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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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


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

organized mom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

How to Be a Less Overwhelmed and More Organized Mom

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

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


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

A good starting point to becoming a more organized mom:

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

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

 

 

organized mom

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

Happy Home Happy Heart Free Printable!

 

 

**This blog post contains affiliate links**

Monday – Meal Day

Organized Mom Action:

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


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


Inspiration Action:

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

 

Tuesday – Tidy One Area Day

Organized Mom Action:

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

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

 

Inspiration Action:

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

 

 

Wednesday – Pick Up the House Day

Organized Mom Action:

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

 

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

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

Inspiration Action:

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

 

Thursday – Clean the House Day

Organized Mom Action:

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

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

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

 

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


Inspiration:

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

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

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

 

moms get organized

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

Happy Home Happy Heart Free Printable!

 

 

Friday – Laundry and Refuel Day

Organized Mom Action:

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


Inspiration Action:

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

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

 

Saturday – Laundry and Exercise Day

Organized Mom Action:

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


Inspiration Action:

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

 

Sunday – Rest and Reset Day

Organized Mom Action:

Take 45 minutes in the evening to with the family:

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


Inspiration:

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

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

 

How to be an Organized and Happy Mom

That’s it.

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

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

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

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

 

Your Turn

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

 

organized mom

 

 


Read the full thriving in working mom life series…

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

Except, I didn’t factor in one thing…

I loved my career. 

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

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

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

 

organized mom

 


 

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens

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

You are parenting tweens and teens.

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

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

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

gifts for moms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

This blog post contains affiliate links.

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

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

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

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

Except I was totally serious.

Free therapy? Yes, please.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One way to create belonging:

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

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

Grab the free ebook HERE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Yes, I want the FREE eCourse!

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

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

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

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

I created a mini-eBook that walks you through:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One way to evaluate the story your life is telling

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

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

Be a strong mother, be a joy-filled mom

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

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

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


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

 

 

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens

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

You are parenting tweens and teens.

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

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

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

gifts for moms

Confidence to Be You Series

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

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

strong mother

How to Deal with Difficult People (And not lose your mind!)

(Inside: Dealing with difficult people can be hard. But this one mindset and one action can help turn a struggling relationship into a thriving relationship.)

It’s been 2 weeks since my friend has spoken to me, even though I’ve seen her a hundred times in the time span.

Awesome, right?

Of course, this isn’t the first time I’ve clashed with someone. In the stress, I can think: Why are people hard to please? Why can people get stuck in a cycle of negativity and not see the disheartening impact they have on others? Why are people so difficult? However, even though I entertain those thoughts, I still hate when people are upset with me. It brings out two sides of me…

The People-Pleaser

I want to smooth the waters at the expense of my self-respect and sanity. I can be like Monica on Friends when she forgets to invite Rachel’s mom to Rachel’s baby shower. She follows Rachel’s mom around the party dishing out unmeaningful compliments and trying to win back the approval of Rachel’s not-going-to-let-it-go mom. I cringe every time I see a rerun of that episode because the groveling Monica can be exactly me.

In this circumstance: please, self-respect, stay strong…Don’t. Let. Me. Stoop. That. Low.

**This blog post contains affiliate links.**

The Grudge Holder

Or I become any main character in any old western movie. You done me wrong and my gun-slinging, tobacco-spitting self never wants to talk to you again. Am I over it, you ask? Ask me in two years – because it for sure won’t be any sooner than that. Even if you’re my next-door neighbor, I will find a way to make you invisible in my life. You hurt me once, so you’ll never be let back in. Then I ride off into the sunset without looking back.

In conflict, how do I be the person I want to be?

In this situation, I believe 110% in my actions. I’d go further to say, that I know my choices were best and would unapologetically make the same decision again – even knowing my friend’s extremely negative reaction.

Having difficult people in your life can be hard. Knowing how to respond to them can be even harder.

When I was in high school, I decided I wanted to get better at the mile. I ran it in 7 minutes 20 seconds. Now, I know that’s not amazing, but I was no track star. However, I was tired of trailing in the middle to back-of-the-pack during meets – I wanted to be top 3. Here’s the problem: I only wanted to get better in my mind. I didn’t change my workout routines. I didn’t research methods to run faster. Heck, I didn’t even tell my coach my goal.  It’s not surprising my mile time stayed stagnant. Dealing with difficult people can be like that, I say I want to do better except I never do anything about it to actually get better. But not this time.

