Families With Grace

Helping Christian moms create homes filled with grace, love & faith

Being a grace-filled parent

What being a grace-filled parent looks like

When I learned I was pregnant with my first child, I was excited. I was also overwhelmed and nervous. Some people are just naturally great with all kids. (In fact, that same first child of mine is that way!) I was never that way. I was not sure what motherhood would actually be like, but I was excited to be part of it. Not once did I think about how grumpy I’d be with my baby. Instead, I planned to be a grace-filled parent. I planned to be calm, have a sense of humor and show lots of love.

The reality of parenthood sets in quickly. Those first few months were exhausting and an adjustment beyond anything I could ever have prepared for. Parenthood is a total upheaval of life. Added to the exhaustion is stress and pressure and it’s a perfect mix for cranky parents. But none of us what to be those cranky parents. We desire to be a grace-filled parent who is patient, caring and loving.

I’ve never been a perfect parent, just as I’m not a perfect person. I have stories about my behavior that make me cringe and feel ashamed. However, I’ve also worked (and had God work in me!) to become a more grace-filled parent. I’ve learned through my years as a mom that my kids need grace from me as much as I need grace from them. Today I’m sharing 10 lessons I’ve learned about how to be a more grace-filled parent.

1. Listen to your children.

From the time they are babies, our kids are using their voices to tell us what is going on with them. True, they start out with crying that can be perplexing. (I remember the days of trying to sort out what could possibly be making my baby unhappy when they were clean, fed and well rested and still crying sometimes!) But once they start talking and expressing themselves, we get to learn about them and their point-of-view.

Understanding where they’re coming from can help you have more patience with your kiddos and give them more grace as a result. I remember when my daughter was 3 and spilled an almost full bottle of hand soap on the hallway carpet. I was angry that she’d made a mess and didn’t understand why in the world she was carrying the soap dispenser out of the bathroom. She explained to me that she wanted to show our new Minnie Mouse soap dispenser to the Minnie Mouse toys in her bedroom. Oh my heart!

She still got in some trouble, and we definitely talked about how soap dispensers stay in the bathroom, but her punishment wasn’t as severe because I understood where she was coming from. She wasn’t just carrying around soap for no reason and trying to make a mess. Listening to her helped me understand her and address what was really going on.

2. Observe your kids.

But, kids don’t always express themselves with words. Sometimes their feelings are too big or they just plain don’t have the words. I mean, I’m just over four decades into my own life and still can struggle to find the right words to explain how I’m feeling sometimes! Sometimes we need to stop and observe our kids to figure out what is really going on with them and why they are behaving a certain way.

Recently my parents were in town for a visit. (They moved away last winter.) We made a quick trip to the grocery store for just a couple of things. My son stood in the chip aisle and argued with me for a moment about buying Cheetos. I get it. I love Cheetos, too, but I told him we had some at home and to stop being difficult. Indeed I was frustrated. Later that evening, my dad mentioned to me that my son had noticed all the rest of us had picked up some sort of snack or something to purchase and seemed to be feeling left out. It made perfect sense as I looked back on the situation. I wasn’t a very grace-filled parent in that moment, but I did at least understand my son a bit. He never said he was feeling left out; however, his actions told the story if I’d have just paid closer attention.

No matter what, of course my son shouldn’t be allowed to argue with me. If I had realized what was really going on with him at the time, though, I could have reacted differently and resolved the situation in another way. I could have suggested he pick another snack instead. Just two minutes after the Cheeto disagreement, I did concede to getting a box of Cheez-Its at my son’s request that both my kids love. His attitude disappeared after that.

3. Communicate with your kids.

Another way to be a more grace-filled parent is to communicate with your kids. Listen, my kids talk a lot. A lot. But, what I mean is to actually communicate with them. Let them know what plans are for after school or what you expect from them on an outing. Just a few sentences ahead of time can help them also understand you better and allow you both to have more patience with and grace for each other. It helps you avoid yelling at your kids or getting otherwise upset with them.

