Gifts for Mom, Grandparents, Besties and YOU🎄 ➔

Do you want to know a secret? 

The entryway to my house is a mess, and I’ve made peace with it. 

I choose peace because stumbling over my four teenagers’ shoes means they have traveled miles in those shoes. Whether caked in mud from a long walk with a friend or covered with granules of sand from walking along the shoreline of crashing waves to soak in one last bit of summer, they have experienced a piece of life that will be etched on their soul. As simple as it sounds, the mud and the sand create and mold the empowered women they will become along this journey of life, and that allows this mama to sit back and exhale.

RELATED: Kids Remember the Memories, Not the Mess

So, the muddy and sandy shoes kicked off blocking my way inside . . . I’m just going to muster up all of the patience inside myself to not need it to be perfect and allow the shoes to stay there. Kicked off, led astray, and in a messy pile as I watch my glorious girls unfold into young women creating their individual paths.

And here is another secret . . . my heart leaps when the assortment of kicked-off shoes becomes even more colorful and laden with multiple sizes, a larger pile created by shoes that don’t belong to my four girls.

I’m OK with this mess too since I know this means the house is filled with other teenagers who bring joy to our lives.

Joy pours into our house, filling up the walls with laughter, stories to share, secrets to hold dear, and a bite to eatusually quesadillas. And then, as quickly as the quesadillas are consumed, the shoes also disappear to head out on the next adventure only to be kicked off at another home.

Those shoes, as silly as it sounds, give me great comfort, knowing our home is a place to relax while spending time amongst friends, creating a lifetime of memories, and for that I am grateful. So, once again, I’m going to make peace with the mess and exhale.

RELATED: One of the Most Powerful Gifts We Give Our Children is Being Glad To See Them

Now the bags, so many bagsalso thrown askew in the entrywayare moments filled with after-school activity items, ranging from volleyball to ballet, horseback riding to lacrosse, and let’s not forget the massive school backpack. The hanging bags, or let’s be real, the bags left on the floor with contents oozing out of them and blocking the door are filled with their desires, goals, and dreams.

The bags have changed through the years and have been filled with all different accessories but the same truth remains. The girls remain unwavering with eyes filled with exhilaration for the next adventure and what’s to come.

A journey that ebbs and flows with challenges as well as victories. I am confident these bags are being carried by young women who are fierce and filled with the knowledge that they can make a difference as one woman with one voice. 

So yeah, I’ll take the mess of the bags often thrown across the walkway and I’ll make peace with the mess, knowing one day in the near future, the room will become the dreamy Pinterest-inspired mudroom I have dreamed of.

RELATED: Mothers Grieve a Million Little Losses as Their Babies Grow Up

But I wonder how long it will be until I wish for the mess to take over again. For the mess is, ironically, my safe haven of comfort and love.

The mess only enhances that this sacred space doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be filled with love. 

I’ll tell you one more secret. I’ll probably always miss the mess and secretly long for the pile of shoes and bags that I trip over each day, but shhh . . . don’t tell the girls. 

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Ali Flynn

Hang in there mama by Ali Flynn Ali Flynn lives in New York with her four teenage daughters and husband. She is excited to share with you the joys and hardships of motherhood with an open heart, laughter and some tears. Ali is a monthly guest contributor for Westchester County Moms and has been seen on Filter Free Parents, Grown and Flown, Today Parents and Her View From Home. You can also find her at https://www.facebook.com/hangintheremama where she keeps motherhood real.

Simple Moments Shape Childhood

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy in shallow water of beach

Sometimes it’s the little things that can turn out to be the biggest things. Motherhood has made me appreciate the everyday moments, the simple moments, differently.  Being outdoors with my boys can be simple in theory, but I absolutely love the adventures we take. Whether we are hiking, biking, swimming, exploring, or checking out a new park, this momma knows it is time well spent.  RELATED: I’m Watching You Grow Up in the Little Moments Because whether they realize it or not, these memories being made are the special ones. The ones my boys will carry with them in their...

Keep Reading

When You Stop Running into My Arms, I Pray You Run to Jesus

In: Faith, Motherhood
Child and mother walking on beach in sunlight

I love seeing the light in my little girl’s eyes when I pick her up from school at the end of the day. Her eyes open wide, and she runs to me loudly saying, “Mommy!” for all to hear. I pick her up and give her a big hug and kiss on her cheek. She smiles ear to ear and knows she is loved and adored. She feels safe in my arms, and I pray that never changes. I want to always be her biggest cheerleader and greatest fan–holding the streamers on the sidelines in shades of brilliant gold encouraging...

