10 Life Lessons From My Grandmother

As I missed my grandmother, I began to think of all the wisdom and examples she set for me. Today, I’m sharing 10 life lessons from my grandmother.

10 life lessons from my grandmother

10 Life Lessons From My Grandmother

It’s been wonderful to watch my own mother with my children. The grandparent-grandchild relationship is so special and the loving bond between them is almost magical to watch. The burden of having to teach and discipline a child is set aside and the fullness of enjoyment between adult and child truly blossoms. As I watch them together, I wonder what my boys will remember about my mom, their grandmother. That got me thinking. What legacy did my grandmother leave to me? Here are 10 life lessons from my grandmother.

Start Every Morning With Prayer

Every morning my grandmother woke up while the rest of the house was still sleeping and began her morning prayers. Then once done, just about the time everyone else was waking, the smell of frying bacon and eggs would start filling the rooms. Except for Fridays which was pancake day!

Now that I am a mother myself, I finally understand why she rose so early to pray. Life gets incredibly busy and if you don’t make God a priority, you may miss the opportunity to pray at all. So these days, I follow her example. As much as I value my sleep, I wake early before the kids and pray before I do anything else. It sets the tone for my day and provides the strength and encouragement I need to get through the day. It’s an example my grandmother always set for me and one I hope to continue.

Be Your Own Teacher

My grandmother was one of seventeen children. Yes, you read that right. Growing up during the Great Depression, she left school in 2nd grade to go work picking cotton in the Texas heat. She left before she learned how to fully read and write.

My grandma was determined to learn how to read and write even if it meant learning it on her own. She taught herself arithmetic. The proverbial, “pull yourself up by your bootstraps,” that was my grandmother. She didn’t find excuses. Instead, she set out for what she wanted and she made it happen herself. She was a fighter. She was scrappy and I loved that about her. My grandmother was an amazing cook and was completely self-taught. She clipped recipes from the newspaper and wasn’t afraid to experiment in the kitchen. She didn’t wait for someone to teach her. Instead, she taught herself. I’m like her in that way. I teach myself how to do things just like her. Don’t wait for someone to teach you. Learn it on your own.

Marriage Is For Life

When my first marriage was ending, I was visiting my grandparents. She asked me how things were going with my husband (it was already known my marriage was on the rocks). My eyes welled up as I began to explain he had been cheating. Without missing a beat, she motioned me to follow her to her room.

Now, let me explain something. My grandmother’s room was very private. In her tiny house, her small bedroom was her private sanctuary. It was pretty well known that her bedroom was off-limits. So when she invited me inside, I was intrigued. She sat me down and shared with me how my grandfather (a man whom I idolized) had been unfaithful to her early in their marriage.

10 life lessons from my grandmother
Me and My Grandmother

Then she explained that this was still not a reason to cut and run. I know that will incense many people reading this, because today’s modern world says, “if someone fails you, get out because you deserve better.” But in her world, in her time, in her faith – it was not a matter of “if your spouse fails you” it was a matter of “when.” In other words, you can count on your spouse failing you because we are flawed people.

She explained that when you vow to be married to someone for life, you and your marriage will be tested in every conceivable way. Sickness. Infidelity. Financial trouble. Death. Miscarriages. Your marriage will be threatened by all of it – and marriage can survive it all. It’s a matter of choice. The hard times, she explained, they pass. You press on.

My ex-husband ultimately left me for someone else. There was nothing I could do to keep him from leaving and even after he moved out, I tried reconciling for nearly 24 months. In my second marriage, the difference is we both refuse to entertain divorce. We continue to be tested by those things and my grandmother was right. The hard times, they pass. You just keep holding on refusing to give up on each other. You choose your spouse every time, every day. Marriage is for life.

Stop And Dance

When I was a preteen, we were visiting my grandmother. We stayed in a room that had been converted from a screened porch. In the room, I found some old swing records of hers. At the time, the movie Swing Kids had come out and had ignited in me a love for big band swing music. My uncle Abel helped me play them on his stereo record player and my grandmother, who was working in the kitchen came over when she heard Benny Goodman echoing down the hall.

It was one of my fondest memories. My grandmother dancing with me in that little room. I still remember the sound her slippers made on the floor as she wiggled back and forth with the vigor of a twenty-year-old. Music made her feel young again and music was always there at her happiest.

