5 Reasons Why Boy Moms Need Healthy Friendships

I opened the can of formula and looked around my house. Toys were strewn everywhere. Last night’s dinner dishes stared back at me from the sink and of course, my toddler was hungry. Three babies in four years had taken a toll, not to mention that we had moved to a new community just ten days before our second child was born. His brother would follow just a mere fifteen months later.

5 Reasons Why Boy Moms Need Healthy Friendships via The MOB Society

Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to be a mom. I’m beyond thankful to be be entrusted with three little hearts to help mold and grow and I would choose to do so again and again. I won’t ever regret becoming a mother.

I didn’t expect motherhood to be easy, but I also didn’t know it would be this hard.

I was lonely. I missed my friends from home. And while I love my husband, I needed girlfriends. Girlfriends who would “get” me because we both were rowing the same boat.

It’s so easy to quickly discount our friendships when life gets hectic. We tend to shove our friendships aside when our work schedule gets too busy or the demands at home keep us from even getting a shower or when there’s a family crisis. It’s our authentic friendships, though, that will help us stand after we’ve fallen. Heart sisters pull us up even when we don’t know we’ve fallen.

And let me tell you, as the mother of two little boys (and a spunky daughter), I am so thankful to have friends who help me to know what’s normal and what isn’t. Friends who say “Me too,” or “You’ll get through it.”

Friends who “get” me.

So if you’re wondering why you even need to have friends, here are five good reasons, boy mama:

1. Friendships aren’t just good for your mental health – they’re good for your physical health, too. According to Harvard University’s popular Nurses’ Study, women who do not have a strong network of female relationships pose the same risk to their health as habitual smoking and being overweight. Those with strong friendships have lower cholesterol and lower resting heart rates, too. We don’t just want friends – we need them.

2. Our girlfriends help us know we aren’t alone. C. S. Lewis once said “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another ‘What?! You too? I thought I was the only one.” Isn’t it refreshing to know that other women have lived through toddler tantrums or the angst-filled teenage years? Doesn’t it make you exhale just a bit to know your marriage isn’t the only one that struggles now and then? Aren’t you thankful to know your child isn’t the only one who’s ever battled anxiety? When we know we aren’t alone, we see that we can do this.

3. Friends help us understand our boys. Whoever said it takes a village to raise our children is correct. I am so thankful for my heart sisters who have sons because I can ask them if it’s normal for my sons to not ever want to take a shower or for them to despise having to write a story for homework or should they really be this loud? Boy stereotypes? Maybe. But it’s truth in our house. And since I am not of the male species and I don’t have a brother, boy behavior sometimes baffles me.

4. Our husbands won’t always understand where we’re coming from. Yes, some men are better at this than others. But let’s just be honest and admit . . .  there are some things they just aren’t going to understand because they don’t think from the perspective of a woman – just like we don’t think from a perspective of a man.

5. We need to replace competition with camaraderie. It seems like our culture loves to glamorize catty behavior through television programs like “The Housewives of Wherever” and the reality show of the day. When we watch shows like this and read books and magazines with the same message, we start to subconsciously accept this kind of behavior and eventually, we expect this kind of behavior. If we truly want to change the culture of women, then we will need to replace competition with camaraderie. Don’t we want our boys to see women coming alongside one another instead of tearing each other apart?

I would love to share my new book, Heart Sisters: Be the Friend You Want to Have, with you. I’m giving away five copies to M.O.B. readers . . . Just tell us in the comment section why you need girlfriends and you’ll be registered to win. Winners will be announced in two days on our Facebook page!

Natalie-SnappNatalie Chambers Snapp is first and foremost a follower of Jesus, then wife to Jason, and mom to one spunky daughter and two spirited sons that keep her young on a daily basis. She is passionate about sharing the grace, mercy, and truth of Jesus and encouraging women to be free. Natalie lives in the Midwest with her crew and tries to channel her inner Brother Lawrence when she writes about finding faith in the everyday moments. She blogs at www.nataliesnapp.com in the free moments between shuttling children and writing the outpourings of her heart.

 

 

 

 

 

When A Mother’s Heart Is Full of Fear

Fear.

It can paralyze you if you let it. Keep you up at night. Diminish your appetite.

And for good reason.

The world is rife with treacherous opportunities to be afraid. Very afraid. ISIS is hell-bent on beheading Christians. Airplanes vanish out of thin air, only be found in pieces over vast oceans. Terrible diseases like Ebola have no respect for borders. Closer to home, kids shoot kids, drugs are readily available, and car accidents are a daily occurrence.

