So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

Almost exactly two-and-a-half years ago, we happened to buy our first house at the same time as a close friend. We liked the house and were excited to move out of a rental home which had become frustrating in its age and its nosy neighbors. I discussed our simultaneous moves with the friend while our two sets of twins made a wreck of our current play area.

“Well,” she said, eyes shining, looking at me earnestly, “you know how exciting it is when you find your forever home!!” I used my fourth-grade lessons on context clues to figure out what a forever home was. The pieces finally clunked into place and I smiled tentatively and subtly changed the subject. There was no way we would be there “forever”. It wasn’t our goal or our ideal, but I didn’t want to dampen her excitement. I loved her and her kids and didn’t want her to know we would ultimately be moving on. It’s an unusual idea to buy a house knowing you won’t be around long enough to see the kitchen backsplash become outdated.

Since this initial conversation, I hear the idea of a forever home everywhere. Almost every HGTV show or DIY website chronicles finding homes that are meant to be constants in our lives. I’m not discussing the idea of a starter home versus a forever home, but the idea that no one place is meant to be forever.

Am I just so millennial that I don’t want this for us? 

Fifteen months later, we sold that home and bought another one in a different area of the country. We still live here. I also like this home. It’s smaller and brand new and appears clean without much effort even with two four-year-olds and a newborn. But I don’t have images of grandchildren or even middle school-aged children growing old here. My dreams are more like mosaic tiles with cracks between them.

When I look ahead I see us moving, sometimes houses and sometimes cities or states or even countries. I see us deciding again and again what to pack and what to discard and our kids setting up different bedrooms. I see myself frustrated trying to locate the closest grocery store and my kids nervously walking into new lunchrooms. It is a future that is less stable geographically but hopefully more steady in the most important sense.

The forever part of this scenario? Our family and our village. 

I think it does take a village to raise a family. I just also believe one can be created, cultivated, and maintained in different areas at different times. I also think the mayors of our village should be us—myself and my husband, with our children as the (very much apprentice) board members. I do see us stopping moving briefly as our kids get into high school. As friends and boyfriends and girlfriends become more important, as they should. But then I see us picking up and moving on once again when our nest is empty. Maybe to a big city that wasn’t suitable for a family of five or to a place where we can finally live our dream of having only one car. 

But we’ll take that village with us. That village we have amassed over years and cities and moves. That village we miss at times but that is available through so many different avenues, virtual and tangible.

I don’t want a forever home; just our family and our village. 

Kristen Tenini

Kristen is a mom of twin girls and a new baby boy who lives near Charlotte, NC. She is a licensed social worker, an occasional writer, and an exercise enthusiast. 

I’m the Quiet Mom

In: Living, Motherhood
Mother holding baby, smiling, black-and-white photo

I’m the quiet mom. The shy mom. The highly introverted mom. The mom who doesn’t do very well in social situations. The mom who tries to be social but usually comes off as a little awkward. I don’t overly like this about myself. But it’s who I am. I could try to change this about myself. I could try to be the outgoing mom. The social mom. The loud and extroverted mom. And I have tried. However, completely changing who a person is at heart is not something that can be easily done. Complete change is also very unlikely to...

Keep Reading

Here’s to the Strong Ones Living with Type 1 Diabetes

In: Living
Pregnant mom on beach, black-and-white photo

This is a shout-out to all the sweet girls. The ones hustling so hard to live like normal. The ones with type 1 diabetes. Some of you have been living with diabetes as long as you have been breathing. Some of you are newly diagnosed and need to know someone who has been managing diabetes for years. I have been living with type 1 diabetes for 17 years, and I see you. Whether you have been diagnosed for 17 hours or 17 years, chances are I’ve felt what you feel too.  I’m here to tell you that type 1 diabetes...

Keep Reading

You Don’t Have to Lose Yourself to Be a Good Mom

In: Living, Motherhood
Woman brushing wet hair

There is nothing wrong with losing yourself in motherhood. Diving in head first, serving your kids and spouse endlessly, never asking for a break, being proud for providing an amazing childhood for your kids, and allowing mom to become your entire identity. But what if you don’t want that?  When did this become the standard of motherhood we are all expected to achieve? Why does society say the best mom is the one that’s 110% physically and emotionally available for her kids all the time and never does anything for herself? Why are you less of a mom if you...

