Intentional Parenting

Welcome guest blogger, Jessie from Vanderbilt Wife to Impress Your Kids! Jessie is a new stay-at-home mom and a freelance writer and editor in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where she lives with her husband, “Mr. V,” and daughter, 17-month-old Libbie. At Vanderbilt Wife, she writes about “being the housewife she’s not.”

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As a brand-new stay-at-home mom, I feel like I’m learning a whole new language. I’ve missed the year of sweet babyhood as I worked until my daughter, Libbie, was 14 months. Instead, I’ve been thrown into the insanity of having a toddler all to myself for ten hours a day.

The word intention has been screaming at me from every direction as of late. While it may have been OK to wonder aimlessly through those two hours between getting home and Libbie’s bedtime every night when I was working, I can’t just meander through the years of toddlerhood. With an active, wild child, I’ve been forced to figure out what my goals are as a parent and how I want to accomplish them.

I’ve shared on my personal blog, Vanderbilt Wife, on my inspirations for intentional parenting. Here, I’d like to tell you some of the ways I’m attempting to be intentional in our everyday life.

Reading. Usually, I read fiction and an occasional memoir. I love to read, and I have so many books on my shelf that I’ve had for years and not read that I can’t laugh about it anymore. I am not one to follow every word of one book when it comes to parenting; I draw from many sources and, of course, weigh them against biblical principles. Right now I am trying to read one parenting book, one faith-based nonfiction book, and one fiction book at a time. I won’t claim I’m great at balancing reading this many books, but even if it’s reading them in rotation, I’m fitting in more instructional books and more books that will challenge me, I hope.

Meeting Libbie’s needs. I know, this seems obvious. But some days it’s just not easy. For me, this means taking her outside to get fresh air and run around when I would rather talk to my girls on Skype and have her play inside. It means making her French toast for breakfast because it’s a way of getting her to eat protein when I’d rather just shove some dry cereal on her high-chair table. It’s rocking her when she’s sad or grumpy instead of throwing her in her crib or yelling at her.

Disciplining without anger. I really have a problem with anger. I’m working on getting to the root of it. (As Beth Moore says, “Mean always has a history.”) Every day I battle myself and have to remind myself that Libbie’s a toddler. Like every other toddler in the history of mankind, she’s pushing the limits, testing me, and seeing what she can do. She doesn’t hate me. I’m testing different kinds of discipline and trying to decide beforehand what will earn discipline and what will not. (Thanks Amanda.)

Finding time for myself. I am 100% behind finding time for yourself as a mama. I am a super internal person and I cannot make it if I don’t have time to process things on my own. My “me” time usually comes from long, hot baths; trips to coupon shop at Target or the grocery by myself; exercise; or even some hard-core cleaning.

How are you an intentional parent? Honestly, I would love any further tips you have to share!

sweet photo of Jessie’s daughter Libbie. courtesy of Jessie.


  1. Great post! Moms have it tough. There is no way to get it all done in a day. Kudos to you for being aware of the areas you can improve upon – and doing something about it! My issue is consistent discipline…

    Being intentional is so important! I love how Dr Randy Carlson puts it: “Live the Way You Want to Become”. Right on the mark! (

    Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Even though I’m not a parent, I apppreciate your honesty! Libbie is blessed to have a mom as dedicated to being a good parent as you are 🙂
    .-= Staci Brown´s last blog ..Easter Egg Hunt Variations =-.

  3. Jess, what a great post. It’s hard to be intentional–even those little things like making french toast instead of throwing cheerios down.

    I think we probably go thru ups and down in all these areas. Some days I feel very intentional in everything I do. Other days I’m like a lump on the floor. Ha!

    Thanks for reminding me that everything I do matters!

  4. Totally agree with mom time…but it’s so hard not to feel guilty about it. Funny how shopping and cleaning can become times of “alone time”!
    .-= Christine´s last blog ..Recipe: Oreo Flower Pot Dessert =-.

  5. Great post! I’m still trying to figure this out. I’ve only been a parent for 2 1/2 years, but we have 4 kids ages 3 and under and lately it just feels like I’m functioning in survival mode. What helps is we have a basic schedule/routine to our day with regular times for snacks, crafty/learning type activities, outside play, etc. and even time for the older kids to play upstairs while I catch a breather downstairs. We never follow it perfectly, but the kids know what to expect and I don’t have to think to hard about what’s next!
    .-= Anna´s last blog ..New Kitchen Appliances! =-.

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