There’s no better way to spend fun time with your kids and celebrate the holidays than to do some fun and adorable crafts. And this Easter these cute craft ideas will be fun for everyone.
I can never get enough adorable little chicks, bunnies, and egg crafts. I also can’t leave out crafts that teach the real reason for Easter – the resurrection of Jesus Christ so I’ve included a bunch of religious themed Easter crafts too!
Here’s a list of some common supplies you’ll need:
The postpartum period a woman endures after giving birth is almost as traumatic as the birth itself. Sorry to say, but it’s true for most women.
There are things that happened after giving birth that I never expected until I was there in the hospital watching them happen. I remember feeling hurt and confused (physically and emotionally) because no matter how much googling I did on labor and childbirth… I wasn’t prepared.
That’s why I’m writing this post… so you’ll be ready. And you won’t have to feel mad at all your other mom friends who didn’t have the heart to tell you.
Let me warn you, if you’re squeamish be prepared now. Childbirth isn’t pretty… it’s actually downright disgusting. I mean, the circle of life part is beautiful but everything else is gross.
Surprising Things That Happen After Giving Birth
I’m simply going to go down the list of what’s mostly likely or could happen to you in the order that it’s most likely to happen.
Every woman’s body is different and I’m sure there have been new moms and will be one’s that don’t experience each of these lovely experiences. Just be ready and know that you’re not alone, even if it feels like you are because no one ever seems to want to talk about them.
You Give Birth a Second Time
If you have a vaginal delivery, after you finally push that giant (no matter their actual size!) baby out of you, you’ll quickly realize that your labor experience isn’t over.
While you’re still all tears and joy holding your new baby on your chest and thanking God it’s all over, you’re told it’s time to deliver the placenta. The wha-what?
I felt shocked and a little dumb that I didn’t know this and so I had to give a couple very small pushes to help deliver the placenta. Yikes.
After it’s delivered the doctor will fully examine it (I recommend you go back to staring at your baby now) to be sure it’s completely in tact.
There’s a small chance if the placenta isn’t delivered intact that the mom could be in danger of hemorrhage or infection.
It’s Time for the Stitches
If you’re like me and most women who deliver their babies vaginally, you’ll probably need stitches from tearing your perineum while pushing. Ouch! I know, the thought makes you cringe.
Honestly, I did not earn my batch of courage for not tearing in childbirth and have to say it is certainly not the worst part of giving birth. My first birth experience was pretty traumatic, so this wasn’t even on my radar.
So getting stitched up is par for the course and it’s pretty quick and I don’t remember any pain during the procedure. If you’d like to minimize your chances of tearing read this for some great tips.
I never, ever imagined how much blood would be coming out of my body right away and in the days after giving birth. As a woman who’s experienced a rather heavy period every month for years and years before having kids, I assumed it would be a similar experience.
In fact, I really didn’t even know that I was supposed to be bleeding like the heaviest period I’d ever had in my life! I was shocked when I was given these giant mesh panties because I had no idea what was coming. You’ll love to use these ones instead!
I literally was afraid that I was hemoraiging all the time. I knew this was a possibiliy but wasn’t the case. However, these are the hidden signs you might be hemorraging after birth. This is very serious and a close friend of mine almost died from a postpartum hemmorage.
In a normal postpartum experience, the bleeding is very heavy at first and will begin to taper off each day until you are discharged. The full course of the bleeding will most likely continue up to a few weeks. If your bleeding suddenly becomes much heavier or bright red, seek medical attention right away.
It’s Time for a Very Unpleasant Massage
I think we’d all agree that a relaxing massage after giving birth is a great idea, but that’s sadly not the kind of massage you’ll get! A nurse will, at some point early after giving birth, will come in your room to give you a fundal massage.
This is where your nurse will push and press on your uterus to encourage it to contract fully the way it’s supposed to. This helps along the uterus in it’snatural process of contracting back into it’s pre-baby size. That’s not a bad thing at all!
It also helps to reduce exessive blood loss too. And as we said, you’re already losing enough! The only drawback here it that you’re contracting… as in contractions. It really doesn’t feel great, but you get the gist.
Your Baby Needs to Eat Too
Whether you decide to do the breast crawl, try to breastfeed your baby right after the nurse lays her on your chest, or wait a bit after her bath. That part is your choice and also based on whether those things are even possible due to complications.
In any case, your baby will need to eat! That means while you’re knee-deep in all this birth-chaos, you have a hungry baby to feed. Breastfeeding your new baby is extremely challenging for most new moms. I know it was for me!
My biggest tip is to ask for help from the resident lactation consultant. They are usually so, so helpful and can get you and your new baby off to a great start with breastfeeding. Do NOT suffer alone if you are having problems.
Also, know that your breastmilk doesn’t come in right away, and what your baby will be drinking following birth is actually colostrum. This is a thinker and extremely nutrient dense milk that your baby needs to help them grow strong and healthy. Your breastmilk will actually come in after a few days postpartum.
The Cramps, Oh the Cramps
Not only are you bleeding like you’re on the biggest period of your life, you will be cramping like it too! It sucks and taking Ibuprofen is safe even if you’re breastfeeding.
Just like with your period, the cramps will ease as the bleeding does so you have to let things run it’s course.
Cuddling that sweet baby honestly does seem to work like a natural pain reliever though! Or at least that’s how I remember it.
It’s Like Potty Training All Over Again
After you give birth you all of a sudden become deathly afraid of both your first pee and first poo after birth for obvious reasons.
As a result of fearing to pee many new moms secretly reduce their water intake. Do NOT do this! It makes your pee more concentrated causing it to sting more. Ouch! It can also encourage constipation which you do not want right now!!
Using a peri-bottle to spray warm water down there as you pee is very, very helpful. This peri-bottle is way better than the one they give you at the hospital!
As for having your first postpartum BM, you’ll need to do it as your ticket to going home. Make sure to take your stool softener as directed by your doctor which sure helps things along.
The key is to reduce your anxiety and take it slow… very slow.
If you’ve developed hemorrhoids from pushing, you can use a topical cream like this one. It helps to reduce the swelling and pain from that area and make it easier for you to go.
Get Ready to Sweat
With your body retaining so much fluid during your entire pregnancy, your body needs to release that fluid somehow. And since you won’t lose it all during childbirth, much of that fluid will come out in night sweats.
