Monday, May 13, 2013

Sorry my little boys act like... little boys.

You know what I have been working really hard on? 
Not apologizing for the fact that I have little boys, 
who act and behave like... (gasp!)... little boys.


Before I had kids, I became friends with a woman at my church who I was immediately drawn to the first time I met her. She was a beautiful red head, she had a handsome Latino husband, and tons and tons of kids. Cute kids. Okay 5 cute kids. I remember her husband saying "so when are you and Matt going to have kids?!" (They must have rubbed off on us, because we were pregnant very soon after.) When I was newly pregnant I finally went to her house to visit her. She had two elementary aged kids and three little little boys. Like ages one, two and three. It was crazy. Kids hopping on furniture. One of her boys was eating a hand full of cilantro. One of them was pouring his own milk while standing on the counter, milk was spilling everywhere. Her back was to the kitchen as all of it is was happening. She'd glance back every few minutes, but never yelled at them to stop, or to get down. She just got up, asked for the spiller to help wipe it up, and then told cilantro eater that he was a strong boy because he eats vegetables. After lunch she swept up the kitchen and dining room floor. At least eight pounds of dirt, food, dog hair and dust. She said "this is just from today!" Yeah right I thought. Her boys had melt downs, and she just hugged them, or sent them to go freak out somewhere else (depending on the reason). They wanted to draw and color, and by then end of the activity paper was all over and crayons were scattered as if a tornado had swept through the middle of the table. She didn't holler at them to pick up every crayon as it fell. She carried on a conversation with me as she sat next to them. Never making them feel bad for the evolving mess. Never distracting them from their coloring with a "Hey! You just dropped your crayons all over, get down and clean it up!" She just got whatever help they were able to offer after the project was done. She amazed me. And scared me all at the same time. 

Now I'm the one with the three little boys. Sometimes I look back and remember her when I sweep up the massive pile from my floor every night (okay, sometimes every other night.) I think of her when my boys are the ones being crazy and screaming and jumping on the couch, spilling self-poured milk all over the counter, eating weird stuff out of the fridge (or trash/off the floor/out from under the couch... I'm just being real.) 

She never apologized to me for her boys. She never said "oh my gosh, I am so sorry he is melting down, he is so tired and etc. etc." or "sorry, they should not be jumping on the couch, BOYS STOP! GET DOOOOOWN!" or "sorry they are being so crazy" or "sorry, I'm so embarrassed  my house is a mess, these kids... " She never apologized for her messy and beautiful life with small kids. And that ministers to me as a mom of little boys now. Because I feel like I am ALWAYS apologizing for my sons and their behavior. 

Sorry Eli's crabby, he hasn't had a nap.
Sorry, they are just excited, I'll tell them to quiet down.
Sorry the house is trashed, we just had a play group here.
Sorry Gabriel is dressed like an orphan, he picked out his own clothes this morning.
Sorry we are late. I had to get three kids ready by myself.
Sorry we are eating flour tortillas with melted cheese and apples. My kids won't eat turkey and broccoli.
Sorry he took that toy away.
Sorry he hit.
Sorry Max doesn't feel like sharing.
Sorry his room is a mess, I didn't get around to cleaning it yesterday.
Sorry the coffee shop is a special outing for them, so yes they are going to accidentally spill their water, touch every cute plant in the middle of the tables, and smear their faces on the front of the bakery display case as they are filled with excitement as they decide what cookie they are going to have. Sorry you are being distracted from your book or quiet conversation by their squeals of delight. Sorry they are standing in front of the door while you are trying to get in. (Maybe you could smile at my kids or wave 'hello' instead of giving them and me dirty looks.) 

SORRY. sorry. SoRrY.
They are not adults. 
They are little boys.

Our neighborhood coffee shop is awesome. They  love our kids there.
Groundswell has been a  great place to teach  our kids the importance of being respectful, courteous, thankful, and conscious of how our behavior affects those around us when we are out in public.

Eli eating animal crackers at Java Train Cafe. 

Gabriel having a tantrum since he only got to eat ONE cupcake  at Groundswell.
And I will not apologize for his choice of attire for that day. A little mix of hipster/basketball player/cowboy.

Well, sorry. I am done saying sorry. I am done being embarrassed.  I am done feeling like I am doing society a great disservice when I bring my kids out in public. I have to bring my kids to the library or restaurants or wherever we will frequent as a family so that they can learn the rules and etiquette of being out and about in public.  I am doing nothing helpful by apologizing to my friends and other moms for the same exact stuff that their children do or will do when they get older. I am learning that how I live my life as a mom of little ones can actually be helpful and encouraging to other moms going through the same stuff if I am just real. 
Just like Amy did for me.

Here's me and my Amy. We don't always dress up like a flapper and a butterfly. Just this one time.

Amy is still a part of my life, and I love laughing with her about all that I observed and learned from her back in the earlier years. She continues to encourage me by being real evidence that you do make it through the tough years, your house will not be trashed forever, kids will sleep-in someday and that in the future your kids will be able to pour milk by themselves and not spill it all over. I sure love you Amy. Especially since you let my little ones spill all over your table now. 


So. That is my goal as of late, to stop treating my kids as though they are something to be apologized for. 

What about you? What do you need to stop apologizing for?

Sierra

185 comments:

  1. Love it. Totally and absolutely true. If I remember right, your mom was pretty cool about it all, too. :-)

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  2. Right on! Boys will be Boys. Im also done saying sorry!

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    1. Good for you. There's a lot of freedom in allowing our kids to act their age and not worry about what other people think.

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    2. Kids will be kids! Girls are allowed to be rambunctious and take time to test boundaries and learn as well ;-)

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  3. AMEN!!! Thank you for recognizing that boys are boys! I love you AND your stinky cute boys :)

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    1. Don't worry, my boys will teach CJ all about bein' a BOY!

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  4. Oh I love this. Your words and your pictures (I'm sorry my kids are dressed like orphans) are exactly how it is. We only have one little one for now, but some of our best friends have 4 kids, 6 and under, 3 of them boys, and you hit the nail on the head. Thanks for this!

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    1. Thanks for your comment Liz! It is a gift to have friends who are going through it first. You will learn so much from them. Encourage them by telling them that they are doing a good job. It helps to hear it. Blessings to you and your little fam:)

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  5. I just loved every single thing about this post. I only have one little boy (and a little girl) but I find myself apologizing for him ALL. THE. TIME. He's 3 years old and a little O.C.D...what can I say? He's a handful, but so very sweet at the same time. But I've noticed myself yelling at him a lot lately, and it's mostly when we are in the company of other people because I feel like that's what I should be doing. Yelling. Correcting. Apologizing. I worry about what other moms are thinking, and then I read a fabulous post like this and I just want to reach through my computer and hug you!!! I needed to read this so badly today. Thank you :-)

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    1. I do the same thing: parenting a certain way in front of other parents, thinking that's what they are expecting me to do. It's so hard to parent with an audience. I'm so grateful for my friends that I can be transparent in front of. Thank you so much for your feedback, and thanks for reading!!

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    2. Yes! I find that I do not even notice the 'chaos' unless others are around. This post, along with your comment made me cry. I just had a pediatrician apt this week to come up with a plan to help my little man out since he has stopped eating (well, certain foods anyway)....she mentioned all this and how they start to take control of what they can (food intake) when everything else around them is under the control of others.
      I pray I am strong enough to allow my inquisitive little guy be exactly that...even if no one likes it!

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    3. I don't have boys but two girls. So for me, kids will be kids! Love this article! Thank you so much for letting it be ok to not apologize for everything our kids do.

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    4. Read the book Wild at Heart by John Eldredge. We even have to let our men be men, and I would think that starts by letting boys be boys. Yes, you teach them respect for others and you teach them to pick up after themselves when the fun is over, you teach them to respect property and all of that, but all of that can be done by still letting them be who they are. And Sierra, you're right, we apologize way too much for who we are and who our kids are. I am a 63 years young grama and am learning new things. One of our daughters homeschools with Classical Conversations and has 2 boys with another child on the way. Our other daughter is expecting their third also. Kids will be kids. We can let them be that and also teach them to be responsible. When you're 2, being responsible can mean picking up your toys and knowing how to say I'm sorry when necessary. Kid messes are awesome. We also teach them to help clean up the mess when the fun is "done". Let's help each other be who we are, no matter what our ages. :)

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  6. Great article! Just what I needed to hear. Usually I'm very lenient...but sometimes you just feel like you need to say Sorry to some ueber crabby person. I'm never doing it again. =) I have 3 boys on earth, and 1 in heaven. Ages 7, 4, and 2. It's a wild world. =)

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    1. It is a wild world, and we have to be brave and confident when raising our kids in the middle of it. I feel like raising honorable men in this day and age is going to be hard, but obviously God has equipped you to be the mama of those sweet boys and their specific needs. Just like he has equipped me with the perfect gifts and mercies be be the mama of mine. Isn't it a beautiful thing to know that we get to see our loved ones in heaven someday? When my dad died two years ago, I had so much joy in knowing that he was reunited with the baby the my mom miscarried before I was born. Thanks for reading Elisa, and thanks for the feedback!
      Sierra

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  7. So glad I found your blog! I was having a conversation about a similar topic. I have 5 girls and I realized that I apologize to people for them just being kids. Loved this! My apologizing stops now!

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    1. Good for you Sadie! Thanks for reading. This post has even held me more accountable in the last 24 hours since I wrote it. It's hard not to apologize!

      Sierra

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    2. Kids should be kids, they are not little adults, they are KIDS. And boys, well, that is the most awesome part. Girls are great, and I know that one day I will never search for my best-friend, because I gave birth to her...it will just be a few more years (say 15) before she realizes the same thing. But my son, ohhhh, my son is a most amazing creature! At almost 5, he loves to be with both my husband and I. He is such a helper, crazy, messy and awesomely loving. Out of no where, when least expected, he is there to hug and express his love. No reason, no encouragement, just real emotion. There is truly nothing better than a son!! I have a horse-farm. 22 horsaes, lots of work and people all the time. But, I NEVER apologize for my kids. I encourage their fun, while guiding on safety and respect. Isn't that our job? Let them grow into who they will be, without breaking their spirits, or limiting their experiences?

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  8. Well said!!! Thanks so much for great words!

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    1. Thanks for reading! Glad I can offer encouragement:)

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  9. there's a difference between having to apologize for your kids and being too lazy to discipline them... "enjoying" them and their independent attitudes now should drum up nice rehab bills should they make it past the vices they conjure up from a life they cannot control, because they were never taught restraint. you're right, they don't need to grow up - you do.

