4 Moms on drama, space, and Bible translations

4moms35kids 4 Moms Q&AKristine asked,

What to do about a 3 yo child who wails and screams with minor injuries (like falling down onto his hands while running…no blood or scrapes)? Everything sounds like an emergency.  At this point, I respond to everything calmly and briefly, almost dismissively, but I do need to find a way to curb his response. I want to be able to tell when I really should be running to help him. Anyone have any previous posts, experience, or wisdom to contribute? Thank you!


I respond much like you describe, with one addition: if the injury is minor, I admonish him not to overreact.  For a 3yo, I might say,

“No, this isn’t a reason to cry.  Hush.  I see a tiny spot of blood color but there’s no blood coming out.  You’re ok.  Go play.”

Once he gets a little older, I would use a firmer voice and be more blunt about it:

“You need to control yourself.  This does not hurt badly enough for you to cry.”

I might even add,

“You’re acting like you are very badly hurt, but that’s not true.  That’s like lying.”

If I can tell that it’s not serious, I also make a point of correcting the behavior before I closely inspect the injury.  “No, first stop crying so you can tell me what happened.  I’m sorry; I can’t understand you when you’re crying.”

Terresa asked,

Perhaps you ladies have addressed this before… We are a family of almost 8 living in a 1200 sq ft, 3 bedroom home… one for Mom & Dad, one for girls, and one for boys. We have no playroom for toy storage… HOW do we store toys/games in way that easy to keep organized and is difficult for kids to pull out and dump ALL over the bedroom??? We’ve already culled the toys several times and we are careful about what does come into the home…

We were a family of 9 in a house exactly that size…then 10…then 11…then 12.  With so many people in the bedrooms, we thought it best to keep toys of there.  Instead, we opted to keep our small collection of toys in a corner of the living area.  We sometimes rotated toys, putting whole groups of toys into storage for a while, then swapping them out to make everything new and exciting.

Games were kept in a cabinet, off limits to anyone too little to clean up his own mess.

It was not a perfect system, but I think it worked well as long as we worked on it.  The instant we stopped paying attention, it was a huge mess.  The nice thing about small houses is that while they can be utterly trashed in the blink of an eye, they are also quick to clean up. 🙂

Gencie asked,

What Bible translation do you use: For personal reading, for study, for reading to the kids?

Our church uses the ESV so we sometimes use that, especially when we’re doing church related reading or study.

 I’m also really fond of reading the Psalms and other poetic passages in the old King James.

But for most uses, we prefer the NKJ because it reads so much better.  It retains much of the poetic rhythm of the old King James version, but is just a little easier to understand. I especially like it for reading aloud because it sounds so much better than more modern translations.  I think the formal language helps to remind us that we are reading holy words, while the slightly updated wording makes it easy enough for most people to comprehend.

Your turn: How would you answer the questions above?

See what questions the other moms are answering today:

Want your kids to do their chores without reminders?

I just watched the intro video, and OH MY WORD this looks FUN! I don’t pay my kids for all of their daily chores but I do offer a lot of 25 cent jobs – and I would love to teach them to do the daily ones w/o reminders. Even a pittance would do the trick if they get to log in and earn points.  If earning points on Fitocracy got me to exercise, I think My Job Chart will get my kids to do their jobs.

I love that it allows them to earn real rewards they choose on Amazon – but in a way that requires parental approval before the order ships and you get charged.

It also walks them through saving, sharing (or tithing, as we call it) and spending.

And there’s even a phone app, so they don’t have to be on the computer all the time.  I can just hand them my phone, which is usually in my hand.  Oops – did I just tell the world that?

And I wonder…can I give myself chores?  Like actually making a meal plan ahead of time, or being showered and dressed before I look at Facebook?  Or not eating an entire 3.5 oz. chocolate bar while writing a single blog post?  Then I can earn myself a modest, guilt-free treat every now and then from Amazon.  Why not?

What chores would you give yourself?

How to get rid of head lice

I mentioned long, long ago that we had an epidemic I wouldn’t be ready to talk about for a long time.  Now that a long time has passed, I’m ready.

Pediculus humanus capitis

We had head lice.