I wanted to learn and grow in this conflict. I didn’t want to cave, hold a grudge or let the situation irrationally bother me  – it’s okay to be in a disagreement. So, I asked God for help. And He revealed two powerful points of wisdom, first in the mindset I should have and second in the actions, I should take.

how to deal with difficult people

*This blog post contains affiliate links*

A Mindset to Take When Dealing with Difficult People

A couple of days after the initial clashing, I sat around a table of about 20 women listening to Maggie Combs share about her book Unsupermommy. The Minnesota roads were icy, the snow piled high and the cold air told me to stay home. But something in my heart urged me: Cheryl, just go to book club.  Maggie began to describe her struggles as a mom – and in her story said something that’s given me life when dealing with difficult people. She kept talking about her desire to have God on the throne of her heart.

Think about what happens to our hearts when we’re in a conflict. This is what wants to sit on my heart’s throne:

  • Pride – I want to be well-liked. (Hello, impossible!) Or, it’s my way or the highway, I’ll listen to your ideas, but I’m not doing them. (Me riding off into the sunset.)
  • Grudge Holding – Never speak to me again…bu-bye,  sweet Felicia.
  • Self-pity – I don’t deserve this…
  • Anger – Let me spew out something I’ll regret. (Then feel guilty about it later. Fantastic.)
  • Anxiety – All the stress!


If you’ve watched every episode of Victoria and The Crown like me, then you know throne rooms. They are elegant and beautiful and made for fine clothes and fine people. As I went through my day – this situation swirling in my brain – I kept picturing Jesus sitting on the elegant throne of my heart. His grace, his love, his hope. Nothing else. When I started to feel prideful, I’d imagine pride on the throne and felt repulsed. When I felt anger, I’d look up to see anger on the throne and he looked unfit. When self-pity was on my throne, she got on my nerves. And anxiety…well, don’t even get me started on the loathing I have for anxiety…

Photo by William Krause on Unsplash

When dealing with difficult people, put God on his throne and don’t let Him move. Because, friends, this is how we are supposed to do life. With God. Our feelings can overwhelm us, but God’s truths are stationary. When Jesus is on the throne, it automatically keeps pride, self-pity, anger, and anxiety at our feet – where they should be. Jesus on the throne in our hearts gives us the healthy mindset we need to deal with difficult people with grace and dignity.

An Action to Take When Dealing with Difficult People

I picked up Bob Goff’s book Everybody Always and these words jumped off the page.

“When I meet someone who is hard to get along with, I think, Can I love that person for the next thirty seconds? Why they continue to irritate me, I find myself counting silently….twenty-seven, twenty-eight, twenty-nine…and before I get to thirty, I say to myself, Okay, I’m going to love that person for thirty more seconds.  I try and love the person in front of my they way Jesus did for the next thirty seconds rather than merely agree with Jesus and avoid them entirely, which I am sad to say comes easier to me. I try and see difficult people in front of me for who they could become someday, and I keep reminding myself about this possibility for thirty seconds at a time.”

Bob Goff’s words said to me: This is what you should do when dealing with difficult people. You need to love them 30 seconds at a time. Meaning, your actions need to reflect love for them.

It doesn’t mean you have to agree…

It doesn’t mean you have to approve of them…

And it definitely doesn’t mean you need to let them walk all over you… (Boundaries are important.)

but you do need to love them. Sometimes that starts with simply trying not to say something that you will have to apologize for later. Then as time passes and emotions simmer, we extend kindness. We imagine the best version of the difficult individual, and we treat them like they are becoming that person. We operate from a place of hope. It’s hard. But, we’re called to do hard things. So, that’s what we do, friends, we love difficult people 30 seconds at a time. Because if we can love for 30 seconds. Then, you know what? We can love for 30 more…

What kind of person do you want to be? What type of community do we want to live in?

As I was working on ways to deal with this difficult person in my life a thought struck me that almost made me laugh. This person I was clashing with…I bet on her side she’s asking God how to deal with me. Maybe she’s not talking to me because she’s praying she doesn’t say anything she’ll regret. I mean, I am aware that I CAN HAVE MY MOMENTS. (Face in palms.)

I hope she is praying for patience and understanding and grace. And I hope she gets it. Because I want to live in a community where people see the best in me and extend grace. At some point in our lives, we will deal with difficult people or be a difficult person.  But we can all leverage our situations to grow wiser, stronger, and into better people because of it. Then we do hard things – like extend grace. And receive it when it’s extended to us as well.

When you’re dealing with difficult people, 8 minutes a day of silence and prayer can be very powerful.

 I wrote a mini-eBook that explains this idea more and guides us through Christian meditation. It’s called Meditations for Moms: Renewal and Empowerment in 8 Minutes a Day.