I remember waking up that first night with a soaking wet gown. I didn’t understand what was happening at the time, but now I know it’s all part of the magic of birth.
It could take up to 8 weeks for your body’s fluid levels to get back to normal.
Belly Be NOT Gone!
Finally, one of the most disappointing and shocking parts to my first birth experience is the fact that when you leave the hospital, you basically still look pregnant! Seriously?
I was very thin my first pregnancy and not a soul told me to be prepared to walk out of the hospital looking like I did when I walked in. This really was heartbreaking for me because I bought a new “going home outfit” for myself which was a pair of size small pink sweatpants and a slim tank top.
I know, I know weird choice but that was almost 13 years ago and I was in my twenties. I literally looked terrible and even split a hole in my pants putting them on! Talk about emotional scarring.
My best advice is to bring clothes that are very soft, stretchy, and comfortable. Trust me, the last thing on your to-do list after giving birth is looking stylish.
The postpartum period is very painful, stressful, and exhausting for mothers. Don’t try to go faster than your body will allow. Take it slow and give yourself the grace and time to recover completely.
And make your total focus adjusting to motherhood and loving that precious new gift!
No matter how naturally talkative your child is, it seems the older they get the less they share… with their parents, that is. It used to be that every day was an adventure they couldn’t wait to tell you all about when they got jumped in the car after school.
But now, you’re met with the all-encompassing “good” when asked how their day was. The problem isn’t with your child and their ability to pour their heart out to you or their lack of desire to share. It’s all about the questions being asked.
Asking the right questions is one of the most powerful positive parenting tools we have as moms. In fact, if we spent more time asking questions instead of lecturing and telling our kids how they need to think and behave we’d learn so much about our kids.
Kids, and especially teenagers, require you to find the combination of words asked in just the right way to get your kids to open up and share their heart. It’s sometimes like completing a riddle at the end of a level in a video game.
I’m not sure why this is the case, but it seems to be so for most parents. And if it isn’t, you’ve probably already cracked the code!
Here are some fun questions to get to know your kids at different times of the day. For example, after school, after they attend a party or sleepover or a play date, after church service, and just plain fun questions to ask anytime to get the conversation flowing and get to know your child’s heart!
You’d be surprised how many things can happen in a day and our children don’t always know how to communicate their fears, their victories, and their questions. That’s why these questions are super helpful!
I’ve categorized them in sections so you can easily refer to them again and again!
You’ll be surprised how easily these questions will get the conversation going and how quickly you’ll get to know your growing child. Have fun!
Questions to Ask Your Kids About School
1. What was the funniest part of your day?
2. What was something you did today that made you feel brave?
3. What was something that happened today that made you feel scared or alone?
4. How did you help someone today?
5. Tell me one thing that made you feel smart?
6. What new fact did you learn today?
7. What challenged you at school today?
8. If you could be the teacher tomorrow, how would you do things?
9. Does anyone in your class have a hard time following the rules?
10. How does that make you feel?
11. Who do you want to make friends with that you haven’t already?
12. What subject is the hardest for you?
13. What subject is the easiest for you?
14. If you could stop doing anything in your school day, what would it be?
15. If you could add anything to your school day, what would it be?
16. Are there times in your when you feel left out?
17. Do you ever feel like someone at school is a bully to you or anyone else?
18. What is the most popular thing to do at recess?
19. How would you rate your day on a scale of 1 to 10? Why?
20. If anyone in the world could be your teacher for a day who would it be?
Questions to Ask Your Kids After a Play Date
21. What was the most fun thing you did at the party/sleepover/play date?
22. What was something you did that was helpful?
23. What did you eat for lunch/lunch/snack?
24. If there were ever a zombie apocalypse, which one of your friends would survive?
25. What was the funniest thing that happened?
26. Was there ever a time when you felt afraid or alone?
27. Did anyone upset you? How?
28. If you could have your own party, who would you invite?
29. Were they kids at the party who you aren’t friends with?
30. Did you meet a new friend?
Questions to Ask Your Kids After Church Service
31. What was the silliest thing that happened at church?
32. Was there anyone who came to service for the first time?
33. How did you make that person feel welcome?
34. What was something you learned for the first time?
35. Do you remember the memory verse, and what does it mean to you?
36. Did you make a new friend today? What was their name?
37. If you could teach your service next Sunday, how would you do it?
38. What will you do differently after today?
39. What’s one thing I can help you remember or talk more about this week?
40. What’s one thing that made sense to you today about God/bible/church?
Questions to Ask Kids to Get to Know Them
41. If you could create a new planet what would you name it, and what would it be like?
42. If you could change your name, what would you name yourself? Why?
43. If you were given a million dollars and had to spend it all in one week, what would you buy?
44. What’s your favorite thing to daydream about?
45. What’s your biggest dream that you wish would come true?
46. What have your friends been up to lately?
47. How do you show people you care about them?
48. What does it mean to show love?
49. What is one place you want to travel to one day?
50. If you could change anything about your family what would it be?
51. If you could change anything about your life what would it be?
52. If you could change any of rules of this world which ones would you change?
53. Where would you want to go on vacation if we could leave right now?
54. If you could create a new Crayola color, what would if look like and what would you name it?
55. What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
56. If you had your own motto, what would it be?
57. If you could have dinner with anyone who would it be?
58. If you could go on vacation anywhere, where would you go?
59. If you could live on your own private island but could only take 5 things, what would they be?
60. Describe the house you want to live in when you’re a grown-up.
Do you have some favorite questions to ask your kids to get them to open up? Please share them in the comments below!
I firmly believe that God intended for a full nine months for babies to grow to full term before birth. It could have just as easily been three or even six months, but moms need a full nine months to fully prepare for what’s coming… a little human.
A precious little human that will be totally dependent on its parents for every single thing they need! A newborn’s first few days and months can be extremely overwhelming for new parents.
This is the case for newborns that don’t have any issues or challenges but for moms with babies that have conditions like colic or reflux it can be downright scary.
My son had severe reflux and later suffered from obstructive sleep apnea that required surgery. I remember the sleepless nights all too well.
If you’re a first time mom who is exhausted and anxious that you might make a mistake along the way, take a breath and know that you will. I know you probably weren’t expecting that answer but it’s true. All parents make mistakes!
These are the best newborn tips for new moms that will give you more confidence in your newest motherhood journey! These are the perfect newborn tips for tired new moms from some amazing mothers and I wanted to share them with you.
