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Watching Kids Grow Up

We NEED the Pain from Watching Kids Grow Up

(Inside: Watching your kids grow up is painful, but maybe that pain serves you well. Maybe you need it. And this is why…)

I think I know why it can be so painful for parents to watch our kids grow.

Let me back up…
 
Once my second (of three) sons started high school, a panicked feeling of where-did-the-time-go hit me like a Mack truck. I’m not exaggerating when I say, I’d wake up in the middle of the night, heart pounding, thinking how is this period of time with kids in my home almost over? I love raising big kids; I don’t want this season to end. How am I actually here, and where did the time go?
 
(I am never dramatic or hard to be around at all.)
 
This happened night after night.
Want parenting resources? Check out EMandK’s Etsy shop.

Until a random thought hit me in the middle of an ordinary day and made me feel a smidge better: maybe moms-of-bigs NEED that sinking feeling that time is slipping through our fingers. Perhaps the pain in our hearts helps us “finish strong”?

Even though I’m closer to the end than the beginning, I still have years of big kids in my home in front of me. And we all know that that means…
 
Grocery shopping.
 
Games and activities.
 
Checking grades.
 
Maintaining household routines.
 
Appointments.
 
Carpooling.
 
Busyness.
 
And in the whirlwind…
 

When we’re exhausted from a long day at work and our teen wants to talk at 10 pm, we find the energy because we know how fast it all goes.

When we’re busy juggling activity drop-offs, signing field trip permission slips, flipping the laundry, and running to buy poster board, we still rinse and repeat daily. We find the time to volunteer to be on the booster club and live stream the game so the far-away grandparents can watch because we know how fast it all goes.
 
When we’re overwhelmed with our tween’s middle school behaviors or lack of school engagement or friendship struggles, we continue to stay present and look for solutions. We find the resources because we know how fast it all goes.
watching kids grow up
Connect with your kids over these conservation starters for families of teens.

When our teens need to learn to drive, we teach.

When they can’t seem to remember to hang up their wet towels, we explain. When their friends descend upon our home like locusts, eating our food and staying too long, we welcome. We find the patience because we know how fast it all goes.
 
When the mail holds the graduation announcement of our friend’s child, we just stop everything and soak in that we’re not quite there yet. Then we book the vacation or slow down dinner or linger at the park on the swings. We focus on just enjoying our people because we know how fast it all goes.
 

I hate the pain I feel over how fast our kids grow. But as I look back over the time with my kids in my home, how many times has that sad feeling helped me just stop all the things I think I should be doing and focus on what really matters to me?

My family.
 
My home.
 
Noticing, despite all the things that go wrong, how much goes right.
 
That pain becomes purpose. It gives me perspective, so I take the good from it and carry on feeling grateful for the exact season I am in.

Are you watching your kids grow up? Read the full parenting tweens and teens series.

My two oldest sons are in high school now, and I’m still in a coma because of it. Even though I’ve taught high school for over two decades, I’m confused as to how I’m actually old enough to be a parent of a high schooler.

Teaching high schoolers has always been a passion of mine, but now parenting them is, as well. I could research, write, and talk about this topic until eternity. I hope you are encouraged by some of my articles.

 

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR TEENS
You Can’t Fix Your Struggling Teens Problems, But You Can Do This One Powerful Thing

COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR TWEEN/TEEN

How to Get Your Teen/Teen to Their “Aha Moment”
How to Get Your Tween/Teenage Son to Open Up to You
*400+ Conversation Starters for Families of Teens

PARENTING
Dear Kids – Know the Difference Between “Chores” and “Maintenance”
To the Mom of a High School Freshman
Your Teen’s Maddening Behavior is Age-Appropriate and Here’s Hope
Raising Tweens and Teens – THIS is what it looks like…

HEARTWARMING STORIES IN RAISING OLDER KIDS
I Will Miss These Years of Raising Tweens and Teens
7 Reasons Why Raising Tweens & Teens is the Best
To the Mom Who Mourns That Kids Grow Too Fast
Moms of Big Kids, Did You See Your Sacred Moments Today?

Want parenting resources? Check out EMandK’s Etsy shop.

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens

You just dropped your kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.

You are parenting tweens and teens.

It’s an amazing life phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kid, and celebrate the awesome momma you are. 

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get encouragement in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life chapter. It’s totally free and you can unsubscribe at any time. 

Plus, you’ll get instant access to all the great resources in the freebie library. Join our community below. 

