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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.”

joy in mom life

In 5 Minutes I Was Reminded of the Joy of Being a Mother

(Inside: In just 5 minutes, I was reminded of the absolute joy of being a mother. Being a mother is the best feeling. Being a mother is a blessing.)

the joy of being a mother

I am done with all things motherhood

When it’s time to go to bed at night, I shut down as quickly as a power outage. Instantly, I’m OVER grading papers, taxing my kids to activities, and asking my kids to give back my phone charger.

The other night, I walked into my son’s room and curtly declared, “It’s time for bed.”

What made me stop

However, the scene made me stop. My three boys were sitting together with Pokémon cards spread out in front of them. My 14, 12, and 9-year-old were laughing, sharing about their day, and discussing my youngest son’s card trades he made with the neighbor kid.

Then, I surprised myself – instead of the urge to hurry everyone to bed, I felt my heart and mind still.

This. Moment.

This love in the room.

This shared feeling of connecting and belonging.

This is why I grade papers and work so darn hard in my career – to help financially provide for these little (not-so-little) humans. This is why I taxi them around to activities – to give them opportunities to grow their talents and create a community of friends that surround them. This is why I continually clean the house, make dinner, and almost always say yes to friends coming over – to provide them with a safe, enjoyable place to come home to every night.

All the busyness – it’s for them. So, if I don’t pause to collect the small sacred moments in my day, why do I do it?

So, I sat myself on the floor right next to the bed. My Goldendoodle came over and nestled against me. I stroked her fur, listened to my boys’ chatter, and let my heart feel joy. I soaked in the love in the room.

Need a guide to help still your busy life and feel peace? Read more in the description here.

The joy of being a mother…

If I can spend 7 hours at work, 3 hours shuffling boys around, and 100 hours cleaning/cooking/finding-my-cell-phone-charger, I can take 5 minutes to remember the reason I mom so hard. I can stop for 5 minutes to enjoy this life that I’m living with the people I love so much.

That 5 minutes of pause gave me joy that will last much longer.  

Mom life really is very, very good.

the joy of being a mother

Read the Full Build-Your-Faith-Through-Everyday-Momlife Series

Elijah’s my favorite. Elijah’s the Old Testament Prophet. He went head-to-head with the Baal prophets to show who the One True God was. (Read more about that here.)

This man who experience God’s supernatural power, later found himself in complete despair, with shaken faith, depressed and anxious, trying to hear God’s voice. (Have you been there too?) 1 Kings 19:11-13 says:

“The Lord said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.
 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

Then a voice said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’”

When Elijah looked for God, he found Him. And God’s voice wasn’t in the wind, earthquake, or fire – it was in a gentle whisper.

Momma’s, God still speaks to us today. It’s deep inside of you, an inner knowing. I’d love for you to join me as I learn to discern that voice smack in the middle of my ordinary days. 

Read more in the faith-building stories:

Growing Your Faith: Imperfect Faith is STILL Faith
Momma, is God is More Control of Your Life Than You Think?
Tired Parents, You are Beautifully Exhausted
This is How I Hear God Speak Through Motherhood


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 a fantastic 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

4 Things You Need to Be a Strong, Joy-Filled Mother

(Inside: How to be a strong, joy-filled mother. Moms, paying attention to these aspects of life will help you be a happy mom and strong mom.)

This blog post contains affiliate links.

The teenage girl paused before my desk near my high school classroom. She exhaled while flexing her hands in stretching motions several times before plopping down in the chair next to me. I felt her anxiety before she even said a word – she was positive she tanked her math test.

“You have an A in math, what makes you think you epically crashed,” I invited her thoughts out. We continued to untangle her tension and point it in a productive direction. As she walked away with renewed confidence, I silently thanked the AP Psychology teacher and school counselor I’d worked so closely with for the tools they taught me.

Three years ago, my desk moved near these inspirational psychology people. If you’ve never, on a daily basis, sat near experts who understand human behavior  – let me tell you, the conversation is interesting.

I found myself saying things like, “Ugh…I’m annoyed about such-and-such” then leaning in and asking, “What do you think that REALLY means about me?” (wink-wink)

Except I was totally serious.

Free therapy? Yes, please.

My new coworkers taught me the value of applying science-based-human-behavior research in the teaching field.

strong mother
Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens HERE.

Taking this further, I also wondered about the psychology behind family life and motherhood. A goal of mine is to be a strong, joy-filled mom; I wanted to know what science advised me to do to be strong and happy.

So as I looked around trying to find a magic checklist of how to be a strong, joy-filled momma, I came across Emily Esfahani Smith’s work. Instead of finding a to-do list, I found four areas of life to pay attention to…

  1. belonging,
  2. purpose
  3. faith
  4. storytelling


In Emily Esfahani Smith’s research on what makes people happy, she found these four pillars of a meaningful life to be vital. She explains more in her Ted Talk below.

But, happiness is not reserved for when we “arrive” at these four pillars,  joy arises in our journey along the way to becoming a strong, joy-filled mother.

We’ll never totally check each pillar off our list; instead, we’ll find joy in our journey as we nurture each of the four pillars Emily Esfahani Smith talks about in her research. Let me explain more about how this can unfold in ordinary mom life…

1. Be a strong, joy-filled mother through creating belonging in your home.

Some of my best childhood memories are around the dinner table. As I dipped my bread into my bean soup, I felt valued, listened to, and as if I belonged. And the laughter? My sister turned the events of her day into hilarious stories. Consistently. One time I laughed so hard a bean flew out of my mouth into my dad’s soup. And he still ate it. Oh, my disgusting.

