mommy boot camp

mommy. boot. camp.
i didn't think of people.
other, much wiser and a bit more seasoned mothers did.
and really who FIRST thought of it?
it's just re-training yourself and your kids with good parenting, right?
it's not being lazy.

so here's how it goes...at my house.

1. make up a sign of rules and a new job chart to get the summer off to a good start.
they don't  have classroom responsibilities, so they can certainly help around here!

2. pump them up about how you will be expecting them to listen to you and obey you during mommy boot camp.
by the time the first week of summer came here, my kids were so exited and actually anxious to get started.

3. make GREAT summer reward systems and restraints.
this is key to keep your sanity.

FIRST THING is that mommy boot camp is MOSTLY about MOMMY!
mommy must stick to her guns, dude!
follow through EVERY TIME.
it's better for everyone...you know it's true.

my rule is that my kids must listen and obey me when i'm talking.
basic right?
and also they need to respond.
with "yes mom"
(are you cringing?)
that's how i grew up.
and it avoids the more attitudey, "OOOKKKKKAYYY"
and when they don't.
i don't get mad (ideally)
they get a calm penalty box.(same as time out: removed from activity and talking for as many minutes as they are old)
a consequence.
no lecture 
(they knew it was the rule, they are not babies anymore)
no browbeating or yelling.
(this is KEY. you are not doing anyone a service by freaking out)
just serve your time.
it's boring. 
when you misbehave, you are rewarded with boring.
if i do this.
really, do it and don't give in or get lazy....IT REALLY WORKS!

this summer we have tickets.
tickets buy extra cartoons, time on my ipad or phone and wii time.
they earn tickets by my good grace.
if someone does an extra chore without being asked.
if someone is especially helpful or respectful.
if someone handles a conflict well...
you know, when they do what's right.
they get a ticket.

they can also get tickets taken if i am at a place where i can't do a penalty box, but this is not a threat i want to bark (oh, but i have failed at times)
it is a simple consequence whispered in an ear.
and an encouragement to earn it back ASAP.

grace has it's place here.
how can your child see what grace is unless you first set the boundary.
they need to see what's expected and see the consequences for disobedience and then when you feel, in your heart, that you are called to show them grace they will know what that means.
they will know what they deserve and what they are NOT getting this time....that's grace.

we also have LEGO/ princess bucks (respectively)
they are for a day of chores accomplished.  
that evening if people have done their family jobs 
(teeth, bed made, room clean, dishes taken in, clothes in the wash...the basics) 
they get the lego buck.
if not, not.
and also extra bucks can be given for a CRAZY good thing.
(like babysitting your 3 year old sister while mommy applies first aide to the 6 year old)
so, there.
the bucks add up, baby and they use um to get.....LEGOS or princess stuff! surprise!

here are my boys reaping the benefits....

my kids are not perfect.
neither am i.
but these first few weeks of summer have been better for all of us with MBC 
they are happily responding with "yes mom" (most of the time)
people are exclaiming about them at antique stores. 
( i only went for ONE THING with all three kids, i'm not crazy!)
people give them free stuff at stores.
it's weird and crazy the response you get from strangers when you are really parenting.

jake asked if we could do it ALL the time after the "free stuff" experience...
my kids thrive on a certain amount of predictability and reasonable expectations and this provides it... and is somehow fun for them.
they are proud.
i am proud.
and grateful to God for putting other mother's in my life to go before and alongside me.
for giving me a mother who showed me how to behave and gave me boundaries and then loved me no matter what.
i want to do that too.

the very last rule is

grace to you little mommas and daddies.
you won't be perfect at this.
i am not perfect at this.
i am trying my hardest to be a good mom.
and sometimes i really stink.
but then i give myself a break and get back on track.
if you fail, don't let that be the excuse to give up.
don't get sucked down into shame...
you can do it!
your children will thank you...someday.



  1. Oh, Shauna, I needed this post today. Just this morning, before any one was out of bed, I prayed earnestly for heaps and heaps of grace. Because our summer has been stress after stress after stress and I have responded so poorly- yelling at the boys left and right (and everywhere in between!).
    I have a post swimming around about this, but your post was just what I needed today.
    thanks friend!

  2. I can't tell you enough how much I freaking love this post! I'm bookmarking it and saving it for when Jude is older. Way to go Sg. Mom.

  3. so good, shauna. i love where you said 'freaking out isn't doing anyone any favors' so true! i needed that :)

  4. And then...all the sudden...I started hearing angels singing...a light shown all around the computer...and there it was...the answer to my parenting conundrum of late. See the oldest girl is really out growing our previous ways of discipline, the time out chair isn't cutting it all the time and lets me honest, rewarding GOOD behavior is always more effective anyways. So there you have it. All dished up for me in this pretty little post. A way to address her needs and the little ones all at the same time. I SO love this. Summer vacation, making that transition to all being under the same roof, all day, every day, can send chills up my spine. This is just perfect. Thank you so much. "If I knew your name and address I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils....." THANK YOU FRIEND!!!!

  5. I LOVE this post!
    so true. I need to find a way to get my older
    girls to behave better, they are at that sassy stage, 11.5 and turning 10 this month. (they do a lot of eye rolling at me)....HELP!

  6. Thanks for this post! I have a 7 and 4 year old and this was very timely for me.

  7. wow i am impressed. i actually kinda wish miles was old enough for me to incorporate this. he knows "listen and obey" and he obeys, but i mean, he's 1. sooooo he doesn't really care about free stuff. anyway, i kinda want to print this out for the future! and i have that fabric from the first picture - the mustard and turquoise.

  8. you're a great mommy. it takes so much energy, so much pumping up and then faithful follow through...more than i have sometimes. but so so worth it. the SELF-discipline involved is the hardest part. but you do it so well.

  9. This is completely awesome! I REALLY dislike "OOOKKKAAAAYYY" so we will be working on that. Thanks for all the great ideas ;)

  10. Even though I'm not a mommy yet, this is definitely bookmarked for the future when I'm sure I will need it! Love it, Shauna.

  11. Wonderful wonderful wonderful! Not only are you setting those boundries of grace for your children, you are being a more present parent because of it. By keeping them and you accountable, you are more present than most mothers I've known. Love this. Thank you!

  12. This is awesome. I really need to follow your first step on, "Mommy must follow thru EVERY time." I'm really, really bad at that. And that is the root of my problems. Thanks for the post, I truly enjoyed it.

  13. love, love, love this! i thought i would do something like a reward system this summer and then instead of not following through, i just never even started. ughhh. i wish i would have! BUT you have inspired me, mrs. reed, and i am going to come up with a plan and start the week off with it tomorrow. you are a good mama, thanks for sharing and a big non-hug, but double high-five to you!!!

  14. THIS IS AWESOME! This is exactly how we parent! My kids have to respond with a polite "Yes, Mom" or "Okay, Mom". You wouldn't believe the flack I get for that from some of my mommy friends...and from my own mother! She thinks I'm too hard on them. In fact just this week I told her I know my kids aren't perfect but they really are good kids and I think it's because of the consistency and high expectations.

  15. this is such a great idea. i bookmarked it for when our kiddos are here!

    i'm hosting a july giftaway - anthropologie pillow and some goodies! i hope you'll enter!

  16. This is just what I needed to read today. It is amazing how things like this appear right when you need it.

    Thank you for showing me grace. I am joining MBC right now.

    Leanne xo

  17. I just "pinned" this! I think I need to try this out. I might actually be desperate for it. Thanks Shauna

  18. This is wonderful! Thanks for sharing.