From Mexican ballads to swing music, my grandmother loved music and dancing. She didn’t have the best singing voice, but that didn’t stop her from singing along. She was one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met, but she always had time to stop and dance.

My grandmother fixing dinner at our house

A Budget Is About Giving Every Dollar a Purpose

Dave Ramsey has got nothing on my grandmother! My grandmother was using the cash envelope system before Ramsey was even born! My grandmother managed the daily household finances and she ran a tight ship. On one occasion when I was very young, I was going to accompany one of my uncles to the grocery store. She motioned me to her room and I stood there as she opened her dresser. In her drawer, she kept envelopes filled with cash. Her scratchy handwriting labeled the envelopes’ purpose. She kept tallies of the deposits and withdraws on the back of the envelopes. Every dollar had a purpose and a place.

She clipped coupons and she planned meals. She never shopped out of boredom and she never ate out at restaurants. I even recall she wore the same purple dress to church for years and had one pair of dress shoes. She was willfully disciplined in finance. “Save your money, Mare Mare,” she said as she pulled money out of the grocery envelope. “Only buy what you need.”

I still remember her advice. Now financial gurus, like Dave Ramsey, make millions showing people how to utilize the cash envelope system to stay within a budget. But my grandmother with her 2nd-grade education figured this out with her own common sense. Her rules:

  1. Save before spending.
  2. See what you spend.
  3. Only spend only what you need.

Frugality has been lost in recent generations. I find it sad that generations today can’t even tell the difference between a need and a want. You don’t need a cell phone. Really you don’t! Eating out? That’s a luxury. That’s why young people today haven’t figured out how to buy a house in their twenties as my grandparents and parents did. Save your money and give every dollar a purpose.

Cleanliness is Next to Godliness

My grandmother was clean. Actually, I don’t think there is a word clean enough to describe her. I’d trust eating from her floor before eating off my counters. I mean, who washes their windows every week and scrubs the driveway and patio with Tide? My grandmother, that’s who! One thing I will always remember about her house it was immaculate. There was order and a place for everything.

As a homemaker myself I strive to be like her but admit I fall horribly short. I comfort myself with the fact that she didn’t have a 4,000 square foot house to clean like me. She did, however, have six children. Yet, she fixed three full meals a day for a family of eight and not just any meals, comfort food and hearty dishes.

She is my example of what a homemaker should be. I honestly don’t know how she did it. She may have been poor, but her home was so pristine and orderly, that her simple things looked incredibly tasteful. Her house always seemed peaceful and it was due to her organization and cleanliness.

Play In the Dirt

As busy as my grandmother was in the home, I remember her equally busy on the outside of the home. In fact, I was remembering that for years her washroom was outside in a small room on her back patio.

In my garden, I have her Irises. Over the years, the bulbs have yielded new bulbs and I even have an offspring of her redbud tree. Every time I see them bloom I think of her.

She was an avid gardener herself and loved to grow flowers and vegetables. Even though she’s been gone for around thirteen years, her flowers still bloom in my grandfather’s garden. She taught me to get outside and play in the dirt. It’s so therapeutic.

10 life lessons from my grandmother
My grandmother’s Irises blooming in my yard

The Heart of the Home is the Kitchen

Kitchens are for bringing families together. I underestimated that idea in my youth, but it’s true. Stories are relived around the kitchen table. Wisdom is imparted over dessert. Laughter so hard you feel like you might choke. The feeling of being so satisfyingly full that the most comfortable position is reclining in the dining chair. Memories are made at dinnertime.

My grandmother was an amazing cook, but an even more impressive baker. I miss her washing dishes at her sink. I recall the sound of her slippers clapping on the linoleum floor. The pies cooling on the window sill. The smell of coffee emanating from the tin percolator on her stove. Her 7up cake standing proudly on her kitchen table. The fragrance of freshly baked oatmeal cookies as you entered the front door. The fluffy boiled icing in the stand mixer. The scents and tastes immediately take me back and also one of the things I miss the most.

Share your recipes. Don’t hoard them. When someone passes away, a little piece of them is left behind when you recreate their recipe. Sure, it’s never exactly like the way they made it, but when you’re missing them, it’s a little slice of heaven on earth. Cook a homecooked meal. Pass down recipes. Don’t underestimate the memories that are created in the kitchen.

