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Professional Motherhood - Day 31

I'll always know the touch of my Momma's hands.  They feel different to me than any other hands in the world.  I was surprised to find as a grown-up that they still brought me the same comfort they had when I was little.  While I was laboring for our first baby, Mom entered the hospital room and laid her hand on my head. That touch did more for me than any pain reliever.  I didn't need her words or actions for comfort, I just needed the touch of the hands that felt like Mom and carried with them a lifetime of knowledge and connection.
The mother-child bond is a pretty exclusive thing.  There's only one of you and only one of them. Forever and always you will be the person they call Mom.  Your connection will outlive you.  Long after you are gone, your sweet children will still be hearing echoes of your voice in their heads and your body language will be mimicked by their muscles.

There is power the name alone.  Even a mother who dies giving birth keeps the influence …

How to Walk Through the Wilderness and Not Get Stuck - Day 30

When my boys were little I occasionally declared "Mom's Off Duty."  Similar to the governor declaring a state of emergency but without the emergency part. I sat down with a book, journal, or my Bible and reminded the kids of the rules.  When Mommy's "Off Duty" no talking to her until the timer goes off.  None, unless there's danger or blood.  After our first couple tries,  I had to add to the instructions and tell them they couldn't make eye contact with me, mouth words to me, or act things out.  "Mommy will not communicate with you in any way unless there is an emergency".  I may or may not have put a blanket over my head so I couldn't see what they were doing a time or two.

 Declaring "Mom's Off Duty" is really more of a survival skill than a parenting technique.  Once my kids began to talk, I started to feel the ability to focus slipping away.  I knew that if I didn't do something drastic I might never again put tw…

Two Wings Every Kid Needs as They Leave the Nest - Day 29

My parents were professional fans.  My Dad enjoys sports, but more than teams or hobbies, my Mom and he were fans of ME!  If I was doing it, they were interested.  I have countless memories of my Dad, in his suit and tie, having left work early, sitting in the bleachers to watch a JV cheerleader with his last name on her sweater.  I know now and I knew then, my Dad's not into cheerleading.  He didn't schedule his day to be free of late afternoon meetings in order to answer back, "We've got spirit, yes we do, we've got spirit, how 'bout you??!!"  My parents were and still are, into me.

Along with the cheering, my parents gave me two juxtaposed confidences.  They seemed in opposition to each other.  If I hadn't lived it, I might not think these two things can happen at the same time, but I know they can because they did.  I'm not sure how my parents did it, but I grew up certain of these two things:

1.  My parents were irrationally positive about m…

When Following God's Call Costs Your Kids - Day 28

Many parts of being a Mom are way harder than I expected.  You can only understand so much until you're actually in the thick of it, experiencing it.  My hardest life lessons have come connected to a piece of parenting.   I know everything I do affects those around me, especially my children.  We all understand this to one degree or another and it motivates us to work hard and become good people.

If you are anything like me, you've found yourself surprised by the intensity of love you have for your children. You knew you would love them, but you had no idea it would feel like this. Elizabeth Stone said it perfectly, "Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to let your heart go walking around outside your body."

There have been many times I've done the right thing or gone the extra mile, more because I knew it was good for my kids than because it was good for me.  There's a shift that happens inside of me, a willingness to s…

Lessons Your Kids Need to be Able to Live Outside the Bubble - Day 27

The real world is harsh.  There are people in it who don't care who you are or how you feel.  There are black and white rules and causes and effects that apply to you no matter how much you cry or call foul.  Responsibility and achievement are hard work, for everyone.

I'm worried the parenting pendulum has swung a little too far into a child-centered magical bubble philosophy.  We think it's possible to create a bubble around our children durable enough to protect them from hard knocks and bad feelings.  In an effort to protect them from pain now, we set our kids up for serious pain when they leave our homes.   It takes concentrated thought and planning to launch our kids into "The Real World" without the bubble burst backlash leaving them with serious welts. Especially these days.

