From Angry Moms to Happy Moms ~Part 1

Taken from my segment with Tommy and Brook on Star 105.7. Tuesdays at 7:05 AM.

angry moms happy moms copy

 

First off let me say, I get it, I understand. I’m with you in the trenches of this one friend! We can all relate to being an angry mom at times and it doesn’t feel good to us or our kids. There is no doubt we have a tough job- I think it’s the toughest job there is. The kids are bickering, they’ve disobeyed or talked back and we’re yelling or worse…and then we feel awful. We feel like a failure.

For the month of February we’re going to talk about how to go from being angry moms to being happy moms.

This week we’re going to: admit it.

If we’ve blown it, we should own it. Pretending it didn’t happen doesn’t change the fact that we lost our temper and yelled at the kids.

Whether we do this alone in front of the mirror, in prayer, or with a trusted friend; we need to admit it. Being in denial doesn’t help; it just creates a bigger weight on our shoulders. The heaviness of guilt is miserable so getting it off our chest and putting it out there is freeing, even when we’re just admitting it to ourselves.

Taking responsibility for our actions can be difficult and humbling but it helps us start over. We may need to apologize to our kids. There is nothing wrong with asking our kids to forgive us, it gives our kids a great example of how they should handle their own mistakes. We can say, “I blew it and I’m sorry,” and if we said something cruel and we’ve torn away at their trust and respect, we need to use our words to do some repairing. It is a powerful way to teach them about what to do with guilt and bad behavior.

So, let’s take a step towards being a happy mom by admitting it if this is a struggle for us.

I admit it and will tell you that I need God’s help to overcome it. I can’t do it on my own and I have often stepped behind a closed door to pray and ask the Father to help me calm down and forgive me for losing my temper.

My friend Lysa Terkeurst wrote an excellent book: “Unglued~ Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions” I highly recommend it, you can get it at this link, on Amazon or anywhere you buy books.

Here is an excerpt:
“In the quiet, God lifts us up to a more rational place. When we are in the heat of tangled mess, crazy emotions drag us down into a pit of hopelessness. The only way out of the pit is to make the choice to stop digging deeper and turn to God for a solution, so ‘that God may life you up in due time’ (1 Peter 5:6.”

Moms, if you struggle with anger, you are not alone! I’m praying for you and for me and trusting that God will fill us with peace and joy and help us be happy moms.
I’d love you to leave a comment and let me know about your struggle or remedy to help you with anger.

 

If you’re not in the West Michigan area you can listen live on iHeart Radio anywhere in the world!

Check out Tommy and Brook’s page online at West Michigan STAR: Tommy and Brook

Their Facebook page: Tommy and Brook

And their Twitter: @TommyAndBrook

What Do Our Kids Want From Us?

summer-camp

Obviously an endless supply of Sourpatch kids candy, DS games, new bikes and a new iPhone would be top on their list, but apparently our kids want a few other things from us too. I’ve been talking with Tommy and Brook on Star 105.7 for the last several weeks about survey results of what else our kids want from us. You can listen to my segments on my Star 105.7 page or read about them here:

  • Come into my bedroom at night, tuck me in. Come say goodnight. Another good idea is to talk about what they are thankful for from the day. Studies have proven that on common quality of happy people is: gratitude!
  • During dinner, talk about what you could do together on the weekend. Kids love to have something to look forward to! Unless your weekend plans are to clean out the garage, then be nice and skip this one.
  • Let them play outside, A LOT. Summer’s coming Momma, send them out that screen door!
  • Tell them stories about when you were little. Keep in mind ‘little’ let’s not talk about those college years!
  • This one might surprise you, but when kids were asked to look back and tell what they remembered and loved most about their moms…one of the things is that they were thankful that she disciplined them. The reason is that they said: it made them feel like she cared. “She took the time to teach me how to be a good person.”
    I should emphasize discipline- not just punishment. There’s a big difference, discipline is about disciple-ing not just grounding them with no guidance for their future.
  • Give them room to grow.  The older they get, the more we need to step back so they can do things on their own. I think we really start to see this in junior high. They are going through crazy growth and hormonal changes and we are going to need to adjust how we parent them. Instead of doing it all for them, it’s time to start guiding them and being more hands off.
  • To continue the idea of giving them room to grow, one of the biggest ways we help our kids is by teaching them to make decisions. When they’re little, we help them recognize when they’ve made a good versus a poor choice. The older they get we coach them along the path of decision making and help them with three ideas:

As they get older we want our kids to ask themselves these three things when it comes to decision making:

  1. Why do I want to do this?
    You want your children to understand what motivates their decisions.
    Is it peer pressure? Is it selfish?
  2. What are my options?
    When they’re little we can help them by narrowing choices and as they grow we help them see the choices they have.
  3. What are the consequences or benefits?
    Do they really want the outcome of this decision?
    Kids tend to make impulsive, immediate gratification decisions (Don’t we all?!)
    And often when we ask our older kids why they did something wrong, they’re response (if being honest) is that they just didn’t stop to think about the consequences.

