Love is sloppy

Friday, June 6, 2008
UPDATED: Sorry this is so late.  I had a friend over and we talked the hours of the night away. Okay here is what spit out 

Here are your random numbers:

155 132 

Timestamp: 2008-06-07 05:15:57 UTC

This makes Kristen F. and Staci the winners of the Traditional Home magazine subscriptions. I know what you are thinking and yes, Staci is one of my very best friends AND Kate's Godmother but this was not fixed.  As I laboriously counted the comments and saw hers was #132...I thought--- Oh no, people will think it was rigged:)  Feel free to double check my counting.  It is 1:27 a.m. Kristen, please e-mail me your address.  Staci, I know yours. Congratulations to both of you.

Yesterday, as I was talking to Harry's enrichment teacher at school about parenting (my favorite topic) she said, "Kim, love is sloppy."  I stopped dead in my tracks and thought...YES, it is.  We try as we might but we don't always get it right.

So, let me begin this post my saying my love is sloppy.  I do not always get it right.  My kids are kind and compassionate and they are better behaved than most. I think we are doing a good job but I make mistakes.  I yell sometimes and I lose my patience.  Sometimes I make a big deal out of a very little thing if I am tired.  All that said, I try so hard at parenting. It is my passion.  I am always talking about the kids and their little issues and how to be a better Mom.  I know that it is the main topic of conversation with at least two of my closest friends. I have a Ph.D. in marriage and family communication and I did lots of training to be a counselor so some might consider me an expert.  However one often loses that perspective when it is their own kids.  I know a lot but I sure don't know everything.  
Here are some of my favorite parenting type books:

My absolute favorite book on discipline is Smart Discipline.  This book changed the way that I parent. In sum, it discusses what kids need as far as structure, rules, praise, etc.  Then it offers a very easy and tangible method for motivating children to behave on their own. At first, it seems like another reward/punishment plan but it is not.  The smart discipline method helps kids know exactly what is expected of them and what the consequence will be if they break the rules. Moreover, I have seen my kids actually stop and think about a behavior and choose not to do it. This method helps them to learn self control.  I LOVE this book!  I will say that I have recommended this approach many, many times.  The people that actually stick with it...RAVE about it.  The people that claim it did not work, gave a very half hearted effort. While I think every parent should read this book, some of the principles are not adaptable for very young children.  I use this primarily with Will and Harry and it has worked wonders.  In fact, a friend has borrowed mine and ahem---now that summer is here--I really need it back;)

Another favorite of mine is Mitten Strings for God: Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry by Katrina Kenison.  Katrine Kenison's message is the one I think that parents need to hear the most. I know that I have readers and friends of all faiths. Many people ask me if this book is very religious due to the title. No, it is not.  The message is about savoring the little moments and the title is from one story in the book.   I actually keep this one of my bedside table and have for years! It is truly inspirational. You will LOVE this book.

Another book that is humorous and a unique perspective is called Confessions of a Slacker Mom by Muffy Mead-Ferro. While this is not a "parenting book" per se, the author mocks how overindulgent and overprotective we have become as a society of parents. I do think the WORST mistake parents are making today is overindulging their kids. The author advises us to parent by instinct.  I think her advice is great if you have good instincts but we have all witnessed  parents with poor instincts.  This book made me laugh and it made me think. This slender little paperback is a great airplane or pool side read.  She makes some very good points.  One reviewer says this:

Parents who are fed up with the pressure to turn their children into star athletes, concert violinists, and merit scholars-all at once finally have an alternative: the world of Slacker Moms, where kids learn to do things for themselves and parents can cut themselves some slack; where it's perfectly all right to do less, have less, and spend less. Slacker moms say "No" to parenting philosophies that undermine parents'-and children's-ability to think for themselves. They say "Yes" to saving their money and time by opting out of the parenting competition. And they say "Hell, Yes!" to having a life of their own, knowing it makes them better parents.In this witty and insightful book, author Muffy Mead-Ferro reflects on her experience of growing up on a ranch in Wyoming, where parenting-by necessity-was more hands-off, people "made do" with what they had, and common sense and generational wisdom prevailed. We should all take her sane lead!

