Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

In my three-kids-in-six-years tenure as a mom, it has felt like I’m in an ongoing game of Tetris: getting dealt a variety of parenting-challenge pieces, and having to flip and shift them in an attempt to create a solid base for my kids to stand on as they grow.

One of the most complicated things to navigate has been learning to parent them individually . . . knowing that each one uniquely receives love and reacts to discipline.

But, I’ve also learned I have a universal standard with which I interact with each one of them. It’s what I come back to when I feel the pieces start to pile up in chaos. I ask myself these two things:

  1. Is this teaching them the importance of kindness?
  2. Have I told them how much I love them today?

RELATED: The Bedtime Hoops: 4 Important Questions To Ask Your Kids Every Night

While I do everything I can to be a living example of treating people the right way, and SHOWING them how much space they hold in my heart . . . I also believe in the power of words, and these are a few of the ones I use to instill this sentiment in them:

“I love being your Mommy.”

Think about when someone says, “I love having you as my friend”  or a spouse says, “I’m lucky to have you.” It’s nice to feel valued, right? I want my kids to feel the same. 

Because of that, every so often I’ll whisper “I love being your mommy” in their ear, and it always gets a big smile or an extra-long hug. I know there are times they can sense my stress as I navigate life and motherhood . . . but in the end, I want them to know being a part of their lives is one of my greatest joys.

“I’m so happy to see you!”

One of the things I value in my life is being seen. Feeling thought of. Walking into a room and being greeted as if I were missed.

When we are around certain people every day, sometimes we take them for granted. So, I do my best to make sure my kids know how good it makes me feel to see them. Whether it’s greeting them with this sentiment when they wake up, or whispering this in their ear when they come out of school, I want them to know I not only see them, but that it brings me happiness to get to.

“You look beautiful, today! But what makes you the most beautiful?”

I know there is debate about how we talk to our daughters about the way they look. Some say we shouldn’t always tell them they look beautiful because we should focus on other things. Others say we can’t say it enough as we help them develop a positive self-image.

I believe in both.

RELATED: Dear Daughter, When You Doubt Yourself

That’s why this is something I say to my six-year-old daughter often. Whenever I tell her she looks pretty,  I always follow it up by asking, “but what makes you the most beautiful?”

She answers, “My heart.”

She knows that means no matter how beautiful she is on the outside, it doesn’t matter if she isn’t presenting her heart in a beautiful way, too.

Things like choosing kindness when interacting with our friends . . . forgiving people . . . thinking of others . . . showing love to our family . . . 

A fancy dress won’t hide the absence of these things. The heart has to lead.

“Choose kindness”

There was a point in a particular season of mothering that I heard the words “stop” coming out of my mouth almost every other sentence. “Stop yelling,” or “Stop being mean to your brother,” or “Stop taking things out of your sister’s hands without asking.” 

It didn’t feel good, and it certainly didn’t add any positivity into negative air. So, in an effort to shift, I started simply substituting the words “Choose kindness.” They now know that means to use their manners, to change the tone in their voice, or to simply remember to let love lead.

“Do you want to know one of my favorite things about you?”

Recently, I had some solo time with my son. I looked at him in my rearview mirror and said, “Hey bud, do you want to know one of my favorite things about you?” He smiled before I could even say anything . . . and started kicking his legs around in the excitement about, and anticipation of, hearing a compliment.

“I love that you always like to make people laugh,” I told him. He put his hands to his face and giggled before starting to act goofy, hoping to bring the laughter out of me.

RELATED: 50 Questions To Ask Your Kids Instead Of Asking “How Was Your Day”

I say this randomly to my kids as a way to reinforce the best parts of their personalities, and the strongest parts of their hearts so they never forget to use them often . . . and they always remember they have something amazing to offer to the world.

Listen . . . I’m not a perfect mother. 

There are days I yell “stop” all day long. I often let stress come in the way of telling my kids how much they are loved. I find myself constantly telling my kids what they are doing wrong instead of praising them for everything that makes them wonderful.

But I am doing the very best I can.

And while I believe my actions will always be the greatest influence on my kids, I don’t think it negates the power of my words.

And I hope my kids will always remember mine and smile . . . right before they head out into the world letting kindness and love lead. 

“Do you want to know one of my favorite things about you?” www.herviewfromhome.com

 

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Brea Schmidt

Brea Schmidt is a writer, speaker and photographer who aims to generate authentic conversation about motherhood and daily life on her blog, The Thinking Branch. Through her work, she aims to empower people to overcome their fears and insecurities and live their truth. She and her husband raise their three children in Pittsburgh, PA.

Dear Graduate, I Love You Forever

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Kindergarten grad

I never imagined these days of preparing for graduation, senior prom, senior photos, and you actually moving out would come. A few weeks into your life, friends gifted you a 6-month sleeper. I remember the cuddly white footie pajamas well. But I swore you’d never get big enough to wear it. How could this 8-pound human grow to fit into 6-month clothes? Impossible. And then somehow they did fit, and then they didn’t anymore. Just like that. Everyone says the days are long but the years are short. Everyone, that is, who has had a lot of years. When I...