Getting your newborn on some level of a sleep schedule can be challenging even for seasoned parents. However, the first step to getting your new baby to sleep through the night is avoiding day-night confusion. Here’s Rachel’s tip from A Mom Far From Home:
The best way to establish day night rituals is to be consistent. During the day you’ll want to make sure your baby is awake to feed, then purposefully try to avoid fully feeding them to sleep.
The Best Way to Dress Your Newborn in the Cold Months
One of the most frustrating things for new moms is trying to dress their tiny newborn in the winter months. And when it’s time to leave the house, it can be totally exhausting. The trick is using layers to keep your baby warm and cozy while still being able to get them into their carseat safely. JD from Semi-Delicate Balance gives her best hack:
You can’t put thick jackets or chunky sweaters on your baby and then put the car seatbelt over them. It’s best to put them in a long sleeve or a thinner jacket. Then just turn the thick jacket around, and then slip it over their arms.
It’s a known fact that most newborns loved to be swaddled as it mimics the constant cradling they experienced every moment of their time in the womb. Some babies don’t need to be swaddled or don’t even like it. If that’s the case, don’t bother. If they do, here’s a tip for swaddling your baby safely from Uplifting Mayhem:
For the healthy development of the hips, babies’ legs need to be able to bend up and out at the hips. Swaddling for short periods of time is likely fine, but if your baby is going to spend a significant amount of the day and night swaddled, consider using a swaddling sleep sack that lets the legs move.
I’m not sure if this is true of all newborns but all three of my brand new babies hated their first baths. I think the new experience can be a sensory overload so making this process as warm, quiet, and as comfortable as possible goes a long way. Here’s a great tip from Swaddles N Bottles to make this happen:
Babies take comfort in having an extra towel or light baby blanket placed on top of them. Only remove the blanket as needed to wash each part. After you are done washing the baby, place baby in towel (baby will be slippery!) and swaddle up.
Many moms prefer to feed their newborns on demand versus on a feeding schedule. There are many benefits to feeding your baby on demand, but there are also many concerns such as knowing if your baby is getting enough and how to know when your newborn is really hungry.
It can be terrifying when your new baby gets sick. I know it was for me when my 4 week old daughter had an ear infection and a fever of 102 at 3 in the morning! This was a huge shock because my oldest daughter didn’t even get a cold until she was over a year old. Here is a helpful tip from Mastering Mom Life for monitoring your baby while she’s sick:
Jot down when you noticed symptoms, when you administered medicine, took steam baths, and when baby naps or does anything out of the ordinary. This can help you look back and see progress, be a reference when baby gets sick again, or help you remember symptom times and dates when you take baby to the doctor.
Whether you have family and friends visit you and your new baby in the hospital or after you get home, these tips can really help reduce your stress and anxiety. The most important thing to remember is you and your new baby’s needs always come first. Heather with Very Anxious Mommy shows us a great way to handle this:
Some visitors just may not know when it’s time to hit the road, especially when there is a new baby to see. So try to have an out for when you are ready to say goodbye to visitors so that you can have alone time and rest. A few ideas may be, “I need to breastfeed now, so I will see you later”, or “I am really tired so I need to take a nap.”
If you perked up at the thought of choosing an uncommon and unique baby name that isn’t overused, then this is your list! Enjoy looking through the most unique baby names of all time and get inspired. There’s a great name for every letter in the alphabet!
My favorite part of choosing uncommon baby names is that so many of them are perfect gender neutral names. At these names are uncommon baby names that aren’t overused!
The Most Unique Baby Names of All Time
Abina – meaning ‘born on Tuesday’.
Axel – Divine reward
Adrian – Dark one
Areo – Flight
Ace – The Best
Adesina – meaning ‘she paves the way’
Adin – Fiery, man
Adriel – Symbol of skill
Bakari – Hope, promise
Bannon – meaning ‘descendant of O’Banain’.
Blaise – Firebrand
Brier – meaning ‘heather’
Beckett – Bee cottage
Cade – Round
Calla – Beautiful
Camden – Winding valley
Corliss – Cherry
Cicero – The historian
Daelan – Aware
Dakari – Happy
Dash – Enlightened one
Drew – Warrior
Delta – Mouth of a river
Draco – Dragon
Eagan – Fire
Edric – Rich and powerful
Eldon – Of old age
Everly – Grazing meadow
Emery – Ruler of work
Emrys – Immortal
Enzo – Ruler of the house
Fatima – Baby’s nurse
Fawn – Young deer
Finlay – Fair-haired courageous one
Flynn – With a ruddy complexion
Fraser – of the Forest Men
Galen – Healer
Gannon – Fair-skinned
Gia – God is gracious
Greer – Alert and watchful
Ginny – Virgin
Garnet – Red gemstone
Haden – Hedged valley
Hadley – Heather meadow
Harley – The long field
Hollis – Near the holly bushes
Hermione – Earthly
Idris – Fiery leader
Imara – Great ruler
Indigo – Deep blue dye
Ira – Watchful
Itai – The Lord is with me
Jace – The healer
Jacinda – Hyacinth
Jade – Green stone
Justice – To deliver what is just
Jair – God enlightens
Kaden – Companion
Kai – Keeper of the keys
Kingsley – King’s meadow
Kane – Little battler
Keane – Fighter
Kelis – Beautiful
Keefe – Beautiful and graceful
Lear – of the meadow
Lexi – Defender of mankind
Landen – Long hill
Lane – Narrow road
Leith – Broad river
Mace – Heavy staff
Madaio – Gift from God
Maddox – Generous
Marley – Bitter
Myron – Myrrh
Nash – at the ash tree
Nolan – Champion
Nasir – Helper
Oakley – From the oak meadow
Oceana – Ocean
Onyx – a precious stone
Orsa – Bear
Osais – Salvation
Patience – The state of being patient
Patten – Noble
Pax – Peace
Penn – Hill
Priya – Loved one
Quaid – Fourth
Quinlan – fit and strong
Rae – Ewe
Raiden – God of thunder
Ramsey – Wild garlic island
Rex – King
Ryker – Powerful leader
Saber – Sword
Sian – The Lord is gracious
Soren – Brightest Star
Suri – Red rose
Taj – Crown
Taine – River
Talise – Lovely water
Tao – Like a peach
Torin – chief
Tien – Fairy child
Upton – High town
Uri – My light
Urban – From the city
Van – Son of
Veda – Knowledge and wisdom
Visara – Celestial
Waverley – Meadow of Aspens
Waylon – Land by the road
Winter – To be born in the winter
Wren – Tiny bird
Xylia – From the woods
Xavi – The new house
Xaria – Gift of love
York – From the yew tree
Yarden – To flow downward
Yara – Small butterfly
Zahara – Flowering and shining
Zain – The handsome son
Zara – Blossom
Zayan – Bright
Zeke – God strengthens
I hope you loved this list of cool baby names you probably haven’t thought of, and please let us know your favorite in the comments below!
