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once a mom always a mom

Once a Mom, Always a Mom – What a Gift

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Join this community of moms parenting teens and tweens.

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

You are parenting tweens and teens.

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

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

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



once a mom always a mom
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
parenting tweens and teens

Raising tweens and teens – this is what it looks like…

(Inside: Parenting tweens and teens carries so many unique emotions, moments, and experiences. This is what raising tweens and teens looks like…)

Raising tweens and teens looks like your stomach flip-flopping all day at work because your child has her absolute-whole-being set on getting The Part, and in the next 8 hours, she finds out.

It looks like catching a glimpse of your tween curled up under blankets on the couch and your heart melting because he reminds you of a decade ago. When he was a baby, you thought it wasn’t possible to love him more – but it turns out that you absolutely do.
 
And discovering that the creak of the garage door signaling your young driver safely pulled in is one of the best sounds ever.

Raising tweens and teens looks like sometimes finding it hard to relax in your own home because your teen is pushing all of your buttons.

It looks like daydreaming about tossing your kids’ devices (phone, iPad, video game consoles) out the window and driving over the tangled electronic heap multiple times.
 
And emotional exhaustion from the normal adult responsibilities plus trying to figure out what’s going on with your moody tween and discerning if you should help with a solution or let them figure it out.

Raising tweens and teens looks like spending crazy amounts of time in the community from church to school events to Target.

It looks like not realizing that it meant so much to you that your kid’s team gets that last basket in – your tense body clasps its hands together as you hope big for a buzzer-beater.
 
And gathering bonus kids and other parents into your circle, enriching your life more than you could’ve ever imagined.

Raising tweens and teens looks like finding a wrinkled English paper in the depths of your teen’s backpack. You flatten it with a stroke of your hand and read the words your tween wove together to be stunned by the amazing person that she is becoming.

It also looks like being frustrated by your child’s choices, setting boundaries, and holding the line. It’s knowing that if your big kids sometimes don’t like you, you’re probably doing a great job as a parent.
 
And finally understanding what grace means and how to wholeheartedly give it to your family and, most importantly, yourself.
parenting tweens and teens
Do you want to better connect with your teens? Download these 400+ conversations here.

Raising tweens and teens looks like a jammed packet schedule with the magician parent(s) getting everyone to and from where they have to be (mostly) on time with (hopefully) what they need to bring/wear.

It looks like trying to squeeze in conversations (because you so want to get to know your child) in the car, around the dinner table, while waiting for password reset emails.
 
And watching family movies, going on road trips, checking grades, ordering pizza, sifting through laundry, collecting dishes from the bedrooms, tripping over shoes piled in front of the door, and hoping someone will carry the piles on the stairs up.
 
Parenting tweens and teens is busy – it’s 8 pm feeling like midnight.
 
Parenting tweens and teens takes brain power – it’s saying a lot of prayers.
 
But it’s also –
 
Stopping.
 
And peering out the window to see your teen shoveling piles of snow off the driveway while wearing shorts and a hoodie.
 
And laughing out loud.

Because the most random of moments slow your whole world down and help you see – really see – your beautiful humans.

Their faces. Their smiles.
 
Hearing their laugher. And the sound of their voices.
 
And then feeling with every bone in your body how rich and full your ordinary life is.
 
Parenting tweens and teens.
 
It’s a gift.

Read the full Parenting Tweens and Teens Series

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

Teaching high schoolers has always been a passion of mine, but 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.

TEACHING GRIT
The Pandemic is Shaping Kids in These 6 Powerful Ways

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”
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

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

Do you want to better connect with your teens? Download these 400+ conversations here.

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 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
kids grow too fast

To the Mom Who Mourns that Kids Grow Too Fast…

(Inside: Kids grow too fast and that can make moms who love raising their babies incredibly sad, but here’s something you need to remember…)

To the momma of big kids who feels like it’s all going too fast.

To the momma who experiences tinges of sadness to full-on-tidal-waves of emotions on birthdays, holidays, and first school days because another year is over.
 
