Posts Tagged 'mothering'

Momma Bears Part 2

polar bear and cubOne of the most precious things to watch is a momma bear with her cubs. Whether polar bears are rolling in the snow or brown bears are climbing trees they are just adorable! Of course, watching them on TV is the safest way to observe bears, but a few times I’ve seen a camera guy get too close. In that moment I watch a cute, carefree momma turn into a fierce, snarling protector. Her cubs are her first priority and she will do anything to protect them.

I’ll admit it, I was VERY protective of my son’s schedule, food, friends and even his toys. I think I found comfort in controlling all those outside elements because I knew I couldn’t control him. Here I am, 12 years later and I’m feeling the same way. I want to protect him from bullies and mean teachers at school. I want to keep …

None of us want to be “that” mom. You know, the one who freaks out if someone sneezes, coughs or something falls on the floor. However, there’s something to be said about watching out for our kids – we’re their mom after all and that’s our most important calling! So here’s the thing. I am turning into a momma bear when it comes to protecting my boys. I’m not interested in sheltering them and sometimes it’s difficult to know the difference.

Sheltering our kids means we withhold knowledge and limit opportunities.

Protecting our kids means we educate them and prepare them for their interactions with the world.

So I’m becoming “that” mom in the sense that I am becoming SUPER protective without sheltering my kids.

Some of the areas I’m currently focused on include (but aren’t totally limited to):

  • Technology – a wonderful, helpful and yet potentially destructive resource. It’s a voice that is constantly available and I have to be intentional about what that voice is saying to my kids. To pretend as though I can see every text, preview every website and keep up with all the online lingo and acronyms is silly. Instead I’ve decided to work hard to keep my voice as present as possible with my kids. I want my voice to remain important, valid and honest. So I’m okay saying I don’t know how to do something and I expect my kids to show me what they know. We have a few rules in our house when it comes to technology and these rules are NOT optional.
  1. Dad and I know your security code but your friends don’t.
  2. Even if it’s free you don’t purchase an app, song or video without checking with us first (this happens because at this point our kids share our itunes account and can’t purchase things without our password).
  3. I can pick up your device at any time and check your texts, web searches, Instagram, pictures, ANYTHING is up for grabs. Sometimes we read their texts, comments, and websites out loud. We don’t do it to embarrass them but to remind them that what happens on their device is REAL and matters to us.
  4. No technology is allowed at the table or during meal times.
  5. Technology is a privilege, not a right.  If you can’t take care of the “musts” in your life (school, chores, respect to others, etc) then you MIGHT lose your phone. Having a phone and any connection to the online world MIGHT happen if you take care of all the MUSTS we’ve agreed upon.
  6. When we are talking to each other we will have eye contact. DO NOT ever, ever, ever look down at your buzzing phone when I’m talking to you. We need eye contact and a verbal response so we know you heard us and you’re responsible for the information.
  • Friends – open communication, genuine interest and consistent interaction are some of the best ways to know who my kids are talking to and who is influencing their life. I will NEVER have the same kind of influence over my boys as their friends but that doesn’t mean I’m letting those outside push me out. I will make noise, keep asking questions and be a part of my boy’s life and that includes knowing their friends. I’m the first one to volunteer our house for a get together. I say hello to their friends at school and at church – those kids will know my face and know I’m a presence that isn’t going away. I’ll treat them respect and keep my distance – but I’m not going anywhere.
  • Balancing life –multiple classes, teachers, sports, church, family, homework, projects, friends…it’s a LOT for kids to manage. I’m going to protect my kids from being completely clueless and helpless. I will help them make a plan, anticipate their needs and I will (even when it’s painful) allow natural consequences to take their toll. When my son has a huge project for school I help him make a plan and ask what he needs from me. He’s in charge – I’m supporting him. If he doesn’t finish his project or chooses to do things in a sub-par manner he will get a bad grade and that will stink – but that’s life. My goal is to slowly pull my support away and leave him still standing – with confidence and the tools to succeed.