For example, as my children have gotten older, they have had more plans for what they want to do during their downtime. My daughter may be planning to come home after school and spend a couple of hours writing. Or my son might be looking forward to playing with a friend in the neighborhood when he gets home on a nice day. If I throw a wrench into their plans with an extra activity, that can lead to grumpy attitudes at the least and meltdowns at the worst. Simply communicating about plans ahead of time helps tremendously.

My husband and I also talk with our kids about why they are being punished or when we observe a behavior we don’t like. Of course there are times they get in trouble immediately, but other times we have found it’s helpful to communicate with them about why we are unhappy with what’s happened. Communication really does go a long way!

4. Know when to discipline and when to hug.

The definition of grace is not getting what you deserve. Meaning if I do something wrong, you show me kindness instead of anger. Being a grace-filled parent means that sometimes when our kids do something wrong, we let it slide or give them a hug instead of a punishment.

I mentioned in point two that my parents moved away last winter. Their move a few states away has been a big adjustment for all of us. So when they headed back out after visiting us recently and my youngest had a difficult attitude the next day, I gave him a bit of grace. He needed grace and love more than discipline in that moment.

When we are listening to and observing our kiddos, we can more easily discern when they are just out of sorts and need love and attention more than punishment.

5. Remember that you are a teacher.

One of the biggest jobs we have as parents is to be our kids’ teacher. We teach them everything they know about navigating life through our words and actions. Remembering that we are teaching them is an important part of being a grace-filled parent. Our kids are still growing and learning. If we take the time to teach them rather than just get mad at them, we’re all happier in the end.

Our goal is to help them grow and learn. Growing and learning are difficult when we’re being yelled at or in trouble. Instead, use some mistakes as teaching moments. I’ve also learned to expect that I will have to repeat myself and repeat lessons. My kids are kids. They aren’t perfect and they’re not going to always remember what to do in a moment.

6. Set realistic expectations.

When I expect more from my kids than they are capable of, then I lose my patience and my feelings of grace. One trick I’ve learned is to remind myself how old my kids are when I start to impose unrealistic expectations on them. If I stop to think that my daughter is only 12 or my son is only 9 when they mess up, then I can realize when I’m expecting them to act like adults.

I also set expectations out loud to my kids when we are going into situations. For example, if we are going to visit a friend, I remind them I expect them to help clean up toys and not give me a hard time when I say it’s time to leave. When they know what I expect of them, they are more likely to behave accordingly.

7. Guard your time.

I cannot say enough how important guarding your time is. I’m an introvert, so finding downtime comes naturally to me. Both introverts and extroverts need to be wary of overscheduling. Who can be a grace-filled parent when you are stressed out trying to get everyone in multiple places at the same time every night of the week? (Maybe some of you can, and that’s awesome. But I know I sure can’t, and I don’t think I’m alone.)

I’d rather say no to an activity than lose my patience with my kids. We started in elementary school with the rule our kids can do only one regular activity per week. That changes as they get older and can both handle more and stay up later. But it’s what works best for us, and I gladly stick to it.

8. Have fun together.

Eight months old. That’s the age that babies start getting more interactive and you can have a bit of fun with them. (Or at least that was our experience.) From that point on, find ways to have fun with your kiddos. Do things they enjoy with them and let yourself go and enjoy them, too. Now that our kids are older, we enjoy playing games together. When we go to the playground, I swing with the kiddos (unless the swings are busy or other kids want to swing). Just have fun.

We are much more inclined to give grace when our children need it when we have good feelings of making good memories with them. Find ways to sincerely enjoy spending time with your kiddos. Parenting is a lot of work and requires a lot of us, but don’t forget to enjoy moments along the way!

9. Ask for help.

Another important thing to remember about being a grace-filled parent is that you aren’t meant to do it alone. Start always with asking God for help. I pray daily to be the mom my children need. In fact, this parents’ prayer is a great place to start.

