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more time moms

How to Find Time in Busy Mom Life to Do What You Love (Guilt-free!)

(Inside: Moms, find more time in your busy life to do what you love. When you find that time, learn how to let go of the mom guilt and let that me-time nourish you.)

 

find more time moms
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Moms, do you wish you could find more actual time in your day to do what you love? Do you wish you could shake the mom-guilt so you could better allow your me-time to nourish you?

 

Moms, find more time…

 I talked about this topic at the Put the Me Back in Mommy Summit hosted by Isabelle Bridges. (Fun Fact: Isabelle is the daughter of actor Jeff Bridges.)

I presented on How to Find Time to Do What You Love (Without Feeling Guilty About it!).  I discuss: 

  • My epic mom-crash. 
  • Why taking me-time is not just important – it’s vital! 
  • How to let go of the mom-guilt. 
  • How to find more actual time in your busy day. 
  • How to maximize that time. 

Watch the replay below…

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more time moms

60+ Encouraging & Inspirational Best Books for Mothers

(Inside: Best inspirational books for mothers. Enjoy these quick reads that will inspire, encourage, and motivate you to love your mom life. )

best inspirational books for moms
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A book healed me. 

Okay, maybe that’s not totally true, but a book started my healing process. I was in a deep mom slump. A miscarriage followed by a job loss left me feeling beaten down at best. I’d never read inspirational Christian books before, but a title caught my eye: Uninvited – Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely (Lysa TerKeurst)  

I didn’t feel left out, but I felt sad (like all the time) and I cried a lot (like every day) and this book just seemed hopeful 

So, I started reading. Then this crazy thing happened…I felt better. Not a lot better, simply one minuscule click forward. But still, it was progress. So, I picked up another inspirational book. 

Then another. 

Dr. Gotham famously says a healthy marriage needs 5 positive interactions for every 1 negative one. (The magic 5:1 ratio.) I think our relationship with ourselves is the same: 5 positive thoughts for every 1 negative one. Except, in that low season of my life, one negative thought seemed to exponentially multiply – so I found that I needed to input about 15000 positive thoughts daily. Or maybe even hourly. As a result, I kept finding more inspirational books and reading them.   

(And did other work as well in healing. Lots of “other” work.) 

But slowly – at turtle speed – I climbed out of my valley. And it was through books that I kept a steady stream of encouragement flowing into my brain. So, momma, I don’t know where you’re at in motherhood: 

  • Are you depressed or feeling anxious? 
  • Are you trying to make a decision? 
  • Do you need the confidence to go after your dream? 
  • Do you just need encouragement to keep you going? 
  • Or things are going great, you just need “maintenance.” 


Here are some best books for moms to read. I’ve read most of them and the few I haven’t are on my “must-read” list. There is a book on this list that will move you. Read with joy, then tell me about it in the comments. (Or let me know about a book I missed!) 

Now, onto the list of best books for moms… 

books for mothers
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This blog post contains affiliate links, meaning I receive a small commission if you purchase through these links.  (At no extra cost to you.)

“I need to heal” best inspirational books for mothers 

It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way: Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointments Leave You Shattered (Lysa TerKeurst)
This is my number one recommendation. Lysa healed from a marriage betrayal, cancer, and more. I underlined every other sentence in this book.   

I Will Carry You: The Sacred Dance of Joy and Grief (Angie Smith) 
Angie walks you through her high-risk pregnancy. She knew her baby would die days/weeks after she gave birth. This book will both tear you apart and put you back together.  

The Broken Way: A Daring Path to the Abundant Life (Ann Voskamp) 
I found this book right when I needed it. It gives you a fresh look at pain and how it transforms your life in amazing ways. This book takes away the fear of hard stuff happening. You’ll see how that the cracks in your life let God’s love into your heart in breathtaking ways.  

Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely (Lysa TerKeurst)  
I picked up this book when I was going through a painful period in my life; I had no idea how healing reading it would be. The bottom line is that it made me think about the root of some of my pain, which was seeking approval.  For anyone who struggles with people-pleasing, this is a must-read.  

Mended: Pieces of a Life Made Whole (Angie Smith) 
Angie wondered if really all hard things worked together for good. She took time to sort through her thoughts and research heartache; this is her story.  

Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy (Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant) 
Sheryl Sandberg, a key leader in the Facebook company, shares her story of unexpectedly losing her husband. Through the grief and pain, her counselor helps her put her life back together.  

Learning to Breathe Again: Choosing Life and Finding Hope After a Shattering Loss (Tammy Trent)
Tammy and her husband were vacationing and unexpectedly, Tammy’s husband died while swimming in the ocean. This is Tammy’s story of healing and learning to breathe again.  

Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way (Shauna Niequist)
I read this book just when I needed to hear this message. Amazon review explains: “Bittersweet is the idea that in all things there is both something broken and something beautiful, that there is a moment of lightness on even the darkest of nights, a shadow of hope in every heartbreak, and that rejoicing is no less rich even when it contains a splinter of sadness.” 

The Complicated Heart: Loving Even When It Hurts (Sarah Mae)
Sarah tells her story of her tumultuous relationship with her alcoholic mom. The book has both Sarah’s words and her mom’s journals. Was Sarah makes sense of their rocky relationship, she finds healing, peace, and love. 

Fight Back with Joy: Celebrate More. Regret Less. Stare Down Your Greatest Fears (Margaret Feinberg)
Margaret talks about her battle with cancer and her determination to find joy in the journey. This book will encourage you to live well, even when it’s hard.  

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead (Brene Brown)
I don’t remember this book having any faith associations, but Brene’s research on shame is eye-opening and transformative.   

Forgiving What You Can’t Forget: Discover How to Move On, Make Peace with Painful Memories, and Create a Life That’s Beautiful Again
Lysa’s well-researched book helps people heal from past hurts. She shares her personal stories, Bible teaching, a therapeutic insight that helps one heal and look forward with hope.

 

“I need to stop feeling so stressed in mom life” best inspirational books for mothers

Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions (Lysa TerKeurst) 
Lysa meetbusy moms (and women) right where they’re out. She’ll help you find calm in big emotions and joy in the journey.  

Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living (Shauna Niequist)
Shauna’s stories opened my eyes to see the practices in my life that were soul-sucking those that were lifegiving. The book gave me confidence to lean into what really matters.  

Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World (Emily P. Freeman)
This book will help you slow down and look at your world around you with wonder and a renewed appreciation.  

What Women Fear: Walking in Faith that Transforms (Angie Smith) 
What Women Fear helps moms understand what we fear and why we fear these things. As we unpack our thoughts, we learn to overcome our fears with confidence.  

7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess (Jen Hatmaker)
After reading this book, I looked at all the “stuff” in my life and was able to let go of clutter that was supposed to be making me happy but instead was causing me stress. My faith grew in huge ways through reading Jen’s work.  

Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of Your Try Hard Life (Emily P. Freeman) 
This is on my to-read list. Here’s what the review on Amazon says: “Many of us believe that we are saved by grace–but for too many, that’s the last time grace defines our life. Instead of clinging to grace, we strive for good and believe that the Christian life means hard work and a sweet disposition. As good girls, we focus on the things we can handle, our disciplined lives, and our unshakable good moods. When we fail to measure up to our own impossible standards, we hide behind our good girl masks, determined to keep our weakness a secret. In Grace for the Good Girl, Emily Freeman invites women to let go of the try-hard life and realize that in Christ we are free to receive from him rather than constantly try to achieve for him.” 

Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy (Anne Lammott)
Anne shares sweet and funny stories that teach us how an imperfect life points us to hallelujah anyway! 

Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life (Shauna Niequist)
This collection of stories will help you see how many beautiful, extraordinary moments are tucked into ordinary life.  

Hungry for God: Hearing God’s Voice in the Ordinary and the Everyday (Margaret Feinberg) 
Through this book, hear God’s voice in your ordinary life and let stress melt away.  

Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are (Ann Voskamp)
Ann was in a deep valley of sorrow and sadness. She desperately wanted to pull herself out of her depression, but she wasn’t sure how. So, she started writing down all the things she was grateful for. 1000 things. This book is poetic and beautiful. You won’t see the world around you the same again 

 

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Get instant access to the freebie library which includes a pdf of this list of best inspirational books for moms list.

“I need motivation” best inspirational books for mothers

Successful Women Think Differently: 9 Habits that Build Confidence, Courage, and Influence (Valorie Burton)
This is the best motivational book I’ve ever read. It will halt your fear, shift your perspective and motivate you to go for it. With confidence.  

