10 Books to Read as a New Mom

Becoming a new mom can be overwhelming. There are so many questions to answer and problems to solve as you try to find your feet. Here are 10 Books to Read as a New Mom to get your through those tough first years.

This page contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of the links I provide, I may receive a small purchase at no cost to you. This helps me offset the costs of this blog. I only recommend things I absolutely love or use myself.


Keeping little humans alive is no joke! Some days just keeping them alive is the best we can do – and that’s okay. So today, I’m sharing 10 Books to read as a new mom. These books brought me peace, answered tough questions and guided me through really difficult circumstances. They helped me understand my little one better and reassured me that I was on the right path. I truly hope they help you as much as they helped me.

1. What To Expect: The First Year

They say children don’t come with an instruction manual. I beg to differ. If ever there was such a thing, this is definitely it. This book was a lifesaver to me. It answered so many of my questions. From nursing, to introducing solids, to sleep regression and illnesses, this was my go-to book. It will save you lots of questions to your mom, doctors, and friends. It’s the best resource for a clueless mom, and girl, we’re all clueless at the beginning of motherhood!

2. The Happiest Baby on the Block, by Harvey Karp M.D. 

This was such a helpful book. Let’s just be real for a second – a crying baby can take a toll on you. If you have a sick, colicky, or reflux baby that cries even more than other babies, it can drive you to a point of frustration you didn’t even know existed. Dr. Karp explains the physiology of a crying baby and introduces 5 methods to soothe your little one. 

3. Baby-Led Weaning, by Gill Rapley

This is a must-have guide when introducing solids to your baby. Feeding baby purees is a relatively modern parenting technique. Before electric blenders, parents did exactly what Rapley suggests, giving your baby cooked, soft whole foods. They learn to have a healthy relationship with food right from the start. Babies also develop fine motor skills by grasping and pinching. This book will show you the no-fuss way of doing it so your baby can join you at the dinner table.

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4. The Magic of Motherhood, Ashlee Gadd

Fellow mom blogger Ashlee Gadd from blog Coffee + Crumbs, shares how there is no singular right way to be a mom. In her book, she shares how to find your new identity and how to accept yourself as a mom, faults included. The book, full of both laughter and tears, are honest, vulnerable and I promise you’ll identify with it. Be sure to follow her blog too…you know after My Beautiful Mess, of course!

5. What to Expect: The Second Year

This book is very similar to the What to Expect: The First Year. This book, however, focuses on 12 to 24 month toddler development and it is extremely helpful! It covers everything from picky eaters, to sleeping issues, and how to correct behavioral issues like biting and hitting and of course the big one – potty training. The one thing I really found useful was the chapters dedicated to illness, pain, and allergies. As you know, mamas worry and this answered my “should I worry?” questions.

6. Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting, Dr. Laura Markham

Can we be honest for a second? As soon as you have to start repeating yourself over and over as a parent, you’ll be tempted to yell. It’s true. We all have moments where our patience is pushed to a point where yelling seems like the only option to make your point. This book, written by a clinical psychologist, gives insightful tips on how to reach your child without resorting to yelling and other bad parenting behavior. The key is to reach your child on an emotional level so there is lasting, not just temporary change. This book really helped our terrible twos! The threes have become a breeze because of this book.

7. The Five Love Languages for Children: The Secret to Loving Your Child Effectively, Gary Chapman

If you’ve ever read the 5 Love Languages which is dedicated to wedded couples, you’re in for a real treat. This book teaches you how to discover your child’s love language. Almost like a decoding manual, it helps you translate the subtle cues and hints that your child sends on how they desire to be loved. I found this book very insightful. It helped me become a more intuitive, gentler parent. Side note: this book is Christian themed, but still powerful in translating emotional behaviors

8. Parenting With Love & Logic, Foster Cline & Jim Fay

One thing I loved about this book is that it teaches you to embrace your mistakes as learning opportunities. The book is designed to foster a life long relationship with your child based on respect, love, empathy and appreciation. It teaches you how to develop a child that is morally, emotionally, and spiritually healthy.

