Tuesday Tips for Parenting – Smile

new logo

A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones. (Proverbs 15:30)

I was getting in to the van one day a few months ago and I happened to catch a glimpse of my reflection in the car window. I was frowning. There was a little pinched frown in between my eyebrows.

Why was I frowning? The children were busy buckling themselves in their seats, we were off to an event of some sort, we weren’t terribly late, it wasn’t a Bad Hair Day, I had my faithful pink travel mug full of coffee; there was NO REASON for me to be frowning.

I began to sneak little peeks at myself, in mirrors and windows, throughout the week. I discovered that more often than not, my face arranged itself in a little frown. I was shocked. Is this the expression that greets my children and my husband on a daily basis? Is there some underlying trouble or concern in my life that would cause me to have a constant frown on my face? Am I doomed to be branded a sour puss (wrinkles and all)?

I decided right then and there that I was going to make a commitment to smiling. It’s the dumbest sounding thing, and I’m almost embarrassed to blog it, but it’s the truth. I made a decision to smile.

sarah and mama

You have to smile when you get hugs like this!

Whether I’m feeling cheerful or grumpy, I smile.
When I’m walking around doing errands, I smile.
I smile BEFORE someone smiles at me – I’m a proactive smiler.
I purposely compose my face into a smile throughout the day.

Of course, I forget. Of course I fuss at my children and frown and pout. Of course, I feel sad, angry or frustrated and don’t WANT to smile.

Life is stressful. Parenting is hard work that requires discipline and energy. Being a mother, especially a stay at home mom, often means performing menial chores over and over again, most of the time without thanks and certainly without pay. Squabbling, tattling children can exhaust even the most virtuous of Proverbs 31 women.

Smiling helps to tug my heart back to the right place of joy and thankfulness. Amazingly, my inward spirit almost always follows my outward expressions. Smiling at the children somehow helps to increase my patience with their antics and lower my frustration at their behavior. Smiling first and then speaking, results in a lowered tone of voice and a calmer disposition.

Smiling brings a balm of peace and sweetness that is powerful in the make-up of our family.

snuggly duo

A big hug after a YMCA workout.

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 17:22)

Project 365 – Day 323
My internet connection went down last night while I was blogging. Sorry this is late.

Share or follow

Related posts:

13 thoughts on “Tuesday Tips for Parenting – Smile”

  1. What wonderful advice. I try to picture that all my children have mirrors on their foreheads, and imagine what I would look like if I could see myself in them. Sometimes easier said than done, since my “getting stuff done” face is usually not very cheerful looking. Just like you–I’ll try harder!

    Thanks for the nice comment on my site!

  2. Oh Kathy! This is so good. I have a story to send you later about the wife of the man who founded Voice of the Martyrs. She would agree with you about keeping a pleasant countenance regardless of what one feels inside. Well….you know what I mean, not that we can’t cry and be honest about sadness, but to think of what others see when they look at us and how it can help or hinder.

    Keep smiling! I’m going to remember this today.

  3. Good tip! (That doesn’t just work for parenting!) I too find myself to carry a frown normally, which I hate. That’s not how I’m feeling, but it’s how I appear to others. I’m going to make a greater attempt of smiling.

  4. Good for you, girl! So now I’m wondering (and it clearly is none of my business and you can tell me to shut it) why you don’t smile more with teeth. I’ve seen a few and you have a beautiful smile! :)

  5. This is one of my favorite blog entries you’ve ever written.
    How can I keep from checking my expression every time I see a mirror! And I want it to be smiling….or at least pleasant. Thanks for writing that.

  6. Hello,

    Your blog is wonderful. I love it…what a breath of fresh air. :) I’m forever seeing my face in my mind’s eye…and adjusting accordingly!

    I’m putting together a book tour for Lisa Bergren’s The Busy Mom’s Devotional. The tour will include sites like Trish Berg’s Simplifying Motherhood and 5 Minutes for Mom. Would you be interested in joining? The tour will be in January and I have extra copies available to give-away on your blog.

    Thanks for your time and consideration,

    Amy Lathrop
    litFUSE publicity group
    Joanna Weaver

  7. Great post for thought. When I was much younger (18), I got so sick of people asking me, “What’s wrong?” NOTHING was ever wrong, I guess I just looked mad. I began smiling and being cheerful, basically faking it so they’d leave me alone. But I began feeling that way too–and it seriously carried over into my life to where I was just naturally cheerful!

    But my kids would never believe that. Hmm. I need to do this for THEM. :)

  8. Kathy (and Tim),
    I wanted to thank you both here for your wonderful blog. I so enjoy seeing your posts show up in my inbox every day. Your parenting advice has been so helpful to me even with having an 11 year old, 6 year old, & 3 year old myself. I’m participating in a Thanksgiving challenge at my blog to thank those who have been a blessing to my life. So THANK YOU – both of you – for being a huge blessing. :-)

Comments are closed.