How to Have Your Life Not Suck: Becoming Today Who You Want to Be Tomorrow (Bianca Olthoff)
If you need motivation and practical advice on how to rock your everyday life, Bianca is your girl. I haven’t read this book, but I’ve listened to her talk about it on a podcast and I can’t wait to pick it up.  

Girl Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So YOU Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be (Rachel Hollis)
I loved this book. Rachel outlines the lies she once believeand how she overcame them. Her stories are hilarious, personal, serious, and heart-wrenching. This is a best seller for a reason. Pick up this book! 

Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals.  (Rachel Hollis)
The beat of inspiration in this book will become the soundtrack in your head as you think about your goals, set up real steps to achieve them, and feel motivated to go big.  

Lioness Arising: Wake Up and Change Your World (Lisa Bevere)
Lisa wakes women up to their calling and gives them the inspiration to change their world.  

Stand All the Way Up: Stories of Staying It When You Want to Burn it All Down (Sophie Hudson)
This is on my list of books to read. I’ve read Sophie’s other books and she is hilariousinspiring. and a great storyteller. This read has to be a good one.  

Everything is Figureoutable (Marie Forleo)
I’ve listened to Maria’s podcast and she is the real deal. There’s a reason why I listen to her motivational podcasts while I run. So, I’m excited to read her encouragement in her newest book. 

Everybody, Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People (Bob Goff)
Bob helps us all discover how incredibly important our lives are and the type of huge impact we can make in our corner of the world. This book will make you feel inspired and happy. 

 

“I need direction ” best inspirational books for mothers

The Next Right Thing: A Simple, Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions (Emily Freeman)
 I struggle so much with making both big and small decision. Whether you have decision fatigue (often a result of low-grade daily anxiety) or complete decision paralysis, this book will help you. In it, you’ll untangle the art of making decisions, gain a renewed perspective and feel more confident. This is one of my all-time favorite books. I read it twice and underlined 50% of the sentences. I highly recommend it.  

100 Days to Be Brave: Devotions for Unlocking Your Most Courageous Self (Annie Downs)
This daily devotional was one of my favorites. The daily words on being brave lit my heart on fire and empowered me to choose to live in courage.  

Own Your Life: living with Deep Intention, Bold Faith, and Generous Love (Sally Clarkson)
I admire how Sally lives life her way. Meaning, in deep faith, she follows God’s call even if it goes against the grain. (Like some examples of how she parents.) If you want to take a more thoughtful look at your own life and move forward more intentionally, this book is for you.  

Discerning the Voice of God: How to Recognize When God is Speaking (Priscilla Shirer)
This is on my list of books to read. I’ve read Priscilla’s work before and have heard her speak – she’s amazing! 

Do It Scared: Finding the Courage to Face Your Fears, Overcome Adversity, and Create a Life You Love (Ruth Soukup)
This book is sitting on my nightstand to read. I listen to Ruth’s podcasts and love how in 20 minutes I can feel empowered and inspired. I truly have used her phrase “do it scare” to hit publish on this blog, get on the treadmill, or in other areas of my life.  

Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World (Bob Goff)
I loved this book. Bob Goff tells stories that point you to see God move and guide you in the ordinary. Though the book is more about seeing God in the ordinary, what Bob says about “God’s will for your life” was life-giving, direction-leading thought. I had a total aha moment with this book! 

 

“I need to laugh” best inspirational books for mothers 

For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards (Jen Hatmaker)
Jen Hatmaker is the funniest author ever. She weaves faith and mom life into hilarious tales that will make you laugh and grow your wisdom.  

Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight out of This Wild and Glorious Life (Jen Hatmaker)
Again – Jen writes hilarious, inspirational, thought-provoking books just for moms. I always enjoy her tales.  

A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet: Southern Stories of Faith, Family and Fifteen Pounds of Bacon (Sophie Hudson)
Sophie is also so funny. She tells stories of life that will take the edge off of a bad day, make you laugh and inspire your faith.  

Fierce Free and Full of Fire: The Guide to Being Glorious You  (Jen Hatmaker)
This is Jen’s newest book and it’s on my list to read. I always love Jen’s humor – so I read everything she writes.  

Home is Where My People Are: The Roads that Lead Us to Where We Belong (Sophie Hudson)
Again – faith-filled, hilarious stories you will love.  

 

“I want to be inspired to be more creative” best inspirational books for mothers 

A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live (Emily P. Freeman)
If you are not convinced that God designed us to be creative, this book will change your mind. You’ll be inspired to pick up that artistic expression you’ve been longing to do and go for it with absolute joy. I loved how Emily taught us creativity through the lens of God’s design for our lives. This book is so good.  

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life (Anne Lamott)
Anne shares both her writing journal, her tips on being a writer. The book reads like a story, yet through it you’ll increase your knowledge on how to be a better writer.  

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear (Elizabeth Gilbert)
This book doesn’t have a religious affiliation (and she writer drops the F-bomb a bit), but I lenmy copy to my pastor’s wife and she liked it, so there’s that. This book I found incredibly inspirational – you’ll fall more in love with your craft because of Elizabeth’s word.  

 

“I want to get healthy” best inspirational books for mothers

Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food (Lysa TerKeurst)
I read this book and found it an interesting way to get yourself back in shape. She makes eating well, exercising and losing weight into a spiritual experience. This book isn’t for everyone, but it just might be for you.  

 

books for mothers
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“I want to grow my faith” best inspirational books for moms 

Chasing God (Angie Smith)
If you feel like you are always chasing God, but you don’t actually know him, then this book is for you! It will open your eyes to seeing how God meets you right where you’re at, in the simple, every day.  

Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity (Jen Hatmaker) 
Jen opened my eyes to see the world around me through the eyes of Jesus. Meaning, she challenged me to notice people who aren’t like me. (And celebrate them.) She also challenges us to give in bigger ways that are out of our comfort zone. This book will grow your faith and change your perspective in a very good way.  

The Ministry of Motherhood: Following Christ’s Example in Reaching the Hearts of Our Children (Sally Clarkson)
I was over-the-moon with this book when I read it. At the time, I was a stay-at-home mom and Sally opened my eyes to see how important my work was being with my littles. As I parent older kids, I still carry her words with me. All mommas, read this book! 

The Organic God (Margaret Feinberg)
This is absolutely one of my favorite books. Margaret tells beautiful stories that help you better understand who God is and see Him working all around you.  

UnsuperMommy: Release Expectation, Embrace Imperfection, and Connect to God’s Superpower (Maggie Combs)
Maggie does a great job of walking moms through the holy experience of motherhood. She gives moms a ton of grace and encouragement. This is a quick read and an uplifting experience.  

Play with Fire: Discovering Fierce Faith, Unquenchable Passion, and a Life-Giving God (Bianca Olthoff)
As you read Bianca’s story of growing her own faith, you’ll find a piece of yourself somewhere along the way. What I remember most about this book is being completely overcome with a real-lifeprayed-for miracle that happened. There is a real God who loves us and fights for us and Bianca helps you know Him more.  

Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, as you Are. (Shauna Niequist)
This is a daily devotional that helps you find joy and faith in ordinary life. When I bought this book, I didn’t realize it was a devotional. I was disappointed because I don’t normally read daily devotionals. But I read it anyway and found it to be lovely. I was glad I picked it up. 

Table Life – Savoring the Hospitality of Jesus in Your Home (Joanne Thompson)
Reading this book gave me a fresh perspective on how sacred the dinner table is and the ministry that flows from it.  

An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith (Barbara Brown Taylor)
A friend lent me this, but I ended up buying my own copy so I could highlight it up! Barbara Brown Taylor is a former minister with a gift for teaching about faith. I think you’ll love this book too.  

Awaken: 90 Days with the God who Speaks (Pricilla Shirer) 
I haven’t read this, but I’ve listened to Priscilla’s podcasts and have done her Bible studies. I love her! 

Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God (Margaret Feinberg)
I crave reading these kinds of books that open my eyes to see a living, breathing God who daily surrounds us. This was an easy read that lifted my heart.  

The Power of a Praying Parent Book of Prayers (Stormie Omartian)
I can’t read Stormie’s books at night because her written-out prayers hold such power, love, and inspiration, that I get excited about praying for my family and can’t sleep! This is a great morning book. 

Seeing Beautiful Again: 50 Devotions to Find Redemption in Every Part of Your Story 
“Lysa TerKeurst shares how she processed seasons of disappointment and heartbreak, while inviting you to hope again.” (Amazon description)

Known By His Names: A 365-Day Journey From The Beginning to The Amen
Through the 365 names of God that are taught, I learned how much God loves us and how intimately He is involved in all of our lives. I love this devotional!