I hope it gives you life in the same way it’s helped me work through big emotions as I redirect my focus on the One who is in control of it all.

Related Article: Teach Your Kids to Be Kind in Difficult Situations

Read more in the full thrive in difficult relationships and situations series:

Why can’t I get along with this person, I’m good with people. People are my thing. Why has this year been filled with not this difficult relationship, but hard relationships with an “s?”

I had a year when relationships with three people I cared about unraveled. I had just come out of healing from a miscarriage and being cut from a job I loved (student numbers were down and they cut the lowest tenured teacher). And just when I thought I’d put my life back together and found my way, here I was struggling with not situations, but people.

What a season.

It caused me to explore situations and relationships and figure out how to find peace, healing, and forgiveness in tough times.

THRIVE IN DIFFICULT RELATIONSHIPS & SITUATIONS SERIES
I’m in a Funk: A Powerful Mindset to Overcome Your Challenge
Parenting is Hard: This One Thought Can Help You Better Thrive
Moms, How to Prepare for a Fight


HEAL YOUR HURT SERIES
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

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens

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

You are parenting tweens and teens.

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

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

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

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

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

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

But, me?

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

Then…

It happened.

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


Then, the next events unfolded in slow motion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

being a mom

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

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

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

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

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

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

Join this community of moms raising big kids…

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

You are parenting tweens and teens.

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

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

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

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Best Podcasts Every Mom Needs to Hear

(Inside: 8 best podcasts for moms that will motivate women. Accomplish more and meet your goals by listening to these inspirational podcasts for women. ) 

 

The pile of plates teetered as I  carried them from my kitchen to the dining room. Next, I grabbed the stacks of Tupperware, mismatched bottoms and tops thrown together looking like the Eiffel tower in shambles and not the neat rows I’d vowed to keep them in. I made infinite trips emptying my cabinets – a tedious job, that…get this… 

 

I WAS ACTUALLY ENJOYING. 

 

No, I hadn’t taken a crazy pill or downed way too much coffee. So, then what was tricking my brain into enjoying emptying cabinets and prepping them for painting? What made this task – can I dare to say – ahem…inspirational? 

 

Empowering podcasts and videos. (I refer to the videos as podcasts because I only listened to them.) I filled the airwaves with encouraging words that pumped motivation through my veins. Here’s what my heart soaked in:  

  • How to see motherhood as a marathon where achieving goals can happen – just not in ten minutes, but over an intentional lifetime.  
  • A thought process to promote contentment and gratitude for what I have instead of going down the alluring rabbit hole of “not enough.” 
  • Confidence in being okay that I am not the “perfect mom” for my kids: I am the type of mom who is overemotional, can drop the ball then goes back to being overemotional about it.  (It’s good for my kids to see me deal with the bumps of life in a healthy way.)  

 

Y’all – this evacuation of my kitchen took 3 hours. Bending, carrying, wiping, and vacuuming. I was dog-tired. But only physically. My spirit felt refreshed because that’s what listening to 3 hours of some of the best podcasts for moms will do for you.   

 

Do you want to feel empowered too? What encouragement do you need to hear? I got you, friend. There is something that will speak directly to you below. Listen while you cook or drive or fold laundry. Then feel free to pass on empowerment through sharing this post on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter.

*This blog post contains affiliate links.*

 

 

 

Best Podcasts for Moms #1: 

 

When you need to stop trying to “have it all.” 

We want to have it all. We do. Of. Course. We. Do. We want to have amazing careers, foster strong marriages, and be epic mothers. Here’s the thing – we can have it all, just maybe not all at the same time. Motherhood is a marathon, not a sprint. There might be seasons where we don’t pursue our dreams and only focus on home, but later in life (whether your kids are out of your house or not), the door opens for us to go for that aspiration that’s been quietly pulsing in our hearts like…forever.  

 

 

When you need to stop stressing that you’re not setting a good enough example of a “perfect life well lived” for your kids. 

Moms, we’re going to lose relationships, jobs, patience and let’s get real honest here: peace of mind. Try and live the perfect life, I absolutely dare you, but just when you think you are killing it at your career, someone will tell you your project you know you nailed in fact, stunk. But in professional terms – because we polish it up for work. Then your kids sense your humiliation and overhear you telling your spouse you stink at your job. Not exactly the example of the empowered woman you’re going for. (Face in palms.) But listen – and for the love please hear me…how we handle our bumps our empowering life lessons for our kids. 

 

This raw interview with Maria Shriver addresses both trying to have it all and the imperfect example you set for your kids. After listening to her candid words, I felt empowered in both of these areas.  

Listen to Podcast 1

 

Best Podcasts for Moms #2: 

 

Is your family not your “dream family?” 

