For The Mom Who Wants To Finish Well

for the mom who wants to finish well -

It’s been a rough few weeks at our house.

Jon’s been working very long hours again (spread between his second job and schoolwork), which means that the kids are all mine, all the time. In the middle of that, I got some sort of evil stomach virus that lost me 12 pounds in 4 days (thanks?), all while still being mommy full time. We seem to be in a season of whining and complaining with the four-year-old, and that wears me thin and destroys whatever small sliver of patience I started the day with. The one-year-old is generally happy, but decides every few minutes to do something that could possibly end his life (lick the electrical sockets, climb the bookshelf, nosedive off the couch, etc.), and requires my full attention if I plan to keep him around for a while.

I’ll be honest, and hope you get it & don’t send me hate mail. The last few weeks, I have been tired of being a mom. I have needed a break. But this schedule of ours isn’t letting up anytime soon, and I was starting to feel pretty hopeless about it. (Like, lock myself in the bathroom with the chocolate, hopeless.) I have been weary. So, the TV has been on more, the yelling has been more frequent, and the fun has been nowhere to be found.

A few days ago, a friend and I took our kids to the park & to lunch. The park had a gate around the whole thing (bless the man who thought of this!), so we were able to just sit & chat while the kids ran around freely. Even the baby! It felt like a tiny break. And then we took the four of them to lunch at Panera, which, as you know, was a feat in itself because have you been to a restaurant with a one-year-old? It’s not pretty, or quiet. We juggled sandwiches, caught drinks from spilling, hurriedly attempted to eat our own lunches (why even get these? who knows…), and tried to stay one step ahead of the tornado that was our table.

As we picked ourselves up the best we could, and began to head out of the restaurant, an older lady at the next table over stopped me.

“Are these all your kids?” she asked.

“No,” I laughed and shook my head. Did she not see Amanda? DO I LOOK OLD ENOUGH TO BE AMANDA’S MOM?! “We’ve each got two. These two are mine.” And I pointed to the baby on my hip and the preschooler running around in circles.

“They’re beautiful.” she said. “I miss those days.”

I laughed again and told her that I knew one day I would miss them, but today I was pretty exhausted.

She looked into my eyes and said, “I regret those days. I would do it all differently now. I would spend more time with my kids. I wouldn’t turn the TV on for them as much and tell them to go watch it so I could have a break. I would involve them more, and play more, and be with them more. I regret not doing that.”

The kids intervened just then and my attention was diverted, but I thanked her for the chat and we headed to the car.

Fast forward to yesterday, and I spent the morning putting tiny ponytails all over Emily’s head for Crazy Hair Day at preschool. We were running late again, so I was inevitably hurrying everyone along and probably raising my voice a bit. I wanted to take a picture of Emmy’s hair, but she wanted to take a video. I was irritated because we didn’t have time for a video, but we stopped to take a quick one anyways, where she told us what day it was and spun around to show off her crazy hair. I cut it off and slipped my phone away as we ran down the street to get to school on time.

crazy hair day

On the way home, not so pressed for time, I sent the video to my dad, thinking he’d think her hair was funny. He called me almost immediately, thanked me for the video, and said, “I miss those days.”

“Those days, when you and your brother were little, and your mom would dress you up and plan fun things for you, when you would tell me about everything and always wanted to be with us, those were precious days. Things change too quickly. I miss them.”

Twice, in a few days, two unrelated people have reminded me that this time in my kids’ lives is sacred. It will only happen once. And in a few years, I will miss it.

And I had to stop and ask myself, am I missing it now?

Lately, I have felt like I’m absolutely drowning in motherhood. I’m not getting anything right, I lose my patience before breakfast, I don’t feel like I’m making a difference, there is always talking, all of the time, and I feel like I’m suffocating in the sheer presence of little people. That last part is an introvert thing, I’m sure, but it exists. I feel like I can’t get it right, can’t get them to get it right, and just need a break. But I can’t take a break, because they aren’t self-sufficient yet, so I turn the TV on for them, or I turn my computer on, and I try to escape them even though I’m right next to them.

And here I am, trying to escape my kids, when God brings the gentle reminder that I will miss these days. That these days matter.