Keep Reading

I Promise to Show Up for You

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter in garden

My child, I hope you know you can count on this: I will show up for you. I will show up when you wake in the middle of the night, when you get up too early or stay up too late. I will be there to make your meals, read you a story, and tuck you into bed. I will show up when you are sick—taking time off work, bringing you to the doctor, cleaning up your throw-up, and sitting up with you. I will show up at every game, sitting in the stands or a camp chair, freezing or...

Keep Reading

A Strong Woman Does Not Always Feel Strong

In: Motherhood
Woman holding baby on beach, color photo

You feel weak, mama, but you are strong  We wear our strength in many forms, barely noticing the feats we accomplish daily.  The strength of a mom can be seen carrying grocery bags from the trunk to the house, upstairs and down again, with a baby strapped to her chest.  The strength of a mom is pushing two kids on swings next to each other while inwardly dealing with a recent miscarriage eating away at her heart. She holds back tears while picturing a newborn in a stroller nearby watching. And the hole deepens. Yet she carries on.  The strength...

Keep Reading

When You Feel Like You’re Failing, Know You’re Not Alone

In: Motherhood
Tired woman sitting in messy child's bedroom

Dear parent, you are going to fail. You are going to fail over and over again while parenting. I don’t care if you have nine children or one. I don’t care if you are a step-parent, an adoptive parent, or anything in between—you are going to fail. Over and over again. But the great thing about kids is God made them so resilient and forgiving, so He could show us grace on earth.  I have forgotten to send the paperwork to the school. I have forgotten about events and practices for the kids.  RELATED: I May Fail, But I’ll Go...

Keep Reading

Our Nanny Is a Special Part of Our Family

In: Motherhood
Family with nanny, color photo

The saying is “it takes a village,” and I didn’t know how true this would ring until I had children of my own. Within ours, I anticipated family, friends, the church, and various members of the community. What I never anticipated was the special role our nanny would fill within our family. As working moms, leaving our kids in someone else’s care is hard, no matter the circumstances. We wonder if they’ll miss us and whether their day will still feel full in spite of our absence.  Ever since we brought our nanny into the family, I’ve never had to...

Keep Reading

Maybe Motherhood Is a Chance to Begin Again

In: Motherhood

It’s a funny thing when you have your own children, only then do you start to see yourself in such a way that you’ve never seen before. Terrifying yet beautiful. Before you become a parent, you have this vision of how you swear you will parent. It may be an exact replica of how you were parented or may be completely different. The only guarantee is that you don’t actually know until you become a parent. Some days you hear yourself and you sound just like your mother, your father, your grandmother, your aunt, or anyone who was around long...

Keep Reading

Healing and a Horse Named Chadwick

In: Motherhood
Woman with horse, black-and-white photo

I am by no means a horsewoman. I am a regular person lucky enough to have had an extraordinary experience with a horse. My daughter asked to ride horses from the time she could talk. Having no horse experience myself, in the fall of 2019, I found a barn willing to give pony lessons to a small child. There was something waiting for me at the barn too . . . I just didn’t know it yet. I can’t remember when Chadwick started watching us from the fence. One day he was just there . . . and every day...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Growth Is Tangible, and When It Is You Hold On Tight

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mom putting bike helmet on child

I never expected my sign to come in the form of a plastic bag. As a parent, you’re told over and over how fast it all goes, to cherish these times because they’re gone in a blink. You see the gradual changes in your kids as they move through milestones. One day, they can hold their own spoon. They begin stringing words into sentences. Their ages are counted in years and no longer months. You watch these things happen every day, but I didn’t realize some transitions would come in tangible ways, like a grocery bag filled with wet swim...

Keep Reading

Some Nights They Need You a Little More

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy sleeping, color photo

Some nights they need you a little more, mama. Because of the bad dreams or the bogeyman they are adamant is under the bed. Because firefighter daddy’s schedule leaves him missing goodnight tuck-ins and bedtime stories several times a week, sometimes leaving them a little needier and more emotional. Some nights they need you a little more, mama. RELATED: I’ll Lay With You As Long As You Need, My Child Because they are sick. Because they feel safe in your presence. Some nights they need you a little more, mama. It’s not always easy. It’s not always (okay, hardly ever)...

Keep Reading