If you have more than one child, Siblings without Rivalry is a must read. I bought this book as soon as Harry was born and I implemented the techniques so as not to set up  sibling rivalry from the start. The authors say that parents need to let kids work out their own quarrels and teach them to negotiate with each other rather than step in and solve the disagreements.  I would love to say I follow it 100% of the time but I don't. Sometimes it is too easy to step in. I try to let them work it out a lot and I can tell you (as can anyone who knows our family) that Will and Harry are best friends even thought they are 3 and 1/2 years apart.  They do fight and they do have some rivalry or jealousy but they have about as close a relationship of any brothers I know.

Another book I like a lot is titled, Are we having fun yet? The 16 Secrets of Happy Parenting by Kay Willis and Maryann Bucknum Brinley.  This book is another one that reminds us how to let go of some of the pressure of being a perfect parent and offers strategies for enjoying parenting.  I really like this one a lot and it is an easy read.

I also LOVE The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie O' Martian.  It has specific prayers and Bible verses for most circumstances we face with our children.  It has also been on my bedside for most of the past 11 years.  

I could go on and on and on.... I have many parenting books on my shelves and some are really GREAT.  But these are the ones I come back to again and again when I need perspective.  

I almost feel funny writing this post because we are facing some parenting speed bumps right now (nothing serious) in our house.  I do know though that the best thing we can give our kids is our time and undivided attention. So, since my peanuts are out of school (as of noon today), I will be trying to do just that.  I will still post (after everyone is in bed) as I want to document our special everyday adventures this summer.  However, I will be reading and commenting much less on other blogs.  This makes me sad because I love catching up with y'all but I need to practice what I preach and spend the time with the people I treasure the most.  I hope you understand.

P.S. Thank you for the overwhelming and kind responses to my request to say hello.  I thoroughly enjoyed hearing from all of you and finding out how many of you found us.  I had no idea that  some people read who were not married yet or did not have kids.  I was so overwhelmed (and a tad embarrassed) by all of the nice things you said.  Thank you. I will have pick two winners tonight  for Traditional Home after the peanuts are in bed and I'll update this post. 


  1. Great Great post! I am familiar with some of the books you mentioned. Not familiar with some.... I think I will be coming back to jot these down!
    I love Bringing up Boys by James Dobson. It has been helpful to me. I love all of the Stormie OMartian books! Great info there!!!
    Every night when we put our boys down and collapse on the sofa, I can list a legal pad length of wrongs for that day, but Praise God, His grace is abundant ad the kids too. I try to tell them I am sorry and they are so quick to forgive!
    OK OK I am rambling! Sorry.....
    Today is our anniversary! 16 years! Kids headed to Mimi's soon.
    Enjoy those Peanuts!
    Maybe we can all create a prayer group/time to pray for wisdom and strength!
    Until next time....

    Christi in Mississippi

  2. Thanks for this post, Kim! I'm going to check those books out, maybe get one for the 'down time' we'll have on our upcoming trip to China :)

  3. what a lovely kind lady you are to take the time to write this post. thank you so much.


  4. Kim, you are the best! So honest, down to earth, real and able to admit mistakes/ shortcomings. (although you don't have too many in my eyes!) I love your truthfulness and that is what hooked me on your blog! Your approach to parenting is fabulous. You truly put your kids first while still doing things for yourself and your marriage.

    I told you this before, but I have learned so much from you and you have made me a better person and to strive to be all I can be. Amazing you can do that through the internet! (I know I sounds mushy but it is true-my mom taught me to always tell others the positive you see and feel in them because we all are so hard on ourselves.)

    Anyway, thanks for the parenting book recommendations. I, too, love Smart Parenting. That was my parenting bible when Jack was little. You made me realize I need to read it again. (Lily is a real firecracker lately and I could use a refresher!)