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    1. Anonymous, do you have children?

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    2. Although he/she was a bit harsh, I have to agree with Anonymous. While I don't think you should ever HAVE to apologize for your children, they should definitely not be left to run amok, annoying strange adults and trashing everyplace they go because you want to let your "boys be boys." There is far too much of this self-entitled BS going on already which has induced establishments to create "No children allowed" rules. Children MUST be disciplined. Period.

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    3. Kim I totally agree with you that kids need to be disciplined. Until this post, the only readers I had were people that knew me. I am in no way condoning children running free with no direction, and being allowed to annoy people and break stuff. Not at all. When we are out in public, they are reminded of our rules before we walk in to a place. They are expected to behave. It takes a lot of practice though before we can get it down. Just yesterday at the coffee shop we frequent, my friend said the kids have been doing very well on our visits there. And it's because it took 10 sorta stressful "don't touch that-sit down-speak gently-Okay fine we have to leave because you aren't calming down" trips. Hope that made sense. Thanks for reading! And thanks for your honest input. I appreciate it.

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    4. Goodness, I never for a minute took this to mean such a thing. Didn't even cross my mind. There is a massive difference in instructing a child and losing it because they do the things children inevitably do. Little boys are often faced with unfair negative associations and unfair expectations. When adults can't even always control themselves- or their words, for that matter- it's a lot to ask a small child to do. I should add before I sound like my children run wild that they are complimented on their behavior and manners often.

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    5. Very well said Lindsay. Thanks for sharing.

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    6. there is a massive difference between children being kids, and children being brats. And there is such a thing as too many rules. Kids learn by doing. You can tell them 5000 times not to jump off the top bunk and they keep doing it, but it only takes getting hurt once to stop them. Keep them from head trauma and any serious injuries, but otherwise let kids be kids. I have a well behaved 3 year old, 90% of the time. It's that 10% though, that happens in new situations or likely when we are in public. And ironically, those mothers you see screaming at their children for being kids, will swear up, down and sideways that they are a great mom. They are just "teaching their kids rules". THOSE will be the kids that act out in the teen years though.

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    7. Hmm... As I was reading this, I thought about what the future behavior will be for your now “cute" little boys. I know a woman who raises her children in the same way you do. Yes, they are fairly well-behaved outside the home. They really have learned from other adults and at school that moderate behavior is expected. In these situations they’ve learned there are consequences for poor behavior!

      However, at home with their parents, (who allow everything) they are disrespectful, screaming and cursing their parents when not getting their way. They show themselves to be greedy, continually seeking what they can GET.

      It may be charming to you and self-excusable right now to say "boys will be boys," but you are building (or hurting) the character that’s forming in their hearts, and will live in them for a lifetime.

      How will an “anything goes, no restraints,” in your child-raising attitude affect other people in their lives? It will, one way or another! Their behavior at home and the way you are treated by them (Is it respectful?) is your finished product for the future. Teach them to respect you now and they will respect you when they are adults.

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    8. I've taken care of Sierra's boys in nursery and my kids have played with her kids. You're off base with your assumptions of her parenting. She cares about her kids, developing their character, and helping them be appropriate in life situations. She is a great mom.

      The point of Sierra's blog is that there are some things kids do that just are things kids do- and it's not required to apologize for kids being kids. For example- picking out your own clothes. Gabriel can learn to express his own self and if the top and pants don't match- so what? Sierra can, and does, intervene in safety issues and where things are really out of line. Her kids are not growing up without any boundaries. They are growing up with boundaries and freedom.

      Your posts are judgmental without knowing the full story.

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  10. oh, comment upon approval - so much for any unbiased constructive counseling/feedback - well, hope you can take the last comment to heart and maybe have enough to show both comments

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    1. Next time you want to try to leave "unbiased constructive counseling/feedback" maybe you could start off by actually being constructive instead of attacking me and suggesting that by my enjoying my children that they will end up in rehab. I'm not scared to post your negative responses, but the on-going theme of my blog is to spread hope, understanding and love. None of which you are contributing to with this comment.

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    2. I would be willing to bet that either this Anonymous does NOT have children or has children that are totally neurotic! I raised 2 boys that were exactly like yours. I tried to live my child rearing life with a motto of "don't sweat the details". With each glass of spilled milk, or mud pie in the kitchen, or lizard in the tub, or "Geronimo" yell off the couch, I tried to stop and ask myself - if this is the worst thing that we have to deal with, can we survive? If the answer was absolutely, then we never skipped a beat, if it was questionable, maybe we needed to deal with it. Today, both of my sons have grown into amazing young men. One is a United States Marine that has served proudly for 8 years, is married to an amazing wife and is exactly the father that I would expect him to be, and I knew he would be to two little girls, with a baby boy on the way. My youngest is also married to an incredible woman and they have a beautiful baby girl. This son is also an incredible father that is involved in every aspect of his beautiful daughters life - he also is an incredible father. With all this said, both of my sons are also going to enjoy every moment of their children's lives, just like I did.

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    3. Thanks for the encouragement! Your words mean so much to me LaurieG. Thanks for sharing.

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    4. I have 3 children [2 are boys] who I allow to do way more than I ever was: like - jumping on the couch, splashing in the tub and pretending it's a pool, lapping up milk from their bowls like a puppy, and a myriad of other fun child-like things. I try to encourage them and give them freedom to be kids, and yet I still get many compliments about how good my children are in public b/c we do have lots of teachable moments. And to "Anonymous" - I was one of 4 kids NOT raised with "encouragement" to be a kid and there was lots of discipline. We all ended up with vices to help us deal with trying to be perfect little adults in a child's body and so far only 2 of us have come out of that well, and that is only through the rehab/counseling programs which helped us cope. I do think that sometimes I can be too permissive as can any of us, but I love my kids and want them to enjoy a full life without growing up struggling with judgmental inadequacies resulting in addictions.

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    5. It is sad that someone would want to bash your post. I DO discipline my children---but what I find is that people without kids put unattainable expectations on them and leave you to apologize or feel bad if you don't if the kiddos do not meet those expectations.

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  11. That was cute up to a point. Kids shouldn't disrespect rules; you can still have fun but not to just tear the place apart and think its ok every single day because they will do that everywhere.

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    1. I never said that I was allowing my children to disrespect rules, and they are held responsible for messes. I'm sorry you missed the point of the post.

      Sierra

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    2. Anonymous do you actually HAVE children? Because, trust me there is a HUGE difference between just being a kid, and being a disrespectful brat. My toddler LOVES to do things for himself. Sure I could fight with him constantly to let mommy do it, because he doesn't have the hand-eye coordination to pour it just right yet and makes a mess, but why would I? Sure it makes a mess. That's what paper towels are for. he knows HE makes a mess HE cleans it up. And no he isn't usually capable of getting it all cleaned up and I usually have to help but isn't that the point of parenting? To guide your child and assist them in life but not make them so dependent on "rules" that they can't think for themselves?

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  12. I do believe that children shouldn't just be allowed to do as they please & disrespect others & other people's property. Yes you have to take them out & teach them, but if they are acting out or disrupting others, they need to be removed from the room/location. It's not fair to everyone else that 1 kid is allowed to ruin it for everyone else.

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    1. My children are not allowed to do as they please, disrespect others or property. If they are having a screaming fit and are being destructive, of course they would be removed and disciplined accordingly. But kids being kids:laughing, talking a little loud or jumping up and down at a coffee shop because they are excited to get ice cream? That is not disruptive, or ruining it for everyone else. That is letting a child be a child: excited, joyful, and easily entertained. I am sorry if you misunderstood my intentions for this post.

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    2. Sierra, I'll bet you do awesome. I wish there had been more like you when I was a kid. I actually got written up on the bus in 4th grade for "cutting up". I had this happen several times before I found out that was southern slang for "laughing". God forbid a boy laugh on his way to/from school. Sheesh.

      You seem to have obvious and sane limits and reasonable expectations. Good on you!

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    3. Thanks for the encouragement Gary, that is hilarious that you kept getting in trouble a.) for doing what kids do: laugh, and for b.) that you didn't even know why you were in trouble! Poor kid:)

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    4. Hi Sierra! First time reader here. I have two boys close in age and i totally get what you are saying as does every other boy mom (especially more than one boy!) You are talking about training them without squashing the adventurous spirit God instilled in them. It is a fine line to dance. I recommend Wild at Heart by John Elderidge to all boy moms. Thing is look at kids eyes these days. Their hearts have been bound...no sparkle in their eyes. They grow u to be adults who apologize for how they really feel. You also are spot on when you referenced training your children is btw you and them...not how others make you feel while you r training them...wondering if anonymous even read the article??? Thing is you will produce emotionally stable masculine men while keeping the spirit God almighty gave them intact, instead of a hollow shell of a man who feels unfulfilled. Go get the book! :-)

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  13. Thank you, thank you for this encouraging post - I am currently reading it while I am recovering from yet another "normal" day in a house of boys. I have 3 little boys (my oldest is named Eli too) ages 5, 3, and 2. I have a friend who has two little boys and it's the most encouraging thing when I stop by her place and see her kids dumping googly craft eyes all over the floor and she's just as calm as can be. I think that over time when you have boys you just kind of get used to it - I'm kind of surprised sometimes now when I see sunflower seeds all over the floor, and instead of freaking out, I just think that at some point in the day I need to sweep that up.

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  14. Jenni thanks for your sweet comment! I have been working so hard at not freaking out. But man, I still do sometimes. I don't want my boys to be fearful when they accidentally spill. I want to be the kind of mom that says "it's ok! Go grab a towel!" (even though they grab a non-absorbant placemat instead:)

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  15. Enjoyed this blog post. I just wanted to pop in and say to anonymous that kids don't learn discipline from yelling or apologizing parents. They learn discipline from consistent boundaries and experiencing the natural consequences of their actions. While I wouldn't go so far as to say that I'm never apologizing for my kids again, I think it's true to say that it doesn't help. As my kids have gotten older, they have benefited greatly from the opportunities they were given to practice self-discipline. (... and by "opportunities to practice self-discipline" I mean sitting on the sidewalk having a melt-down because they couldn't have a second cupcake while Mom and Dad sat quietly sipping coffee nearby.)

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    1. Thanks so much for your input, I really enjoy getting feed back from readers. I'm glad that you can say, from your own experience, that allowing kids to have the opportunities to practice self-discipline really do pay off. Parenting is hard work, especially when you do your best be intentional and meaningful in how you do it.