9. Latch: A Handbook for Breastfeeding With Confidence At Every Stage, Robin Kaplan

Breastfeeding can be a huge stressor when you first have a baby. It seems like the most natural things in the world, yet most nursing mothers will tell you it takes a while for both you and baby to get the hang of it. This no-judgement manual, is great to help you with nursing and nursing problems at every milestone. Written by an experienced lactation consultant, it’s like having her bedside all the time. A must read book for nursing moms!

10. Potty Training in 3 Days, Brandi Brucks

If you are struggling to potty train or simply have no idea where to start, I highly recommend this book. The book shares practical advice and steps on how to ditch diapers and get your little one interested in using the potty. The results speak for themselves. Many parents swear by the results and credit their success to this book.


I sincerely hope that this post, 10 Books to Read as a New Mom, helps you navigate those early years. Hang in there. You’re doing a great job mama. Remember, this is just advice. Ultimately, you’ll find your own way through motherhood. If you’re looking for other book lists, read the post 10 Books That Will Strengthen Your Marriage.

In the comments below, I’d love to hear about books that have changed your motherhood experience!

Dear Mama Who’s Struggling

Every mom has rough patches. You aren’t alone. I have some words of encouragement to the mama who’s struggling.

mama who's struggling

Dear Mama who’s struggling,

I know how bad, your day, week…heck, your year is going. Believe me when I say, I’ve been there. I know you’re struggling. I see you. Yeah, you in that pile of diapers, tantrums and tears. I see you! With that tween who is discovering boys or that teen who is pushing you away. You may be pretending you’re okay, but that smile doesn’t fool me. I know the days feel long and endless. Hell, this whole stage feels endless.

I know that sounds awful, but you know it has nothing to do with how much we love our kids. Love isn’t the problem, right? We love them, there’s no question. Love is what gets us through the sleepless nights and the days of runny noses and stomach bugs. It’s what makes us sit down to a make believe tea party when we’ve got dishes stacked on every kitchen surface. Love is why we play “dinosaurs” for the tenth time today when we’ve got mounds of laundry piled up like a trash heap. Love isn’t the problem.

I get it. Most days it feels pointless. I mean does anyone else really care if the microwave gets clean or the furniture gets dusted? It sometimes feels like we’re the only ones stressing over the state of the house. And for what? We know as soon as we get it clean – as soon as every last goldfish crumb has been swept up and every last Minion, Dory and PJ Mask figurine has been put in its place, it will all be back on the floor tomorrow. I know it feels pointless.

But I promise you girlfriend, it isn’t pointless. I promise you it matters. You matter! You aren’t invisible. Even if no one praises you, even if there are no accolades. Hell, even if you think you are failing miserably, it matters. YOU MATTER. You matter to those little babies. You’re their whole world. They love you no matter what. I don’t care if you totally phoned dinner in tonight. Even if they are on their last pair of clean underwear, they love you and they’re proud of you.

It’s not endless either. That’s the saddest part. Over the years, your kids will slip away from you to live their own lives. In fact, the older they get, the less time there is to teach and shower them with that obsessive love you feel. Motherhood is the only career where you work yourself out of a job. If you’ve done a good job, they won’t need you. These are the good old days you’ll miss. You won’t ever regret loving your kids instead of doing chores or errands.

mama who's struggling

This motherhood thing is no joke. It ain’t for the weak! It ain’t for the fearless. The truth is – Motherhood can suck. It can also be amazingly wonderful and everything in between. That’s because it’s a journey. It’s a process. And once you’re a mother, you’ll always be one. I don’t care if you never even saw your baby. If you lost your baby in the womb or at the moment he or she should have taken their first breath. You’re a mama. Motherhood is hard…even on it’s best days.

And by the way, I don’t care if you give your kids Vegan snacks or candy for dinner. It doesn’t matter if you homeschool like me or if they are in public school. You’ve got my respect. Your version of motherhood doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. Seriously, if there is anything moms do wrong, it’s judging other mamas. Let’s not do that. We’re all just winging it. We’re all just trying to survive. Trying to make it through this tough season. Mother Theresa said, “If you’re busy judging people, you have no time to love them.” Truth. Just love each other – we’re all learning this mom thing at different speeds, in different ways. There is no one “right” way to mom.

