The Mom Project Chapter 13: Shower Your Kids With Grace

The Mom Project Chapter 13: Shower Your Kids With Grace

Welcome to The Mom Project. For the next few weeks, we’ll be launching my book The Mom Project by hosting several mom friends who have tried it out for themselves. They read the book, completed a project from the book with their kids, and wrote all about it. And these are real moms. Busy moms. Unsure-of-themselves moms. Single moms. Special needs moms. Working moms. Stay-at-home moms. They do the hard working of mommyhood every day, and have found fun ways to connect with their kids in the simple activities found in The Mom Project. Read on to hear their experience:

My daughter Anya has crossed that mysterious threshold, called middle school. I refer to it as the tween twilight zone. I had taken for granted the innocence of elementary school, the fairy forts being built in the backyard and listening to the endless stories of her class fishing with bamboo sticks in the creek. I was completely unprepared for sixth grade and the change it would bring to our home! Anya on the other hand is living her best tween life with one small exception…missing homework. I am certain my daughter completes her homework, because I have the unfortunate experience of wracking my brain trying to help her figure out what the slope of xy is if y is -4! Did I mention my strong disdain for algebra? Oh, and we haven’t even reached algebra this is pre-algebra! Since, she excelled in math in fifth grade she was placed in pre-algebra two levels higher than the average sixth grade math course, which has caused somewhat of a rift in our relationship!

Some of our discord is my fault. I have a new- found obsession with the online grading system that allows me to check the status of homework and grades at any time of the day…which I do…multiple times. I don’t check because I’m in training to be a tiger mom. I check because first, I’m perplexed that work is missing and second, I’m concerned. I never had issues with her handing in homework. I’m fully aware that Anya is responsible for her grades, but my momma heart can’t help to be a bit worried.

I decided to lower my blood pressure and put a stop to my new found unhealthy habit of visiting RemWeb. It was working, until one evening when she asked me to check if her math test was recorded. I eagerly agreed, after all my resistance was wearing weak! I put in the password, pulled up pre-algebra and there it was…a D, and to make matters worse, the overall grade was a D-. If she didn’t understand the material that’s one thing, but just not handing work in, well that’s another.

My eyes scanned the grades and it was apparent that she was in real trouble and partly because of missing work! I was ready to lay down the hammer, then I saw her eyes filling up with tears. I knew that anything I said in the heat of frustration would only result in a big blow out. Instead I gave her a goodnight kiss decided it was time to dive into the, “Mom Project.” I needed help!

The project, “Shower Your Kids with Grace,” immediately caught my attention. It was time to try a different angle, one that was completely opposite of what I felt like doing, which was dropping the gauntlet. After reading the project, I knew the best lesson wasn’t going to be a lecture, but a good dose of grace.

The next morning, I let Anya sleep in for a bit and woke her up with her favorite homemade waffle breakfast with whip cream and blackberries. She looked at me quizzically and cautiously. I told her we were taking the day off and having a mother daughter day in Washington, DC. She loves photography, so I planned a relaxing day of visiting her favorite spots to let her take photos. It would be a day free of grades, judgment or blame. We hopped on the metro and began the day in our Nation’s Capital. Watching Anya so care free, doing cart wheels on the National Mall, practicing her photography skills at the Botanical Gardens, and grabbing a sweet treat at Georgetown Cupcakes was a perfect way to shower her with the grace she needed.

While hanging out at the National Gallery’s Sculpture Garden, Anya said, “Thanks, mom. This has been the best day,” and she opened up about some feelings and even fears that I had no idea about. After our excursion, without my prompting Anya asked me to drop her at school at 7:30 am to get tutoring in pre-algebra. She handed in the missing work and pulled her grade up to a C. I have no doubt that day of grace made a difference for the both of us.

I learned that a little bit of grace goes a long way. This project made me think of my too many to count colossal screw ups and the grace upon grace Jesus so graciously gave me. Jesus has loved me unconditionally through every stage and I had to make sure that I was showing that same grace and love to Anya as she goes through her many stages, even the twilight teen years.

If you want to try this project, find ways to incorporate simple and spontaneous grace in your family’s life to create a home that emphasizes your love for them in all circumstances. Maybe show up at school to take them out to an impromptu lunch, give them a free pass on chores for an evening, or simply don’t dole out a much-deserved consequence as a way of showing grace. Sewing grace into the fabric of our homes create kids that know how to accept grace, but also freely give it to others as well. Who couldn’t stand a little more grace in their day?

Ready for your chance to win a copy of The Mom Project? To be entered into the drawing, just comment on this post and you’ll be entered to win. *Only US readers are eligible to receive the free book.

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This is written by Chere Williams, a passionate single mother who encourages women to make God their partner in their single parenting journey through her blog, “A Single Christian Mom’s Advice on Making Life Easier” Read an excerpt of her upcoming e-book,  “15 Tips on Avoiding Single Mom Burnout.” Click here for a free download.

