Use Love

Welcome to the January Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting resolutions!

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month we’re writing about how we want to parent differently — or the same — in the New Year. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

My personal parenting goal is to work on nurturing my relationship with my middle child, my 2-year-old daughter, and to “use love” when things get dicey.

I’m nursing the baby and reading with my oldest daughter from Teach Your Child How to Read in 100 Lessons when my toddler starts to fall apart. She throws a crayon. She hits her big sister. She starts screeching.

“Use words,” I screech back.

More tears spill from her big, brown eyes, saying what words cannot. I need you, Mommy.

Later that same day we are cuddled next to one another. She places her hand on my cheek, a tender gesture that never fails to tug at my heart.

And then she uses her words very well. “Mommy, why do you yell at me when I ‘cwry’?”

Good question.

When my baby cries, I immediately respond with a gentle touch or soft words. I scoop her in my arms. I nurse her. I kiss her sweet tears away.

When my 5-year-old cries, we talk. I can actually have rational conversations with her about feelings or consequences if her behavior is out of line.

But when my middle child, who has recently hit the 2-and-a-half-year-mark, cries or shrieks or hits, I’ve been too quick to snap lately. Sometimes her angry outbursts and apocalyptic approach to the smallest problems are infuriating, not to mention completely irrational. It is not the end of the world that you can’t get one of your socks on your foot. You will not go sock-less for the rest of your life. Bruised, blistered feet are not in your future, and you will somehow survive this atrocity.

Sometimes I’m just tired. I don’t feel like I have any more to give. I’m homeschooling my oldest child for the first year. I have a 9-month baby who is still nursing almost exclusively and is rooted to me like a barnacle both day and night. My 2-year-old has always been my easy child, the one who complies, who slowly weaned herself at 18 months, my one child who sleeps and doesn’t put up a fight. When she’s recalcitrant, I’m taken aback and often short fused.

But there’s no excuse for my insensitivity. So I apologize to my daughter as we cuddle in the stillness of the day. The baby is asleep while my older child is having quiet time in her room. It’s just the two of us. My toddler curls beside me. Wisps of her honey-hued hair tickle my face. I smile at her. She beams back. All is forgiven.

The next day when she throws a fit, I crouch down to her level. “Do you need a time-in?” I say looking into her glassy eyes.

She stops crying, wondering what that means.

“Come here. Let’s cuddle for a bit.”

She climbs onto my lap, and all her frustrations melt into my arms. She is calm and quiet.

And so am I.

I’m trying to teach my little girl to “use words.” But she’s imparting a far greater lesson. She’s teaching me that above all, we should “use love.”


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(All the links should be active by noon on Jan. 12. Go to Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama for the most recently updated list.)

• To Yell or Not to YellThe Adventures of Lactating Girl
• It Is All About Empathy: Nurturing a Toddler’s Compassion PotentialBaby Dust Diaries
• To my babies: this year…BluebirdMama
• Mindfully Loving My ChildrenBreastfeeding Moms Unite!
• January Carnival of Natural Parenting: ResolutionsCode Name: Mama
• Imperfect MotherConsider Eden
• ResolutionsCraphead (aka Mommy)
• FC Mom’s Parenting Resolutions 2010FC Mom
• What’s in a Resolution?Happy Mothering
• January Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting resolutionsHobo Mama
• Natural Parenting ResolutionsLittle Green Blog
• This year, I will mostly…Look Left of the Pleiades
• Parenting ResolutionsThe Mahogany Way
• I Resolve to Breastfeed In Public More Oftenmama2mama tips
• Moving to Two KidsMegna the Destroyer
• Use LoveMomopoly
• My parenting resolutionsMusings of a Milk Maker
• Talkin’ ’bout My ResolutionsNavelgazing
• Parenting ResolutionsOne Starry Night
• Invitations, not resolutionsRaising My Boychick
• No more multitasking during kid timeThe Recovering Procrastinator
• I need to slow down, smell those roses AND the poopy diapersTales of a Kitchen Witch Momma
• Resolutely Parenting in 2010This Is Worthwhile

Enter the Conversation...

21 Responses to “Use Love”
  1. mrs green @ says:

    **wipes tears from eyes** that was beautiful – thank you! I think we can ALL resonate with your words. I've BTDT so many times and I only have ONE child! You're awesome and a beautiful writer too. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Warm wishes
    Rae aka mrs green

  2. Hobo Mama says:

    Oh, my goodness, that was beautiful! And a perfect reminder to "use love" with my own 2-and-a-half-year-old. It's a challenging time, but I, too, often find myself behaving more childishly and insensitively than he does. Thank you!