Yes, we all love our people – I’m not saying any of us are ungrateful for the human beings God gave us. No, no, no…but, maybe we’d envisioned our family in a “certain way.” We didn’t plan on a special needs kid, but we’re raising one. We wanted to raise sons and only have girls. We wanted five kids but the five pregnancies only gave us two babies. We wanted biological children but created our family through adoption.  We desired sixty plus years of marriage but instead are in a blended family. These podcasts talk about amazing, smart, fulfilled women who shaped their God-given, beautiful families with an open heart. Be inspired by them.  

Listen to Podcast 2

 

Best Podcasts for Moms #3: 

Do you stress your kids will resent you working?  

 Yes, me too. My heart always wants to be available for my kids. My head tells me that teaching I’m called to do. In this Ted Talk, a daughter talks about how proud she is of her working mom. (And I have to admit, I’ve overheard my elementary-age sons tell their friends with puffed out chests that their mom teaches HIGH SCHOOL. *Heart. Melting.*) 

Listen to Podcast 3

 

Best Podcasts for Moms #4: 

When you’re physically tired from motherhood. 

We all know motherhood is a gift, but it also gives us narcolepsy. No joke. I never knew I could actually fall dead asleep at 6 pm until I started raising kids. (Who am I kidding – I try and do call the day done right after dinner but, “maaaaawwwmmmm, I need…”) Sometimes we need our tired bodies to feel again what our head knows: motherhood is an epic gift. Let this Ted Talk reignite your heart and refuel your body:  

Listen to Podcast 4

 

best podcasts for moms

 

Best Podcasts for Moms #5: 

 You’re itching to be creative, but how can you in all the busyness? 

All of us need a creative outlet and that doesn’t mean we have to craft. We can introduce creativity into parenting, our jobs, our home life…etc.  Liz Gilbert expands on this topic and ignites me to better enjoy the mundane parts of my life through creativity.  

Why you don’t need to plan excessive activities for your kids.  

I cave with video games way more than I’d like too. (“Because I’m booooored mom!”)  Elizabeth Gilbert talks about how childhood boredom shaped her into a good writer.  Parents – we don’t have to continually Pinterest it up for our kids. Kids grow in amazing, healthy and did I say amazing ways through boredom. Remind your kids that, then drop the mic.   

Listen to Podcast 5

 

Best Podcasts for Moms #6: 

 

You feel guilty about being a stay-at-home mom in a world of working women.  

Cameron Candance Bure should have continued to pursue her career after her hit show Full House ended. The child actress was then a young adult and, you know –  Hollywood likes them young. Hollywood worships them young. But instead, she let her golden career slip through her fingers to raise babies. Crazy girl! Except she wasn’t crazy because she pulled off a huge comeback in her late-thirties, just when she should be drying up. Let her inspire you to go with your heart and stay home if you want to. Believe an enticing career will be waiting for you when the time is right.

Listen to Podcast 6

Best Podcasts for Moms #7: 

 When your brain is in a mom-funk.   

It happens to all moms – the mom funk. Sometimes we can’t put a finger on it, we’re not depressed, we don’t have low self-confidence but ugh – our brains feel yucky. It just that there’s so much to do, to worry about and to be responsible for, that the mom-funk creeps in for a day or two, like the common cold, and makes us feel blah.  No need to freak or decide we have huge issues – we sometimes just need to do one thing: focus on gratitude. God breathes a holy quality into gratitude. It’s like Robitussin for our mental health. Watch this for a mental lift.  

 Listen to Podcast 7 


Best Podcasts for Moms #8: 

 When you need to laugh. 

We all need to laugh and this viral mom-song by Anita Renfroe will not disappoint. Why is it still funny the tenth time you view it?

 Listen to Podcast 8 

 

 

I’ve set tucked the plates back into the cupboards, stacked the Tupperware in a neat tower, and renewed my vow to keep the spaces tidy. But, the kitchen isn’t done. The doors are drying and need to be sanded and painted again before we carefully rehang them. But when it’s time to put everything all back together – I know what I’ll be listening to. But what about you? Which best podcast for moms with both help you get through a chore and empower you today? 

 


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 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:

INSPIRATION TO REFUEL MOMS
7 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
Good Parenting Skills: The Single Best Thing Parents Can Do

 

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Laundry becomes lessons, cooking creates clarity, washing grows wisdom, and the mundane becomes inspirational through these best podcasts for moms. Read on... #momlife #podcasts #motherhood #inspiration Click To Tweet

 

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.

Join this Community (FREE!)  