To the momma who has so desperately wrapped her hands around time and tried to reign it in, and yet, the moments have slipped through her fingers leaving her wondering if she’s been present enough for this motherhood journey.

Let me remind you of something: you were there.

You were there when the nurse placed a sweet newborn in your arms or when those lovely adoption papers were signed. How you stared at your little one’s face convinced you’d never seen anything so beautiful. And you’ve had a million moments since looking at your child in wonder.
 
You were there the first time your baby pushed his lips together to form the word “ma-ma.” And for the first shaky steps. The first bite of jalapeño chips your 3-year-old demanded to take – his reaction made you laugh and hug him. And the first toothless grin. The first bike ride. Or drive. Or dance. A million times you’ve witnessed your kid’s firsts.

You were there to lift your toddler into her car seat and high chair and crib. You pressed your hand against her forehead and decided to call the doctor.

You flipped the grilled cheese sandwich and halved the grapes. You researched best toddler beds and read about napping routines. Over the years, from a million different angles you’ve watched, prayed, planned, and met your child’s needs.
 
You were there to see your kindergartener play soccer; tiny cleats clustered around a ball. Your child’s hand nestled safely in yours to find his classroom, meet the teacher, and choose the “I get home on the bus” card. You’ve packed lunches, made Valentine’s Day boxes, taxied to practices, photographed games and concerts, attended conferences, bought poster board at 9:00 pm – each passing year, in a million ways you’ve supported your kid in school and activities.
 
You were there to take your 2nd grader to the beach. You watched her leap the rolling waves, the scene catching your breath. And a million more times you’ve packed the suitcases and driven to the mountains, the lake, the theme park, the grandparents’ house for togetherness and memories.

You were there when your 4th grader turned ten. Double digits, a big deal.

Repeatedly, you’ve lit the candles, sung the song, and seen your child make closed-eyed wishes. In a million instances – birthdays to holidays to baptisms to family gatherings – you’ve attended milestone events; you’ve given the gift of traditions.
 
You were there for 6th grade, the start of middle school. You bought the new shoes, clothes, and school supplies. You helped your tween try to find the activities and friendships that made him feel connected. You set up routines, checked grades, reflected on what’s working and isn’t, and then tried new parenting approaches to best help your child. From a million directions you’ve cheered your kid on during life’s transitions.
 
You were there when your 8th grader’s emotions tore through the house like a tornado, the debris impacting the whole family. You inhaled patience and exhaled guidance for everyone to take a break. You then helped unpack big feelings, spoke God’s love and truths, gave perspective, and invited apologies. A million times you’ve been the rock, the safe place to land, the home that nourishes and teaches and encourages faith.

You were there when the garage door creaked open and your 10th grader filled the door frame.

Confetti of life-with-teens peppered the house: laundry next to the hamper, piles of dishes in bedrooms, friends crashing around, pantry raids, bowls of cereal. Then, repeatedly, exquisite emerged: good conversations, an unexpected head against your shoulder during a family movie, inside jokes, “I love you” said in words and actions. You’ve been there for the million everyday moments.
 
You were there for your 12th grader’s final year of high school. You had no idea watching your child gain independence dished out equal measures of sadness and pride. The trek hasn’t always been easy and there’s still much to learn, but you’ve relished seeing your child grow. Your lovely, wonderful kid – you’ve had a front row seat to the million instances that’ve shaped who she is today.

I don’t know exactly where you’re standing in this journey, but when the mom-ache starts, the kind that sends bolts through your body making you acutely aware that the parenting years are just a blink, remind yourself…

You’ve experienced the full journey of motherhood: everyday moments to big events, the challenges to the joys, and all the love – so, so much love.
 
You didn’t miss out.
 
Through it all, momma, you were there.

Kids grow too fast, this community is with you on that. There are more great resources for parenting raising tweens and teens on this page. Read the full parenting older kids 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.