The Sneaky Way Clutter Invades Our Heads

The Sneaky Way Clutter Invades Our Heads

 

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10, NIV).

Have you ever met a woman and wondered, “How does she do it all?!”

I know I have. I see the mom who has the kind of house where everything has a place and kids with perfectly coiffed hair and coordinating outfits and I wonder, “What does she have that I don’t? How does she do it all?” The same goes for the homeschooling mom and the mom who recreates every DIY Pinterest idea to perfection. I make judgments: They must be super-human. They mom way better than me.

Yet there are also those who would say the same about me.

When outsiders look at me, they see what I do: full-time PR pro, ministry volunteer, grad school student, wife, mom, part-time consultant … the list goes on. They think I’m organized and accomplished. They jump from the facts to judgments: intelligent, super-human, even perfect. They want to know what I have that they don’t.

Sound familiar? Have you ever had these thoughts? Would you believe that somewhere out there, someone thinks the same thing about you?

Our perceptions and judgments are comparison clutter, and they secretly interfere with our relationships. Comparison keeps us at arm’s length. The desire is there to go deeper and know each other better, but we have to dump the clutter to get there.

Others use their perception of what I do to highlight what they think of as weakness in themselves. I get it. I see gifts in others and think of my own deficits. But Hebrews 4:13 tells us that it’s God to whom we must give account – not each other. I do what God created me to do. These gifts were made for me, not for others. Just like the gifts of organization and crafty creativity that come so easily to others missed me by a mile. Comparison clutter is sneaky. It separates us not only from each other but also from what God has designed us each uniquely to do.

This is where I hope we can remember the spirit of Ephesians 2:10. God created us individually to do good works that he already has prepared for us. We all have a sweet spot when it comes the number of hats we wear. Some of us can be working moms who invest in their marriage and in their community. Others can’t handle more than just a couple of roles before feeling over-extended. It’s by design. You were made to do what you do, just as I was made to do what I do. Neither of us gets salvation bonus points by reaching beyond God’s desires for us.

We often wear our busyness like a badge of honor, an outward sign of our importance or our sacrifice. This is like putting the welcome mat out for comparison to enter. What if we instead looked to live life within the margins our creator designed for us? What if instead of comparing ourselves to others, we celebrated the way we each use the gifts God has given us?

One Small Win  

Write down all you do – all that keeps you busy – in a given week and pray over it. What on that list has God created you to do and what might be meant for someone else? Consider what can be delegated or eliminated and take the appropriate action, knowing you are fulfilling God’s design.

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Tonya Kubo is the illustrious, fearless leader of Kathi Lipp’s Clutter-Free Academy Facebook group. She and her husband, Brian, are raising two spirited girls in the agricultural heart of California. Want a free gift to help you in your battle against Clutter? Download, “Four Lies You Believe About Clutter and the Four Truths That Win Every Time” today.

Trading in Comparison and To-Dos for Meaningful Traditions

Trading in Comparison and To-Dos for Meaningful Traditions

Welcome to The Mom Project. For the next few weeks, we’ll be launching my book The Mom Project by hosting several mom friends who have tried it out for themselves. They read the book, completed a project from the book with their kids, and wrote all about it. And these are real moms. Busy moms. Unsure-of-themselves moms. Single moms. Special needs moms. Working moms. Stay-at-home moms. They do the hard working of mommyhood every day, and have found fun ways to connect with their kids in the simple activities found in The Mom Project. Read on to hear their experience:

When I first became a mom over 20 years ago, I had this perfectly reasonable idea that if I could just follow a certain list of things that “good moms” did then surely I would ensure that my kids would turn out OK. The problem was that the hospital must have forgotten to give me a copy of the list because I left with a tiny baby bundle and no clue what I was doing. As a young mom I quickly fell into the comparison trap. I thought that if I could just copy what other successful families were doing then we’d be fine.

So I started looking around, taking notes on all the things “good parents” did. You know the usual: reading to your baby, getting them into the right pre-school, sports teams and activities, sign up to be class parent for every grade, volunteer with the PTO, and so on. But every year that passed the list seemed to get longer and longer. It was becoming hard to keep up.

One area where there seemed to be a never-ending list of to-dos, for example, was birthday celebrations. We have dear friends and family members who have a gift for hospitality. They love throwing parties for every birthday and holiday. And early on I felt pressure to have big parties too, even though it’s not one of my “gifts”. But after having our 4th child we realized that big birthday parties every year for each child was just not in alignment with our values or our budget.

Our focus shifted from checking boxes and trying to do all of the things to considering what we really wanted our kids to remember about their time at home?