 

 

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5 Best Relaxing Songs to Make Your Day Better

(Inside: Best relaxing songs to calm your racing-mom-brain and renew your energy. Here is a relaxing songs playlist of 5 of my favorite music to calm and soothe.)

My son’s head lay on my arm as his little body nestled into the curve of mine. He drifted off to sleep against me, glad I’d stayed with him for a few minutes after his tuck-in.

As my son nodded off, I did the exact opposite.

I stared at shadows, replayed the day, added to my to-do list…  As I let my thoughts wander, I could feel the stress building up. My stomach knotted as I thought of the stack of high school papers left to grade.  I remembered the next morning I’d be forgoing my early-morning-me-time because my son needed to be at middle school early to retake his math test. (Bear in mind, I am a math teacher – let that irony sink in.) With each thought, I tensed up a little more.

Then a song popped on my son’s radio that halted my attention…

“Lord I need you, oh I need you…”

The relaxing song coaxed me to pay attention. To quit looking in, but instead, look up…

“Every hour, I need you…”

I felt myself flip my hand to an upward position. My palm lay flat representing my open heart…and open ears as it faced heaven.

There was a warmth in the air…a presence of the holy spirit as I simply repeated the words songs like a prayer, “Lord, I need you, oh I need you.”

The gripping stress began to crack and fall off like acorns from a tree.

“Every hour, I need you…”

The words washed over me. I took in deep breaths…five seconds in, hold for a minute, then five seconds out. Slowly, very slowly…

Then, I continued laying still with open palms towards my Maker and an open heart letting the truths of the lyrics pour in. My brain began to remember that this life is about so much more than my worries, the things that give me stress. My worries couldn’t compete with that kind of wonder. That kind of attention-getting and soothing feelings from our Creator.

As the song came to a close, I could feel my son breathing sleep against my arm. I slinked my arm out from under him and slipped out of the room.

I felt peace.

I felt refreshed.

And I felt the power of a God who loves us enough to comfort me through music.

best relaxing songs
These 7 meditations for moms can also help relieve stress and for perspective to grow.

5 Best Songs to Make Your Day Better

Have you been there too? Letting the busyness of life overwhelm you?  Feeling guilty about something?  Or in pain? Try the technique I stumbled upon: lay in your bed, put your palms up and let God comfort you through one (or all) of these songs.

When you need direction

“When I try and pray, all I get is hurt, and these four words…thy…will…be…done…”

When you need forgiveness

“There’s nothing too dirty…that God can’t make worthy…”

When you need to be reminded you are not alone

“Now the lights are on…I see you were never gone…”

When you’re looking for peace

“It is well, with my soul.”

When you need a friend

“Lord, I need you oh I need you…”

Your Turn: What are your favorite best relaxing songs?

What did I miss? What are your favorite best relaxing songs? Leave them in the comments or send me an email. (Find my email in the about section of this page.) 

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
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
Good Parenting Skills: The Single Best Thing Parents Can Do

best relaxing songs

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 big kids.

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

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

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

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Momma, Should You Write? (Or Start a Blog?)

(Inside: Should you start a blog? Should you write? Read my journey of starting a blog and get tips that will help you start writing and blogging with confidence.)

 

 

“I want to be a writer.”

 

I gently rocked my nursing son (middle child) in the middle of the night. That’s the exact moment the writer-thought popped into my head.

 

Which is slightly surprising given that I’m a high school math teacher. Graphing parabolas? Easy-peezy. Word problems? Tell about which direction that train is going and at what speed. But, writing…I mean…being serious about writing? Well, this direction is new. 

 

So here I was – in the narcoleptic-tired mom state, sitting in a rocker crammed in our small townhome’s hallway (the only spot upstairs to nurse with the light on and not disturb my sleeping husband and toddler), with a math degree in my back pocket, making this decision.

 

Life is weird.

 

But life is also full of life-enriching surprises. I’ve loved writing for Empowered Moms and Kids. (I also write at Extravagant Hope). I’ve been published on Huffington Post and Today Parents. Writing also ties well with my side-gig of speaking at moms groups and church groups. (Speaking I always knew I wanted to do.)

 

It’s brought out a creative side I didn’t realize I had, grown my perspective, and stretched me in healthy ways. Writing has helped me connect deeper with people who share openly with me after they’ve read something I’d written. It’s landed me in circles I never thought I’d be in but am a better person because of it. (Like, my writing group!) Writing hasn’t disappointed.

 

What about you? Do you have an inkling in your heart to put words on paper? Your story. Your perspective. Do you want to get it out there? You’re not alone, there’s a whole tribe of women writers who are thriving and there’s room for you at the table. If you’re thinking, “Should I write?” follow my journey and see if writing is for you.