Other times you need to ask for help from those around you: your spouse, your extended family, friends and even your kids! For example, I am the one mostly in charge of laundry in our family. Sometimes I get overwhelmed, more frustrated and certainly less grace-filled when I am sitting with a pile of laundry surrounding me that needs to be folded. I’ve learned to make laundry a family chore. I get it gathered, washed and dried, then we all fold it together and everyone is responsible for putting away his or her clothes.

10. Apologize when you mess up.

Being a grace-filled parent doesn’t mean you always have it together. You aren’t perfect. Along the way, you’re going to mess up. Let your kids see what it looks like to mess up gracefully. Apologize to them when you are wrong, because sometimes you are. I have gotten short with my kids for no good reason other than being tired or cranky or whatever. And then I tell them I’m sorry. I want to model asking for forgiveness for them as well as reminding them none of us are perfect.

Looking for more grace-filled posts? Don’t miss these!

How to be a calmer parent

8 tried-and-true strategies for being a calm parent

Nobody goes into parenthood thinking how irritated and grumpy they’ll be. We have visions of being a calm parent. But then the baby is born. You add up no sleep, a huge adjustment to taking complete care of another person and the pressure you feel on all sides and all calmness goes flying right out the window. And that’s just the early days! Parenthood is a hard gig. If anyone tells you it isn’t, they either aren’t a parent or they’re flat-out lying!

Being a calm parent is challenging, even for naturally calm folks. I think I’m a pretty naturally calm person. I don’t get angry easily. My husband is the same way. But parenthood definitely puts that to the test. We’ve failed and messed up. However, in the past 12-1/2 years of parenting, I’ve learned a few strategies that help me be a calmer parent.

1. Pray about it.

Everything starts with prayer, right? Well, at least it should. Sometimes we get off track and try to do things on our own first. It never works out so well. Even being a calm parent is something we can ask God to help us with. He blessed us with these children. He knows their hearts and our hearts. Our Father knows our challenges and struggles. He is just waiting to help us!

You can literally pray before you start the day for God to help you be a calm parent that day. I pray that God helps me to be the mom my children need each day. Calmness is included in there!

Praying in the moment is also important. I can’t say that I do this every time my irritation starts forming, but I try to pray in the moment as often as possible. Sometimes it’s just a short, “God help me to deal with this,” prayer. A bonus to that is in the time it takes me to pause for a few seconds to pray, it also breaks the momentum of my irritation.

2. Listen to the right music.

Music is powerful. I’ve shared a few times the difference that music makes in my life. The right music helps me to be a calm parent. That might sound a bit lame, but it’s true! My go-to music is contemporary Christian music. (If that’s your jam, too, check out the free Families with Grace playlist on Spotify.) Or maybe you enjoy hymns. Maybe country gospel music speaks to your heart. (I truly love all three types of music I’ve mentioned!) Whatever it is, listen to something that calms you and helps you focus on God.

In the car after school, I usually have Air1 Radio or The Message on Sirius XM playing. My kids can sing along to almost every song that comes on. When they were younger, I’d leave the kitchen radio turned on almost all the time to Christian radio. It’s really difficult to yell at or lose patience with your children when you are singing or humming along to Christian music.

Even now, I listen to it while I work most of the time. (For articles that require more concentration, I usually switch to classical.) Then even when I’m not listening to music, the songs are still running through my head. It helps me be a calmer parent.

3. Remind yourself how old your kids are.

Have your ever gotten mad at your child for acting their age? I sure have! We definitely have to teach our children how to grow and behave, but we also need to understand what they are truly capable of. For example, I’d love to tell my 9-year-old to go organize his room. But he still needs some guidance. He knows toys can’t be all over the floor and that dirty clothes go to the laundry room. However, he is 9. He also needs specific instructions for where to put some toys or reminders of the organization we helped him create for them.

