This is MY Mothering Story

When I looked upon my first child for the very first time, I yearned to be the best mother in the world. I read and researched and set to work. And it wasn’t easy. My daughter had a strong will. I had to continually exert my own will in order to make her do what I thought was right:

“Please don’t touch.”

“Come away from that.”

“You have to do that! Why? Because I said so.”

“You’re not getting any dessert until your plate is empty.

“Go and sit in your room until you’re ready to apologise.”

“What am I going to do with you?”

It was hard work. I could have so easily given in, but I didn’t. I wanted to be a good mother. I had to show my child who was in control. I couldn’t let her run all over me. I didn’t want her growing up spoilt and undisciplined.

And then I lost control. Did I just give in? Was I tired? Or did I become wiser with experience?

I began to see things through the eyes of a child. They are not demanding creatures who want to rule our lives. They are little people who have valid needs. They deserve respect and acceptance. They need to know they are loved regardless of their behaviour.

Sometimes when I look back at my earlier mothering days I cringe. Could I really have done that? Could those words really have passed my lips? But they did. And they were done and said because I wanted to be a good mother, because I loved. You have to be tough when you love. Or so I thought.

I no longer think mothering is about subduing and training. It shouldn’t be a battle, me against my children. We are on the same side. It’s about me helping my children to become the people God intends them to be. It’s about them helping me to become a better person too. Sometimes it’s still not easy. But it’s still about love. Not tough love that can appear to disappear, but the unconditional kind.

The other day I was making a photo gallery of all the parenting posts I’ve written for my blogs. Once I’d put the page together, I wanted to test out the links. So I clicked onto each post and found myself re-reading my stories of the past two or three years. And I realised these posts weren’t written by the same mother I used to be. I have changed. I can also see a few holes in some of my stories. I’m far from perfect. I still have plenty to work on. But my children and love and God’s grace are helping.

If you’d like to share any of my parenting posts they can now be found in an easy-to-browse photo gallery under the label Parenting in my blog sidebar.

I’ll also post the links in this post.

Maybe you won’t agree with my opinions. That’s okay. I am writing about my own experience, my own children.

This is MY mothering story.

Image: Me and Gemma-Rose

This is MY Mothering Story

Following My Mothering Instincts

When a Child Can’t Cope

Why I Am My Children’s Number One Fan

How to Have Demanding Children Who Rule the House

Interviewing My Children and Other Family Movies

Memories of an Inexperienced Mother

Confessions of a Former Hot-Tempered Mother

When Worry Gets in the Way of Love

What Do Children Need for a Happy Childhood?

Nothing is More Important Than Love

Guiding My Children Responsibly Without Imposing Rules

What a Day Without Rules Looks Like

Why I Wanted to Delete My Blogs

Imposing Rules on Children: Is There a Better Way?

Getting Kids to Help With the Chores

The ‘Risky’ Business of Trusting Children

Rules, Responsible Parenting and Radical Unschooling

Forcing a Child to Do What He is Afraid to Do

Babies, Toddlers and Unschooling (Part 3)

Babies, Toddlers and Unschooling Part (2)

Babies, Toddlers and Unschooling (Part 1)

The Jeans Wearing Rule


The Rules for Loving Children

Letting Go, No Strings Attached

A Mother’s Hug

Pondering Messy Bedrooms

Because I Am a Mother

Dealing with a Fussy Eater

Knitting and Mothering Mistakes… and Love

Sometimes We Don’t Need a Good Reason

When it’s Hard to be Visibly Catholic
Trying to Be a Fun Mum

What Are People Thinking About Me?

Influencing a Child to Do What is Right and Necessary

Popular Posts, Sons and Smacking

The Hanging-Out-the-Washing Party


The Birthday Shopping Dilemma

More Thoughts from Sophie: Families and Teams

Glimpsing the World Through a Child’s Eyes

Multiplying Potatoes and Other Surprises

Gemma-Rose’s Potato Peeler

Getting the Important Things Right

Fulfilling Little Girl Promises
In the Kitchen with a TV Chef Dad

Damaged Flowers

Sons, Scrapes and Love

Last in Line

The Empty Table

Tooth Fairy Troubles

Learner Drivers, trust and Letting Go

Speed Angel Joy

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  1. Reply

    Sue, this is a very nice and honest post. Of course I don't have children and so I cannot completely identify, but I know that my parents become more mellow, so-to-speak with time. They became more loving and less like rulers of the kingdom! I believe in life we find our way through much trial and error and successes. Most of us do our best until we discover what really works and what really matters. It's a good thing 🙂

    1. Reply


      You are so right: We have to find our way by trial and error. Mothering like everything is a learning process, and we grow so much as we learn. Mellow… that is a good description! Thank you so much for sharing my post!

    • amy
    • November 26, 2013

    i love this! and so true. it is about unconditional love and helping our children become the people God intends them to be. i wholeheartedly agree.

    1. Reply


      Unconditional love… I have always loved my children, but maybe they haven't always known that. Parents can appear to withdraw love in order to motivate their kids to behave. I feel so sad about this. I love your own musings on respecting children. I know you understand what I was trying to say in this post. It's always good to share!

  2. Reply

    What a treasure chest of posts!!!! I hope to settle in with these as with a much-looked-forward-to-book, and read chapter after chapter. O boy o boy o boy.

