women living well book study: ch.13-15 discussion {on parenting mess-ups, the schooling decision + more} + study guide

This post is the part of the WLW book study series- you can find all the details and the previous posts in the study here!

Oh friends, parenting is one of the things I feel least qualified in. I see mostly where I mess up in this area. It's incredibly hard to be a mama. It really is, but I'm so thankful God "doesn't call the qualified, but He qualifies the called!" I'm thankful that my God is bigger than my mistakes and sins, and that He forgives me when I fail {every day!}. You know what I mean? :)

Chapter 13: Motherhood Mess-ups

I was so encouraged by this chapter. My 10 years of parenting has been full of mess-ups, so I was glad to know I'm not alone! ;) I've had moments when I just wanted to give up completely, to throw up my hands and stop trying altogether.

I remember when I first had Elijah- it was like my entire world shifted and I was the only one going through it. I was the first of all my friends to have a baby, and when I graduated, married, got a job, moved out of the city, and had a baby in a year {at barely 21}, I found myself going from a whirlwind of activity and people to suddenly completely alone at home with a tiny infant all day long. It was such a lonely time of my life.

I didn't regret the choices we'd made, but I was surprised at how different my life became. I could no longer just hop out at a gas station or go into a store without carrying a load of stuff and a stroller. 30-minute feedings and multiple clothing and diaper changes had to happen before I could even attempt to leave the house. :)

But looking back, though it felt so very long {the days felt like forever!}, that season of just babies was actually so short! It wasn't long before I found out I was pregnant for the second time, and things changed in our house all over again. Soon I found myself with two little toddler boys who loved to tag team and destroy everything in sight! ;)

oh, they were so little!! I can't believe I couldn't see it then like I do now.

Like Courtney mentions on page 136- the best thing was that as my boys were growing up, so was I! All those tantrums in the store and that time I had to chase Elijah around a friend's yard because he wouldn't obey when it was time to leave... those times were sanctifying and humbling, and made me realize that I could never be a perfect mom. All those great ideas I had B.P. {before parenting} of how I would never make separate foods for picky children, or how I didn't want my kids to ever play video games... they all kind of flew out the door over the years when I had real children living in my home. :)

Somehow, though, the Lord has been merciful to me and allowed me to grow in His grace. I'm so, so, soooo far from being a perfect mom, but over the years the Lord has gently nudged me and I yell less and love more than I did when I started, and most of the kids are growing up and out of their tantrums too. :P

Growing older always seems so sad, but it's really not- it's a wonderful thing to see how far your children have come, and how far you've come yourself too. It always seems like we aren't making progress, until we look back and see {thanks to our Father alone} that we've come a long way! And it gets better and better. :)

I think this was my very favorite quote from the chapter:

Training takes so long though, doesn't it? It seems to me like character training and potty training have a lot in common: they have to be the right age to understand, it doesn't usually happen overnight, and there are a whole lot of mess-ups. I can't just tell my kiddo how to go to the bathroom and expect them to know what to do. I have to teach them, and then train them how to do it over a period of time.

Both kinds of training may bring a few hard days, but they both are necessary, and their rewards are lasting and so worth it. :)

Chapter 14: I'm Gonna Blow My Top

Talk about a chapter every mama can relate to!

Oh, man. I know I have lost my cool a hundred more times than I could ever remember. I am ashamed at how I've yelled and lost it so many times. I wish I could say I have it all together and am entirely patient now but it would be such a lie. By God's grace, I've been forgiven, and it's gotten better, but I know I still have a long way to go.

I'd say over the last 10 years, unnecessary messes and setbacks have triggered mommy meltdowns for me the most. Oh, I remember getting so mad when the boys {3 and 2 at the time} ripped all of their wall paper border off the walls in tiny pieces. It left a huge mess on the wall and wasted so much money and time, and now I laugh at the story, but oh, that DAY. I was not a happy mama! ;)

I am so thankful that the Lord forgives me, and the Holy Spirit convicts and reminds me when I've sinned against my family. It's only in the last year or so that I've even been able to really notice and apologize to my children for losing my cool. The Lord keeps working on me, and I'm so thankful.

I found keeping calm is so much harder for me when I'm exhausted, and outright disobedience and ugliness often triggers anger in me too. Right now, Sunday mornings are one of the hardest days ever, and ironically, right before we go to church is the time I lose it the most often. The mornings I get up earlier, pray for peace and the Lord's help, have all of the clothes ironed, breakfast ready, and have the children bathed already are the good mornings! Why don't I remember that every week? Unfortunately, I like to postpone the work all too often.

