So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

We homeschool our children, so we spend most of our days together. To some parents, this sounds like a nightmare. To others, it is the greatest thing ever imaginable. When I worked 50 hour work weeks and traveled three to four times out of the year, I would have been in the latter category. I constantly beat myself up about being a career mom. After all, I missed a lot of first-times.

I missed my son taking his first steps.

I missed birthdays and wedding anniversaries.

I missed dinners and Friday night get togethers. 

Even when I was home, I was so busy playing ‘catch-up’ on life that I still missed out on some precious moments.

I missed relaxing on the couch with my best friend and husband because I needed to check one last email.

I missed coffee dates with my girlfriends because I needed to wash laundry.

I missed out on playing dolls with my daughter because there were dinners to cook.

We live in a busy world that holds us prisoner to the clock. I get it. When I left my career to come home full time, people thought I was crazy. In the weeks and months to follow, I wondered that myself. Yet being home, I realized that I still had the potential of missing out on quality moments in my family’s life.

I had thought for the longest that me working outside of the home was the culprit and though it played a role, I see things slightly different now that I am home. If I am not careful, I can still miss out on my family. The distractions are there. They are just presented differently.

My computer still beckons for me to spend hours locked in my room. I justify it because I am home working and not in an office or on an airplane anymore.

The dings and rings of my cell phone can easily keep me from having real conversations with my children because I am too focused on the conversation I am having on my device.

My lack of scheduling and preparing for the day ahead (especially lessons) can leave me frustrated and so exhausted that when my husband gets home, I cannot even manage time for him.

Now that I have been on both sides of the spectrum as a career mom and a stay-at-home mom, I understand that quality time without effort is simply an illusion.

How do we combat the pulls and distractions in life?

Here are three things we can do to ensure we protect the time we are given with our family:

  1. Silence the devices

We live in a world connected 24/7. We post every thought, every frustration and every moment of our lives yet we seldom actually partake in it. Take time away from your smart phone. Turn it off. Put it on silent. Give your attention to your family. It is better to make memories than post them.

  1. Learn to say no

Busy is my kryptonite. I have to constantly remind my brain that a busy schedule does not make for good quality time. There will always be something vying for our attention. Balance your schedule. Choose 1 to 2 nights a week where you do not schedule anything outside the home. Everyone will be better for it.

  1. Prioritize

You have to learn what must be dealt with now and what can be pushed aside. If I am not careful, I will sacrifice my sanity for things I should have prioritized. I value sleep and sometimes I will cut our schedule close just to have five more minutes in my bed. We need to figure out what is a priority and then make sure it gets done. I have learned that the five extra minutes isn’t worth the thirty minutes of arguments that will take place because we are behind schedule.

All of our lives look drastically different from day to day, so we should not beat ourselves up when our quality times looks different as well. The point is to have it, enjoy it and make time for it.

BestWestern-NYE (2)

Sarah West

Sarah West is a homeschool mom, freelance writer and first-time author of Walking the Talk: A Parent's Guide to Intimacy and Healthy Relationships. Formerly, she served as the Director and Youth and College Counselor for Crisis Pregnancy Centers in Mississippi. Sarah writes for various online and print magazines on matters of faith and family, and believes in strengthening family relationships and reconnecting parents to their children. You can connect with Sarah and keep up to date with her writing through her blog at https://a-life-inspired.com/ Find her book here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GM5ELRE

Summer Goes by Too Fast

In: Kids
Boy lying on bench at park, color photo

To my oldest, As our summer vacation nears an end and we begin school supply shopping, I think about all the things we didn’t get to do together this summer. I instantly feel mom guilt. All the plans I had made? Only half of them done—if that. RELATED: Remember When Summer Lasted Forever? All the books I was going to read to you at bedtime? Only a couple short ones. All the creative art we would do? Maybe just one time. The fact is, I let time slip away from me. I was too focused and anxiety-ridden about work, my...

Keep Reading

Going on Family Vacation with Young Kids is Work That’s Worth It

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mom with two young kids on airplane

Our routine will be a mess. Our toddler won’t sleep in a new environment. Our baby needs all of the gear. The flight could be a disaster. I went through a mental checklist of reasons why this kind of family vacation would be hard. It was a pretty convincing list if I’m being honest. I considered throwing a pity party dedicated to the concerns I shoulder as a mother. A few days later I felt a wave of conviction wash over me. I was dreading a trip that was meant to be a blessing to our family. Any kind of...