The Best Diet is Moderation

I’m not sure my grandmother ever topped 110 lbs her whole life, even while pregnant. My grandmother was a tiny little thing. She was only about 4’9″ and she never dieted. Instead, she enjoyed everything in moderation. A small spoonful of everything is how I remember her plate. I never saw her deny herself a dessert. In fact, she had quite a sweet tooth. But I do remember her small portions. She was never indulgent.

Her dinner plates were small and as my Aunt recalled, one loaf of bread would last their family of eight an entire week. The secret to her being thin wasn’t a fad or crash diet. It wasn’t Keto, Whole 30 or Paleo. It was moderation.

And exercise? She never went to a gym. She never worked out to get rid of the postpartum mom bod. Housework was her exercise. She earned her flat tummy by scrubbing windows and floors, making beds. Going all the way outside to load her washing machine and hanging clothes on a line. Gardening and vacuuming. I never recall her sitting until it was time to eat or sleep. Sewing was probably the exception. I don’t even recall her sitting down to fold clothes. She was pretty clear she didn’t think it was work if you were sitting.

10 life lessons from my grandmother

Hard Work Builds Character

My grandmother was the hardest working person I’ve known. I have a lot of them in my family. My father and brother are extremely hard workers. I myself, am a work horse. But my grandmother worked herself to the bone for her family.

I never asked her why she worked so hard. I’d be curious to know what motivated her every day to such perfectionism. She worked from sun up to sun down and I rarely saw her sit down to rest.

What I’ve learned from modeling her work ethic is that hard work builds character. When things don’t come easy, we appreciate them more. It molds an attitude of sacrifice and perseverance.

Until We Meet Again

I miss my grandmother more than I expected to. There are so many things I wish I could ask her now that I’m married and have children of my own. There are some days when I miss her dearly. It’s easy to cry at certain times when I consider how long she’s been gone and how much longer it will be until I see her again in heaven. But I’m so grateful for the memories and the life lessons my grandmother taught me.

10 Happy Planner Essentials

Just getting started with the Happy Planner? Here are 10 Happy Planner essentials to help get you started with decorative planning.

10 happy planner essentials
This post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through one of the links I provide I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you. Your support helps me offset the costs incurred with this blog. I only link to things I own or absolutely love.

On this blog, you may know I share my love for all things Happy Planner. It is my very favorite tool for staying organized and having a creative outlet in just a few short minutes a day. You can read how my love affair began in the post, “How Happy Planner Changed My Life.”

Recently, I’ve had lots of friends convert over to the Happy Planner and I always get the same questions. What are the best supplies I need to start Happy Planning. Well, I finally made time to write out a list of my favorite planning tools. Here are 10 Happy Planner essentials.

10 Happy Planner Essentials

Washi Tape

If you are unfamiliar with Washi tape, let’s start out with the basics. Washi tape is Japanese masking tape, but it’s decorative and comes in all kinds of colors and prints. It even comes foiled or glittered. Washi tape is a great, inexpensive way to decorate your planner pages. That’s because Washi tape has many feet of tape on one roll making it a great addition if you’re on a planner budget. If you want to know how to decorate with it, take a look at my Planning On a Budget Series below.

washi tape
washi tape

Sticker Books

Stickers are kind of the quintessential ingredient to a decorative planner. Stickers are generally what you’ll be using to decorate your planner pages. In a YouTube video, I share my favorite sticker books that I think new planner girls should start with. Some of my favorite starter books are:

Watch my video below.

Highlighters

One thing that most Happy Planner babes love is highlighters. But the hands-down favorite brand of planners is called Zebra Mildliners. These highlighters come in an array of colors. They have a dual tip (fine and chisel). The nicest aspect of them is that they aren’t fluorescent. They do have brights but they also have muted tones that are easy on the eyes.

Lots of us use them in our spreads along with stickers. In fact, you can actually decorate your entire planner spread with nothing more than these awesome Mildliners. Take a look at my first episode of “Planning on a Budget” series where I show you how to decorate with Mildliner Highlighters.