 

gifts for moms
perfect mom

Moms Have a Weird Relationship with Perfect

(Inside: Perfect mom life – isn’t it what we all want? How moms have a weird relationship with perfect, and how this one realization can improve your happiness.)

Moms have a weird relationship with perfect.

We know we get this one shot at having kids in our homes, so, of course, we want to say/do the “right things,” create a positive experience for our children, and enjoy this season.

Yes, yes, our heads KNOW that it’s not going to be perfect, but our hearts THINK it just might be anyway.

We could possibly be the exception.

Because we REALLY love motherhood and maybe that will help us pull off “getting it all right.”

But this rose-colored thinking misses one big thing…

Yes, motherhood comes with so many beautiful moments where you think your heart might burst, but it also comes with dips and curves and stumbling and getting back up again.

Imperfect IS THE PARENTING EXPERIENCE.

You can’t avoid it. It’s the eggs in the cookie recipe. It’s the cream in the chicken wild rice soup recipe. It’s an ingredient that comes with parenting. For everyone.

In mom life…

We’re going to lose our cool when we wanted to be a great listener then say something wise.

We’re going to struggle with when to push our teens and when to pull back.

We’re going to question if we’re leading our family in the best direction.

But, in the imperfect parts of parenting, we reflect. We pray. We talk it out with trusted people. We read a helpful article. We go for a walk. We cling to hope. Then we continually come back together as a family and try to figure it out.

Our teens are going to sometimes not turn in that assignment.

Our teens are going to keep it together at school, then unravel their big emotions when they get home the debris ricocheting off our hearts like hail.

Our teens are going to fall for the peer pressure when we wanted them to stay strong.

But, in the imperfect parts of being a teenager, we listen. We remind them how loved they are and that God is working in their lives. We go back to our family values and share the “whys” of good choices. We hold them accountable so they mature. We give space and grace. We maybe seek professional help. We cling to hope. And we continually come back together as a family and try to figure it out.

The dog is going to chew up the soccer cleats right before the game.

The family’s going to forget the orthodontist appointment.

The house is going to get messy.

But, in the imperfect parts of living together, we revisit routines. We talk about needs and how we can help each other. We divide up tasks so that everyone is contributing. And we continually come back together as a family and try to figure it out.

perfect mom
Read more about our family overcame a huge challenge in one of our sons not wanting to do his school work in the description here. I didn’t handle the situation like the perfect mom, but I kept trying and finally figured out how to better communicate with my son to where we both felt things were going smoother.

Moms have a weird relationship with perfect: we know perfect is unattainable but wish for it anyway. But then as life rolls out, we find that…

Through the imperfect, we get to know each other on a deeper level.

Through the imperfect, we grow and mature.

Through the imperfect, we learn to persist and find hope.

Through the imperfect, we build a strong family

And maybe, shaping a family that continually comes back together to figure things out just is the perfect experience.

You won’t have the perfect mom experience (because imperfect is the only experience to have), but you can join our community of moms raising big kids.

You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.

You are parenting tweens and teens.

It’s an amazing life phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kids, and celebrate the awesome momma you are. 

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get encouragement in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life chapter. It’s free and you can unsubscribe at any time. 

Plus, you’ll get instant access to all the great resources in the freebie library. Join our community here or below.
 

gifts for moms

The perfect mom doesn’t exist, but imperfectly thriving in motherhood is all around us and exquisitely beautiful. Read more stories in our “imperfectly thrive in motherhood” series.

Parenting is one of my biggest joys. I’ve always wanted to be a mom. From a young age, I prayed to have a family, and sometimes I pinch myself that my dream came true.

However, because this phase of life means so much to me, I can put too much pressure on myself to make the most of every moment, handle every situation flawlessly, and be the best mom ever. The truth is, I won’t do it all well and it’s not supposed to be that way. 

One of God’s goals for me is to lean on him – to turn to him, to trust in him, to seek his guidance and favor in this motherhood experience. The dips and turns and messy in mom-life help me do that.

What a gift the imperfect can be. I do my best to try and articulate this idea in my imperfectly thrive in motherhood series. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoyed writing. 

Do You Need to Simplify Parenting? Collect Moments, Instead
Healthy Helicopter Parenting: A Story to Life You Up
Why Mom Mistakes Can Be Good
Parenting Regrets: 3 Truths About “I Wish I’d Parented Better.”

get lost in motherhood

Moms of Big Kids, Get Lost in Motherhood if You Want…

(Inside: “Don’t get lost in motherhood” was a piece of advice I got when I first became a mom. Unpacking the mixed messages moms receive.)

