Instead of Judging My Kids I say “I Love Being Your Mom”

A couple of years ago, I read this piece about changing the way I speak to my children. It resonated immediately.

Instead of Judging My Kids I Say "I Love Being Your Mom" by Jennifer Andersen OurMuddyBoots.com

Instead of Judging My Kids I Say “I Love Being Your Mom” by Jennifer Andersen OurMuddyBoots.com

Even though I meant well with my words, telling my daughter that she’s an excellent hula hooper, or my son that he’s a good builder, was forging an unintentional path for them. It created tension. I was placing value on what they were doing instead of on finding their passion, or enjoying the activity they were doing. I was labeling them, and their future selves- something I did not want to do.

So I stopped. Instead of telling my children that they were good at something, or how they could be better, I took the author’s advice and started telling my kids that I love watching them.

“I love watching you hula-hoop”. “I love watching you build”. “I love watching you paint, or jump, or play hopscotch”. “I love watching you play soccer.”

As I practiced this, I became aware that, like everything, I could manipulate these words to control my kids. I became conscious of staying quiet instead of saying things like “I love watching you be kind to people”. If I cannot find a way to say it without judgement, I don’t say it. Manipulating my kids into practicing kindness, or sharing, or thoughtfulness is an oxymoron. My kids will learn these things if they are modeled for them- if they experience it, from their dad and me.

One Step Further

I am madly, deeply, and whole-heartedly in love with my children. Multiple times each day, my eyes fill with tears as I look at them, or hug them, or watch them. They are the cutest, most awesome, loving little beings I have ever known in my whole life. Sometimes I literally feel like I might jump out of my own skin, because I am so overwhelmed by how much I love them.

This manifested itself in me saying things like “you are soooooo cute!” or “I can’t even take how adorable you are! I just want to eat you up!” (That looks so weird written out!). Something about these words was always uncomfortable to me. Both of my children are so much more than that.

I struggled with what to say instead though- if I didn’t say something, I would explode. I just knew it. I needed to acknowledge how in love with them I am. I needed to say out loud how much I love being their mom.

And there it was. Just like the author in the original piece, I had the words to express what I was feeling: I love being your mom.

Practice Makes Better

I am still learning, and sometimes I still say “you are sooooo cute”, but not very often. Most of the time now when we are snuggling on the couch, having a tickle fight, or reading together, and those tears form in my eyes, I simply say “I love being your mom!”.

Instead of being an evaluator, I am a supporter. Instead of bringing up feelings of negativity and pressure, I share words free of judgement, and control. I remove myself as the person who determines where their worth lies.

It may seem like a small- even insignificant change, but it wasn’t. At least not in my family. For my children and I it has brought deeper connection, appreciation, and respect between us. No longer am I the judge of whether or not they are good at something. No longer do I dictate whether or not they are worthy of love and praise. No longer is their hula hooping or building an opportunity for me to hold the power.

I know some parents don’t want this. I do though. I want my children to find what they love, to pursue what brings them joy. I want them to find intrinsic value, so they are less susceptible to bullying, peer pressure, and people who are unkind.

I want my children to have real inner strength, integrity, and happiness. For this to happen, they need to look within. If I continually value and judge externally, I am modeling all the wrong things.

There are so many things to reflect on and change when we become a parent. Having my children consistently know how much I love being their mom- no matter what their painting looks like, or whether or not they’ve scored a goal, is one of my favorite changes of all.

5 Easy Changes I Made to Feel Better

5 Easy Changes I Made to Feel Better by Jennifer Andersen OurMuddyBoots.com

A couple of years ago I was about to turn 40. I felt lousy. I was significantly overweight, and couldn't move in the ways I wanted. My skin looked old and frail, I had no energy, my sleep was horrible, and I lived in a near constant mental fog. Lovely. I knew something had to change, but I had no idea what to do- where to start. Though I … Continue Reading...

Are Those Really Natural Consequences?

Are Those Consequences Really Natural? Exploring Natural Consequences by Jennifer Andersen OurMuddyBoots.com

Sydney is 6 and she loves to create. Her mode of choice last week was modeling clay. She was making cool things- flowers, Minecraft swords, cats, abstract designs. I love watching her work. Each move is intentional and thoughtful. She has a vision, and she figures out how to bring it to fruition. She spends a good chunk of time on some of her … Continue Reading...

5 Changes I’ve Made to Go from Harried Woman to Organized Work at Home Homeschool Mom

by Jennifer Andersen OurMuddyBoots.com

When I look back to just a couple of years ago, the woman I see is disorganized, not creative. She is confused, and each day seems to pass by in a blur. When the night sets in, she finds herself wondering how all those hours passed. There is  a balance, of course. We want flexibility, spontaneity, and to leave plenty of time for impulse and … Continue Reading...

What I Wish I Knew Before Homeschooling

Mom holding son's hand at playground

I wish I knew then, that I need not send my distraught child away from me, for school- that there is no better place for him, than with me. I wish I knew then that I am capable, that it is possible, and that it is wonderful. I wish I knew then that the joy, connection, freedom, self confidence, and self-worth, that come from homeschooling, … Continue Reading...

Your Child Said No? Let’s Celebrate!

Your Child Said "No"? Let's Celebrate! By Carolyn Flynn, OurMuddyBoots.com

"No" is a powerful word. Adults use it in daily life to assert themselves, express an opinion, reject unwanted sexual advances, etc. but for some reason, when a child says "No" it is viewed as defiant, and is worthy of punishment. We respond with time-outs, withdrawal of attention, and removal of favored toys. When we strip our toddlers of … Continue Reading...

5 Unique Summer Activities for Non-Hikers in Colorado

5 Unique Summer Activities in Colorado for Non-Hikers

We live in Colorado, but we are not big hikers. Blasphemy, I know! We still find lots of unique and beautiful things to do here though. So if you live in, or are headed to, Colorado this summer, check out these five ways to experience the Rocky Mountain State. If you are looking for something beachy, or out of Colorado- check out the awesome … Continue Reading...

Eating to Feel Good: Clean Plant Based Meal Plan Week 1

Tessemae's Vegan Dressings are as clean as I can find, without making them myself! They are so good!

Notes: Firstly, as I said, I have never done anything like this, so bear with me as I learn! I am all about easy. I will have the same Nutriblast and shake every day, and will use store bought stuff whenever I can. We may not need everything listed on this menu. I find that offering my kids healthy snacks and meals throughout the day is … Continue Reading...

Eating to Feel Good: A Commitment to Feeling Better and Being Happy

Eating to Feel Good: a commitment to feeling better and being happy, sustainably by Jennifer Andersen, OurMuddyBoots.com

About a year ago, I took the next step in being intentional about our family living. It has led me on a journey filled with self realization, personal discoveries, and the understanding that I have a whole lot of issues surrounding food. Where does this leave me, one year later? With the knowledge that I have to make decisions that are best … Continue Reading...

My Favorite Life Planner- from Erin Condren Coupon Code

IMG_0035

Colorful, inspirational, and most importantly, functional! The new Erin Condren Lifestyle Planner brings our worlds together. As a homeschooling, work-at-home mom, scheduling is important. When I have things written down, and a time set to do them, I can be present wherever I am. If I am with my kids, I am not worried about what I am forgetting, … Continue Reading...

Sign up!