Keep Reading

Always Choose Adventure

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Two children looking at aquarium exhibit, color photo

Here’s the thing about traveling with little kids. Is it hard? Sometimes. Sometimes it looks like a whole carry-on dedicated solely to snacks, activities, and emergency treats. Sometimes it looks like buying a drink for the passenger next to you as a way of saying sorry and thank you all at the same time for the airplane kid chaos they endured. Sometimes it looks like altering your picture-perfect itinerary that you meticulously planned on account of missed naps finally catching up. Sometimes it looks like washing a car seat off in a hotel shower because your toddler got carsick, then...

Keep Reading

Love Beyond Words

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother hugging daughter

My daughter Lexi lost her words and some of her motor functioning when she was two years old. She was three when the silent intruder of Rett Syndrome made itself known through seizures. But here’s the heart of our story: even without words, Lexi and I have created our own language—a symphony of unspoken love. She may not call me “Mom” in the traditional sense, but her eyes, her laughter, and the unique sounds she makes speak volumes to my heart. Each day with Lexi is a dance—one where the steps aren’t always clear, and the rhythm can change in...

Keep Reading

Daddy, Am I Beautiful?

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Daddy holding preschool-aged daughter, color photo

“Daddy, do I look beautiful?” I heard my daughter ask my husband from the other room. I barely heard what she said as I was in the kitchen washing the dishes, but her words struck a chord in my heart. My sweet girl, all dressed to go out, asked for her Daddy’s assurance that she was beautiful, that she was admired and special. It hit me in that moment: this pure and built-in desire we all have to be loved, admired, and wanted. Just as my sweet girl wanted her Daddy’s approval and assurance of love, I so often cry...

Keep Reading

Sensitive Sons Are Strong Too

In: Kids, Motherhood
Boy pets kitten held by another older boy

My son has always been timid. When he was a baby, he cried when he lost his pacifier in his crib. If I laughed too loudly, he might burst into tears. Once, he was asleep in his bassinet as my husband and I turned on a movie. The MGM lion roared, and he woke in a panic that seemed to take forever to calm. Now, at five years old, my son wrestles, runs, fights, and screams at the television. He pretends to fight bad guys and save me and his twin sister. He thinks he is the king of the...

Keep Reading

Wrestle Like a Girl

In: Kids, Motherhood
Girls wrestling team huddling on the floor

I’m a wrestling mom, but I’m a new breed. I’m the kind with my little girl on the mat. Sure, I support our son out there, and I scream like a wild banshee with the rest of the crazy parents, and I’m in awe of the athletes these boys are. But then steps out our daughter. And it’s different. She decided to join her big bro at practice years ago when word was just starting to spread about the possible emergence of girls’ wrestling. She was only in kindergarten, but I think my husband might have already been thinking college....

Keep Reading

I’ll Hold on To Moments of Childhood with My Preteen as Long as I Can

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Smiling preteen and mother

This Christmas season, my husband took our laser light projector and aimed it at the Australian bottle tree in the front yard. It shone like a thousand red and green fairies dancing through the branches. The first time I saw it, I gasped with glee. Christmas came and went. Much to our 6-year-old’s disappointment, we took down the decorations and boxed them in the attic until next year. I noticed that my husband forgot to put away the light projector though. One Friday night, recovering from a stomach bug, we decided to watch Wonka and fold laundry. We bought into the...

Keep Reading

“Tell Me Another Story, Daddy?”

In: Kids
Man reading to young son

“Tell me another story, Daddy?” I had heard these words since we had finished supper. My 5-year-old son loves hearing stories. He loves to put himself in these stories. He doesn’t just watch Paw Patrol, he’s in Paw Patrol. He is a Kratt brother. And he loves hearing stories about his favorite adventurers with him saving the day alongside his animated heroes. While I absolutely love telling stories to my son, there are many days when I don’t feel like it. When I want to say, “No, Daddy is tired. Why don’t you go play with your toys while daddy...

Keep Reading

Getting Glasses Can be an Adjustment

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Pre-teen wearing glasses

On their last break from school, my daughter and son happily enjoyed a nice week of catching up with friends and having a relaxed schedule. I was careful to avoid overloading our schedule so we had a nice balance of days out and days being at home. As can often happen on a school break, I used one day as our “appointments day.” We had our routine dental checks and eye exams booked. The morning went smoothly with the dentist, and then it was time to head home for lunch. Next, we popped back out to do the children’s eye...

Keep Reading

To the Fifth Grade Parents: Thank You

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood
Arcade style photo machine, color photo

To the fifth-grade parents in my community: How are we here already? The end of fifth grade. The end of elementary school. It feels like yesterday we saw each other at kindergarten drop off, some of us through the tears of sending our first baby to school, some seasoned pros, and a small group of us with a touch of extra worry in our mama hearts—the special ed mamas. Among the many things I worried about sending my kindergarten son to school was how your children would treat him. Would they laugh at him like they did at his Montessori...

Keep Reading