 

Ok, so that was a lot to take in, I think you deserve a good cup of coffee and some dark chocolate!

Point your kids in the right direction— when they’re old they won’t be lost.
Proverbs 22:6

If you’re not in the West Michigan area you can listen live on iHeart Radio anywhere in the world!

Check out Tommy and Brook’s page online at West Michigan STAR: Tommy and Brook

Their Facebook page: Tommy and Brook

And their Twitter: @TommyAndBrook

Do Schools Kill Our Creativity?

I watched this video this morning and just had to share it. I think this resonates with every one of us.

If for no other reason, watch is for the laughs, he is so funny.

But this is also for:

All the moms who worry about their kids not doing well in school.

All the students that feel they’ve been put in a box or they just don’t fit in. (And may I add, good for YOU!)

All the parents of children and the kids wrongly labeled ADD or ADHD.

 

What if. What if, God just has a different plan.

 

Do schools kill our creativity? Let’s do something about it.

Watch it here: Sir Ken Robinson

 

Moms, What You Are Doing Matters

Taken from my segment on Star 105.7 in West Michigan with Tommy and Brook

Last week as I spoke to a MOPS group I looked at the tired eyes of those moms who feel buried in laundry and overcome with planning dinners and driving to practices and doing homework (on the way to school because the night before they said “no, mom I don’t have ny homework”), and I just want so badly for them to grasp how important their roles are in their child’s life.

I have 4 kids, three are grown and we adopted our youngest and she’s 8 yrs old.

I remember with (as I fondly refer to them) ‘my first batch of kids’ how I felt like the house keeper, room service and chauffer. I was a taller, blonder, unshowered Benson that lived in the suburbs in a house with so little heat that we put up a blanket in the stairway to keep ourselves warm all day. I didn’t feel like my role mattered except to keep the kids from killing each other and putting a few groceries in their busy little bodies.

Fast forward a couple decades and my oldest is married and second son is engaged. This past weekend we helped our son and his new wife move. Watching my grown sons interact and seeing how they treat their wife and fiancé ….it made me so thankful and I realized even more how much moms matter. Thankfully, I also thought about how little all the mistakes I made along the way, mattered. We’re real moms, we’re not perfect but being there for our kids, taking care of all the mundane tasks that we must do…it really matters.

I just want to tell moms (and dads)…that what you’re doing…this sometimes exhausting and seemingly thankless job…it matters. You are nurturing and raising the next generation.

No matter the age, whether your kids are picking up everything they see and putting it in their mouths or sassing back with the same lips a few years later, your role in their life matters.

If they are biological, adopted, foster or step children, you matter. You make a difference.

It wasn’t until we adopted Lauren that I came to understand the depth and power of attachment in a child’s life. It was a rocky first year with a little girl that spent her first 26 months in an orphange, and the several years since have been a learning experience. Even though she’s strongly attached, there is still a glimpse of that “survival” tendency in her that keeps me on my toes.

So when I saw this on the wall of her school, my heart melted.

feb 2013Yup, it matters.

Give yourself a break Moms, you’re not expected to be a perfect mom. Be a REAL mom.

If you missed this segment, listen here: Real Moms: What you are doing matters!

You can listen to my ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

Is Shame Based Punishment Effective?

Taken from my segment on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook

kid-shame-300x150

Is publicly shaming our children an effective way to bring a positive change when they’ve made serious mistakes?

Experts and this real mom say no.

Kids need to be able to trust that their parents will watch out not only for their physical well- being but also care for their emotional health. Our job is to provide loving guidance not humiliation that demeans our children.

It’s ok that our kids feel guilt over their bad decisions, guilt drives us to change. Guilt says: you did something wrong, but shame says: you ARE something wrong.

Shame based punishment teaches kids to devalue themselves and their worth.