Let me also say that I am for protecting childhood, stardust and fairy's, daydreams and long summer days.  I want to be serious about sending my kids off into adult-land with some …

Hormonal - Day 26

There are times I feel like the whole world has been doused in hot sauce.  Everything looks red.  It doesn't matter what the situation, I'm gritting my teeth and mad.  There are other days when blue is the color of life.  I'm sad, sad, sad.  Nothing feels right and I can't shake the feeling that I just need to go to bed and start over tomorrow.

These types of days creep up with a general feeling of unease every four weeks or so.  Other times they rage in without warning as I'm holding a precious newborn.  Remember my freak-out with baby Trevor in my arms?  I had another full-blown "moment" as I rocked twin baby girls.  Tears at that moment defied reason.  The path to having them included miscarriages, a cancer scare, and early pregnancy trouble.  Here I was, holding two dreams come true dressed in pink - with tears streaming down my face!  Why??  Because I wasn't pregnant anymore!  I wouldn't feel these babies kicking in my belly ever again!  They…

I Wish I Could Be Like the Cool Moms - Day 25

If you're stuck in preschool land you may not have listened to anything more current than "The Wheels on the Bus" lately, but if you also have teenagers you've probably found yourself humming about wishing you could be like the cool kids courtesy of Echosmith.  Radio stations are giving it lots of playtime because everyone remembers that feeling from their school days. Adults might even secretly admit to themselves that they still feel the pull toward wishing they were cooler, especially Moms. And especially near the days of the Halloween pressure-cooker.



If you have no idea what I'm talking about, here are the lyrics of the beginning of the song.

She sees them walking in a straight line, that's not really her style.
And they all got the same heartbeat, but hers is falling behind.
Nothing in this world could ever bring them down.
Yeah, they're invincible, and she's just in the background.
And she says,

"I wish that I could be like the cool kids,
'Ca…

Teach Your Child to Look Fear in the Eye - Day 24

Have you felt the metallic taste of fear in your mouth recently?  I bet you are achingly familiar with the feeling of putting one heavy foot in front of the other when every step is painful.  If you're an adult I think I can predict with 99% certainty that memories of specific moments just flooded your mind.  Dealing with fear and pain are important markers of adulthood. They define our character and chart our courses.


We tend to be able to be brave in our own lives but timid as parents We struggle to teach the skills required for dealing with pain and fear to our children.  It's a well-intentioned omission, but a dangerous one.  As we spend our energy creating magical childhood memories inside a bubble that is free of fear and pain, we can accidentally set our kids up. Trouble will come. If they aren't expecting it, it will hit them like a speeding semi they didn't see coming as they're skipping across the street to the ice cream truck.
 An experience like that i…

The Best Gift You Can Give Your Child - Day 23

The deer in the headlights look?  That was me when the doctor told me baby number two was on the way.  Don't get me wrong!  I wanted baby number two. I wanted him desperately. But baby number one was only eight months old!  My master plan included a bit more breathing space between the two.

I was in love with being a Mom, and I was super in love with my precious man-cub, Riley.  He made me a Momma and I felt like I was living my dream!  He and I had spent the last eight months talking and singing, taking daily walks through the neighborhood, learning about each other, and finding out that we were great together.  Mom and baby boy - we were rockin' it.

The ultrasound told us another little man-cub was on the way, a brother.  Dreams of little boy world with brothers exploring life together ousted my worries.  While my belly grew, so did another fierce love for a yet un-met sidekick.  He was born and he was amazing.

Then we came home, the hub-up died down, and I realized how lif…

Spiritual Napping - Day 22

If you have babies, toddlers, or preschoolers you are thick in the middle of the most physically demanding season of motherhood.  If you have school-age kids and teenagers you are feeling exhausted from the mind-bending discussions and emotional needs of your season.  Moms of littles long for the day they don't have tie everyone's shoes and wipe everyone's butts.  Moms of bigs are startled to find out that what they're facing is every bit as draining as the physical work was.

My mom gave me some magical advice I'm excited to pass on to you.



GO. TAKE. A. NAP!  Sometimes it's the most spiritual thing you can do.
It sounds simple, but I'm a Mom, so I know it's not.  There are a million things conspiring against you taking a break long enough to actually sleep.  Napping requires engaging in a two-front battle against circumstances and guilt.  You either have to temporarily ignore needs or miraculously get enough ahead of them to carve out some minutes.  If y…