 

“I need a friend” best inspirational books for moms 

Point of View: A Fresh Look at Work, Faith, and Freedom (Elisabeth Hasselbeck)
Elisabeth walks you through her season on the popular reality television show Survivor, her decade on The View, and her few years at Fox News. The tone of this book is friend-like, casual, and vulnerable. Elisabeth shares her story of life and faith with you – it’s refreshing and uplifting.  

Finding the Bright Side: The Art of Chasing What Matters (Shannon Bream) 
Shannon shares her journey of beauty pageants (competing on a National level), law school, becoming a popular news broadcaster, her husband’s cancer battle and her decision not to have kids. In it all, she shares how her journey has deepened her faith. You feel like you’re talking to a friend.  

Brave Love: Making Space for You to Be you (Lisa Leonard)
Even though I don’t know Lisa personally, I’ve ordered a ton of her jewelry and got to be on her book launch team. This book tells her story of how she built her wildly successful business, her journey with parenting a special needs son, her perserverance through marrital strife, and how she conquers life. 

Becoming (Michelle Obama)
Where do I start with this book? No matter what your political stance is, Michelle Obama is your girl. Honest, vulnerable and incredibly likeable, I ate up this book. I walked away feeling encouraged and inspired. (And like I could do anything!)

 

“I need to relate to my kid better” best inspirational books for moms 

Different: The Story of an Outside-the-Box Kid and the Mom Who Loved Him (Sally Clarkson and Nathan Clarkson)
Sally’s son Nathan grew up with some serious mental health issues. Both Nathan and Sally tell how they learned to better connect and understand each other. Nathan shares his story of learning about himself and growing into a thriving, happy adult. Then Sally shares the mom side of his journey. This story is a tear-jerker and will help you see your challenging child as the blessing that he (or she) already is.  

 

“Help me overcome perfectionism” best inspirational books for moms 

Why Your Best is Good Enough (Kevin Leman)
I love the wisdom and humor of psychologist, Kevin Lehman. This book was one of my favorites that he’s written. (And I’ve read many!)  Amazon review says, “Dr. Kevin Leman helps those who struggle with self-doubt to value their talents and gifts and accept their shortcomings. He points out why the lifestyle we develop as a child determines our degree of success or failure and explains how, regardless of the past, each person can develop a healthy lifestyle today.” 

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are (Brené Brown) 
Often, we see “perfection” as life’s gift, but really “imperfection” is what connects us with others and transforms us in wonderful ways. Brené’s words gave me confidence to pursue purpose instead of perfect, quit being so dang hard on myself, and live life with more joy.  

Let. It. Go.: How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith (Karen Ehman)
Karen’s work is delightful to read. Here writing style will both teach you and make you laugh. (She’s funny!) Be inspired by her journey to let it go!  

 

Your Turn: What are your favorite books for mothers?

What motivational and inspirational books did I miss? What have you read lately that has moved your heart? Leave your thoughts in the comments.  

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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 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.

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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 has 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 and other inspiration for moms.

Self-care & Inspiration for Moms Series

INSPIRATION TO REFUEL MOMS
7 Christian Meditations for Busy Moms Just Like You
Best Podcasts Every Mom Needs to Hear
5 Best Relaxing Songs to Make Your Day Better
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
Moms Need a Break and Good Things Can Come of It

free weekly planner for moms

Working Mom Planner: A Quick Fix to Getting Your Family Organized

(Inside: A working mom weekly planner for busy moms. A planner to help your entire family stay organized and get places on time. )

 

 

I write all of my three kids activities on my monthly calendar and then highlight (using three different colors) each kid’s schedule. 

And in one week, I still missed 

…an ortho appointment. 

…and one soccer practice. 

Gone. I did not remember either at all. 

No wonder the last time I was at the orthodontist and I was sitting in the waiting room right in front of the receptionist, she called me on my cell to ask where I was. “Hi!” (Me waving at her.) “Yes, I’m right here in front of you.” (Sweet lady – she’s not used to me being in the actual waiting room on time…)  

What’s a girl to do when she can’t keep it all straight?

The old-fashioned monthly calendar wasn’t working for our family.

I needed help.

Thank goodness for mom friends and all their good ideas. One of my good friends gave me a tip I’m loving. First, I switched to using a google calendar that synchs with everyone in my family’s phones. But, people don’t always daily look at their phone calendar, so that wasn’t the game-changer.

Here’s where what turned on the lights in our home…

My friend told me every Sunday her family sits down and writes out the weekly schedule. She even shared her spreadsheet with me.  

So, I copied her – and guess what…we’ve had a nice little stretch of making it to all the things…ready for this…on time!  

Weekly working mom calendar so you can see a visual of the whole week and get everyone where they need to be:

I appreciated her calendar, but I needed a little more room in the after-school squares and I wanted to make it a little prettier, so I made my own. Then, because sometimes I can be a “try-hard” (according to my kids), I made a couple more varieties of weekly calendars to best meet what we’re doing that week. 

I know moms in our community, are busy, busy, busy, and I like having time savers and parenting hacks on this site, I’m sharing my glorious weekly calendar with you.

weekly calendar

The life skills we’re teaching when we talk through this working mom planner with our families: 

Moms, when we simply do life with our families, we’re giving our kids important tools they’ll use forever. But I know we don’t think of it that way. We think we’re just doing what needs to be done – so I want to point out all the amazing life lessons you’re teaching(And how awesome you are, momma!)  

When we sit down on Sunday evenings and talk through the family schedule, we’re teaching our kids: 

  • Communication skills 
  • Organizational skills 
  • How to lead their own lives 
  • Ownership in the family 
  • How to work well with others (Team-player skills) 
  • Be intentional with their time 
  • Keep trying until you figure out what works. (Each season calls for different kinds of organization methods. We keep figuring out what works for the “right now.”)
  • And so much moe

Mommas, you’re doing a great job. Keep moving forward knowing your family needs you times a million and then some more.

 

weekly calendar

Let’s stay in touch! Join this community of moms of older 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 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

Read the full let go of the working mom guilt and thrive in working mom life series…

I went to college to get my high school teaching degree. I planned to work for a few years, then stay home with babies. My mind was made up.

Except, I didn’t factor in one thing…

I loved my career. 

Furthermore, at my workplace, there were so many working moms that daily showed me how to be great at both your job and motherhood. So, after taking six years off to be home with my kids and fulfill that dream, I chose to go back to work. 

I love being a working mom and I want to imperfectly thrive in it –  I know you to thrive too. Be encouraged through this series on being a working mom.

Thrive as a Working Mom Series

To the Mom Going Back to Work After Being a Stay-at-Home Mom
7 Ways to Thrive as a Working Mom (Let go of the guilt!)
Be a More Organized Mom: How to Care of Your Heart and Your Home

why grandparents are important

The Importance of Grandparents In Raising Older Kids: We Need You More

The importance of grandparents grows even more when you are raising kids. It’s so nice to have the grandparent’s help.

Growing up, my friends’ families vacationed at Disneyworld or sandy beaches. But, not my family. We went to Colorado Springs.

I loved our vacation spot for one big reason: my grandparents lived there. When we’d visit my grandparents, we’d also get to spend time with all of the extended family – aunts, uncles, and about a billion cousins. (It’s been joked that if you find yourself in Colorado Springs needing a ride, just stand at the corner and start hollering the family name. Some “Stegner” will be near to help.)

In contrast, raised as a military kid, my immediate family’s roots never ran deep. Just as soon as I’d familiarized myself with the neighborhood, settled into school, and made friends, we picked up and moved. (Again.)  Even though I loved the adventurous life of an Air Force family, I was also drawn to the stability of a giant family (with grandparents!) who shared a town. To me, Colorado Springs was sacred. 

{Fast forward.}

When my husband and I were trying to decide where to put down our own roots, I wanted to recreate that Colorado Springs experience. So, we weighed the options: live in Illinois (my parents) or Minnesota (my in-laws and their extended family). 

Minnesota won. 

In raising older kids, I’ve never been more grateful to live close to a set of grandparents. (And that the other set – my parents – visit often.) What a blessing both sets of grandparents are to us…an epic blessing.

I’ve found in raising tweens and teens, we need the grandparents more than ever, and here’s why:

No one else loves the kids like the grandparents

There’s a short list of people who truly love your kids as selflessly and wholeheartedly as you. The grandparents are on that list. With them, you can unleash all of your braggings about your kid and the grandparents actually want to hear your lack of humbleness! It’s lovely to share such love for tall, gangly humans with crackly voices and acne with someone else. (You complete us, grandparents. You. Complete. Us.)

family at dinner table
Connect your family with the grandparents using these 400+ conversation starters. My parents came into town and we discussed one of these questions for about 20 minutes – everyone got into it. It was fun.