Kids are honest. They tell us the brutal truth in almost every situation. Like when you wake up with a lovely zit right on your forehead and your kid feels the need to point it out to you at their first waking moment, as if you didn’t already know.
They haven’t formed their filter yet and so children have a way of telling it like it is. Which isn’t a bad thing, you just gotta be ready for it when it comes.
But there are some things our kids don’t always tell us. Things they should but don’t have the capacity to find the words. Or they just have no idea how to tell you. These are things they desperately need us to do for them, that often times go unmet. Tough, right?
These are the things that children wish their parents knew, so we could easily be equipped to meet their unsaid needs.
This is a sticky situation for both the kids who need them and the parents who unknowingly fail to deliver.
That’s why I created this list. To help moms like you and me shift our focus just a bit because parenting is hard and complicated and we all miss it from time to time. Until we watch an inspirational video or read a post online that hits us between the eyes and helps us get where we always wanted to be.
This has happened to me a million times since becoming a mom over a decade ago.
We have the power to meet our children’s deepest felt needs with purpose and intention. When these needs go unmet for long periods in a growing child, it leaves a deep hole that they desperately look to fill with something or someone else.
If you read this list and feel that you’ve been missing one or a few needs, please don’t feel discouraged, judged, or condemned. Just take intentional action to reconnect with your kids in that area. The wonderful thing about children is their resiliency and their ability to forgive without question.
You may also read this list and think, these are no-brainers. Well, congratulations you’re probably a fantastic parent. But take a moment and look around at your kid’s school, at their soccer games, and dance recitals. Talk to many of your children’s friends. You’ll quickly see these aren’t happening for every child as they should.
We need to get it out there and talk about it. Not so we can be finger-pointers and parent shamers, but to shine a light on what’s lacking in this world. And how we as moms can make such a huge difference in this world through the gift and privilege of motherhood.
When we raise happy, resilient, and kind adults… we’ve made a tremendous impact in this world! And that’s what this list is all about.
Now let’s find out where we are…
1 – Love Them Intentionally
What does it mean to love someone intentionally? It means to give thought and purpose to how we actively show love to another person, in this case, our kids. It’s not enough to love them by providing a good home and sending them to a good school. Our kids need much more than that.
Money is the smallest thing our kids need from us… even though it doesn’t always feel that way. Parents, myself included, tend to work our fingers to the bone to give them a better life. In the end, our kids aren’t looking for that alone. Sure, they want their basic needs met and, yes, kids love asking for and spending money. Whew! I know mine do!
But what they really need is for us to lovingly learn who they are and how they need to be loved. That’s where the power and beauty of love languages come in. If you know your child’s love language it can make all the difference.
Simply showing up and taking an interest in what your child loves can go so far… even when their interest is gross, boring to you, or just plain annoying. Because sometimes they just are!
2 – Be Present and Pay Attention
This is a really huge need for children and doesn’t go away as we become adults. There are many adults in marriages where the spouse provides a good home, puts food on the table, but isn’t really there. When your spouse doesn’t make any attempt to connect with you, it hurts deeply. I know because I’ve seen it happen.
It’s the very same with kids. They want you there physically but much more, they want you there emotionally. My daughter played soccer for a couple years and she was really good and it was fun watching my little girl dominate the field with both girls and boys. During this time, I saw a lot of different parents on the sidelines.
One in particular stuck out to me. There was a little boy who obviously played soccer for many years and was very good. He would ferociously kick the ball into the goal again and again like he was in the World Cup. The crowd would cheer and you could see him immediately look where his parents were sitting to catch their approval and instead would repeatedly see his parents walking around talking on their cell phones… never looking at the field.
When I’d look back at that child, every time you could see the disappointment in his eyes. Though we could applaud his parents for both being there physically, we can see that week after week they weren’t really there.
In this amazing article, there was a study done of College athletes that asked them what their parents contributed to making them feel joy during and after their games. The answer will shock you.
It showed the power in 6 words a parent can say that can make ALL the difference, ” I love to watch you play.” Wow! That’s it! Parenting can feel complicated and overwhelming at times, but our kids are really as simple as needing us to just show up.
3 – Support Them No Matter Their Choices
I know my Type-A moms are wincing back at this one. Stay with me for a second… please. I didn’t say “accept” all their choices, I said to support them no matter what their choices are. Support your child, not the choices.
Life is hard and we all need a support system. We also all make mistakes and miss the mark from time to time. And it’s really hard to live life feeling like when we make a bad choice or totally screw up, that our support system is always in jeopardy.
Sure, it sucks to have a kid that can’t seem to get it together or a teenager or young adult that looks on the surface like a total disappointment despite how you raised them. I know this because I was that screw-up kid. I was an angry, hurt, and messed up kid for a lot of reasons I can’t get into here. But the one thing my parents did was support me every step of the way. NEVER my awful choices… ME.
How did they do this? By always keeping their loving doors open, never shaming me even when it was justified, and praying incessantly for me. They never gave up on me. And though my parents weren’t perfect, I always knew I was loved. And they taught me about Jesus who loved me unconditionally. And that was what I believe made all the difference in turning my life around.
4 – Say No And Give Them Borders
Yes, I said it. Our kids need us to say no and they need us to give them safe and healthy borders. Kids that have parents that say yes to almost anything, even the questionable things, are telling their kids they don’t care about them.
It’s true. Though your kid may be kicking and screaming because they can’t go to the slumber party at Amy’s house, they know way under the surface that you care. That might not be helpful right at the moment, but it’s the hardest decisions of love that linger the longest.
