Getting it right

Alright, there are plenty of things I mess up.  I’m not the most patient mother in the world, I’m always running late and forgetting things, and even Matt admits I’m no laundry maven, and well, let’s face it, that list could go on and on.  But I would like to focus on the positive here and publicly declare that there is one thing I do right:

Books.

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I read to my kids.  A lot.  It’s the one area I spoil them in and don’t feel guilt about it.  Holiday gifts always include books.  I’m also a sucker for book orders from school.  I love that their rooms have shelves full of books that are theirs to keep and read whenever they want.  We go to the library (almost) every Monday and they check out more books.  (Due to my skill of running late and forgetting things, I also pay enough fines every few months to keep most of the library workers employed.)

And you know what?  My kids love to read now.  Grant has started trying to read chapter books, and Clark reads so well that, despite being 4 1/2, he helps Grant with the hard words like “information,” “Philistines,” and “chrysanthemum.”  Even Natalie prefers to read books on her own than be read to.  She’ll sit down, turn the pages, look at the pictures, and narrate the story by herself, making it up as she goes along.  And if I try to get them to go to bed without reading them a scripture story, they won’t let me get away with it.

I don’t usually brag.  Hopefully my readers know that.  But this is one thing I’ve done right.  And I would now like to confess that my motivation is mostly selfish.  Consider the following:

  1. When my kids are out-of-control hyper, I know I can settle them down if I offer to read them stories.  They cuddle and listen quietly.
  2. The library is a free outing that also requires a certain level of quiet.
  3. They almost always bring a book with them when we go anywhere in the car.  Translation:  quiet.
  4. Now that they are “independent” readers, I start getting them ready an hour before bedtime and then let them have reading time until lights out.  Again, extra quiet time for me.  Books are awesome.

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So I’m curious, what’s something you do right?  Give yourself a little credit.

And p.s.  I am loving the General Conference book club.  You guys have made the greatest comments already and it’s not even halfway through the week.  Remember that you can click on the reply button under any comment if you want to respond directly to someone else’s comment.  And though many people have written long, awesome commentaries, yours can be as “small and simple” as you want.  There are no rules and I love just knowing that people are reading.  It seriously made me feel connected to a bunch of strangers to know that we’re all studying the same thing together and collectively getting inspired and motivated.  Awesome, ladies, keep it up!

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44 thoughts on “Getting it right

  1. I like to think I’m good at relating to my kids, being approachable, teaching them humor and enjoying their jokes (yes, even the fart jokes,) and respecting them. Not that I don’t have hard days — in fact today was one — but I do think for the most part all my kids feel like I really *like* and enjoy them. And I do.

  2. This is a tough question! Hmmmm…..

    I do vegetables at every sit-down-together meal right. I’ve managed to get all five of my kids to willingly eat vegetables. I fought the battle of wills with one of them who would not eat veggies of any kind, and I won.

  3. I really like this post. The one thing I know I have done right, is sharing my testimony of the Gospel with them. All the time. Brooklyn rolling her eyes and knowing excatly what my answer will be to certain questions, makes my heart sing. (that just annoys her more)
    This was my only Goal I wrote down as a Young Woman that I wanted for my family. That my children would know what it feels like to have the spirit, and that Jesus Christ is their friend.
    I cannot be who I am without my kids understadning miracles happen.
    and Heavenly Father loves you enough to give you care bears.

  4. I would say I did the book thing right also. My kids always knew that I would rather sit and read with them than do just about anything else. Our oldest reads everywhere and frequently gets in trouble reading in her alarm clock light at night, way after bedtime. We can’t stop her from reading! Our rule is, in bed by eight, and you get an hour to read. In bed after eight, and lights are out. They usually (depending on homework and YW activities) make it to bed by eight.

  5. I am a huge reader, and even though my son is only 10 months, he loves to copy what I do and flip through the pages of all of his books. When I read, he mimics. So cute. I love that he wants to do everything I do right now. Another thing I feel like I’m doing right is structure. He sees that his parents put each other first and then him. He sees that nap schedule is predictable and that I always make sure he eats around the same time. And sometimes I play with him. when I’m not tired…

  6. Ummmm…. laughing….

    You had to ask this TODAY while my kids have been watching PBS Kids all morning and I just handed them a handful of chips??? SERIOUSLY???? We never have chips!

    Okay. Searching my brain…

    Alright. My kids are great at eating out. They know how to say please, and thank you. They can look at a waitress and tell her what they would like. We get compliments on their manners when we go out, and that makes me happy. So–behaving in public, sometimes????

  7. I would say manners. My kids say please and thank you regularly, and are basically polite…most of the time…except when they get over-excited of course, hey, they’re just kids. But I’m good, I think, at explaining how using our manners and being kind are ways we can show people we love them, and show our Heavenly Father that we respect his children.

  8. I think I’m like your friend Zina. Also, I’m pretty patient with my children. Of course, so far I only have a 3 and 1 year old. Noah, my 3 year old is a pretty easy going kid, however, Alexandra is kind of a yeller so far :0(. Now, I do have to say, I’m pretty surprised at myself about this. Patience is not an attribute I would have claimed pre-kids, and of course, is something I need more of when it comes to the adults around me…. (poor hubbie).