“Don’t lose yourself in motherhood.”

I rocked my third child to sleep, enjoying a few tender moments of holding a baby and reading on my phone. Mom blogs were new to me, and I ate them up like honey. Hearing the hearts of fellow mothers felt beautiful, beautiful, beautiful – and the piece of advice that was dancing in front of my eyes was…

“Don’t lose yourself in motherhood.”

I’m not sure I knew exactly what the recommendation meant, but I took it as this: To fully enjoy life and be a strong woman, I SHOULD meet some of my goals (personal and professional) during this season of motherhood.

“Don’t lose yourself in motherhood.”

This suggestion grew deep roots in my mind. Maybe because I needed to work at least part-time for financial reasons, and it felt like validation. Also, I love chasing dreams, so despite the busyness, it felt great to give wings to a few of mine.

But then somewhere in this mom journey, the advice that once empowered switched to burdensome.

Because you know the “blip” from Avengers: Endgame?
 
Blink – it happened here.
 
My kids are in 10th grade and 9th grade and 5th grade and oh-my-heart, their focus has shifted to activities and friends and driving and talking about college. No one has listened to my suggestion of stopping all this growing up so fast.

I’m big emotions over here. Now, when I hear messages about going for one’s dreams or meeting that goal, I think – that’s such a great idea FOR ANYONE OTHER THAN ME.

I just need a hot moment. Or ten. Or a hundred.
 
I’m not feeling a full-steam-ahead season.
 
I don’t want to sign up for all the things.
 
I don’t want to work longer-than-necessary hours.
 
I don’t want extra obligations, no thank you.
 
And please, I need zero suggestions of some long quest for self-improvement.
 
I don’t want to feel like a failure because I’m not doing enough self-care or meeting the “right” kind of goals.
 
Off, off, off noise.
don't get lost in motherhood
Do you want a simple, fun way to connect with your family? Read more in the description.

The only “more” I want right now is to focus on simply being present.

I want to not sweat the small stuff but still invest the time into guiding and parenting my kids through the important stuff. I want to say yes to the family movie. I want to cheer from the sidelines at their games and concerts. I want to go out for ice cream. I want to open our home to friends and not worry about the mess, noise, and late hours. I want to pile into the booth, order dinner, and hear about my family’s day. I want to walk around the mall with them to shop for hoodies. I want to smile at the pile of shoes and backpacks by the door because that means everyone’s safely home.

I know I’m not going to enjoy every moment of raising big kids. Of course, there will be hard parts. But I just want to be around so I can lean into the moments that I do enjoy.

I’m sure someday I’ll be back to wanting to chase that goal – but not now. Not even a little bit.
 
“Don’t lose yourself in motherhood.”
 
Not every message we hear about mom life is for us.
 
And if it is for us, that certainly doesn’t mean the message is for every season.
 
Previously, maybe I didn’t want to get lost in motherhood – but right now, I don’t care if I do.

Read the full series on how important you are, momma!

Do you really understand how important, how vital, how life-giving your role as a mom is?

Maybe you feel like you just poured the bowl of cereal this morning, but that’s not all you did. You nourished your kid. And through simple daily interactions, you teach responsibility, leadership, love, grace, faith, courage, and kindness. Your child will go out into life and share his or her gifts. Then pass everything you taught down to their kids. And next, their grandkids – your impact keeps rolling.

I’m getting chill bumps. Your ordinary work is extraordinary. 

Let me continue to convince you through the full series on the importance of motherhood: 

Why Moms are Important: This is the Impact You Make
Momma, How You Inspire Other Moms in Every Day in Amazing Ways
3 Realizations that Will Help You Enjoy Motherhood More

don't get lost in motherhood

“Don’t get lost in motherhood” and other mixed messages. Join this community of moms of older kids as we unpack this mom life together.

You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.

You are parenting tweens and teens.

It’s an amazing life phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kid, and celebrate the awesome momma you are. 

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get encouragement in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life chapter. It’s free and you can unsubscribe at any time. 

Plus, you’ll get instant access to all the great resources in the freebie library. Join our community here or below. 

gifts for moms
once a mom always a mom

Once a Mom, Always a Mom – What a Gift

(Inside: Once a mom, always a mom. Your kids grow, but you will still always be their mom. What a gift that is to us and to them.)

Once you are a mom, you’re always a mom.

I released the bowling ball, scrunched my face at the result, then turned around to see my mom holding her phone out recording me.
 
I laughed out loud.
 
