Do you feel you’ve lost yourself to motherhood?

When I wrote LIFE CREATIVE: INSPIRATION FOR TODAY’S RENAISSANCE MOM, with my dear friend Kelli Stuart, we set out to encourage creative women who feel they’ve lost themselves in this busy season of motherhood – painters and poets, writers and sculptures, actors, home decorators, seamstress’ and business owners, graphic designers, singers and bakers… Sweet friends, I know how deeply discouraging it can be to find yourself in the dark ages of motherhood – having lost touch with all the things you used to enjoy doing – all the things you used to enjoy about yourself!   (photo credit: Ruth Simons)   When moms lose themselves to motherhood, they tend to lose their tempers too. Like they have to fight to be heard.  But I hear you. When the dream come true of motherhood intersects all the other dreams in a woman’s life, it’s common to feel lost for a season. But you’re not lost – and neither are your gifts. God did a wonderful job when He created you in his delightfully creative image… and then gave you children. Though there is much sacrifice in this season, He is still the God who made you cleaver and creative, and cast those dreams into your heart. Think of each talent as a seed lying dormant beneath the earth. When springtime comes again, and it will come, and the sun warms the soil of your life, tender shoots will appear once more. A reawakening – A rebirth – A renaissance.     Until that time, it is our hope that you discover ways to fit pieces of your creative life into the everyday, ordinary moments of motherhood. The birthday...
When your teenager makes you angry

When your teenager makes you angry

Alright my dear friends, I have stepped over the edge of raising little people, into the unchartered waters of teens. Let me start by acknowledging that teenagers can bring a brand new set of triggers. Shoot! TEENAGERS CAN BE TRIGGERS! Strength cased in flesh, pushing for independence, sure they know more than we do and fast to tell us so… Of course, they are also WONDERFUL: interesting, thoughtful, and surprisingly unique. But what’s a mom and dad to do…     Here’s our story: It really began in those pre-teen years for us, when emotions flared (whether sad or angry or overwhelmed) and he turned suddenly to his room and tears flowed. I was thankful then that I had read books and blogs beforehand to prepare me for this sudden shift. Simply knowing it was coming helped prepare me for some of the changes. Not that I had all the answers, but I knew that my battle wasn’t with my emotionally explosive / fragile boy; this battle was to be fought at his side, teenager and parent. He needs me on his team, sometimes even holding his hand, as we walk through this transition into manhood together. As for the most practical advice I can give: When his moods swing and his demands are unrealistic, I remember what it’s like to have hormones shifting and shooting through my own body on a monthly bases. Sometimes I feel (and even act) like a crazy woman! Taking a look at my own hormonal tendencies helps me to parent form a place of grace. Of course, this is what the Christian life is like in all our relationships, inside...
When Mom Needs a Good Cry… CRY OUT!

When Mom Needs a Good Cry… CRY OUT!

I drove clear across town multiple times yesterday, back and forth between homeschooling one and shuttling two. Wednesday’s are long. At day’s end we made it home and I made dinner, then we made our way out into the dark night for youth groups at church. Hours later, when the kids were finally tucked in bed, I turned my attention to the kitchen sink, piled high with dinner dishes, and I felt an old familiar pang. I felt like a victim again.     It’s been a while since I added to our ongoing “You are not a victim, you’re a mom” series. If the term resonates with you on a gut level, you may want to start here at the beginning of our journey out of the pit of a victim mentality and on to the high places of sweet surrender in this sacrificial role of motherhood. Ladies, God did a good job when he made you mom to your specific kids and placed you in your specific set of circumstances. Though the dishes and the laundry and the bills all pile up… your family needs you to keep putting one graceful foot in front of the other. As you plunge your hands into scourging sink water, remember your own hot refining and lean into the heat. When the suds rise up, remember the cleansing God offered 2,000 years ago, once for all. For you and me and our complaining hearts. Lean into the purity that belongs to you, clean and covered. Don’t fall into the mud again, dear mom; the mud of bitterness, of harsh nagging and complaints. I’ve...