I know you feel guilty. You snapped at them yesterday. Thank God no one saw that. It’s amazing how quickly you can bottle that up if you’ve got a play date or someone you know unexpectedly drops in. I know. I’ve done it too. And if you think the women in your mom’s circle haven’t done the same at some point – they’re lying. Because here is what no one tells you: all moms lose their shit at some point. There…I said it. It’s true.

Even if you are an awesome mom, we’ve all locked ourselves in a room, or a car, or some quiet place alone and sobbed into our hands. Raise your hand if you’ve cried to a husband that doesn’t understand. We’ve all wondered if we’re completely failing at this. We wonder if anyone sees that our life is a mess.

Let me tell you something I’ve learned: motherhood is a lot of work and a lot of second guessing. You might think the moms you know have it all together. They don’t! They just use perfectionism as a masquerade. Trust me, I invented that! My life is a mess. Everyone’s is. They’re very own hot, lovely, perfect, beautiful mess.


The post, Dear Mama Who’s Struggling first appeared on My Beautiful Mess.

January Scripture Reading: Identity in Christ

Are you struggling with self-esteem and confidence? Maybe you are disappointed in yourself or struggling to forgive yourself. In those moments, it helps to remember who God says you are. This year, I’ll be offering a monthly scripture reading plan. Join me for the January Scripture Reading Plan: Identity In Christ

Identity in Christ

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Today, I’m sharing something close to my heart – our identity in Christ. I wish I could say that 2018 had been kind to me, but honestly it was a hard year. First, I had a complicated pregnancy, followed by a hard birth and my son’s club foot treatments. Secondly, I’ve had severe postpartum depression. Lastly, I experienced a toxic friendship which ultimately left me without friends or my beloved mom’s support group.

Harsh words were exchanged and sadly, the situation made me question every aspect of my personality, my qualities, and my identity. In those moments, we can believe the enemy’s lies or we can choose to remember our identity in Christ.

Losing Our Identity

It is very easy to get caught up in what the world thinks about you. Our image and reputation becomes important to us starting as children. It’s formed by assumptions, accusations, criticism, popularity, and rejection. Soon, it becomes our inner voice and how we see ourselves. It’s the ground work for insecurity, negative self-talk, and low self-esteem.

Maybe a parent or teacher didn’t think much of us. Those words have a way of haunting us even years afterwards. But here is the good news. Our non-Christian identity is not our true identity.

The world is quick to label us. For example, the world says I’m a woman. I’m a minority. I’m middle class. The world has called me a “know-it-all,” fat, an overachiever, and condescending. According to the world, I’m not normal because I have bi-polar. The world will say I don’t measure up and that I’m unworthy of love and acceptance. Maybe you have heard similar things. But your identity in Christ is far from what the world thinks.

God’s Unstoppable Love For Us

The beauty about our identity in Christ is that it is not dependent upon our accomplishments or failures. The love and acceptance we have in Christ is not dependent upon us or our deeds. It is freely given by a loving and perfect God.

It’s hard to remember, especially when we don’t have the love of the world. After all, if people can’t love us as we are, how can a perfect God? He sees everything I do. He watches me when I’m haughty and self-righteous. He knows when my tongue goes from surly to downright venomous.

Thankfully, God does not love as people love. His love is unconditional. He loves us even when fail to measure up. Mankind revokes grace and mercy when we repeatedly fail. But His grace is new every day (Lam 3:22-23).

Certainly, I have asked if God truly loves me at my worst. Isn’t that what we all want to know? How much does God love us and does He love us when we fail at everything we touch? When Paul asks, “can anything separate us from the love of Christ,” haven’t we all wondered that?

The apostle Paul professes in Romans 8:38-39 (NLT):

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Enemy’s Voice

People are going to say mean, hate-filled things to us and over us. We will never be able to stop people from doing that, but the enemy will try use it against us. He knows how insecure we can be and therefore, he will remind us of every fault, mistake and flaw to keep us trapped in a web of self-loathing. He wants us paralyzed, convinced we are unloved.