I am in my forties.
 
And I was throwing more gutter balls than not.

As moms of tweens and teens, we can grieve that our kids are growing up way too fast. But the truth is: motherhood doesn’t end once our kids blow out their 18th birthday candles. Once you’re a mom, you are always a mom.

It doesn’t matter how old your kids get….
 
You will always cherish spending time with them.
 
You will always wonder how they’re doing and want to know their thoughts.
 
You will always hope that your kids are finding friends and people to connect with.
 
You will always see the best in your children and know what they are capable of. You will always hope they are as confident in themselves as you are in them.
 
You always want your kids to discover their talents and be proud of how they are contributing to the world.
once a mom always a mom
ONCE A MOM, ALWAYS A MOM FAMILY CONNECTION IDEA: Instead of playing cards, play a round of “5 questions.” Pick 5 interesting questions from this list of 400+ and learn more about each other.

You will always want to comfort them when life gets hard – you want them to know that you are there, and you cherish when they choose to open up to you. And if they don’t want to confide in you, that’s okay – you hope they will reach out and find other help.

You will always pray for their safety, health, and well-being.
 
You will always look for hope in your children’s situations and be ready to cheer them on.
 
You will always think about your child and hold them in your heart.
 
You will always love them, more and more each passing season.
 
And you will always be ready with your phone to record a moment you’re enjoying with them – even if they are middle age and throwing gutter balls.
 
You can’t shake motherhood.
 
No matter how many years flip by.

Once you’re a mom, you’re always, always, ALWAYS a mom.

Once a mom, always a mom – and your importance to your family is immeasurable. Read the full series on the importance of motherhood.

Do you really understand how important, how vital, how life-giving your role as a mom is?

Maybe you feel like you just poured the bowl of cereal this morning, but that’s not all you did. You nourished your kid. And through simple daily interactions, you teach responsibility, leadership, love, grace, faith, courage, and kindness. Your child will go out into life and share his or her gifts. Then pass everything you taught down to their kids. And next, their grandkids – your impact keeps rolling.

I’m getting chill bumps. Your ordinary work is extraordinary. 

Let me continue to convince you through the full series on the importance of motherhood: 

Why Moms are Important: This is the Impact You Make
Momma, How You Inspire Other Moms in Every Day in Amazing Ways
3 Realizations that Will Help You Enjoy Motherhood More

Join this community of moms parenting teens and tweens.

You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.

You are parenting tweens and teens.

It’s an amazing life phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kid, and celebrate the awesome momma you are.

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get encouragement in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life chapter. It’s free and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Plus, you’ll get instant access to all the great resources in the freebie library. Join our community here or below. 



once a mom always a mom

Best Podcasts Every Mom Needs to Hear

(Inside: 8 best podcasts for moms that will motivate women. Accomplish more and meet your goals by listening to these inspirational podcasts for women. ) 

 

The pile of plates teetered as I  carried them from my kitchen to the dining room. Next, I grabbed the stacks of Tupperware, mismatched bottoms and tops thrown together looking like the Eiffel tower in shambles and not the neat rows I’d vowed to keep them in. I made infinite trips emptying my cabinets – a tedious job, that…get this… 

 

I WAS ACTUALLY ENJOYING. 

 

No, I hadn’t taken a crazy pill or downed way too much coffee. So, then what was tricking my brain into enjoying emptying cabinets and prepping them for painting? What made this task – can I dare to say – ahem…inspirational? 

 

Empowering podcasts and videos. (I refer to the videos as podcasts because I only listened to them.) I filled the airwaves with encouraging words that pumped motivation through my veins. Here’s what my heart soaked in:  

  • How to see motherhood as a marathon where achieving goals can happen – just not in ten minutes, but over an intentional lifetime.  
  • A thought process to promote contentment and gratitude for what I have instead of going down the alluring rabbit hole of “not enough.” 
  • Confidence in being okay that I am not the “perfect mom” for my kids: I am the type of mom who is overemotional, can drop the ball then goes back to being overemotional about it.  (It’s good for my kids to see me deal with the bumps of life in a healthy way.)  

 

Y’all – this evacuation of my kitchen took 3 hours. Bending, carrying, wiping, and vacuuming. I was dog-tired. But only physically. My spirit felt refreshed because that’s what listening to 3 hours of some of the best podcasts for moms will do for you.   

 

Do you want to feel empowered too? What encouragement do you need to hear? I got you, friend. There is something that will speak directly to you below. Listen while you cook or drive or fold laundry. Then feel free to pass on empowerment through sharing this post on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter.