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  16. Loved this post! Thanks for the reminder that little kids are not mini-adults - they are kids! Children should be celebrated, not huffed at or scolded because they are enjoying their lives to the fullest. Maybe we should all take a lesson and find a little more joy in our lives!

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  17. As a Mom of a 22 month old I needed this! He is a very busy boy and loves to tell people hi and play and entertain and sometimes I feel like I have to apologize for him running up to people in a waiting room when he says hi or calm him down all.the.time!
    http://www.perfectlyimperfectmom.com

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  18. What a sweet boy you have. Never apologize for his happy energy or his eagerness to greet strangers with a smile!

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  19. Haters gonna hate, proverbs nine eight.

    Sierra, the people who understand, who have boys or just rambunctious awesome kids in general, will *get* it.

    I get it. Brilliant post. ♥

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    1. OOOOh sister, Love that!! I'm going to have to use it. THAT totally encouraged me! Just checked out your page quick, and can't wait to go back to listen to more! What a sweet ministry you have, and an awesome voice. I'm a heaven chaser too:)

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    2. I agree. :) I think mothers of multiple boys (especially close in age) will understand the INTENT of this post. :) I love being around my friends who have multiple moms because we just understand each other. :) I have a 4 year old, 3 year old, and almost 2 year old....they are all boys, and trust me when I say they are ALL boy. :) This was a very timely post for me to read because I tend to overreact in situations sometimes....I just get so burnt out and DO expect them to be "mini adults." I am trying to raise them to be respectful and obedient and yet allow myself to enjoy their rambunctiousness. :) A lot of times when I step back and look at the situation, they're just loud and excited, not disrespectful and disobedient (at least in our home...when we are out is when they test the boundaries- but, like you said, I NEED to be allowed those opportunities in public to help train them and it's so discouraging to want to do that if I'm just judged whenever we're out). :( I do find it difficult sometimes if we have different "rules" in our house, like jumping on furniture, etc., and then my kids aren't allowed (or kids come to my house and jump all over the furniture when it's not allowed in our home) and I sort of feel the reverse judgement...like, "you are such a psycho mom because you DON'T allow them to be boys and jump on couches." :) We do have that rule after my youngest jumped off into our coffee table....plus I wanted them to be respectful at houses that may not allow them to do that. So it's a little awkward when kids come over and jump all over our furniture- I'm not judgmental over their decision, just wish our rules could be respected sometimes without feeling judged as well. But what an EXCELLENT post. I am trying to enjoy their little years- they are precious, rambunctious, and make me laugh every day! Thank you for your gentle and fun reminders that boys will be boys and I'm not a bad mom because they are being boys. :)

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  20. I couldn't help but think of what I hear people telling others so often: "act your age!" Yet when children do it, they expect them to stop and start acting like adults. What a messed up world we live in. I hope to have children someday, and that I am able to deal with them in as healthy a way as you seem to be doing.

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    1. Thanks for your kind words:)

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    2. Love it! Girls are just as messy and grazy as boys! At least mine were. I have two of each (:

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  21. Thank you, love this! My younger son also rocks the cowboy boots with...everything. :-) We have 2 boys, so we can definitely relate. Thanks for the reminder to not cry (literally) over spilled milk. :-)

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    1. In our family cowboy boots are kind of an important thing. Daddy's got a pair, our 5 year has a pair, Gabriel has a pair. Eli needs a pair still, and if my calves ever get small enough to get in to a pair, I'll jump on the boot train too maybe:)

      Unless it's breast milk, never cry over spilled milk!

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  22. Fabulous! As the mom of three boys (and a bonus girl), I can so relate! Kids will be kids. They will be loud, they will be rambunctious, they will make messes....they also give the best hugs, the most honest advice, and are such a total joy. good for you for noticing the important things in life!

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    1. Oh man, I keep getting the "so, are you gonna try one more time for your girl?"... and the answer is nope. Although I do go through little periods of slight grief that I will never get to raise my own daughter. BUT I feel like I will have plenty of chances to pour in to the lives of girls that are not biologically mine. So I have peace with that.
      Boys are great! Girls are too, so I hear:)

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  23. Thank you for that post. Reading about moms that can let the "small stuff" slide helps me to continue to try and do the same. I'm very "up tight" & I "stress out" very easily. It's not something I like about myself, I'm always in prayer about it. I have relaxed more with my third than I did with my first. Like, if it's going to be a "fight" to get my three year old out of his pajamas for the day...that's not a fight I care if I win. What's it gonna hurt right? However if my eight year old wanted to I wouldn't let him. It's not because of what other people think, it's because of what I think. I'm "other people"! I struggle with what I think of my parenting! I could never let my 3 year old pour his own juice/milk because if he spilled it would create a huge mess for me to clean up. I can't handle messes like that, sticky floors can get under my skin so fast. I also can't handle when they play too hard and something of mine ie furniture gets ruined. I commend and respect you moms that can relax on that. I wish and pray that I could:) However if they want to have Legos spread all over their room for days I'm ok with that. As I'm writing this I'm ignoring the screaming, fighting, wrestling, hitting, slamming of doors, wiping of boogers, as they "play". Man I love these boys!! I will try and relax a bit more when it comes to the messes:)
    Thank you again for your post it helps this uptight mom try to relax just a little more:)

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    1. Being uptight and stressed easily is something I have been working through too. You are not the only one! My kids love to wear pjs during the day too. I relate to so much of what you wrote here! My 5 year old has legos all over his room. Last week my husband posted a picture on facebook of max's room (it was funny because he had laid his clothes and shoes out in a way that looked like he had been raptured) I was so embarrassed because then everyone saw how mess his room was! Who cares though? He's 5. And I sure do not have time to clean his room (or stand over him while he does it) every day.
      Relax mama! I'll try to relax too.

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  24. I have two boys and one girl and another boy on the way. I love this post. It seems like people are still in the mindset of children should be seen and not heard. I am going in a pretty radical direction these days with my kids. Giving them freedom to make their own choices and not punishing them. Evidence shows that punishment does absolutely nothing to help them. They are people too and have just as much of a right to go in any public place as any adult. If someone doesn't want to hear a screaming child, they are the ones that should stay home. If we don't allow children to make messes, explore, and be themselves they will never learn how to be independent. All we have to do is look around at other cultures throughout our world and see that Americans have it all backwards. I believe times are changing and hopefully one day children will be loved and appreciated for the gifts they are by everybody.

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    1. Well said. I hope that one day this happens as well. Thanks for reading, and thanks for your thoughts.

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  25. I wholeheartedly agree and recommend the book by Danny Silk called Loving Our Kids on Purpose: Making a Heart-to-Heart connection. Much love and peace as long as it is Today!

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    1. I think that someone else has recommended this book to me before, and now that I think of it, I think it was Amy (the friend I mentioned in the post!) I will have to check it out. Thanks Mandy!

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    2. Too cool! <3
      Blessings:)

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  26. How great to read this! I'm a stay at home mom of 2 little boys ages 3 and 2 and only 19 months apart. My 3 yr old is highly sensitive, strong willed and is as tall as a 5 yr old. Which means in public, strangers assume he is older...eek. ;) My 2 yr old is extremely messy and a daredevil. I have to take many deep breaths until nap time. :) I am constantly giving them reminders so not really a "go with the flow" type parent. I don't get mad but I watch them close with how they interact with others. They must use good manners. A year ago, I questioned my parenting and wondering if I was talking too much to them with all the reminders. BUT now I see so many glimpses of a well behaved 3 yr old~!:) It is paying off! whoot whoot! I do need to work on not apologizing for them in public. It is so reassuring to hear about other mothers of little boys with the same exact issues. :) thank you!!

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    1. Those glimpses are what confirm that we are doing something right! Thanks for sharing what your life looks like, I love hearing about it!
      Thanks for reading and commenting!
      Sierra

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  27. Love it! Sharing on Facebook so all my mom friends can enjoy it too :)

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    1. Thanks for sharing Stephanie! I just took a look at your blog and omg little miss MOlly is so cute!! Those leg warmers are killin me! She will never be slimey, or spill milk, or do anything icky;)

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  28. Sierra, I love this post. You've inspired me to stop apologizing. This three boys thing is a crazy, messy business. But it's lovely too. So, so, so lovely. You are a wonderful mommy.

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    1. It is crazy messy business. Glad I have you to go through it with! Love you!

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  29. Thank you for sharing! I am the mother of three, a six-year-old boy, a four-year-old boy, and a two-year-old girl and I work full time! I am exhausted and often feel like I am being judged when my kids jump on the couch, sit on the dining room table to do their "homework," or when they are not quiet and reserved out in public! It really does help me get through knowing that I am not the only mother feeling like this. And you are right, I should not always have to apologize for them, how else will they learn if we don't take them places and teach them!

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  30. Thank you for this! I have 2 little boys and they seem to grow up really slowly sometimes! Sadly, other moms seem to be the hardest on each other for things like this. Let's all share a bit more love and grace.

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    1. I totally agree!! We need to remember that we are all fighting our own battles, and the last thing we need is to feel judged for doing the best we can.

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  31. I do love this! You and your Amy are an inspiration to me and my two little boys. As I am reading this my 4 yr old is coming up to me and "scaring me" and laughing about it. Parenting is hard but should also be fun. We all need reminders to enjoy our children more, and not stress about the mess! Thanks for giving me that reminder today!!!! You are an awesome Mom!!!!! :)

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  32. This is excellent. I'm a grandma, and now have had some "practice" (because each child is different and you sometimes feel like you are practicing forever)with boys and girls. They both have their own challenges. Society is requiring boys and girls to act like adults long before they are ready. My favorite quote is from an old McGuffey Reader, "Do not look too soon in the boy for the man he will become" (and you may substitute girl there).
    However, I realize that sometimes my stress when I was raising my own children was letting them do some activities too early, before they were physically or cognitively able to handle such things. This is especially true with a younger sibling who wants to act just like the older brother or sister and have the same privileges. Sometimes we just have to say, "when you are his age, you will get to do this too", such as pouring milk! Sometimes a child is not aware that he is "misbehaving" and he may need a warning or two. Obviously if he continues to do the "missbehaviour" over and over again after being corrected, then that is a reason for discipline, or if s/he is deliberately saying no to Mom, screaming at her in anger because she "suggested" he do something otherwise, that has to be dealt with. But most of the time, when people are upset with kids, it is just kids being their boisterous, noisy selves, and we have to teach them to "quiet down a bit" but there should be times (especially outside) when they can just be themselves.
    I realize not everyone will agree with my comments, but that is what is beautiful about being a parent (or grandparent) we get to have the privilege of making these decisions ourselves.
    Keep up the good work.