Grandparents help with all the taxing around

Our family loves being involved; it’s fun to watch our kids learn and flourish in activities. However, our schedule stretches my husband and me as thin as paper. So, it’s ah-maze-ing when the grandparents dive in and cart our kids around to soccer games and basketball tournaments.

Similarly, I have a friend whose dad does all the boy scout activities with her son – it’s their special thing. And another friend whose son’s grandpa is in charge of his music lessons. Then there are the grandmas who help working parents with sick kids and take-your-dog-to-the-school-picnic day. 

Grandparents who jump in and help out – let us all rise up and call you beloved. (I’m so serious.)

Related article: 146+ Chapter Books for Tweens That Will Also Build Character

To keep your tweens/teens trust, you can’t talk to just anyone about them

I used to talk about my kid’s silly words, tantrums, and diaper blowouts with the moms in my MOPS group. (Mother of Preschoolers) But, now I can’t. My kids tell me things they don’t want laughed about or spread around like wildfire. But still, moms need a safe, nonjudgmental place to unravel our parenting thoughts. Grandparents provide that safe place.

Grandparents are important because more people cheering your kid on the better

If just even one of the four grandparents show up for a game or concert, my kids feel like a million bucks. The more people who love my kids and cheer them on the better!

why grandparents are important
Importance of grandparents photo by Tiago Muraro on Unsplash

It takes a village – grandparents say your wise words but sometimes better

I can tell my kids a thousand times that they need to read because it’s vital to their education and I get crickets. But when grandma buys them a new book and encourages them to enjoy it, all of a sudden reading is the best thing ever. Those important life lessons we so desperately want our kids to learn…sometimes the grandparents can drive home the point from a new angle or using a different style and it works. I’m pretty sure that’s called everyone is winning.

Related article: Keep Track of ALL THE THINGS in Style (Free Weekly Planner!)

 

Because moms need the grandparent’s encouragement too

There’s something life-giving about hearing your mom, dad or in-laws say, “Good job!” or “I’m grateful for you!” or “I love you!” Or notice that you could use a dinner out. (“Bring the family – we’ll pay!”) Or bring you a glass of peach sweet tea for no reason. (Awwww…you noticed me!) Grandparents, your kind words mean more to us than we sometimes even realize. 

importance of grandparents
The importance of grandparents is huge, but so is also being in a community of moms raising tweens and teens. Join our community HERE.

Sometimes confiding in a grandparent is easier than the parents

Mommas, yes, we want our teens to tell us everything. (Ah…sweet, utopia…) But, sometimes, there’ll be moments, when they need to talk to someone other than us. (Or instead of us.) So, it’s nice to have trusted adults who will help our kids gain perspective, feel cherished, and know they’re loved. Both kids and parents benefit from a wide support group. 

You help your kids build cherished relationships

My kids love that when their nana and papa come to visit. They explore museums, putt-putt golf, and make an abundance of chocolate chip cookies. My kids talk about the visit for months.

My in-laws (who live in town) are a staple in my kids’ lives. If my kids haven’t seen their grandparents in a few days, they bug us to see them. They even online shop with grandma over the phone. (“Mom, the amazon price has dropped, can I call grandma and let her know?”) (I’m not even kidding.)

By interacting with their grandparents, my kids are learning to engage with people and build cherished, healthy relationships. (My kids also learn to love unconditionally, because we’re family. We’re not perfect, but we always come back to loving each other.)

If your kids have grandparents around, consider yourself lucky

Most of those Colorado trips I remember so fondly ended up being just to see my grandma and the rest of the extended family. My grandpa died from Parkinson’s disease young. (I was only 12.) Similarly, I have dear friends whose parents are gone, or never visit, or are too busy living their own lives. Also, I have friends whose family drama has cast a dark shadow and the relationship isn’t there. So, I don’t take for granted two sets of active, healthy grandparents. And if you are in my boat, I bet you don’t either…

Importance of grandparents photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

To the grandparents (from us)

To the grandparents who love us so well – thank you. Thank you for being our “support staff.” (As my parents call themselves.) We cherish all the encouragement, listening, and rides for our kids. I know we often forget to tell you, so we’re saying it now: thank you.

Thank you for loving us so well. You are a sacred part of our lives and the moments spent with your grandkids – they will always be remembered.

And cherished.

Forever.

Just like you. You are deeply loved.

The importance of grandparents is huge, but so is being in a 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 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

Read the full series on not just the importance of grandparents, but also on building your family’s community:

I was always the girl who moved. After I just unpacked my things into a new home and made it my own, found a church and started making a connection with my faith family, met the neighbors and began to enjoy living by new people, formed my friend group at school together and started to grow close to them – just when I would grow roots, my dad would get his orders.

As the daughter of an Air Force rescue helicopter pilot, I grew up moving every few years. (And sometimes few months, as we’d be in transition waiting for my dad to finish training or for a house to open up on base for us to live.) Moments were hard, but also, the life of a military kid was a great gift.

I learned so much, especially about the importance of community. I became a joiner.

Moms, there will be seasons for all of us when friendships feel hard, but still – we fight for community. We continue to work on building our friend group around us through church, neighbors, moms we meet through our kids, work, and more.

Because we need good people in our lives and people need us! Be encouraged by reading more articles on building your community:

The Importance of Grandparents and Building Your Community Series

The Power of Encouragement: Moms Need It More Than You Know
In Raising Older Kids: This Is Why You Need The Grandparents EVEN MORE 

importance of grandparents
The importance of grandparents is huge, but so is also being in a community of moms raising tweens and teens. Join our community HERE.
mom summit 3

Put the ME Back in Mommy Summit: How to Find Time in Busy Mom Life to do What You Love – Guilt Free!

(Inside: Join the FREE online mom summit! Listen to the 20+ experts who will encourage, inspire, motivate and give you lots of freebies!

 

 

Summit Presentation: How to Find Time to do What You Love (Without Feeling Guilty About It)

It was so fun to present at the Put the Me Back in Mommy Summit hosted by Isabelle Bridges. (I found out AFTER THE FACT that Isabelle is the daughter of actor Jeff Bridges. So, yup – she’s humble like that.)

I talk about How to Find Time to Do What You Love (Without Feeling Guilty About it). I discuss: 

  • My epic mom-crash. 
  • Why taking me-time is not just important – it’s vital! 
  • How to let go of the mom-guilt. 
  • How to find more actual time in your busy day. 
  • How to maximize that time. 
  • If you are in the season of parenting where you need to hear empowerment to find time to do what you love, this message is for you. (Side note: not every message is for every season. Read more about that here.)


The summit is now over, but you can watch the replay below…

get your sons to talk and open up

How to Get Your Quiet Tween/Teenage Son to Open Up to You

(Inside: Do you want your quiet child middle to talk to you more? 5 tips for parents on how to get your tween or younger teenage son to open up to you.)

“Emma came home from your house and spent 30 minutes telling me every single detail of what happened,” my friend gave me the wide-eyed-so-many-words-from-a-tiny-human look.

I howled. Emma was at our house for only 20 minutes. I could just imagine her describing to her mom every intricate deal with animated hand gestures, dramatic pauses, and a wide range of octaves. Thirty minutes worth. Oh goodness. Sweet bubbly Emma.

Then a stab of jealousy cut through me…

My boys don’t share like that. They just don’t. Other parents say that a chatty child can be a bit much at times BUT I DON’T HEAR YOU, YOU LUCKY DOGS. I can’t even understand your life. I better connect with the mom who told me she would bribe her school-age son with chips to share about his day with her. He’d have to tell her something *anything* about his day to get his after-school snack: 1 fact = 1 chip. Brilliant.

Tween and Teenage Boys Want to Be Heard

However, even though my middle school boys are quiet, I know they want to be heard. A Harvard study was done over 268+ men’s entire adult life span to determine what made them the happiest. Do you know what the results were? Men were happier when they held strong relationships. Men need people to connect with. And one needs words to build relationships.

So, momma with a quiet son, let’s let this fact empower us. We raise happier boys to become happier men when we teach them to connect through their words.

And we can do this. We’re women, after all, and we invented talking. We can teach our boys to find and use their voices in a natural, healthy way that fits their personalities.

I did a ton of reading on this topic and came up with six powerful tools to help your quiet tween or teenage son open up and talk to you. These ideas will validate what you’re already doing – yeah, strong momma! – and hopefully, give you a few good ideas to unlock the heart of your child.

quiet child
Connect with your quiet son over these conversation starters.