Pens

Pens are one of the few necessities when using a paper planner. To me, a good pen is like an instrument. I love the feel of a really good pen. I’m currently filming a video of my favorite pens and I’ll update this post as soon as it’s uploaded to YouTube. But for right now, here are some of my favorite pens:

Notepaper

Notebook paper is available in a variety of sizes and styles. There is graph paper, lined paper, and dot grid. They are available in all three planner sizes and they are in full sheet and half sheet sizes.

Additionally, there are to-do lists, grocery /shopping lists, hourly schedules, and a variety of other styles to help you meet your needs. I love these for brainstorming and for making lists that would otherwise take up too much room in my planner.

Full Sheets (classic)

Half Sheets

Sticky Notes

Sticky notes are a life saver for me. Personally, I hate seeing things scratched out in my planner. Let’s face it, sometimes plans fall through and when that happens, I love sticky notes. Happy Planner babes will tell you that some love to plan weeks or months in advance, while others don’t. This is where I think sticky notes are really helpful. You can “dog ear” a date in advance with a sticky note as a placeholder. If plans fall through or change, you can simply move or throw away the sticky note. Voila! You haven’t lost any real estate on your planner pages. I use sticky notes for everything that might be subject to change.

sticky notes

PRO-TIP: Store prepunched sticky notes on extra rings.

Extra Discs

If you are a newbie to Happy Planner you may realize that as you add accessories, your planner will run out of room on the medium sized discs that come with your planner. You have two choices. You can remove items or you can simply change out the discs to expander discs. Expander discs are larger and hold more. If you need more durable discs, you can move from plastic discs to metal ones.

Additionally lots of Happy Planner accessories like sticky notes, dashboards, and note paper are pre-punched and can easily be stored on extra discs.

Punches

One of the best things about the Happy Planner’s disc-bound system is that you can completely customize your planner. This includes being able to punch things and put them on the discs – even non-Happy Planner stuff. For example, whenever I get a paper invitation to a party or wedding, I punch it and put it in my planner so I don’t lose it. I’ve punched business cards, bills and other things I don’t want to lose.

Punches are available for both the big and classic-sized planners. There also box punches. With those, you can use scrapbook paper to create your own boxes for your planner. A word of caution though: the box punches are just ever so slightly smaller than the current boxes. This is because, in the early days of Happy Planner, the divider lines between the vertical boxes were much wider. Over the years, the lines have slimmed down creating a small gap, so they may not fit perfectly. I make it work though.

Stamps

Stamps are a great alternative to stickers. Some people prefer using stamps for things they do all the time. In my video below, I share how you can use stamps instead of stickers to decorate your page.

The nice thing about stamps is that they are reusable. Meaning, you purchase once and then use them again and again, unlike stickers where you use once and they are done! Using stamps can be an inexpensive alternative too stickers.


Pocket Folders, Envelopes & Dividers

One of the nicest things about Happy Planner is the ability to completely customize and organize your planner and the Happy Planner has a number of accessories that can help you do that.

Pocket Folders

The first is pocket folders. You can find them sold separately and also find them in the accessory packs. These are really helpful for helping tame the odd pieces of paper all over your desk and counters. I use my folders for anything I need to deal with – a bill, something I need to drop in the mail, you get the idea.

Envelopes

I love the little punched envelopes that the Happy Planner has. They offer them in a variety of sizes and I use them to keep small, loose things in my planner. Things like postage stamps, business cards and other small things I don’t want to lose. I use their larger envelopes for a cash envelopes system and it makes budgeting very easy.

Dividers

Dividers are great. For instance, I run a playdate group. I don’t need to dedicate a whole other planner to it, so I simply created a section in my planner for the scheduling, member contact numbers and to do lists. I simply created a section using a divider so to keep it separate from my other stuff. You could use one for anything – church activities, bible study, names and addresses, budgeting, etc. Dividers are typically sold in packs .

That’s it friends. I’ve hope I’ve narrowed down the best 10 Happy Planner essentials for you! Be sure to PIN this post for later and don’t forget to check out my other Happy Planner posts. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube Channel were you can get lots of planner tips, tricks, and inspiration!

Other Planner Posts

Subscribe to My YouTube Channel

For more Happy Planner ideas, tutorials, tips and inspiration

How to Make A Fitness Vision Board

Have you recently started a fitness or weight loss journey and are struggling to stay motivated? I’m going to show you how to make a fitness vision board to help keep your goals in front of you.

how to make a fitness vision board
This post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through one of the links I provide, I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you. Your support helps offset the costs with this blog. I only link to things I love, own or want to own.