It’s almost embarrassing to say, but I was there. Over the last several months those words haunted me every day. I truly felt hated – like I was the worst person alive and I just wanted to crawl into a hole and never come out. That’s just what the devil is hoping for too.

The enemy wants to steal your joy, kill your confidence and destroy your spirit. He wants you broken, confused, defeated, desperate and exhausted. Christ however, wants to give you goodness and give it in abundance. If you doubt that for one second, read John 10:10:

The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come that they may have life and have it to the fullest.

God has good plans for us (Jer 29:11). To clarify, this does not mean we never experience hardships or cruelty from others. It means those things no longer have power over us.

Remember this – no matter what someone calls you, no matter what someone says you are – God says different!

Who God Says You Are

Finding these scriptures was a fun exercise, because honestly, I could have done this for a year! The more I read, the more excited I get.

God says you are:

  • Anointed (1 John 2:27)
  • His child (1 John 3:1-2)
  • Accepted (Rm 15:7)
  • Included (Eph 1:13)
  • Forgiven (1 John 1:9)
  • Justified (Rm 3:24)
  • Adopted (Eph 1:5)
  • Blessed when you come and go (Deut 28:6)
  • An oak of righteousness (Is 61:3)
  • Marked with His Seal (Eph 1:13)
  • Chosen (1 Pet 2:9)
  • Fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:13)
  • Worth dying for (Rm 5:8)
  • A conqueror (Rm 8:37)
  • A soldier in the army of Christ (2 Tim 2:3-4)
  • Ordained and Sanctified (Jeremiah1:5)
  • A citizen of heaven (Phil 3:20)
  • Appointed (John 15:16)
  • His heir (Eph 1:11)
  • Free (Heb 9:15)
  • A priest (or Priestess) (1 Pet 2:5)
  • Redeemed (Is 44:22 / Ps 111:9)
  • Precious (Is 43:4)
  • A Saint (Eph 2:19)
  • An Ambassador (2 Cor 5:18-30
  • Without blemish (Col 1:22)
  • A temple of the Holy Spirit (1 For 6:19-20)
  • Reconciled (Eph 2:8-9)

Feel better? Me too.

Though my mother and father forsake me, the Lord will take me in. (Psalm 27:10)

The post January Scripture Reading: Identity in Christ first appeared on My Beautiful Mess

Join me in February for Love and Kindness Scripture Reading. In the meantime, learn more about making wellness a priority in the post 30 Day Wellness Challenge

10 Sanity Saving Products for Your Reflux Baby

This post contains affiliate links which I recommend. If you make a purchase using the links I provide, I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you.

10 Sanity Saving Products for Your Reflux Baby

Having a baby with reflux is exhausting. I’ve compiled 10 Sanity Saving products for your reflux baby to help you get through this tough season.

Our Story

I should know. Our oldest son was born prematurely at 35 weeks. He didn’t need a NICU stay, but after a few weeks of being home, we noticed something was wrong. He cried every time we put him down. As new parents, you go through the standard reasons for crying. Is he fed? Diaper changed? Hot or cold? Burped? Sleepy? But nothing made him happy. Except for being held.

Even more horrifying is that it was getting worse every week. I felt like the worst mother. I couldn’t comfort my baby. We didn’t know why he would scream and writhe every time we put him down on his back. We didn’t understand why he would arch his back. He’d act like he was drowning when he ate, even on a slow flow nipple. Even after he’d eaten, it would all come oozing back out of his mouth like a faucet. And then….the screaming. The terrible screeching sound that filled our house for hours. We made several trips to the emergency room because the screaming was so intense. I stopped nursing and tried multiple formulas. I bought nearly every bottle type I could find. Nothing helped. I had no answers.

One night, my husband and I were on the verge of tears. Neither of us had slept in weeks. I felt delusional, like I was going mad. In a fit of frustration, I took to Facebook, begging for help, ugly crying with every keystroke. My cousin’s wife responded and asked me a few questions. “It sounds like reflux. Our son had it too.” She proceeded to give me a list of things they used that helped them. We went to the doctor and it was finally confirmed as reflux (also known as GERD).

