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parenting go with your gut

Parents, when you don’t know, go with your gut…

(Inside: Parenting is hard, but go with your gut. One of the most powerful resources we have is that pressing on our heart that knows the next step.)

In parenting, go with your gut

I think we know what we’re doing more than we give ourselves credit for.
 
I know, it’s hard to discern when to push and pull back – that’s the big question in parenting.
 
But our insides often know which direction our family needs to go…
 

The waitress clicked the fresh parmesan cheese over the mixture of lettuce, tomatoes, and black olives.

I sunk my teeth in garlic bread smothered with butter. My son looked up from his menu as he finished ordering. Because the fridge had exhaled its last cold breath, and the repairman couldn’t come until Monday, my family was tucked into a booth at Olive Garden.
 
We were discussing favorite childhood memories.
 
“I loved reading, especially the Harry Potter books,” said my high school junior.
 
“All the time playing outside with the neighborhood kids was fun,” my middle schooler answered.
 
“I like doing well in school,” my sophomore added.
 
Then, he went on, “Also, this year’s soccer season has been my favorite.”
 
That moment felt sacred, like a validation that play and unbridled joy had moved through our home weaving picturesque memories for my children.
 

But, that’s not the whole story. For each one of their favorites, there was a fight to get there.

My 17yo hated reading from kindergarten through 1st grade. It wasn’t until his teacher had a good hard talk with us about how he couldn’t read that we woke up. And working at home with him was painful: we all ended up in tears, and it had nothing to do with the green eggs and ham.
 
My three sons would always choose screens over playing outside. Despite loud objections, I would kick them out the door to find a neighborhood friend.
 

My 15yo didn’t like middle school, especially the schoolwork that he refused to complete.

We tried about twenty different angles to spark a better educational experience until we found a “different way to communicate.” A light bulb turned on and he started completing his work independently, not exactly loving it, but not despising it either.
Want to learn how my teenage son and I better learned to communicate? Read more in the description.
And my son had quit club soccer (burnt out) but made the high school team. But he tried out only after I reminded him that he’s a happier person when he’s in an activity and that he had to choose something. He went through the high school website, said “no” to 79 of the options, and landed back on soccer with a reluctant, “I guess.”
 
It’s so hard to discern when to pull back and when to push.
 
And in each of those moments, I had my doubts.
 

But my inner voice told me this: my husband and I know these boys better than anyone else. We held them in our arms when they were football size. We’ve fed them, cared for them, wiped away their tears, watched them grow, and loved them with every ounce of our being. With close observation and reflection, we’ve seen their personalities unfold and tried to stay in tune with their needs.

We also know they must have opportunities to make their own choices so they can mature. But each of those moments didn’t feel like “choice situations.” Because we could see the big picture clearer than our kids…
 
Reading would make our son’s life easier.
 
Playing outside would grow friendships.
 
Learning to get organized in school would build confidence.
 
Being involved in a cocurricular activity would bring fun.
 

Kids need their parents.

They need the adults in their lives who love them more than anyone else and will put time into reflecting on what they need to learn, how they need to grow, and what they crave. Then guide them in that direction with lots of explanations, relationship-building, grace, and care. Kids need our lived-and-learned wisdom wrapped in love and tenderness.

 

We’re not going to conquer every raising-kids moment – that’s like trying to nail jelly to a wall.

There are certainly times when I’ve stepped into my kids’ lives, and really should’ve just taken the dog on a walk. But, not in the examples my kids were telling me around the restaurant table.
 
The validation felt good. It reminded me that our inner voice very often knows the next best steps.
 
Parents, we do know what we are doing.
 
We really do.
 
So listen to your gut with confidence.

In parenting, go with your gut. These conversations and more when you 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
In parenting, go with your gut – join our community of moms learning to listen to our hearts here.

In parenting, go with your gut.
Read about these topics and more…

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

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

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


COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR TWEEN/TEEN
How to Get Your Teen/Teen to Their “Aha Moment”
400+ Conversation Starters for Families of Teens

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

 

parenting teens and tweens

Parenting Teens and Tweens Will Rip Your Heart Out

(Inside: Parenting teens and tweens will rip your heart out. There will be a moment when you find yourself emotionally spent.)

Parenting teens and tweens will rip your heart out.

There will be a moment when you’re sitting on the bathroom floor, back against the tub, feet tucked at the base of the sink, emotionally spent.

Your kid is the one sitting alone at the lunch table.

Your kid is repeatedly self-sabotaging in her actions, and no matter what you do, nothing helps.

Your kid has health and/or mental health challenges that just won’t shake.