Keep Reading

No Screens Before 7: How Our Family Broke Free of the Screentime Habit

In: Living, Motherhood
Kids using smartphones

“We still have three more minutes!” my 7-year-old says, bouncing with Christmas-like anticipation and excitement. “Well,” I say, looking from him to his 9-year-old sister, “what could you do for three minutes?” “Leg wrestle!” they exclaim and run to the carpeted living room. This life-filled exchange was not happening in my home just a couple of months ago.  In spite of my best efforts, screen time had taken over. Both the kids and I would slip into this zombie-like, space-time vortex. I would look up and know it wasn’t healthy, but it was just so easy to just keep on...

Keep Reading

Witch, Please! Hocus Pocus 2 Release Date Means the Sanderson Sisters Countdown Is ON

In: Living
Bette Middler in Hocus Pocus 2 on Disney+

“Lock up your children!” screeches Winifred Sanderson (played by Bette Midler) in the teaser trailer for Disney’s long-awaited Hocus Pocus 2 movie. But I say, “Mark your calendars!” Disney revealed the release date for this much-anticipated sequel and I’m happy to report that the Sanderson sisters will be flying above Salem and to your Disney+ stream on September 30th! The countdown is ON! Check out the trailer and get excited! But first, a confession:  I have to be honest, I was 16 when the original Hocus Pocus came out, but for some reason I never saw it until I was...

Keep Reading

Good Dads Make Great Grandpas

In: Grown Children, Living
Grandpa walking with two grandsons, color photo

This is not only written for my dad, but for all the dads out there who aren’t the typical, everyday dads. The hands-on dad, the dad who goes on bike rides, the dad who watches his grandbabies. The dad who creates a legacy whether he realizes it or not. The world needs more of you.  It’s not every day you get a dad who enters a diaper changing contest and comes in second place. Yes, that happened to my dad. He would take me up to the local mall to walk around and one of the stores was holding a...

Keep Reading

Dear Friend, I Don’t Want To Lose You

In: Friendship
Two women smiling, color photo

I’m sorry I don’t text you like I should. I’m sorry I don’t call you like I should. I’m sorry I don’t check in to see how you are. I’m sorry this friendship can feel one-sided at times. I’m sorry I’m so distant. The truth is I’m struggling. I’m struggling with life. I’m struggling with finances. I’m struggling with trying to please everyone and do everything. RELATED: Check on Your “Strong” Friend, She’s Faking it The problem is I try to please everyone—everyone who doesn’t matter. My problem is I’ve gotten so content with our friendship that I know you’ll...

Keep Reading

I Want You To Miss Your Childhood One Day Too

In: Kids, Living
Kids jumping off dock into lake

What I miss the most about childhood is owning my whole heart. Before I gave pieces of it away to others who weren’t always careful with it. And some, who never gave the pieces back. I miss my knowing. My absolute faith that my mother’s arms could fix just about everything and what her arms couldn’t, her cookies could. When my biggest grievance was not getting my way. I miss feeling whole, unblemished. Before words cut me. Before people had taken up space in my mind, created permanent movies that were ugly and still play on repeat at times. Before...

Keep Reading

I Traded My Body for This Full Life

In: Living, Motherhood
Happy family smiling

It was supposed to be the happiest time of my life. I was cradling my firstborn child—my rainbow baby—tenderly in my arms as she contentedly nursed. I looked down at this beautiful miracle, unable to mirror her blissful content. Six weeks after the birth, I was still feeling like garbage. Being a first-time mom, I figured the fatigue was par for the course. My other symptoms, however, were suspect. Will I see my daughter grow up? were my thoughts as the streams of grief flowed, pooling on her swaddle. At my medical check-up, I brought my concerns to my doctor...

Keep Reading

The Truth is I’m Drowning

In: Living
Woman with hand on face sad

I find myself sinking. Really disappearing. Everyone around me sees me. They see my smile, my involvement, my willingness to please and participate. No one notices how easily I shift between despair and real tears and conforming to what the situation requires of me. Sometimes this shift happens within the matter of minutes.  Not waving, but drowning. I’m on a weight loss journey. The scale told me I am down just over four pounds. And I feel really good about that. I know I have another 15 to 20 to go, but I am four down. I made a promise...

Keep Reading

5 Secrets to the

BEST Summer Ever!

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Creating simple summer memories

with your kids that will  last a lifetime