In this crazy, upside down world we live in, I say NO a lot. I don’t really have a choice because I love my children. And it’s my job to protect and lead them through the tough choices and teach them how to make better decisions. For example, at my daughter’s sixth-grade orientation last year, her teacher mentioned a tip about taking your child’s phone and keeping it in your bedroom at night.
At the time, I’d never thought of this because my daughter never gave me a reason. I’m so glad I heard this tip because it made me see the importance of simple ways I can remove the opportunity for her to be accessed at all hours of the night. It’s unnecessary and has the potential to be dangerous.
I treat social media accounts the same way. Our children don’t need unfettered access to unfiltered content on social media at very young ages. You can read more on why here.
Creating borders helps your child know how to place healthy borders for themselves later on.
5 – Let Them Live Their Purpose
I believe every person born on this planet has a God-given purpose. A purpose that was given to them by their creator. We may have grown them in our wombs, but God gave them life and purpose. We need to honor the gifts they’ve been given and help them grow in them.
Our kids need us to tell them they are special and unique and even when they’re scared and feel totally unqualified. That they need to discover and pursue their purpose with passion and intention.
Too often parents want their kids to pass on the family business, whatever that may be. Or to choose a more “sensible” profession instead of the one in their dreams. And I’m talking about when they’re older and not their dream of becoming a princess or Superman.
We often try to create a life plan for our kids without ever considering they already have one. Our job as parents is to help them find it and to embrace it.
There are millions of depressed, suicidal, and hopeless adults who were pressured to pursue a “sensible” career that was totally outside of their purpose. And though they may have attained success in the world’s eyes… they feel empty. Though we may not understand it, we owe it to our kids to lead them into their purpose instead of away from it.
Just like our kids need to be told no, they also need and want to be disciplined. The Bible teaches that we discipline those we love. There’s so much truth to that. Discipline isn’t necessarily punishment, it’s the intentional act of shaping and molding into the right behavior. And that takes work and compassion.
It doesn’t require love to want someone who’s done something terrible to face punishment. But it does require love to allow them to face that punishment while teaching and guiding them into the right behavior.
We don’t want to discipline our kids with the “rot in jail and throw away the key” mentality. Yes, punishment and consequences are all a part of the discipline process because that’s what prepares them for real life. But it’s also the compassionate and sometimes time-consuming teaching of the right behavior that makes all the difference and shows how much we love our child.
Tricia Goyer shared this concept from her book Balanced: Finding Center as a Work-at-Home Mom. It was so simple, yet profound. But it does require endurance on your part. And it’s an investment of your time, depending on how many children you have! Yet, it’s time well spent.
If your spouse and your children each have your undivided “eyes only” attention each day, it sends a powerful message to them – YOU Matter. And there’s no revelation more powerful than that. Try carving out small 10 minutes times for each person, each day. And then work your way up as you develop discipline in this habit.
Here are my kids and I playing at the park after a very long day. But our sacrifices go a really long way!
8 – Give Them Independence
Kids need space and independence to grow and learn how to make good choices. This may seem to be in opposition to “be present” but it isn’t. Giving your child independence simply means allowing them to work things out on their own… with your guidance.
This teaches them about how their actions have both positive and negative consequences. And as they get older they need to be able to safely make both good and bad choices. You’ll find that in doing this they learn to self-correct at a much faster rate than us always doing it for them.
Just remember to give large doses of grace as they will make mistakes!
9 – Embrace and Love Their Uniqueness
In this “fit in or get out” world we need to be intentional about embracing our children’s uniqueness. Our kids need us to affirm that though their uniqueness makes them stand out, it’s that uniqueness that makes them special.
As a child’s minister years ago, I taught my kids that it feels uncomfortable to stand out and be different. And we have this desire to blend in with what the world says is beautiful, talented, or cool.
But I asked them to think about the biggest stars and icons in the entertainment industry and describe what makes them more of a star than all the other entertainers. And the majority of the answers were… the biggest stars worked very hard to stand out and be different.
Think of Lady GaGa and Michael Jackson. Their biggest claim to fame is doing what no one else has done before… to produce a sound no one else has heard before. That takes guts, confidence, and the ability to fully embrace their uniqueness.
As parents, this is probably the hardest thing to do. But no matter how many times you tell your daughter her curls are beautiful or that your son’s bright red hair is amazing, and they brush it off… keep saying it. Until they believe it.
I hope this list gives you some inspirations on ways to be more connected with your kids. Let’s face it, we all fall short of hitting these perfectly – especially in busy seasons.
Perfection is the enemy of progress and it’s better to be aware and make changes than to try for perfection any day. What are your thoughts on this list? Did I miss anything? Please add in the comments below!
I know every single mother has asked herself this question at least once, “am I really a good mother?” Or maybe you’ve mulled over that question many, many times.
The thing is, it isn’t an easy one to answer. That’s because there isn’t a mold of a perfectly “good mom” for us all to fit into. We all make mistakes and fall into many of the pitfalls of motherhood only to find our way back again. Rinse and repeat.
But over the last decade and then some of raising my three children, I’ve grown tremendously and learned a lot. I’ve come to identify three things that if you live by, you can rest assured that you’re already an amazingly good mother!
Sure you and I both have things we need to work on, stop doing, and get better at but this is a really good foundation to stand on.
And the good news is, this list isn’t focused on outward things like how early you put your kids to bed every night or how many vegetables you serve with dinner.
These are totally heart issues and things you can pray about and work on a little bit each day.
1 –You are attuned with your child
What does it mean to be attuned with your child? Let me give you this quick illustration. Remember, when your now big kid was just a newborn and you would lay them peacefully across your lap and just stare into those sweet little ones and try to get them to smile?
You were in that moment connecting with your baby and very little could break you away from that moment. Feelings of sleep deprivation and the overwhelm of being a new mom didn’t keep you from soaking in every adorable drop of your newborn.
Somewhere along the way though, our desire for connection becomes less urgent and we become more focused on “getting it all done” and keeping everyone alive. And that happy mom can sometimes fly right out the window.
Being attuned with your child will look a bit different for every mom and family, but here are some general examples:
you show genuine interest in what your child loves… even if you don’t.
you frequently check in with how your child is doing as it relates to their world.
you ask questions to hear their responses to constantly get to know your child.
you prioritize regular one on one time with your kids individually very frequently.
you focus and affirm the positive behaviors of your child more frequently that the negative ones.