My 12-year-old is mature for her age and always has been. Sometimes I have moments that I start to get irritated with her for doing something irresponsible and then I remember, she’s 12. It calms me down. I know that she is still learning. Expecting our children to act more responsible than they are able to be is only asking for trouble. We can remain a calm parent when we stop before we snap at them and remember their age.

Remembering their age helps me switch from anger and irritation to teaching mode. That’s what my kids need most anyway. Our kids need us to take time to teach them rather than just get upset with them for not doing something correctly.

4. Set reasonable expectations for your children.

I get frustrated by people who don’t do their jobs well. We’ve all had times when we had to do a task we shouldn’t have had to do because someone slacked off. When someone doesn’t do the job we expect them to do, it is incredibly frustrating.

The same is true with our kids. When we set expectations for what we’ve asked them to do, we get frustrated when they don’t follow through. Sometimes it is completely their fault, and they didn’t do what they are fully capable of doing. Those times, they need to have consequences. Other times, though, we expect them to do a better job than they are able to do. Before we start getting upset we need to be sure we have reasonable expectations for what our children can and should be able to do.

Over the weekend, my kids were working together to clean up after dinner like I had asked them to. My youngest didn’t complete his task completely. My daughter started to just sigh and do it for him. I stopped her and we showed him how to complete the task. It was a win-win, because now he knows how to do the task and we can expect he can do it in the future. And nobody got upset in the process.

5. Take a breather.

It’d be nice to say that if you use these strategies you will always be a calm parent. But that’s not true, because you’re human and so are your children. Some days are hard when you’re exhausted and your children seem to find every button you have and push it over and over and over and over. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is take a breather.

If your children are babies or toddlers, this may mean just putting them in their crib for 5 minutes while you go to another room and just pause. (Been there, done that!) If you have preschoolers, this may mean you sit them down with a 20-minute show and you don’t interact. For older kids, you can send them to their rooms or tell them you need time alone for a few minutes.

I’ve sometimes taken an extra couple of minutes switching out or hanging up laundry just for a breather. Taking a couple of minutes away from the moment can help you calm down. Add in some deep breathing and prayer time and it works even better.

6. Ask for help.

You weren’t made to parent alone. Asking for help is OK. I was fortunate when my children were small that both my parents and in-laws lived within a few minutes of us and loved having time with grandkids. I utilized that help. If you don’t have that, maybe you have a friend you could trade off babysitting with.

Don’t forget to ask your spouse for help as well. Nope. It shouldn’t be the case that one of you is “helping” the other when you’re both in this together. But at the same time, your spouse doesn’t know what you need without you asking. Sometimes my husband has noticed my need for time away before I have. He’ll encourage me to go to our room or leave the house or whatever I need to do to regroup. Other times, I ask him to take over so I can have a minute. The same has been true in reverse.

Sometimes to be a calm parent, you have to ask for help and get away from it all — even just for 20 minutes in the shower alone. Other times to be a calm parent, you need someone to take items off your to-do list and fold the two loads of laundry sitting by the dryer. Just ask!

7. Try to embrace an attitude of gratitude.

Nothing impedes our calmness like getting angry with our family. Sometimes we get angry because of all we have to do for them that they don’t seem to appreciate. I’ve struggled with this before and still do from time to time. Have you ever had a thought starting with “Why does nobody else around here ever….?” Then you know what I’m talking about.

Yes, our families need to pull their weight. We shouldn’t let chores go undone or do them all ourselves. However, shifting our perspective helps alleviate anger and, in turn, makes us a calmer parent. For example, as you’re conquering that ever-growing pile or laundry, take a moment to thank God for the family you have who wear those clothes. Start adding in other things, too, like thanking Him for the clothes themselves and the ability to wash them in a washing machine.

It may be cliché, but once we start counting our blessings, we calm down. Our attitude shifts and we are more at peace.

8. Apologize when you lose your cool.

Chances are really good that you aren’t going to be a calm parent all the time. I’m certainly not. Sometimes our children need us to not be calm to get a point across. Other times, they don’t deserve our wrath. And it’s those times that we need to go back to our children and apologize. It’s a learning moment for our kids and helps us remember the lesson we learned as well.