Tool #1: Narrow Down Your Parenting Focus

I’ve heard it said, “If you try and get everything done, you won’t get anything done.” This is true for parenting. We are trying to teach our kids so much:  to be kind, to give, to be leaders, to be happy, to thrive in school, and more… But, we can’t effectively focus on everything at once – that’s intake overload for our children.

Pick one important lesson and focus on that for a week, a month, six months…  Right now, my focus is on getting my three sons to share on a deeper level than, “everything’s fine.”

Tool #2: Persist

Y’all, persistence is our secret weapon. (I’m pretty sure moms invented that too.) If you want to build a good relationship with your kids – persist. They are teenagers, of course, they will sometimes resist, but don’t take it personally.

Think about all the changes they are going through: How come their body just grew 6 inches? Why does their elementary school bestie ignore them now at middle school? What is this test with an actual grade? How did I just get cut from the team? You mean my mom can’t just sign me up for the play, I have to audition?… They’re life just got FOR REALZ.

But in almost two decades of teaching high school, I’ve learned with absolute certainty that all students want their parents to pay attention to them. Yes, even the apathetic ones. And especially the ones with attitude.

So, keep trying different ways to connect with your child. Things won’t change overnight, but still – go after your kids’ hearts with gusto. Let them see this isn’t a passing fad; you’re serious about connecting with them.

“Anything worthwhile takes time and effort, and that’s true when it comes to establishing communication with your kids. If communication hasn’t been good, chances are that they will not decide, all of a sudden to start opening up with you and carrying on a deep dialogue. You must continuously work at keeping the lines of communication open and demonstrate that your willingness to listen and discuss things calmly and rationally is not a passing fad.” Dr. Kevin Leman, Child Psychologist 

A Priceless Bonus to Your Persistence

If parents can connect with their kids every day, they’ll lay out a strong safety net for their kids in times of crisis.

“When tensions are high, your child is not going to be in a position to open up to you. Engage early and often, before there is a problem. This way you will develop a rapport with your child that will be very important when an actual crisis arise” Valle Dwight

Some of the best things in life only come after epic amounts of persistence. So keep going. With confidence. And expect to see sparks of hope.

quiet child
Connect with your quiet son over these conversation starters.

Tool #3: Make Daily Space for Conversation with Your Quiet Child

When I was pregnant with my first child, I taught high school, tutored students, coached, chaperoned dances, and more. I loved it all. However, I started to question my workaholic tendencies. 

I talked to one of our administrators about quitting coaching. She said the opposite of what I predicted, “It’s a good idea. When you put something new on your plate, you have to take something off.” This successful and admired career woman gave me permission to not try and “have it all.” {Sigh of relief.}

Parents – if we want to get our kids to talk to us, we must make space for it in our lives – even if that means taking something off of our plates. Make space to promote talking through two avenues:

Promote Conversation through Daily Family Time

Growing up, I remember family vacations, Christmas celebrations, and birthday parties. But do you know what I remember with greater fondness?

When my parents gathered us before bed in the living room to pray. (In which my sister and I giggled inappropriately through these prayer sessions.)

And when my sister turned her daily mundane into hilarious stories she told around the dinner table.

Or when my mom lined up the bowls and boxes of cereal in the morning for us to eat breakfast together.

I remember the daily moments of being together. In the daily moments is when we really lived. It’s when we shared and laughed and got to know each other. Mommas, let’s…

  • Reclaim the dinner table
  • Share a morning hot drink with our kids
  • Linger at “tuck-ins”
  • Create evening connecting time
  • Teen boys talk more when you are doing something as a family like chores, shopping, fishing, walking, driving to practices…etc. They often open up more shoulder-to-shoulder over face-to-face.
  • Text often
  • Tak when you have a minute here, a second there. (My sister gave the whole birds and the bees speech during car rides, switching the laundry, making her teen a snack – only small moments, no big talk!)
  • And more

Let’s create consistent times for our families to connect. Our kids will find comfort in the routine and will even look forward to it. That’s when they’ll learn to unpack their thoughts. Mommas let’s never underestimate the power of creating daily space.

Promote Conversation Through One-On-One Time

This has happened a million times in the high school classroom. The hard-to-love student stays after for help. When peers vanish and he is receiving 100% of my attention as I tutor him, a completely different side of him emerges. Often, I learn not just what he’s not understanding in math, but how he’s feeling, and what’s going on in his life.

Kids crave one-on-one adult attention. They thrive under it. If your child is acting too-cool for it, don’t buy into it. Create “special time” with your child.

  • Take a walk
  • Go to a movie
  • Grocery shop
  • Hike
  • Buy new school clothes
  • Sit at a cafe.
  • Drive them to weekly tutoring, even if he has his license. (I know a mom who did this – the 20-minute drive was their “talk time.” They both loved it.)
  • Find out what your kid wants to do and do it! (Again, a teen being able to focus on doing something often helps them feel more comfortable with opening up.)


Ask your child what they want to do and spend an hour, an evening, or a day with your child. There are things your child will tell you only when you are alone. You might not even have to ask the question – you have already set the stage for your child to open up to you.  Go get those spoken words.

quiet child
Connect with your quiet son over these conversation starters.

Tool #4: Share What’s Exciting and Interesting About Your Daily Life

Yes, we like to talk about that big promotion or the epic trip to Florida – but happiness comes from seeing the ordinary as fun. Every day there are vast opportunities to engage, share our gifts, and learn. All of life is exciting. I loved this quote:

“Most families tend to rush through dinner, especially the kids. They can’t wait to get back to their computers and cell phones and iPods. But they’ll stick around if the conversation is interesting. And the biggest determinant is YOU. If you see yourself and your life as a crashing bore, your kids will see the same thing. But if you see your life as an endless succession of miraculous and fascinating events, your kids will be transformed by it.” -Shmuley Boteach


Find ways to share your heart with your kids. I’m not asking you to be best friends with your kids, you still are THE PARENT, but share what makes you tick.

Your vulnerability will invite your child to open up. So, tell that antidote about your day. They’re listening, I promise – even if you think they aren’t.

Related Article: When You Doubt Your Sons Learn Your Life Lessons

Tool #5:  Ask Your Quiet Child Intentional Questions

My job as a high school teacher shifted within the school a few years back, and I found myself with a desk between the school counselor and the AP psychology teacher. Life. Changing. They taught me to better ask questions to help really get to know our students.

1. Find the types of questions your kid responds to.

Sometimes kids need warm-up questions before they’ll open up and share. Start the conversation about what your kid is passionate about and easily talks about. Even if that’s…ugh, the mindless, boring topic of video games. Ask about sports, art, friends, family…just get them to talk. Once kids get going talking, they’ll often more easily transition into deeper conversation.

For example, I found that if I ask my quiet child specific questions about their school-day routine, doing my best to not sound like I’m “grilling” him, I often stumble across gold.

This happened the other day when I asked him questions like,  Where is your locker located? How often do you go to it? After which class period? Do you talk to anyone at your locker? He shared that he felt like a friend who invites him over all the time and ignores him at school. Jackpot!

Keep asking questions. Be creative. You know your kid. What makes him talk? Start there and work yourself to the hard stuff (“How does that make you feel that your friend ignores you?”)

There are gems tucked in your kid’s words – be creative with your questions until you find them.

family at dinner table

2. Look for areas in the conversation where you can dive deeper.

Look for patterns in the conversation with your quiet child.


Once my son mentioned several times how “he forgot to send himself a valentines candy at school.” The school sold those candies you bought and sent to friends. Of course, the middle school boys either sent them to themselves or didn’t participate. I found out he thought it’d be nice to get one. I was surprised – I didn’t think he’d care. What are your kids repeating? What do you think that means? Ask them about it.


Look for the deeper life lessons and places for self-reflection tucked in the conversation


A friend told me her son only wants to talk about football. But there is a whole slew of life lessons in that sport. You could ask:

  • How are you a leader in football?
  • Which of your friends is the best at football? What makes them the best?
  • Does hard work matter?
  • How do you feel when the team loses?
  • How do you feel when you get knocked down?
  • What makes you angry about football?
  • Tell me about the aspects of football do you love the most?


Moms, what do you want to learn about your sons? How he thinks, feels, and connects with people? What makes him tick? Ask him those things, just tuck it into what he likes to talk about anyway.

quiet child
Connect with your quiet son over these conversation starters.

Tool #6: Listening to your quiet child

1. Practice Holding Your Tongue

The other night my son was upset with me and so he told me all the reasons. I thought he was being ridiculous, but instead of jumping into all the I-am-right-you-are-wrong-son, I held my tongue. I’d lecture him enough over the span of his life; he knows what I think. Instead, I thanked him for sharing his thoughts and tucked him into bed.