Even though you may struggle like I do, to get your kids out the door on time for school every morning, placing the highest priority on a heart connection with your child proves you are a good mother.
That’s because you know deep inside that having a quality relationship with your kids is vitally important to their overall health and well-being. Children who have grown up feeling unloved by their mothers often report this as feeling “unknown” by their mothers.
Being attuned simply means paying attention to the changing needs of our children. And being willing to make those changes along the way. What our toddler needs from us now isn’t the same as what she’ll need as a growing teenager.
You humbly set an example of being imperfectly perfect
Our kids do NOT need a perfect example of what it means to be human by never making mistakes. That’s because it doesn’t exist. And if we try, we simply come across as a hypocrite.
If you do your best but make a real mistake like forgetting your son’s preschool graduation and having to show up really late (I did that), or getting so mad that you accidentally break the glass top to your stove (I did that too) it’s most important to own up to your mistakes the right way.
If we never show our kids how to recover from our worst and even most embarrassing mistakes, how will they ever learn for themselves? If we don’t take ownership for our bad choices we teach our kids to blame others for their mistakes in life.
It may seem strange that making mistakes is a point of being a good mother. But I believe that it’s important that moms know how perfectly normal it is to make mistakes and have terrible days. It’s all about how we move forward from those bad moments that makes us good mothers.
It’s how our kids know it’s OK to make mistakes and that beating themselves up or blaming shifting are damaging ways to deal with our own poor choices.
In the end, you’re actually making your kids stronger and more emotionally intelligent by watching you walking through life imperfectly.
You understand your true value as a mom
Motherhood is literally one of the most important journeys we’ll ever embark on in our lifetimes. However, raising children is often under valued by society and has been for hundreds of years.
Moms can feel like their careers and dreams make them more valued and important in the eyes of everyone around them. This is a sneaky trap and one that I personally fell into as a new mom. I struggled to see my significance and true value as a mom.
This led me down another path of a tired and burnt out mom who never fully understood the gift right in front of her. I felt pulled in opposing directions because I allowed my ambition to come before my kids.
It’s not that ambition and working a fulfilling career doesn’t mix with motherhood. Not at all! In fact, many amazing moms (including myself!) are also successful at many fulfilling careers at the same time.
But when you understand your true value as a mom, you’ll never feel pulled because your family always comes first. It’s never easy but in the end it’s always the right choice.
Being a mother is a gift and if you truly see that, you are already a good mom.
Being a good mother isn’t about whether you bake the best cookies with your kids or how many books they read over the summer, it’s always about the heart.
Our kids are looking to see if we really care about them, if they can trust us with their heart, and if we succeed at winning it we’ve won the prize of a lifetime!
When your kids are grown, they’ll likely not remember all the stuff they learned in math class but they will remember stuff like when that batch of cookies you both make failed miserably, or when you went for that bike ride in the country and got lost!
It’s the little things, sometimes the weird things, and mostly the heart things they’ll remember!
Let me start off by answering the big question lingering right now… what makes a happy mom?
I’d like to first tell you what I believe a happy mom is NOT:
A happy mom is NOT a perfect mom.
A happy mom is NOT immune from messing up and making mistakes.
A happy mom does NOT have it all figured out.
A happy mom does NOT feel happy all the time.
A happy mom does NOT have super powers.
Years ago, I used to be the exact opposite of a happy mom. I was a tired mom, a short-tempered mom, a stressed-out mom, a burnt out mom, and a worried mom. But I never would have defined myself as a happy mom.
It’s not at all that I didn’t love being a mom or loved my kids with every part of me but I was so consumed with “getting it right” and “getting it all done” that all the fun in my days got sucked right out the window like a vacuum, leaving me sufficating inside.
What Happy Moms Do Every Day
I needed a brand new perspective – one that freed me from the bondage of carrying my motherhood on my own. I wanted to learn what other happy moms I knew were doing who didn’t seem to feel overwhelmed all the time.
And I did. I pinpointed three things that happy moms do every day. And doing these simple things really help so much to remove the pressure and stress that comes with motherhood and focus on being free to focus on the things that matter the most.
The Bible calls children, His reward. And I believe that with all my heart. No matter how much stress I may experience as a mom, it will never ever outweigh the joy and gratitude I feel for having the title mom.
“He gives the childless woman a family, making her a happy mother. Praise the Lord!”
Psalms 113:9 NLT
So what does a truly happy mom look like?
Well, she’s a humble woman who knows she can’t and shouldn’t try to get it all done on her own. She’s wise to know that there’s no badge of honor for working her mind and body to the bone. She sacrifices by finding her tribe and gains so much in return.
She survives on grace instead of coffee. I mean, coffee is the nectar of the moms and I love my hot cup of goodness every morning. But I couldn’t live without the fuel of grace from Christ allowing me to do what I do with a joyful heart.
A truly happy mom takes responsibility for her own happiness. This simply means our happiness is a choice. We can be happy even when our kids aren’t acting right or when our spouse isn’t giving us what we really need. We have the power to choose joy in the midst of things that aren’t joyful.
And finally, she’s a woman on a mission. She’s on a mission to win the heart of her children. And while she’s cleaning, teaching, feeding, and disciplining those kids she’s paying attention to the biggest goal – relationship.
Keep reading to know how to experience these things in your own life and home with these very simple tips.
Happy Moms Don’t Do #AllTheThings All At the Same Time
I’m not sure where the belief comes from that we, as moms, must do everything. This is simply not true and not healthy. I used to feel as if caring for the kids, for the house, cooking all the meals, doing all the driving, and on and on was my sole duty as a mom.
Meanwhile, I’ve always been a working mom. I quickly wore myself to the bone and had no joy… at all. Sure my kids were smaller back then but that isn’t a good enough reason to not enjoy one of the best season’s of a woman’s life… raising her babies.
So here are my tips for NOT doing #AllTheThings all at the same time!
1 – Ask for Help
Asking for help isn’t asking for a favor. It’s having an honest conversation with your spouse and your kids about what it means to be a part of a family. If you’re doing all the cleaning, cooking, and house duties in your home… stop.
I’m not saying that there’s one way to distribute labor in your home because there’s not. But it should be appropriate to your family’s dynamic. Consider your children’s ages and when you feel it’s time to introduce chores. And it’s been scientifically proven that giving kids chores is a really beneficial thing for them. So absolutely no downside there!