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    1. I was thinking about that quote "Do not look too soon in the boy for the man he will become" many times in my mind this last weekend when dealing with my oldest son. Thanks for sharing that! Wisdom from mothers who have done this before us is such a treasure. Thanks for sharing. I loved every word!

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  33. I just got home from a 4 day trip, 2 of them in the back seat of the truck between 2 of the coolest, loudest, messiest and most loving toddlers ever born...
    they are the youngest of my 6 kids, the oldsest being 20, and they are 10 months apart...
    I cried as I read your post. it may be the exhaustion from keeping their busy little minds occupied, but I kept thinking about all the times this trip where I said "sorry, they have been locked up for blah blah hours" or "i'm sorry, they are so full of energy" sorry sorry sorry...
    I say it every day as a mom of 6 and someone who never feels like anything I do is ever enough for anyone...
    we visited with my husbands aunt and uncle in their home, and I now realize I did no visiting at all...it was a constant "don't touch" "don't climb" "don't don't don't" trip
    I was asked about a conversation and I had no clue what they were talking about because I locked me and the boys in our room so I could control the chaos...biggest oxymoron ever...

    thank you for making me stop and look at myself...and no, anonymous, I will not "let" my 2 yr old run around and ruin your day, but if you are so hard hearted that you can't wave at a small boy who loves everyone, then you should be the one who stays home...
    and thank you to the man at MacDonald's somewhere in Idaho...you made my son's day when you actually answered his questions...

    stay strong momma's...our kid's are going to turn out just fine, in spite of our anxieties and our feelings of inadequacies

    sincerely,
    fear and loathing in southern alberta!!!!

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  34. Wow. You get the REAL mother of the year award. Not the one that me and my friends toss back and forth to each other when we make crappy mother moves, but the REAL one that is adorned with jewels and dove chocolates.

    I'll stay strong 'cause if moms like you can, then anyone can.

    Love to you dear woman, corageous and loving in south alberta (I re-named you since we are cyber best friends now, of course I have the honor)

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  35. I just wanted to say I cried as I read your post and each and every comment connected to it. I am a single mom of 3: The 3 Monkeys. My girls will be 18 and 16 this summer and my little boy is 10. Although we have had many, many hard times, I would go back in a heartbeat to do it all again. Not to change anything or to do anything different, but to re-live each and every moment again. Even the tough ones. I still go through my phases when I am uptight and high strung and I hate that about myself. But I have always, always tried to allow my kids to enjoy and love life as much as they can. They are only little once and they are so busy learning about this world that is so full of rules and expectations. That being said, I have always had compliments on the wonderful manners my kids have or how empathetic they are toward classmates. Just because I spoke quietly to my child in the middle of a melt down (and I sometimes cried too) instead of yelling, it does not mean I was not disciplining my child. Yelling jsut upsets them further and if I am speaking quietly, I have found that they will quiet down to be able to hear me. Yes, I let them touch things and wander around. This was a brand new world to them and they were discovering it! I am pleased to say, they are now honor roll students, my oldest is on her way to college to study nuclear medicine. They are all "team players" and although they do not like every person on this planet, they still find a way to work well together. They have been caught and rewarded for random acts of kindness at their schools. My other daughter is a magnet to young children and she has a tender spot in her heart for the special needs students in her school, and they for her. My son is going to make the most perfect boyfriend/husband some day. He is so attentive and is such a love bug. So to those who judge, and think kids should not be seen nor heard, I say how sad this world would be without witnissing the sheer delight and true unfiltered love of a child! Hooray for you Sierra for your declaration of not being sorry. I wish I had not been sorry a long, long time ago. You are a wonderful Mommy and I just know that your wonderful boys will grow up to be wonderful men!

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    1. Thanks for your encouragement and thank you for sharing your heart!

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  36. thank you so much for this post. I also have 3 little boys (4.5, 3 and 11 weeks) and I also apologize...a lot. I'm going to stop though. they are children and I know they learn by doing. they are energetic little boys and life is crazy but I certainly wouldn't trade it so I'm going to stop apologizing. thank you!

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    1. Good for you Julie! It's not easy being in the three-boys-club, but it sure is an amazing adventure isn't it??!

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  37. What a wonderful post. I have a 6 year old girl and a 15 month old boy. I agree in part that children do have to be allowed to be children however, they also need to be taught appropriate behavior for appropriate situations. I in no way gathered from your post that you allow your kids to run crazy. The example of the bakery is totally appropriate for them to be excited. They wouldn't be kids if they weren't. With my kids they know that there is a time and place for certain behavior. At the park, at grandma's, at home or at a party they are allowed to scream and yell and have absolute fun! When we go out to a nice restaurant they know that is not the time to scream and run. They sit calmly and busy themselves with various toys or books that are provided for them. I have been complimented by complete strangers many times on how well behaved my children are and they always add that sadly they see kids misbehave all the time with no consequences. Yes I absolutely agree that children have to be allowed to be children but they also need to be taught that there is a time and place for everything. :)

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    1. Completely agree about nicer restaurants. When I get those compliments from neighboring tables that my kids are behaving well, it means the world. It confirms that we are doing something right! There is a time and place for everything.

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    2. Isn't it affirming when someone does that? I have a 6-year-old boy and a 2 1/2-year-old girl. A few months ago, we were in the Seattle airport, sitting in the food court during a layover. My son and daughter were up at the windows, watching all the planes going by and my husband and I were a few tables back, keeping an eye on them. A woman had been sitting near where they were and she stopped by us when she left her chair. She asked, "Are you their parents?" Of course, the first internal reaction is, "Uh oh, what happened?" She smiled and said, "I wanted to tell you that your kids are so sweet to each other. Your son kept trying to lift your daughter up so she could see out the window better. And then he told me about the trip you've been on and that you're on your way home." She looked over at them and smiled again. I can't remember exactly what she said, but the gist was, "Thank you for having such well-behaved kids." My husband and I both thanked her and she went on her way.
      It's so nice when someone notices when children are well-behaved and acknowledges it! :) And my kids certainly have their share of times when they're being wild and crazy! Thank you for the reminder that there is a time and a place for both sides of them.

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    3. Ha! I do that too "yes those are my kids... why? waht did they do NOW?!" :)

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  38. Thank you for your post. It made me want to cry because I do all of that. I holler at them to get down off the furniture & clean up their mess & am constantly apologizing for them in public. This post helped me remember they will only be little for a very short while & sometimes I just need to let things be.

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    1. Oh man, I am still guilty of all of that too. Just this morning I was hollering about blankets being unfolded and thrown around the living room. I'm a work in progress. We all are!

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  39. Often times I forget that my boys, especially my oldest who is 5, is just trying to figure out how things works (and how to be a kid). He does things not to annoy me, but to explore and navigate through life - something adults also do - and yes, maybe to test limits. I've been trying to yell less and let little things go. It's been difficult, but definitely worth the effort. Thanks for sharing your story.

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    1. Thanks Romina for sharing that. I am trying to yell less too. That is true, that they ate figuring out a lot at their ages. We need to allow for them to mess up at times. You are a good mom for doing your best and challenging yourself. Peace to you!

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  40. I love this! I also have three little boys :)

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    1. Thanks for reading Julie! There are so many of us in the three-boys-club!

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  41. Such a great post! I find myself apologizing for a messy house when it's messy because I choose to spend a lot of time playing, loving and teaching my kids and a little time cleaning :) when we are out and my kids are so full of energy because they are excited I think to myself, isn't life through a child's eyes great! But I find myself apologizing to those around me for their excitement. When I really want to say "hey I am being
    a good mom and sorry if it offends you :) I do agree that there are far too many moms that let their kids "run around crazy without boundaries" but that is different than understanding that kids need to be kids. And different than a mom who is teaching coaching and setting healthy and develolmentally appropriate boundaries and getting nasty looks when her child melts down or screams in excitement. It doesn't mean that they are allowed to be disruptive and disreapectful, but it means that other adults could be a little more patient and understanding when a mom is letting her child be a kid while teaching them to be respectful, responsible, safe, kind, etc. I remember one time when Iwas in Costco and my 2 yr old (who looked 3 and had a language delay) screamed an ear piercing scream and an old lady looked at me with a horrified look. I looked at her and said he's two. She said "my children never acted like that." I wanted to say he is a kid, it was one loud scream out of fruatration, he is two and doesn't have words to express. Does that mean it is okay to let him scream ocer ans over? No, but understanding he ia jist a kid wiuld be nice. He was told that wasn't okay or we word have to leave. But I felt horrible like I should apologize, but he was just being a kid and learnkng. They have to "practice" somewhere and it would be nice if other adults were more understanding. Thank you for the "permissoon" to not apologize and know that I (and lots of other moms) are doing a great job Raising our kiddos!

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    1. You are right! They need so much practice! I am so sorry that you were shamed in Costco, and not only by some cranky mom who has definitely forgotten how kids are, but by actual staff. You are a great mom for trading your clean house in for happy attended-to children. Way-to-go mom!

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  42. It's easy for someone to comment on another's choice of child rearing techniques but these are people that either have no children or raised robots instead I raised two girls and two boys and raising children is not easy you pick your battles or they will be constant you can't continuously yell at children or they learn to ignore so good luck anonymous

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    1. That is good advice. They will learn to just ignore us if we nitpick about every little thing. "Pick and choose your battles" is one of the best pieces of advice my own mom gave me. Thanks Diane!

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  43. This is a great post!! I don't have kids and I always feel so bad when parents humiliate their kids for things that are not a big deal. Your kids will have happy memories!

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    1. Thanks for the kind words. It helps to get perspective from those that we are so concerned about being bothered by our children. Your encouragement means a lot:)

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  44. I don't have kids, but I have younger siblings and...

    I know you said in the comments you're not saying kids should be able to run amok, but it sure sounds like it.

    I try to be understanding of parents with small kids, but it drives me up a wall when apparently it's just because they're little that they have to kick my chair over and over.

    And they MUST make a bunch of noise during the lecture that's far over their head - but they can't do it in the provided childcare center. Oh no.

    And it honestly sounds a lot like you're recommending exactly that type of behavior.

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    1. Dear Anon,
      Sounds like you have had a few bad experiences with unruly children. That's a bummer. I in no way am recommending kids run amok. If my kid were kicking your chair, I would stop him right away and have him apologize.