Our children learn nobody is perfect, how to apologize when we mess up and that love covers it all. We have a memorable moment in feeling bad about acting out of anger so we are more likely to stop ourselves before doing so again. Simply saying “I’m sorry for how I reacted” goes a long way.

Find more resources to help you be a calm parent in these posts as well:

How to not yell at your kids

5 Proven tips to help you not yell at your kids

We’ve all seen them. The parents at the playground who yell without abandon at their kids. They’re tired, exasperated and ready to call it quits. Maybe we’ve been that parent ourselves. None of us are perfect, but most of us don’t want to yell at our kids. When we welcomed tiny bundles of joy into the world, we didn’t envision a future spent with yelling and frustration!

But the question remains, can you effectively parent and not yell at your kids? Yes. It really is possible. I’ve been a parent for just a few days shy of 12 years and very, very seldom yell at my kids. And, you know what? My kiddos are both well behaved and their teachers often compliment their behavior.

I know every family is different with different needs and personality types. Check out these tips that work for us and see if maybe they could work for you, too, as you strive to not yell at your kids.

1. Don’t make empty threats.

Empty threats are those threats we know we aren’t going to follow through on — and our kids know that as well. So they don’t take you seriously. Their behavior continues. You get frustrated. To try and get through to them, you resort to raising your voice.

But empty threats don’t work. My husband and I made a plan when our first child was born that we’d not make threats we weren’t willing to follow through on. Sometimes that’s been hard. A couple of times, we’ve gotten into a pickle. However, it’s worked. Before I threaten a consequence for a behavior, I take two seconds to make sure it’s a consequence I will follow through on.

For example, when our oldest was a toddler, we were going to meet a friend of mine for lunch. I was excited to go to lunch. My daughter decided that day she would insist on doing everything herself — as toddlers like to do. In the midst of my frustration as I was trying to make her let me just put her shoes on for her, I nearly said, “If you don’t let me help you, then we’ll just stay home.”

The truth was my friend was coming from out of town, and it was a lunch I’d been looking forward to. Not going really wasn’t an option I’d follow through on. Instead, I shifted strategies and told her I’d count slowly to 10 while she worked on her shoes. If she didn’t finished by then, I would help her. She got to be independent; I got to make sure her shoes were on. We both got to enjoy lunch out.

If I had given the consequence of staying home unless she let me help her and then gone to lunch any way, she would have learned that I don’t always mean what I say. And soon enough, she’d stop listening to my empty threats. She’d continue doing what she wanted. I’d get frustrated and resort to yelling at her. It’s a slippery slope indeed!

Decide that if you are going to threaten a consequence that it’s one you will follow through on should your child not comply. I know it doesn’t sound so much like it has to do with yelling, but I think empty threats lead to yelling more times than not!

2. Have clear and consistent rules.

Another tactic to stop yelling at your kids is to set clear and consistent rules. Just like with empty threats, make sure the rules are reasonable and something you will consistently enforce. For example, one of our rules is that we speak to each other with respect. We don’t abide by name-calling or making fun of anyone. I always enforce that rule. If one of my kids speaks disrespectfully to another family member, they hear about it and usually have a consequence for it. This is a rule with no exceptions. It is also a rule for our entire family and not just the children. My husband and I also talk to our children and each other respectfully.

Other rules are sometimes broken with permission. But those are few and far between. Usually we don’t allow food upstairs at our house. However, during virtual schooling last year, we allowed my daughter to take snacks upstairs sometimes when she was on break.

Along with making rules, be consistent with them. Nothing is more frustrating for a child than inconsistency. If you do one thing one day and it’s OK, but the next day the exact same thing gets you in big trouble, it’s stressful and confusing. This also applies between parents. Talk with your spouse so you’re both on the same page with what’s OK and what isn’t.