Also, consider your spouse’s work schedule with yours. If you both work equal schedules you both may find that dividing household responsibilities equally works best. Just start talking about it positively and without negative emotions or nagging getting in the way.
2 – Keep a simple schedule and put yourself on it
Having your kids involved in each activity under the sun can feel overwhelming for both you and your kids. As our kids have gotten older, we’ve allowed them to be involved in one activity per child, per season. There are case-by-case exceptions that pop up along the way but this is the norm for us.
This goes for your schedule too. If you are a compulsive people pleaser who just can’t say no, chances are you’re drowning in obligations. It’s OK to say no to volunteering every week at your kid’s school or being on the roster for every event at your church.
Being overloaded isn’t doing you or your family any favors. And do NOT forget to put time for yourself on that schedule. It doesn’t take much but you need to care for yourself too.
3 – Separate work and Kids whenever possible
Finally, the one thing that stole my joy faster than anything was trying to do work regularly in the presence of my children. Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve always been a work at home mom with a computer and a baby in my lap at all times!
This led to many, many tantrums (eh hem… from me) when I couldn’t manage the constant interruptions while I was trying to get my work done. I finally had an Aha moment that my kids were doing nothing wrong. It was me that needed to make the adjustment.
I either needed to learn to seamlessly bounce back and forth between my work and my kids’ needs, or I needed to schedule my work around my kids. And because I just didn’t handle the back and forth very well, I make a huge sacrifice and started working around my kids. You can read about that here.
Since making that single change, I am soooo much of a happier mom!
They Give Themselves Heaps of Grace
Grace is knowing that we’re all highly imperfect and we need so much grace along every step of this motherhood journey. There are so many decisions, choices, and the many opinions of others that can make us second guess everything we do.
From the very beginning, we’re making big choices like whether to breast or bottle feeding or whether we should co-sleep or sleep train in their nursury. And the truth is, sometimes we totally rock it and other days we feel like the biggest hot mess ever.
And what we don’t need is more mom guilt eating us alive!
Learn to forgive yourself freely
When you do have one of those days, or weeks, where you yelled so much your throat hurts and you feel like the worst mom that ever lived… stop. Stop beating yourself up. It’s not good for you and it’s also not good for your kids.
The best thing your kids need to see is a true example of a person who knows how to positively respond and recover when they make a mistake. Simply make it right however appropriate, apologize genuinely, and move on!
Know you weren’t made to do this on your own
None of us were meant to do this mom life on our own. Whether you’re married to a husband who helps or one that doesn’t, or whether you’re single, divorced or widowed – you shouldn’t strive to do this life on your own.
This is a very in-depth subject in and of itself without a one-size-fits-all answer. But what is true, is we all need a support system. This can be a group of other mom friends that all help each other out when we need it and when we don’t. Or simply having an honest conversation with our family on why it’s important that everyone in the house do their part.
But you were made to do this
The most important part I want you to really know is though you weren’t meant to do this on your own, you were made to do this.
You were given the privilege of becoming a mom and therefore I truly believe you are already equipped for the job. God created you and called you to be a mother before you were born whether you adopted or birthed your children! There is a special grace given to all moms… you just need to put a demand on that grace through faith.
They Foster Connection Above All Else
The final and most important thing that happy moms do every day is foster connection above all else. Too often we can get caught up in teaching, leading, and disciplining our kids… and I didn’t even mention cleaning up after!
But happy moms see that the relationship that they build with their child is one that actually helps make the rest of the mom stuff so much easier. Kids naturally want to please those they love and respect.
When we’re truly connected to our kids, they don’t like breaking that bond by doing things that can rock the boat. And the seeds we sow now in bonding with our children is a harvest that will last a lifetime!
There are many ways to foster this connection. Here are a few of my favorites:
1 – Have one on one time
It doesn’t matter if you’re a working mom or a stay-at-home mom, having one on one time with your kids can easily be done every day. Simply schedule a time block for each child every day. Ten minutes is just fine.
You and your child may just love to talk and catch up on the day. You may love reading a book outloud together or even playing a short board game every night. What you do isn’t as important, as your child knowing they have your undivided attention.
Just keep in mind to do what is most fun or interesting to your child. Showing that we’re “into” what they love, even if we’re not, shows how much we care!
2 – Hug it out
Hugging has been shown in many scientific studies to help children deal with emotional challenges, make kids smarter, grow bigger, and even stay healthy. Yes, all that!
Hugging your child for at least 15 seconds is highly recommended. Now, not all your kids will be natural huggers and others will love to stay in your arms for days on end. And other kids will be wiggling out by second-2! But getting those hugs in every day is beneficial to them and us.
3 – Focus on the good
The final way to foster connection with your kids is to always be looking for and focusing on the good in your child. Your kid might be going through a challenging season or a difficult phase and it may take a lot more energy on your part to see the good… but do it anyway.
This doesn’t mean you ignore the bad, but you praise and high-five all the good moments you can find and this helps inspire your child to keep repeating the good behavior. Instead of getting all the attention from their questionable behavior.
Happy moms aren’t perfect or immune from mistakes and bad days. Even after you’ve read this entire post and even put these tips into action, you will mess up.
Just remember that section on grace! You can do this AND enjoy the day because as the saying goes, the days are long but the years are short. In other words, time flies way too fast, so why not work on enjoying this journey!
I honestly hate New Year’s resolutions and never do them. They’re no different than the empty, tired threats I throw at my kids from my room to turn off the TV and go to sleep early on a Sunday night… they make no impact whatsoever.
Resolutions give people false hope that things will be different this year just because we really want them to. And then at the end of each year, we realize the needle never moved. Not a single inch.
That doesn’t mean I’m just a floater, haphazardly moving through life. I just don’t like being told when I should be living my best life. Just like when Black Friday rolls around and everyone says it’s the biggest sale of the year… lies.
How I do like to ring in each New Year is to reflect on what type of person, wife, and mom I want to be. With each passing year, I still believe we can become better versions of ourselves each and every year. Not by making empty resolutions but by creating a powerful vision of who we want to become and deciding to take intentional action on those small things little by little.
One of the things I strive for is to be a better mom than I was the year before. Not some perfect Suzy Homemaker version of myself but to do the things that are important to me. Like being more patient and not losing it with my kids every single day. Oh and consuming smaller amounts of their chicken nuggets and cookies cause I also don’t want to buy new jeans in 2019.