What Is a Vision Board

Experts will tell you that the best way to achieve goals is to write them down. Writing them down gets them out of your head (a day dream) and creates the first step of becoming real. When you write your goals down. In my post, 100 Goal Ideas for the New Year, I break down how to set goals into manageable tasks.

A vision board is simply a goal list with imagery instead of just writing. A vision board helps you to envision your goal, your journey and the steps you need to take to achieve it. Some people are inspired more by visual goals instead of a checklist of sorts. If that is you, then a vision board may be what you need!

How to Make a Fitness Vision Board

Place

The first thing you need to do is pick a place for your vision board. There are no rules except that it should be in a place you will see every day. The point of the vision board is to come face-to-face with your goals every day. For me, this place is in my Fitness Happy Planner. I love my planner and I work in it every single day. I want it to be the first thing I see when I open it up every day. The Happy Planner offers a Fitness Planner. They also have a Fitness Planner Companion that comes with a blank vision board, so I’ll be using that. If you’d like to see a flip through of what else comes with it, you can watch my YouTube video below. I’ll also include a video of how I set up my fitness planner for success.

For you maybe it is posting it directly on the fridge or pantry door so when you are tempted to cheat, you’ll see it. Or maybe you just put it in a high traffic area in your house. Put in your bathroom so you see it first thing in the morning when you are getting ready. The choice is yours and experiment by moving it around to see what works.

Supplies

For you, you may choose to do it on a bulletin board, a shadow box, a poster board, or even just some paper. Your vision board should be what inspires you and doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s vision board. Here are some things you may want to gather and use for your fitness vision board.

  • Old pictures of yourself
  • Pictures of healthy food
  • Fitness stickers
  • Motivational quotes
  • Markers and pens
  • Highlighters
  • Magazine clippings
  • Pictures of “goal outfits”
  • Anything that reminds you about your goal.
vision board quote

What to Include

Your vision board should include the answers to three questions:

What

What is your goal? Be specific. Is it a specific weight? Write down your goal weight. A dress size? Add an old tag, a picture of a “goal outfit” or simply write down the dress size for which you’re aiming. Maybe you want to get back to a previous weight. Find pictures from that time of your life and include them! Visualize what your end goal is. What does it look like and how will you know you’ve achieved it?

How

Next, you will include how you will get there. Maybe you put pictures of healthy, clean, wholesome food. Cut out some exercises or motivational quotes from magazines or sticker books. Maybe add a glass of water as a reminder to drink or a picture of a pedometer to remind you to wear it. The “how” is important to visualize because you will need reminders about the everyday habits you need to build. Remind yourself what needs to be done to achieve your goal.

You may even want to include a “focus word.” A focus word is a word that sums up your journey in one word. My focus word is “discipline” because that is my biggest problem when it comes to losing weight. Other good focus words might be:

  • Energy
  • Self-control
  • Determination
  • Transform
  • Balance
  • Committed / Commitment
  • Consistency
  • Dedication
  • Grow
  • Finish
  • Focus
  • Habit
  • Freedom
  • Heal
  • Confidence
  • Journey
  • Fearless
  • Overcome
  • Persevere
  • Progress
  • Reclaim
  • Self-care
  • Strength
  • Unstoppable

Why

Lastly, include your reason. Maybe you want to get healthy for your kids. Then include a picture of them. Maybe it is getting off medication. If that’s the case, cut out the label on one of your prescription bottles and add it to your vision board as a reminder that you don’t want to live on medication because of your weight or eating habits anymore. On days where you feel like giving up, you will need to remember why you are doing this. This is crucial especially if you experience a setback. When you’re discouraged, go back to your vision board and remind yourself of your “why.”

how to make a fitness vision board

If you would like to see me put together my vision board, step-by-step, take a look at my YouTube video below.

I hope this helps you plan for success. You can follow my fitness progress on my personal Instagram. Don’t forget to PIN this post for later so you have it when you get started making your vision board.

