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am i a bad mom

Your Imperfect Moments Make You a Better Mom

(Inside: Am I a good mom despite all of my imperfect moments? Will my kids grow up happy despite all of the things that didn’t work out for our family?)

am i a good mom

I thought we’d planned it just right. (Because a good mom plans just right.)

We’d flown from Minnesota to Los Angeles to Kauai, Hawaii. We’d picked a day with a clear forecast and arose early to start the drive around the west side of the island. After a few hours of driving and stops and lunch, we’d reach our final destination. We’d finally be at that important-to-our-family place… the overlook to the valley where they filmed scenes from Jurassic World. 

Heart. Pounding.

This was a once-in-a-lifetime deal for us. Our kids love the Jurassic World franchise. (And they’re only “this age” once.) We won’t come back to Kauai – too far, too expensive. So, as a family, being on this island where they filmed Jurassic World…how lucky. How epic.

As a teaser, two days prior we’d seen this valley from our tour boat. The spectacular view fueled the anticipation of experiencing the land overlook. Excitement reigned as our car drew near.

am i a bad mom
Our view of the valley where they filmed Jurassic World from a tour boat. (Kauai, Hawaii)

When we finally reached the lookout and stood in that much sought-after spot, we couldn’t believe it…

A cloud had descended and thrown a thick blanket over our view.
5000 miles by air.
The vacation budget spent.
All the anticipation.
And we couldn’t see anything.

No breathtaking view of the valley. No long-neck dinosaurs. No Chris Pratt. (Cue all the disappointment.)

I didn’t take a picture (too mad), but this photo by Photo by Vincent Tan from Pexels looks about right!

Mom life is like that. We have an idea of what we want the view into our lives to look like – what would make us a “good mom.”

We pray.

We plan.

And we work ridiculously hard to execute all things perfectly. But despite our best efforts, the weather app, expense, and travel distance, there are moments when our view doesn’t look exactly like we’d expected.

And the truth that we can’t control everything sinks in hard. Then at 3 am, we question if we’re a good mom (because maybe we actually can control all the things) and then we are up for the day. Can you relate?

  • Why is my kid the one failing his classes and making poor choices? He’s always been in a healthy, supportive, loving family, yet he’s this troubled kid. I simply can’t get through to him. Am I a good mom?

  • My Chron’s disease is getting the best of me. I’ve been sick for months and “mind over matter” isn’t working. I’m never that energetic mom. Am I a good mom?

  • I’m in a funk in my career. I don’t know what to do and I bring my stress home. Am I a good mom? 

  • I keep a handwritten calendar with each kid’s activities highlighted in different colors, and, still, I missed the soccer practice and the ortho appointment. I’m constantly making mindless mistakes. Am I a good mom?

  • My relationships are hard right now. I keep butting heads with those I love. Am I a good mom? 

Moms, sometimes we think to “be a good mom,” the view our kids see must be perfect.

No fog.
No rain.
Nothing short of mom-awesomeness.

But we forget…some of life’s best lessons can only be taught through the imperfect moments. 

It’s through imperfection that our kids really learn what it means to have grit and persevere. Our kids learn to pause and reflect, figure out what’s not working, discern what they need to let go of, choose hope, and keep moving forward. Through the messy moments, we teach our kids to evaluate what’s important in their lives and fight for it. Our kids watch us mess up, regret it, ask for forgiveness, and learn the power of reconciliation. Through watching us overcome, our kids learn empathy, grace, and gratitude. 

Ultimately, our kids learn…

A person’s joy doesn’t depend on his/her circumstances. If we can teach our kids that truth, we just gifted them with a lifetime of happiness.

Momma who is trying so hard, your imperfect is a priceless gift and makes you a better mom.

Your kids are growing strong as they watch you thrive despite the messy moments. 

(And your kids just exhaled relief that the pressure is off to build the elusive perfect life too. Purposeful, yes. Perfect, just no.)

When we reminisce about our trip to see where Jurassic World was filmed, our kids don’t even mention that jumbo clouds-100%-blocking-our-view disappointment.

