FRYday : Jenna

My parents never yelled or hardly even raised a voice to me growing up. They’re both relatively very positive, sensible and calm people who treated us as adults most the time. As they were my first and most positive example of parenthood, I suppose I assumed that I would naturally take on a lot of their same parenting style. So when I began my journey in to parenting, I never could have considered the fact that I would have to face my inner demon…yelling.

fryday : jenna

I can look at my role as Mom and be generally very proud of who I am and what I represent, but this is an embarrassing battle I have had an inner struggle within myself for some time. Most the time I would say: I deserve to yell! Quinn broke the plate I told him not to play with, Jude is throwing a fit about not being able to see a motorcycle out his window and for the 100th time please STOP jumping on the couch! Any person in their right mind would be frustrated by their twelve initial attempts to discuss calmly with a four year old why we can’t in fact eat candy for every meal. How do I get them to listen to me?!

I’ve tried removing myself from the situation, walking away, being over the top nice (aka pushover) and just crying in my bed at the end of the day feeling like a complete failure. None of it was working. Recently I found my solution in the book Deliberate Motherhood, our Small Fry book club selection. It simply states “Water the flowers, not the weeds.” This statement floored me. How much energy had I been giving their mistakes or disobedience versus their triumphs and good behavior? How many times had I watered the weeds more in a day than the flowers? Too many times. I’ve always been good at praising the obvious but to find the stuff in between took more effort and thought.

So I began finding small things throughout the day to water. Instead of getting after them when irreverent in church, I chose to whisper in their ears when they were playing nicely “Good job playing so reverently!” I’d stop in the middle of Target and say “Boys you are being so nice and patient with mommy, thank you!” Or giving Jude a kiss and saying “Thank you for getting in your car seat with out crying! I’m so proud of you.” Suddenly my urge to yell or get frustrated with them became less and less. By praising them constantly throughout the day for actions that may seem as they don’t need praising, they became more willing to listen to me when I did call for discipline. As their flowers are watered and nurtured they’ve become more confident little people and our relationship flourishes each day in to a place I didn’t know could exist.

There have been so many awesome epiphanies with this first book club selection, if you feel like you’re too far behind, or have yet to start, please join us! The chapters are a quick read, but give us so much to think on. We’d love to have you! Happy FRYday!




  1. on November 1, 2013 at 9:24 am said:

    Wonderful post! Definitely planning on catching up with this book. Our son is still technically a baby… but I can relate to your expectations of a mothering style being made different by your reality. I am the calmest person in every other aspect of my life and while I havent yelled at my son yet (due to his age, it would be pointless) I feel myself getting so frustrated sometimes that I would love to just scream! It’s amazing the things you learn about yourself when you become a mother. I love your honesty in this! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Anne:
    on November 1, 2013 at 9:35 am said:

    such a simple idea with wonderful results! I’m going to need to jump right in on book club!

  3. on November 1, 2013 at 11:56 am said:

    Love this post! I’m going to check online to see if they have this book at the library right now! I don’t ever remember my mom yelling at me ever either. I told her that and she said, “thank goodness you don’t remember!” So our kids might say the same thing when they get older. Or let’s hope. 🙂

  4. on November 1, 2013 at 11:59 am said:

    This is such an awesome post and is something everyone I bet struggles with. That quote is perfect, thank you for sharing!!

  5. Dawn:
    on November 1, 2013 at 1:10 pm said:

    I needed to read this post today. Thank you! What a wonderfully simple reminder/my new mantra. Thanks Jenna!

  6. Stacy:
    on November 1, 2013 at 2:43 pm said:

    So glad you figured something out that works. This form of praise (in the small everyday moments) is the first step in a book/class I took earlier this year. The book is written by a professor from Washington State I believe and the book is “The Incredible Years”. My 4 yr old son has autism (high functioning end of spectrum) and has his own unique behavioral problems and challenges. This book sets out a system of several different strategies (a parenting pyramid set up just like the old food pyramid) and tools to use that build off of and compliment each other so as a parent you feel like you have a good bag of tools to use in parenting. All of the parents in the class found success with praising. We all spend way too much energy and time towards the negative and i love how your book phrased it–watering the weeds. Anyway, check out Incredible years if you want more details. There is a website too. there are so many positive things we can do to foster and feed our relationships with the kids (and spouses I’ve come to realize through this) that helps when the tough moments of really discipline come. I still have my days and even weeks when a new behavior appears and I have to figure out what I’ve slacked on in the positive group and make some changes to get us(me really) back on track being a parent I feel good about at the end of my day.

  7. tiff:
    on November 2, 2013 at 11:22 am said:

    As you mentioned, kids respond to what they are praised for. In addition to that, though, is the change in ourselves. Even if our child’s behavior did not change at all, this watering the flowers grows gratitude in ourselves. We realize how many things our kids are actually following through on. When you think about the many minuscule decisions we are supposed to guide our children through every day, and how many times they are in line with that, it’s quite humbling.

    There is always room for improvement, but there are so many things that are second nature to us and we take for granted that our littles use their forks properly, pee IN the toilet, or use their words to ask for something they want–albeit with primitive technique (remember when we used to go crazy trying to figure that out?).

    Thanks for such a great reminder!

  8. Morgan:
    on November 2, 2013 at 6:26 pm said:

    As usual, I love this. Love you.

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