When Your Child’s Will Wears You Out

Last month I wrote about my newly-turned 16 year old girl’s birthday with a few reflections on how God wired her (and just how blessed I am to be her Mom!).

I did not go into incredible detail, but made reference to her toddler years — as in, the not-at-all-easy toddler, preschool and early childhood years.

Today, my daughter is a wonderful, beautiful teen whose character has grown leaps and bounds.  So far, she and I enjoy a relationship marked by lots of laughter and genuine companionship.  We are good friends as well as mother and daughter.

But, before we ended up in this lovely place, there existed another place.  One in which I would often wonder why I was debating with a three year old (or 5 year old, or…).  For crying out loud, I AM the Mom!

Honestly, it wasn’t a disobedience issue.  It wasn’t that she ignored me, refused to follow authority, or anything like that.  Most importantly, it certainly wasn’t solved by any typical parenting tips or tricks.  In those days, I was an emotionally weary Mama.

We both laugh now as I share stories from those years, but it was FAR from funny then.

strong willed child

Mom, can you relate?

Perhaps you are blessed with such a child, such a brilliant and vibrant personality.  Maybe you are wondering where you have gone wrong in parenting or where to go next.  I wish a step-by-step plan could be be offered to you today, but I don’t have that.  However, I might be able to relate to your struggle and certainly can offer words of hope!

A few heart encouragements today:

Remember you will be equipped for this journey

You may not have every mothering tool necessary right now to handle the situation, but if you ask, it will be given to you.  God will supply what you need, just when you need it.  You are never alone.

Remember your child is a gift

Amen?  Speak it, say it, believe it….because it’s true.

Learn from the journey of others

We need to pray and ask God for wisdom.  Often, he can use the experiences of others to give insight into our own.  Read some books, talk to other trusted friends, share with your spouse.   Don’t sit inside your own mind!

Stay consistent (but stay open).

Your child may push and push sometimes just to test things out!  Keep clear and consistent in age-appropriate expectations, but also keep open to changing the way you do things.  You will likely need to!

Focus on relationship

It will be too easy to make everything a battle, a struggle, a debate of some sort with these types of children.  Yes, you are the Mom.  Yes, you are the boss.  But this child also needs your love, not just your discipline.  Be sure to focus on intentional relationship-building which fills the emotional tank of your little one.  It’s SO worth it!

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I trust and believe God will use my daughter’s feistiness for his ultimate glory if she allows him the honor.  I believe the same for your children and for your mothering.  Don’t give in or give up Mom!

Any other thoughts to add?


Post written by Daniele of Domestic Serenity; photo credit

Nurturing Your ‘No’ Response

learn to say no

We’ve all heard it before – just say NO.  Simple, right?

If you feel overwhelmed by your responsibilities, say no more.  If there’s too much on the calendar, you need to say no.  If you struggle to manage everything on your plate…

Just say NO!

For many of us, the struggle usually looks something like this:  after an awful season of taking on way too much, or of incredible busyness, we swing clear to the other side and just start clearing our calendars.

We STOP everything, or almost everything.

Sometimes, this is exactly what we need to do.

Sometimes there are emergencies or radical changes to our life that we simply couldn’t predict, and everything has to immediately shift in order to make things work.  Sometimes, we have to fully clear our schedules.

But most of the time?  

We must learn the art of nurturing our NO response a little better.

A lifestyle of taking on w-a-y- too much, then dumping responsibilities (again and again) is a clear sign for maturity in our decision-making ability.  We’re swinging back and forth, back and forth, instead of gaining traction and moving forward.

say no

Learning to Say No

To live purposefully and intentionally does require we learn to say NO to things not priority at this time in our lives.

In order to do this, we need our YES very well-defined.  Here are a few tips to help get you thinking:

1.  Know your season of life.  Understanding your God-ordained purpose in this current season of your life is really important.  We can’t do everything, and especially not all at once.

2.  Embrace your YESes and Nos.  Ask yourself (and spouse if you’re married) these three questions based on evaluating your season of life:

  • what things might I/we need to take a hold of?
  • what things might I/we need to release?
  • what things or situation are simply out of our control? (and we must release to God’s hands)

Giving thought to these questions may spark some interesting conclusions, so be ready to embrace whatever steps you might need to take!

3.  Remember you can’t please everyone — please God the most.  Disappointment from others is sort of inevitable, and it’s okay.

You may not be as available as before as you focus energy and time on the YES answers for your life, but you’re on a better track.

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Nurturing your no response takes time, practice and will change as seasons of life change.

