10 Habits of Happy Mothers--Habit #7

I'm going through one habit each week in "10 Habits of Happy Mothers," by Meg Meeker, MD. Habit #7 is:

Give and Get Love in Healthy Ways
Here are a few quotes that I marked:

"High expectations are good for kids but they are not synonymous with love" (pg 131).

--If our kids feel they have to measure up to some bar that we set for them, and they don't achieve what they think we want them to achieve, it can interfere in our relationship with them.

"Loving our kids gets really messy when we see someone else inside of them," (pg 133).

--When we see ourselves (a trait we have that we don't like) or traits that remind us of someone else that we struggle with, we can transfer our negative feelings to our children. We need to use extreme caution in this area to make sure we use correction for what truly is going on, not what we are perceiving because of our own issues.

Another paragraph on page 137 talks about how our expectations for our kids and our spouses (and even ourselves, though she doesn't mention that) tend to be self-protecting. We can make excuses for our behavior and blame others when we get upset because we had some expectation that they didn't meet. But, as Dr. Meeker says, "in reality...there is little in love that we can control."

Dr. Meeker's four ways to make this habit stick are:

1. Take calculated risks -- love is a choice, and sometimes it is painful to our hearts and pride to make the choice to love when we don't get love back. But it is a risk worth taking.

2. Don't take loved ones so personally -- basically, don't walk in offense. If you are easily offended, you block communication and love can't flow without good communication.

3. Learn to read loved ones, and let them read you -- this goes with not getting easily offended. If you know that someone doesn't mean what they say, give them grace. And, be gracious if someone doesn't understand where you are coming from. Learn the love languages of your kids and spouse, and be active in showing them love. Watch your body language--it is easy to communicate displeasure with just a look.

4. Express love even when you don't feel like it -- don't be manipulative with your hurt feelings. Show love to your kids, and your spouse, even when they hurt you. Like Jesus said, what reward to we get if we only love those who are loving? Sometimes, our family can hurt us the most and be the hardest to love. We are being like Jesus to them when we love them anyway.


  1. Yes, Selena and don't exert external control which we often do. I have been thinking on this quite a bit. I cannot change the internal parts of my child by controlling them externally (which is different than discipline). Whatever the child is going through I am responsible to love them. Learning love languages helps! Thanks for the encouragement!


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