Discovering Your Self-Care Love Language

Stuck on what kind of self-care routine fulfills your emotional needs? Today we’re talking about discovering your self-care love language.

discovering your self care love language

Self-care is not about being selfish. It’s about being kind and gentle with yourself. It’s about recharging your soul, mind, and physical health so you can be there for others and keep up with responsibilities. Self-care refills your well! So today we’re going to talk about discovering your self-care love language.

What Is a Love Language

Dr. Gary Chapman wrote the book, “The Five Love Languages.” In this Christian-themed book, Chapman explains that people have five ways that they give and receive love. These are ways that we feel loved and appreciated. All people experience all five. However, there is normally one or two that really resonate with you. More specifically, you may feel unloved or that your emotional needs are not being met if you don’t receive love in your primary love language. When people have different love languages, there is often a disconnect. Knowing the love languages of your spouse, children and other close people help to make them feel loved and encouraged.

Chapman also suggests that we tend to give love in the way we want to receive it. For example, one of my primary love languages is words of affirmation. I want my husband to tell me he loves me, tell me I’m pretty and verbally thank me when I do something. Receiving this makes me feel secure, respected and cared for. My husband needs no such praise. He is unmoved when I tell him how handsome he is. His value and love are not wrapped up in words they way mine are.

Let’s take a moment and learn about the five love languages.

The Five Love Languages Explained

  • TOUCH – Touch is the sensory experience of love. Hugging, kissing handholding, massage, and otherwise being physically affectionate
  • QUALITY TIME – Spending uninterrupted, undistracted quality time together, having fun / creating memories
  • ACTS OF SERVICE – (e.g. showing love rather than telling) Serving and otherwise showing practical physical gestures of service. For example, doing the dishes after dinner, gassing up your spouse’s car for them, preparing their morning coffee, or taking care of responsibilities)
  • WORDS OF AFFIRMATION – Verbal affirmation, praise, and verbal appreciation, compliments, encouragement.
  • GIFTS – this is not always about being spoiled or even materialism, but rather the gift tells them they were thought of and the more personal the gift, the more meaningful to the recipient. Additionally, the gift should not be an attempt to cover up past failures.

In all languages, the recipient also doesn’t want to have to ask for what they need, otherwise, it proves less meaningful. Ask yourself, what makes you feel loved and special? What do you need most out of relationships?

discovering your self care love language

Discovering Your Self Care Love Language

So today, we’re going to talk about applying these principles to yourself. This is how you can meet some of your emotional needs on your own and treat yourself the way you want to be treated. Here is what self-care might look like in your love language.

Touch (Sensory / Physical)

  • Get a massage
  • Create a skincare routine
  • Take a long hot bath
  • PJs all day!
  • Cuddle with a pet
  • Exercise
  • Stretch
  • Cut out sugar and junk food
  • Enjoy candles or aromatherapy
  • Take a walk outside in the sun
  • Listen to Music
  • Play an instrument
  • Dance
  • Sunbathe

Quality Time (Present / Mindful)

  • Take a nap (with or without an alarm clock)
  • Schedule a lunch date with a friend
  • Mediate
  • Pray
  • Detox from social media
  • Do an act of kindness for someone
  • Sleep in
  • Journal
  • Do something crafty
  • Go to bed early
  • Setting boundaries
  • Spend time learning something new
  • Wake early

Service (Do)

  • Make a budget to give yourself more financial freedom
  • Declutter
  • Delegate errands
  • Book a therapy appointment
  • Garden
  • Change your scenery and redecorate / rearrange furniture
  • Create a routine for things you find stressful

Words of Affirmation (Mental)

  • Write a love letter to yourself
  • List out your positive qualities
  • List your favorite physical qualities (challenge yourself)
  • Write a gratitude list
  • Read
  • Listen to a positive podcast
  • Avoid toxic people and people who make you feel bad about yourself
  • Write a goal list
  • Keep a compliment list, refer to it when you’re blue
  • Read some inspirational quotes
  • Forgive someone

Gifts (Immerse)

  • Invest in your dreams
  • Treat yourself to something special
  • Dine al fresco
  • Give yourself a facial
  • Take a vacation
  • Get a mani/pedi
  • Treat yourself to dinner out
  • Take a staycation
  • Enjoy a spa day (Pamper yourself)
  • Buy some fresh flowers
  • Buy a new outfit
  • Go wine tasting
  • Enjoy a cocktail at a swanky bar
  • Treat yourself to dessert
  • Hire someone to clean your house

If you want to be loved, it starts with you. Others notice how we treat ourselves. Self-respect, giving ourselves permission to rest, and developing a positive image of ourselves are all forms of self-care. Make yourself a priority so you can be there for others.

