Top 10 Things I Would Tell Momma’s of All Ages and Stages

My motley crew from a couple years ago. Yes. We are Buckeye fans!

#1. Grace and Mercy need to be your very best friends the moment a + appears on the stick because I’m positive you’ll need them. Parenting is not for the faint of heart or the weak willed. Your kiddos will mess up. So will you. 

Apparently practice makes perfect because parenting gives you lots of it. Just when you think you’ve survived one stage, you wake up to find them in the next one. And the learning curve starts all over again. It’s okay. Grace and Mercy with a little forgiveness thrown in makes for great parenting skills. 

Grace and mercy are equally needed for the toddler who won’t let you pee by yourself as well as for the pimply-faced teenager who doesn’t acknowledge ever having had parents. 

#2. Do what works for your family. Stay-at-home? Work from home? Work outside the home? Breast or bottle? Homeschool or public school?  How will we discipline? So many decisions to make and everyone has an opinion about what you should do.

I’ve worked outside the home because I needed to financially but also because I wanted to at times. We homeschooled for a couple of years but mostly it’s been public school for our kids. While it’s good to seek advice from people who are ahead of you in this parenting thing, at the end of the day these are your people you’ve been given to protect, nurture and love. Trust that God gave them to you knowing you will do your best to do what’s best for them. 

#3. Stop comparing yourself to others. Period. It’s the sucker of joy and maker of exhaustion. We are all uniquely designed with different personalities and quirks, needs and wants, capabilities and limits, talents and gifts, and energy levels depending on the season we’re in. 

I know you may think organic is best but you can trust the Gorton fisherman every now and again and still be a good Mom. It’s okay if the last thing you want to do is crafts with your toddler. It’s okay if it’s the thing you love to do most. 

It’s okay if dragging three littles to a play date is like nails on a chalkboard. And it’s perfectly fine if that’s what works for you. If you think your teenager should work or if you think their job is to concentrate on school then great! Do what works for you and your family. 

#4. Disconnect from Social Media every once in a while. Please. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest…oh my word…so many opportunities for us to see just how very badly we’re failing. Often times I catch myself scrolling through everyone else’s perfect lives during a season of hard or lonely. Maybe you do too. I also find that during those times, I need to put my phone down and walk away for a bit.

Allowing yourself to disconnect from everyone else’s virtual reality let’s you live in the moment of your own. You can enjoy your family without comparing them to someone else’s. (re-read #3 above) A digital rest resets the wiring in your brain bringing with it gratitude, contentment and peace. 

#5. Have a support system in place. This can be a big group like MOPS or my church does a Mom’s group every Wednesday where the Mom’s of younger kiddos get together and learn from each other and a mentor Mom. They have play dates with the kids and nights where they get together without them. 

Maybe a bigger group isn’t your thing. I have a small group of women that I adore. We get together to laugh, cry, catch-up and check in on how the other is doing. It’s pretty laid back and just what I need for support. 

We were designed for connection. We need to know we’re not alone. So whatever that looks like for you, reach out and find your people. 

#6. Connect with nature. Go outside, soak up some sun, walk in the grass barefoot, look up at the stars, notice the moon, watch a sunrise or sunset, breathe in deeply, take a hike in the woods, dig in the dirt, rake leaves, look for wildflowers, skip rocks in a pond…do something outside. 

It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit. (Robert Louis Stevenson)

I think Robert was on to something. Connecting with creation connects us with the Creator. Connecting with the Creator refreshes, renews and rejuvenates. Try it.

#7. Connect with God. This doesn’t have to be set in stone. My time with the Lord looks way different in my 50’s with one teenage kid at home then it did in my 20’s and 30’s when I had five at home and was working. Our time with Him is more than a checklist, a study or specific amount of time.

Our prayer life can be anytime, anywhere. And yes, please Lord, don’t let me snatch them baldheaded today is considered prayer. As is dear God, help me! It’s not always on your knees, in reverence. Sometimes it’s in your car, in the thick of it. 

Connecting with God can simply be being aware of Him, watching for Him, feeling His presence, thanking Him throughout your day, having a still moment of peace because of Him, see #6 above, reading a verse in the morning and pondering it the rest of the day. 

#8. Find a rhythm for rest. God created the entire universe in six days, the seventh day He rested, not because He needed it but because we do. It’s His gift to us. What’s your rhythm?

Is it taking a nap? Do it! No guilt. No shame. Those dishes and dust bunnies will be there when you wake up or next week or when your kids are grown and gone. Take the time to take a siesta. 

Maybe napping isn’t your thing. What if you allowed yourself time when the kiddos are napping or after bedtime to indulge a little? Take bath with candles lit and your favorite book. Grab yourself a cup of coffee or tea and look through a magazine. Curl up on the couch with your favorite blanket and book. Sit outside in the sun and do absolutely nothing! Eat chocolate or ice cream all by yourself…no sharing with anyone and completely out in the open. No closet dessert for you! (Gasp!!) 

