8 Things I’ve Learned About Being a Mom to Three Girls

8 Things I Have learned raising 3 girls

Raising a family is not easy.  It’s much more difficult than I ever imagined it would be, but the rewards and the lessons I’ve learned are also far greater than I could have imagined.  There is no better feeling than listening to my girls laugh together or show kindness toward one another.

Now knowing how quickly each stage of childhood passes, I’ve learned to embrace and enjoy each stage while it is here and face each new challenge as it comes up.  We’ve met some pretty difficult challenges along the way, but one thing I have learned is that they all pass.  When I’m faced with a new challenge, I simply remind myself that we will get through this just as we did in the past.

My daughters are currently ages 15, 13, and 10.  I know some of the most difficult years are probably just ahead of us and I’ve got so much more to learn, but here are the top 8 things they have taught me about life and parenting so far.

  1. Accept each of your children EXACTLY AS THEY ARE.  Acceptance is something we all seek as humans.  The greatest thing you can do for your children is to love them and accept them for who they are.  Each of us has been sent here for a unique purpose, and we were given the unique character traits needed to help us serve that purpose.  If you have more than one child, you know how different they can all be.  The best thing you can do for them is to let go of any expectations you have of them and encourage them to be themselves.  Your children were sent here to teach you things you need to learn about life just as much as you are here to teach them. Recognize that life is not a competition.  Every child cannot be the smartest, best-looking, most talented, most athletic, and most kindhearted child out there, but what they can be is themselves.  Embrace that and encourage that in each of them.
  2. Encourage them to shine.  We are all sent here to shine in our own way.  Each of us was born with a unique combination of gifts and talents that the world needs.  I have learned that my job is to help each of my girls discover her own unique gifts, help her to embrace those gifts, and encourage her to use them to make the world a better place.  I’ve learned that it’s important to expose my girls to different things to help them discover their own interests, but I have also learned not to force them to participate in activities they are not interested in, especially any unfulfilled dreams that I may have had.  My mission is to teach my girls how to be authentic and encourage them to follow their own dreams, not the expectations others may have of them.
  3. Never compare them.  Every child is different.  What works for one is not guaranteed or even likely to work for all of them.  I’ve learned to recognize that they are all individuals, and there is nothing they hate more than being compared to their sisters or to their peers.
  4. Don’t do things for your children that they can do for themselves.  I’ve realized that my job is to teach them how to survive so they are able to care for themselves in this world.  I am their teacher, not their slave.  I need to remind myself of this often because my girls are very good at seeing how much mommy will do for them.
  5. Make each one feel special.  I believe the best gift you can ever give to anyone is your undivided attention.  In our family, my husband and I make an effort to go on individual dates with each of our girls as often as possible.  My girls treasure this one-on-one time, and so do we.  They are always on their best behavior during these dates because they are not competing for our attention.
  6. Be Present.  Take time to stop and observe your children once in a while and give thanks for them.  Time goes by way too fast!  It is so important to make an effort to stop and take it all in every once in a while.  Make an effort to really listen to your child when she is talking to you, look at her and recognize the gift she has been in your life.  Don’t worry, the dishes will still be waiting when you’re done.  Recognize that each moment is a gift.  You are never guaranteed to have tomorrow with anyone.
  7. Teach them Self-Respect.  I believe there is nothing more important than teaching girls to love themselves as is and to respect their body and treat it as the beautiful gift that it is.  Teach them to become aware of the things they put in and on their bodies, to never tolerate disrespect from anyone, and to make good choices.  I believe the best way to do those things is through example.  Take care of yourself, and make your self-care a priority.  Let them see you participating in hobbies you enjoy.  They are always watching and listening, especially when we think they are not.
  8. Start New Traditions.  I LOVE traditions (and my girls do, too!)  Some of my favorite memories from my childhood involve traditions we had.  Some of them I chose to carry on to my family, and some I did not.  Do not be afraid to let go of old traditions and beliefs that do not work for you.  As a family, we have started some of our own  (see Valentine’s Day Wall of Love and Thanksgiving Turkey).  These are some of the things I think my girls will remember most from their childhood.