I could have listened to the lady at Panera and rolled my eyes. I could have told my dad he was looking at the past with rose-colored glasses. This mothering thing is hard, and sometimes I legitimately could use a break. When you’re not in the thick of it, it might look like fun, but it’s 24/7 exhausting.

I didn’t, though. Because, rose-colored glasses or not, there is a wisdom that comes from experience there, and I’d be wise to listen. To take their advice now, when I still have the ability to enjoy and embrace my kids.  To give them a childhood that is a solid foundation of faith and family.

And so, I pare down my life again. I re-evaluate my priorities again. I cut back on the things that don’t matter as much, so I have energy to focus on the people who do. I remember my mission as a mom, and spend a little more time in prayer, begging God for the strength and the focus to mother well. Because it takes all of my strength and focus.

And this work of motherhood, above all the other dreams I’ve got swirling around my head, is one thing I want to finish well.

For the mom who wants to finish well -

A Few Things I’m Reading That Have Encouraged Me In This Area:

What God Wants For Moms With Young Children | The Better Mom 

Maybe It’s Time To Make An Undo List | Emily Freeman for (in)courage 

You’ve Done Enough This Week | Holley Gerth 

Participate In Grace | Kristin Hill Taylor 

The Important Thing About Yelling | Hands Free Mama

On Celebrating The Everyday | Anna Rendell

The Best Yes | Lysa TerKeurst  

From Good To Grace | Christine Hoover 


Are you weary today? How is motherhood stretching you?

You can find me linking up with Mama Moments, Modest Mom, Tuesday Talk, Homemaking Link Up, Wifey Wednesdays, Works For Me Wednesdays, Frugal Fridays and Family Fun Fridays each week!

Battling Entitlement in My Home (& My Heart)

Battling Entitlement In My Home -

She started crying this morning because I only let her help me pour the milk into her cereal bowl. I poured the cheerios in myself, before she got there. This was, apparently, very upsetting.

And I lost it.

Because before that, she’d already cried about the shirt that was dirty and the hairbow that didn’t match, and I was so tired of the negativity I could hardly stand it.

“Why can you not just be grateful for the things you have, the things you do get to do, instead of always whining and complaining about the things you don’t?!” I raised my voice. I was frustrated. The entitled mentality coming from my preschooler was completely unacceptable to me.

And while I was in the middle of yelling, God got my attention in a way that He hasn’t for a while. Truth. Conviction.

Children repeat what they see.

Is this not the way you approach your own life?

The change needs to start with YOUR HEART, not hers.

I got real quiet, real fast. Because UGH.

In my frustration with the entitlement mentality that I see in my daughter, I realized that I’m the root of this issue.

I do approach my life this way. I throw a fit, be it internally, when things don’t go the way I want them to. I see much of life as the result of the good or bad choices I’ve made. I’ve worked hard to make right choices and do the right thing, so I expect the life I want to have. When that life doesn’t come, despite my alleged “goodness”, I’m pissed off. Offended. Ungrateful.

It’s ugly, isn’t it? I’m not good. Jesus is every bit of good in me. And life is not simply a result of my choices. It’s also got a Master Designer that I don’t always acknowledge. I might not love everything He throws my way, but I can trust that He will work it out, and know that He loves me all the while. I can be grateful. My eyes are being opened to this deeply rooted issue of ungratefulness in my own life. I didn’t see it in myself, until I saw it fleshed out in my kid. And, having seen it, I desperately want a change. I want to approach my life less entitled and more grateful.

My life might not be what I wanted it to be, and it is definitely not what I planned, but it is a good life, and I can be grateful.

I can’t have any more kids, but I’ve got two beautiful ones and I can be grateful.

My marriage is hard, and we fight a lot, but we are both committed to Jesus and each other, and I can be grateful.

I don’t have a mom anymore, or live close enough to family to have any sort of access to babysitters, or sanity, but I do have a family who loves me, and people I can count on when I need them, and I can be grateful.

My best friends may all live hours away, but there’s this amazing thing called THE PHONE that allows me to talk to many of them every week, and I can be grateful.

I’m not “thin & gorgeous” by any means, but I’m learning to love exercise, and figuring out how to eat right, and I am able to do both of those things, and I can be grateful.

We can’t take all the trips or buy the new car or go out to eat whenever we want, but we are fighting our way out of debt and we have enough to live in our house, keep me home with the kids, and eat healthy food, and I can be grateful.