Sometimes it is really exhausting being a momma bear – especially when I’m protecting my cubs. But we’re going to have some adventures, explore our world and we’ll learn a lot about each other along the way. Most importantly I want my boys to know that I believe in them. They are older now. They no longer really “need” me to survive. But I would like to be a part of their life. This can only happen when they trust me and know my intentions. When the rest of the world comes against them or tries to push them down they can come to me – their momma bear – and I will do my best to protect them, even if I have to raise my hands and ROAR!!! I will try my best, at all times, to keep my little cubs safe.

Lord, I know I can’t protect my kids from everything and the world will continue to create temptations and issues for them, but I also believe you placed me in their life for this season and for a purpose. Lord, help me to protect without sheltering and please help me remember that You are the best shelter, shield and stronghold they will ever need. Help my children to see Your strength through me. Help them to sense my love for them through my actions. Finally Lord, please help me know when to let go and allow them to defend themselves. It’s going to be difficult to walk away but I trust You Lord – I trust them to YOU!

Your protective momma bear,


Check out earlier posts in this series!



Meet the Momma Bears

momma bearMomma Bear’s Unite!

I very clearly remember leaving the hospital with our first-born son and wanting to block out the world, the germs and the injuries that were SURE to reach him in his innocence and perfection. That desire lessened a bit as more children joined our family. I acknowledged the presence of these “unknowns” but I had a bit more confidence in myself and in my children to handle the inescapable truth – I can’t protect my children from everything and that’s okay.

One of my favorite lines from the Disney movie, Finding Nemo, is when Nemo’s dad says he will never let ANYTHING happen to Nemo. Dory questions this kind of thinking. To never allow ANYTHING to happen to a child means we keep them from experiencing the good things in the world AND the good that can sometimes come from bad things happening.

So here I am, the mother of a teenager, a preteen and a 3rd grader. Let’s just say the momma bear in me is starting to rare its head in a new and fierce way and this time I’m not dismissing the urgency I feel in my spirit.

Please don’t misread my motivation…I’m not afraid.

The protective bend I’m experiencing is fueled by my keen awareness at how my opinion and my level of influence is constantly being challenged. My ability to remain relevant and connected to them is being threated daily and I am working overtime to stay connected.

I need this connection if I’m going to help them learn how to avoid the sometimes deadly grip the world will try to have on  their lives. I don’t want to be a helicopter parent – I just want to be a mom who is an AWARE parent.

We talk about it all the time: the world is changing.

Technology, education, the job market – my children’s future will look very different from mine but who they are on the inside, the kind of citizen they are to the world, and their impact on others doesn’t have to be limited and it doesn’t have to change.

No matter what kind of technological wonders are strapped to our wrists or held in our hands I believe I have a fairly straightforward, focused role to play in my children’s lives. Sometimes that means turning into a Momma Bear and not apologizing for it.

Will you join me?

You will fight for your kids and your home?

Will you raise up a generation of men and women that show strength without sarcasm, give love without judgment and serve without expectations.

It’s not going to be easy. We’ll be tempted to give in and give up – but we will not! We’ll claim victory, even when it seems we’re losing the battle.

Over the next few weeks we’re going to focus on the big picture while remaining faithful to each other, to our families and to our convictions.

Momma Bears Unite!

Tour Time wth Jessie Jo

mom essentialsHere’s the thing – mothers of girls amaze me.

I look at girls and it’s like my brain starts to short circuit.

I have 2 nieces and they are absolutely precious and adorable – but they are VERY different from my boys.

It’s been good for my boys to spend time with their cousins but it always brings up questions. My boys ask things like:

“Why are their voices so hi?”

“Why do they squeal and scream?”

“They love to giggle. I like making them laugh.”

Jenny Jo is a mom to 2 adorable little girls and she writes about life in a real and wonderful way.

She’s our stop on the tour today and it would be so great to show her some love and visit her site!

Check out her awesome products through her Etsy Store – she makes gorgeous things with crochet!

CLICK HERE to read her review and post –

Have a wonderful day and if you haven’t already, order your copy of Mom Essentials today!




