Writing a family mission statement, defining your core values, and breaking the parenting rules – EDEM no. 12 NJ Rongner

What is a family mission statement? Is it as simple as a vision of what you want for your family life and the values to live by to realize your vision? Is having one important?

Meet NJ Rongner, a mom-of-two, who sat down with her husband to write their family mission statement. Hear why she did it, what her core values are, and how she’s breaking some of the parenting rules.

One thing she does is say no before saying yes and she does so without guilt. For her saying no is a good thing, because it means saying yes to something else. Something that is more meaningful for her family.

One of their core values is to raise children who are self-sufficient. She’s okay with things taking a little longer if it means teaching her child a new skill. Skills stay with a person—its a piece of you that sticks with them forever—so it’s worth the extra time.

Another thing NJ makes time for is reading. She offers some great tips for carving time for it in your day. One is reading as an to-do-list incentive. Once she checks off a few things on her to-do list then she gets to read.

Don’t miss this heartfelt and hilarious chat with NJ Rongner, a digital strategist and blogger who writes about life, love, and breaking the parenting rules from her blog a cookie before dinner—but remains a mom first. A mom who is makes choices everyday in alignment with the core values and vision she has set for her family life.

Listen on iTunes

Life Recipe: Don’t fight about food with kids.

It’s our responsibility as parents to offer food to children, not for them to eat it. So don’t fight about food with your kids.


Change your perspective on feeding your children so everyone can enjoy it more. Fast forward to when children are twenty, will it really matter what they eat? Shift to: If you’re hungry, I will feed you. If you’re not hungry, that’s fine. If you don’t tell your children that ‘they can’t leave the table before finishing food’ there are no negative associations with food. Mealtimes can be enjoyable without the stress with this shift. Children actually choose to eat good things for their body when they aren’t forced into it.

Quotes from the podcast

“One of the core values for our family is that we want our kids to be around kids of all abilities.”

“I think its a really good idea to sit down with your spouse and to write a family mission statement that can be something you use as a touch stone or guidepost to run other big decisions though.”

“Don’t be afraid to have something take more time so they [your children] can help you along with it. If you want your children to grow up knowing how to cook. You have to invite them into the kitchen to cook with you.”

“If you don’t give the kid a skill, you’re missing out on an invitation to influence them for the rest of their lives—a piece that lives on with them long after you pass away.”

“My first answer to almost everything in life is ‘no.’ It’s a lot easier to turn your no into a yes than a yes into no.”

“When you say no to something you are saying yes to something better.”

Books we talked about

The happiest baby on the block. Pure magic if you have a baby who is fussy. Really works with fussy babies. 

The wonder weeks. There are developmental leaps and your baby is growing cognitively and one of the ways it manifests is through sleep regression.

Surprised by Motherhood.  Lisa-Jo Baker tells story about how she grew up, got married and never wanted children and now has have three kids. Her story with reconciling what she thought her life would be and what it is. Beautiful story.

Anchored. Kayla Aimee She went into labor and had baby around 26 weeks. It tells the story of her daughter who is now five that any mom can relate to but especially if you have a baby early, in the Nicu or Late term loss. She is really witty and poignant and charming.


NJ Rongner is an Internetter based in Western Massachusetts. She got her start as a lifestyle and parenting blogger at A Cookie Before Dinner, where she inspires her readers to chase a sweet life well lived. When she isn’t busy taking the internet by storm or chasing her children, she can be found drinking the entire pot of coffee, watching Gilmore Girls, or scrolling through Instagram. Speaking of which she’d love to connect with you there. 

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