I continually struggle with depression, but I have access to a few things that actually help do me, and a husband who is dedicated to meeting my needs in this area, and I can be grateful.

The truth is, I’ve often lived my life focused on the proverbial cheerios I didn’t get to pour. I have been perpetually grumpy about the gap between what I wanted and what I got. I have (wrongly) felt entitled to more, or different, and missed much of the beauty in my reality. That’s not the legacy I want to leave for my kids. It’s not the relationship I want to have with them, or with my husband, or with God! I want to see the blessings, to live grateful for the glass that is half full.

I want my home to be filled with love and compassion and joy. I want to battle entitlement and encourage generosity. I want kids who are genuinely grateful for what they have, and see the blessings in what they are given.

But if I want my kids to have genuinely grateful hearts, I have to model a genuinely grateful heart. And if I want a genuinely grateful heart, I have to ask Jesus to change it. To help me see my own life differently. To open my eyes to the gap between what I deserve and what I’ve been given. Because that, right there, is the gap that changes everything.

This is my prayer these days. That my own heart would change. Because if I want my kids to practice gratefulness, I’ve gotta do it first.

Battling Entitlement In My Home -

How do you battle entitlement in your own home? How do you encourage and model gratefulness?

You can find me linking up with Mama Moments, Modest Mom, Tuesday Talk, Homemaking Link Up, Wifey Wednesdays, Works For Me Wednesdays, Frugal Fridays and Family Fun Fridays each week!

Why We’ve Chosen dōTERRA Essential Oils

why we chose dōTERRA (and couldn't be happier!) -

I get this question at least once a day – “There are so many oil companies out there, it’s confusing. Why did you decide to go with dōTERRA?” And I either say or type out exactly what I’m about to tell you here. Many times a week. So, for the sake of convenience, let’s have it all out in one post that both you and I can point people to! There ARE a lot of oil companies out there. Two {Read More}

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For When Your Discipline Isn’t Working

For when your discipline just isn't working -

I picked her up and put her in front of me, held her hands and looked into her eyes, and I felt the yell coming. She did too, I could see it in her face. So I took a deep breath. I shot up a quick prayer for sanity and patience and the right words. And they came. (Like a miracle, because the yell was seriously right there.) “Emmy, it seems like you’re having a hard time today. You’re disobeying {Read More}

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The 3 Things You Need To Know About The Essential Oil Wars


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The Thing About Loss

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There’s a woman who lives a few houses down from us. She’s a sweet lady, in her 50’s or 60’s. She’s on the shorter side, with a kind face and blonde hair. A few days a week, she watches her grandkids. A girl who is a few years older than Emily, and a boy who is right around Nathan’s age. She brought the granddaughter around the block to sell girl scout cookies a few weeks ago. This morning, I saw {Read More}

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Free Mealtime Prayer Cards

FREE Mealtime Prayer Cards!

On a trip to my sister-in-law’s house, I was inspired by just how many different prayers their kids recited at mealtime! They loved these little prayers, and were able to say them from memory. Their minds were focused on gratefulness, and their hearts were directed at the One who provides for all of us. I absolutely loved this practice. Probably like you, I’m always on the hunt for resources that will make it simple to incorporate faith into our days {Read More}

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More Than A Mom

More Than A Mom -

“Before I had kids, I had a plan. I knew what I wanted to do with my life, who I wanted to be. Now… life looks a whole lot different than I thought it would, the plan has been blown to pieces and I’m just not sure about anything anymore.” Motherhood, it seems, has rewritten my plan, without my consent. Some days, the dreams of my twenties seem lightyears away. The very accomplished teacher I’d become, the 4 perfect kids I’d {Read More}

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4 Fun & Romantic Dinners On A Budget

4 Fun & Romantic Dinners On A Budget -

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How to Keep the Romance Alive When You’re Raising Little Ones

How To Keep The Romance Alive When You're Raising Littles -

This post isn’t for the kids, my friends! And Dad, I love that you read my blog every day, but this post isn’t for you either, so go read something else pretty please.  Valentine’s Day is coming up, and I’d guess that if we asked you and your spouse what you’d most like as a gift, we’d hear a pretty similar response across the genders. Women: “A nap. A day at the spa. A nap. Quiet for 5 minutes. Did {Read More}

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