Because, parenting: A report card.

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The thing about parenting is that you rarely see the fruits of your labor and definitely NOT immediately. Some days you feel like all you do is teach, and redirect, and wipe tears, and discipline, and somewhere in there…have fun? As a mom to a feisty little boy, some days it’s really hard to enjoy toddler-hood. It is an anger management class and a masters in psychology {which I am continually failing at} all in one! Side note: if you plan to be a mom please don’t bother with any degree other than child psychology. It’s our biggest and most challenging job and I feel so unequipped to manage most days. What if I mess him up!? The pressure.

One thing I vowed to myself when Graham was a little baby was to always tell him that I love him. When we are in the car, when we are going to bed, when he has just gotten in trouble. I make it a big big deal.

That I love him.


I am also working on telling him I like him, too. Don’t judge me. Sometimes wading through tantrums and meltdowns and constant correction over the same thing is exhausting and I don’t always like him. But I realize being liked is equally as important {if not more so} than being loved. I know what it is like to be told I’m loved but not feel “liked” and it’s hard to take the “love” seriously. But that’s a blog for another time.

I also, as a parent, want and NEED my kids to be thankful. I am that mom who tells my whining kid to eat his dinner because there are so many kids who don’t get to eat at night. And folks, it’s not just the little kids in Africa who go without. There are kids who don’t have food right in our backyard. And that’s sad. And I will be damned darned if my kids grow up thinking this house, this food and his clothes are a given. Needless to say, eating your dinner is a non-negotiable at the Rowley house.

We taught him sign language for “please” and “thank-you” when he was a little baby, and when he could talk he had to say thank-you for everything we gave him. That was one of the lessons I NEEDED him to understand- thankfulness.

Because, manners.

Now my baby is 3 and some change and here is where the story gets good!


Last weekend, Graham and I stopped at Target on the way to a trick-or-treat festival. We had to pick up a costume for him because mom’s DIY skills weren’t happening this year. So, he chose the Spider-man costume over the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, we grabbed lunchables {a first for both of us} so we wouldn’t be late, and headed to meet our friends.

Graham was eating in the backseat and he says, “Mommy, I’m so excited about getting candy tonight!” I said, “I’m glad you’re excited buddy, it’s going to be so fun!” A minute or two of silence and he says, “Thank you for this dinner mommy, it’s so yummy, thanks!”

Parenting success!!!! A thank-you that was unsolicited!


“I love you, mommy.”


You might as well have thrown water on the Wicked Witch of the West! I’m melting.

Then we banter back and forth about who loves who more.

That day, my grade in child psychology went from a C- to a solid A.

I worry that he will pick up on my bad parenting moments. When I lose my temper, when I am too busy to stop and take a minute to walk through yet another meltdown over the shoes. Gah, the shoes. When I am upset because he didn’t flush the toilet, again. Ya know. My very C- minus moments. I think to myself, “God, please let my “good” parenting times outweigh the bad ones”. We can’t be perfect all the time, ya know?

But when he is kind, so kind to his baby brother and says thank-you and I-love-you off the cuff, my heart breathes a sigh of relief.


I haven’t ruined him yet{I don’t think}, but we still have a long way to go before the final report card is in.

Disclaimer: I am not tooting my own horn. I am simply here to encourage you all to fight-the-good-fight and stick to your guns even when it’s hard. Really hard. And don’t be too hard on yourself. Cut yourself some slack, because I think our kids do, too.


This entry was posted in Beauty.


  1. Sandy Anastos says:

    “When my mother and father forsake me then the Lord will take me up.” Psalm 27:10 Someone pointed me to this verse many years ago. At that time ithe context was my relationship with my own parents. But as a mom I learned to cling to this verse when I failed. Many times I would beg God to make up for my lack of skills, lack of control, lack of consistency. I was determined to be a good mom (sounds like you have that determination as well) but I was really only mediocre. So I learned to pray hard. And often. And look how awesome my kids turned out!! ? Needless to say, God gets all the credit. Love you.

    • Patrick Lanyon says:

      Wow, this sounds so typical of a strong ‘firstborn’ leader Imagine him leading out in his future big time.Do a study of them in the Bible and you’ll have some excellent clues about how to proceed. As you stand your ground, it will create a vacuum he will want to fill — when he comes ‘up’ to your requirements (“E*X*P*E*C*T*A*T*I*O*N*S”) HE WILL BE SO PROUD OF HIS ACCOMPLISHMENT he’ll hug you! Thanks for sharing these things with us.

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