Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

What does a girl do on a snow day? Let’s see, I have a senior in High School. One of my goals on this snowy, I-don’t-have-to-go to-work-day is to tackle scrapbooking.

I have been scrapbooking since my kids were little. I love it. What I like, of course, are the fun memories. Looking at the tiny faces in their kindergarten graduation caps and wild play dates, but also their accomplishments. Yes, (insert bragging rights here) my kids accomplished a lot in high school, more than I can say for myself.

I wasn’t a lazy bum in high school. I was active and social. Grades, studying – eh, not my thing. I could have worked harder—I got by. I participated in sports, music, plays—you name it. It was a small school.

Now a days, high school students tackle a lot more. Not just their studies and extracurricular activities, but leadership positions and service work like I have never seen before. In one of my daughter’s high school courses, twenty percent of her grade is service work. Wow!

A few weeks ago, I had the honor of introducing at our local chamber banquet, a young lady from Kearney Catholic high school whose list of accomplishments and activities were a mile long. It was incredible, but my goodness kids, you do a lot in four short years.

I remember the days when I played all sports and also did the music, youth group. Service work was few and far between. We did some service work for our neighbors, the elderly lady down the street, but kids today, let’s give them a hand and give them credit (literally). They are pretty darn amazing.

I look back at my kids’ scrapbooks and the service work from mission trips really is cool. They have had opportunities that I never had. Traveling to Jersey, Chicago and New Orleans. They have done amazing works for God. Learning about other cultures and areas of our country and coming home with a grateful heart—an appreciation for home.

I also see youth today really set goals to want to play or participate in youth sports in college. I think that is great. There seems to be a big push for that. I love it when a high school athlete goes on to play a college sport.

I, too, have a college athlete. He works super hard on the track and the classroom and it is a huge commitment. I sometimes wonder if we, as parents, really understand what a commitment that is.

I think it is a good reminder for myself and for us as parents as we do a little evaluation of our youth and their commitments in school or sports—to really check in with them on occasion. To make sure the burnout level is not there. We have to do that as adults as well from time to time.

This is not to discourage students to volunteer or play college sports, every student is different on the work load and stress they handle, but I feel as parents we do need to evaluate and make sure it isn’t too much.

An example, our son runs Cross Country and Track for Northwest Missouri State University. He is four hours away from us. We check in with him a couple times a week and talk on Sunday. We, of course, follow his career and get to see him a lot on weekends.

He wanted to go back to work and make extra money after Christmas. That was fine with us. He wanted to be able to pay rent on his own, but I asked him, “Is it too much, do you need a break?”   Look, college athletics, along with their studies and service work, is a huge huge time commitment. I want to make sure he is not burning himself out. I am watching that closely. As all parents should, no matter what level.

For all you senior moms who are going through scrapbooks wondering where the time went and seeing how incredibly busy your students are, take time to appreciate that. Take a deep breath. Know that you have set the foundation for their success but also evaluate, check in with your youth and find out about his or her goals in life and what really drives them.

Understand the differences between burnout and stress. Burnout can be a depletion of energy. Stress can be managed. But watch for signs of burnout by depression or burnout by anger and irritability. There are so many different levels—and approaches, but being aware is the first step.

And…don’t forget to relax (insert message notation to both parents and students), enjoy and have fun with your youth…your student. Time goes so fast.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

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

Order Now

Renae Zimmer

My name is Renae Riddle Zimmer. I was born in Iowa and raised in Nebraska. I am a Midwest girl. I married my high school sweetheart, Dave Zimmer and raised two awesome kids. Nolan, 21 and Kamryn, 17. As we approach our empty nest years—we reflect a lot on our life—our kids—and being a part of the “sandwich” generation as well. Taking care of teenagers and aging parents. All the joys and difficulties that are ahead. We are solid in our faith—solid in our family and we love each other, support each other. I work a corporate job and travel. My husband is an educator and coach. We love to cook, garden, landscape, watch sports and enjoy our kids activities. We follow up college-age son as he runs cross country and track for Northwest Missouri State in Maryville, Mo. And support our daughter as she is in the last year of high school . Where did the time go?

Brothers Fight Hard and Love Harder

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two boys play outside, one lifting the other on his back

The last few years have been a whirlwind. My head has sometimes been left spinning; we have moved continents with three boys, three and under at the time. Set up home and remained sufficiently organized despite the complete chaos to ensure everyone was where they were meant to be on most days. Living in a primarily hockey town, the winters are filled with coffee catch-ups at the arena, so it was no surprise when my youngest declared his intention to play hockey like his school friends. Fully aware that he had never held a hockey stick or slapped a puck,...