How lovely it is to create a home where everyone belongs. When the front door creaks open, backpacks are dumped, shoes kicked off and cell phones plugged back in, instantly parents and kids all feel embraced. 

How are we, as moms, paying attention to creating family belonging?

It can be done in so many ways: car rides, dinner time, tuck-ins, board games, and even trips to Target. The point is in the mundane, we connect as a family. We create a place every loves to come home to, especially us.

One way to create belonging:

If you’re looking for an idea, I created a family devotional that does just that. It’s so simple. At the beginning of the week, you read the Bible verse and short paragraph challenging the reader to see God in his/her everyday life. Then throughout the week, you share how God revealed Himself to you. It can be done during car rides, dinner time, tuck-ins, board games, and even trips to Target.

I’d love to share it with you – grab the FREE family devotional below.

Grab the free ebook HERE.

2. Be a strong, joy-filled mother through exploring your purpose

With all of my heart, I believe you have a divine purpose on this earth. But, not in an anxiety-inducing-try-to-find-your-needle-in-a-haystack-singular-purpose way. Nope. None of that.  Instead, in a Hmmm, how can I get curious about using my gifts to be the hands and feet of Jesus? sort of way. 

The way Bob Goff explains God’s perfect plan for your life resonates with me. He says:

“I think God’s hope and plan for us is pretty simple to figure out. For those who resonate with formulas, here it is: add your whole life, your loves, your passions, and your interests together with what God said He wants us to be about, and that’s your answer.” Bob Goff, Love Does

Then, the secret to joy is not when you arrive at your purpose, but through your experiences in the journey along the way. Do you want to explore this idea more?

If you’re not sure of your next right step, I teach the section of a course over at Extravagant Hope on how to find direction when God is silent. The full course also includes my Extravagant Hope colleagues’ teachings on:

  1. What to do when God says, “Go.” (Pastor Lori)
  2. What to do when God says, “No.” (Mendie)
  3. What to do when you’re just not sure. (Me)


The course is full of wisdom and completely FREE! Get a sneak peek of the section I teach in the video below.  Then click on the below button to get instant access to the whole course!

Yes, I want the FREE eCourse!

3. Be a strong, joy-filled mother through growing your faith

I’ve tried to do life on my own merit. I’ve independently moved forward (neglecting my faith), then crashed and burned. My teaching job was cut (student numbers were down); I experienced a second miscarriage; I landed in a deep pit. It took me two years to claw my way out of that valley, and that healing didn’t really begin until I started to believe God’s truths.

You all – I am convinced that happiness doesn’t depend on circumstances – it depends on knowing the Living God and believing that there is more to life than the current pain and sorrow.

One way to learn to hear God’s voice in your life is, to calm your anxiety, and find peace is through Christian meditation.

I created a mini-eBook that walks you through:

  • Calming your busy mind to focus on the present.
  • Meditation on God’s truths. (Over-riding your negative self-talk)
  • Prayer
  • Listening to God’s stirring in your heart.
  • Grab the eBook below or read more about how Christian meditation works here

Another way to learn to hear God’s voice in your life is by learning to notice the burning bushes all around you.

They crackle hues of orange and yellow and remind us that God reveals himself every day to us through motherhood. Read my full series on growing your faith through ordinary mom life here:

FAITH
Growing Your Faith: Imperfect Faith is STILL Faith
Momma, is God in More Control of Your Life Than You Think?
This is How I Hear God Speak Through Motherhood

EVERYDAY JOY
Mommas, Increase Your Happiness in the Chaos
Tired Parents, You are Beautifully Exhausted
A Miracle Happen Every Day: Do You See It?
In 5 Minutes I Was Reminded of the Joy of Being a Mother

4. Be a strong, joy-filled mother through storytelling

We all are writing a story through our lives. I use this fourth pillar as a question: Do I like the story my life is telling?

  • If the answer is yes, I keep going.
  • If it’s no, the God of second (and hundredth!) chances can help me rewrite and change the story of my life, whether it’s through new behaviors, changed circumstances, or renewed perspective.

One way to evaluate the story your life is telling

There is a reason journaling is so popular – it’s an excellent way to sort through your thoughts and visually see your story in front of you.

I’m a little ridiculous when I pick out a journal. The paper has to be the right thickness, it has to open just right and I need pens that feel good in my hand. Here are some fun journals if you looking to start…

Be a strong mother, be a joy-filled mom

Mommas, we will continue to stumble into moments where we exhale deeply, clenching, and unclenching our hands, sure that we failed “the test.” Not a math test though…a parenting moment, a relationship nose dive, a feels-like-it-tanked purpose…  

But, I promise you, we’ll find our footing again.

We find the people we belong with, walk our purpose, build our faith, and continue to write (or rewrite) our story. We renew our confidence and keep moving forward. Because we’re strong moms – and our joy doesn’t depend on our circumstances. We will find it in our journey, I promise you.|


Keep going, warrior momma – you were called with a holy calling for the exact life you are living.

 

 

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. 

gifts for moms

Confidence to Be You Series

You are created exactly as you are and this world needs you. Read more in the Confidence To Be You series here:

How to Silence Negative Automatic Thoughts
Be a More Confident Mom By Exposing These 5 Lies
Momma Knows Best: A Quick Story to Help You Know This
What is Your Story: How Sharing Your Story Gives Life

strong mother