Publicly humiliating a child is so destructive because most of the time, the world doesn’t let us have the mercy and grace we need to move on from our mistakes.

Shaming our kids destroys their self-esteem and studies have proven that children with a healthy self-esteem will:

  • Have a larger network of friends
  • Have courage to face difficult situations and
  • Have the self-confidence needed to step up to the challenges of stepping out as a leader.

Shame-based punishments may work in the short term, but in the long term, it can be a vicious cycle.

My heart goes out to the parent whose child is constantly making really bad decisions, it can feel quite helpless and I’m sure the signs only come out after buckets of tears and helpless feelings.

But I still believe that there is a better way than public humiliation.

How often has humiliation provoked you to positive change?
Does throwing your dirty laundry in the face of all your friends at work or church compel you to want to do better or make you feel like shrinking back and isolating yourself?

What does a bully do? He/she humiliates. By using humiliation as punishment, parents resemble a school yard bully. Though I know this would never be their intention.

Sometimes I think that publicly shaming our child is less about them and more about us. It could be that a parent wants to deal with their own embarrassment of their child’s behavior and they think that this kind of public display will show the world that they are a good parent.

Street corners are not the only place for this kind of shame, Facebook is the new street corner so we also need to be careful that our Facebook posts are not embarrassing our kids.

But what does a parent do when faced with a child that refuses to listen?
Each situation is different but I encourage you to get to the root of the WHY they are doing it. See if you can find a way to address the heart of the issue.

And consider how you can discipline instead of punish them. Discipline comes from the word disciple and is done with the intent of moving forward in a positive way it encourages growth in someone. Punishment is always based on the past and not on a positive future.

As a Christian I look to Christ, He never humiliates or shames us, in fact He took our shame and punishment. However, He does discipline us.
Jesus showed us over and over that grace was more effective than scorn and punishment.

And in the Old Testament:

For further information on the dangers of shame I encourage you to check out Brene’ Brown’s website, videos and books.

If you missed this segment, listen here: Real Moms: Shame based punishment

You can listen to my ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

New Year’s Resolutions for Mom

Taken from the Star 105.7 Real Moms of West Michigan segment:

Photo by KarieMurrayPhotography.com

Photo by KarieMurrayPhotography.com

It’s a new year and I know that many moms have made the traditional New Year’s resolutions to eat better, lose weight, quit the bad habits and all that, but NOW it’s time for the Mom resolutions.

I have 3 mom resolutions that I think we all should commit to:

  1. Say yes more. Say ‘yes’ more to playing with your kids. I know what a challenge this can be with a busy life, but next time the word “no” rolls of your tongue, consider if you can say yes. Especially if it is to an activity that gives you time with your kids.
  2. The 2nd mom resolution is: be kind to yourself. Moms can be hard on themselves, let’s resolve to give ourselves a break  this year.
    No more unrealistic expectations allowed. You can’t be at both your kids games at the same time so be all in at the one you can make it to.
  3. Third and most important. Let’s resolve to remember that our kids are a gift. In light of the tragedies like Sandy Hook where so many parents no longer have the privilege of being frustrated when their kids argue with each other, they’ll never again have the honor of embarrassment as their child throwing a tantrum in the store and won’t get to feel the irritation of a teenager slamming a door.

 

Mom stuff is hard, raising kids is a challenge to say the least but let’s remember that they are a gift and thank God that they are still there to tuck in every night.

And most importantly, have a stash of chocolate hidden somewhere in the house that you can dip into when you need it! When all else fails, real moms know to administer chocolate.

If you missed this segment, listen here: New Years Resolutions for Moms

You can listen to my ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

We’ve Had Enough of the One Way Conversations

Women are hungry for more. We’re tired of sitting back and listening, we’re ready to lean forward and join the conversation.

It's time to lean in and add to the conversation.

It’s time to lean in and add to the conversation.

Learn more about starting a Praise and Coffee in your community.

Lean in ladies! You have so much to add to the conversation.

 

Four Things To Talk to Kids About

Taken from my “Real Moms of West Michigan” segment with Tommy and Brook on Star 105.7

Listen here: Real Moms: Four Things to Talk to Kids About

And as long as I had the attention of West Michigan, I had to share a little something for my hubby!

 

You can listen to my ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

Christmas Gift Ideas


Taken from my “Real Moms of West Michigan” segment with Tommy and Brook on Star 105.7

I know that you are so organized and probably have all your shopping done, right? OH wait this is the REAL moms segment…and if they are anything like me…they are still a few minutes away from having it all wrapped and under the tree!