When A Mother's Heart Is Full of Fear via The MOB Society

Fear doesn’t even have to be that dramatic to darken the door of our hearts as moms. We can lay awake at night about that bully at school or over a child’s mysterious illness that simply can’t be diagnosed. A mother’s heart has plenty of room to worry about whether or not they should be homeschooling or how they can afford to buy more organic produce for family meals. It makes a mom want to put her son on her lap and keep him there forever!

Our hearts were created for courage but fear clogs the arteries of hope.

Moms, if you are anxious about the world around you and what that will mean for your sons, take your eyes off of circumstances and headlines and place them onto your Heavenly Creator who holds it all in His careful grip. Jesus came to give us life to the full, but fear will always leave us on empty.

God understands the human tendency towards fear, but He doesn’t want us to be afraid:

  • For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7
  • Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
  • When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Psalm 56:3
  • There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 1 John 4:8
  • Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4
  • Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. But you, O God, will cast them down into the pit of destruction; men of blood and treachery shall not live out half their days. But I will trust in you. Psalm 55:22-23
  • The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? Psalm 118:6

Fear not, moms. God’s got it. Trust Him. Trust Him with every aspect of your own life and entrust your children to Him as well. He loves them even more than you do, and not one hair of their heads will fall if it is not ultimately for their good and God’s glory.

Go into today with strength and courage, expecting victory over fear. It is no match for a mom armed with truth and ruled by peace. Don’t allow Satan to rob you of the good all around you, waiting to be noticed and enjoyed. President Roosevelt was right, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

A Prayer For A Mother Who Is Afraid

Dear Heavenly Father,

I know that You are with me and my children wherever we go. But sometimes, I’m afraid for my kids. I need you to remove my fears and replace them with Your peace that passes all understanding. Help me, Lord, to put my trust in You, knowing that You love us and work all thing for our good. Thank You for Your Word which speaks the Truth to my heart and gives me courage. In Jesus Name, Amen!

Resources

  1. For more encouragement about fear as a mother, read this article about being fearless.
  2. For further comfort, read Psalm 118.

Amber-LiaA former high school English teacher and budding novelist, Amber is a work-at-home mom of 3 little boys under the age of 6. She and her husband Guy answered the calling to start Storehouse Media Group, a faith-friendly and family-friendly TV and Film production company in Los Angeles, CA. When she’s not building sand castles with her boys on the beach in Santa Monica, CA or baking her famous Triple Layer Triple Chocolate Fudge Cake, you can find Amber writing to encourage families on her blog at www.MotherOfKnights.com

The Perfect Mom

Her hair is perfectly coifed and her stylish clothes fit her skinny, unblemished body in all the right places. You would never know by looking at her spotless home that she has 3 young children. She effortlessly manages her home, able to balance homeschooling, her relationship with the Lord, her relationship with her husband, time spent loving on her children, and serving in the church. Somehow she never gets behind on the laundry. She never loses her temper, nor snaps at her children or husband. There is always a smile to be found on her flawless face. Every meal she makes is from scratch and is Pinterest worthy as are the parties she hosts.

The Perfect Mom via The MOB Society

Who is this seemingly perfect woman? She’s not real, but for me she has become my standard for being a “good” mom and wife. This “woman” is the combination of all of my friend’s gifts made up into one perfect woman. No matter how hard I try, I fall short of being her and I often feel like a failure–like a bad mom.

Do you ever feel this way? Do you compare your weaknesses to other women’s strengths? Maybe you’re like me and you have created a set of standards that you can never live up to and it leaves you feeling discouraged. For many of us perfection has become our goal and for some of us it gets uglier, it’s our idol. Anything less than perfect is seen as a failure.

Being a mom doesn’t come naturally to me. I come from a broken home and was raised by an emotionally distant dad. Somewhere along the way I started thinking that if I didn’t become the “perfect” mom that I thought my children needed that they were missing out on something great. But I am exactly the mom my children need. And you too are exactly the mom your children need. They need us to use our imperfections to point them to a perfect Savior.  I pray that God is using all of my brokenness and lack of perfection to show my children that He is the only one that can save them.