TEACHING GRIT
The Pandemic is Shaping Kids in These 6 Powerful Ways

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”
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

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens here.

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 here or below. 

gifts for moms
family christmas activities

30 Favorite Christmas Activities That Your Family Will Love

(Inside: Fun family Christmas activities that will bring your loved ones closer together over the holidays. Enjoy the season with these great ideas.)

1. Decorate the house, inside and/or outside.

2. Donate your time, food, money, and/or gifts.

3. Take a winter wonderland hike.

4. Drive around and look at holiday lights.

5. Grab fancy, warm drinks from the coffee shop.

6. Make gingerbread houses.

7. Christmas shop together at the mall or local stores.

8. Get dressed up and go out to eat.

9. Open an advent calendar.

10. Bake holiday cookies and treats

11. Exchange names and give Secret Santa gifts.

12. Spend a day skiing or sledding.

13. Attend a holiday concert.

14. Enjoy a Christmas service at church.

15. Read the Christmas story around the tree.

16. Get a group together to Christmas carol. (In person or over screens.)

17. Snap holiday pictures.

18. Watch Christmas movies.

19. Look through family photo albums together.

20. Go ice skating.

21. As a family, do something extra nice for someone you know.

22. Write handwritten cards.

23. Go out for pastries or dessert.

24. Make Christmas crafts as a family..

25. Light candles and use your “good dishes” for dinner.

26. Play holiday music and enjoy a family game night.

27. Build a snowman, create a snow fort, or make snow angels.

28. Put together a Christmas puzzle.

29. Share your favorite holiday memories with each other.

30. Each family member picks out an ornament that represents their year.

Entertaining Tweens/Teens and Connecting with Your Family Series

The other day, I saw of picture of when my kids were little (like when I wrote this post), and I thought I so deeply want to go back to this season of life. I miss it.

But just as quickly as that thought came, another thought followed Someday, I will see pictures of my current parenting phase (raising tweens and teens) and wish to come back to today. 

So, I want to do my best to enjoy this season of life. These ideas on how to connect with and entertain tweens and teens can help…

ENTERTAINING TWEENS & TEENS SERIES

INSPIRATION
How a Messy House is Good for Your Kids

IDEAS
85+ Kids Activities That Promote Creativity

READING
146+ Best Chapter Books for Tweens that will Also Build Character
Compelling Books That High Schoolers Will Want to Read

EXERCISE
Home Exercises for Your Teens & the Whole Family (Feel Healthy & Happy)

HOLIDAYS
*30+ Ways to Connect With Your Family Over the Holiday Season

family christmas activities

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 here or below. 

gifts for moms
gifts for moms

Gifts for Moms: Presents that Moms Raising Tweens and Teens Will Love

(Inside: Gifts for moms that they will love. Here are fantastic gift ideas that say “I love you” to the mom raising tweens and teens.)

Are you looking for a gift for a mom raising tweens and teens?

You’re about to make her day.

Because between work and community and family, moms of older kids have been juggling and giving and giving some more for well over a decade. We’re busy. And the causality of that is this common theme: we take care of everyone else before we take care of ourselves. A gift to a mom disrupts that pattern – it reminds moms that we are seen and loved and appreciated.

A nice present means so much. 

Since I am currently in the thick of raising two teens and a tween, I thought it’d be fun to think about the needs (and wishes) of a mom specific to this season and make a list of what gifts she might like. Here are some things that moms parenting tweens and teens love…

 

 

**This blog post contains affiliate links.**

Moms love our coffee and warm drinks – best gifts for moms

We look forward to our steamy, warm drink every single morning. The just-right mug and lovely frother add to the joy. Moms love coffee gifts. 

Moms wanted that last piece of cake – best gifts for moms

That last piece of dessert…we wanted to see the smile on your face as you ate it, so we didn’t actually tell you we wanted it to. So, gift the mom in your life her own treats – every bite, first and last.