*This blog post contains affiliate links.*

 

 

 

Best Podcasts for Moms #1: 

 

When you need to stop trying to “have it all.” 

We want to have it all. We do. Of. Course. We. Do. We want to have amazing careers, foster strong marriages, and be epic mothers. Here’s the thing – we can have it all, just maybe not all at the same time. Motherhood is a marathon, not a sprint. There might be seasons where we don’t pursue our dreams and only focus on home, but later in life (whether your kids are out of your house or not), the door opens for us to go for that aspiration that’s been quietly pulsing in our hearts like…forever.  

 

 

When you need to stop stressing that you’re not setting a good enough example of a “perfect life well lived” for your kids. 

Moms, we’re going to lose relationships, jobs, patience and let’s get real honest here: peace of mind. Try and live the perfect life, I absolutely dare you, but just when you think you are killing it at your career, someone will tell you your project you know you nailed in fact, stunk. But in professional terms – because we polish it up for work. Then your kids sense your humiliation and overhear you telling your spouse you stink at your job. Not exactly the example of the empowered woman you’re going for. (Face in palms.) But listen – and for the love please hear me…how we handle our bumps our empowering life lessons for our kids. 

 

This raw interview with Maria Shriver addresses both trying to have it all and the imperfect example you set for your kids. After listening to her candid words, I felt empowered in both of these areas.  

Listen to Podcast 1

 

Best Podcasts for Moms #2: 

 

Is your family not your “dream family?” 

Yes, we all love our people – I’m not saying any of us are ungrateful for the human beings God gave us. No, no, no…but, maybe we’d envisioned our family in a “certain way.” We didn’t plan on a special needs kid, but we’re raising one. We wanted to raise sons and only have girls. We wanted five kids but the five pregnancies only gave us two babies. We wanted biological children but created our family through adoption.  We desired sixty plus years of marriage but instead are in a blended family. These podcasts talk about amazing, smart, fulfilled women who shaped their God-given, beautiful families with an open heart. Be inspired by them.  

Listen to Podcast 2

 

Best Podcasts for Moms #3: 

Do you stress your kids will resent you working?  

 Yes, me too. My heart always wants to be available for my kids. My head tells me that teaching I’m called to do. In this Ted Talk, a daughter talks about how proud she is of her working mom. (And I have to admit, I’ve overheard my elementary-age sons tell their friends with puffed out chests that their mom teaches HIGH SCHOOL. *Heart. Melting.*) 

Listen to Podcast 3

 

Best Podcasts for Moms #4: 

When you’re physically tired from motherhood. 

We all know motherhood is a gift, but it also gives us narcolepsy. No joke. I never knew I could actually fall dead asleep at 6 pm until I started raising kids. (Who am I kidding – I try and do call the day done right after dinner but, “maaaaawwwmmmm, I need…”) Sometimes we need our tired bodies to feel again what our head knows: motherhood is an epic gift. Let this Ted Talk reignite your heart and refuel your body:  

Listen to Podcast 4

 

best podcasts for moms

 

Best Podcasts for Moms #5: 

 You’re itching to be creative, but how can you in all the busyness? 

All of us need a creative outlet and that doesn’t mean we have to craft. We can introduce creativity into parenting, our jobs, our home life…etc.  Liz Gilbert expands on this topic and ignites me to better enjoy the mundane parts of my life through creativity.  

Why you don’t need to plan excessive activities for your kids.  

I cave with video games way more than I’d like too. (“Because I’m booooored mom!”)  Elizabeth Gilbert talks about how childhood boredom shaped her into a good writer.  Parents – we don’t have to continually Pinterest it up for our kids. Kids grow in amazing, healthy and did I say amazing ways through boredom. Remind your kids that, then drop the mic.   

Listen to Podcast 5

 

Best Podcasts for Moms #6: 

 

You feel guilty about being a stay-at-home mom in a world of working women.  

Cameron Candance Bure should have continued to pursue her career after her hit show Full House ended. The child actress was then a young adult and, you know –  Hollywood likes them young. Hollywood worships them young. But instead, she let her golden career slip through her fingers to raise babies. Crazy girl! Except she wasn’t crazy because she pulled off a huge comeback in her late-thirties, just when she should be drying up. Let her inspire you to go with your heart and stay home if you want to. Believe an enticing career will be waiting for you when the time is right.

Listen to Podcast 6

Best Podcasts for Moms #7: 

 When your brain is in a mom-funk.   