God doesn’t compare you to any of your friends or any other person. He knows your strengths, your weaknesses, your fears, and all the areas in your heart that you hope never see the light of day. He knows everything there is to know about you and instead of trying to make you more like the woman next to you, He wants to make you more like Him. He is perfection. But there is something about His perfection that doesn’t drive us to envy- it drives us to humility. Sisters, instead of pursuing perfection, lets pursue humility; because it’s in our humility that we see our imperfect selves in need of a perfect Savior. Let’s admit out loud that we can’t do it all! Let’s find comfort in the fact that no one can. God gave us each unique gifts. Let’s celebrate our sisters’ gifts and stories. And let’s praise him for the gifts He’s given us.

“Grace only sticks to our imperfections. Those who can’t accept their imperfections can’t accept grace either.” –Donald Miller

Tonight as I prepare a non-Pinterest-y dinner with my unwashed hair in a ponytail I will remember this word–grace. We were never created to be good at everything. And those really ugly places in our hearts? Let’s take comfort in knowing that He is never finished with us.

Monica-LeighMonica is a lover of Jesus, photographer, business owner, wife and mom of 3 boys. She loves teaching others about photography, writing about motherhood and spending time with her husband.

Wild at Heart Boys and the Books They Love

Splashing my way through mud puddles I drove home from dropping the boys off at school. We’d been late and the morning had been hard–muddy in its own right. After breakfast I ran to get myself showered and dressed, but when I returned to load everyone up in the car they were gone. All three brothers, gone.

Ten minutes after the school bell had rung a few miles away, they wandered up the back property, BB guns slung over their shoulders, covered in dirt and brush, shouting about how they had “tracked coyotes.”  Their ruddy faces shone bright and their breath crystalized as they laughed and puffed their way through the cold air.

For just an instant I saw it there, a wild sort of masculine beauty… but I didn’t have time for it.  Instead, I barked, I hollered, I threatened… and their faces crashed.  I ran for fresh jeans and ordered them to wash their hands and find another pair of shoes.  One kid didn’t have anything but flip-flops, so I rinsed the caked-on mud from his sneakers.

Wild at Heart Boys and the Books They Love via The MOB Society

There is a time and place for order, for tardy bells, for lessons and restraint.  Getting out the door for school at 8am is one of those times.  But there must, there must also be a time for boyhood wild and free. Hours long, unencumbered to explore the world and its dangers, to fish lizards out of the pool and capture spiders in a jar, and to test for themselves what it means to be strong and courageous.  Where else are they to learn it?

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

I picked them up at 2:30 that afternoon and they slid into their seats, unsure what their punishment from this morning’s adventure would be.  Silently we drove home together.  When we pulled down the long drive I parked the car and turned around in my seat.  Finally, I smiled and said, “Well, I thought you wanted to do some exploring.  Grab your walkie-talkie so I can get a hold  of you when it’s time to start on your homework, and don’t turn over any big rocks or you may find rattlesnakes.”  The kisses came fast, and then they were gone–three brothers running pell-mell down the hill.

By the time they came home, flushed from the adventure, dinner was on the stove and homework was laid out.  The oldest took his shower first and then sat down to long division, but before he started his work he asked, “Why’d you let us play this afternoon when we lost track of the time and got in trouble this morning?”

I looked at my man-cub, growing stronger by the day, and affirmed his deepest parts with these words, “Running off down the hill, having an adventure with your brothers, that’s some of the best stuff a boy can do.  Instead of disciplining you for doing it at the wrong time, I decided to remind you what the right time for an adventure is.  Do you think I did the right thing?”

“Yes, yes Ma’am I do.”

“Don’t climb on that, don’t break anything, don’t be so aggressive, don’t be so noisy, don’t be so messy, don’t make such crazy risks. But God’s design–which he placed in boys as the picture of himself–is a resounding yes. Be fierce, be wild, be passionate.”

(John Eldredge, Wild at Heart)

Let’s Pray:

Dear Lord, You did a good job when you made my son.  And though I don’t always understand why you choose me as his mom, I trust you.  And I want to raise him to be exactly who you designed him to be – strong and courageous.  Please help me understand the warrior inside, help me to affirm his masculinity and give him room to explore the world around him.  You know I’m better at controlling the world around him, but I want to grow in this regard, so that he can grow into the man you want him to be.  Strong and courageous, all for your glory, Amen.

Going Deeper:

Why do you think I was able to respond to my sons with such grace?  Could it be I spent the afternoon thinking of just the right thing to say?  When we respond without slowing down to consider the right thing to say, we often act brash and threaten wrong choices.  When raising impulsive boys, we must remember to not respond impulsively as well.  Read James 1:19 and consider what this verse has to do with responding to our boisterous, strong-willed, adventuresome boys.