I never even knew children could have acid reflux. It’s painful and their little sphincters just can’t keep food down. If they are being held up, gravity helps it, so it isn’t so bad. But if they are moving around or laying down, particularly on their back, the acid, bile, and partially digested food makes its way back up.  I can’t stress enough how these items saved us. I don’t know if we would have survived that first year without these solutions.

Our second child had reflux too. I can’t tell you how these products have helped us. Despite having reflux and a club foot, our second little guy is an easy baby. This time we prepared ourselves with the right gear. So if you’re a mom whose child has just been diagnosed with reflux, I sincerely hope this helps. You aren’t alone. Hang in there, because I will also tell you that once they are past the 6 month mark and eating a good amount of solids, you’re almost out of the woods. Believe me when I say, it gets better. I promise.

  1. Fisher Price Rock and Play

Before we found this amazing inclined sleeper, we were “sleeping” in our glider with our son. Of course, we didn’t really get sleep because we were so worried about dropping him. This solved that! We had tried putting things under our son’s mattress to prop it up but nothing worked until he was older. This amazing sleeper is great for under 6 months. It keeps him upright, but maintains a natural sleeping position. Because it is gusseted, they also can’t roll over to their tummy. It includes breathable mesh sides and strap to secure your infant.

2. Dr. Brown Bottles

I’m not joking. I tried every bottle in the early days of my son’s reflux. I spent hundreds of dollars and nothing helped. Nothing, until I found Dr. Brown bottles, that is. I can’t stress enough how good they are for colic and reflux. They have a special vent system that breaks up air and controls the flow. If you have a reflux baby, don’t settle for anything less.

3. Angelcare Movement Monitor

Once your little one outgrows the Rock and Play, you’ll have to make the transfer over to the crib. This is definitely optional, but making the transfer was scary for us. We were worried he could spit up at night. With babies sleeping on their back there is always the worry of choking. So this movement alarm gave us peace of mind. It’s very sensitive and it senses if your baby has stopped breathing. After a few seconds, a sound alarms. It can be used all the way up to toddler years if still in the crib. You also need to purchase an additional wooden board that helps keep it accurate.

4. Owlet Smart Sock Baby Monitor

An alternative to the Angelcare is the Owlett. Again, this is totally optional, but it does help your peace of mind. Your child wears it like a sock and it transmits information to your phone. It measures your child’s breathing, in particular their oxygen levels It also measures his or her heart rate. Any concerning drop in vitals sounds an alarm. It’s extremely sensitive, but it’s also a little on the pricey side. This really helped us sleep better at night.

5. Similac Spit-Up Formula

I would absolutely consult your pediatrician regarding formulas, but this formula helped us tremendously. It was the only formula, my second son would drink. Before that, every feeding was like a battle of the wills. He would struggle and spit up most of what he drank. This formula saved us since he wouldn’t eat the hypoallergenic one. Its available in powder and 32 oz ready to feed bottles.

6. Enfamil AR Forumla

This was my first son’s formula. Like the Similac Spit-Up formula, it is contains a rice starch which makes the formula heavier and harder to come back up. It’s available in powder form and 8 oz 6-packs.

7. Similac Alimentum Formula

Again, consult your physician before changing formulas. Doctors may ask you to try a hypoallergenic formula like Similac Alimentum. Our son didn’t care for it and wouldn’t drink it. It has a vitamin kind of smell and taste. But a friend of mine had a son that did amazingly on it! It may not be tasty, but doctors use this hypoallergenic formula to help manage reflux with great success.

8. Ergo Baby Carrier

One thing you’ll have to accept is that your reflux baby will need to be carried a lot. That can be really hard, especially if you have other kids to tend to. But having a good carrier makes all the difference! This definitely kept me sane. I was really hesitant to spend the money. I actually went through two cheaper carriers before finally splurging on this. It was worth every cent! As your baby gets heavier, you’ll need a quality carrier. Trust me, your back and shoulders will thank you.