It happens to all moms – the mom funk. Sometimes we can’t put a finger on it, we’re not depressed, we don’t have low self-confidence but ugh – our brains feel yucky. It just that there’s so much to do, to worry about and to be responsible for, that the mom-funk creeps in for a day or two, like the common cold, and makes us feel blah.  No need to freak or decide we have huge issues – we sometimes just need to do one thing: focus on gratitude. God breathes a holy quality into gratitude. It’s like Robitussin for our mental health. Watch this for a mental lift.  

 Listen to Podcast 7 


Best Podcasts for Moms #8: 

 When you need to laugh. 

We all need to laugh and this viral mom-song by Anita Renfroe will not disappoint. Why is it still funny the tenth time you view it?

 Listen to Podcast 8 

 

 

I’ve set tucked the plates back into the cupboards, stacked the Tupperware in a neat tower, and renewed my vow to keep the spaces tidy. But, the kitchen isn’t done. The doors are drying and need to be sanded and painted again before we carefully rehang them. But when it’s time to put everything all back together – I know what I’ll be listening to. But what about you? Which best podcast for moms with both help you get through a chore and empower you today? 

 


Read the Full Series on Self-Care & Inspiration for Moms

Why is self-care so hard for moms? Y’all, I ignored it for so long, that I had an epic mom crash. (I talk about it over here.) I never want to go there again, so it’s game on, self-care!

I recently listened to a podcast by the author of my favorite book on creativity (affiliate link), Liz Gilbert, where she talked about how she feels like she been given the divine responsibility of being in charge of “Liz,” so needs to do what’s best for “Liz.”

Okay, I hope I don’t mess up the interpretation of what she said too much, but let me tell you how it went into my heart…

God gives us the sacred responsibility of taking care of ourselves. So, I need to see myself in the 3rd person. I need to step outside of myself and say, “Cheryl doesn’t need to be doing that. She’s done enough..she needs sleep, or to say ‘no,’ or to sit and pet her beloved dog.”

For this go-go-go, do-all-the-things girl, that way of explaining our self-obligation was powerful. Self-care is vital. We better serve our families and communities when we are in a good place. So, be encouraged by the full series on self-care:

INSPIRATION TO REFUEL MOMS
7 Christian Meditations for Busy Moms Just Like You
60+ Encouraging and Inspirational Best Books for Mothers
Need Hope? Look for it – Hope will Always Come Back to You

SELF-CARE IN THE CHAOS
8 Reasons Why “Me Time” for Moms is Good FOR YOUR KIDS
The Power of Finding Peace and Joy In the Choas of Momlife
Good Parenting Skills: The Single Best Thing Parents Can Do

 

best podcasts for moms

 

Laundry becomes lessons, cooking creates clarity, washing grows wisdom, and the mundane becomes inspirational through these best podcasts for moms. Read on... #momlife #podcasts #motherhood #inspiration Click To Tweet

 

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens

You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.

You are parenting tweens and teens.

It’s an amazing life phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kid, and celebrate the awesome momma you are.

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Momma, Should You Write? (Or Start a Blog?)

(Inside: Should you start a blog? Should you write? Read my journey of starting a blog and get tips that will help you start writing and blogging with confidence.)

 

 

“I want to be a writer.”

 

I gently rocked my nursing son (middle child) in the middle of the night. That’s the exact moment the writer-thought popped into my head.

 

Which is slightly surprising given that I’m a high school math teacher. Graphing parabolas? Easy-peezy. Word problems? Tell about which direction that train is going and at what speed. But, writing…I mean…being serious about writing? Well, this direction is new. 

 

So here I was – in the narcoleptic-tired mom state, sitting in a rocker crammed in our small townhome’s hallway (the only spot upstairs to nurse with the light on and not disturb my sleeping husband and toddler), with a math degree in my back pocket, making this decision.

 

Life is weird.

 

But life is also full of life-enriching surprises. I’ve loved writing for Empowered Moms and Kids. (I also write at Extravagant Hope). I’ve been published on Huffington Post and Today Parents. Writing also ties well with my side-gig of speaking at moms groups and church groups. (Speaking I always knew I wanted to do.)

 

It’s brought out a creative side I didn’t realize I had, grown my perspective, and stretched me in healthy ways. Writing has helped me connect deeper with people who share openly with me after they’ve read something I’d written. It’s landed me in circles I never thought I’d be in but am a better person because of it. (Like, my writing group!) Writing hasn’t disappointed.