Moms love their comfy clothes – best gifts for moms

We just spent our money on soccer camp or new reeds for the saxophone, so there’s no way we’re going to buy ourselves the new pair of yoga pants that we really wanted. So if you notice and buy them for us, you’re our hero.

Moms love their fancy clothes, as well – best gifts for moms

As much as we love our comfy clothes, we still want to feel young(ish) and pretty, so we love our nice clothes too. But, before you buy any of these gifts, find out your loved one’s size. Don’t worry about the surprise factor; the fact that you are planning a gift and us knowing that is just as fun as the gift itself. Also to be noted, we hate returning things. So if it doesn’t fit, have a plan to get it exchanged without help from the mom in your life. 

Moms love their jewelry – best gifts for moms

Jewelry just never goes out of style. Moms love a new pair of earrings or necklace or bracelet or ring. This is a fantastic go-to gift idea for moms. 

Moms love their family to help clean the house – best gifts for moms

Do you really want to make us happy? I mean over-the-top fill your mom (or spouse) with joy? Embrace cleaning. Here’s a lovely way to present this gift: (1) clean the whole house, (2) grab the printable below and tuck it into a sweet card with kind words, (3) tell mom that you will be organizing the family to clean once a week for the next month. Mom will swoon. The end.

clean house

Moms love sentimental jewelry – best gifts for moms

Moms of tweens and teens become a little (a lot) over-sappy. We see how fast time is moving and realize that the parenting days with kids in our home are fleeting. Sentimental gifts that mark this season of life are so appreciated. Here are some ideas. 

Moms love photo gifts – best gifts for moms

Again, time is moving way too fast for moms of older kids. Photo gifts showcasing sweet moments that we can look at forever – total win.

Moms love memories – best gifts for moms

Of course, moms love when their family members print out some photos and put them together in a photo album. We mean to do it, but the days are so busy – so if it is done for us? Just heaven.

best gifts for moms
Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens here.

Moms love family time – best gifts for moms

If I had to nail down “what moms want” to just a few things, at the top of the list would be this: time with our families. Plan a family night: a game or puzzle, some snacks and a movie. That’s pure gold.

Moms love our gadgets – best gifts for moms

I’ve wanted the iRobot and Shark vacuum/mop for years, but haven’t spent the money because school supplies and sports camps, and new shoes for my teens… Moms love our gadgets so to have someone pay a little more for the expensive thing that makes our lives easier and gift it to us is just lovely.

Moms love a nice family dinner – best gifts for moms

Again, a top item moms love: a nice family meal that they did not have to plan, cook or clean up after. Going out to eat is always a hit.

Moms love gift cards – best gifts for moms

Moms still love that gift card that says, “but whatever you want!” It’s such a treat.

Moms love pretty nails – best gifts for moms

I was just introduced to Color Street (see below) and absolutely love how easy it is to do my own nails. I love looking down at my hands and seeing beautiful colors. Does the mom in your life love to have pretty nails too? These might be good ideas for her…

Moms love self-care – best gifts for moms

Moms continually give (and are happy to do it!), but we also so desperately need to also take care of ourselves. If you put together some self-care items then pick an evening/day that the family handles everything so that mom can enjoy rest and relaxation, what a gift that is to her.  

Moms love inspiration and journals – best gifts for moms

By the time moms get to the chapter of parenting tweens and teens – a thing or two in life has happened. Good stuff, but also hard stuff – and moms need time to process and be encouraged. The Lysa Terkurest books have helped me unpack my thoughts, grow from, and move past some hard stuff (including a later-in-life miscarriage), so I highly recommend her work. Here’s also a list of 60+ of my favorite inspirational books

Your turn!

What did I miss? Have you gotten a gift for mom that she has loved? Leave a comment and let me know. And also, before you go, don’t forget to join our community of moms of bigs here. 

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens here.

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 here or below.

gifts for moms
parenting regrets

Parenting Regrets: 3 truths about “I wish I’d parented better.”