    Have a happy last day of school and looking forward to seeing what the peanuts are up to this summer!

    With love,
    Lisa Watson

  5. I too agree that this is a great post! I will be checking out some of those books soon. With 3 boys a full time Job and hubby who works long hours I feel like I have all of the parenting responsibilities on me.

    I look forward on how these books can help me be a better parent. Do you have any recommendations for teenagers? We are also going through some bumps that can feel like mountains with our oldest and would love to here your suggestions.

    Can’t wait to see how the peanuts spend the summer!

  6. Wow, I wish I liked to read. I do want to pick up that first one and the one about siblings. Even though Landree is an only child so far she and Cooper are like brother and sister. That might answer some of our sharing questions :) Thanks for the great info!

  7. Kim-
    Thank you SO much for sharing your book picks! I'm excited to pick up Smart Discipline and Siblings Without Rivalry! Love your photos as usual! Have a sunny weekend!

  8. Hello my dear friend. I absolutely love the I Wonder post.
    I am a parent who has laid down consistant guidelines for how I think my children should behave. I'm not overly strict. I tend to overindulge sometimes.
    But I allow my children to pay the consequences for their decisions. This is something I think is lacking today in parenting.
    I do not accept responsibility for the children's punishment, I tell them that they punished themselves through the choice they made. They know the rules, they made a choice to break one, they know pretty closely the consequences, so they brought it on themselves. If you choose not to study and your grades are not acceptible in a class, then you lose your computer, cell phone, on-line game priviledges until it's back up. It was their choice not to study, so they brought on their own punishment.

  9. What a great post. I am mom to 1 (hoping to soon be mom to 2, we're in the midst of our second adoption!), and I love to read different parenting books. Those that are recommended by "been there done that" parents, are usually high on my list of MUST reads.
    Enjoy your summer!

  10. Thanks so much for sharing, great way to start out the summer. I'll have to check them out and add them to my favorite parenting books.
    Wishing you and your peanuts a fabulous summer!

  11. Lisa,

    That is SO sweet. You touched my heart immensely with your comment. I lost your e-mail address in my old computer...please e-mail me. And I could use an recent picture of your cuties!


  12. Wow - you never cease to amaze me. I agree - Love is sloppy and we all need to remember that. we are going to B&N after dinner to night and I will have to check out some of these titles. You are so smart, so I am sure they are good :D

    Ladybug hugs,

  13. Love that picture! Thanks for the book suggestions. I'm going over to Amazon now. I know you had mentioned you liked Sophie Kinsella for quick beach reads - another similiar type of books that I just finished 2 of this week are Emily Giffin - Something borrowed and Something Blue - quick easy reads. Have a good weekend.

  14. BEAUTIFUL post...
    I love how you express your feeling and it not only helps you to write things.. but also helps me.. thanks ... I will be looking for some of those books..

  15. wonderful post....I have read about 3 of these, but the others I have not.....will be going out next week to get them....thanks for sharing Dr. Kim! ;)

  16. Just wanted to say hello and identify myself. :) I'm one of those non-parents unmarried readers. I'm a teacher up in the northeast of China and also spend a lot of time at an orphanage up here. I found your blog off of a blog from a family that adopted from the orphanage. I love getting to see the precious kids I love on every week thriving in families stateside. Thanks for letting us into your family!

  17. Are we having fun yet?

    Is the best book. We have taken so many things from that book.

    Beautiful post. Every mom can connect with that. ;) I might pick up a new book from your great selection. Thanks!

  18. I love the picture you posted. There is nothing sweeter than a toddler's feet:)

  19. Wonderful post..thanks so much for sharing : ) I will have to check some of these out for sure to get Miss A in line ; )

  20. Thanks so much for sharing information about all these wonderful books. I plan to check them out.

    Enjoy the time with your peanuts this summer. I've felt this a lot lately and it's really true -- time with your kids goes by SO quickly -- cherish every moment!

    Happy Summer!