      Please continue to try to be understanding. Most of us are doing the best we can.

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  45. Such a Great post and comments! I raised 6 wonderful sons, and am now a grandmother. Most boys LOVE noise,action and getting physical (wrestling). My only regret is not allowing for more of this natural and needed behavior at home. Along with not fully appreciating their constant energy and enthusiasm. No need to apologize for their healthy zest for life, but certainly okay to apologize to them for your off days as a mom and assure them of your unconditional love! Children are blessings every day and they only have one childhood! Carry on with confidence and a smile!

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    1. SIX BOYS!! You are SUPER MAMA!! I try to remember that someday they will thank me for letting them just be themselves. My mom who raised 5 of us says you forget how hard it was. I rely on that heavily when the days are long and hard. So why not try to make the best of it? I think I can... I think I can... I think I can :)

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  46. As a 53yr old mother of 4, recovering judgmental, know it all, I have to smile at Annonymous's comments. God has a sense of humor. Just you wait and see. I've seen it countless times. :-) People eating their words...Not a tasty treat...Trust me. I know from experience.

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    1. Miriam,
      Thanks for your honesty. It's so cool to hear about when God changes people and their hearts.

      Sierra

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  47. Wow, thank you. I have a 2-year-old wonderfully crazy little boy. He is our 2nd child after a very quiet little girl who is about to turn 21. He is wild and crazy , crabby if he doesn't nap, growls like wild animals, plays until he literally falls into my arms at night to sleep. He is loud and unpredictable when he runs in circles with his eyes closed. He is also sweet and says hi to anyone, shows compassion when his cousins cry, kisses me every time I ask and runs to me yelling Mommy like I am the most important thing EVER. I do apologize for him all the time. I even apologize for him when I know it is not that big of a deal. I do discipline, I do teach him to be respectful. Many meals on a night out have been eaten alone because my husband took our screaming/growling dino out to the car to watch Lion King and have a backseat picnic. Thank you for opening my eyes. He is a little boy and I need to know that it is ok for him to be a little crazy -- not disrespectful on my part and ruin everyone's day around me -- but a squeal here or there is all right, wanting to open a door alone is ok, wanting to explore new places and "talking" with everyone is fine. I will apologize much less.

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    1. What a sweet description of your little boy. I read it as if I was reading a beautifully illustrated children's book! He sounds like a complete joy, and it sounds like at the end of the day that you and your husband fall in to bed exhausted. Just like my husband and I do:) It's so much work isn't it? Since writing this post it has really held me accountable. I still find myself about to apologize for their sweet little boy ways. Good for you for challenging yourself to apologize less. He will thank you someday for your well-balanced parenting.

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  48. I think you're mostly right about apologizing for our kids. Many of the things you mentioned (what my kids eat, wear, or what we do in our own home) are none of anybody else's business. No need to apologize.

    Other things that you mentioned (hitting, grabbing, not sharing, or tantrums) are things that my children should apologize for themselves. I can't ask forgiveness for someone else's sins, but they should be trained to apologize when they have wronged someone else.

    And when it comes to childish (not sinful) behavior in public. I don't think I owe others an apology, but I do feel I owe them respect and sometimes gratitude. It is not required that other people need to put up with or appreciate my children. Yet I have been blessed many times when others have shown patience or understanding to me. Many teachers and friends have shown kindness in spite of my children's challenging behavior. And it seems right to acknowledge that kindness with gratitude rather than expecting it of them as my right.

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    1. I totally agree that we need to teach kids to apologize when they hit,grab, tantrum, don't share. And I lead my kids over to do just that when their behavior has affected someone in that way. No argument there at all.

      And I totally agree that their is a difference between childish behavior, and sinful, intentional behavior. Both need to be addressed, but in different ways. That's where I need work! An accidental milk spill is different than intentionally spitting out milk on the carpet because it's funny.

      It's such a gracious act when people are tolerant and loving towards our kids when they do mess up.

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    2. Boy, I need work, too! I think I tend to address the childish behavior too much because it is irritating to me, while I let the sinful behavior go because it's just easier to overlook. It's so hard to find the correct balance.

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    3. I agree so much. I'm praying for you and all the moms that are in the midst of finding the balance!

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  49. All good unless your husband has a problem with it, though you don't do the yelling to the kids but the husband comes home and yells at you, and someone gets on your case and threatens to take the kids because you are not perfect, up on the mess, and let the kids play outside. Strangers still have parenting ideas and can mess with your life, and take your life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness away and your children. :(. So glad to hear of luckier people... Just wish I could be and people like you would understand and help rather than hurt.

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    1. I am so sad by what you are sharing. It sounds like you have been through a lot. You are right, it is hard to do things/parent certain ways without the support of your husband and even understanding strangers. I want to help moms like you. I want to support women like you who aren't finding it in their own communities. I am serious when I say that I will be praying for you: that you will be reunited with your kids and surrounded by people that love you and help you through this tough season. God is bigger than even the worst circumstances and tragedy. He cares deeply for you and he is all about families being together and reconciled. Hope you read this. Lots of love to you sister.

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  50. I think you should apologize for your kids. And I don't mean the blog poster specifically, but every parent. When your kids are crazy outside of the home, you should apologize because it tells other people that you care about your children and you respect the needs/wants of others. You shouldn't feel bad if they go a little bonkers or one has a tantrum, but you should always apologize to anyone he/they disturb. And you should tell your children to apologize, too, so they learn that other people's feelings matter. It's just nice manners on Mom/Dad's part, and children learn by example.

    For example, since most people seem to be reading comprehension deficient, last night I took my two boys (7 and almost-5) to the store to get cat food. My boys run everywhere. EVERYWHERE. They did the 50-yard dash into the store doors, through the main aisle and down a side aisle to the pet stuff. Twice an adult had to stop on a dime to keep from colliding with one of them. I apologized, and I asked both boys to say "I'm sorry," and reminded them to walk. Each time, the person said, "Oh, don't worry, I have boys" or something like that. It makes it look as if you care :)

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    1. When my kids bump in to people, kick their seat, etc. I tell them "oops, you just bonked in to them/kicked their chair/etc." and have them say "sorry" or "excuse me." My kids are all 5 and under, so they are still learning that those little bonks and nudges and kicks are bothersome to people. I use every one of those accidents as an opportunity to teach them that it's good to address it and take responsibility and to try and not do it again.

      I just feel like I can't apologize for that anymore as if it is all my fault. It's my kid's good ol' fashioned free will. But it is my job to do all the training possible so that eventually, they make good choices on their own, and say excuse me by instinct.

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  51. WHERE was this article 10 years ago?? No seriously, I love this. As a mom of a slightly older boy now, I try so hard to love on my girlfriends in the throes of those extra-wild early years, I don't want others to make them feel like something is wrong with their little boys for being little boys! I wish I had apologized a little less, I also wish I had been blessed with more encouragement from moms who had survived it before me. Thanks for your willingness to put it out there!

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    1. Thank you for loving on those friends! They need it so much! Now YOU get to be the encouragement to them. I love encouraging moms. I am so glad you loved it.

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  52. i really like this post. i think that allowing kids to be kids and figure out how to navigate the world and manage their emotions without being constantly criticized and apologized for is really important. i think also that there are some very interesting things to think about in terms of our gendered responses to kids' behaviors, and how that informs their development of entitlement and perceptions of space... this is a really interesting post that i think is important, and doesn't necessarily conflict with your approach but maybe helps inform how you talk to kids (especially boys) about respecting other people's space and property...

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/the-problem-with-boys-will-be-boys_b_3186555.html

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    1. Thanks! I'll check it out. I'm excited to read it.

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  53. I think anyone who doesn't understand what you're saying in this post is someone who doesn't have kids! LOL

    Thanks for writing this. My children have medical issues that mean I parent differently than I would if they were totally "normal" kids, and I find that it makes me a far more open parent in other ways. Their lives are so restricted by food that when they have the opportunity to run, play, and BE normal kids, well, I let them!

    By no means am I encouraging "bad" behavior - I think we're all in agreement that letting kids run wild is not okay. But my oldest son is only 3 and seems to be just as stubborn as his Mama - he doesn't really learn anything until he has done it for himself and experienced the negative repercussion personally!

    I'm tired of apologizing for it. I don't let him run wild, and I make him clean up his messes and apologize when we're out in public and he's done something that disturbs another person. But for being him? For being enthusiastic TIMES 100? For screaming in joy because he's riding in the grocery cart? For letting me know exactly how disappointed he is in having to leave the store when he was just getting his play-groove on? Well, that's just a 3 year old being a 3 year old.

    And I'm not apologizing for that. My son is learning how to function in the world. The grown-ups around us are already supposed to know. They need to show patience to the little ones trying to learn the world - and to the Moms who are struggling to show them the world while not ticking everyone else off simultaneously! :-)

    I think you sound like an excellent mother! Wish I had friends like you that my kids could go play with. My sons will hear "no" so much in their life...must we start so young with so many things? It would be easier to fill their lives with "yes" with friends like you! Hugs, Mama!

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    1. Thanks for sharing your story. I wish you were in our neighborhood for us to play with too:)

      I am doing my "Favorite Quotes" on today's post, and I am going to feature some of what you have shared:)

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    2. lol Carrie, your 3 year old sounds JUST like mine. He has to do it all himself or he just doesn't understand WHY NOT? My sis is a nurse at a children's hospital so sometimes I just call her and ask "is this going to kill him"? My husband just laughs and says "well he came by his stubbornness honestly" as both my husband and I are very strong-willed, stubborn ppl. If it doesn't kill him, he'll learn. :-)

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  54. I understand your overall goal with this piece, and as the mother of a toddler boy I agree up to a point. But I don't think the people who are suggesting that kids need to be accountable for their actions are "missing the point" of the piece, as you keep suggesting. To me, there's a big difference between freaking out about dropped crayons (which seems excessive...do people really do that?) versus kids blocking people in doorways. My saying, "I'm sorry" in those moments doesn't - to me - mean that I am sorry my child is a burden on society. It means that he got in your way, and he doesn't know to apologize for that for himself, so I as his parent will. And I AM sorry that my son has inconvenienced someone else, just as I'd be sorry that I had done it myself. I think apologizing for the bigger issues is appropriate, and not sweating the smaller stuff is the message to hold onto here.

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    1. Very well said

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    2. Sadie, you said it perfectly!! This is what I was thinking when reading the article, but didn't know how to articulate it as well as you did!