These are just a few of the main lessons I have learned from raising my girls so far.  I learn new things every day and with each challenge that arises.  Raising children is a big responsibility, and not an easy one.  It does take a village, so embrace those surrounding you at this stage in your life and work together to help one another.

What advice do you have about raising children?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

If you need help with acceptance (of your children or yourself), defining your beliefs, or learning to be more present, my book The 31-Day Self-Love Challenge is a guided journal that was designed to help with that.

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Book Review: Transformed

Book Review:  Transformed

by Rick Warren

transformed cover

My Rating:  ***** (5 out of 5 stars)

Why Did I Read?

I am a member of a small group (we call it a Lifegroup) at our church.  For 7 sessions, we got together every other week to go through this book together, watch the video that went along with the weekly lesson, and discuss our thoughts and how we can apply the concepts to our own lives.

Summary (through Goodreads)

Transformed is a church-wide, 7-session campaign that will guide and grow your church by exploring what the Bible has to say about every essential area of our lives: Spiritual, Physical, Mental, Emotional, Relational, Financial, and Vocational. The world is shouting for our attention with answers to our relationship struggles, solutions to our financial trouble, and explanations to our search for meaning. But the world’s promises leave us empty and searching for more. God’s Word is the only answer that promises to transform our lives from the inside out. Unite as a church and be TRANSFORMED together.

What Did I Think/Recommendation

I really liked this book a lot.  Over 7 weeks (49 days), each day I looked forward to reading, reflecting, and journaling on the lesson of the day.  In those 10 minutes of each day, I felt so at peace.  I was able to leave all of my worries behind and connect with my source and my true self.  It was a wonderful feeling.  When I was able to spend this time first thing in the morning, it inspired me and provided me with a great start to my day.

I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in becoming healthier in mind, body, or spirit.  The book covers just about every area of our lives:  spiritual health, physical health, mental health, emotional health, relational health, financial health, and vocational health.  The reading is very short, but the reflection and journaling is what I enjoyed the most.  To anyone who gets this book, I would encourage you to do the journaling if you want to get the most out of it.

Although I really enjoyed doing the individual lessons from the book, the part of this course that really made the biggest impact in my life was the small group discussion and the videos that went along with the book.  Find out more about the course at http://transformedlife.com/

 

A New Year’s Resolution You Can Keep

Are you tired of making New Year’s Resolutions you can’t keep?

This year, instead of focusing on all the things you want to change about yourself, what if you made a different kind of resolution? What if the only resolution you made was to love yourself more, exactly as you are?

You are a perfect creation just as you are!  You were born with so many natural gifts to share with the world, but when you focus on all the things you think are “wrong” with you or that society tells you are “wrong” with you, your precious time and energy will be spent on the wrong areas and everyone will be missing out on the real gifts you have to bring to the world. Instead, why not focus on being yourself, discovering those gifts, and sharing them with those around you?

When you learn to love yourself unconditionally and live a more authentic life, all of the things you think are “wrong” with you will naturally take care of themselves. For example, if losing weight was going to be your resolution, that will naturally happen when you take the time to love yourself as you are and commit to discovering the emotional cause of your eating habits. Once you are able to deal with and overcome those emotional issues, you will naturally want to care for your body and fuel it with real foods that nature intended us to eat. Then, the weight will fall off naturally. The same goes for any other area of your life that you think might need improvement.  When you begin to live authentically, everything begins to fall into place and your dreams will begin to come true!

If you do want to live a more authentic life and get to know and love yourself more but you don’t exactly know how to do that, The 31-Day Self-Love Challenge was written to help you do just that.  It requires just 15 minutes of your undivided attention each day for 31-Days. You will learn to embrace your uniqueness, discover your priorities so you can spend your time and energy on those things that really matter in life, and recognize your gifts and talents so you can share them with the world and fulfill the purpose that you were sent here to make.