My tip to get ready for Christmas is: personalized gifts!

It’s the perfect time to order those personalized gifts for Christmas.

  • Picture frames, mouse pads, mugs, water bottles.
  • Calendars…make a personalized calendar for the Grandparents filled with last years pics of the kids.
  • Personalized gifts for teachers…now is a great time to order them!
  • Personalized throw blankets for Grandmas.
  • For the kids you could get: personalized sleeping bags, duffle bags, toys, water bottles, an apron for Mommy’s little helper in the kitchen.

You can pick some great personalized gifts (including the ones shown) here at Lillian Vernon:

Free Shipping on $40+ at LillianVernon.com with promo code 58ECO211 until 11/30/12. Shop for personalized Holiday Gifts & Décor, kids toys, kitchen, office organization and more - personalization is always FREE. - 125 x 125

Affliliate link

And to help you organize all of your gift giving this year I found you a great app!

It’s called Santa’s Bag…

It helps you track everyone on your Christmas List, allow you to budget individually, set gift ideas, and then track when gifts are purchased, if they’ve been wrapped, and how close you are to meeting budget. It’s really an amazing app.

And one other thing you can do right now is start your homemade vanilla with Tommy and Brook’s recipe. I made this a couple years ago and it it amazing! The longer the shelf life the better it is, grab the vanilla beans and vodka and get gifting!

Homemade Vanilla

What is your favorite ‘prepare ahead of time’ kind of gift?

 

You can listen to my ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

If you missed this segment, you can listen by clicking on the Star 105.7 tab.

Best Apps for Moms And A Trip To the Studios

I couldn’t wait to get up to Grand Rapids for Artprize, it’s the largest art competition in the world and it’s only a half hour from my house. I live in the country now but I’m from Grand Rapids so I love getting back to the city! Denise and I took it as a great opportunity to have coffee at Schuler’s book store and then enjoy lunch at Cinco de Mayo on the Monroe Mall.

We stopped in to the studio to do my “Real Moms of West Michigan” segment on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook @TommyAndBrook. These guys are the best and I always have a good time when I get to hang out with them!

 

And while we were up there we popped into Wood TV8 to see some Twitter friends Matt Kirkwood @MatthewKirkwood, Emily Linnert @EmilyLinnert, Terri DeBoer @TerriDeBoer and Brett Thomas @daybrett (but he was chatting and missed the picture).
I love their temporary Artprize studio in the GRAM (Grand Rapids Art Museum), it feels like you’re at the Today Show with people standing outside the window waving during the broadcasts.

Ok, and now you need to see what Terri really wears for shoes around the studio:

If you live in the Midwest and you’ve never been to Artprize, I highly encourage you to visit next fall!

OK, so on to the Real Moms segment…

I shared some must have apps for cool moms. Oh yes, the REAL moms ARE the cool moms!

Grocery Gadget Shopping List
Cost: free to $3.99

It creates multiple shopping lists for different stores, matches coupons to shopping items and lets you compare item prices across stores. You can even sync it with other family members in case one of them makes it to the store before you do.

RedLaser
Cost: free to $1.99

It scans the barcode of an item and lists the prices of the product online and at local vendors. This is awesome when searching for anything from peanut butter to appliances. Compare prices in your area!

Our Everyday Lunch
Cost:$0.99

An entire week’s worth of menu options, with each day showing a new recipe, so you’ll never be out of ideas for what to pack yourself for lunch. Plus, the shopping list generator helps you plan ahead.

MomMaps
Cost: $2.99

Mom Maps helps you find family fun places, kid friendly locations on the go! Restarants, museums, playgrounds this app will let you know where the kids are welcome.

 

And I especially love this one:

Pocket First Aid & CPR from the American Heart Association
Cost: $1.99

– Includes the latest up-to-date emergency information from the American Heart Association.

– Review first aid procedures anytime, anywhere. From your home, to your car, to the wilderness.

– Easy to learn, easy to use, right there when you need it.

– Manage your first aid kit checklist, to be sure you have what you need in an emergency.

– Save your medical information for quick retrieval. Look up your doctor or emergency contacts with a single click.

– Store your insurance information for easy access.

 

I do the ‘Real Moms of West Michigan’ segments on Star 105.7 with Tommy and Brook every Tuesday morning around 7:05 AM. If you are not in the West Michigan area you can listen on iHeart radio

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