Choose books that feed the wild parts of our son’s hearts:

(Complete list found here – along with some boyish poetry)

Billy and Blaze, written and illustrated by C.W.Anderson (ages 4-8)

Swiss Family Robinson, by Johann David Wyss (Classic Starts Series, ages 8-10)

My Side of the Mountain, by Jean Craighead George (ages 9-11)

Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls (ages 9-11)

Summer of the Monkeys, by Wilson Rawls (ages 9-11)

Old Yeller, by Fred Gipson (ages 9-11)

And one to help you understand the wild inside your men:

Wild at Heart, by John Eldredge

 

Wendy SpeakeWhether she’s with loved ones in her actual Living Room, alone in God’s Living Word, or speaking to a room full of women, Wendy Speake is inspired to share life and faith with others in creative ways. As Jeremiah had fire in his bones, she too feels compelled to share the Gospel of Jesus – she just does it with stories that probe the glorious and hurting places of life, pictures of faith lived out in her home, and recipes purposed to inspire hospitality. You can connect with her in her virtual living room — WendySpeake.com

 

When My Son Mirrored My Own Misplaced Adoration

I realize now that my adoration for things was breeding contempt for everything else, even in my son.

My kids, food, tidy house, clothes–the list could go on. Unfortunately, the first thing that pops into my mind when I see the word adoration, is not God. I live in a state where sports can be more adored that anything else. Maybe you do too? I used to secretly feel a sense of security, that my heart and mind were in the right place. After all, I did not place sports above God.

When My Son Mirrored My Own Misplaced Adoration | The MOB Society

But recently, I am learning any sense of security placed on where my walk with the Lord is, instead of my security being placed in Him, should immediately be a red flag. My security should be placed in Him, not on whether or not I think my adoration of Him is well placed. I am reading 7 (Jen Hatmaker) with our girls’ small group and I didn’t realize until we got to the sections on clothes and possessions how out of sync my definition of adoration really was. Even more halting was seeing it replicated in my son.

We replicate who we are. My adoration of “things” being sewn into my son, stopped me in my tracks.

22-23 “Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have!

24 “You can’t worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can’t worship God and Money both. Matt 6:22-24 (MSG)

Two things I could no longer deny:

1. I was so covered up, the windows (or eyes) so dirty and cluttered that no light was coming in, or going out. I have so much stuff, so many things that are blocking my eyes from seeing. I have so much stacked around me, gathered to me, that my arms trying to hold it all, prevents me from seeing anything else. My adoration of things, possessions, clothes, has prevented my eyes from truly seeing. My heart was a dank cellar, it’s dimness mirrored in crystal clear pools in the eyes of my son. Toys, things, games, treats, all were more important than anything else. Our adoration of things bred contempt for everything else. What to do?

GIVE. The more I gave, the less contempt I had. The less I had, the easier it was to see the world around me. Time with my kids is more important than things. Sometimes we cannot even seem to get to our kids for all their things and vice versa. The act of giving fostered a sort of “cleaning” of my own internal windows. I can see people in front of me now, not just my things.

2. Adoration of God alone breeds a life of contentment. When you adore God alone, there is no place contempt. We are guaranteed to have contempt when we adore something other than God. More than anything, I want my son to pursue God and adore Him. If I replicate myself, then I have to actually adore God more than anything. My adoration or lack thereof can potentially influence the way he prioritizes his relationship with God. I am asking God to help me learn how to adore Him more. How to teach my son to adore Him, placing Him above all else. Practically for me, it means more giving and less getting. It means saying “no” now, so my barns don’t fill up that way again. I am certain I’ll need you to remind me in a month, when my eyes start to cloud over and I start gathering more things around. A habit of 36 years is hard to break. I am posting Matthew 6:22-24 where I can see it frequently.

Lord, I long for my heart to adore you over anything else. I want my priorities placed on You ordering my steps, not on what I think is needed or wanted. I want to point to You, so my son sees You are the One to go to first. You are the Beginning and the End. We start and finish with You. Thank you for paring down my life to a place where I can see. Give my children eyes to see past their “things” too. Thank you for all you given us. May I be a good steward of what you have entrusted to me.

Additional Resources:

7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess (Hatmaker)

Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream (Platt)

Praying Circles Around the Lives of Your Children (Batterson)

Kristi-GriemWife to one tall man, mom to two littles (1 boy, 1 girl), lover of laughter, passionate about freedom, ending human trafficking, and you. Praying you know today the value you hold as the daughter of the King.