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  55. Such a refreshing approach to feelings all parents of toddlers are familiar with, boys or girls! Thank you for sharing. This is the best blog entry that I have read in a long time- and the most helpful!

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    1. Thanks Qiana! You are such an encouragement. It's hard to share personal things, especially about your own parenting, but I think that it can be helpful when it encourages others.
      Thanks so much for reading.

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  56. I have 2 boys - 18 and 20. The oldest was a dream - so compliant that when he slammed doors or made messes I was thrilled. All he wanted to do was "read" books. Now he's a computer geek and a quiet, gentle soul. The younger one more than made up for his brother and at least a dozen more boys. Thank God we live on a farm and nobody cared how much noise and mess he made. I refused to apologize for him and kept telling him how much God loved him and that he was God's gift to us. I taught him that as long as he was always truthful I would back him up when adults began pointing fingers. Yes, we did a lot of training and disciplining. People often accused us of being too strict and then the same people would turn around and ask if our son was adhd (he's not). All this to encourage you mamas' with young sons. Take to heart everything most of the other posters have said. Your boys will grow up to be beautiful men of God and not wild hellions. That 18 year-old is now teaching Children's Church and is assissting our youth pastor with the youth group. Adults come to him for advise on dealing with wild children. As he says "I was one, so I oughta know what works or doesn't work."

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  57. I have 3 girls and a boy, ages 14 down to 9. There have been ALOT of tears, prayers, laughs, fights, etc, over the years. Forever in my mind is an encounter I had at my local commissary. My husband was deployed, 4 kids under the age of 5, payday-what was I thinking? My little ones were great-they stayed close and "helped" all along the way. But....they were little(distracted, getting in people's way) and the baby was fussing-needing to nurse. I overheard a young lady, who was with her mother, say, "I don't understand WHY people bring their kids to the grocery store!" It hurt. I was embarrassed. I was frustrated with my kids. I wanted to shout and cry: "My husband is gone- I have NO ONE to help me!"
    Maybe that young lady realizes now the challenges of parenting, but it doesn't matter. It made ME compassionate towards that mom with the screaming baby in aisle 9. If I can help one mom breathe easier and let her know: it's all good, I'm ok with that.

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  58. I'm the teacher who faces a classroom full of children like yours. They have rarely been told "no" or been given boundaries. You will not damage their egos or crush their self-esteem by telling them to put their toys away every night or help clean up their messes. There are rules (and laws) of behavior for adults..... and non-acceptable behavior should be explained clearly at a level that the child can understand, as well as consequences. The 4 year old free-spirit of today is the inconsiderate college roommate of the future who leaves clothes laying around the room and walks around giving everyone the "no one's going to tell me what to do" attitude. What is perceived as cute at a young age is obnoxious when they get older. Self-control and good manners don't magically happen. They are taught... calmly and with love. And yes, I have children who are now adults and they look at the current generation of self-entitled young people and predict that they will have a difficult time in the "real world".

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  59. I'm sorry, I think this is a decent post but there's just one thing I can't figure out: What does any of this have to do with having boys? If you had girls would you "need" to apologize if they behaved this way? *Children* are messy; *Children* can be loud, and so on. It has absolutely nothing to do with "boys will be boys". Kids will be challenging, regardless of what is between their legs.

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    1. Anonymous, maybe because the author HAS boys and not girls. Btw, I was the perfectly well-behaved child that followed all the rules while my sister was the wild child. I rebelled as a teenager and bunked all the rules. While my sister, the "wild child" was a perfect teenager who went on to be a pediatric nurse. Just because a child is wild, does not mean they will be hell as adults. And self-control is MUCH easier to maintain when you know you don't have to do it ALL the time, every day, all day. If adults did, there wouldn't be bars, sporting events, or any of that "relaxing" stuff for adults. And WHY would I have him put all his toys away every single night when the next day we are going to pull the exact same ones out and set them up all over again, the exact way they were the day before? So my house isn't spotless. Who cares?

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    2. Yeah, since I have all boys, it's all I know. So i am writing from my own experience. It's funny because I have heard it all. That boys are SOOO different than girls and that girls are JUST as crazy!

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  60. Just found your blog via a Facebook repost. Good post and comments. THANK YOU, blog host, for not automatically deleting the comments that didn't agree with you -- I see that far too often on blogs these days (comments deleted, but as a reader you know they were dissenting by the counter-comments left behind) -- I know it's a blogger's right, but it's somehow sad.... And while I don't totally agree with Anonymous (not sure he/she got the part where you say "this is HOW we instill rules and expectations") I don't love the automatic responses of "do you even HAVE children?!" It is completely possible that Anonymous has children and that they are not "neurotic" as one commenter charged. I wish this was a world where we could receive a dissenting opinion without making assumptions about the other person, but I see that so much esp. on parenting blogs.

    ANYWAY, I would love to hear your opinion on another related topic -- letting little ones "fight it out" when they are in conflict. I read once in an old book about a father who didn't mind any amount of "hollerin' and rasslin'" and loud laughter (what he called "boy noise") but only objected to rancorous voices. (He was talking about behavior at home, not out in public, so I should also make that clarification) At first I didn't get the difference, but then after spending time around children in both situations I could hear it. Sometimes they are just having fun and letting off steam. It's 4 a.m and I'm not putting this very well but I get the feeling that not letting kids do this sort of thing (i.e., parent stepping in and stopping it IMMEDIATELY every time they hear a disagreement rear its head) means you're not letting them figure out how to handle conflict. I'd love to hear your (and other folks') opinions on this though, as it's still a thought-in-progress. Maybe I wouldn't mind hearing the parent stepping in if they did it calmly, but I so often hear a lot of yelling which is way more stressful than hearing whatever small contradiction was going on at knee-level, plus it never seems to make sense. "I don't like you yelling at your brother, so I'm going to yell EVEN LOUDER AT BOTH OF YOU" seems to be the message they're getting, and I bet it's confusing.

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    1. Thanks for your words Kay. It is hard to read the comments that some people leave, but I am learning that I just need to not take it personally. If people knew me, and saw me in everyday life, there would be no need to have to defend my thoughts on this matter. But they don't, and I have to remember that all they know of me is this one tiny post.

      Oh I would love to wrote about this, well at least what my take is on it. Having three boys I run in to this ALL THE TIME:) This next week I will touch on the subject. I may even have a few other moms share their thoughts/experiences!

      Thanks for the idea!! I'm excited!

      Sierra

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  61. What an encouragement! I have 4 precious knights-in-training. We are raising our boys using the Bible as our guide for love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness. They are all under 7. Like any imperfect person, they all have bad days, bad attitudes, bad actions. And its funny how many of those bad days stem from mommy being in a bad mood, which usually results from not having a quiet time with the Lord! I find that as I am able to read my Bible and pray and seek Gods wisdom, that He fills me up with peace. I am able to relax more in the day to day messes and see the boys for who God wants them to be, and not as they are today. Keeping their future in mind helps me to discipline appropriately and require them to follow the guidelines we have taught them.
    It is so frustrating when we go in public and one of the kids has a melt down. I have cried, and been embarrassed. Its at those moments that I wish I had not gone out at all. But as I have gotten older, I realize kids are not perfect, nor can we expect them to be. I do expect them to obey and unfortunately, when they choose not to, they get disciplined- no matter if we are in public or not. But if they are just being children and accidentally do something, get excited and are a little loud, pour crackers all over their shirt, decide to wash the toilet with their toothbrush, yell at their brother for taking a toy, spill their water on the highchair, get chips out the cabinet and feed them to the dog, put dirty clothes in the trash instead of the hamper, place their dirty socks back in the drawer, or proceed to taste play-doh, or any other silly kid thing, I have decided to calmly teach them the proper thing to do along the way instead of expecting them to have already known. I find that its really easy to expect the younger ones to behave like the older ones. I do that without even realizing!
    God has extended immense grace to me, and I pray I can extend that to my kids as well.-Teaching them along the way in a constructive manner with their best interest in mind, placing my immediate feelings aside!
    My house is a "beautiful mess". Its definitely not super clean or picked up, but there are boundaries to where they can jump on the furniture, where they can throw balls, and how they treat their toys! They are smart little people, and are able to follow rules and have fun at the same time! They love when we get down on the floor and play spy cars and superheroes. They learn to respect other peoples property by watching us interact with others. They learn to behave in public by actually going out in public! They are going to mess up, embarrass us and themselves. So we just have to love them as they are and train them as they grow!
    You are doing a great job with your boys, and I am glad you love them enough to train them and put so much time into them!
    Good luck raising your own knights!

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    1. Yes YEs YES! THanks for this:) I am raising knights. Mighty Men of God we call them. I even made up a song about it that I sing to them. I consider it a great responsibility and a total joy to be raising these boys up to be loving, honorable and responsible mighty men of God:)

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  62. In raising our sons, my husband and I learned early on that disciplining the behavior only teach's them how to act around other people. Instead, I want to go after their hearts because after all, that is where the behavior is coming from. If I focus on why they are acting a certain way and not look at what is coming from their heart we will have missed an awesome opportunity to teach them about their character. In the end a child's character will be the only thing that keeps them on a straight path. I also try and relax about how they are "acting". After all, I am a girl and don't understand why boys act the way they do sometimes and my husband has to let me in on that from time to time so I don't overreact to some of their craziness. :)

    Just my 2 cents...

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    1. My husband has to explain things to me all the time too. A very frequent saying in our house is "change your heart" when they are being cruel or mean and angry. We practice having good attitudes and happy hearts, even when we are disappointed or upset. You are exactly right, that these boys have heart that we need to tend to. Thanks for mentioning that.

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  63. Boys will be boys and I have 1 son and 2 girls. So right now my wife is teaching me all about girls. My opinion is boys are so much easier!! Girls scare me to death and I've got the feeling I'm gonna be a shotgun DADDY!!!!!

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    1. I hope to raise boys that shot gun daddies will love and receive in as good son-in-laws! Thanks for your honest input. Love it!

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  64. I so needed to stumble upon your blog today! I have so many friends with little girls and I always feel the need to apologize for my very rambunctious little boy. No more. He is a boy, there is no denying it and I need to relax and enjoy it!