Keep Reading

I Want To Raise Good Sisters

In: Kids, Motherhood
Four girls sitting on a rock in the forest, color photo

My current dilemma: how to teach four little girls how to be good sisters when I have no idea what I’m doing? I was an only child growing up, and a tomboy at that. It was a lonely, quiet childhood. I remember wishing for a sister, but knowing that with my single mom, it wasn’t going to happen. So, the sister thing is a big mystery to me. I’ve noticed (admittedly with some envy) adult sisters together and their inside jokes, shared history, and language known only to each other. I’ve read about sisters in books. The relationships between the four...

Keep Reading

I Don’t Just Love You, I Like You

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young boy standing at bridge, color photo

My growing child, my heart often aches when I look at how big you have gotten. You aren’t a baby anymore, you’re a whole kid. You are your own person, with your own thoughts and feelings. You have your own friendships, and interests.  Parts of me realize you don’t need me the same, but deep down I know you need me all the same. And I’m realizing, that in all of these changes, my love for you is also a like.  RELATED: Being Your Mom is the Greatest Honor of My Life Because now we can connect in a whole...

Keep Reading

Dear Kindergartner, I’ll Always Remember You This Way

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and child touch foreheads

The first magical flickers of your strong heartbeat on a black and white screen— the reassuring evidence I needed to know you were gaining strength for this world. My belly grew, and I proudly went shopping for maternity clothes to cover it. I felt the first dances of your little feet, and it reminded me of butterflies taking flight— the movement of a true miracle. I’ll always remember you this way. The sounds of your first cries—music ringing in my ears. You were real, Earth-side, and wanting only to be loved. The softness of your skin, the way you smelled,...

Keep Reading

Having the Tools To Parent a Child with Sensory Processing Disorder Changes Everything

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child playing with water in tube

My heart leaped into my mouth as Soccer Mom, with her matching foldable chairs and ice-cold Gatorade, glared at me. I wanted to explain how hard I tried to be a good mom, to raise a kind human, but I swallowed the words so I could vomit them at my 5-year-old son on the ride home.   Didn’t he know that pushing another child was unacceptable? Hadn’t I taught him to use gentle hands?   RELATED: To the Special Needs Mom Who Sits Alone Despite implementing the parenting books that promised me a new kid by the week’s end, I often wondered...

Keep Reading

I’m Halfway Through Raising Little Kids

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two girls smiling outside

Today I stayed in my car a few minutes more than usual as my kids hopped out onto the hot driveway and ran inside. The cold air conditioning felt amazing after a long day at the local water park; so did the silence. Then it felt odd, so I turned on the radio. The song that started playing hit my soul: “Woah, we’re halfway there/Woah, livin’ on a prayer.” I’m always living on a prayer, but I also noticed we are halfway there. RELATED: Growing Up, You First Then Me Halfway through the year, more than halfway through summer, and...

Keep Reading

There’s No Instruction Manual for These Middle Years

In: Kids
Little girl smiling on porch

As a preschool teacher and a mom, I’ve always felt pretty confident in my parenting from ages birth to 5 years old.  I by no means am perfect, and I silently rejoiced the day my kids could pour their own cereal and turn on Netflix for themselves while I caught some extra sleep. Even though that’s probably not a proud mama moment to celebrate, it’s just the reality of parenting.  We both celebrate and mourn independence as our children need us less. And let’s be honest, oftentimes independence makes our daily lives easier. Yet it is bittersweet.  It feels like...

Keep Reading

Kindergarten is the Start of Letting You Go

In: Kids, Motherhood

We’re physically ready for kindergarten. We’ve got the backpack, the school supplies, the school clothes, and the new shoes. We’ve talked about it all summer. We’ve practiced the skills he will need, and how to open everything inside of a cold lunch box. We’ve talked positively about it and imagined all the friends he will meet and the places he will go, and how kind and caring the teacher will be. We’re physically ready for kindergarten. But here’s a little secret . . . My heart? My heart can’t fully be ready for him to go to kindergarten. I know...

Keep Reading

The Truth about Puddle Jumpers and Toddler Drowning, From a Grieving Mom

In: Kids
Little boy in Puddle Jumper on waterslide

The very last video I have of my 3-year-old son, Levi, is of him bobbing up and down in a Puddle Jumper.  His little legs kicking underwater, his eyes the spitting image of his daddy, and his older sisters, his happy grin, and his little voice saying “Cheese!” This time-stamped video, counting down the precious minutes we had left until he would end up in this very same pool, less than two hours later.  But this time, it was without the Puddle Jumper. I understand the sense of panic building inside you to avoid my story or read it just...

Keep Reading