My husband and I are usually on the same page when it comes to rules and discipline, but that doesn’t happen by chance. We’ve had many conversations about what is OK and what isn’t. We talk about how we handled situations and see what the other person thinks. Parenting is an evolving process as our kids grow. We have to keep in touch with our spouses about how we are going to handle new phases as they pop up.

Having each other’s back is also important. A couple of times my husband has backed me up when he didn’t necessarily agree with me and vice versa. Later (not in front of the kids) we discussed the situation. But in front of the kids, we showed a united front.

3. Communicate your expectations.

Once my kids were toddlers, I started talking with them before we went places about what I expected from them. I wasn’t giving lengthy speeches, but I’d say things like, “We are going to play with our friends at the park for an hour. But when mommy says it is time to go, don’t give me a hard time. We have an appointment we have to get to.”

Oftentimes I also gave my kids an idea of what to expect in new situations. I still do this to a degree. My son and I went to a meeting last week for an organization he wants to join. I explained up front that I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but we could ask questions. I reminded him that we needed to be on our best behavior.

When going over expectations with my kids, I also rarely bring up times in the past that they didn’t make the correct choice about their behavior. Every so often I will use previous bad behavior as a reminder that if it happens again then we won’t be able to continue a certain activity. But again, I only say something like that if it is completely true.

When kids know what to expect and how they are expected to behave, they usually behave better. And when your kids behave well, it’s easier to not yell at your kids!

4. Address the root of the behavior.

No matter how great your kids are, sometimes they act out or behave poorly because of underlying reasons. And when that happens, no amount of yelling at your kids is going to solve anything. It’s just going to make both of you miserable.

While kids definitely need consequences for unacceptable behavior, sometimes what they also need is for us to take time to listen to them. Recently, my son was having a bad afternoon. The day turned out differently than expected, and he was frustrated. As a result, he made some bad choices and got in trouble for them. About 10 minutes later, the two of us were alone and he mentioned he felt he was unfairly treated by having a consequence for the behavior. He was calm about it and not defiant in any way. He was just being honest.

So, I sat down with him on his level. I explained his behavior warranted consequences and then asked why he was off that afternoon. He opened up and shared his feelings and why he was so frustrated. We talked it through. I listened to him. I commiserated with him, I understood him, and then I encouraged him. Together we decided the rest of the afternoon and evening would be good. And it was!

That heart-to-heart moment with my son took no more than five minutes. I understood where he was coming from. The consequence for his behavior remained, but he also felt listened to and validated. That’s what we all need. Had we not had that conversation, I’m guessing the rest of the day would have included more poor choices, resulting in my husband or me losing our temper and raising our voices. Getting to the root of the problem kept that from happening.

Another positive of getting to the root of the problem is letting our kids know that we are their safe place when they are upset. They can talk to us about anything. My conversation with my son started because he was sincerely telling me how he felt about getting in trouble. I want him to be able to do that. I have encouraged my kids to talk to us. Of course, I’ve had times that their honesty has made me bristle and I’ve had to keep it in check. But communication is what makes for good relationships. Talking is a much better way to communicate than yelling for sure!

5. Know when yelling is OK.

So even though yelling at your kids isn’t something you want to do on a regular basis, sometimes yelling is OK. The biggest time is when your kids are doing something dangerous and you need to get their immediate attention. Because my husband and I don’t yell often, when we do, our kids pay attention.

A few weeks ago, we were in the kitchen before dinner and my son started to reach for something right over a hot baking sheet that was on the counter. I yelled at him to stop. He immediately jumped back. While it scared him, I was OK with that because I needed to get his attention right away before he got burned. If he was somewhat de-sensitized to my yelling because I yelled all the time, I’m not sure his reaction would have been quick enough to save him from getting hurt.

And then there are times when the child is just not listening and continuing the bad behavior. The usual mode of operation in our family is to give two or three warnings to stop before we raise our voice. We don’t often have to raise our voices. But every so often we need to in order to get our kids’ attention so they actually listen and stop their behavior.