The fact that I was so embarrassed at the time just illustrates that I had fallen prey to the undeserved stigma associated with head lice.  I know it’s not limited to dirty people.  I know anyone can catch it, regardless of personal hygiene.  I even know that lice prefer clean hair, because it’s harder for them to attach their eggs to oily hair.  I knew all this and I was still ashamed to admit that we had head lice, because bugs crawling around in your hair are gross.

But when we received a call from a mother whose children had recently played with mine, my stomach hit the floor and I knew right away that we were in for it.  One of the kids had already mentioned an itchy scalp, and I was naive enough to brush it off as, you know, an itchy scalp.  Silly me.  Lesson learned.  These days, when I hear the words, “Mom, my head – ” I’m all over that kid with 3 combs and a flashlight.  If she finishes the sentence with the word “aches,” that’s ok.  You can never be too careful.

But my friend’s kids had head lice, and she called me to ask for tips on getting rid of them.  And her kids had recently played with mine.  And one of my kids had an itchy scalp.  Now the truth was out, and the battle was on.

We had head lice once years before, and the harsh chemicals had damaged the hair of some of the girls for years afterward, so I wasn’t eager to go that route.  Since we caught our infestation very early this time, I tried the natural approach: I checked each child thoroughly to determine who needed treatment, and started combing.  I spent hours each day combing for bugs and picking out eggs, thankful that only one or two scalps showed any signs of life at all.

We also bought individual hairbrushes and outlawed all sharing, boiling them frequently.  We wore our hair up, we cleaned bedding, we vacuumed everything in the house, and did all the standard stuff – but without poisons.

After a week, I was horrified to discover that the lice had spread to one or two more scalps in our house.  I stepped up the efforts and began researching other methods of control.  I don’t remember what else I tried, but I do remember the growing sense of desperation as one method after another failed, evidenced by the slow but steady population growth and spread of the beasties throughout the heads in our household.

Finally, I did it.  I went to the drugstore, prepared to shell out $100-200 for bottles of poison that would give my children ugly hair and cancer.  I didn’t want to do it, but we were leaving for a vacation in a few weeks and I didn’t want to risk infecting the friends and family we would be visiting.  It would take multiple doses a week apart, and we had to be done with this by then, hopefully with a safety margin.  We simply couldn’t waste any more time.

Determined to get it right, I asked the pharmacist on duty what brand she recommended.  If I had to go the chemical route, I wanted the best.  I wanted the one that would really, truly, actually do the job.

Her answer shocked me.

“You can buy over-the-counter treatments for head lice and try them, but lice have become very resistant to most of those.  If you really want to kill them, try this: mayonnaise and tea tree oil.  Really douse the hair, wrap it tightly in plastic, and leave it on for at least 6 hours.”

Really?  I was waving a fistful of dollars at her and she didn’t want them?  I was a little disappointed and a little relieved.  I was glad not to spend a lot of money on a cure I didn’t trust, but also a little nervous that this new suggestion would fail us.  Then who would get the blame?  Me?  Her?  Nobody?  And what would we do about our vacation?

I did it.  I bought a gallon jar of mayo, several ounces of tea tree oil, and went to work.  The boys had already been shaved, but every girl in the house wore a plastic-topped mess of highly scented mayo for the rest of the day.  We used about 1 cup of mayo with 1 tsp of tee tree oil for each head, and covered our hair with plastic grocery bags pulled tight like shower caps.  We repeated the process a week later, and for good measure we did it once more.

By the time it was over nobody smiled at being called Mayonnaise Head, and some of us still associate the scent of tea tree oil with head lice, but our hair was never so shiny and healthy.  And we never saw another creepy crawly head bug again.  And we all lived happily ever after.  Except the head lice.  They died and disappeared, never to be seen again.

The end.

PS. My friend decided to go the chemical route, and guess what?  It didn’t work.  They followed the instructions to a tee, and after the prescribed 2 treatments, they were still finding live bugs.  The cure that eventually worked for them: mayo and tea tree oil.  Ba-da-BING!

image credit: Eran Finkle 

4 Moms on life with littles

4moms35kids I hope you’ll excuse my absence last Thursday.  I was with my sweetheart, celebrating our 21st anniversary.  He was able to take the day off, so we enjoyed a leisurely, low-key day together.  Among other things, we visited the church where we said “I do” half a lifetime ago.