 

What about you? Do you have an inkling in your heart to put words on paper? Your story. Your perspective. Do you want to get it out there? You’re not alone, there’s a whole tribe of women writers who are thriving and there’s room for you at the table. If you’re thinking, “Should I write?” follow my journey and see if writing is for you.

 

**This blog post contains both Amazon affiliate links and course affiliate links.**

 

Take up reading. (If you haven’t already.)

When I rocked my nursing baby at o’dark hundred deciding I wanted to write – I knew it wasn’t going to happen just then. I didn’t have the time (or desire) to maintain a blog, plus I didn’t even know what I wanted to write about. So, I decided my author-starting-place would be with rekindling my love of reading. I figured this was the best way to brush up on grammar, sentence structure, plot, and storyline. (Plus, this would help me stay awake while I nursed in the middle of the night. And in the morning. And in the afternoon. Brain fog..all…the…time…)

 

So, I went to the library and wiped the recommended book table clean. And every chance I got I read, read, read…

 

In it, I stumbled across Jen Hatmaker’s Out of the Spin Cycle and howled! Brilliant and hilarious, I felt like I’d just hung out with a friend who was available at 11 pm. 1 am. 3 am. And again at 5 am. That’s the genre I decided I wanted to write: empowering lessons learned from life.

 

What I’d recommend:
  • Buy the books instead of checking them out from the library so you can underline interesting ways authors string words together, make notes and study writing styles. (But I couldn’t afford that and if you can’t, I get you.)
  • Keep a journal/notebook/app to write down all the interesting ways authors string words together as you read. It gives you a nice place to look at creative ways of wording when you do start to write.

 

 


 

Practice Writing

In the 5 years of reading and deciding my genre (with writing in the back of my mind) and raising 3 small kids, I decided I wanted to start a blog – nothing fancy, just for practice.

So, I  started a free blog on Blogger, simply to post pictures and write a few things for my family to see. Nothing else. No stress. My sister and cousin both maintained a family blog, so we’d check out each others’ pages and comment – I loved it. It reinforced that I like to write.

Next, I was involved in MOPS and they had a small magazine called MomSense. (Now, called Hello Darling.) So, I submitted two articles, one about friendships and the other about exercise. MomSense published both of them. Like, IN PRINT. I couldn’t believe it – it felt like more confirmation to move forward.

I also wrote for the small newsletter our MOPS (Mother of Preschoolers) group printed. It was the Leadership team contributing fun articles, recipes, life-hacks, and making copies in the church office, but still, it felt great. I liked coming up with interesting articles that encouraged our group.

If I were to go back to this phase of practice writing, I’d do some things the same and some things differently.

What I’d recommend:
  • I would take Suzi from Start a Mom Blog’s course on how to start a blog called Blog By Number. It’s a great way to start thinking about where to take your writing, especially if you are not sure, it’s totally worth the investment. You learn:
    • different blog types
    • choosing a blog name
    • ways to make money
    • the technical part of setting up the site.
    • And much more!
  • If you’re all in on this blogging thing, I’d skip the Blog by Number course and buy ALL of Start a Mom Blog’s courses in this VIP Bundle. I absolutely think it’s worth it!
  • Find places to write:
    • Guest post on blogs like Mom Life Happy Life.  To post on Mom Life Happy Life, you need to take this $9 course that teaches you how.
    • Can you write for your mom-group newsletter, somewhere in your job, send out the emails for your kid’s school PTO group?
    • Publish your writing as a post on Facebook. Get a feel for how you liked that and what the reaction was.

 

 

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens HERE. 

 

 

Connect with other writers

In a stroke of luck, I met a mom on my son’s kindergarten field trip who wrote a novel. (Just for fun, it wasn’t published.) She was forming a writing group (read more here) and I was in. We all write completely different genres, but it enriches our group in infinite measure. Once a month, we’d read each other’s work, give honest feedback (even when it was hard!) and cheer each other on.

One of the writers in our group, Dylann Crush, just published her first romance novel. She did it the hard way, submitted her writing to a billion different agents until a New York agent took her (yay!), and then nothing happened.  (More sending out transcripts. We’re a couple of years into this process now.) A California agent took her on board and the rest is history. You can buy her book at Walmart and Barnes & Noble people…it’s cray-cray. Dreams do come true.

What I’d recommend:
  • Find friends who want to start a writing group with you. Even if it’s just one friend, the time away to talk and learn is immeasurably helpful.
  • Sometimes this doesn’t work, don’t be discouraged. Check out some online writing groups – or skip this piece, it’s not a must, but a really nice bonus if it does work out.

