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parenting go with your gut

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

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

In parenting, go with your gut

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kids need their parents.

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

 

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

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

In parenting, go with your gut. These conversations and more when you join this community of moms raising tweens and teens.

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

You are parenting tweens and teens.

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

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

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

gifts for moms
In parenting, go with your gut – join our community of moms learning to listen to our hearts here.

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

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

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

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


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

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

 

kindness at home

Kindness at Home is Everything, Let’s be a Family that’s Kind to Each Other

(Inside: Kindness at home means the world. We all want to go home to a kind family. A kind family that nurtures and supports. Read on..)

Let’s be a family that’s kind to each other.

A family that looks up from their devices and smiles big when we see the other arrive home.
 
And asks about their day, because even though you don’t always feel like answering, it’s sure nice to be asked.
 
Let’s see – really see – one another every. single. day.

Let’s be a family that’s kind to each other.

When big emotions hit, a family that takes a deep breath and exhales slowly before answering. Who tries to respond instead of react.
 
And when words spew out, pelting across the room instead of controlled, thought-out responding, is quick to apologize. Who takes ownership over their actions.
 
Let’s recognize that we’re each other’s safe place, so we can all hold it together out there and unravel at home. Let’s put hard moments in perspective and freely give grace.

Let’s be a family that’s kind to each other.

Big kids who notice when the parents are juggling all-the-things and are quick to help in the kitchen.
 
Or parents who see their teens studying for the big test so make their lunch for the next day and bring them a glass of water.
 
Let’s be aware, help lighten loads, and try to meet needs.

kindness at home
One of my favorite things to do to create family connection is go out to eat (especially after a busy couple of weeks), and while we wait for food, ask a few of these conversation starters.

Because the world out there is tricky.

Navigating it can be like eating spaghetti with a spoon – messy, partially effective, and just plain hard. So, let’s recognize that small acts of daily kindness send big love through all of our lives.
 
Kind attitudes uplift.
 
Kind words heal.
 
Kind actions revive.

And doing our part matters: if we want to live in a home that is kind, we need to be the type of person who is kind.

Every family member is important. Vital, even. Each must daily show kindness, so we create the kind of nourishing home that we all want to come home to.
 
It won’t be flawless.
 
Perfect families don’t exist.
 
But families who continually come back to kindness do.
 
So, let’s be that.
 
Let’s be a family that’s kind to each other.

Kindness at home matters. We all want to live in a kind home and feel connected to our families. Read more in the Create Family Connection series.

We all want to feel connected to our family. I know, I do. 

One of my favorite things to do with my family is to create family time. Yes, life gets busy, and no I don’t do this all perfectly (who actually does!?!), but it sure is fun to try. 

I hope you enjoy these family connection articles and ideas too…

FAMILY ACTIVITIES
Know Your Child: One Way to Learn How Your Kid Feels Loved
400+ Great Conversation Starters for Families of Teens
7 Powerful Reasons to Pray as a Family

INSPIRATIONAL STORIES
7 Reasons Why Raising Tweens & Teens is the Best
My Big Kids, No Matter How Fast Your Grow, I’ll Always Be Your Mom 
Moms of Big Kids, Get Lost in Motherhood if You Want

kindness at home
Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens here.

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens. We’re working together to create kindness at home…

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 here or below. 

kind family
kindness at home
Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens here.
goodbye to elementary school

Goodbye, Elementary School: Honoring the Past and Moving Forward with Joy

(Inside: Today we are saying goodbye to elementary school. Our family’s been there for over a decade. I can’t believe this day is here. )

Today we’re saying goodbye to elementary school.

Our youngest son is wrapping up 5th grade.

We’re saying goodbye to so many memories.

Captain America backpacks and little shoes climbing on the bus.

Unpacking school supplies into small desks and taking pictures of our kids by the locker with their names on it.

Book fairs, ice cream parties, parent meetings, Bingo night, and family dances.

We’re saying goodbye to sifting through the take-home folders stuffed with stars-stamped-on-top papers.

The baggie books brought home to be read three times each to a family member.

Field trips to the Nature Center, Mill City Museum, a local pumpkin patch, Target Field to see their rainwater recycle system, and Mall of America Nickelodeon Universe.

goodbye to elementary school
In middle school, one of our sons did not want to do his schoolwork, and it became a huge source of tension in the home. I didn’t handle the situation perfectly, but I kept trying and finally figured out how to better communicate with my son to where we both felt things were going smoother. Read more in the description here.

We’re saying goodbye to finding a show-and-tell item to tuck into a brown paper bag.

Signing reading logs, checking daily planners, and listening to them practice their recorders.

The Fun Run and Field Day and outdoor recess.

We’re saying goodbye to their projects, like the Living History Museum where they researched someone famous, dressed up like them, and showed off their information board and iMovie in front of tables in the library.

The cute Mother’s Day crafts like the Time Magazine cover where the mom is drawn with lines for hair and big round circles for glasses, and shaky crayon words spell out “Mother of the Year.”

Coasters with their picture decoupaged onto it, crooked mugs shaped out of clay, cards stamped with a heart-shaped print of their overlapping hands, pictures drawn of the family, and square 1 art magnets of their painted masterpiece.