Find a rhythm that works for you, and then do it. 

#9. Know you are not forgotten. I wrote a post a while ago to encourage you who are doing the mundane, the everyday, the simple acts that nobody sees or seems to care about. It’s to cheer for those who wonder if what they do day to day really matters. You’ve wiped noses and butts and feel stuck in a rut. Picked up toys and are tired of noise. You can’t answer another why or hear another cry. You show up to work all grown up covered in boogers and throw up. 

God sees you. 

God used a lunch packed with love, an ordinary, everyday task to feed hungry souls for His kingdom work. The same God that made a miracle from the meager will use you too! 

In the middle of messy.

In the middle of mundane.

He makes miracles happen.

You are not forgotten. (Click here for the full post.)

#10. Your efforts are not in vain! The first time my oldest came home from college he gave me a big bear hug and proceeded to thank me through out the whole weekend. Everything I made to eat was the best he’d ever tasted. His sheets smelled wonderful. The house looked extra clean. Thank you for doing my laundry. Thank you for giving me an extra $20. It didn’t stop. 

Kid number four is now in her junior year of college, first year in an apartment. She sent me this text just a few days ago: 

What you’re doing today is important work. I know it’s hard when you walk in to a Picasso of poop on the wall. Or when your surly teenager won’t leave his room and has the vocabulary limitation of fine. Keep going. It matters. You’ve got this! 

kw

Monday’s Grace: A Prayer for Momma’s of Littles, Teens and the In-Betweens

God reminding me of his very presence through a sunset behind my house.

From Psalm 61:1-3 (CSB)

God, hear my cry; pay attention to my prayer. 

Remind me Lord that I am heard and listened to. I am seen. I am loved. I am known. I am yours. 

I call to you from the ends of the earth…

or the bottom of a mountain of laundry or in the pick-up line at school or in the middle of another sleepless night because the baby is crying or while waiting for my new driver to get home and he’s late or while I’m at work feeling guilty about not being home or while I’m at home feeling guilty for not helping financially or the many places my mind goes. It may not be the ends of the Earth but certainly some days from my wit’s end. I call to you Lord…

…when my heart is without strength. 

Because being a Mom is the most exhausting, exhilarating, gut-wrenching, joyful work with all the feels there is. My heart overflows with love and laughter one minute and is broken the next. It’s a roller coaster of hormones and a labyrinth of emotions. 

I confess to you I am weak and tired. Renew my strength for this day. Not tomorrow or next week. But today.

Lead me to a rock that is high above me, for you have been a refuge for me, a strong tower in the face of the enemy.

Help me to remember, Lord, that YOU are my strength on which I can lean, a rock on which I can stand when I feel wobbly, a place to go when I don’t know what to do or am at wit’s end, a safety net I can fall into. 

The enemy wants nothing more than for me: to be worn out and weary which leads to poor decisions, to compare my circumstances with others and be disappointed, to be so busy that I can’t find a moment’s peace, to wonder in the midst of it all if you care.

Bind the enemy, Lord.

Help me to remember to stay connected to you, to look to you, to listen for you, to cry out to you. Show yourself in small ways, Father, as I go about my day-to-day. I’ll be watching for you as you watch over me. 

In Jesus Name

kw

Coming soon: 10 Reminders for Momma’s

3 Things You Can Do When Life Keeps Happening

Let us not grow tired of doing good…(Galatians 6:9CSB)

But what if I do? What if I am? 

Life doesn’t always happen tsunami style. You know, one big catastrophic event that knocks the feet right out from under you. With tsunami’s, people expect you to take some time to recover. To take a moment to breathe. Seek rest, wisdom and solace. 

Sometimes life sends wave after wave, not all of them bad but even good things can leave you a bit off balanced. For example we finished our basement, a wonderful, exciting thing but having someone in your house hammering away for nine weeks can be a bit unnerving. 

Add to that some health things with my kids, starting a bigger-than-we’ve-ever-grown garden, my middle daughter and her family moved in for a few weeks as they transitioned to Wright Patt, one kid started his sophomore year of high school and one moved home for the summer then moved into her first college apartment. 

Did I mention our hot water heater began leaking (in our newly finished basement) and needed replaced? Oh and all the cars had something happen to them that needed fixing beyond what my man was able to do….cha-ching!

All the while, “normal” life goes on…my man still travels all the time, and there’s groceries, cooking, baking, cleaning, mowing, weeding and laundry because we need to eat and not go out in public naked. 

Wave after wave….keeps you struggling for balance, trying to catch your breath, nothing catastrophic but the salt in the wound still stings. 

Maybe you’ve had seasons like that too? Maybe you’re in one. What can you do? Here are three things I did (and do) to keep my head above the waves so I could breathe: 

1.) Get rid of the guilt. 