 

 

 

 

Writing a Family Mission Statement

The year we had family portraits taken at the beach was the year each picture perfectly captured one child pouring sand over the head of a crying brother. Yes, there were tears–salty, wet tears. My frustrated husband looked like he was about to blow in each pitiful frame. Then there was me, trying to hold it all together, forcing a smile.

A year later we went with a rustic barn theme. The sunflowers I brought for the children to hold were instead used as swords.  And there was spitting. That’s right, all three of our sons spent the hour spitting on one another. Again my husband looked frustrated and I looked…pathetic.

And let us not forget the time I dressed them in coordinating argyle sweaters.  The weather was perfect, the trees were changing colors, I’d finally lost all the baby weight and my hair looked phenomenal. The planets had aligned and I was sure we would finally have frame worthy portraits. Then this happened…

family portraits

The littlest arched his back, the middle son made monster faces, and the oldest spent the afternoon biting on the inside of his lip. Needless to say, it’s been years.

Then this past fall I decided it was time. I wanted something special, a portrait that would do more than document what we looked like. I wanted to remember our interests and the way we spent our time together as a family. As the day drew near I became giddy at the thought of having a keepsake that represented more than just our physical attributes at this specific stage in the boys’ lives.

Our family is an artistic bunch. We love to spend time together at home with music pumping loud through speakers. The boys connect with their dad in the backyard over stringed instruments plugged into amps, and I show my love by serving platters of fun food amidst these impromptu jam sessions. And so the next day at dusk, when our photographer arrived, she walked through the house and out into the backyard to find each of the boys with an instrument in hand.

And yet, there is more to our family than guitars and s’mores – more to us than simply what we enjoy doing together.  Our family has values that a camera’s lens could never capture.  You see, over the years, as the boys learned not to spit and throw sand at one another, I prayerfully crafted a Family Mission Statement.

A family mission statement sums up what we believe and how we choose to live, giving clarity to children and parents alike.

Writing a Family Mission Statement via The MOB Society

Here is ours:

WS-About-FamilyMotto

When I first penned these lines, we hung them on the wall beside our kitchen table.  As we committed them to memory, we talked our way through each attribute, sharing verses that supported each important aspect of our lives together.  Here are a few examples:

We Honor our Parents – Ephesians 6:1-3, Deuteronomy 5:16

Prefer our Brothers – Romans 12:10, Philippians 2:3

Encourage Others – 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Ephesians 4:29, Hebrews 10:24-25

Always Serving the Least of These – Matthew 25:40, Proverbs 19:17

One at a time we went through them this way – always pointing out the right behavior when we saw it in the everyday lives of our children.

Jot down a few thoughts of your own.

  • What is most important to you, regarding how you want to live as a family?
  • Is fellowshipping with friends at the heart of your home? (Hebrews 10:25)
  • Spending time in God’s Word together? (John 17:17)
  • Orphan care (James 1:27)
  • Respecting elders (Leviticus 19:32)
  • Honesty (Proverbs 20:11)
  • Displaying the fruit of God’s Spirit in the way you treat one another (Galatians 5:22)

Choose three or four attributes, pray through them, support each one with scripture and then write them down to share with your children. Implanting noble, Godly virtue in their little hearts at such a young age is both pivotal and powerful.

And one day, we will look upon the men they’ve become and see the portraits we always prayed for. 

Going Deeper:

– One of the most treasured Bible verses parents claim for their family is the exclamatory promise found in Joshua 24:15b. “As for me and my house, we will serve The Lord.”  But how are you going to take your family from a well-intentioned Bible verse hung over the mantel, to lives that actually live it out?  We need a plan, and a Family Mission Statement can help you develop one!

Prayer:

Dear Lord, Your Word promises that You are making all things beautiful in its time.  (Ecclesiastes 3:11) We want to partner with you willingly in this beautification process.  Please speak to our hearts about the values you want flowing from the lives here in our home.  For Your Glory alone! Amen”

Wendy SpeakeWhether she’s with loved ones in her actual Living Room, alone in God’s Living Word, or speaking to a room full of women, Wendy Speake is inspired to share life and faith with others in creative ways. As Jeremiah had fire in his bones, she too feels compelled to share the Gospel of Jesus – she just does it with stories that probe the glorious and hurting places of life, pictures of faith lived out in her home, and recipes purposed to inspire hospitality. You can connect with her in her virtual living room — WendySpeake.com

The Parenting Playbook via The MOB Society

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