So, be gracious with yourself!


photo credit; post by Daniele of Domestic Serenity


Balancing Life in Seasons of Chaos

balancing life

Before I jump into the heart of this post, let me share a bit about my personality and take on ‘balancing life’ —

I am a planner and love all things rhythm, routines and organization.

I also strongly advocate for finding a plan, a way to manage your days as a Mom.  Each of us is different, and thankfully we don’t have to act like clones!  Yet, there is great value in learning and growing in our home/life/work management skills — doing it all by the seat of our pants really isn’t the best idea.

We’ll overwhelm ourselves this way for sure.

But do you want to know what I’ve learned the hard way in my 23 years of parenting?

Rhythm and routine for our family sometimes flies out the window in the face of transition, change, major shifts — basically…organized chaos.  Or rather, I have to establish a NEW way of functioning before burning myself and the whole family out.

When each pregnancy brought on severe illness (I can relate to Princess Kate), it wasn’t an option for me to continue on as normal.  Our family had to adjust to new patterns of living.

Last year, my husband raced to complete his dissertation and it was ‘all hands on deck’ as Daddy took several weeks to wrap up the BIG paper, as my 4-year-old called it.  He was practically in hibernation until the defense, and we all had to adjust.

There have been seasons of moving, of trauma, of unexpected surprises that have thrown us for a loop.  I’m sure many of you could relate as well.

balancing life

Are you currently in a season of organized chaos?

One you knew was coming (or didn’t), or maybe couldn’t see it would be this tough, this hard — this chaotic.

I do believe hope is available to us, and clues to find our way through during these times.  I’ll share what our family has learned, but please offer your own thoughts as well:

  • release the idea of balancing DAILY life – in these seasons, each day may need to be different and that’s okay!  Try to think of balance over the long-term, after the period of chaos.
  • release whatever practical tasks you can – if you can afford to hire help or have others to assist you…let them do it!  This isn’t a time for heroism, but humility.  Allow others to bless you – ask and receive.
  • release yourself from guilt – I believe this only comes through prayer, honestly.  We need to apply God’s grace to our lives and hear his words of affirmation over us and our families.  He knows and understands it’s all only temporarily messy, and that you would LOVE to get back to ‘normal’.  He’ll help you get there.
  • release yourself from doing FOR others as much as possible – I know, sounds a bit selfish right?  But you need to care for yourself and your family now – and this is paramount.  We can be gracious in the process, but find peace in saying NO when needed.

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One day, this season will be over, and all will (and should) return back to normalcy.  Chronic stress is not at all healthy for us or our families.

God’s grace to you friend…whatever season you’re in.


{photo credit}, related post: the rhythm of family life :: balancing it all {or not}

Daniele, Domestic Serenity

This post is part of our series Finding Balance as a Busy Mom. 

Please check the series page for all of the posts! 

Finding Balance as a Busy Mom

Easter Resources for the Whole Family

With the Lenten season upon us, and as we anticipate days leading up to Easter…

I want to encourage you as a Mom to give thought to crafting special moments of celebration for both yourself and your family.  Perhaps your church already outlines a suggested plan, or maybe you have deep family traditions which define this time.

If so, please share with us so we can all gain ideas!

For anyone needing fresh inspiration or direction, here are a few favorites our family has participated in and enjoyed each Easter season.

easter garden

Devotional Reads for Easter

I have thoroughly enjoyed Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter each year – every time I learn something new!  Though I never get through the entire thing, it’s helpful to pick it up each year.

Last year my husband and I read Love to the Uttermost by John Piper.  It’s a devotional reading for Holy Week (link is to last year’s outline), and was both short & inspiring!

For the whole family, Ann Voskamp offers a FREE Family Lent and Easter devotional — with printable ornaments for an Easter tree.

NEW!   A free Blessings of the Cross 40-day PDF devotional when you sign up for Faith Gateway’s Easter email devotionals (also free).  I’ve downloaded the book…and it’s beautiful and incredibly inspiring!

easter books

Children’s Books and Activities for Easter

Just a few of our favorites read often in the season:

If you were to Google or search Pinterest for crafts, there would be a plenty!  Remember to choose ones that fit your family in this particular season.

Easter comes every year, and some ideas can wait if they only serve to stress you out right now.  The focus is celebration, not aggravation!

easter cross

Here are a few activity suggestions from our family:

Each year is a fresh opportunity to remind ourselves of this greatest gift — the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior.  May it never grow old in our hearts.

Plan celebrations to fit your family…

…and savor the season.


Daniele Evans, Domestic Serenity

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