We ate a light lunch at Pei Wei (my favorite source for fresh, inexpensive Asian food!), then spent hours at the McNay Art Museum, where we visited and shared a picnic lunch during our honeymoon.


Before heading home, we had some of the best pizza in town, from Florios.  The people behind the counter spoke with Brooklyn/Italian accents, which made the pizza taste even better.

anniversary art

But I’m back for this week’s edition of 4 Moms, 35 Kids.  This time we are talking about those long-ago days when we had only little ones – not quite as long ago as our honeymoon, but closer to that time period than this one. This is a question that comes up time and again, because those can be difficult times.  Not surprisingly, I’ve posted about those days before.  Here are two of my favorite posts:

If you’re asking the question, you probably already know that those are tired times.  I’m struggling now to get enough sleep for a variety of reasons, but back then I just resigned myself to operating on a sleep deficit.  It sounds discouraging when I say it that way, but you know what?  I don’t remember it being so bad.  I was young and energetic, and my body was able to adjust.  I whine much more about sleep now than I did back then.  I napped when the little ones did if at all possible, and muddled through the days that I couldn’t, but we all made it.  We now have healthy, happy well-adjusted teens – plus some children who still infringe upon my Constitutional right to sleep.

Those days with all little ones are also busy days.  I remember struggling just to keep up on cooking, dishes, and laundry.  Never mind about dusting, mopping, daily baths, and three hot meals made from scratch every day.  I pared down my daily duties to the bare essentials, and tried not to stress when I just couldn’t get everything done.

We focused on teaching first time obedience, especially before a new baby arrived.  It was so much easier for me to sit and nurse a newborn if I didn’t have to get up every few minutes to deal with an unruly toddler who didn’t believe me when I gave a verbal command.

I often used nursing time to read stories aloud to the other little ones, feeding their minds while entertaining them and keeping them out of trouble.

I enlisted their “help” as often as I could.  Even though they slowed me down, it was good to know they weren’t off discovering new methods of chaos and destruction.  And of course we were making memories together!

It was a fun, crazy, sleepless time, with some days (and nights) stretching into infinity while others slipped by entirely unnoticed, leaving me staring at the calendar dazed and confused.  I’m thankful to be past that season of life now, but oddly enough that description fits this season of life just as well.  Maybe that’s just life?

How would you answer this question?  See what the other moms are saying today:

About 4 Moms, including a list of past topics

4 Moms: How to get kids to work hard with a good attitude

As I sat down to write this post, I called over my shoulder at the girls who were finishing up the dinner dishes.  “Hey, how do I get kids to work hard with a good attitude?”  I was half joking, half serious.  They often have some good insights into parenting topics.  Sometimes they remind me about methods and techniques that have become so routine over the years that I am blind to what I do and how I do it.

Laughter burst out from the other room.  “Mom, did you hear what I said right before you asked that question?  ‘I hate work, and I’m never going to be done!'”  We all had a good laugh over the irony, but it made me think.

In spite of their words, they do work hard with good attitudes most of the time, and I would say they are doing it right now.  They laugh and chat as they work, and the kitchen will shine when they are done.  I don’t view comments like these as a complaining or grumbling spirit; this was a statement that hard work is part of the curse, and we had better get used to it while we wear this mortal veil.

It is important to help our children keep the goal in sight: glorifying God.  When I see attitudes suffer, I remind them that I Corinthians 10:31 tells us to do all to the glory of God.  When we work poorly, slowly, or with a bad attitude, are we doing our best to bring glory to God?  Nope.

But it is easy to slip into a bad attitude, grumbling and complaining at the work before us.  Kids are not the only ones, and role models play a huge part here.  If I do my work cheerfully with the goal of pleasing God, it will be much easier to train my children to do so.

I try to deal with a bad attitude and slow, slovenly work just as I would with other disobedience, because grumbling while doing a poor job is NOT obedience.  The more consistently I address the problem, the less it rears its ugly head.

We can also help them develop a good attitude about work early on.  Little ones seem to love work; it is not until we get older that we decide we have better things to do.  The more we work (cheerfully) alongside our little ones, the more they learn to enjoy work.  Enjoying work while they are little does not guarantee that they will always have a good work ethic, but those early habits will make it easier for them to work hard as they grow.