Right Now I’m Just a Mom and That’s Okay

Motherhood has changed how I think of myself. Right now, I’m just a mom and that’s okay.

right now I'm just a mom

I’ve done all kinds of things in my life. In my twenties, I modeled and worked in local theater productions. I even had a small stint as a regular occurring extra on NBC’s Friday Night Lights. For fifteen years, I worked as an insurance professional, handling major claims and being deposed in lawsuits. I’ve also worked as an artist and later an art curator. I’m a multifaceted woman, but before motherhood, I always staked my identity in my career.

After the birth of my first son, I decided to become a stay-at-home mom. Those first few months were hard. Honestly, I cried every day. Being a mom was so stinking tough. Being a stay-at-home mom meant I’d never get a break from my child. Everything landed squarely on my shoulders. The house. The chores. The baby. It was all me. I didn’t know who I was. I mean, who was I if I wasn’t the career woman? Who was I if I wasn’t being creative? I had no idea who I was anymore.

My life had turned into a mess of poopy diapers. The only conversation I had was with a babbling little boy who lovingly stared at me, while I toiled with emotions of regret. Had I made the wrong choice? My whole day suddenly centered around feedings and naptimes. I lost my identity. I wondered if I could handle the solitude, the isolation that comes with being a stay-at-home-mom. I literally, had no one. Co-workers soon forgot me. Childless friends moved on.

I hadn’t counted on the feelings of regret. At first, I was happy to leave the stress-filled job I had. Happy to – what I thought – was going to be a break from hard work (I know, I was naive). I thought motherhood was going to be nothing but joy, laughter, and contentment, and while those moments exist, there are just as many moments that have tears, and frustration, and sacrifice.

At about nine months postpartum, I realized I needed to stop wishing for my old identity and instead create a new one. But doing that would require a whole new mind-shift. It would require me to value what I was doing. Or maybe more precisely, it would require me to see this season as my most valuable. A season that utilized my gifts and past experiences in a new, precious way. That everything I had accomplished before now wasn’t actually for my sake, but for my sons.

I am now four years into being a stay-at-home mom and I’m not going to be done anytime soon. You see, I’ve decided to homeschool. So with that, I resign myself to many more years at home. Many more irreplaceable days where I get to watch my babies grow, learn, and become gentlemen. But these days, I love my new identity. I love being “just a mom.”

In this new identity, I have realized that I traded in an important job for the most important job. Any career I’d have would pale in comparison to what I’m accomplishing with my sons. (That’s not a dig at working moms. Every mom’s journey is valuable.)

Not long ago, I reconnected with an old friend. She scoffed at the idea of staying home with children and asked plainly, “don’t you regret wasting your education and talents at home?” Oh friend, if only you knew how intimately my talents and education gets utilized while I’m being “just a mom.” My oldest child is four and he can find Egypt on a map. He can identify the inner anatomy in the human ear. He uses musical terms like “fortissimo, accelerando, and crescendo.” He can identify the systems of the human body and describe their purpose. Trust me, my knowledge isn’t being wasted. It’s being passed on. My talents flourish here and my kids are the joyful recipients.

And likewise my wisdom and my faith. Being a stay-at-home-mom creates a uniquely intimate bond with a child because we are a witness to each other’s lives. We share the daily breathtaking surprises and unexpected adventures. The terrible. The mundane. The funny. The wow moments. Mom and child do it together. An “odd couple” team of sorts.

Those sweet babies? They see me fail. They see me fall short. They watch to see if I forgive first and love first. They watch me cling to Jesus and watch me praise Him in the storm. They’re watching to see how merciful I am to others and how I make friends. They are taking it all in, modeling me in every way. That’s a lot of pressure! I’ve realized this “dull existence” suddenly has a lot of meaning… and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

My identity was forever altered when I became a mom – and it will change as my children grow up and need me less and less. One day, I’ll be hoping they pick up the phone and call me in the midst of their busy lives. Right now, I’m just a mom…and that’s okay.