 

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

Get serious (Should I write? YES!)

Okay, I’d read, started a practice blog, and had my team in a 5-year span. I knew I wanted to write about so it was time to get serious. I started a free blog called Since I Became a Mom and wrote for another 5 years in it. I experienced success but felt I needed to put some money into learning the “business” aspect of blogging. What a game-changer that was for me.

 

Take some blogging courses. (Totally worth it!)

 

Kelly Holmes from Sticky Blogging Courses:

I love Kelly’s style of teaching. She does all the research for you and gives you the main points you need to apply to your blog. Her courses you will enjoy, even in your busy-no-real-time-for-it life.

Sticky Blogging – This course teaches you how to create content that will keep people coming back to your page. It’s a game-changer. This is the number one course I’d recommend!

SEO Optimization – Everyone hates SEO. (Please, google, just let me write a blog post and you show it to everyone. Okay? Okay. Bye-bye, now.) But, you gotta learn it. Kelly teaches specifically how to make SEO work with your blog. It’s incredibly helpful. She’s offering this now with big bonuses if you sign up ASAP.

Course by Number – Offer courses from your blog.

 

Suzi from Start a Mom Blog Courses:

I really like Suzi, she’s so real. She says things like “Get over being perfect and be real. Hit publish, you can make an impact without being 100% polished.” That girl speaks to my heart. If I had to do it again, I would pay the money for Suzi’s VIP bundle with ALL of her courses. But, since I learned as I went, I bought:

Other amazing courses she offers:

Start your blog right!

Like I mentioned before, I blogged for free on Blogger as Since I Became a Mom for almost 5 years. (If you’re keeping track – 5 years reading/practicing, 5 years writing Since I Became a Mom on Blogger…I’m a decade in now.) The free blog site had limitations and I didn’t like my blog name anymore. After learning so much from the courses, I knew I needed to transfer my blog to a self-hosted WordPress site. (I did lots of research on this, save yourself time and just go with it.)

Here are the steps:

1. Buy a domain name from GoDaddy.com
2. Set up a hosting site that holds your blog with SiteGround. (They have the BEST free live tech support!) Then SiteGround will help you set up your self-hosted WordPress site.

(Again, I would recommend the Blog By Number course. It will save you so much time…and pain.)

 

What I’d recommend:
  • Spend money on some courses – you won’t regret it!
  • Start your blog right – set up a self-hosted Word Press site. You can easily walk away if it’s not for you, but transferring a blog…what a pain!

 

Share

This is the equally fun and hard part. My heart raced the first time I hit “share” on Facebook. I waited for the laughter. (What is the math teacher doing with words?) But, I received the opposite. People showed encouragement and support. So much support! I even got speaking gigs out of blogging. My adventure has been good. No…it’s been great.

What I’d recommend:
  • Set up your social media sites and share on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (I don’t do Snapchat.)
  • Focus on Pinterest. It’s a popular search engine that will keep your blog posts relevant. Sign up for Tailwind to schedule posts and save yourself tons of time!
  • Share, share, share!
  • Then promise me this, don’t worry about likes or numbers – you can’t, it just isn’t worth it. If you enjoy writing, just write and share. The end.

 

I’m way past the nursing babies stage, but I’m never past the dreaming stage. I don’t know where my writing will take me, but it’s all okay – because this writing journey…it’s worth it. And if you’re still wondering if you should write, I say, yes! FOR SURE YES! Writing will enrich your life in ways you’d never expect. I challenge you – share your story too and see where it takes you…

 

Writing will enrich your life in ways you'd never expect. I challenge you - share your story too and see where it takes you... Read on... #writers #bloggers #authors #moms Click To Tweet

 

 

should you start a blog

 

 

Continue to build your confidence to write and share your words through reading the full “Confidence to be You” Series

Confidence to be You Series:
4 Things You Need to Be a Strong, Joy-Filled Mother
How to Silence Negative Automatic Thoughts
Be a More Confident Mom By Exposing These 5 Lies

 

 

No one can tell your story, so tell it yourself. No one can write your story, so write it yourself. (Unknown) Read on... #writers #bloggers #moms #authors #dreamers Click To Tweet

 

 

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens.

You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.

You are parenting tweens and teens.

It’s an amazing life phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kid, and celebrate the awesome momma you are.

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get encouragement in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life chapter. It’s totally free and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Plus, you’ll get instant access to all the great resources in the freebie library. Join our community below.

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