Instead, they discuss how much fun they had. They talked about the other cool views they saw…

am i a good mom
We climbed over waterfalls and red dirt.
am i a good mom
We were in awe of all these little rock formations people made.
We lingered at this amazing view. Do you see the waterfall in the background?
There were so many roosters and chickens everywhere. My kids loved it!

Similarly, your kids will remember the amazing views they now appreciate more because of the imperfect.

Or there will be unique, awesome, and life-changing views your kids would not have experienced if their life had unrolled as a fairy tale.

There will be cherished, tender moments that only happened because of the mess.

Moments your kids would never want to be changed.

Our trip, in my kids’ minds, was nothing short of a success.

Mama, your kids will recall the imperfect, but even more, they will remember a mom who tried her best and loved them big. They will remember growing up with the blessing of a good mom. 

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being a mom

When Raising Big Kids, This ONE THING Will Help You Enjoy Mom Life More

(Inside: A tool to help you love being a mom. Motherhood is hard, and parenting is work, so all moms need this one simple way to enjoy the present more. Find excessive joy in being a mother.) 

Our family littered our mudroom with shoes as we filed into our home. One kid rushed to let out our golden doodle, my husband bounded upstairs to plug in his phone, and another son hurried to the bathroom.

But, me?

I melted into the living room armchair with the joy of a mom who just had someone serve her dinner. (Because a just waiter did, thank you all-things-good-things.) One-by-one, like the slow pattering of the start of rain, the rest of my family trickled into the living room to join me. 

Then…

It happened.

I saw my people, my home, my corner of the world with the same kind of wonder my sons did the first time they saw the ocean. Life paused for a sliver of a second. Every bone in my body felt the blessings of healthy boys, a warm home, being a mom…


Then, the next events unfolded in slow motion.

“You can’t stop smiling about making the B-team?” I said to my 7th grader. My tall, lanky oldest son trained/practiced every day (every day!) this summer to try and move up a basketball team. Today, the team postings confirmed his efforts paid off. 

“And you,” I turned to my middle son, “an A on your math test! We studied so hard! I’m so proud.” “Me too,” my middle son agreed as he grabbed a comic book and began happily flipping through.

Then, my husband, sensing our words-of-affirmation-love-language youngest son needed attention pulled him into a wrestling move, “Don’t forget this kid and his perfect spelling test score!” Our second grader giggled in glee.

We’d worked as a family to help each kid achieve his goals and even though we all know this doesn’t often happen – on this day, the stars aligned. Our family connected over our success. We felt tight. Joy dominated.

And there it was, right in front of me, as clear as the day – my sacred moment. See, I believe God slows down life for a millisecond and gifts us all a sacred moment.

In it, we can hear God say: Look around you! I am here! I see you! And I bless you beyond your wildest imagination! I paused the busyness just for you so you could really see and experience the joy of being a mom!  

The beauty of these moments is that the past seems irrelevant. I don’t feel the heartbreak of two miscarriages that squeezed tears out of my eyes every single day for at least six months. Or the sadness that lingered about moving away from my family and raising my kids far away from them. Those stresses led me down a path that stopped right here, right now in my living room where I’m grateful to be. 

Similarly, my future feels lighter because if I’m doing this parenting thing well enough or what my career holds ahead of me can’t take away this right now moment of joy. 

being a mom

Moms, that’s the secret. It is, it really is. Noticing our sacred moments is one simple way to enjoy mom life more.

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So mommas, when the sacred moment is revealed us – we need to embrace it. Let go of sorrow of the past and worry about the future, even if it’s just for a moment (you know how we like to cling). Realize there’s power in letting our world pause, and leaning in to feel the right now blessings of being a mom. 

Noticing our sacred moments is how we enjoy our days more, motherhood more, and life more. It’s how we both pull love in and give it away big.

Then the spell broke in our living room – the dog growled, a kid yawned, and we said our goodnights. But before we dispersed, I leaned it. And it filled me up in more significant ways than I could ever have expected.

So, what about you? Did you notice your sacred moment today? 

Related Article: Moms of Big Kids, Have You Seen Your Sacred Moment Today?

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