  21. Thanks for the suggestions Kim. I feel like my mom always had (has)exactly the right prayers/verses for whatever the situation- sounds like Power for the Praying Parent could help me in that area.

    Enjoy your summer with the peanuts-you will all cherish the memories!


    *love the picture of Kate's toes- there is something about a little foot that throws me over the edge. The movement in the puddle makes this one extra terrific!

  22. Thanks for the book ideas. I will read some of them. I have read and followed the advice in "Siblings Without Rivalry" since our sons were very small. I can attest that it works beautifully. I can honestly say that we have had almost no sibling rivalry. Largely because we have followed this book. I love the "Love is Sloppy" phrase... so true!

  23. I love how honest you are - you are an inspiration.

  24. Hi Kim,

    I didn't comment the day we were supposed to, but thought I would chime in late. I am one of your daily hits. I have two boys (8 and 4 1/2) and a daughter from Jiangxi province (20 months). I found your blog right when your husband and son went to go get Kate and your site has been an enormous joy for me to read.

    Thanks for the reminder about the book Siblings Withouth Rivalry. It was on the shelf and needed to be brought out before summer vacation starts!

    Mary in Chicago

  25. KIM!!!!! While I am very excited, I feel kind of guilty for even entering. I must tell you I think this is the first thing I have EVER won in my life. Long is going to get a good laugh out of this. Love you and thanks sooooo much! Staci

  26. Thanks for the great book suggestions! I definately need to start the one on sibling rivalry. We haven't had many issues until the past 6 months. Better get reading.....

    Stacy B.

  27. Thank you for reminding me of Mitten Strings. I heard the author on a Christian radio station and I have meant to find that book. I carried a small slip of paper in my wallet for so long and forgot about it. Thank you.

  28. Oh...I LOVE this post. I am always itching to get my hands on a great parenting/adoption/education/how-to kind of fave!! I really should be more highly evolved than I am with the amount of self help type books I have read...maybe just not the RIGHT one yet.... :-)

    I will definitely pick up the sibling rivalry book you suggested. Granted, we do have a long wait until we have a sibling in the house...but one can never be too prepared!!

    We took a great course at Lia's school called "Love and Logic" (Jim Fay....but of course we had a different facilitator). It's really just following the concept of natural consequences. It has worked well for us, you mentioned...sometimes real life just has a way of getting in the way of following things through 100% ALL the time.

    It is so nice to be able to learn from parents like you who have BTDT....thanks for all the wonderful insights and advice you give!!

    Best wishes,


  29. Thank you so much for this post. I'm still so bogged down in our paperwork and the adoption *process* it's hard to think past to actually having her HOME. Your suggestions are welcomed, and I can't wait to be on the other side.
    Happy Summer Vacation with your children! And congrats to your boys on their gold medals! How awesome!

  30. I am excited to look for some of these books, especially Mitten Strings for God. Given your counseling background and as a mother to two sons, I am wondering if you have any favorite books about parenting boys. I always see a lot of books on girls, and the few books on boys I have found at the book store deal with at-risk behavior, which is (very fortunately) not what I need. Thanks!

  31. Thank you for the book recommendations. I will add the ones I haven't read to my list!

  32. Sweet things sister is a geologist And studying for her Phd as well as working full time and teaching as adjunct professor. Small world.....

  33. Kim
    What a wonderful post. As a stay at home mom with my little ones under my wing I have felt confident in being the mom my kids need. As we enter the new arena of school next year my heart skips a beat and I wonder if I have prepared them and instilled the things that I wanted and the things they need to face the world. I feel the need for more time and more wisdome as the school years approach. Thank you so much for the book advice. I can't wait to do some summer reading!

  34. What wonderful recommendations! Thank you! I have read a couple of these... and I'll have to check out some of the others!

  35. Hi Kim,

    The girls and I are on our way out to the bookstore and I stopped by to get a few titles of the books you mentioned in this post. Thanks for the reviews ... there are a couple of must reads on this list for me. I love to find new ways to approach parenting ...

    Thanks sweet friend!


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