However, yelling at our kids is never our first response, unless they are in danger. If we yell at them unfairly, we apologize for doing so. Apologizing gives us the opportunity to show our kids that adults mess up and need grace, too.

Want more? Don’t miss these posts!

Parenting quotes to inspire you

25 parenting quotes to encourage moms and dads!

Parenthood is wearisome and wonderful. It is exhausting and exhilarating. Sometimes just knowing that you aren’t in it alone is encouraging. For that reason, I’ve put together a list of 25 parenting quotes to inspire, encourage and amuse you along your parenthood journey.

“I came to parenting the way most of us do — knowing nothing and trying to learn everything.” — Mayim Bialikactress and neuroscientist

“Encourage and support your kids because children are apt to live up to what you believe of them.” — Lady Bird Johnson, former First Lady of the United States

“You’re on a long journey. You’ll have good days and bad. And sometimes they happen all in the same day. Don’t get bogged down by the bad moments. Know that it really is worth it and whatever phase you’re in really does end.” — Stacey A. Shannon, journalist and blogger in “60 Motherhood truths

“Behind every young child who believes in himself is a parent who believed first.” — Matthew Jacobson, blogger

“Everyone should have kids. They are the greatest joy in the world. But they are also terrorists. You’ll realize this as soon as they’re born, and they start using sleep deprivation to break you.” — Ray Romano, actor and comedian

“Parenthood…It’s about guiding the next generation, and forgiving the last.”
― Peter Krause, in the American T.V. series “Parenthood”

“Affirming words from moms and dads are like light switches. Speak a word of affirmation at the right moment in a child’s life and it’s like lighting up a whole roomful of possibilities.” — Gary Smalley, family therapist

“There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.” — Jill Churchill, author

“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.” — Angela Schwindt, a mom and coach

“There are many ways to measure success; not the least of which is the way your child describes you when talking to a friend.” — Anonymous

“My children aren’t a burden or annoyance; they are my greatest masterpiece.” — Stacey A. Shannon, journalist and blogger in “Back to school blues

“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” — Proverbs 22:6 KJV

“You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance.” — Franklin P. Adams, columnist

“Making the decision to have a child — it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” — Elizabeth Stone, author

“Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.” — Phyllis Diller, actress and comedian

“A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.” — Billy Graham, evangelist

“There is no such thing as a perfect parent. So just be a real one.” — Sue Atkins, parenting coach

“Having a child is like getting a tattoo … on your face. You better be committed.” — Elizabeth Gilbert, journalist

“As a mother, my job is to take care of the possible and trust God with the impossible.” — Ruth Bell Graham, author

“Your kids require you most of all to love them for who they are, not to spend your whole time trying to correct them.” — Bill Ayers, elementary education reformist

“We never know the love of the parent till we become parents ourselves.” — Henry Ward Beecher, minister

“Motherhood is a constant learning process that requires flexibility and a sense of humor. And just when you think you have it all figured out, your children like to remind you that you certainly don’t.” — Stacey A. Shannon, journalist and blogger in “Motherhood requires a sense of humor

“Each day of our lives we make deposits into the memory banks of our children.” — Charles R. Swindoll, pastor

“Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.” — C.S. Lewis, writer

“Childhood is fleeting, so let kids be kids and cherish the time you have together.” — Abraham Lincoln, 16th U.S. President

A bonus 26th quote: “A Mother’s Promise”
I will love you completely and fully no matter what you do.
I will work hard to make sure you get any help you need.
I will always be your soft place to land.
I will pray over and for you as long as there is breath in my body.
I will protect you to the very best of my ability.
I will be there to lift you up when life kicks you down.
I will be your biggest fan forever and always in everything you do.
I will fail and make mistakes, but I will always do my best.
I will forever be thankful and grateful that I get to be your mom.
— Stacey A. Shannon, journalist and blogger

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