I have a handful of friends who are reeling from recent tsunamis. Devastating cancer diagnosis. Death of a child. A divorce from the blindside. All horrific things. So every time another wave would come, I would feel guilty for being tired, stressed and overwhelmed because none of my waves measured up to what they were going through. 

It is true that there is always someone going through more than you. That doesn’t negate what you are experiencing. Nor the need for self-care. It’s okay to ask for help, take something off your plate for a season, say no, rest, realize you can’t keep going when you can’t see for the salt water in your eyes. You need to…

2.) Recognize Your Limits

Tired writers write tired. And I was. I love to write. It’s a way I process things. But I was putting undue pressure on myself to perform. I have no real deadlines (for now 🙂 except for those I create to keep me on track. I was talking to my English professor daughter about struggling to be creative and that I felt like I sounded grumpy…not the message I want to convey. She reminded me of all that I had going on and how that can affect creativity. That’s her quote above.  I needed to take that off my plate for a short while so I could catch my breath.

If you’re in a wave-after-wave season, what can you let go of? It won’t be for forever…just long enough for the waves to settle and balance to return. Recognize your limits, stop telling yourself you should or shouldn’t do this or that, offer yourself grace. Period.

3.) A Rhythm of Routine 

There are some things that were non-negotiable for me during this particular wave-after-wave season (or ever really). 

Bible study, prayer and being still.Every morning I spent a bit of time to work through a Bible study (No Other Gods by Kelly Minter), pray and simply be still. It’s where my help and strength comes from. I can’t explain it. I just know it soothes a searching soul. 

Hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek. (Psalm 27:7-8 NIV)

Gratitude. I wrote down three things in my journal that I was grateful for every day. Lest I sound super spiritual or whatever…some days were a stretch, some days I had to ask the Lord to show me because I sure couldn’t think of anything. And He did. 

It is not joy that makes us grateful. It is gratitude that makes us joyful. (Ann Voskamp)

Sing praise songs. This is, in part, how I fight my battle. King Jehoshaphat was preparing for this huge battle that was on the horizon. He did three things: Sought the Lord for wisdom (2Chronicles 20:3), prayed a prayer of gratitude for who God was and what he could do (2Chronicles 20:6-12) and he sent the singers out ahead of the soldiers…wait….what? 

Then he consulted with the people and appointed some to sing for the Lord and some to praise the splendor of his holiness. When they went out in front of the armed forces, they kept singing: Give thanks to the Lord, for his faithful love endures forever. (2Chronicles 20:21CSB bold is mine)

And guess what happened to that vast army that came against the Israelites. 

they were defeated. (2Chronicles 20:22)  

There’s something to be said about singing praises to the Lord in the presence of one’s enemy. 

It’s not easy when life keeps knocking you down. But we can rest easy in this: when the wounds still sting from the salt water of wave after wave we can be assured of the balm of grace upon grace. (John 1:16)

Hallelujah and amen. 

You can do this. Keep seeking His face, stay thankful and belt out those hymns of praise like you’ve won the battle. Because we have! 

kw

Read Monday’s Grace: A Prayer for the Worn Out and Overwhelmed here.

Monday’s Grace: A Prayer for the Worn Out and Overwhelmed

A foggy morning on the OBX before the sun rises.

You tell us to come to You if we’re tired and carry burdens beyond our ability to bear. So here we are, bowing before you, letting you know that we have indeed grown tired of doing good. (Galatians 6:9) 

So what now?

We confess to You that our schedules are overbooked and our souls are underwhelmed. 

We confess to You that we’re exhausted both physically and emotionally. And dare we say spiritually as well. 

We confess to You that it feels like the next thing that breaks may be the thing that breaks us. 

We confess to You that life has become a series of one foot in front of the other, simply getting through the day. No peace. No joy. 

We confess to You that a busy day has turned into busy weeks and here we are months later wondering why we’re feeling depleted and defeated. 

We confess to You that somewhere along the way we buried you under the busy. That we lost site of you somewhere between the loads of laundry and running from one thing to the next.

So what now, Lord? 

Come to Me…here we are, schedules in hand, hearts laid out, weary souls at your feet. 

Take up My yoke…we admit that the enemy sure makes this sound even more burdensome but we will trust You, Jesus, when you tell us that your yoke is easy and your burden is light. Show us what this looks like in the practicality of our days so we can find rest for our souls…just as You say.

Learn from Me…help us to be ever aware of Your teaching, of Your nearness, of Your very presence. Teach us Jesus how to be connected to You in such a way that come what may, there is peace. 

Just a few minutes later of the same morning on the OBX.

Remind us Lord that we are not the sum of what we do but Whose we are. Help us to stop in our busyness and notice You in the small ways You show yourself. Help us Lord to find sacred in the simple.  

Amen and amen.

(Here is the post that goes along with this prayer: https://kimwrights.com/2019/09/19/3-things-you-can-do-when-life-keeps-happening/