How about you?  How do you help your children learn this important lesson?

See what the other Moms say:

Upcoming topics for 4 Moms:

  • February 21 – Q&A
  • February 28 – How do you teach your kids to work independently?

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4 Moms: teaching kids the difference between telling and tattling

Hello, hello! It’s time for another 4 Moms post.  Are you ready?  This one may seem obvious to you, or it may be one of those burning questions that have plagued you since your toddler uttered those first words of complaint against baby sister.  Can you explain the difference between telling Mom something she needs to know, and plain ole’ tattling?

Sometimes it’s clear, but more often the line is murky and the water clouded by questionable motives.  Occasionally the two can be the same.  I believe the bottom line is that it’s a heart issue.

A child who is telling for the sole or primary purpose of getting someone in trouble is tattling, whether or not she is reporting an actual infraction and regardless of how serious the infraction may be.

When I am approached by a potential tattler, my response is nearly always, “Is she sinning?  Did you talk to her about this first? Did you remind her to obey the rules?”   In case you didn’t notice, all of these questions are closely related, and could almost be considered a single question.  If I’m not satisfied with the answer, I might follow with,  “Are you trying to help her stay out of trouble, or get her into trouble?”

Unless there is an immediate threat of death or destruction, children need to start by exhorting one another to obedience to authority.  Even if the infraction still gets reported, it is looked at differently if the perpetrator was doing something and stopped when reminded that it was not allowed or not a good idea.

Even in the case of dangerous or destructive behavior, it’s usually faster and better for them to start by exhorting each other to stop, then to quickly report to an adult.  In this case, we are asking them to make a judgment call, so if they make a poor call they’re not automatically in trouble.  They might, however, get a little instruction and advice for how to handle the next incident.

If the teller did address the matter privately before coming to me and the offense continued, the offender now has even more to answer for: not only did she break the rules, but she refused the wise counsel of a bystander.  She broke the rules knowingly and willfully.  This is serious business.

The way this looks in practice can change from day to day, child to child, and offense to offense, but the principle stays the same.  The principle we’re trying to teach is that they need to act in the best interest of their sibling – just another way of loving our neighbor, as Christ commanded us.

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.  ~Galatians 6:1

How do you define tattling?  How do you teach your children the difference?

from the other Moms:

Upcoming topics for 4 Moms:

  • August 23 – Favorite Fruit Recipes
  • August 30 – What do your first weeks with a new baby look like? Tips?
  • September 6 – Q&A
  • September 13 – Handling different standards between you and your husband (homeschooling, dress, etc.)

Recent topics:

About 4 Moms, including a complete list of all past topics

4 Moms Q&A: pottytraining, bedtime, and how to get a private moment in the bathroom

4moms35kids 4 Moms on bossy big sisters (and brothers)

Today is my favorite Thursday of the month: Q&A day.  I love it because it’s the easiest post to write at the last minute, which means I can usually fail to plan ahead without everyone knowing.  Is it working?

Kimberly did plan ahead by asking for questions on the 4 Moms facebook page, so if we choose the same questions you just might get 4 perspectives.  If we more or less agree with each other, there’s a good chance we’re offering good advice.  If not, well, maybe one or more of us should have had another cup of coffee or more chocolate before tackling that particular question.  Chocolate can do wonders for your attitude and outlook.

1. How do you train a child (4.5yo girl) to stay dry at night?

I’m so glad another mom suggested the WetStop alarm, not because I’ve used it but because otherwise I would just have to say something like, “Umm…do you have any other questions?”  If you decide not to try out the technology route, just take comfort that you are in good company.  Our current 4yog is almost never dry at night, and our current solution is to put a disposable diaper on her every night.  She also still has a lot of accidents during the day unless we remind her constantly or visit a place with really cool bathrooms.  I chalk it up to immaturity and console myself that she’s only the 2nd to give us this much opportunity at personal sanctification during the potty training years.  If she were my first, I would be having some serious self-doubts, especially since I also find it so challenging to housebreak pets.  Since she is our 9th to reach this age and the others eventually achieved full toilet usage, I’m reasonably sure she will eventually stay dry.

