation in their decision to show their anger toward their sibling with their

Love is kind even when I’m overwhelmed and
exhausted, and I’ve heard ‘moooommmmy….?’ for the three thousandth time in the
day…my tone is nurturing and calm.

It does not envy the
mommies who somehow have time to work out, have standing pedicure appointments,
or a wardrobe from stores I can only dream of shopping in…but trusts
the Lord
to provide me with my own joys and pleasures as ‘treats’ for

Love does not brag about the blessings which
have been bestowed upon us.  Love rejoices in the blessings God
bestows upon our friends and family.

It does not boast,
when I’ve come home from a full day of work to prepare a healthy and
well-rounded dinner for my family when my husband’s ‘chef’s special’
incorporates peanut butter and jelly with bread.

Love is not
, even when other customers at the grocery store are oblivious to
the family circus I am trying to keep under control, and run into my children
with their cart in an attempt to be first in the check out line (despite the
screaming baby in my car seat)

It does not immediately seek after
after I’ve unloaded the dishwasher, or folded the

It is not easily angered by other drivers who
*love* to drive in my blind spot, or by an endless slew of red lights on
mornings I’m already running late and evenings I

It does not delight in evil when
I’m obviously right, but rejoices in the truth…that I
was right. (room for growth…I know!)

Love does not
give up hope
when you’re supporting your best friend through the fight
of her life.

It always trusts God to watch over my
husband when he’s driving in the middle of night on limited sleep, to keep my
children safe when I can’t be there or can’t put my ‘mommy bubble wrap’ around
them.  It always perseveres…through 3 kids in 5 years,
thousands of miles from family, non-traditional work schedules, crying babies
and tears, angry outbursts and tragic loss.

Love never


Thanks so much for sharing your life with us Erin!  If anyone else has decided to rewrite this scripture for their life, please email it to us (if you feel so inclined) at gracefullhome@yahoo.com and let us know if we can share it on our blog.  If you are reading this on email, please click on the GraceFullhome link above to see new pictures and other fun stuff on our sidebar!



Wise Words: How well do you LOVE?


You may have read this before, but it is worth reading again.  It is a “Mom’s” version of 1st Corinthians 13, known as the Love Chapter in the bible BUT it can speak to all of us!  If you are a mom of children still living at home, I encourage you to print this and highlight the parts that speak to you.  If your children are adults or you don’t have children, I encourage you to rewrite this in your own life version, whether it applies to marriage, relationships at work, or friendships (or all three!):

I can read bedtime stories till the cow jumps over the moon and sing
“Ten Little Monkeys” until I want to call the doctor–but if I don’t
have love, I’m as annoying as a ringing phone.

I can chase a naked toddler through the house while cooking dinner and
listening to voice mail, I can fix the best cookies and Kool-Aid in the
neighborhood, and I can tell a sick child’s temperature with one touch of my
finger, but if I don’t have love, I am nothing.

Love is patient while watching and praying by the front window when it’s 30
minutes past curfew.

Love is kind when my child says, “I don’t like you anymore!”

It does not envy the neighbors’ swimming pool or their brand-new mini van,
but trusts the Lord to provide every need.

Love does not brag when other parents share their disappointments and
insecurities, and love rejoices when other families succeed.

It doesn’t boast, even when I’ve multi-tasked all day long and my husband
can’t do more than one thing at a time.

Love is not rude when my spouse innocently asks, “What have you done

It does not immediately seek after glory when we see talent in our children,
but encourages them to get training and make wise choices.

It is not easily angered, even when my 15-year-old acts like the world
revolves around her.

It does not delight in evil (is not self-righteous) when I remind my
17-year-old that he’s going 83 in a 55-mph zone, but rejoices in the truth.

Love does not give up hope. It always protects our children’s self-esteem
and spirit, even while doling out discipline.

It always trusts God to protect our children even when we cannot. It always perseveres, through blue nail polish,
rolled eyes and crossed arms, messy rooms and sleepovers.

Love never fails.

~Author Unknown

Please pass this on to all the women you love!


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