I’m really good at articulating what’s wrong in my life. Sometimes my husband has a string of texts of the crazy and frustrating things our kids do throughout the day. Without a single positive note. I’m an intense and demanding person. And that doesn’t bode well with motherhood. And often times life is self-fulfilling. I am negative so I create more negativity.

Then a while back, I read something about taking my focus off my kids’ behavior. If anyone knows where this is at, please direct me to the article because I can’t seem to find it! When I find myself getting frustrated, wanting to yell, or seriously considering my decision to procreate, I just look at my kids.

I really just look at them. Because they are tiny humans that have been on this earth for 6 short years. Or 3 short years. Why do I expect them to act like they have been here for 33 years? It doesn’t make sense.

For Sam, I like to hold his hand. They feel so big to me. I remember that time (when he was learning about directions) when he asked me to trim his fingernails, because the “east side of my nail is weird.” I remember the day he was born and those huge eyes looking at me. My heart melts and I try to turn a situation where I wanted to discipline, into a moment of education. Where I teach him what he said was disrespectful and tell him why is was. Instead of saying in frustration “go to your room, you are being disrespectful.”

I remember learning and trying out new words. Putting them together to make new meanings –often times I was likely disrespectful because I didn’t understand the impact of my words. Education is always more effective than discipline. ((in my book anyway…))

For Olivia, sometimes I have to look a bit harder. We are so alike, we can be like fire and ice and we are both a little on the explosive side. I look at her beautiful freckles she’s getting on her cheeks and nose. I wonder at that huge personality stuffed in that perfect little body. What is she going to do with herself? And how can something so small walk and run and jump? Isn’t it amazing? I think back to the night I was crying because motherhood had defeated me that day, and Olivia asked “Mom, how are you doing?” And I told her I was sad. And she listened. That sweet 3-year-old listened to my heart. She deserves my patience and me teaching her and guiding her, rather than my frustrating comments and sighs.

When she starts to demand my attention every 20 seconds (NO LIE!) and I get overwhelmed just by being in her presence, I try to sit down and cuddle her. Because she’s likely feeling ignored. I remember wanting one on one attention. Where I was the most important thing in the world to my mom at that moment. That’s special. So I try to create the special time, rather than shush her and tell her to find something else to do. It’s hard, but I try.

And although Timothy is still too young to frustrate me much, I know he will have his days. And when he does, I will remember that moment when, about 3 in the morning, he did not want to sleep after I nursed him. So I lay with him on the bed and he climbed around my body a bit. Then he snuggled on my pillow, his face just inches from mine, and his body parallel to mine, and he fell asleep. I couldn’t move, I just didn’t want the moment to end.

But I’m not perfect at the “education and listen rather than discipline” approach. I ask forgiveness and try again in the next opportunity.

Stephanie Keller

I am wife to Jake -- the modern day superman. He truly is my better half. I am mother to Sam, Olivia, and Timothy. I love them fiercely! I like to say they grow up too fast (and some days not fast enough!) I am a lawyer by education, but now a stay at home mom. I stay sane with my three littles by sewing and blogging. I'm beginning my first year of homeschooling and I'm scared. I hope you enjoy reading about my journey through life! Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/hopeandabreath/