I'm daughter to Lissie, sister to Jess, wife to Brien, mom to Hannah, Lily and Eleanor. I am a stay at home mom to my girls, and my free time is dedicated to gardening (I confess I'm still a novice and look to Lissie and Jess for advice), baking and cooking, and card making. I'm doing my part to make the earth a bit greener, trying hard to avoid processed foods and HFCS, and find the "slow food" movement intriguing and inspiring. I love visits to my local farmers' market, fresh produce, reading, getting out in nature, and spending time with my family.


Catholic, homeschooler, lover of books and great wine and an amateur gardening addict.


I'm Melissa aka "Lissie", mother of Rachael and Jessica, and grandmother to a passel of the sweetest children on the planet. I'm a semi-retired public educator and professor who works from home for a small publisher. I am a lover of all things beautiful ... flowers, the mountains, nature scenes, the innocent faces of children, and my rock and fossil collection, to name a few. I enjoy shopping at the farmers' market for fresh foods and then experimenting with new recipes. Good food and good wine delight me. I love to travel so my suitcase is always packed. Like my daughters, I take pleasure in simple things ... clothes drying on the line, tomatoes so fresh they are still hot from the sun, good books, and interesting movies. I'd like to know everything before I die.

My 28 month old son is trying to potty train (he just needs his mama to get consistent and on board with it, but that is another post) and this morning while I was getting him breakfast he took himself to the bathroom, took off his diaper and completed his business with no help needed from me. After he was finished he did ask that I help him get cleaned up and I did. And then I was so excited that I squealed:

"You earned a treat from Target! After breakfast we will go out and you can choose a new toy!"

And so we did. And that, my friends, is the problem. My first instinctual response was to buy him something to reward him. Aside from knowing that material rewards are not necessarily the greatest motivator for kids, aside from knowing that I could have offered him another type of reward or bonus for his success to show him how proud I am of his ability and independence, still my first gut response was a material reward. And once it was said I had to follow through.

Likewise, Ella has been working on memorizing some prayers and we have especially been working on the Hail Mary. At the beginning I promised her material rewards for memorizing the prayer, which is completely counter-intuitive to what I really want her to learn from the process. If I always have to dangle a carrot to get my children to cooperate in learning/performing in a way that I feel is productive then how will they ever learn that sometimes doing or learning something is worth it in and of itself. How will Ella ever learn that prayer is a gift and a privilege if I make it seem like something that needs rewarding to get through it?

I cannot believe how hard this is to beat. I am really a consumer, one who is capable of justifying just about any purchase I make that is unnecessary. And I am teaching my children that not only is being a consumer is OK, it is a way to reward yourself. This is definitely not the message I want to be sending to them and yet I choose to do it all the time. I'm not writing this as a confessional post, I am simply saying that I recognize that I have a problem and I am genuinely unable to stop myself. Which is really the description of an addict, is it not?




Anonymous said...

Years ago Alfie Kohn (sp?) wrote a book called _Punished with Rewards_. Maybe you should check it out.


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