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So, whatever challenge or resolution you decide to make for this New Year, I wish you much success!

Book Review: One Month to Live

One Month to Live:  Thirty Days to a No-Regrets Life

by Kerry & Chris Shook

One Month to Live Cover

My Rating:  ***** (5 out of 5 stars)

Why Did I Read?

The authors of this book founded the church my brother attends in the Woodlands, TX.  I am very impressed with Pastor Kerry’s sermons, and I thought the idea of the book was an interesting one.  What would I do if I only had one month to live?  How would I change the way I live my life?  I decided to read it and find out, and I’m glad I did!

Summary (from Goodreads)

What if you only had one month to live? How would you make each day meaningful? How would you relate to others differently? What would you do to make the rest of your life really matter?

With eye-opening insights and soul-inspiring truths, One Month to Live will challenge you to embrace the life God has entrusted to you and you alone, and to live it out moment by moment with wholehearted authenticity, honesty, and integrity.

Each chapter overflows with inspiring quotations, colorful true stories, and questions for reflection. The four sections, which can be read over four weeks, help you examine the core areas inside you that long to be exercised and expressed: how you’re made to live passionately, love boldly, learn from your mistakes, and leave a legacy that endures for generations after you’re gone. Complete with uplifting action points, each of the thirty chapters– one per day in a life-changing month–offers you fresh strategies for overcoming habits that mire you in mediocrity.

Open yourself to the challenge of embracing your mortality and being empowered to live each day engaged in being fully alive.

What Did I Think/Recommendation

I really loved this book!  It is very easy to see that the authors are filled with God’s love, grace, and wisdom, and I am so grateful they shared it all with us in this book.  There are 30 chapters in the book (one for each day of the month), and each chapter presents a new concept and new questions for the reader to reflect on in their own life.  The authors provide examples from their own lives to help us better understand each concept, and I really enjoyed reading those examples.

It is no secret that we are all going to die at some point, but many of us do not like to think of that.  This book helps you to realize your mortality so you can identify your priorities and recognize what really matters in your own life.  It helped me to realize the importance of living intentionally so I may make the most of my time, fulfill my purpose on this earth, and make the difference I was sent here to make.  This book reinforces what really matters in life:  relationships.  Relationships are eternal, but everything else is temporary.

I would absolutely recommend this book!  Read it for yourself and find out what really matters to you.  If you only had one month left to live, what would you change about the way you live your life?

For more reviews on this book, check it out on Goodreads here.  Take the One Month to Live challenge here.

The 31-Day Self-Love Challenge is Now Available!!

Do you want to live a more authentic, peaceful, and purposeful life? Do you want to live your life to the fullest and use your natural gifts and talents to make the world a better place?  If so, I am SO excited to introduce you to my very first book, The 31-Day Self-Love Challenge!

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This 31-day guided journal will help you learn to recognize your worth, identify your purposes in life, and develop the habits necessary to become healthy in body, mind, and spirit.  It is intended for anyone who is starving for a little bit of alone time, or anyone who is willing to dedicate a little more time to get to know and love yourself more. If you know anyone who could benefit from this book, I would be grateful for your recommendation. It is currently available through Amazon here.

Also, if you enjoy inspiring quotes or would like to follow my journey as an author, please “Like” my FB Author page Stacy Rancourt.

Movie Review: The Tapping Solution Documentary

The Tapping Solution

The Tapping Solution

My Rating **** (4 out of 5 stars)

Why Did I Watch?

I watched the Tapping Solution Documentary because I am a big believer in tapping, and I know from experience that it works.  I used tapping with my daughter to help her completely overcome physical and emotional pain and anxiety that she was going through last year.  The Tapping Solution Documentary was available for free during the Hay House World Summit, so I decided to check it out.