When I'm more organized, I don't need the children to do as much on their own in a short time, and that helps me be a better {less irritable} mama. I was encouraged by this chapter to spend more time in reducing those kinds of triggers. Realizing my part in it is so helpful, and I am thankful for that conviction this week.

Chapter 15: Schools of Thought, Schools of Choice

The big schooling decision is a hard one to make. It has been for us, anyway. I loved how she starts out with this quote from the chapter:

"There is no cookie-cutter approach to schooling, because each parent and child and family is knit together uniquely with a unique set of challenges and skills." {p.151}

That has been very true for us! So much changes between each year!

Some years we have done full-time homeschooling, and two years we've done part-time school and homeschool combined. I don't think there is just one way that works for everyone. Really, we are blessed to have so many options for our children, aren't we?

Thanks to the many sacrifices of my parents, I went to Christian school for 10 years, and the other 3 were homeschooling years. I loved going to school, and still do. :) My brother and I learned so much of the Word of God in those years!

This is crazy: in my 8th grade year, my teacher had us memorize over 250 verses of Scripture, and in two years, we could quote 500 verses aloud continuously! {I have no idea how we did that now! My memory is foggy these days... :)} Every subject was taught in light of God's Word, and we had teachers who really loved us and prayed and poured into our lives. And I still remember many of those verses!

When Rob and I had children, we really wanted them to be raised in the same kind of environment I was blessed to have- one where their love of Jesus would be encouraged and sought after every day. We also wanted them to be close to us for the majority of every day, so we've done private Christian school and homeschooling both since they've started, and have really enjoyed both. This year, we originally thought we would do the part-time school again, but the Lord led us to do something different, and though we miss their little school, homeschooling full-time again has been so good for us.

Homeschooling is hard, but regular school is hard too. This is just my observation, but it seems like no matter which option you choose- most days your children will spend time working on school work at home, so homeschooling is something we all do at some point! :) Every family is different though, and I love how the Lord leads us in different ways!

And Courtney's chapter closing was so good:
Regardless of which school choice we make, our job as parents is to teach our children to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27).  
What are the most important things when it comes to their education? Teaching them to love God and love people. So true!

Thank you God, that you lead us and teach us how to teach these little ones, because I'm not worthy to do it! I prove over and over that I am a sinner in need of a Savior, and I need your help to lead these little ones to you. I pray that we can seek after you with all of our hearts, and that your Spirit will lead us as we go about our day so that we can shine the light of the Gospel into the hearts of our little ones. Please help us in the name of Jesus, for your glory. We love you, Father. Thank you for loving us.

Let's discuss! :D

What were your thoughts on these parenting chapters?

Do you ever feel like parenting is too hard too?
{I think it is supposed to be, because it makes us turn to the Lord for help! We can only do it through His strength!}

What has been your most challenging season as a mother? 


  1. I have four children (14, 11, 8, 5) and, of course, have found challenges in each season of motherhood. I think the hardest part about the early years was how touched out I would feel by the end of the day. There were some days where I felt like I could scream if one more child (or any person really) tried to physically touch me. Now I miss those days as I have only one child who still likes to cuddle. :-) The season I'm in right now feels even more difficult, though. Even if the early years were tough, I felt like a pro, like I could handle anything that came my way. Nursing, baby wearing, board books, building with blocks, etc. It all felt right. It's been a very hard transition going from babies to the elementary/middle school years. I feel as if I've lost my footing and don't quite know how to regain my balance. These chapters were a great reminder to me to pray, pray, pray!

    We homeschool and I appreciated reading about Courtney's days as a homeschooling parent. It always interests me to learn how others structure their days.

    1. oh I know what you mean about the touch- and it's so crazy how long and short it seems like at the same time! :) these older years bring a whole different set of challenges for sure!

      I'd love to hear how you do your day too!

  2. My husband and I are prayerfully trying to get pregnant right now with our first little one. I really enjoyed reading these chapters and praying about parenting. What advice would you wise ladies give to someone who is just starting out? Thanks- Jess

    1. I definitely wished I'd relaxed more and not been so worried that I needed to do it all myself. I wanted to be really good at everything and stressed myself out trying to do it alone. :)

  3. Boy do I understand Mommy Meltdowns! Go to Mitera Magazine (Ministry in Motherhood) online at http://www.miteramagazine.com/archives.htm and read my short story about my personal Mommy meltdown in the Fall 2012 issue, AND THAT'S WHY YOU DON'T THROW TOY CARS! The Good Lord certainly has a way of waking us up sometimes! Loving your blog....