Just like we don’t always want people to “fix our problems,” our kids just sometimes want to be heard.  (Source)

2. Pay Attention to Body Language/Actions Telling You He Needs You to Listen

One son won’t ever say, “Mom, I want to talk.” But he’ll just hang around me. He’ll grab a book and read it in the same room. If I move, he’ll follow. I’ve learned when he sticks close to stop, if I look ready to listen, and ask, “What’s on your mind,” often, he actually tells me!

3. Listen Even When It’s Inconvenient

I had a cleaning schedule, I was so close to the end goal and right then and there one of my boys decided to open up. When I’m on a roll, it’s so darn hard to stop – but I did. And I learned some good stuff about my kid through his words. Our boys will open up at the most inconvenient times, but if communication is a goal, and if our task isn’t pressing, we should stop and listen.

Tool #7: Persist Again with your quiet child

You might be experiencing success and you might not  – either way, keep persisting. Show our sons that getting to know them through words isn’t a passing fad.

How do I Connect with Tween/Teenage Quiet Child More?

My sons will probably never come home for a 20-minute “play date” and tell me 30 minutes of details about what happened. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have a need to communicate.

They need to be heard.

They need to build relationships by using words.

And who better to work with this on this than their moms – people who know words and like to use them. Persist. Pause to see your small progress. Keep moving forward. Go after your sons’ hearts with fervor.

Be encouraged not just in connecting with your quiet child, but also in all areas of parenting by reading the full series…

My oldest son started high school last week 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.

Parenting Tweens and Teens Series

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR TEENS
A Simple and Effective Way to Encourage Your Teen

COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR TWEEN/TEEN
How to Get Your Teen/Teen to Their “Aha Moment”

PARENTING
Parenting is Hard: This One Thought Can Help You Better Thrive
7 Reasons Why Raising Tweens & Teens is the Best

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

get your sons to talk to you

 


encouragement on valentines day

See Your Greatest True Love on Valentine’s Day

(Inside: Valentine’s day isn’t always roses when it comes to relationships. So remember who your greatest True Love is. See your greatest love on Valentine’s day.  Encouragement for Valentine’s Day.)

I brushed my fingers over the pink iridescent hearts on the Valentine’s Day cards. I thought of the love words I’d write to my sons, to my husband…

Then my mind switched to a friend who’s been in my thoughts – this is her first year as a divorcee. I knew this holiday would hold pain. For the first time in years, her husband wouldn’t be giving her the flowers, instead, they’d go to the woman he’d chosen over her.

I thought of my grandma, she’s been decades without my grandpa – I know she’d think of him on this day, missing him with the same intensity as the day after he died.

I thought of the past times my husband and I had skipped the fluff of Valentine’s day, because of our budget and because we were in survival mode with three small kids. (“You love me. I love you.” High five. The end.)Valentine’s day sometimes plays out like a chapter in a romance novel. 

But, whether we have the roses in our hands or not – Valentine’s Day always holds love. Always. Because there’s One who calls out to us – all of us – on this day…

Pay attention, you’ll see Him…

He tucks silky rose petals into all areas of our lives.

He reminds us of His extravagant love.

The air whips around me as I walk around the lake, and I can’t take my eyes off of the huge flock of geese circling and landing in an intricate dance reminding me we’re all a part of a bigger story. I hear God gently stir these words in me…Trust in me. I am in control of your story… I see you and I love you.

Again, I heard the voice when I tucked the clean sheets around the corners of my son’s bed. I smelled the aroma of fresh linens and am transported back to my childhood. When living in New Mexico, my mom always hung my sheets outside to dry. She’d lay the linens over my bed and declare that clothesline sheets smelled the best…I hear God press deep inside of me, I gift you with good memories because…I see you and I love you.

My friend and I sit legs tucked under us near her living room fire; the heat cuts through the Minnesota chill. We shared for three hours – three hours! – about parenting, careers, relationships, dreams, and more dreams. As I drive home that night, in the stillness of my car, God says to me…I will always provide you with your people…I see you and I love you.

My golden doodle greets me when I get home. Tail-wagging, love abounding, I’m a celebrity. I hear again, I fill your day with simple pleasures on purpose…I want to consistently remind you… I see you and I love you.

Or I hear my three boys talking. They’re hovered around a Calvin and Hobbes comic book laughing. “Do you remember when I put you in the red wagon and sent you down the hill like this picture,” the older says to the younger pointing to the comic book. They laugh hysterically. “At least you put a helmet on me,” the younger remembers. I thought I understood love, but then I gave birth to three kids and my heart cracked open in deeper ways than I’d ever expected. God says, my daughter, don’t you see… I love you with the same passion… I see you and I love you.

Whether we are the person writing the cards, missing the once-devoted husband, longing for a lost love, or skipping the Hallmark holiday because of our current survival modes, today let’s all look for the extravagant love that comes from above…

Let’s see the sacred rose petals sprinkled throughout our mundane.

Let’s feel God’s just-for-us words.

On this day, this day of love, let’s not forget to SEE our Greatest True Love.

“Lord, you know everything there is to know about me. You perceive every movement of my heart and soul, and you understand my every thought before it even enters my mind. You are so intimately aware of me, Lord. You read my heart like an open book and you know all the words I’m about to speak before I even start a sentence! You know every step I will take before my journey even begins. You’ve gone into my future to prepare the way, and in kindness you follow behind me to spare me from the harm of my past. With your hand of love upon my life, you impart a blessing to me.

This is just too wonderful, deep, and incomprehensible! Your understanding of me brings me wonder and strength. Where could I go from your Spirit? Where could I run and hide from your face? If I go up to heaven, you’re there! If I go down to the realm of the dead, you’re there too! If I fly with wings into the shining dawn, you’re there! If I fly into the radiant sunset, you’re there waiting! Wherever I go, your hand will guide me; your strength will empower me.” (Psalm 139:1-10, TPT)

Related article: Create the Perfect (Or Not So Perfect) Valentine’s Day for Your Family

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organized mom

Be a More Organized Mom: How to Take Care of Your Home and Your Heart

(Inside: Do you wonder how to be an organized working mom? Or how to be an efficient mom who keeps her family humming and also includes self-care? Read on…)

“I can’t do this anymore,” I stated matter of factly to my husband

I don’t know what made me say it; my defeated statement wasn’t planned. I just suddenly felt tired, even though my-9-months-of-the-year-working-mom-teacher-life hadn’t started yet.

But, I could feel it coming. My three boys and I had scoured Target for the last of the school supplies. We’d found a pack of pre-sharpened mustard-colored pencils here, a pair of shiny scissors there… My sons and I had sifted through their closets, purging the too-small clothes, tucking the summer clothes in the back, and bringing the fall clothes to the front. We’d marked our calendars with their soccer practices and tournament schedules.

However, instead of feeling the excitement and anticipation of the school routine, I felt like the world was closing in on me. Free time felt 9 months away. It was only August, and I felt like I was already suffocating.

I love motherhood, my teaching job, and being busy. But, I’d slipped into doing hectic life by “flying by the seat of my pants” and apparently the “seat of my pants” was done with me. A mental fog had rolled in and grounded my plane. Here I was at the end of summer, about to go back to teaching feeling overwhelmed instead of refreshed.

 

How to Be a Less Overwhelmed and More Organized Mom

13 years of parenting have taught me to listen when my body says, “Stop, I’m tired.” I reflected on exactly what I needed to reignite my zeal for life, work, and motherhood. I found I needed:

  • Daily routines for my family and me to help us all keep up with the housework, laundry, meals. (I needed my home to stay a tad bit cleaner for my sanity!)
  • Daily inspiration.


Even though I even felt too tired to put together a schedule, I knew that if I’d just get started, ultimately, I’d end up with more time and a happier heart. Even if I just got organized for a month (or a week), I knew it’d help.

A good starting point to becoming a more organized mom:

So, I played with a schedule of motivating tasks each day both for my home (organization) and my heart (inspiration.) I didn’t turn this into a rigid routine, rather it becomes my rhythm, my daily hum from about September through February. Then, when I hit March, I’m just trying to hold on to the bronco for the full 8 seconds and ride out the end-of-the-year craziness until blessed summer hits.

And because I love when other moms share what’s currently working for them, I’m sharing what’s keeping my home a little cleaner and my heart a little happier. Here’s the starting point for my routine (subject to be slightly adjusted weekly or daily)…

 

 

organized mom

Give me a printable of this schedule that I can hang on my fridge. 

Happy Home Happy Heart Free Printable!