Keep Reading

Stop Putting an Expiration Date on Making Memories

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and son in small train ride

We get 12 times to play Santa (if we’re lucky). This phrase stopped my scroll on a Sunday evening. I had an idea of the direction this post was going but I continued on reading. 12 spring breaks 12 easter baskets 20 tooth fairy visits 13 first days of school 1 first date 1-2 proms 1-2 times of seeing them in their graduation cap and gown 18 summers under the same roof And so on and so on. It was essentially another post listing the number of all the monumental moments that we, Lord willing, will get to experience with our...

Keep Reading

When Your Kids Ask, “Where Is God?”

In: Faith, Kids
Child looking at sunset

How do I know if the voice I’m hearing is God’s voice? When I was in high school, I found myself asking this question. My dad was a pastor, and I was feeling called to ministry. I didn’t know if I was just hearing my dad’s wish or the call of God. I was worried I was confusing the two. It turns out, I did know. I knew because I was raised to recognize the presence of God all around me. Once I knew what God’s presence felt like, I also knew what God’s voice sounded like. There is a...

Keep Reading

Go Easy On the Parents Who Refuse to Skip Naps

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two little boys and their sister walking down a gravel road, color photo

Greetings from a mom who is done with napping children. It’s great to have the flexibility during the day for longer activities, meeting friends for playdates, or day trips to faraway places. It’s a new life . . . the life without naps. The freedom to make plans and keep them. But not that long ago, I was something very different than the flexible, plan-keeping, up-for-it woman I am today. I used to be the mom who refused to skip my child’s nap. Yep, that one. Here’s the thing, for a lot of parents, It’s so much more than just a...

Keep Reading

My Heart Isn’t Ready for You to Stop Believing in Santa

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy standing in front of lit christmas tree

“My friend doesn’t believe in Santa anymore, Mom,” my son said out of the blue the other day. We were driving in the car, and when I met his gaze in the rear-view mirror his eyes searched mine. Immediately, my heart sank.  This sweet boy, he’s our first. Thoughtful and smart and eight years old. A quick Google search tells me that’s the average age kids stop believing in Santa, but as his mom, I’m not ready for that—not even a little bit.  I can still hear his barely 2-year-old voice going on about reindeer as we lay together on...

Keep Reading

Dear Kids, This Is My Wish for You

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother hugs three kids

To my kids, The world you’re stepping into is unlike anything I experienced at your age. It’s fast-paced, interconnected, and sometimes overwhelming. But within this chaos lie countless opportunities for growth and joy. My wish for you is that you find the perfect balance between embracing the modern world and staying true to yourselves. Change is one thing you can always count on. Embrace it because it’s often the motivation for growth. Embracing change doesn’t mean letting go of who you are; rather, it’s about evolving into the best version of yourself. Remember, you don’t need to have all the...

Keep Reading

Motherhood is a Million Little Letting Gos and Fresh Hellos

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother sitting with child on her lap by the setting sun and water

I missed my grocery-shopping buddy the other day. Mondays are usually the days my littlest and I knock out our grocery list. In the past, we’ve dropped the kids at school and then headed to the store. I grab a latte, and she chooses a hot chocolate. But that day, they were all in school. That day, she sat in her kindergarten class, and I went to the grocery store. Alone. A new rhythm. A changed routine. A different season. I listened to a podcast on the drive. My podcast. Then I grabbed a drink. Just one. I got the...

Keep Reading

Dear Daughter, Stay Wild

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter on beach, color photo

I can’t really put my finger on it. Or manage to find all the words. But there’s just something about that girl. Maybe it’s the way her hair sits tangled. Curled up at the end. The way she moves. Dances. As if everyone was watching. Or no one at all. RELATED: There is Wild Beauty in This Spirited Child of Mine It could be the way she smiles. With her heart. The way only she can. The way she cares, loves. For everyone. For herself. You see, she is beautiful in the way only wild things are. The way they...

Keep Reading

You’re Becoming a Big Sister, But You’ll Always Be My Baby

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Pregnant woman with young daughter, color photo

The anticipation of welcoming a new baby into the world is an exciting and joyous time for our family. From the moment we found out we were expecting to just about every day since, the love and excitement only continue to grow. However, amidst all the preparations for the new addition, I cannot help but have mixed emotions as I look back at old videos and pictures of my firstborn, my first princess, my Phoebe—for she will always hold a special place in my heart. As the anticipation grows, my heart swells with a mix of emotions knowing we are...

Keep Reading

Cowgirls Don’t Cry Unless the Horse They Loved Is Gone

In: Grief, Kids, Loss
Little girls Toy Story Jessie costume, color photo

The knee of my pants is wet and dirty. My yellow ring lays by the sink—it’s been my favorite ring for months. I bought it to match Bigfoot’s halter and the sunflowers by his pasture. Bigfoot is my daughter’s pony, and I loved him the most. The afternoon is so sunny. His hooves make the same calming rhythm I’ve come to love as I walk him out back. A strong wind blows through the barn. A stall labeled “Bigfoot,” adorned with a sunflower, hangs open and I feel sick. I kneel down by his side as he munches the grass....

Keep Reading