After we gave our family permission to trade-in the to-dos for meaningful traditions, our birthday celebrations became small and simple but meaningful. The birthday person gets to choose the meal and dessert of their choice on their special day and they get to use the red “I am special today” plate. Then we go around the table and take turns sharing what we love about the birthday person.

It’s become a sweet, fun and often funny tradition in our home.

As I started to think more about what memories and experiences we wanted to create together as a family I began to look for ways to make our time together special. Little every-day events have become reasons for celebration.

For example, Friday evenings have turned into “Toto’s Fridays” where we head to our favorite pizza place for dinner, usually after our youngest son’s baseball game, and catch up on the week’s events.

Other ideas for family traditions:

  • Family reunions
  • Annual camping trips
  • Donuts or a special treat on the first day of school
  • First day of summer scavenger hunt
  • Family game night Fridays
  • Ice cream sundae Sundays

There are definitely times when we need to check off to-do lists but when it comes to creating family memories each family is wonderfully different. Let’s choose to celebrate our time together by creating meaningful traditions that are in line with our family’s values rather than consume what others are doing and potentially miss out on some special opportunities.

One small win: We have limited time while our kids are at home, creating family traditions can be a great way of celebrating your family’s uniqueness and create memories together. Consider what special or ordinary events you’d like to find ways to celebrate.

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Ready for your chance to win a copy of The Mom Project? To be entered into the drawing, just comment on this post and you’ll be entered to win. *Only US readers are eligible to receive the free book.

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Zohary Ross is a life coach, speaker and author of the Aligned Parenting Workbook. She is passionate about equipping and encouraging women to let go of the never-ending hustle for perfection and live with alignment instead. Connect with her at zoharyross.com

I Need Some Help Here! Launch Giveaway Week 3

I Need Some Help Here! Launch Giveaway Week 3

BookLaunch-Banner SO… with everything going on we sort of skipped a week. Sorry about that! We DO have a winner for Week 2’s giveaway of the Kindle Fire- Glory! Hope you enjoy it Glory!


Time for another giveaway to celebrate the launch of I Need Some Help Here! Did someone say they need a cup of coffee (or three cups, depending on how many times the kids woke you up last night!)? I think it’s time for our Keurig giveaway. Keurig I have heard such hopeful feedback from my readers including this one from a reader from New England:

I just need to share – up until about 2 1/2 years ago, I thought parenting was going really pretty well. My husband and I were successfully raising a wonderful son who, other than talking alot in school, really didn’t give us any trouble. He was smart, athletic, handsome and, mostly, respectful (well, he did talk back a lot). Only child. Then he dropped a bomb on us. He didn’t “believe in God.” Now, his father and I are devout, practicing Catholics. Catholic schools, both of us. The whole nine yards. Our son, went to public schools until 9th grade, when we enrolled him in Catholic high school. Coincidentally (?), that is the year he gave up his belief. When I tell you I struggled, oh you can’t even imagine. I thought I’d never make it through a Mass again without crying. What did we do wrong? Why weren’t my friends having this problem? How can I enjoy my son knowing he’s turned away from something which is at the very core of me? etc. etc. Kathi Lipp, I can’t tell you how much you and this group have helped me. It sounds so cliche, but it really does help to know you’re not alone. It has helped me to be able to turn this one over to God. To keep reminding myself, with your help, that God loves him even more than I do. I pray daily that he’ll find his way back to his faith, but I’ve been able (for the most part) to start trusting that this is a path. Thank you for writing your book.

With this is mind, I would be so grateful if you would share about the book with your friends. Here are some ideas on how: 1. Order a copy of I Need Some Help Here!  for a friend! If she has a Kindle you can buy it on Amazon as a gift that she can download right away. When you order, be sure to download your FREE Surviving Summer eBook . This eBook that will save you in the summer is only available for a limited time so download and share with your friends while there is still time. 2. Share it with family, friends, coworkers and followers on social media. Choose the platform of your choice:

Option #1: Post on Facebook: Post about I Need Some Help Here! on Facebook. Click here to share this post on Facebook.

Option #2: Post on Pinterest. Post about I Need Some Help Here! on Pinterest. Click here to repin any of the Pins on my I Need Some Help Here! board.

Option #3: Post on Twitter. Post about I Need Some Help Here! on Twitter. Click here to retweet this tweet on Twitter.

Option #4: Post About the Book on Your Blog When you post about I Need Some Help Here! just send us an email at bronwyn@kathilipp.com with the link to your blog. You’ll then be entered to win one of the weekly prizes!

3. THEN JUST FILL IN THE FORM BELOW TO BE ENTERED FOR THIS WEEK’S PRIZE! You don’t need to do any of the above but we know you’re kind of amazing and will want to give another mom some hope! If the form doesn’t show up, you can use the this version. Next week is our LAST giveaway so come back to enter again!