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.

Advertisements

Book Review: The Unmistakable Touch of Grace

The Unmistakable Touch of Grace: How to Recognize and Respond to the Spiritual Signposts in Your Life

by Cheryl Richardson

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

Why Did I Read?

This was my second reading of this book.  I read it several years ago, but I kept it on my bookshelf and for some unknown reason, I decided it was time to read it again.  Cheryl Richardson is one of my favorite authors and one of my biggest mentors.  Her book Life Makeovers changed my life, but I think I enjoyed this one even more!

Summary (from Goodreads)

Dear Friend,

Twenty years ago, I made a decision to wake up and alter the direction of my life. This set in motion a series of events that proved to me there are no coincidences. Every event we experience and every person we meet has been put in our path for a reason. When we awaken to this fundamental truth, we begin to understand that a benevolent force of energy is available to guide and direct our lives. I call this energy the unmistakable touch of grace.

This book tells the story of how grace has transformed my life as well as the lives of others. While some stories may seem unbelievable, all of them are true. As you follow the journey, you’ll start to see the influence of grace in your life, too. And, once you’ve finished, the way you view your life (and the people in it) will be changed forever.

Many blessings,

Cheryl

What Did I Think/Recommendation

I LOVE this book so much!  I am so happy I decided to re-read it!  It is an easy read, and it is filled with a lot of interesting examples and stories from Cheryl’s life as well as stories from her clients.  At the end of each chapter, I like the fact that she provides lists of resources and books that influenced her in case the reader would like to research the topic further.

As I was reading, I realized that much of what she talks about in this book resonates with me.  I can’t help but wonder if I was introduced to all of these ideas about grace when I read the book the first time, and over the years these beliefs grew stronger as I looked for examples to support them.  I am at the point in life where I believe everything happens for a reason and always for the greatest good.  When my husband lost his job a few years ago, instead of worrying I immediately recognized it as a gift.  I fully trusted that everything was happening for the best, and I knew and assured him that it would all work out.  And of course, it did!   I seldom worry these days, and I am wondering if these beliefs began when I read this book for the first time.  This second reading brought me much peace and reinforced all of those beliefs.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants more peace in life and is interested in growing spiritually.

Check out other reviews of this book on Goodreads.

Favorite Quote

Every event we experience and every person we meet has intentionally been put in our path to help us lead more conscious and fullfilled lives. They are blessings in disguise, gifts that make you stronger, more conscious, and ultimately, more alive.

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.

The_31Day_SelfLove_Cover_for_Kindle

 

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

Book Review: The Top Five Regrets of the Dying

The Top Five Regrets of the Dying:  A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing

by Bronnie Ware

The Top Five Regrets of the Dying Cover

My Rating:  ***** (5 out of 5 stars)

Why Did I Read?

I read this book because I have heard it recommended from several different sources and it sounded interesting to me.  I am always interested in learning about the wisdom people have acquired through their years.

Summary (from the back of the book)

“After too many years of unfulfilling work, Bronnie Ware began searching for a job with heart. Despite having no formal qualifications or experience, she found herself in palliative care.

Over the years she spent tending to the needs of those who were dying, Bronnie’s life was transformed. Later, she wrote an Internet blog about the most common regrets expressed to her by the people she had cared for. The article, also called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, gained so much momentum that it was read by more than three million people around the globe in its first year. At the requests of many, Bronnie now shares her own personal story.

Bronnie has had a colourful and diverse past, but by applying the lessons of those nearing their death to her own life, she developed an understanding that it is possible for people, if they make the right choices, to die with peace of mind. In this book, she expresses in a heartfelt retelling how significant these regrets are and how we can positively address these issues while we still have the time.

The Top Five Regrets of the Dying gives hope for a better world. It is a story told through sharing her inspiring and honest journey, which will leave you feeling kinder towards yourself and others, and more determined to live the life you are truly here to live. This delightful memoir is a courageous, life-changing book that will leave you feeling more compassionate and inspired to live the life you are truly here to live.”

What Did I Think/My Recommendation

I loved this book and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in living a happy and authentic life and having no regrets when they get to the end of it.  I think Bronnie Ware is an excellent writer, and I find her life to be fascinating!  The book is a memoir, so she takes us through many stages of her life.  In her earlier years, she was so carefree!  On several occasions throughout her life, she entered unknown lands with no possessions and no plan in place.  She enjoyed a life of freedom that many people would envy, but that freedom was only possible because of her deep faith and complete trust that God would provide all that she needed.  The following quote demonstrates the deep sense of faith she possessed during this time period and throughout her life: “As every move was done intuitively, I tried as best to always move forward with trust, knowing I would be looked after.” p.30  She allowed her life to flow naturally, trusting that she would be taken exactly where she needed to be to live the life meant for her.  This took her through some dark times throughout her life, but those times were necessary so she could ultimately live a life true to herself.

Sadly, death is a subject many people fear and they do not want to think about it until it is too late and they are forced to.  We are all going to die someday.  The sooner we accept that truth, the sooner we will be able to set our own priorities and live a life focused on the things that are really important to us.

In this book, Bronnie Ware reveals many of the regrets that her dying patients admitted to her.  The #1 regret her patients expressed was not living a life true to themselves.  Instead, they spent their life pleasing others and living the life that others expected of them.  Other patients expressed their regrets of working too hard, not keeping in touch with friends, not being able to express their true feelings, or not allowing themselves to be happy.  I am grateful to Bronnie Ware for sharing this wisdom with us in this book, and I believe we can all learn from it so we will not come to our own deathbed with these same regrets.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book are as follows:

“If we are able to face our own inevitable death with honest acceptance, before we have reached that time, then we shift our priorities well before it is too late.  Once we acknowledge that limited time is remaining, we are less driven by ego or by what other people think of us.  Instead, we are more driven by what our hearts truly want.”

“The only way to experience love is to accept people totally as who they are and have no expectations of them.” p.45

“The freedom to be you is the greatest freedom of all.” p. 193

And my favorite quote of all:

in the end bronnie ware

I think it’s all great advice!

For more reviews on this book or for more information about Bronnie Ware, visit Goodreads here.

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!

The_31-Day_Self-Love_Cover_for_Kindle

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.