We’re saying goodbye to the Halloween parade with proud kids walking through the halls, showing off their costumes.

Decorated Valentine’s boxes stuffed with cards and candy.

Class parties with rotations of candy corn bingo, bowling in the hall where you have to hand pick up the pins, snowman fingerprint ornaments crafts, and creative snacks like Oreo worm dirt pudding.

We’re saying goodbye to musical performances called things like “Wild Things Zoo Review” where they sang “Never Polka with a Porcupine” and “Raptor Rap.”

Parent-teacher conferences where we look at all the various art projects hung around the room, and we snap a picture of the crest they created representing all the things their classmates should know about them.

And chatting with other parents as we wait in the lobby for our kids at the end of the day.

But mainly we’re saying goodbye to the most wonderful teachers and the best school community.

I’m all nostalgic over here.

I’m not remembering any of the hard stuff.

Instead, I’m just feeling grateful.

For eleven years in a place that nourished and taught my kids well.

Today, we’re saying goodbye…

Then looking ahead…

To so many more great family memories still left to make in whatever the next chapter might bring.

You’re saying goodbye to elementary school and hello to the big kid years. Be encouraged by the full “raising 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 now parenting them is as well. I could research, write, and talk about this topic until eternity. I hope you are encouraged by some of my articles.


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

COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR TWEEN/TEEN
How to Get Your Teen/Teen to Their “Aha Moment”
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
Moms of Big Kids, Did You See Your Sacred Moments Today?

goodbye elementary school

Join this community of other moms who have said goodbye to elementary school and hello to so many other new wonderful seasons…

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 here or below. 

goodbye to elementary school
goodbye elementary school
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
teen struggle

You Can’t Fix Your Struggling Teen’s Problems, But You Can Do This One Powerful Thing

(Inside: Watching your teen struggle can be so incredibly hard. We often can’t fix their problems anymore, but we can do this one powerful thing.)

One of the hardest things in parenting is watching your teen (or big kid) struggle and feeling helpless.

That’s where my mom was with me when I was in my early 20s.
 
I can’t exactly put my finger on why I was in such a funk. I’d followed the formula (college, then career), and yet there I was in the golden-young-twenty-years feeling lost.
 
Not just lost, panicked. With screeching anxiety. Pounding me every second.
 
Maybe it was that everyone else was getting married and my boyfriend had written a two-sentence letter, put a stamp on it, licked the envelope, and mailed it to break up with me. (Me calling him: “Did you just break up with me in an actual letter?” Dumpster fire moment.) Or maybe it was that everyone else seemed confident in their direction, and I was bouncing between temporary living places and uncertain about my career.

I just couldn’t.

Couldn’t manage my emotions.
 
Couldn’t make decisions.
 
Couldn’t get on top of life.
 
But, my mom…
 
My sweet momma.
 
She invaded my space in the best of ways: she typed up all of her favorite verses about hope, printed them out, and hung them all over my doors, next to my bed, by my mirror – nourishment sprinkled everywhere.
 
Y’all my mom doesn’t even like that kind of crafty stuff.
 
I was overcome.
teen struggle
It’s so hard to watch your teen struggle. If you want to save time and simply download some encouraging scripture verses for teens, click here.

Now, two decades later, I get why that simple gesture meant so much to me – because I better understand pain.

Pain is like a spiderweb of cracks that slices through your life in crazy directions. There isn’t one magic “thing” that instantly heals the mess. Rather, it takes an accumulation of solutions to slowly bind up your wounds. For example, one small slice of crack gets better through taking care of your body (long walks, water, eating well, sleep). Another by connecting with your people (hugs, conversations, petting your dog). A different crevice mends through inputting inspiration (books, podcasts, church, prayer, encouragement). And other slice heals by seeking professional help (doctors, counselors, therapists, medication). Each little step towards self-care stitches small sections of your cracks back together until, over time, you feel healed.
 
Changed and maybe different – but definitely better.
 
During that period, I worked hard at healing and did “all of the above.” But when I look back, what sticks with me the most were the actions of my mom. Her going out of her way to remind me of her constant presence and support through hanging up God’s promises was powerful.

Now, I’m the mom. And I’ve experienced how excruciating it can be to watch my teen struggle.

Often, I can’t often fix their problems anymore.
 
But I remember that the small gestures…
 
A text.
 
A hug.
 
A warm dinner.
 
Words of encouragement.
 
Listening.
 
Or printed out verses plastered everywhere.
 
The tangible ways of reminding our kids that we’re always there for them – they all matter. Parenting will always have its ups and downs, including difficult seasons with unclear solutions. But, in the hard, when we feel helpless…moms, we can encourage. We can choose to operate from a place of hope knowing that being a mom who is always there for her kids has a positive ripple effect.
teen struggle
Download encouragement for your struggling teen.

It’s so hard to watch your teen struggle. Read more for encouraging parenting resources to help…

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.

Parenting Tweens and Teens Series

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
To the Mom Who Mourns That Kids Grow Too Fast

Watching your teen struggle can be so hard: encouraging downloadable printables can be found here.

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens (We’ve all been there watching our teen struggle. You are not alone!)

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