Your kid got cut from the team in a sport he’s spent a decade playing and being in that uniform means the absolute world to him. The “no” hit like a nuclear bomb.

Your kid doesn’t seem to care – about anything.

Your kid is painfully distant – you don’t have the kind of longed-for relationship you want, and you just don’t recognize your teen anymore.

For tweens and teens, these years can be fun and interesting and great. Then they also can be some of the absolute hardest years of their lives: there are so many changes, so much to learn, so many obstacles to navigate, and so much perspective to gain. The perfect storm for big hurt in our big kids.

And when our kids hurt, we hurt too.

So, we find ourselves on the ground, sandwiched between the tub and sink, at 1 am. But momma, on the floor, with a ripped-out heart, feeling like you could crawl out of your skin anxious…

Deep breath in.

Exhale slowly.

parenting teens and tweens
Parenting teens and tweens can be so tough. My mom was in a tough spot with me when I was in my early 20s. Read what she did to help in the description here.

The Lord is here with you on this floor.

Maybe say a few words to him…

GOD IN HEAVEN, will you reveal yourself to me? Will you nurture me through reminding me of what I know about your character?

You love my children so much you know the exact number of hairs on their heads. You see where they’re at and are moved with deep love and wide compassion.

I believe that you are working in mighty ways in my kids’ lives. I don’t get why tough things happen, but I do know that you can and will pull good out of difficult. You are growing my teens, shaping them, molding their character. You are preparing a way – people for them to connect with and places for them to thrive. I know you can move mountains, and I pray that pebble-by-pebble you do.

Open our eyes to see you around us. Helping us notice how much there is to be grateful for. Help us see the people who do show up. Give us the strength to seek and accept help. Reveal solutions, then shower us with discernment and direction.

And through it all, wrap your hands of protection and love around our family.

Oh.

And one more thing…

Please, please, please, help me not to think this is my fault.

Help me to treat myself with the same tenderness and care I would treat anyone else with a ripped-out heart. Squash negative-self-talk with force, again and again, because it is a beast. AMEN.

Deep breath in.

Exhale slowly.

God loves your kids and is working in their lives.

God loves your kids and is working in their lives.

God loves your kids and is working in their lives.

Believe.

Stay on that floor as long as you need, there are no rules here. But when you get up, do so holding tight – with epic amounts of tenacity and stubbornness – to HOPE.

Read the full Parenting Teens and Tweens Series

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

Teaching high schoolers has always been a passion of mine, but not parenting them is as well. I could research, write, and talk about this topic until eternity. I hope you are encouraged by some of my articles.

 

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR TEENS
A Simple and Effective Way to Encourage Your Teen
*ou Can’t Fix Your Struggling Teens Problems, But You Can Do This One Powerful Thing

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

PARENTING
Parenting is Hard: This One Thought Can Help You Better Thrive
Dear Kids – Know the Difference Between “Chores” and “Maintenance”
To the Mom of a High School Freshman
Your Teen’s Maddening Behavior is Age-Appropriate and Here’s Hope
Raising Tweens and Teens – THIS is what it looks like…

HEARTWARMING STORIES IN RAISING OLDER KIDS
I Will Miss These Years of Raising Tweens and Teens
7 Reasons Why Raising Tweens & Teens is the Best
To the Mom Who Mourns That Kids Grow Too Fast

Join this community of moms parenting teens and tweens.

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

You are parenting tweens and teens.

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

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

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

gifts for moms

Good Parenting Skills: The Single Best Thing Parents Can Do

(Inside: Good parenting skills start here. Do you feel like you’re saturated with parenting advice? What should be your focus? This one thing will help you conquer the parenting season like the champion you are.)

Off, off, off!

I fumbled at my car radio. 

I don’t need to hear anybody roar… No hearts going on…  And I’m not gettin’ jiggy with it (I just took you’ll waaaay back, didn’t I.) I. Just. Can’t. My brain impulsively sends my fingers to the radio deck searching for off. At the end of every day, the longing for silence overtakes me.

What happened? What made me this way?

It started at age 22 when I went from the back of the classroom to the front. In a blink, I had responsibilities that felt heavy.

(Amazing, but heavy.)

Filled with IEPs, 504 plans, curriculum, school/state/parent expectations, and a bazillion students, I learned that a high school teacher’s job is fast-paced. There are about twenty minutes to eat lunch (that includes a bathroom break), four minutes to help students during passing period, and exactly zero minutes to think.

The silence of my ride home became my place to unpack my day. (Why is this student not engaged in learning anymore? How can I encourage that student whose mom is fighting cancer? How do I better teach that concept next time?)

It’s when my mind analyzed and problem solved. An essential tool for a teacher.