This year I’m going to be less hurried, rushed, and busy with life. As crazy as this may sound, I became a mother because I really wanted to. And even crazier… I actually really like my kids, not every moment of the day, but most.
And every year they keep getting older and I can see the time flying. So this is how I’m going to do my best to capture the time this year.
1 – I’m going to ask more questions instead of lecturing.
As my kids get older, I’ve learned that talking isn’t my best parenting tool. Listening is. This year I’m going to practice the art of holding my tongue except to ask more questions to keep them talking. Yes, I know… not more talking! Ugh. But seriously, we can’t share their heart if we don’t know what’s in it.
2 – I’m going to stop sweating the small stuff and embrace all the little moments.
I have literally cried over spilled milk, spilled lemonade, and especially spilled grape juice. But over the years I’ve learned to calm down and teach my kid how to clean up their own mess. Done. But more importantly to really see and capture the sweet little moments I used to miss because I got all worked up and spent the whole day feeling guilty.
3 – I’m going to stick to my word. But before I can stick to my word I need to be more selective with my commitments.
I can’t say yes to taking my kids skating if I don’t look at my schedule first. No more canceling on my kids if I can help it. Also, if I say, “if you leave your room a mess before school one more day, you’ll lose your tablet for 2 weeks” then that’s just what I’m going to do. Period.
4 – I’m going to put my phone out of sight when my kids are talking to me.
I Brandi, am a smartphone addict. I, like so many other moms, find myself mindlessly scrolling on my phone whenever I have a free moment. I honestly don’t even know why I’m doing it. But one thing I’m changing is not holding and scrolling on my phone when my kid is talking to me. No matter how boring or endlessly long their story is… it’s rude.
But what’s even worse is I’m missing out on the real and beautiful or silly moments right in front of me. They’re always there… I just have a hard time seeing them when my phone’s in the way.
5 – I’m going to let my kids be messy.
I’m not that mess loving mom who makes toddler sensory bins and lets her kids finger paint. I don’t even like Play-doh. But somewhere in 2018, I took note of how making slime and ruining all my good bowls was a great bonding experience for my older girls who didn’t fight during one slime making session the whole year. That’s huge and so mess gets the win in my book.
6 – I’m going to give them more responsibility.
After the reading that eye-opening Harvard study that says kids grow up to be more successful, happy, and make more money because they did chores growing up I realized that I’d be doing more damage to my precious angels by continuing to clean up their rooms and fold the laundry on my own. So there you have it… more chores in 2019!
7 – I’m going to be more grateful.
We all know the saying about grass and poop in our neighbor’s yards. Sadly, I still struggle with comparison and not feeling like I measure up to all the fit, ab-revealing moms with perfectly posed children on Instagram. But I’m going to decide to really see the greatness in my own yard cause it really is pretty great.
Much love and success to you in your 2019!
P.S. This was originally just an email I sent to my lovely subscribers, but it resonated so well I thought I’d share it with all my readers! If you’d love to join my email list and get inspiration like this (that I don’t normally share in a blog post) click here to join!
Parenting is no laughing matter! Raising people can be down right brutal but it is also one of the greatest privileges anyone can ever have.
I love being a mom and it’s literally been a dream of mine since as long as I can remember. But this mom thing is crazier than I EVER thought it would be!
And as they say, laughter is the best medicine. So check out these funny parenting quotes that are sure to make you feel like an official member of the Hot Mess Mom Society. Being a fun mom starts with being able to laugh at ourselves.
Funny Parenting Quotes for All Parents
“A two-year old is kind of like having a blender, but you don’t have a top for it.” – Jerry Seinfeld
“When my kids become wild and unruly, I use a nice, safe playpen. When they’re finished, I climb out.” – Erma Bombeck
“If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands?” – Milton Berle
“Nurse: handing me a newborn You got this? Me: Sometimes I have to dig through the trash to re-read the instructions for mac ‘n’ cheese” – @mommy_cusses
“The quickest way for a parent to get a child’s attention is to sit down and look comfortable.” – Lane Olinghouse“
“Silence is golden…unless you have kids, then silence is just suspicious.”
“Me: you’re going to bed in 5 minutes. Toddler: No. Twenty minutes! Me: Ok. puts him to bed in 2 minutes because he has no concept of time.”
“When I tell my kids I’ll do something in a minute, what I’m really saying is “Please forget.” – @SarcasticMommy4
“Having children is like living in a frat house…Nobody sleeps, everything’s broken and there’s a lot of throwing up.” Ray Romano
“Waking your kids up for school the first day after a break is almost as much fun as birthing them was.” Jenny McCarthy
“It’s like kids can just smell when you start relaxing.”
“Wake up extra early so you and your kids can still be 20 minutes late where ever you go.”
Funny Parenting Quotes for New Moms
“The biggest thing I remember is that there was just no transition. You hit the ground diapering.”– Paul Reiser
Once you sign on to be a mother, 24/7 is the only shift they offer.” ― Jodi Picoult
“I always wondered why babies spend so much time sucking their thumbs. Then I tasted baby food.” – Robert Orben
“Diaper backward spells repaid.Think about it.” – Marshall McLuhan
“So I stepped away for like two seconds…” the beginning of a parenting horror story.”
“A baby changes your dinner party conversation from politics to poops.” – Maurice Johnston
“How could something so small create so much of something so disgusting?” – Steve Guttenberg in Three Men and a Baby
“Babies are such a nice way to start people.” – Don Herold
Funny Parenting Quotes Just for Dads
“On our 6 a.m. walk, my daughter asked where the moon goes each morning. I let her know it’s in heaven, visiting Daddy’s freedom.”– Ryan Reynolds
“Most noticeable difference since becoming a dad: I’ve cried hard TWICE at ‘America’s Got Talent’ this season.” – Seth Meyers
“Someone asked my son what his father does for a living. He said, ‘He plays basketball and changes his shorts.”– Taye Diggs
“I really love my kids for about six minutes a day.” – Michael Ian Black
“Fatherhood is great, because you can ruin someone from scratch.” – Jon Stewart
“Dads immediately fall in love with their little girls and will let them get away with everything. So moms are going to have to be the disciplinarians when it comes to daughters.” – Jimmy Fallon
“My kids will walk right past their father sitting on the couch and come bang on the shower for me to open a fruit snack pouch.”