 

 

**This blog post contains affiliate links**

Monday – Meal Day

Organized Mom Action:

Cook 2-3 meals. Make your family meal for the night and double the recipe. Or cook up a bunch of one kind of meat and make into three different meals. For example, throw chicken breasts in the crockpot in the morning, then in the evening put together these three meals:


One meal is for dinner tonight. Put the second (and possibly third) meal into the freezer to pull out on a busy mom day.


Inspiration Action:

Listen to an inspirational podcast while you cook. Need ideas? I have a list of best podcasts for moms for you here. 

 

Tuesday – Tidy One Area Day

Organized Mom Action:

Set a timer for 15 minutes and clean out one messy area:

  • sock drawer
  • junk drawer
  • mudroom closet
  • bookshelf
  • spice cabinet
  • medicine cabinet
  • straighten shoes
  • or any corner of the house that’s bugging you…

 

Inspiration Action:

During the 15 minutes and while you clean, listen to inspirational music. Take deep breaths during the mindless task and let peace pour over you. Need a recommendation? I swoon over Lauren Daigle’s music. And your kids? Don’t worry – they’ll leave you alone to mentally refuel. They know you’re cleaning and if they get too close, they’ll be asked to join. That’s not until tomorrow babies, so give momma these 15 minutes…

 

 

Wednesday – Pick Up the House Day

Organized Mom Action:

After the family dinner, everyone helps clean the dishes and tidy up the house. There are 5 members in my family, so this is how we break it down:

 

  • Mom & Dad – dishes/kitchen, pack kids’ lunches
  • Oldest Son – straighten his bedroom and the basement
  • Middle Son – straighten his bedroom, the dining room, and the mudroom
  • Youngest Son – straighten his bedroom and the main living room

Basically, every kid straightens his/her own bedroom and one other room in the house.

Inspiration Action:

During the family meal, every person says something encouraging to the family member on his/her right. Y’all  – this world can be haaaaarsh. Let’s intentionally schedule time to encourage each other. Our minds, bodies, and souls crave encouragement. Soak in the sweet words your family says about you. Then encourage them to “get going” on their after-dinner chore with enthusiastic gusto and hope they buy it.

 

Thursday – Clean the House Day

Organized Mom Action:

After dinner, everyone does 1-2 chores to clean the house. Here’s what it looks like in our home:

  • Dad – dishes, pack lunches
  • Mom – bathrooms (I’m psycho about the bathrooms! I have 3 boys – they’ve done their damage, now let me do mine. Hello, Clorox. Or – heaven help me – straight bleach.)
  • Oldest son – vacuum
  • Middle son – sweep and swiffer
  • Youngest son – dust and windex the appliances

Remember the house is already picked up, so everyone can have their choir done in 30 minutes. (Mommas, even if your children fuss, stay strong in requiring them to help. It’s so good for little ones to have chores – it gives them ownership over our home and builds their leadership skills.)

 

Related article: What Moms Can Do NOW to Raise Their Kids to be Leaders


Inspiration:

At dinner, invite your family to express sincere thanks for three “things” in their lives. Reset perspective by facilitating a verbal gratitude journal. I love this quote about gratitude:

“Going ahead in the midst of the stressful circumstances and giving thanks in that moment – you can’t simultaneously feel stress and gratitude at the same time. So as a parent, to go ahead and start to give thanks to God resets the whole family.” Ann Voskamp

Plus, your kids will need a moment to give thanks for their home, because they are about to clean it. Cowboy up, kids – let’s make our home shine.

 

moms get organized

Get a free printable of daily motivating tasks to help you take care of your home and your heart. 

Happy Home Happy Heart Free Printable!

 

 

Friday – Laundry and Refuel Day

Organized Mom Action:

By Friday, I’ve had a busy week. I’ve been responsible for 4 days in a row. And I’m so ungodly tired. Please don’t anyone expect anything out of me. I don’t want to be wise, or hard-working, and at this point don’t care if I’m an organized mom or not. So the most I can expect out of myself is getting 2 loads of laundry through the washer and dryer. And honestly, I’m a morning girl, so this chore usually gets done before I go to work. (Thank you speed wash/dry setting.)


Inspiration Action:

The inspiration is that your family has been organized all week. Your kids have been good. Or good enough. So now it’s their day – grab some pizza, let your kids binge-watch Netflix or rot their brains with video games. This is the day I refuel through blogging and drinking a caramel mocha with Friends on in the background. On YOUR Friday, find something that refuels you:

  • craft
  • movies
  • take a walk
  • take a hot bath
  • read a book
  • do whatever refuels you

 

Saturday – Laundry and Exercise Day

Organized Mom Action:

Again – the only chore I can stomach is another 2-3 loads of laundry. (That usually finishes the week’s laundry for my family.)


Inspiration Action:

Exercise. Walk your dog. Play soccer with your kids. Hike a local state park. Breathe in fresh air and release those endorphins.

 

Sunday – Rest and Reset Day

Organized Mom Action:

Take 45 minutes in the evening to with the family:

  • straighten the house (The whole family helps. Set the timer for 15-20 minutes and encourage everyone to hustle.)
  • pack school lunches
  • kids’ homework is done
  • make sure Mondays gear is ready and by the door


Inspiration:

Sunday is family day/rest day. Most of the day is restful except for the evening when we prepare for Monday. Find time to do something restful:

  • prayer
  • journaling
  • nap
  • Church
  • card game
  • reading
  • Empowered Moms and Kids Meditations for Moms exercise.  

 

How to be an Organized and Happy Mom

That’s it.

Most days, the organizational action takes 30 minutes or less.

You guys – I can waste 30 minutes trying to find a good show to watch on television. We won’t ever FEEL like being organized, so mind over matter here. Know that a little mom organization each day will give us more overall free time during the week and much more overall sanity…and dare I say…JOY!

As I imperfectly continue to work on being a more organized mom, I find that small changes make a big impact. These small daily routines move my thoughts from  “I can’t do this anymore” to “It’s not about perfect, it’s about purpose.” I’m purposefully trying to daily be more organized, and when I fall off the wagon – which OF COURSE – I do…it’s no big deal. I just get back into my routine at some point and it all turns out “good enough.”

(Also to be noted: Different seasons call for different family routines. This might work for you for a month and that’s it, perfect. Onto whatever else your family needs. Mom life is full of flexibility and grace.)

 

Your Turn

What about you? What organization or inspirational daily tasks do you do? Let me know in the comments.

 

organized mom

 

 


Read the full thriving in working mom life series…

I went to college to get my high school teaching degree. I planned to work for a few years, then stay home with babies. My mind was made up.

Except, I didn’t factor in one thing…

I loved my career. 

 Furthermore, at my workplace, there were so many working moms that daily showed me how to be great at both your job and motherhood. So, after taking six years off to be home with my kids and fulfill that dream, I chose to go back to work.

I love being a working mom and I want to imperfectly thrive in it –  I know you to thrive too. Be encouraged through this series on being a working mom.

To the Mom Going Back to Work After Being a Stay-at-Home Mom
7 Ways to Thrive as a Working Mom (Let go of the guilt!)
Working Mom Planner – Keep Track of ALL THE THINGS in style

 

organized mom

 


 

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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7 Christian Meditations to Renew and Empower Moms

(Inside: Christian meditations for moms to help reduce anxiety and stress. These short Christian mindfulness meditations will help moms refocus and hear God’s voice.)

You just dropped one of your kids 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. Decision overload is at its peak and yet we have the least amount of downtime to actually think about all the balls we’re juggling.

But friends, in the craziness, I’ve discovered Christian meditation and it’s giving me life right now. 

christian meditations
I created an ebook packed full of 7 Christian meditations just for busy moms like you. Grab it HERE!
Finding 8 minutes (or 2 minutes!) to get still and quiet makes a way greater impact on my life than I could have ever imagined. Meditation helps…
  • reduce worry/anxiety
  • get rid of negative self-talk
  • write God’s word on our hearts
  • hear God’s voice
  • find direction
  • feel nourished
Shop Empowered Moms and Kids

However, these Christian meditations don’t just nourish moms, they also empower our kids.

When we take care of ourselves through meditation, we:

  •   teach our children to go to God for help.
  •   teach our kids to take care of themselves. 
  •   model coping strategies.
  •   model prayer and daily friendship with God.
  •   show our children how to hear God’s voice.

There’s truth to the saying we see printed on mugs and bumper stickers “happy wife (or mom), happy life.”

So, are you wondering how Christian meditation for moms actually works between replying to your work emails and getting your tween to piano lessons?