Tour Time with Channel Mom

mom essentialsI had so much fun recording TWO broadcasts with Jenny from Channel Mom!

CLICK HERE to listen live (4:30 MST) and you can check out past broadcasts and guests!

Even if you miss the live broadcast you can click on the link to listen anytime.

Jenny is giving away a copy of the book – you could win it!

CLICK HERE, like the ChannelMom page, like the post about Mom Essentials

and you’ll be entered to win!

Thank you for joining us on this Blog Tour – so fun to meet so many incredibly gifted moms!


Your kingdom come, Your will be done…

Open BibleAs we continue our series about the Lord’s Prayer we are diving into the first of many tough statements:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven…

Although we typically pray this phrase in a public setting and recite it with other people, I hope we can personalize and internalize it’s meaning in a new and fresh way right now.

If we pray for God’s kingdom to come to our home – what does that mean?

From what I know of Heaven, it’s an amazing place. It’s amazing because God is there and it is His dominion. In God’s kingdom there is no Satan, no sin, no separation, no sadness and no suffering (just to list a few).

When I read this list of things that are NOT present in Heaven I start to doubt how that kind of Kingdom (the perfection that is God and Heaven) could ever exist in this sinful, fallen world. But that’s when I read the next line: “your will be done”.

I will never understand God’s ways or His will. It’s not my job to understand why He does and doesn’t do things. Isaiah 55:8 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.

Instead of seeking my own will and my own way I’m supposed to be seeking God’s ways and His will!

So if I’m constantly seeking after God, listening to Him and following Him…His will is more likely to be accomplished and therefore a little slice of Heaven, or His Kingdom, will come into my home!

When I think about it this way I see a little light in the midst of the darkness and I can discover new ways to make my little piece of earth a bit more like Heaven.

My house will never be perfectly clean, my children won’t always behave, I won’t always respond in the right way – but instead of looking at my actions and behaviors I should be praying these words:

YOUR kingdom come, YOUR will be done…not mine.

That statement seems easy to type and even to say, but living it out is a different thing.

Here’s my challenge for us this week: Let’s live on earth but keep our eyes on Heaven.

When the little frustrations begin to pile on top of you, stop and look up. Heaven is watching, Heaven is waiting, Heaven’s angels are cheering you on! Bring a little Heaven to your earth and God will be there – even in the midst of laundry, little people and carpool. Heaven doesn’t have boundaries, let it overtake your world today!

You are an amazing blessing to this world and your family – keep going and enjoy this wonderful journey!


Food To Fall For

In case you haven’t heard about the wonderful, encouraging group Hearts at Home, let me introduce you.

Moms, meet Jill Savage and Hearts at Home.

Hearts at Home and Jill – meet our Moms.

Together we can encourage, empower and enjoy each other.

I love being a part of the Hearts at Home Blog Hops. This is where they choose a theme and a bunch of us “mommy-bloggers” put our two cents in and enjoy each other’s writings.

This month’s question involved us sharing our favorite fall recipe. I have to admit that picking just one was an exercise in self-control – but alas, I succeeded in narrowing things down.

I have learned to embrace my crock pot and celebrate it’s efforts while I’m at work. The spark that lit this Crock Pot Fire? The ladies behind The Crockin’ Girls. From dinner to dessert these ladies have it covered – they even provide videos on line to help walk you though the steps!

Perhaps it’s my southern upbringing coming out, or the fact that my boys and husband think Ranch Dressing is a required condiment, but the Crockin’ Girls recipe for Bacon Ranch Chicken is one of our favorites!

It’s great for leftovers and SUPER easy (and cheap) to make.

I hope you enjoy…here’s the recipe or click the links above to find out more.