9. Dr. Brown Formula Mixing Pitcher

If you plan on using powdered formula, this is a Godsend! It is a pitcher with a built-in manual blender. Because it’s made by Dr. Brown, it’s designed to mix your formula without introducing extra air. Then you just pop it in the fridge and pour from it. It holds about 36 oz comfortably. It’s also dishwasher safe.

10. Extra Absorbant Cotton Padded Burp Cloths

Before I had my son, I had the cutest little burp cloths that matched outfits. But honestly, they were no match for my son’s projectile spit up. They were too thin and not absorbent enough. If your baby has reflux, you’ll soon learn everything will get covered in spit up. These burp clothes are great and they have extra padding to catch spit up and vomit.

Looking for more mom support? Learn more about Resetting Your Day as a Mom

The post 10 Sanity Saving Products for Your Reflux Baby first appeared on My Beautiful Mess

How To Stay Sane As a Stay At Home Mom

(Photos courtesy of Unsplash)

Staying home is a big decision for any woman. It’s hard to stay sane as a new stay at home mom. It doesn’t matter your background, although I think the more you’ve invested in your career the harder it is to give it up. Some women can’t stay home. It takes two incomes to make ends meet and there are some mothers who view staying home as giving up their independence. I’ve learned, it couldn’t be farther from the truth. You actually have to be extremely independent to be at home. It can be a very lonely road. There are no awards or commendations. No raises or promotions if you did an extra good job this year. And truly no sick days! I’ve learned it takes a very special person to do this and enjoy it.

When I first became a stay-at-home mom, I left a 50-hour a week job. It was a very stressful job full of confrontation and lawsuits. Moving from the corporate world to being at home was like shell shock but after lots of trial and error, I’ve learned what works for me. Here are some practical things that helped me stay sane when first started staying home. I hope they help you find your own way.

Create Routines and Schedules

My job was appointment based and so while I was working, I lived by a planner. When I quit my job, I threw it out. Who needs a planner at home, right? My first 6 months at home were awful. Let’s just say, I couldn’t get a handle on anything. I couldn’t keep up with chores. Laundry piled up. Dishes were stacked in the sink. I’d double booked myself or forgot appointments altogether. I felt unaccomplished and overwhelmed.

Then I discovered a Happy Planner. It’s a planner, except you can customize and decorate it. You may not be a planner person and that’s fine, but I will tell you that creating regular routines are good for both you and baby. You choose how stringent or relaxed you want it. Babies and toddlers do well on routines. It’s good for their circadian rythyms.  When they know what to expect, it reduces anxiety and tantrums. They feel secure and you can better manage responsibilities without feeling frazzled.

Leave The House Often

I get it. I know how awful it is to leave the house with an infant. You feel like your packing for a 2 month trip across Europe.  But the more often you go out, the more confident you’ll get doing it and eventually, it won’t even seem like such a big chore. This is key to staying sane as a stay at home mom. It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut. It’s easier to stay home, but I promise it will do both you and baby a world of good! You’ll feel like a prisoner in your own house if you don’t. I recommend one outing a day.

Meet your husband for lunch, visit parents or in-laws, or have breakfast with a friend. Take a walk with the stroller. It doesn’t even have to be outdoors. Walk a mall or shopping center. Target seems like stay-at-home mom hangout everywhere. You can stop at a coffee shop or schedule a play date with another mom. If you have shopping and errands to do, I recommend spacing them out one per day. You get a break from your house and one outing ensures it won’t be overwhelming. If it’s a very quick outing, make it easier on yourself by just bringing a diaper clutch. It’s scary at first, but over time it will become second nature.

Find Support With Other Moms

The most shocking thing about being a stay at home mom hit me at about six months. My phone stopped ringing. Maybe you’ll have a different experience than I did, but I was absolutely shocked by this. I was very quickly forgotten by friends and colleagues after a few months away from the workforce. I’m not blaming anyone.