2. How do you get your young children to stay in bed at night, to not bother each other or keep each other awake and what is the consequence if they do?

I’m going to assume you are talking about getting them to stay in bed at bedtime, not about preventing 2 AM surprise visitors.  We enforce bedtime obedience much like we enforce any other boundary.  If you don’t know what I mean by that, read the book of Proverbs.  🙂

We do allow whispering, a little quiet play and even the occasional book after bedtime if they are staying in bed and not being disruptive to those who really want or need to fall asleep.  I know many parents see it differently, but here is my reasoning: I want my children to be friends and enjoy each other’s company, and we just don’t see why that has to end at bedtime.  I don’t tell them to go to sleep; I just tell them to go to bed.  If they’re obeying, we’re all happy.

3. Do you have potty training tips? I have a 22 month old girl and boy and my daughter appears to be ready. My son…nowhere close.

Funny you should ask after my confession that our 4yo daughter is still not convinced that potty training is completely necessary.  Our 25 month old son, however, is very excited about the possibility of receiving a jellybean every time he pees.  My biggest tip is to gently encourage the process and casually offer rewards without placing undue pressure.  Let peer pressure play its part, but don’t be cruel or encourage hard feelings between your children.  Think of it not just in terms of ability, but maturity: a 5yo may be able to wash and rinse a few dishes, but would you expect her to do dinner dishes for 12?  Probably not.  Some kids just aren’t ready to commit to the toilet even though they seem perfectly able to use it when they focus.  It may seem ridiculous, and there are certainly other ways to address it, but this has worked for us relatively painlessly.  Some will shock you at how easily they transition, and others will shock you because little things are so hard.  When it comes to potty training, life will probably be happier for everyone if you can wait a bit and make sure you are all on the same team rather than making a battle of it and working against each other.

4. How do I wean a baby? This is number three, but he is VERY attached and it doesn’t matter how much solids he gets; he still nurses as much. Also, at what age do you wean?
I posted about weaning my babies here and in this breastfeeding FAQ.
5. How do you deal with picky eaters?
I posted about picky eaters here.
6. At what age do you think children ought to segregate to change/dress etc or do you do that from day one. Is within family different to with friends?
What an interesting question!  We haven’t had to lay down boundaries here because they seem to arise on their own.  After the naked stage, in which children strip off their clothes at any and every opportunity, ours have all naturally expressed a desire for privacy when dressing.  The age has varied for each one, but none have gotten so old that we thought we really needed to tell them – it just happened.  They segregate by gender much sooner, but even those of the same sex dress alone as they get older.  Outside family it definitely happens sooner, because we discourage even the very little ones from stripping in front of company.  🙂  For example, a potty training toddler who might run around in nothing but a t-shirt knows to run for cover when company arrives. However, that same toddler is perfectly happy to be changed or dressed by an older sibling of either gender.
7. With so many people in the house how do you regroup when you feel yourself starting to unravel? I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old and have a hard time taking a step away to catch my breath and refocus my attitude.
I know how you feel.  Sometimes it’s asking too much just to have the bathroom stay closed while you sit on the pot, right?
I don’t believe in “me time,” but I do believe that it’s too easy to become stressed and overburdened by the constant demands of everyday life, and sometimes we ourselves are to blame.  In an instant gratification society, it’s easy to feel like a bad mom if you don’t fill all of your children’s needs immediately.  After all, they are needs.  Nobody should have to wait for those, right?
But it’s good practice for children to begin to learn patience even when they are little, and it’s also good for Mommy’s sanity if the 2yo doesn’t crumple into a wailing heap when he has to wait a few minutes for his cup of milk or water.
I’ve heard it said that Susannah Wesley threw her apron over her head to pray whenever and wherever she felt the need, and her children learned not to disturb her at those moments.  Our children can learn to respect our need for a moment of privacy now and then, too.
Teach your children to sit quietly with a book or toy for a few minutes.  Teach them to wait “just a minute” for their request with a good attitude.  Teach them that “Mommy needs a few minutes of quiet to help her have a good attitude, so please don’t talk right now.”  Set a timer if it helps.
When they get just a little older, a favorite trick of mine is to be off-limits during certain periods of time – when I’m in the bathroom, on the phone or reading my Bible, for example.  If they ask a question at those times, the automatic answer is no.  I can be very sympathetic or apologetic about this if I want, because it wasn’t my decision at all.  Don’t you see?  The poor little dear just ruined it for herself.
“Oh, no,” shaking my head sadly. “You asked if you could have a cookie while I was in the bathroom.  That sounds delicious, but now I have to say no.”
“Finger paint?  That would have been fun, but you asked while I was on the phone.  I guess we can’t now.”  Can you hear the heartbreak and disappointment in my voice?
Most people think it’s simultaneously cruel and hilarious, but it’s amazing how quickly children can learn to respect certain boundaries.  🙂