      • thanks for replying to my comment, but… i take it back. :0( yesterday was one of the most trying days, patience wise, i think i’ve ever had! i kept my cool, but once Jason came home was ready to cry/check myself into the closest loony bin…. he took over, no questions asked. gotta love husbands. (i’m hoping that by writing this, today will be better :0) ).

  9. Mine is definitely reading too. My kindergartener learned to read when he just turned four, and now he is reading at a third grade level. His teacher is blown away. And it’s all because I read to him (and we snuggle, and all of the other good things you said).

  10. Books are a checkpoint for me. My kids read in bed looooong after lights out – and they think I don’t know about it. ;o)

    I’m ADDICTED to books – and I’m glad my children are too.

    Another thing? Prayers and scriptures. Every night. Without fail.

    But I think my strongest point is just LOVING my children – and they know it. I show them I love them by spending the most part of my day just playing with them – and telling them over and over and over again. Through words, kisses, hugs and notes. When I discipline them I discipline with love. (Okay, MOST of the time – I’m not perfect!) I know they have no doubt that they are thoroughly loved – and I’m proud of that.

  11. I think that I let my kids be creative and I usually succeed in not getting too upset over the mess that happens in the process. Consequently, their bedroom is usually a mess, but boy are they ever creative kids! And that is important to me.

    I’m also just like you with books. My mom isn’t a reader and she never quite understood my absolute need to read all the time. I love that my kids stay up late reading, and that the first thing my oldest daughter does when she wakes up is reach for the book she’s currently into. We have so many books I could probably open up a small children’s library. Makes me happy.

  12. Why is it so much easier to find the things I know I am doing wrong, lol 🙂 !! Can you tell it has been a long day?

    As far as something I do right with my kids? I think I have taught them how to apologize well. In our house we say sorry a lot, including us parents. I have taught them that we aren’t expected to be perfect, that it is wonderful to make mistakes. After all, this is how we learn and grow. I have taught them repentance is an every day thing and that is what is so glorious about the Atonement.

  13. The only one I can come up with today (long, cold, SNOWY day!) is bedtime. No crying, no screaming, no begging for just one more drink, etc. Just brush teeth, potty, lullaby, back scratch, prayers, and a kiss. No matter what happens during the day, I know that they go to bed feeling safe and loved. That matters to me.

  14. Wonderful Stephanie! I need to check your blog more. Um…first of all you do lot’s of thing right so don’t try and trick me little lady:) But let’s see…for me…today I’m most grateful that my almost 4 and almost 2 year old eagerly desire to write in their journals every night. It’s like a treat when we ask them (especially the 4 year old and the 2 year old will follow) if they want write. We’ll see how long it lasts. Both my husband and I feel strongly about the benefits of journal writing and the worth that hopefully our children will feel from us writing about them and who they were/are but we didn’t expect them to catch on so young. Lot’s to learn. I like being a mom! Love you Steph! Good thoughts…Good work…thanks!

  15. Wow. I could have written every word of your first two paragraphs. I am so your twin on that issue! Especially the books for holidays. I just pulled out all the Easter books last week, then realized we still have 3 overflowing crates of Christmas books to stow downstairs! Loved seeing those Easter baskets full of books!

    Also, like That Girl in Brazil…My kids cannot possibly doubt my love for them.

  16. Ah, Steph. I like this post. As most mothers do, I am constantly thinking of all the things I am NOT doing right. So once I read your post I had a good long think about what I am doing right. It turns out that I am doing most things right. I can’t say that I am fantastic at anything just yet, but LQ is only two, so I think I am still finding my niche.

    Thanks for forcing me to think about this. It has been a good remedy to a “debbie downer” day.
    Good work with the books. My parents “accidentally” got rid of the tv when I was three. Books played a huge part of my life after that, I wish I had enough self discipline to turn the tv off.

  17. Umm… I make sure my kids get to go on lots of outings. We have a zoo membership and a membership to one of the children’s museums here. We also go to the Friday market downtown sometimes, and of course, to the library! (I’m the same way with books!) We even make an adventure out of going to IKEA sometimes! (Like today!!) 🙂

  18. I love this about our family too. I was a big reader growing up. In third grade I won an essay contest entitled, “Why I love to read.” I remember one line in the essay about sneaking under my covers at night and reading my books with a flashlight. By age 10 I had read all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, Watership Down, the Chronicals of Narnia, and countless Encyclopedia Brown, Hardy Boys and Happy Hollisters books.

  19. We have a great bedtime routine and my girls like to go to bed because they get so much time with Handsome Husband and I. (brush teeth, pjs, scriptures, prayer, book, song, kisses) My 4 year old is great at saying sincere prayers and I’d like to take a tiny bit of credit for that, although, I think she’s better at it than I am. I also like to make my kids feel like they can talk to me about anything and not feel awkward– even if it’s talking about private parts or things that make ME squeamish, I try not to show it and I try to be open so they can always feel like there is NOTHING they can’t talk to me about. And I am really good about showing affection. My two year old LOVES books and it’s probably because we were going to the library two times a week last summer and we are going to start doing it again this summer. Anyway, yeah, I could make a much bigger list of things that I do wrong, but I’ll let you think that I’m an incredible mom just this once.

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