When you have a baby, your life changes. It’s common to stop accepting invitations shortly after giving birth. After all, you’re not sleeping and you’re trying to find your feet. After a while, people stopped inviting me altogether. Severe post-partum depression compounded my loneliness. I didn’t have any friends in the same stage of life as me, but then I’m an older mom. Sadder still was that my poor husband, although supportive and attentive, was suddenly solely responsible for all my social and emotional needs. If you want to strain your marriage, this is a great way to do it. No one person can be your everything.

I needed friends. Not just any kind of friends. Friends who understood why it took me a couple of hours to leave the house and was still late. I needed friends who understood all the doubts and second guessing you do as a mom. Friends who force me to leave the house and have some fun. I needed mom friends. These days, if you don’t have any you know personally, you can find play date groups in Facebook groups, Meetup.com, churches, and local websites. I can’t tell you how my life changed when I made non-judgmental, supportive mom friends. I found out I wasn’t weird, inadequate or a failure.

Only in the last 50 to 60 years have women been in the workforce. Before that, all women were at home and had the support of other women at home. Your mom, sisters and neighbors were all at home too. They’d talk over the fence while they hung laundry on the line or did gardening. Women didn’t have to look far for support. Now women are divided between home and work. Those who choose to stay at home may feel alienated because we no longer have the support system we once did. But some awesome women out there have created mom and play date groups to help, so go join one!

Make Your Wellness a Priority

When my oldest son was about 8 months, I felt miserable. He was sleeping through the night, but I was still perpetually exhausted. If I’m being very honest, I had no joy either. I felt depleted in just about every way you can. That’s when I realized I wasn’t taking care of myself anymore. When you have a child, your focus goes from yourself to another person in an instant. That’s good, but don’t forget that you need to take care of yourself and you have to make it a priority. If you wait for it to happen organically, it won’t. Trust me. Don’t give yourself crumbs either. Make it a priority.

This means being deliberate and purposeful about making time for yourself, even if you have to pencil it in a planner. Talk to your partner and get them on board. Whether it’s exercise, a mom’s night out, or a long bubble bath, do things that bring you peace, restoration and fun. There are lots of ways to take care of yourself and I’ve written another post with a free printable if you need ideas. I used to think that “love thy neighbor as thyself” was just about another person. But it’s actually two commands in one. You can’t give what you don’t have and you can’t teach what you don’t know. Practicing regular self-love is about caring for yourself, so you can care for others.

Bloom Where You’re Planted

Attitude matters. When I was working, I went through a season of joylessness. I was working in insurance and was very unhappy that I wasn’t working in my field of study – psychology. But that’s when God revealed to me that I was using it, just not in the capacity that I had planned. Everyday I helped people recover when their house burned to the ground or was completely flooded. I was there when family members died. I was, in fact, doing the very thing for which I trained. Everything is a for a season, and it’s up to us to embrace the moment. To put it plainly, your happiness is up to you.

Some days you’ll have to dig deep to find it. It’s hard to remember there should be joy in this. It’s hard to remember why you’re doing this when the house is a mess, babies are fussy and toddlers are on the ground in a full blown fit. You’ll find yourself fantasizing about how perfect working was, even though it’s completely untrue. You had bad days there too. There will be days you need to adjust your attitude. Learn more about how to stay sane by Resetting Your Day as a Mom. Our kids grow up fast and these will one day be “the good old days.” The small things you do everyday are our children’s memories. Make it count, because their lives will be spent away from you longer than they were with you. Enjoy this season and bloom where you’re planted.


Give Yourself Grace

I saved this for last on purpose because it’s the last thing I want you to hear (or read, that is). We’re on our own journey. Your life should look like your own – no one else’s. It’s perfectly okay if you don’t homeschool and bake pies. It’s okay if your life isn’t Pinterest worthy. Trust me when I say Facebook, Instagram and other social media are full of moments that only make the highlight reel edit. It’s an illusion of perfection. Comparison will suck all the joy out of life. Don’t do it.

Don’t be hard on yourself. Give yourself grace for mistakes and learning. Make forgiving yourself a habit. Allow yourself to be human. Progress is more important than perfection. Just when you think you have the answers, children will change the questions and the learning begins again. Some days are going to be incredibly hard. Keeping little humans alive might be the only thing that gets done and that is perfectly okay.