Summary (from The Tapping Solution)

In this movie, you’ll meet 10 people from around the country with a variety of challenges, such as PTSD, chronic back pain, fear of public speaking, Fibromyalgia, abundance blocks, weight loss, smoking, grief and more. You’ll follow their journey as they learn EFT Tapping (and you do as well) and then dive deeper into the keys to changing your life.

The movie teaches how to release physical pain, how our emotions affect our body, releasing trauma, how our childhood is affecting us today, how to clear limiting beliefs, using Tapping to make the Law of Attraction work for you, and much more!

See more about the film here.

View the trailer here:

What Did I Think?

I enjoyed this documentary.  I laughed and cried along with the participants, and it kept my interest for the entire time.  It was deeply moving and inspirational, and I am so grateful that this movie is helping to spread the knowledge of this invaluable tool.  I already had knowledge of tapping prior to watching the movie, but I think it would be just as helpful, if not more, to those are introduced to the wonderful world of tapping through this documentary.  You have the power to heal your life, and this is one tool that can help you do that!

Book Review: The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity

The Artist’s Way:  A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron

The Artists Way Cover

My Rating:  ***** 5 out of 5 Stars

Why Did I Read?

The book that has had the biggest impact on my life so far has been Life Makeovers by Cheryl Richardson.  Through that book, I discovered myself.  I have been through the 52 weekly challenges in that book for over 8 years now, and I am grateful to author Cheryl Richardson and the book for helping me on my journey of personal growth.  At the end of each weekly challenge, there are a list of resources if the reader wants to go further in depth with the topic of the week.  The Artists Way is listed as one of the resources.  If The Artists Way helped shape Cheryl Richardson into the person she is today, I decided it was worth checking out.  So, I borrowed it from my library, began my journey on the twelve-week challenge, and just I finished it (although I completed it in about 6 weeks instead of 12 so I could get it back to the library before the due date.)  I am planning to take the challenge again.  There are very few books that I actually buy since I can get them at the library, but The Artists Way is one that I feel would be worth buying.

Summary

From the back of the book:  The Artists Way is an empowering book for aspiring and working artists.  With the basic principle that creative expression is the natural direction of life, Julia Cameron and Mark Bryan lead you through a comprehensive twelve-week program to recover your creativity from a variety of blocks, including limiting beliefs, fear, self-sabotage, jealousy, guilt, addictions, and other inhibiting forces, replacing them with artistic confidence and productivity.

The Artists Way links creativity to spirituality by showing in nondenominational terms how to tap into the higher power that connects human creativity with the creative energies of the universe, and guides you through a variety of highly effective exercises and activities that spur imagination and capture new ideas.

What Did I Think/ My Recommendation

I love this book, and I see why it was recommended by Cheryl Richardson in the book Life Makeovers!  There are a lot of great tips in this book that could help anyone looking to unleash their creativity and rediscover the artist within.  I took away some great ideas from this book, and when I applied them to my life, I noticed a huge improvement.  Writing morning pages have helped me to focus on gratitude and prioritize my days.  When I don’t do them, I feel lost and unproductive.  The artist date has been something I have come to look forward to each week.  As time goes on, I hope to schedule more time for artist dates.  There are many other suggestions in the book that would greatly improve one’s life.  Completing the tasks have helped me identify some of my fears and limiting beliefs so I can work past them.  This is not a book that you just sit back and read.  You must do the tasks provided to get the most out of it.  The more time you put into it, the more you will get out of this book.  I plan to go through the twelve-week program again in an even more thorough fashion.

I also loved that the margins of the book are loaded with inspiring quotes, many of which resonated with me.  My favorite quote of all from the book is one from Julia Cameron herself:

“Creativity is God’s gift to us.  Using our creativity is our gift back to God.” ~Julia Cameron

creativity julia cameron

For more information or reviews on The Artists Way, or for more about the author Julia Cameron, check out The Artists Way on Goodreads.