  3. *Jess* says:

    This is a great post :) I needed this reminder, too!

  4. Bonnie says:

    This is exactly what I needed to hear! Thank you – I'm doing this today!

  5. Colleen says:

    OK, well that was just awesome!! I love the "time-in" and the "use love"…sniff sniff :)

  6. Paige says:

    That was so touching. What a wonderful post! I've been very inspired, thank you.

  7. Joni Rae says:

    That was beautiful! Thank you for sharing it- <3

    I find that half the time my three year old is screamy and whiney its because she is frustrated. Hugs are wonderful momma magick!

  8. Dionna @Code Name: Mama says:

    I said this to you in an email, but I'll say it again – I loved this post, it made me misty :) I want to use love with my toddler too!

  9. Melodie says:

    This reminds me of how many mothers use breastfeeding to calm tantrums. But loves and hugs are just as good and comforting. A beautiful post!

  10. BluebirdMama says:

    I had a similar experience recently though my epiphany to respond with love came as I returned from grocery shopping solo, having won that prize because I just couldn't keep my temper with my son. As I drove home and thought about how much I love my son, how I feel when I cuddle him in his sleep, how I felt the first time I held him…I just realised that I need to respond with that kind of love all the time.

    Unfortunately, it is so hard to remember that every day.

    Thank you for your beautifully written reminder.

  11. SaRAW says:

    Wow, how beautifully written. I'm not there yet, as I have only a 8 month old little boy, but I will be there soon. Thank you for writing this, as it is a great reminder of how I want to be. Thank you! (Sarah)

  12. Kelly says:

    My dear , read the blog -Meditation from the Cardinal Nest – by Ruth !
    At January 7 post ,you will see one amazing story about one amazing sister .She`s looking for founds to feed some hungryes childrens .
    I just thinking how i can realy help !??
    I pray that Joy For All will minister to it's visitors
    and will encourage and bless everyone in some way.
    We can identify with the disciples. At times, we have
    a tendency to focus on the things that are going on around us instead of the One that is in control of all things. When that happens, reality may seem overwhelming, and the problems appear unsolvable. However, we must realize to be fearful
    is to lack faith in God and in His provision for us. True faith focuses on God, not on the things that are happening.
    Psalm 139:11-12
    If I say, surely the darkness shall fall on me,
    Even the night shall be light about me.
    Indeed, the darkness shall not hide
    from You, but the night shines as the day,
    the darkness and the light are both
    a like to You.
    in Jesus love >> Kelly

  13. mamamilkers says:

    "Time-in"! I love it! Will definitely be stealing this idea.

  14. Darcel says:

    I love you used a time-in. I need to get back to that more often.
    This was a very lovely,touching post. Thanks so much for being so honest and sharing it with us.

  15. Zoey @ Good Goog says:

    That 'Time In' is awesome! I really resonate with this – I've just finished reading Unconditional Parenting and I think it's so important to respond to needs, regardless of how they might be communicated.

  16. Jessica says:

    Wow, a "time-in." Hmm, I didn't even know about this until now, but I do something very similar with my 2 year old. When he's unraveling I ask him if he'd like some quiet time (either with me or by himself) and he often takes me up on it. Of course there are moments when he would rather be angry, but I'm cool with that, too.

    And what a beautiful family you've described. I'm really touched by your words. Thank you.

  17. FC Mom says:

    Love the idea of quiet time, Jessica- that's often what we as adults do, right?
    This was a really nice post, Kate, and such a great resolution to start the year with. I'm sure the peace of mind this fosters will seep over into many other areas of your life!

  18. craphead says:

    This was a great post. I think I need to make a big banner and hang that in my house as a reminder. At times I do feel that my reaction is just off. Intellectually I know that I should be more compassionate, caring, understanding. And instead I feel frustrated and that I have nothing to give. I'm going to try to remember to use love.


Check out what others are saying about this post...
  1. […] More Often — mama2mama tips • Moving to Two Kids — Megna the Destroyer • Use Love — Momopoly • My parenting resolutions — Musings of a Milk Maker • Talkin’ ’bout My […]

  2. […] Often — mama2mama tips• Moving to Two Kids — Megna the Destroyer• Use Love — Momopoly• My parenting resolutions — Musings of a Milk Maker• Talkin' 'bout My […]

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