Q&A from the other Moms:

Upcoming topics for 4 Moms:

  • August 16 – A surprise.  For you and me, because I’m too lazy to look up the list of upcoming topics.

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4 Moms on bossy big sisters (and brothers)

What to do about bossy big sisters?  I am the bossy big sister! 4 Moms

To be honest, this is a subject Perry and I have discussed many times as we try to find that fine line between granting older children authority over younger ones and encouraging them to be bossy overlords.  Trust me, it’s not easy.  Perry and I were both oldest children in large families, and for many years we were the bossy older sibling, with varying levels of delegated authority from our parents.

We have learned both from our own experience and from our children that it’s not fair to ask an older child to babysit younger ones without granting authority, but once they taste authority it’s also far too easy for older children to abuse that authority and become tyrants over their younger siblings.

It’s a line that needs to be Biblically defined and clearly taught from both perspectives: that of the older child wielding the authority, and that of the younger child who must obey.

Of course we try to teach this from a Biblical perspective: when we correct children for disobedience, we begin with Ephesians 6:1. Even the littlest ones in our house can recite this verse: Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  We remind them that they must obey us not because we are bigger, older or stronger, but because God said.  They must obey God, and He told them to obey us.  If we delegate that authority to an older sibling, the younger ones must obey.  They must obey rightful authority in the Lord, i.e. they must not obey if they are being required to sin. If an older sibling is not requiring the younger one to sin, the younger one needs to be respectful and obedient.

If the younger one feels that the older one is being too mean or bossy, that can be appealed and addressed with parents as soon as possible, but in the meantime they must respect and obey their older siblings. That is the duty of the younger ones to the older ones.  Exactly how it works out depends on the individuals: their maturity levels, their temperaments, the level of authority delegated to them, and other factors.

When we delegate authority to an older sibling, we emphasize that they have no authority of their own.  They act as our representative and by our authority that we have granted them, just as we act by the authority God grants us over them.  To abuse authority is to act as a dishonorable representative of the One who grants us that authority.  We use our authority to lead and disciple them, ultimately teaching them to serve God, not to boss them around and make them do what we want – although it may sometimes seem that way.  🙂

25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” ~Matthew  20:25-28

Yes, Christ gave and gives His people many commands and they (we) must obey Him.  To some that may seem bossy or controlling, and as humans we often do exercise authority in a bossy and controlling way, but this is not how it should be.  We need to hold ourselves and our children to the Biblical standard and definition of leadership: being a servant of others.

If an older children is being too bossy, this is a problem.  If a child is giving younger siblings commands that I wouldn’t give, I might take her aside and ask, “Are you telling her to do this by your own authority, or are you helping her to obey me?  Do I usually require her to do this?  Does God require her to do this?”

If a child is giving commands in an overbearing way, I might ask, “When you order her around in a rude bossy tone, are you helping her to obey with a good attitude, or are you making it harder for her, leading her into sin and rebellion?”

It never hurts to ask ourselves the same questions: Am I leading and correcting my children in a way that makes it easier or harder for them to respond respectfully and obediently?  Why am I issuing this particular command – does it ultimately serve God’s kingdom in some way, or does it only please me?  Am I demonstrating to my children how to exercise authority properly, lovingly, and with accountability?