Parenting feels the same way. Except for times ten. Or times a million. (Because we all want good parenting skills.)

Just like classroom teachers juggle weighted responsibilities, so do parents…

  • How do I teach my kids about faith/God? (What do I teach them?)
  • Why is my kid struggling with social skills? What can I do?
  • Am I raising kind kids?
  • How do I stress the importance of education in a way that builds intrinsic motivation?
  • When should I push and when should I pull back?
  • Am I raising healthy, happy kids?

Then, even though we, as parents, say we don’t care what others think…do you still find yourself making a decision against your better judgment because of “social pressure?”

(“Son, you’re doing football! It’ll be great! You’ll love it! *You totally know your kid will NOT love it. And never be a football star.*) If your hand is up – yeah, me too. 

Parenting is heavy. (Amazing, but heavy.) And – of course – we all want to be good parents.  We want to follow all the parenting advice out there:

  • Love big.
  • Show respect.
  • Create boundaries.
  • Be consistent.
  • And more.

Parents are oversaturated with how-to-be-a-good-mom/dad resources mixed with heavy responsibilities. The noise – even the good noise – is loud

How do we know which one piece of solid advice will benefit us the most? There is a calling all parents should consider paying attention to.

Just like teachers, parents long for silence. This is why we subconsciously lock ourselves in the bathroom. Or linger way too long at Target when we’re kidless. Silence calls out to us and says, “You need me. You’re making some of the most important decisions of your life during your parenting years (in careers, in raising children, in finances, in everything). I can help you find those ‘best answers.'”

Do you hear that calling too? Look. Silence doesn’t need much time to empower you – only 8 minutes. 

 Let me explain…

If you’re like me – type A, practical, math/science oriented  – we can think we don’t need silence. We’re tough. Capable. Me-time is selfish. Silence is for the weak. (Feel free to laugh here.)

Except, science doesn’t support that. (I think that’s called irony.)

There’s much scientific research supporting the health benefits for both the body and mind through deep breathing, mindfulnessmeditationprayer, and/or silence. The practice of silence strengthens immunity, reduces stress, and supplies perseverance – it builds us up both physically and mentally. In the stillness, we analyze, brainstorm the next steps, and make our best decisions. 

 

Related article: Breathing Techniques – A Guide to the Science and Methods

 

About mid-way through my parenting, I started a practice of silence and listening to God.

I was just what that season needed. And something I continually come back to through all the ups and downs and twists and turns of parenting.

I created a mini e-book to maximize those 8 minutes of quiet time to empower us.

(Side note, because it needs to be said: As always, life doesn’t always obey formulas. There are days when these meditations for moms’ practice will feel awesome and other days when you just should put it all away, and go watch You’ve Got Mail. Each season of motherhood calls for different ways to encourage and sustain us. But, this tool is a good one. It’s one to have in our toolbox, one to keep coming back to – it really is powerful.)

Back to the mini-ebook, Meditations for Moms…

In the silence, parents need to be built up in 3 areas:

  • Knowing we’re loved
  • Renewed strength
  • Direction

The mini-ebook contains 7 days of meditation/silence/prayer (using deep breathing and mindfulness techniques) that will empower us in the three areas mentioned above. I included scripture because God’s Word strengthens me in powerful ways and I thought you’d enjoy the empowerment too.

Of course, my outline is a guidemake any changes so it works for you.

So, are you in? Ready to reclaim 8 minutes of our lives? Push the off button? Ready to take one small step that will launch us 10 steps forward?

Let’s do it. Grab the ebook here.

Because the single best thing you can do as a parent is to take care of yourself so you can better parent with patience and direction. The benefits to you and your kids are priceless.

I like this, but I need more than silence. I need solid advice from someone who knows their stuff to help me create good parenting skills.

If you are thinking this, I have just the guy. Dr. Kevin Leman’s books have given me tangible tools to parent. His humorous, wise words will build your confidence too. Here are some of my recommendations through my Amazon Affiliate links:

Parenting Your Powerful Child: Bringing an End to the Everyday Battles

Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours

Have a New Kid by Friday

 

Be encouraged in building your good parenting skills by reading the full Self-Care and Inspiration for Moms Series

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.

INSPIRATION TO REFUEL MOMS

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

SELF-CARE IN THE CHAOS

8 Reasons Why “Me Time” for Moms is Good FOR YOUR KIDS
The Power of Finding Peace and Joy In the Choas of Momlife
Moms Need a Break and Good Things Can Come of It
Good Parenting Skills: The Single Best Thing Parents Can Do

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens

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

You are parenting tweens and teens.

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

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

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

 

gifts for moms