This practice is so simple, and there are no rules to it. The ebook gives you a guide, tweak it to fit your personality and life. These meditations can be done as you walk the dog, as you’re laying down for the night, in the shower, or while in the car waiting to pick up your child from practice (my favorite). Use the full 8 minutes. Use 2 minutes. Just intentionally stilling your heart and focusing on the One who created you and loves you so much is powerful.

What exactly does Christian meditation look like?

Here’s what the steps are…

Mentally Prepare (1 minute): Be mindful of where you are; allow yourself to be fully present in the moment.

Meditate on the Verse (2 minutes): You’ll be given a scripture verse to meditate on. We focus on keywords/phrases and the truths they represent that strengthen you in your real life. 

Silence (1 minute): Listen for God’s voice and allow Him to both stir and speak to your heart. There is no formula for this, but I give you ideas of where to start.

Prayer (1 minute): Speak to God about what’s on your heart in the same way you’d speak to your most cherished friend.

Silence (2 minutes): Listen again for God’s voice and allow Him to both stir and speak to your heart.

Gratitude (1 minute): Close the 8 minutes mentally listing all the things you are grateful for, thanking God for His tangible ways of showing you that He loves you. Feel God’s love pour over you from head to toe.

In this rhythm of mediation, what tools are we using, and do they work?

We’re using science-backed proven tools to help us slow our racing brains, fill our bodies with peace, and hear God’s voice – that deep knowing – that He puts inside of his. Let me break it down…

Tool: 

What we will do:  

Why: 

Deep Breathing 

We will take deep breaths that completely fill our lungs. We’ll slowly breathe in and out and let our bodies relax.  

  • Breathe in. (5 seconds) 
  • Hold the air in your lungs. (1 second) 
  • Breathe out. (5 seconds) 

“Deep abdominal breathing encourages full oxygen exchange — that is, the beneficial trade of incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide. Not surprisingly, it can slow the heartbeat and lower or stabilize blood pressure.” Read more on the Harvard Medical Publishing website.  

Mindfulness 

As we breathe in and out, we’ll use mindfulness to help our brains go from all-the-things we have going on, to focus on the present. We’ll focus on the sounds around us, the feel of our heartbeat…etc. We’ll ignore the outside noises, let our worries fade, and be fully aware of now. This helps us sit full attention in front of Jesus, waiting to talk and listen.

When we focus on the future, we can feel anxious. When we focus on the past, we can feel depressed. Mindfulness is being aware of and living in the powerful present. Read about more benefits of mindfulness in Psychology Today.  

Meditate on God’s truth 

We’ll hover over keywords in scripture and let God strengthen us through them. 

 

Meditation is a powerful tool we can use to let God renew and strengthen us. It’s good for our minds and our bodies. The article on Live and Dare outlines in detail the benefits of meditation.   

Prayer 

We’ll talk and listen to Jesus.  

Prayer is so good for us.  

Read my article on Extravagant Hope explaining why we should pray. 

See how science supports the health benefits of prayer on The Health Site.  

Silence 

We’ll use silence to listen to how God stirs our hearts (or inner compasses).  

There are 5 benefits of silence including improved memory, stimulates brain growth, stress-relief, better sleep, and heightened sensitivity. Read more on Medical Daily. 

 

Look, moms. I know we are usually the cheerleaders, but we also need to be encouraged. The eBook’s Christian mediations help us in 3 important areas of our lives where our buckets need to be filled…

1. Knowing we’re loved

Moms need to feel loved. We need to know (and believe!) that the same momma-bear protective intensity in which we love our kids is the same way that our creator cherishes us. 

Through meditation, we can remind ourselves God loves us and is FOR US. We can view ourselves with the same tenderness that Jesus sees us.

Mommas, that can be a life game-changer.

2. Renewing our Strength

Sometimes, I wonder how God carries out His promise to renew us. But then, I see all the research that supports the mental and physical health benefits of prayer, meditation, mindfulness, silence, and deep breathing and instead wonder why I don’t fully use the resources He provides.

Science supports it – meditating on God’s Word and allowing Him to speak to our hearts is a healthy, empowering way to live. Meditation renews our perspective and strength.

3. Finding Direction

In my journey, I  so desperately want God to reveal the big picture and make the entire road clear. But, God wants a relationship with me. He wants to daily walk with me, so that’s how he communicates, telling me one step at a time.

So, after each step, we go back to him and discuss, then try out the next small decision. It reminds us that the journey is just as important (maybe even more important) than the finish line. 

Sitting quietly before Jesus in Christian meditation helps us find the next place to put our feet.

Convinced that you need self-care? I hope so. Let’s keep going. This is a more detailed look at what the structure of the 8 minutes of Christian meditations looks…

Mentally Prepare (1 Minute)

Be mindful of where you are; allow yourself to be fully present in the moment. 

Take a few deep breaths. Breathe in slowly and let the air completely fill your lungs. Slowly exhale. Follow this guide: 

    • Breathe in letting go deep into your lungs. (5 seconds) 
    • Hold the air in your lungs. (1 second) 
    • Breathe out. (5 seconds)
    • Take your focus off all of your outside thoughts (responsibilities: meals, cleaning, work, family, friendships, volunteer work…etc.) and instead focus on the present. Visually, it’s narrowing your focus on your thoughts from the light blue circle into the navy blue circle.   
christian meditations

To help your focus go from the outside oval to the inside one. You can do this by, as you deep breath, being “mindful” of your present.

  • Let your body feel the chair you’re sitting on. (What does the material feel like against your skin?) 
  • Feel your heart pump against your chest.  
  • Hear yourself breath. 
  • Feel the temperature of the room against your skin. 
  • Use your senses to experience your present moment.  

After you’ve shifted your focus to the “now”, be still for a second and sit quietly in the present.  

Let yourself simply “be.” 

Meditate on the Verse (2 minutes): 

You’ll be given a scripture verse to meditate on. Here’s an example of what the meditation practice will look like: 

STEP 1: Read the verse slowly, letting the words sink in. 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…”  (Proverbs 3:5) 

STEP 2: Then, meditate on the empowering key verses/phrases and think about the attached truth. 

Keywords/Phrases Truth
Trust in the Lord God is in control.
All your heart I want my whole heart to trust God.
Lean not on your own understanding God sees the big picture better than I do. He knows what he is doing.

Below can be a meditation guide for you: 

  1. Keep your breathing slow. 
  2. Choose one of the keyword/phrases that resonates with you. Close your eyes and write that keyword/phrase (for example: “all your heart”) at the front of your mind.   
  3. With your eyes still closed, look at the words and slowly repeat them 3 times.
  4. Say the attached truth: I want my whole heart to trust God. 
  5. If desired, repeat for the same keyword/phrase or pick a new keyword/phrase. 

Silence (1 minute): 

Listen for God’s voice and allow Him to both stir and speak to your heart. There is no formula for this, but here is an idea of where to start: 

  1. Silence the physical noise around you. 
  2. Visualize a wave coming in and wiping out all of your thoughts. (To think about “nothing” is hard to do! Another option is to imagine the wave wiping out all your thoughts, except for the one “thing” that’s on your mind. Then focus on only that thought. For example, focus on this question, “Should we send our son to kindergarten or hold him back a year?”) 
  3. Now take your focus upward and lay it on our powerful God. 
  4. Bring the focus inward and listen to what God is stirring in your heart (or inner compass).  

Prayer (1 minute): 

Speak to God about what’s on your heart in the same way you’d speak to your most cherished friend. 

Silence (2 minutes): 

Listen again for God’s voice and allow Him to both stir and speak to your heart. (If desired, use the previously mentioned strategy.)

Gratitude (1 minute):

Close the 8 minutes mentally listing all the things you are grateful for, thanking God for His tangible ways of showing you that He loves youFeel God’s love pour over you from head to toe.

So, are you ready to reach for some peace in the chaos?

Do you want to get your hands on the Christian Meditations eBook? Head over to my Etsy shop to learn more. (Side note: I did offer this eBook for free for a limited time. That offer has expired. However, if you want to stay on top of my freebies and get monthly encouragement, sign up for my free monthly emails.)

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 has 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 series on self-care and inspiration for moms…

Self-Care and Inspiration for Moms Series

RESOURCES
Free eBook: Christian Meditations for Busy Moms Just Like You
Best Podcasts Every Mom Needs to Hear
5 Best Relaxing Songs to Make Your Day Better
60+ Encouraging and Inspirational Best Books for Mothers

HEARTFELT STORIES
Need Hope? Look for it – Hope will Always Come Back to You
Momma, Go for Your Dreams! Let Faith Overcome Your Fear

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Join this community of moms raising big kids here. (Free encouraging emails.)

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. 

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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