(Inside: Do you have parenting regrets? Things you wish you’d done “better?” Here are 3 truths to give you perspective.)

Can we talk about parenting regrets?

Because I’m convinced it’s one way Satan comes after moms raising tweens and teens.
 
Why we don’t always see it, I don’t know…the thief isn’t creative, he spams the same vulnerable buttons. Regret sneaks in disguised as reflection, yet can quickly turn into negative self-talk.

You observe your middle schooler/high schoolers’ actions or character qualities that aren’t working and find yourself thinking maybe life would be smoother for them now if I’d done “this” better when they were younger.

Regrets like…
 
School might be more manageable if I’d made them read more in elementary school. Or had a stricter routine around schoolwork earlier. Or gotten them a tutor. Or taken away video games. Or better shown them how fun learning is.
 
My teen struggles with friendships. But, what if… What if I had critiqued less and encouraged more? What if we’d specifically worked on being a better friend sooner? What if I’d built a more supportive community around my kid? Or signed them up for different activities?
 
My middle schooler is moody and disagreeable, maybe I should’ve focused more on relationship and less on rules. Or perhaps been tighter with respect expectations. Or taken them to a counselor. Or talked more about emotions. Or practiced healthy ways of communicating. Or parented them in a different way.
parenting regrets
Talk about parenting regrets and more…join this community of moms raising tweens and teens and get inspirational emails right here.

The years are speeding by, I wish I’d been home more. Or encouraged our family to be less busy. Or spent the money on vacations. Or taken more pictures. Or hit that record button.

My kid doesn’t seem interested in faith. I wish we would’ve spent more time with our church family. Or sent him to Sunday School. Or camp. Or emphasized family devotionals.
 
My teen didn’t make the team, I wish I would’ve started him in a sport younger. Or I should’ve encouraged something different – music, robotics, chess. We put our eggs in the wrong basket.
 
I don’t like what I’m seeing in parenting right now, so I should have…
 
And the list can go on…

Lately, uninvited regrets have kept messing with my mind.

Mainly, I think if I would’ve approached parenting differently when they were little, my kids wouldn’t struggle so much now in two specific areas.
 
But, stop.
 
Just full-on hit the brakes of that thought train.
 
Those are not the thoughts of loving a God who nurtures and encourages. Deep breath in. Exhale with length. I needed to hear The Holy One’s voice, so I used a technique that helped me gain perspective, and it started with truth.
 
I surrounded the regrets with truth…

Truth #1:

Tweens and teens aren’t supposed to have everything laid out perfectly for them. They need to learn how to struggle through life’s flaws. Mistakes and failures are an essential part of the growth and maturity of teens.

Truth #2:

God intentionally created all of us (Psalm 139:13-18), calls us his children (Galatians 3:26), takes great delight in us (Zephaniah 3:17), is with us (Isaiah 41:10), and has plans for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11). So, we can safely operate from a place of hope – God is for all of us and is working in and around our lives.

Get to know your family more through keeping a family prayer journal…

parenting regrets

Truth #3:

If a regret is really bugging me, then I can let that point to some next right steps. Take the vacation. Encourage my kid to try something new. Have that conversation. Tweak the way I parent. Moms have a lifetime to work on their relationships with their kids, mom life doesn’t end when the 18th birthday candles are blown out.

So, take 5 steps back, Satan.

Do you know who you’re dealing with? A mom in the trenches of raising teens and moms of bigs know a thing or two…including truth. The pain of our regrets can point us to purpose in our future. Yes, we can’t redo, but you forget – we can always renew.

Join this community of moms raising 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 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.  (Including the  school checklist I created for my son – it’s editable, so you can tweak it to fit your kid.) 

Join our community here or below.

Let’s talk about parenting regrets and more… Be encouraged through the full “imperfectly thrive in parenting series.”