    1. oh I'm going to read that tonight! thank you for sharing!

  4. I was definitely one of those people who thought I had parenting all figured out...before I had kids! I would see kids screaming in the store and think, "That mom must not really discipline her kid for him/her to act like that. I would never let my kid act like that"...and then I had "one of those" kids. He would throw all kinds of tantrums in stores over every little thing. I read all kinds of advice on tantrums, and nothing worked!! Definitely humbling!! I also really struggle with losing my cool and yelling at my kids. It does happen more when I'm tired, or we're running late...and also if they keep disobeying over and over for the same thing in the same day. I think it's been getting better since I've realized my triggers (Did the Unglued study about a year ago), but still mess up plenty! As for schooling, we started homeschooling 3 years ago when we moved to a new area with no Christian School close by. It's been a great experience, as well as challenging. I don't find it easy to draw out all kinds of teaching moments, or plan all kinds of fun, learning activities. It's totally worth it though! My kids are 8,6,4, and 21 mos.

    1. I think I have that book and need to read it! thank you for reminding me! I was so right where you are with ages of kiddos 4 years ago! :D

  5. A beautiful post once again Mandy! Thanks for sharing x God bless

  6. I really enjoyed reading this set of chapters because when I married my husband I also gained a wonderful daughter who is now almost 12 years old. Becoming an instant mom has definitely changed my life and I am forever grateful for it. Although, I did not give birth to her I love her like I did and raise her as my own. She has been in my life for about 3 years before we got married. Luckily I learned from the best because my own my also raised my half brothers and so taking on this role seemed very natural to me. However, being part of a blended family also comes with great responsibility, level of communication, and lots of patience. It hasn't always been an easy road, but I am grateful to God because he is constantly working on me and guides me through every obstacle we face. My parents raised me in a very traditional home with high expectations. So as a wife and now mother, I want those same principals and values for my family. I've learned that I need to be PATIENT and even when God seems silent as I pray, he does hear my calls for help. Sometimes with parenting you do not see results right away, it is a constant process and you have to have faith.
    So far I have to say that I have never "blown my top" at my daughter. I think one of the reasons this hasn't happened is because my parents never really did it with me or my siblings. When discipling us they were direct and honest with us, and set a strong example for keeping conversations respectful. I had and still do have high regard for them. They taught us that we were allowed to have our own opinions and taught us to express them with respect and honesty. Which is why I think I never really "talked back" or had other typical preteen issues. Part of it is also I grew up in a Latino family, so culturally respect for parents, teachers, and other adults was engraved in us. My daughter has a harder time sharing her feelings or expressing herself when we have family discussions. So my goal is to build an atmosphere where she feels safe and comfortable. I want to show her proper ways to communicate even when you are mad, sad, stressed, etc. I think this has helped her a lot especially because I know my husband has a harder time being patient with her when their is conflict. He has improved a lot over the last year, but I think going from having an angelic 9 year old to having a preteen has been an adjustment for him.

    I also really appreciated the chapter on schooling. This is something my husband and I struggle with. Our daughter has been going to private Catholic school for 7 years (mainly because her biological mom when to Catholic school her whole life) and want to switch her to a wonderful public school which has shown great success for many years. However, being that she is going through many transitions outside of school (we got married, her mother is remarrying, etc.) We both struggle with adding more change to her life. However, if we don't make the change now, she will be in way greater shock if we wait to switch her to public school in high school (which is extremely large compared to her private school now). We also want her to change now so she has 2 years of middle school to develop friendships, so when she goes to high school she will have friends already as opposed to not knowing anyone if she stays in private school through middle school. Any thoughts on this would be helpful? She is doing very well so far academically and socially at her school, but so hard to weigh out the short and long term effects. I have definitely been praying over this and hoping God will light the way.It was also a good read because my husband and I are thinking about having our own babies and although I have always hoped to stay at home for the first 2 years or so after having a baby, I now have been blessed with a wonderful job that I would hate to leave and is difficult to get. So as a person who likes to plan I loved reading about the options and how Courtney came to her decision. Thanks for sharing everyone and have a blessed week!


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