Bossiness?  We’ve got it.  I don’t like the way some of my older ones talk to some of my younger ones, some of the time.  I also don’t like the way Perry and I talk to the children sometimes, though we try to model kind and loving exercise of authority and ask forgiveness when we fail.  It’s amazing and convicting how often our children can mirror our own shortcomings, and how much worse those shortcomings seem to look in that mirror than they do on ourselves.  I’m so thankful to serve a God who gives us these little mirrors, forgives our shortcomings and is patient as we work to overcome them.

How do you handle bossy older children? From the other Moms:

Upcoming topics for 4 Moms:

  • August 9 – Q&A

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When Motherhood seems too hard

I gave Kelly’s new ebook a plug on Facebook when she released it yesterday, but Perry called from work this morning to gently admonish me.  He reminded me how eagerly many of you received my Life With Littles and encouragement For Tired Young Mothers of Many posts.  “Don’t you think Kelly’s book would strike a chord with your blog readers?”

I think he was right.  He usually is.

Kelly Crawford of Generation Cedar has a new ebook for moms, and the title alone is perfect: Devotions, Advice & Renewal for When Motherhood Feels Too Hard.  Isn’t that every day?

When Motherhood Feels Too Hard is the daily inspiration you need to not just get through a day, but to FLOURISH as a mother, to build a home, and to ignite a passion in your children that will impact the next generation for the glory of God!

If the title wasn’t enough, I would be totally sold on Jennie Chancey’s review:

“This eBook is Kelly’s “cup of cold water” to mothers. We all need refreshment and encouragement when the hard days come, and Kelly has provided bite-sized (but meaty and thought-provoking) daily devotionals that urge us to take our calling as mothers seriously but remember at the same time that we are vessels of clay in need of God’s filling. These words are true whether you are the mother of one or the mother of ten! Thank you, Kelly, for sharing your beautiful insights into the calling of motherhood “from the trenches!” -Jennie Chancey, Ladies Against Feminism

When Motherhood Feels Too Hard is available as an instant download (PDF) or for your Kindle.  I’ll be starting my copy very soon.  Anyone want to join me?


4 Moms on sibling relationships: bullying, arguing, bickering

4 Moms, 35 Kids

If you want to know how to avoid sibling squabbles, I have to confess I don’t have the answer to this question.  We have our share of bickering and bossiness.  I like to think our children are best friends and get along wonderfully, but that doesn’t mean they are perfect.  They bicker and squabble over the most ridiculous things.  They remind me of a couple of other sinners I know, whom the children also happen to look like.

The important thing is that they also admit fault, ask forgiveness, and keep being best friends.  In a coincidence of astounding proportions, this is also a very accurate description of the relationship between me and my sweetheart.

The fact that we don’t set a perfect example doesn’t mean we are allowed or obligated to tolerate or condone strife and contention in others.  It means we need to take the problem all the more seriously, beginning with ourselves but doing our best to nip it in the bud with the children as well.

The Bible has a lot to say about strife, contention, and those who cause it.

Proverbs 10:12 Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.

Proverbs 29:22 A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression.

Proverbs 20:3 It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling.

Proverbs 17:14 The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out.

Proverbs 6:16-19 There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.

When we correct the kids, we emphasize that one person’s sinful attitude does not justify the sins of another.  We are each responsible for our own sins.  At the same time, when arguments happen I try to impress upon each child that she probably could have ended or defused the situation by exercising humility, and her pride led her sibling deeper into sin as well.

Making Brothers and Sisters Best FriendsBook recommendation: Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends

Website description:

This painfully honest, hilarious book offers a creative look at how to build relationships between siblings. The goal is not just for brothers and sisters to get along, but to be best friends. Sarah, Stephen, and Grace Mally reinforce, in a fresh and innovative way, the very principles we parents talk about daily with our children. Each sibling wrote a section of every chapter, offering their unique perspective, with riotous personal anecdotes, all related to how the three of them became best friends. We read a few pages every day, and I am always delightfully surprised by how well the children remember and apply what we have read.

See what the other moms are doing about the problem:

  • Smockity Frocks
  • Common Room
  • Raising Olives

    Upcoming topics for 4 Moms:

    • February 23 – Q&A (watch Facebook on Wednesday for your chance to ask a question)
    • March 1 – Teaching writing (composition)
    • March 8(food related topic)
    • March 15 – How to save memories without being overrun

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