Have any recipes you can share with our Smarter Moms community? We’d love to hear them! Leave a comment below…


  • 4 Boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 Tablespoons of Real bacon bits
  • 1 Teaspoon of Minced garlic
  • 1 Package of Ranch dressing mix
  • 1 Can of Cream of chicken soup
  • 1 Cup of Sour cream
  • Cooked egg noodles


  1. Combine bacon, garlic, ranch dressing mix, soup, and sour cream; mix well.
  2. Pour over chicken in the slow cooker.
  3. Cook on high 3-4 hours.
  4. Shred the chicken and put back in the pot and then add the egg noodles; mix together

March Madness

This month our town was filled with basketball fanatics for the NCAA Tournament. I won’t even pretend to know how teams earn a spot in certain brackets, conferences and leagues – I’ll leave that to others. I do however know a lot about what it means to get into Kindergarten and March Madness takes on a completely different meaning when moms are dealing with kindergarten round-ups, school applications and pressure from family and friends to get their kids in school or keep them home another year.

Some of the great questions from many of you include, but aren’t limited to:

How do I know my child is ready for kindergarten?

What should I expect from the school?

Half-day or full-day?

The questions seem to be endless, but some of the answers and resources that help aren’t quite as lengthy.  I wish I could answer every question I hear, but I’m afraid they won’t let me write a post that long!

For now, we’ll focus on anyone who has a child that is 4 or 5 years old. Sometimes it feels as though each choice and decision carry the weight of the world and your child’s future with them! Let’s establish something right now – kids are resilient, you only have to do your best and being informed means you WILL make the best choice possible for your family. Thank you for taking time to be informed, to ask questions and be the smartest, best parent you can be!

So let’s all take off our shawl of guilt, hat of worry and boots of stubbornness and dig in to discover how to change our march madness moments into moments that are magnificent!

There are 4 main areas to focus on when you are thinking about how to prepare your child for kindergarten and if your child is ready to attend.

If you have a 4 or 5-year-old the following indicators and milestones will help you during this crucial time of your child’s development.


* Children who turn 5 the summer before or after the kindergarten year start are considered young and even though they might handle kindergarten okay we have to remember they will be the youngest and sometimes smallest in their class for the next twelve years.

* Children who can use the restroom by themselves, put on their own coat and be fairly self-sufficient when it comes to meeting their immediate physical needs.

* Being able to use scissors and hold a pencil are skills that will be reviewed kindergarten. But these fine motor skills indicates a child’s ability to manipulate and control their motor skills and finite tasks.


* Does your child understand what it means to share objects with other people

* Can they follow a conversation between other people while responding to social cues (when to wait, how to interject, when to join in)

* Children who can work well with others show the ability to compromise and be a part of a social group


* Will your child pretend to “read” a book by using clues from the pictures they see? If your child shows an interest in books and reading, their language development is more than likely on par with his peers and this indicates their readiness to begin reading

* Kindergarten requires children to listen to instructions and follow them. Practice at home by giving your child direct, simple instructions and observe if they are able to carry out these tasks with minimal distractions.

* Children should be able to recite the alphabet, recognize colors, basic shapes, numbers and letters. Being able to count to twenty with minimal mistakes is also beneficial concerning beginning math skills.


* Observe your child and determine if they are mature or immature. The difference is seen in children who plays with animal figurines versus a child who only pretends to be an animal (acting and communicating like that animal). Immaturity isn’t a negative trait, but “immature” children might struggle a bit with social interactions and how to process their emotions.
* Being excited to learn new things and willing to try something new, shows that their curiosity is stronger than their fear and they have confidence in unfamiliar situations
* Looking at your child’s experiences the year before they begin kindergarten. If they were in Preschool, compare the hours they spent there and the hours they will spend during their year in kindergarten. If they only experienced partial hours, consider if full day will be too much for them to handle.
If you answered yes to most of these questions or you have seen these behaviors displayed on a consistent basis, your child is ready for kindergarten.  You know your child best and the educators in your area will be happy to help you weigh your options if you still have concerns. Talk with other parents, ask questions and share your stories. Trust yourself and remember that you know what your child needs in order to be successful.
Enjoy this wonderful journey and let us know what you decide or how you are preparing your child (and yourself) for this huge transition into the school years!


Kurt Schwengel

Baby Center


Get Ready For School

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