    And oh, how I wish I could go back to 'young-mommy-me' and tell me that my precious little ones are not trying to rule my (and their dad's) lives. Where were you when I was a young mommy needing such advice?! O yeah…. you were still playing with dolls :)…..

    1. Reply


      Thank you so much for your encouraging comment here, and for sharing my post on Facebook. I guess I've written enough posts over the past few years to fill several books!

      Nancy, I thought the same as you: I had to prevent my children from ruling my life. But as Monica said, we only learn through trial and error. We just do the best we can at the time. And even when we make mistakes it's not a sign we do not love. Felicity reassured me about that. But you know all about that. You are wiser than me. I was playing dolls when you were a young mommy? I was probably busy telling my dolls, "Don't touch! Do this! Do that!" Poor dolls…

  3. Reply

    Sue, I'm on my way out the door, and so don't have time to read all the posts, but can't wait! I just had to comment on your picture above, with Felicity? Anyway, you don't look any older now..which must be at least 20 years later. I can't wait to read how you evolved. Having only one child, I regret that I never had a chance to mellow out somewhat with future children. Somehow he did survive 🙂 I still hope you compile a parenting book someday. You are an awesome mom! Ask your kids! 🙂 Love and hugs…and prayers too. xoxo

    1. Reply


      I had to add something about the image to my post. The photo is about 9 years old. It's of me and Gemma-Rose. It must have been taken on 9th November, Thomas' birthday, because the setting is the cemetery.

      Children do survive. Felicity had the inexperienced mother and she reassures me she doesn't remember my parenting mistakes. She just remembers my love for her. I am fortunate to have had lots of children who have taught me a lot about mothering. I know you weren't blessed in a similar way. But… I am praying you will have many grandchildren and many, many years of grandmothering. Wouldn't that be wonderful?

      Awesome mom? I have a recent story about my failure as a mother which I could share. I only survive because my kids are very forgiving and loving!

      Love and hugs to you too, dear Patricia.

    2. Reply

      Hey, I just noticed that you are holding Gemma-Rose in that picture, and I wondered if I had missed that yesterday…being in a rush as I was. Thanks for explaining. Well…you still look the same anyway! God has His reasons, which are always perfect. It hurts sometimes, but we all have pain and suffering. I'm excited to find out someday why He chose that particular cross for me. I know He must have a reason which will fill me with much joy. And..that goes for all of us and our sufferings. Could He bear to see us in pain for even a moment, if He did not have a much greater joy awaiting us? I don't think so.

      Yes, I can't wait for my first grandchild. Brittany is 14 weeks along now, but it still seems so far away. I love dreaming of next year's holidays, and how we will all be loving on that precious little one.

      Well, back to my stove; it's dinner time here. Love you, Sue! Blessings always!

    3. Reply


      You didn't miss anything while rushing. I added the image description after reading your comment! Babies are hard to identify when looking at photos. I get all mine in a muddle but this photo came from a file named 'Gemma-Rose' so I guess it really is her!

      "I'm excited to find out someday why He chose that particular cross for me." You are such an inspiration. Yes, one day we will see the reason for everything. You are quite right: It will be very exciting!

      Your grandchild is going to be so loved, spoilt with love! What did you say about your parents making you feel like the sun had just appeared when you walked into a room (I've quoted that wrong, I know!) You are going to make your grandchild feel that way too, I'm sure!

      Looking at FB, I think you must be celebrating Thanksgiving right about now. I hope you have a very special celebration with your family.

      God bless!

  4. Hi Sue, I agree with Nancy, I am looking forward to having a lovely read of this inspiring collection of posts. Thank you so much for putting the gallery together!

    1. Reply


      I now know how to put together a photo gallery. it's always good to learn new skills! It's kind of you to want to share my posts. Thank you!

    • Chris
    • November 28, 2013

    Wow, Sue….what a cache of posts! Oh my goodness. I plan to keep this window open so I can click back over from time to time to read at least 2 each click! Can't wait. What a fantastic idea!

    Thanks for the honesty. I always come away from your posts richer….

    LOVE the picture. You and your daughter look beautiful and you hardly look one day older Sue!!

    Well, I am back to the kitchen to bake two apple pies and mash some potatoes! Kev conjured a great recipe with garlic ( in the potatoes, not the apples!) for our Thanksgiving. And YOU my friend, I am jealous of that summer-y weather you must be having…it is 35 degreesF tonight!Not as cold as it's been tho. Can't complain~

    It's been a while Sue…sorry I've not been by, Been thinking of you. Hope all is well.Take care and enjoy the beginning of advent on Sunday!

    1. Reply


      It is so lovely to catch up with you! I've been guilty of not stopping to say hello too. Right at this moment I seem to be overwhelmed with things that need doing. I've had to limit my time blogging… reading but not always time to comment. I didn't even stop by to congratulate you on your blogging award. That was such exciting news! I bet you had a huge smile on your face when you heard.

      We had a day of summer weather yesterday. Today it's raining and cool again. Not complaining though as I don't cope too well in the heat.

      I am imagining you enjoying Thanksgiving. I hope you're having a wonderful celebration. Those apple pies sound good!

      Thank you for reading my posts. Your comments are always so encouraging!

      I hope you enjoy the start of Advent too! xx

  5. Reply

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