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    1. Yes enjoy it. I hear that we will forget about the bad days later on. So let's try to make as many good days as possible:)

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  65. I agree with many of your points, but I don't think you supported your case well with your examples, which I think is what some of the critics were trying to say. You make many good and valid points, but then you say something like "Sorry he HIT" as part of your list of things you won't apologize for anymore. This strikes me as weakening your case significantly. When is it ever acceptable for a child to hit someone under any circumstances? That's not something I as a stranger EVER need to endure (or my child needs to endure), even if an apology follows. I certainly should not be expected to just smile and wave it off as boys being boys. Sorry he took that toy away? Same thing. It's never acceptable to grab a toy away from someone, much less someone (child or adult) you don't know. You should have found better examples of "boys being boys" rather than examples of "boys being maladjusted and anti-social". I think the critics wouldn't have anything to latch onto if you examples were chosen a little more carefully and thoughtfully. Not all behavior falls into the same category, and to an impartial observer it looks like you're trying to say it all does.

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    1. I'm not trying to support a case. I am just being honest about what life looks like for me. With three boys. I have them apologize for hitting or being mean. When a kid is one, it is normal for him to take toys away or push. They are in the middle of learning to share and be conscious of how their behavior affects those around them. It's common for kids to hit when they don't have the words to say "hey! I was playing with that first!" and that is when I come in and have him apologize, and we we talk about hands are for loving and helping, not hitting. The examples I gave of "boys being boys" are examples of the ways MY boys are being boys. I am not writing to cover all my bases and please observers who don't even know me. I am writing from my heart and sharing about my every days in hopes to show other moms that they are not alone in the daily adventures of raising small kiddos. Especially boys.

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    2. I don't understand why some people are not getting that you are not condoning hitting or stealing toys as okay. What I gathered from this blog is that there are things that kids inevitably do over and over again such as hitting ,and in my two year old's case biting and pinching. We should lovingly train them how to behave but shouldn't have to continually apologize for their learning process. This blog was so encouraging for me because as I mentioned I have a two year old boy and now a six month old boy and I have constantly been made to feel like a bad mother because he bites and pinches. I didn't teach him these things, they are his natural expressions of frustration, anger and excitement. I let him know these behaviours hurt others and I am quite confident that he is not going to go off to college still biting and pinching. It is nice to know that there are other moms out there who deal with the same issues and are feeling the same way. Thankyou.

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  66. I think the saying boys will b boys is pathedic an the most disturding thing I have ever heard One becuz by not helping them in the right direction could cuz kids to lash out to other children there's a difference when kids are acting over excited an being crazy rather than a kid lashing at other children an punching an hitting just becuz I don't think that's just a kid being a kid obvisously that is being tought to do things like that so as far as I'm concerned in any sitution like that ,that would an exception of saying sorry rather than the other logic's kids being kids theres a difference between violence an kids being over excited an making a messy house or jumping on the coach to certain extents disipline is allowed NOT spanking but handled in a matter where they learn right from wrong...

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  67. I love it! I hate apologizing for my boys and for some reason I can't seem to stop myself from doing it. People who rant and rave against small children were probably the brattiest ones when they were little anyway. (Or so I tell myself. LOL)

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  68. I had boys and I have four grandsons and no, you shouldn't have to apologize for them constantly, but you also have to make them behave in such a way in public that makes them enjoyable to be around. I find too many parents ignore their children in public and allow them to pretty much do as they please disrupting others while those around them are trying to have a nice time also. There is a happy medium here that parents should aspire to.

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  69. This is the first time I've read your blog and I just want to say thank you! I have 3 boys, now 11, 8, and 6 (yes, I survived the early years!)and I think I apologized too much for their "just being boys" behavior and sometimes still do. I lean a little too much towards the legalistic side and have to be careful to not be a rules czar. This was refreshing and real and I appreciate it. And, don't worry about anonymous - there's one in every crowd :)

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    1. There’s A LOT of us in every crowd! Your children are not grown yet. It can be surprising and even heartbreaking to learn of attitudes and habits in your grown children you don’t agree with.

      The life of a parent with adult children is far different from the life of a parent with growing children! Prepare yourself for disappointment. They may grow up to be responsible in one way or another and you will probably have good times together occasionally, but there will be facts of their lives you will be saddened over.

      Time reveals all things, and as the mother of 5 grown children I can attest to this. It’s not all roses; expect the pain of a few thorns once in a while. Don’t expect fantasy; this is real life.

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  70. Love your blog and especially this post! But as an adoptive mom, the `dresses like an orphan` comment bothered me. I know that was your intention at all, which is why I wanted to point that out.. you are a great mom and I appreciate the encouragement this post and your blog give to All of us moms of boys (and girls)!

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    1. Sorry, that should say NOT your intention.. :)

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  71. I am a single parent of 2 boys, now 11 and 13. My house was a disaster and I made no apologies. My concern is with how many parents allow their children to run wild and destroy things out in public under the excuse of "kids will be kids". I work as a hair stylist and I dont know how many times a mother has had a service where she has to be sitting in my chair for over an hour yet chooses to bring her small children with no one to help her watch them. Its very inconsiderate to the other clients trying to relax and treat them selves when client "A"s kids are running all over and grabbing at sharp shears, hot irons or dashing in front of stylists carrying bowls of color/bleach that can potentially blind a child. Not every establishment is CHILDPROOF. If you cant control your children in a potentially dangerous situation, then dont put them in that situation. If I couldnt control my kids out in public I took them home. Kids do need to be free spirits but mine are free spirits outside or at home, in public they are taught restraint.

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  72. sorry you don't like anonymous opinion, but remembered where you were when Amie's children were being boys. They were at her home in their environment. You shouldn't have to apologize for your home and people coming in should understand that everyone's home is up to them to run. Children need creative time, and mess making time and kudos to having them assist in cleaning it up. HOWEVER, I disagree with letting children run amok in public areas. It is not safe, it is not polite and it is NOT good parenting. Children will need to learn that there are times and places for things. You behave differently in different circumstances. This you should practice at home and then practice in society. Children should learn manners and self control. It will serve them well later.

    I have seen those with like beliefs and you do society or your children no service when you don't expect them to behave according to the circumstance. DO they have to be little professors? no, but they shouldn't touch things that aren't theirs, mess up display glass for someone else to clean after either. It is RUDE. it is not being boys it is being ill mannered. If you can't figure it out, I suggest you find someone that can assist you instead of rationalizing your mismanagement.
    What you raise is what you get. You are not raising children, you are raising adults. You raise children, you will get big children, you raise responsible adults and that is what you get. Too many people have the like mindedness that many of this blog seems to agree with- and that is why we have the irresponsibility problems we have today, and YES, I do have adult children. All college graduates and one is a doctor- you are welcome. Please return the favor.

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    1. Wow. I tend to not get involved in hot debates like this, but this one irritated me a bit. This seems to be pretty harsh judgment from someone who I'm assuming doesn't even know Sierra or her children. Your comment seems quite arrogant and judgmental but maybe that's just my interpretation. Why is it necessary to comment that your children are all college graduates and one is a doctor? Does that make them better than others or you a better mom? There are plenty of rude and unkind college graduates and doctors, I might add. I've met several of them. My father never finished college but was an intelligent, good, respectable man who worked hard and who loved God and his family and raised all of his children to respect others and authority. And above all, LOVED his children with an unwavering love no matter what we did. Attitudes like this really irritate me to my core- rather than supporting and encouraging (and challenging) other women, we tear down and judge and compare (and view ourselves as better or having it all together based on the fact that our children do x, y, or z.

      I try to raise my children to be respectful and obedient and probably err on that side of being overly concerned with their behavior in public (anyone who knows me knows this is true, and I have a 4 year old, 3 year old, and 2 year old, all boys). I'm probably the extreme of being overly concerned with how they act in public (and I am constantly apologizing and concerned with my children being respectful), so that's the personality I'm coming from. Yet your comment seemed really harsh. I don't think she was saying that children should be allowed to run crazy or be disrespectful to others....what she seems to be saying is that when your boy does something in public (that he will inevitably do, as that is when they tend to push the limits), that you do not need your focus to be on the expectations of OTHERS. My focus should be on loving them and teaching them how to be respectful and obedient....yet allowing them to be boys and if they get boisterous or make mistakes- it doesn't mean I'm a bad parent, or that I have to yell at them or get angry, it just means I have boys and I can take that opportunity to redirect- or evaluate the situation as to whether or not it's just them being kids and I'm annoyed because it's just a little annoying and not because they're being disrespectful or defiant. If I disciplined my boys every time they did something that was a "why did you feel the need to do that?" or "that's just not logical" or "do you really need to be that loud?" sort of situations....I would be a nonstop disciplinarian dictator who didn't allow her children any freedom. THOSE are often the children who go nuts on people once they're out of the house, not the opposite.

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    2. (cont.) Those who JUDGE me are responsible for their own judgmental attitudes and I need to be confident in knowing that my children are loved and that this person's small snippet or view into my life, isn't reflective of my parenting in its entirety. My prayer is that I do not raise my children to be arrogantly judgmental towards others. If I am raising them to love others, respect others, and yet raising them and allowing them to "be boys", I foster their love and grace towards others. I foster their ability to be men and to lead and not be passive/aggressive. It's their nature to take charge and be outgoing for the most part. I think love and grace are two of the most important values I can instill in them as functioning adults. I still remember when I had my youngest, who had serious issues due to his birth. He would go ballistic in certain situations sometimes because of medical reasons in the beginning. I could see others judgmental looks towards me, their arrogant attitudes, and it was hurtful and not beneficial. And yes, I needed to get out occasionally and teach him to deal with those issues....I wasn't going to hole up in my house 24/7. I did that enough due to the nature of his medical issues and the fact my husband traveled and I had no family to help me. I would argue that their judgmental, arrogant attitudes towards me did NOT do me any "service." There are more constructive ways to share criticism rather than doing it judgmentally and assuming that you know the writers' children or her intention in writing. I'm not completely sure I 100% agree with her, yet I can treat her respectfully and not assume I know everything about the situation and judge her in a way that is extremely discouraging.

      Sierra, I commend you for desiring to love your children through their little years and for desiring to foster their nature as "boys" while also teaching them respect and love for others. I commend you for desiring to minister to them and love your family and take the focus off of others' expectations and what their opinions are- to worry about only one opinion, that of Christ. There is a difference in kids being kids and being poorly parented. I will choose to not give into my child's tantrum and remain calm in public rather than yell at him. If that means removing him from the situation or ignoring it...then I am the parent and I know what is best for him in order to teach him that's not appropriate and will not be responded to. I have one child who FEEDS on negative responses, and will do anything for attention (has been like this since birth, it is not an environment thing). As a mother who knows his heart more than anyone except the Lord, I know that for him, no reaction on my part at times is the best response for him to teach him that he does not get his way. Other times, I use those opportunity to teach him natural consequences, other times, I remove him from the situation and discipline him. I am the mother and I will do what is appropriate for my family and I will not apologize if you don't find it appropriate in your mind.

