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My kids have their moments, like everyone does, where the sass shows a little more than the sweet. But those moments really are few and far between. Danny and I work really hard to raise the 4 kittens to be kind, accepting, smart, happy and compassionate. It’s hard being a parent. Not just, “Wow, I’m tired all the time,” kind of hard. I mean the kind of hard where sometimes you cry because you’re not sure you’re doing a good job. The kind of hard where you want to call the parent of the little girl who bullied your little girl and give her a few pointers…but you don’t. Because that would be awkward at school pickup.

There are some words that I say to my kids often and it helps to make my mom job a little easier.

(1) I am proud of you.

When I tell my kids that I am proud of them, they get a huge smile on their faces. They love it when I say that, so I know that they would rather do something that made me say this than do something that made me say, “That makes me sad that you would do that.” If they never heard me say I was proud of them, I’m not sure they would know that I think they are great. That I think what they are doing is important and good and wonderful. And I want them to know that.

And yes. They can be sassy little things. Definitely not everything they do gets an, “I’m proud of you.” Cuz kids are like that.

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[silly boy]

(2) I love you.

Days get busy and in between loading kids in cars, making lunches, vacuuming, feeding dogs, changing diapers, doing laundry, helping with homework, taking photos, editing photos, blogging, baths, dinners, jammers, bedtime, (phew!), there isn’t very much time for extra things. Except for “I Love You’s”. I think it is SO important to make sure you tell your kids you love them every morning and every night at the very least, but better if you say it throughout the day…often. Even if you are upset with them, frustrated, or having a horrible day…tell your kids you love them.

And when you heard your kids tell each other, “I love you,” it is all so worth it. So so so so worth it.

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[oh, Alice]

(3) That’s Not Appropriate.

Okay, so this sounds like a really weird thing that is important to say to your kids, but I think it is. I get made fun of alllllll the time for being too “strict” with my kids. You all know, because I say it often, that my kids aren’t allowed to say ‘stupid,’ ‘butt,’ and even ‘puke’ is borderline. ‘Hate’ and ‘shut-up?’ Don’t even think about it. They are allowed to watch the Disney channel but not “Good Luck Charlie” or “Wizards of Waverly Place.” “Sponge-Bob” is off-limits and they know that hitting is never okay.  And if you know me, you know how often I say, “Not appropriate, James.  Alice….that’s not appropriate.  Maria, was that an appropriate thing to do?”

Maybe I say it too often.

And by the way, we are all working with Alice to get that sass under control.

But I think most moms have been humiliated by something their child has done or said.  (“No, Jamie, that’s not appropriate to point to that little girl with the eye patch and call her a pirate baby. She has an eye patch because somethign is wrong with her eye, and if you point, that might hurt her feelings or make her feel uncomfortable. Not appropriate.”) yes, that totally happened.

I’m hoping that when I tell them that things are appropriate or not appropriate, it will sink it.  They’ll remember it for next time.  So far, it’s working okay — on important things at least.  Picking their noses?  Not so much.  Eating it?  Disgusting….and also not working.  Also….not appropriate.

And kids whose parents never tell them that something they are doing is not appropriate? They will keep on doing it. They will point and laugh and call names. They will use naughty language and think that sassing to mom or dad or any other grown up is okay. I have seen it a million times. And what are the parents doing when the kids are saying/doing these things? Nothing. It makes me mad because not only is that rude to whoever they are being sassy or naughty to…it’s not doing your children any favors either. Teach your children to be appropriate and kind, and life will be a little easier for them.  I hope, at least.

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I am not the best mom ever and I would never try and act like I am. I have moments where I get super frustrated and yell. I catch myself not setting the best example sometimes and wishing I could have a quick do-over. I can sometimes sound like a know-it-all (what, are you totally shocked?). My kids can sometimes act like wild animals — screams, tantrums, sass-talk. But we’re all learning and trying our hardest to get it just right. And luckily, we have friends and family who set wonderful examples for my kids to make up for all the times I don’t.

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[it’s getting harder and harder to take a picture of all 4 of them looking!]


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