 

**This blog post contains both Amazon affiliate links and course affiliate links.**

 

Take up reading. (If you haven’t already.)

When I rocked my nursing baby at o’dark hundred deciding I wanted to write – I knew it wasn’t going to happen just then. I didn’t have the time (or desire) to maintain a blog, plus I didn’t even know what I wanted to write about. So, I decided my author-starting-place would be with rekindling my love of reading. I figured this was the best way to brush up on grammar, sentence structure, plot, and storyline. (Plus, this would help me stay awake while I nursed in the middle of the night. And in the morning. And in the afternoon. Brain fog..all…the…time…)

 

So, I went to the library and wiped the recommended book table clean. And every chance I got I read, read, read…

 

In it, I stumbled across Jen Hatmaker’s Out of the Spin Cycle and howled! Brilliant and hilarious, I felt like I’d just hung out with a friend who was available at 11 pm. 1 am. 3 am. And again at 5 am. That’s the genre I decided I wanted to write: empowering lessons learned from life.

 

What I’d recommend:
  • Buy the books instead of checking them out from the library so you can underline interesting ways authors string words together, make notes and study writing styles. (But I couldn’t afford that and if you can’t, I get you.)
  • Keep a journal/notebook/app to write down all the interesting ways authors string words together as you read. It gives you a nice place to look at creative ways of wording when you do start to write.

 

 


 

Practice Writing

In the 5 years of reading and deciding my genre (with writing in the back of my mind) and raising 3 small kids, I decided I wanted to start a blog – nothing fancy, just for practice.

So, I  started a free blog on Blogger, simply to post pictures and write a few things for my family to see. Nothing else. No stress. My sister and cousin both maintained a family blog, so we’d check out each others’ pages and comment – I loved it. It reinforced that I like to write.

Next, I was involved in MOPS and they had a small magazine called MomSense. (Now, called Hello Darling.) So, I submitted two articles, one about friendships and the other about exercise. MomSense published both of them. Like, IN PRINT. I couldn’t believe it – it felt like more confirmation to move forward.

I also wrote for the small newsletter our MOPS (Mother of Preschoolers) group printed. It was the Leadership team contributing fun articles, recipes, life-hacks, and making copies in the church office, but still, it felt great. I liked coming up with interesting articles that encouraged our group.

If I were to go back to this phase of practice writing, I’d do some things the same and some things differently.

What I’d recommend:
  • I would take Suzi from Start a Mom Blog’s course on how to start a blog called Blog By Number. It’s a great way to start thinking about where to take your writing, especially if you are not sure, it’s totally worth the investment. You learn:
    • different blog types
    • choosing a blog name
    • ways to make money
    • the technical part of setting up the site.
    • And much more!
  • If you’re all in on this blogging thing, I’d skip the Blog by Number course and buy ALL of Start a Mom Blog’s courses in this VIP Bundle. I absolutely think it’s worth it!
  • Find places to write:
    • Guest post on blogs like Mom Life Happy Life.  To post on Mom Life Happy Life, you need to take this $9 course that teaches you how.
    • Can you write for your mom-group newsletter, somewhere in your job, send out the emails for your kid’s school PTO group?
    • Publish your writing as a post on Facebook. Get a feel for how you liked that and what the reaction was.

 

 

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens HERE. 

 

 

Connect with other writers

In a stroke of luck, I met a mom on my son’s kindergarten field trip who wrote a novel. (Just for fun, it wasn’t published.) She was forming a writing group (read more here) and I was in. We all write completely different genres, but it enriches our group in infinite measure. Once a month, we’d read each other’s work, give honest feedback (even when it was hard!) and cheer each other on.

One of the writers in our group, Dylann Crush, just published her first romance novel. She did it the hard way, submitted her writing to a billion different agents until a New York agent took her (yay!), and then nothing happened.  (More sending out transcripts. We’re a couple of years into this process now.) A California agent took her on board and the rest is history. You can buy her book at Walmart and Barnes & Noble people…it’s cray-cray. Dreams do come true.

What I’d recommend:
  • Find friends who want to start a writing group with you. Even if it’s just one friend, the time away to talk and learn is immeasurably helpful.
  • Sometimes this doesn’t work, don’t be discouraged. Check out some online writing groups – or skip this piece, it’s not a must, but a really nice bonus if it does work out.

 

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

Get serious (Should I write? YES!)

Okay, I’d read, started a practice blog, and had my team in a 5-year span. I knew I wanted to write about so it was time to get serious. I started a free blog called Since I Became a Mom and wrote for another 5 years in it. I experienced success but felt I needed to put some money into learning the “business” aspect of blogging. What a game-changer that was for me.

