Wednesday, October 17, 2012

at the end of my day

I read this post by my wise friend Sarah at Clover Lane a couple of years ago and I revisit it from time to time. Most of what Sarah writes resonates with me, but I particularly love the idea of holding myself accountable as a mother. It's easy to get tricked into thinking that there are more important things for me to do with my time, but when it comes down to it, mothering is my job. And it's one I'd like to do well. (I want to be a Major League Mom!)

So I've compiled a little list of questions for review at the end of my day.

Did I read my scriptures? (I'm a much better mother when I have!)
Did I send Mabel and Oliver off to school with a smile and a hug?
Did I feed my family good food?
Was I patient with Elliot when he needed to do things himself?
When Stella had a million things to tell me, did I give her my full attention every time?
Did I read to them?
Did I ask Mabel and Oliver about their day?
Did I put away my phone?
Did I say yes as often as I could?
At the end of the day, was the house mostly clean?
Did we have family prayer?
Was I still nice by bedtime?

I've noticed a need lately to re-evaluate and try harder. More things on this list need to happen every day. This is what I know: my kids deserve the best that I can give them. And so I will try, try again. One of these days I will make it to bedtime with a smile on my face! :)

What makes you feel like a good mom? I'd love to hear your ideas.

Photo by Sunshine & Shade last November. Where did that baby go?


  1. I love this post. Thanks so much. I've also been reading up on Sarah's wisdom at Clover Lane for about three years now. I think hers is my favorite blog ever because she is so grounded and realistic. She is a great example to me as a mother.

  2. Sarah is how I found your blog and thanks for the reminder about that post! I have a very similar list to yours and have not been doing so well...especially on that last one! Thanks for the inspiration to focus on what matters and do a little better!

  3. Wow - loved this. Thank you.

  4. I found your blog through Clover Lane, too. So glad I did! I remember Sarah posting about your housecleaning routine. I agree so much with your list- especially the listening with my full attention and still being nice by bedtime.

  5. When my oldest (now 10) was about 2 years old, I sat down and wrote out the criteria by which I would judge myself - things I felt were non-negotiable if at the end of the day I wanted to feel like a good mom. It was (is) this:

    1. Floor time. Being WITH my children. Not just being in the room, or setting up the play situation, or providing the learning activity - instead, fully participating in the activity side by side with them. Not being distracted physically or mentally by my own agenda.
    2. Happy. Having a soul and a contenance that is genuinely pleasant, joyful, content. Exhibiting to my children that being their mother brings peace and joy. Not just with my words, but with my personality. I want them to see and feel that "life with you makes me happy".
    3. Patient. Kind, loving, gentle. Unruffled. The eye of the storm. Patient actions. Patient words.

    About three years ago I realized that I could summarize my standards like this:


    Those three things define "a good mother" to me. Everything else is 'gravy'.

    I think this is an important exercise. Everyone should sit down and decide by what measuring stick they will judge themselves. For some people the list will be quite different than mine. I know people who say that they never feel lke a better mother than when they are serving their children homemade, organic, wholesome. nutritious food. For others, having a beautifully curated home for their children to flourish and blossom in is an essential comoponent of feeling like a good mother. Every woman has her own ideal and her own perception of what "a good mother" is and does.

    Taking a minute to define our priorities and expectiations is invaluable. I agree with your post whole heartedly!

    1. robyn, i love this! patient, pleasant, present. fantastic. thanks for sharing!

  6. Love this and the links. It is just what I needed. Thanks for sharing.

  7. I love this! Ive found running a small business from home makes the prime opportunity to be an absent mother. Ive come to realize, at the end of the day, I can either go to sleep feeling bad or I can go to sleep feeling good about my efforts with my family. I choose good. :)

  8. Even after writing that post I keep thinking of elder uchtdorfs talk. It is good to talk about being a batter mom, it is better to actually do it.
    For me, the little things are the hardest, listening. Putting away the computer. Smiling during dinner and bedtime routines :)

  9. Thank you Stephanie. I have to revisit it also and remind myself! And I loved that other post you linked much wisdom.

  10. There are many gems I've gained from your thoughts on motherhood and from Sarah's. I love the post you wrote a few years ago about staying home more and embracing the slower pace. I think of it often. Thank you for always giving me some perspective and helping me strive to be a better mom. Loved the commenter above, too- patient, pleasant, present will be my new mantra!

  11. i love this... i think i need to do my own version.

    you're a wonderful mother!

  12. Such good ideas.

    I have a few personal standards that I try to reach that help me with mothering: did I start my day with a plan and did I stay flexible (ie. kind and calm) if the plan had to change? did i communicate with my husband? Did I feel the Spirit and write it down or tell someone about it? Journal-writing is the perfect way to deal with that last one. And I love singing the hymn "Have I Done Any Good?" to myself at night because it applies to mothering one hundred percent and re-focuses my efforts in my relationships with my children. Throughout the years different phrases have either given me confidence or cut me to the quick, but then at the end it challenges us again: "wake up and do something more" and "doing good is a pleasure . . . a blessing of duty and love."

    P.S. If you listen to the Alex Boye and Carmen Rasmussen version, you might sing it in your head like that indefinitely so that when they sing it in the normal even way at church it seems flat. Just a warning.

    1. staying flexible is so hard for me! definitely something i need to work on. i like the way you put it - kind and calm. brilliant.

  13. I totally needed this, thanks so much for sharing. One thing I try to remember is kids came to this earth ready to work. They learn from us or others that "work"/cleaning isn't fun. So when its time to clean or straighten up, I'm always right their with them cleaning, teaching and helping with it. Not to mention we throw in games while we work. My goal, which isn't always easy when I'm in the room with the kids, I try hard to be with the kids...not on my phone or computer or doing other things. BTW- you are such a great writer.. i hope you print out your blog so you kids can go back and see what amazing things you have done for your great family.

  14. I really loved this post. It got me thinking if I could really be a better mom.


  15. I can so relate to this post. It's always good to have a list to help remind us what really matters.

  16. I love the honesty of this post. Thank you!

  17. Oh yes. I too work from home and have found it very difficult to be present when one of my children walk into the room. So, it's time to change up. Getting down on the floor with them and giving 100% of myself playing with them, side by side. I'll take this away for myself from your post, thank you.


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