Summertime Parenting – parenting right when our kids keep doing wrong

  Before we focus on any one trigger (what they do incessantly that causes us to explode like a midsummer bottle rocket) let’s simply remember what is true: Though they act childish, we’re still the adults. (winter, spring, summer, fall…)   When our kids do wrong, it’s our job to keep parenting right. Click To Tweet   I know this is true, because I get to practice it each and every summer day. You see, there’s still a lot of conflict in my home  between my boys. Sometimes I indulge, feeling like a victim, and respond in exasperated anger, but then I remember… Triggers are merely opportunities to keep doing the good parenting! Even in the summertime. Especially in the summertime, with all that concentrated togetherness. So… who needs to keep doing some good parenting this week? If you’re worn out, halfway through summer, and they’re whining and complaining… you don’t get to. No you don’t. Their whining is simply an invitation for you to keep parenting well. And if they’re fighting with one another and fighting with you? Again, it’s not your job to fight back. You’re the adult. “Let us not grow weary in doing good for in due season (whether winter, spring, summer or fall) we will reap if we do not lose heart!” (Galatians 6:9) Press on in the good parenting. It’s your job! Of course they have a job too… It’s their job to push against your boundaries – begging for more screen time, begging for cookies all afternoon – it’s how they learn to make good choices for themselves on the other side of growing up. It’s...
Summertime Blues – an open letter to summer

Summertime Blues – an open letter to summer

  Dear Summer, You started off strong, with lemonade stands and trips to the zoo. You showed off your stuff with perfect temperatures, plenty of playdates and poolside popsicles. The kids all passed out early, drained from long, fun days. Well done, Summer!  You. Owned. June.   Then along came July, with your soaring temperatures… and my short fuse got lit right about the fourth of July. What happened to this laid-back pool-side mama? What have you done to me? And why can’t I find anyone’s bathing suit bottoms and swim goggles? And why are the children fighting one another and why am I fighting everyone back? And “No you can’t have another popsicle!” Dear, sweet, much anticipated Summer, you’ve got to know what happens to us when you turn it up past 100 degrees, with 98% humidity! The children wake up disgruntled, begging to watch “one more movie” before 8am. The kiddie pool pops from the heat. THE HEAT alone does it! And the house is in a constant state of awful.     Sometimes a messy hot house makes a hot mess out of a mom! #triggersbook http://amzn.to/29PA04M Click To Tweet   And the slip-n-slide has all but killed our grass. My husband dragged it out to the garbage can last Wednesday, with a train of crying kids in his wake. We’re halfway through the summer, but I’m singing The Summertime Blues because it’s only 11am here and they’re all begging for an indoor playground – what with the slip-n-slide in the trash. Honestly, I thought long and hard about the indoor playground idea, but that costs $50 for...
Your Teenager Is Not Crazy – but they may trigger you something awful!

Your Teenager Is Not Crazy – but they may trigger you something awful!

I usually invite my guests to sit with me (figuratively) on that comfy orange couch in my living room, but today’s friend agreed to join me (literally) at a conference, and I was so blessed by her wisdom and fellowship I wanted to bring you into our conversation. Last week, Jerusha Clark and I shared a booth at The Great Homeschool Convention with my book, Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses rubbing shoulders with her most recent release, Your Teenager Is Not Crazy: Understanding Your Teen’s Brain Can Make You a Better Parent. What I learned, as we conversed with moms both separately and together, is that teenagers can be a trigger in their very own category! However, like every trigger that Amber Lia and I address in our book, the more you know about your triggers, the less likely you are to be triggered by them. Same is true for the teen who’s pushing boundaries, talking back, and looking for their growing sense of autonomy and independence there in your home. The more you understand their developing brain, the more grace and help you can offer them as they grow. Welcome, Jerusha!       The Biological Trigger Most Parents Don’t Even Know Exists… by Jerusha Clark   Ever heard of mirror neurons? Neither had I, until I started trying to understand the teenagers living in my house, that is.  Turns out, these tiny brain cells play a major role in parenting anyone from 11-25 years of age.  Yeah, they’re kind of a big deal. God created mirror neurons to help your kids (and you!) learn by...