 

Take some blogging courses. (Totally worth it!)

 

Kelly Holmes from Sticky Blogging Courses:

I love Kelly’s style of teaching. She does all the research for you and gives you the main points you need to apply to your blog. Her courses you will enjoy, even in your busy-no-real-time-for-it life.

Sticky Blogging – This course teaches you how to create content that will keep people coming back to your page. It’s a game-changer. This is the number one course I’d recommend!

SEO Optimization – Everyone hates SEO. (Please, google, just let me write a blog post and you show it to everyone. Okay? Okay. Bye-bye, now.) But, you gotta learn it. Kelly teaches specifically how to make SEO work with your blog. It’s incredibly helpful. She’s offering this now with big bonuses if you sign up ASAP.

Course by Number – Offer courses from your blog.

 

Suzi from Start a Mom Blog Courses:

I really like Suzi, she’s so real. She says things like “Get over being perfect and be real. Hit publish, you can make an impact without being 100% polished.” That girl speaks to my heart. If I had to do it again, I would pay the money for Suzi’s VIP bundle with ALL of her courses. But, since I learned as I went, I bought:

Other amazing courses she offers:

Start your blog right!

Like I mentioned before, I blogged for free on Blogger as Since I Became a Mom for almost 5 years. (If you’re keeping track – 5 years reading/practicing, 5 years writing Since I Became a Mom on Blogger…I’m a decade in now.) The free blog site had limitations and I didn’t like my blog name anymore. After learning so much from the courses, I knew I needed to transfer my blog to a self-hosted WordPress site. (I did lots of research on this, save yourself time and just go with it.)

Here are the steps:

1. Buy a domain name from GoDaddy.com
2. Set up a hosting site that holds your blog with SiteGround. (They have the BEST free live tech support!) Then SiteGround will help you set up your self-hosted WordPress site.

(Again, I would recommend the Blog By Number course. It will save you so much time…and pain.)

 

What I’d recommend:
  • Spend money on some courses – you won’t regret it!
  • Start your blog right – set up a self-hosted Word Press site. You can easily walk away if it’s not for you, but transferring a blog…what a pain!

 

Share

This is the equally fun and hard part. My heart raced the first time I hit “share” on Facebook. I waited for the laughter. (What is the math teacher doing with words?) But, I received the opposite. People showed encouragement and support. So much support! I even got speaking gigs out of blogging. My adventure has been good. No…it’s been great.

What I’d recommend:
  • Set up your social media sites and share on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (I don’t do Snapchat.)
  • Focus on Pinterest. It’s a popular search engine that will keep your blog posts relevant. Sign up for Tailwind to schedule posts and save yourself tons of time!
  • Share, share, share!
  • Then promise me this, don’t worry about likes or numbers – you can’t, it just isn’t worth it. If you enjoy writing, just write and share. The end.

 

I’m way past the nursing babies stage, but I’m never past the dreaming stage. I don’t know where my writing will take me, but it’s all okay – because this writing journey…it’s worth it. And if you’re still wondering if you should write, I say, yes! FOR SURE YES! Writing will enrich your life in ways you’d never expect. I challenge you – share your story too and see where it takes you…

 

Writing will enrich your life in ways you'd never expect. I challenge you - share your story too and see where it takes you... Read on... #writers #bloggers #authors #moms Click To Tweet

 

 

should you start a blog

 

 

Continue to build your confidence to write and share your words through reading the full “Confidence to be You” Series

Confidence to be You Series:
4 Things You Need to Be a Strong, Joy-Filled Mother
How to Silence Negative Automatic Thoughts
Be a More Confident Mom By Exposing These 5 Lies

 

 

No one can tell your story, so tell it yourself. No one can write your story, so write it yourself. (Unknown) Read on... #writers #bloggers #moms #authors #dreamers Click To Tweet

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

The Power of Encouragement: Moms Need It More Than You Know

(Inside: Never underestimate the power of encouragement for moms – all moms need it. Encouragement for busy moms can be found in this sweet story.)

“I was just told my youngest daughter needs to lose weight. By her doctor, of course.”

Sara sighed her disappointment, not realizing her supermom cape had slipped off a shoulder and dangled awkwardly on her left side.

“It just feels like she was born at home plate and her two older sisters were born on second base. They’re both beautiful and amazing dancers. And humans in general. People naturally gravitate to them for friendship. They just easily have it together – they’re in honors classes, leaders in their clubs…

I’m not complaining, really I’m not…

I’m just saying…”

Sara looked away for a minute searching for words.