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

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

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

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

Do You Need to Simplify Parenting? Collect Moments, Instead
Being a Parent is Hard for This One Reason: Here’s What Helps
Healthy Helicopter Parenting: A Story to Life You Up
Why Mom Mistakes Can Be Good

parenting regrets
Talk about parenting regrets and more…join this community of moms raising tweens and teens and get inspirational emails right here.
heal from miscarriage 3

Miscarriage Grief: 5 Reasons Why a Miscarriage is so Emotionally Painful

(Inside: Are you dealing with miscarriage grief? Do you want to heal from your miscarriage? Whether you experienced a miscarriage yesterday or thirty years ago, one way to help you heal is to understand why it emotionally hurt so much. Read on…)

This time he found me sitting on the couch, legs balled up against my chest, tears flowing.

It was 2 am.

The night before, he’d found me in our youngest son’s room. Our 4-year-old had made his way to our bed waking me. For a while, I laid arms tucked around my little guy. But then, heaviness began to descend and the onslaught of sorrow became overwhelming.  I slipped down the hall into my little boy’s empty room. In the dark, I felt for the rocker and sat down. Back-and-forth I tried to rock away the sadness while quiet sobs shook my body.

For six months (at least), I couldn’t get through the night without crying. Sometimes my husband would wake and coax me back to bed; other times, I’d slid in and out of under the covers unnoticed.

What caused this pain? This heartbreak? This feeling that a storm cloud had swallowed me?

A miscarriage.

 

Heal from miscarriage related article: How to Silence the Mean Voice in Your Head

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

Experiencing the pain of a miscarriage

Between my second and third son,  I’d already experienced one miscarriage that unleashed excruciating sadness and big emotions. However, within a few months, I had my rainbow baby in my belly and “this too did pass.”

After this second miscarriage, the situation was different. This time, we were trying to decide: Do we want to try again? Should we call it done with three healthy boys? What’s the next best step for our family?

Those types of life-changing decisions can be hard when you’re in your best frame of mine. But, when your mind is fogged up by pain, it’s hard to even decide what to fix your family for dinner, let alone if you’re going to try and get pregnant again.

I knew I needed to focus on moving past the pain.

However, pain is a tricky thing. It sends a spiderweb of cracks a million different directions in your life, but you can’t stitch back together the slices with one simple act. It takes multiple kinds of healing from all different angles to slowly bind up the mess.

heal from miscarriage
Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens HERE.

Why a miscarriage is so emotionally painful

One way that I healed a small crack was by figuring out why a miscarriage hurt so much. Somehow, this justified my pain and let me give myself permission to grieve. (Not that I needed it.) Here are five reasons why a miscarriage is so emotionally painful:

Heal from miscarriage related article: What to do when You’re Tired of Your Struggle

1. Your identity is wrapped up in being a mom.

Motherhood is such a life-changing experience, it automatically becomes part of our who we are. (Or who we want to be.) It affects how we see ourselves, how we view the world, and how we feel people relate to us. So, when things don’t work out in mom life, it shakes our core.

But on the flip side, the fact that it hurts so much also means that we put a lot of value in this piece of our identity – being a mom. (Or wanting to be a mom.) Motherhood is a beautiful thing. It’s something that should be valued. So even though our strong motherly longings leave us more vulnerable to pain, I wouldn’t want to let go of valuing motherhood. Caring about motherhood is a good thing.

I like what I’m reading and want to stay connect: SUBSCRIBE HERE 

2. You feel like it’s your fault.

When our bodies don’t cooperate, it’s hard not to feel like it’s our fault. What did I do wrong? Exercise too hard? Drink or eat something? Let myself get too stressed out? My OBGYN has repeatedly told me, “The miscarriage wasn’t your fault.”  The Mayo Clinic backs my doctor saying,

“Most miscarriages happen because the fetus isn’t developing normally. Problems with the baby’s genes or chromosomes are usually the result of errors that occur by chance as the embryo divides and grows. They typically aren’t due to an inherited disorder, and usually aren’t caused by a mother’s behavior or health.”