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    3. As a side note...I DO in fact believe that putting their little prints on glass IS in fact, them being little boys. Some day when I am grown and my children are all out of the house, I will miss their little handprints- the sign of love and little ones being in the house. If we're in public and they put their hands on the glass, are they horrible children? Seriously? Sure, it's a chance to redirect (I usually say, "honey, please don't put your hands on that window- someone has to clean that up and it's not very kind if we make more work for them.") Yet...they're not bad boys because they touch the window, they are CHILDREN for goodness sake. They're curious and do things without thinking and in my opinion, it's just an opportunity to love them and encourage them to make good choices (or clean up their messes) so that they can put others first. Being rude comes naturally to us as humans, as your post attests to. We all need to work on it.

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  73. Had to chime in here.... I have 5 boys - ages 9,7,6,2, and 10 months. Your post made me chuckle. I have been making a concentrated effort lately to be more like this - to stop telling everyone and their brother that "I'm sorry my kids are *insert obnoxious behavior here*." Thanks for a good laugh and a reminder to just let it be.

    Oh. And to those naysayers who think we are doing everyone a disservice: There is a difference in kids being kids and kids being rude and poorly parented. When I am in the grocery store and my 2 year old is mad because I won't give him a candy bar and he is screaming and I am ignoring him, do not ask for my apology. No, I will not give in to his tantrum just to accommodate you. In the waiting room, they are trying to be patient, but if it gets difficult and the baby cries or one of them laughs at a fart joke a little too loudly, you will have to just get over it. This is not bad parenting on my part - this is boys being boys. They are not perfect any more than I or, dare I say ... you. Kids make messes, they make mistakes, and they behave inappropriately at times. That is how they learn to do better.

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    1. Amen, amen, amen!! :) I agree wholeheartedly. :)

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    2. I don't think the issue is the child doing the "act" but rather the parent not "acting" appropriately...i.e. if your child is screaming in a grocery store, I'm not glaring at him, OR at you for not giving him a candy, but I am expecting you to leave the store with him until he calms down. Of course "kids will be kids" and that's why I would completely understand if you had to take out your child. I never feel annoyed with the child yelling or having a tantrum, but rather with the parent who is as you say "ignoring" the child. And children don't "learn to do better" from just making a mess or mistake...they learn when the parents allow them to make that mess or mistake BUT then also guide them on how to fix it. By the way, I have 2 children of my own.

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  74. I only have one boy and I really need to learn from your post. I yell too much and apologies too much. I need to respect him and his age and move on :) it is hard sometimes when people stare. It seeks unless you have been through it yourself you will never get it.

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  75. Thank you, thank you! I have two boys, 4 and 2, and a little lady on the way. Before we found out the gender I was terrified of life with 3 boys. Thank you for the encouragement. Thank you for the reminder that my children are not adults, they are children! Let them be kids more and apologize less. Enjoy them more and worry less.

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  76. I stumbled upon this blog post on Pinterest, of all places, on a day I really needed to read it. Thank you. :) God bless!

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  77. Well said! I have a 1 1/2 year old boy and who knows, I may have more one day. I just love your attitude about it and I might as well start thinking like that now.

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  78. Oh man, I wish I lived near you two because I could sure use some good role models for not apologizing, especially now that I have a very curious, active almost two year old boy. So different than my daughter when she was that age - quiet, responsive, happy to sit still and color. Instead we run around the library or the restaurant or wherever we are.

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    1. I wish you lived closer too! Hoping you find other cools moms close by:)

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  79. Thanks for your article. My son is now 13 and I almost cried as I read through all of these posts. I have been super critical of my own parenting skills all of these years and I agree that we need to show more love, grace and support to each other. When I see someone out in public whose child is having a meltdown that day, I at least give them an understating look and try to offer a "hang in there" comment if possible. I have been there and know how hard some of the days can seem. Thank you for your honesty. Your love for your children shines through your writing.

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  80. So very true! I have a 4-year-old boy and boy/girl twins who just turned 1. I do think there ARE times when loud talking and jumping around aren't appropriate, but here's the thing - they have to learn! They don't automatically know that some things are okay at home and not okay at a restaurant. So they have to mess up a time or two (or 30) until they understand. Great post. Great reminder.

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  81. I totally get this post. It's not about letting your kids be wild and destructive. It's about allowing them the freedom (within reason) to test themselves and learn about their world. How do you know what dirt tastes like if you've never tried it? Or how to pour milk from a heavy jug if you've never lifted one? It's about raising confident adults. My philosophy is much the same. My kids have a lot of rules (maybe too many!) but they have wonderful freedoms, too. My next door neighbor, an elderly woman, came outside in a panic this morning and my oldest son scaled the tree in our front yard. My neighbor shouted about broken necks and concussions, warning me to "make him get down". Instead, I calmly reminded her that I was watching to make sure he was being as safe as possible and would intervene if I felt necessary. Guess what? He climbed to the top, retrieved a lost Frisbee, and returned down with the confident ease of someone who trusts their own body and instincts. I couldn't be prouder!

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    1. You handled that so well! Way to go Mom!!

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  82. That's an interesting perspective.

    I agree that we should't constantly say we're sorry. I agree that children cannot be expected to act like adults. I agree that the best thing to do is remain calm, focus on what really matters, and have the kids help clean up their own messes.

    However, I don't agree about the focus on "boys will be boys". Girls should be allowed to be loud and active and messy too. And being a boy is not an excuse for bad behavior.

    The line is fine between treating children like children and allowing them to be monsters. I hope we parents all find it. If for example your kids constantly have bad behavior outside the home, it's a sign we have probably not been strict enough at home.

    What do you think?

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    1. I focus on "boys will be boys" only because I only have boys:) And by that, I mean that I need to allow them to be adventurous, and I need to allow them to take chances. I need to let them run their dump trucks through the mud and puddles. I never meant "boys will be boys" to mean that they can run amok and do whatever they please. That is sooo not how I raise my boys.

      I don't even know if I agree that the line is fine between allowing kids to be kids and allowing them to be monsters. I think the difference is very obvious, and daily I focus on that balance. I look at their heart: is Max acting up because he is trying to annoy me or be rebellious? If so, then there is a problem. Is he acting up because we are at Target and he is excited to see the toys and look at legos? Then I need to address this situation differently. He is five. He is excited. He needs to keep his cool, but I am going to allow him to be giddy:)

      Thanks for reading! And thanks so much for your comments and questions.

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    2. I'm talking about a fine line because I have worked with a lot of children, and seen too many unacceptable things being tolerated by parents in fear of upsetting the child. Eg an 8 year old physically hurting (on purpose) his little sister, and the mom, who saw everything, said nothing. WTF!

      You seem to know better than that. :-)

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  83. Love this!! I'm pretty good at the letting kids be kids stuff as far as spills or excitement. I definitely need to work on apologizing for my home!! I LOVE a tidy home. However, I have 3 kids, so I don't have a tidy home....at least most of the time! I ALWAYS apologize when people come in. And, usually, it's another mom that is picking up or dropping off a kid!! I actually get pretty mortified if they come past my foyer. Such a waste of energy! So thank you for a much needed reminder!
    I grew up always getting told what to do. Instead of getting appreciation or understanding for what I had done, I would get "you didn't get that spot. Did you pick ALL your socks", etc. Getting the job done right IS important. But, on the other hand, taking age into account and all the stress children are under nowadays (school, over scheduling, adult expectations), compassion and a helping hand go a long way. I try really hard to bite my tongue, and just say, "thanks for picking up your Legos. Here, let me help you out and I'll get the fire truck". (Oh, and I fail a lot! So I try again the next day.) But, I have to believe that keeping the connection with them will make them WANT to be responsible. Nitpicking only made me feel extremely inadequate and rebellious :(.
    Great post!!

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  84. Oh! I just thought of one more thing! Seeing as though its the ending of summer..... I am mortified at the number of times I've seen moms chastise their children for splashing them at the pool. Or apologize to someone sitting on the edge of the pool for getting splashed by their child. You're at the POOL people! I'm not talking about purposeful, possibly older children. I'm talking about a two yr old that was forced to say "sorry" for splashing her mom! My girls are 5 & 6. Seeing their confidence and self esteem sky rocket this summer while teaching them to swim (really swim where they can't touch) has been one of my greatest joys! I'm not apologizing that my baby kicking her little heart out screaming, "I can do it!!" gets you wet :). Hey, if it were up to me, I'd keep them clinging to my neck or sitting in the baby pool forever. But, no matter what I do, they keep getting older ;).

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  85. I know this post was ages ago, and I don't normally comment, but somehow I ended up on your blog, and I think I can totally get what you're saying b/c I so often find myself apologizing for my kids' behavior. I'm a perfectionist, and I've realized I've extended that mindset to my kids' behavior - not good! My best friend's mom would often tell me not to worry, they're great kids. Your post was a reminder to stop worrying so much about what others think - after all, it's not the OTHERS that, for the most part, I have a relationship with. I remember almost breaking down in tears when I was pregnant with our 2nd child and our 2 year old threw himself on the floor at a bookstore... a CHRISTIAN bookstore. An older woman made a snarky comment about parents these days not disciplining their children and I almost lost it. She chose to judge and not extend grace without knowing that we had somewhat recently stepped off a plane from a couple days of travel (We were serving as missionaries in Africa), my son had not adjusted well, and at one point my husband calculated that we had slept in about 32 different beds over a short period of time.

    ...But that woman - I won't see her again, and if I do, it's probably she who owes us the apology and not the other way around. Jesus said let the little children come to him - and I'm wiling to bet that he doesn't expect them to come perfectly, just as he doesn't expect us to. Thanks for this post... Now I hope I can remember it as I interact with my kids and extend them the grace that I've been given so many times!

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  86. WoW! I really needed this. I am done saying sorry, will just do my best, as a mom of 4 very energetic girls. 5,4,3 and 2 I find myself there a lot. thanks so much! Blessings!

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    1. Wow, another mum of 4 GIRLS :):):):)
      I totally get this blog post - my girls are 8, 6, 4 & 2, and i was forever apologizing for the state of my living area (where they play) until my sister-in-law (who, just for the record has no children of her own and would dearly love to be blessed with them) sent me a message which read "your children are not making MESSES, they are making MEMORIES" :):):)

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