“My youngest has poor fine motor skills, she’ll never be the dancers her sisters are. She sees an occupational therapist regularly. Oh…and a speech therapist. She always scores low on her academic tests. But that’s not what bothers me the most….what breaks my heart is that she struggles with friendships. She’s hard to be around and her peers know it. They avoid her. She’s rarely invited over to anyone’s house, much less a birthday party.”

Sara raised and lowered her shoulders, “My husband and I are ‘all in’ this parenting thing and love her times a million. She is getting the help she needs. We’re up for it, we’re doing fine…I’m okay…it’s just frustrating.”

(Supermom cape, now on the floor.)

Sara set down her sweet tea like the conversation was final. She clearly needed mom encouragement, but had an air of independence and pride in her posture. A reply from Tiana or me was clearly uninvited.

A few seconds passed, then Tiana – not one to be sappy or over-the-top with encouraging words – said quietly, “You know I’ve always had a soft spot for your youngest daughter.”

I looked up at Tiana trying to read where she was going with this. (Eggshells, Tiana, eggshells!)

Tiana continued, “Your youngest’s story is more challenging than others, I totally agree. But her story doesn’t start and stop in elementary & middle school. Ultimately…she…will…get through!  She’s going to conquer her challenges like the strong woman she’ll grow up to be. Then, I believe that she’s going to do great things with her life. She will be able to reach people in a different way because she WASN’T born on second base. She is going to make an impact – a great one – in this world.  It might not look like you imagined, but it’s going to happen. I’m convinced of it.”

Her words hung in the air.

Finally, Sara whispered, “Thanks for saying that.”

Then we hugged our goodbyes and promised to not let more time go between our get-togethers (as we always do). Sara walked away with her head high, her shoulders back, and what’s that I saw flowing behind her? He superhero cape – she was wearing it (again), but this time like a BOSS.

Sara didn’t just hear Tiana’s words. She believed them.

Connect with your family over being kind to each other. Read more in the description here.

Mommas, we have power inside of us – more than we realize and often taken for granted.  It’s called words. Words that string together wisdom and truth when another person’s negative self-talk has hijacked her brain.

Every day we can use our words for good. Because every mom needs encouragement. And I mean every. single. mom.  From the woman sporting the Gucci bag and well-manicured nails to the new mom with yoga pants perfumed with spit-up. (Because the spit-up fell that far down her clothing.)

Never underestimate the power of encouragement for moms. That story is when I saw it happen in front of my eyes, but research backs how important encouragement is.

When I was reading about encouragement for my teaching job, I couldn’t help but think that these studies also hold true in our at-home-work-place: mom life. For example, Abbas Abedi says,

“People perform at their best when they are inspired and motivated. (Ahem – ENCOURAGEMENT. This is added by me, but I had to!) These people care to do things right and deliver well. Studies show that people are more likely to climb up the corporate ladder or succeed in any venture when they are motivated and inspired. These two elements are proven to bring out the best in people.” 

That’s some good stuff, but I found this next study highlighted by Belle Beth Cooper in her article: Why Positive Encouragement Works Better Than Criticism, According to Science even more powerful:

“The way leaders use positivity when communicating with employees can make a huge impact on their emotional well-being and their performance. I was really surprised how big the impact of these interactions can be. Goleman looked at several ways this can happen in Social Intelligence.”

Belle continues to describe experiments from Goleman’s book
Social Intelligence that show:

  • Bad news delivered with encouragement and a positive attitude, employees rated as a positive interaction. The tone of the delivery was more important than the message itself.
  • Upbeat employers improve the emotional state of employees, efficiency, and ability to coordinate better.
  • Negative interactions are remembered better than positive ones and spread the negativity among other employees.

    And I could go on with quotes on the health and psychological benefits of encouragement, but I’ll stop here and say: We’re not perfect and we’ll never be, but let’s – as much as possible – choose to use our words to help refashion the supermom cape of other women. Because your friends need positive words spoken into their lives often and so do you. I’m so glad I got to hear Taina speak such hope into Sara’s life. I saw Sara’s shoulders pull back, her head raise and her face soften as perspective, confidence, and love poured from Tiana’s heart to hers.

    The power of encouragement.

    Speak it. Then also, surround yourself with people who give it back.

    We all need it more than we know.

    Need visual encouragement. Read more in the description here.

    Need more encouragement for moms? Read more in the series on building your community:

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

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

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

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

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

    Build Your Community Series

    encourgament for moms






    Find more encouragement for moms: join this community of moms raising big kids…

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

    You are parenting tweens and teens.

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

     moms

    encouragement for moms