It’s okay to analyze a situation and ask if we should’ve done something differently. Reflection is smart living. However, in the case of a miscarriage, the answer is “No – it wasn’t your fault.”

3. It’s the loss of a dream.

We have expectations of what we want our family to look like from the number of kids, to gender, to timing. When we miscarry, our dreams feel shattered. But, again, there’s a flip side to that coin. Ultimately, dreaming is a good thing. It’s a great starting point to finding our next right step. So, we should keep listening to our hearts and letting our souls dream.  

4. You feel alone.

Some of our favorite people to confide in haven’t experienced a miscarriage and won’t fully understand our pain. This can make us feel alone. Yet, I’ve found the more I’ve opened up, the more I’ve discovered women who’ve shared my experience. Moms, it’s healthy to crave friends who get us. Know that there is a community of women who’ve shared your pain – we are not alone.

5. You feel out of control

We love our calendars and checklists and goals – we love control. A miscarriage makes us feel out-of-control. (Cue anxiety.) However, when we look back on our lives, often the most beautiful things came from the times our lives went off-course. Moms, we can let ourselves embrace hope – our futures hold good things.

Our pain points also are important, good elements of our lives

The reason that a miscarriage messes with our minds with such intensity is that the elements that make up our pain points also serve as important, good aspects of our lives: caring about being a mom, reflecting and analyzing, dreaming, desiring an understanding community, having some control over our lives. These are life-giving elements in our worlds, so it’s going to hurt when cracks slice through them.

You will heal from your miscarriage

Momma, if you are thick in the pain, lean in and don’t just hear me, believe my next words: You will heal.

If you’re thinking – well you got pregnant again and had that fourth kid, so of course, you healed…you’re wrong.

We decided not to try again.

Was choosing “to be done” the right decision? I don’t know…
If I were to go back, would I do it differently? Maybe…
Do I regret our choice? No.

And am I healed? One hundred percent. But it took two to three full years. I worked hard at healing. I tried multiple ways to heal my shattered cracks. Individually, each step that stitched up one small crack didn’t seem like much, but collectively – those actions held power.

If you are hurting, do something to heal every single day: seek professional help, surround yourself with encouraging people, take long walks, pray, do something you love, take a vacation, meet friends for coffee, exercise, eat healthy, stroke your hobby, snuggle your kids, date your spouse, buy yourself a new outfit, listen to quality podcasts, read inspirational books, grow your faith in God.

Then, trust the process. Little-by-little your cracks are being stitched up. You are healing.

Eventually, you – like me – will be able to get through not just one night, but lots of nights without crying. You will feel joy again. You will heal.

 

Heal from miscarriage related article: Imperfect Faith is Still Faith

Continue to heal from grief through reading the full “Grow Your Grit” Series

When we become moms a light switch is flipped on. In juggling work, family, and household – we grow bolder; we learn to speak up. And somewhere in it all, we find our inner Mama Bear. We grow our determination, knowledge, love, patience, endurance, perspective, wisdom, problem-solving ability – we strengthen our grit. It’s not always easy, though. Growing our grit through motherhood is most definitely a process… Read on…

GROW YOUR COURAGE
Parenting Persuades You to be a More Courageous Mom Every Day
A Mom’s Quick Prayer for Perseverance that Will Lift You Up

FIND PEACE IN THE CHAOS
One Line to Get You Through the Stressed Mom Days

HEAL YOUR HURT
I’m So Hurt: What Healing Sometimes Looks Like
When Life Knocks You Down & You’re Tired of Your Struggle
Miscarriage Grief: 5 Reasons Why a Miscarriage is so Emotionally Painful

EMBRACE CHANGE
Find Hope Now in the Story of a Mom Who Didn’t Want Change

heal from miscarriage
Ultrasound photo by Edward Cisneros on Unsplash Pregnant woman photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Join the Empowered Moms and Kids Community

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
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
Yes, I want all of the Freebies!

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
Photo by Prasanna Kumar on Unsplash

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 

 

gifts for moms
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
Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

“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. 

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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