How To Make Friends In Adulthood and Keep Them

How I Make—and Keep—Friends in Adulthood

So, you’re all grown up now. Perhaps you relocated to a different state. Perhaps you’ve outgrown your childhood friends. Perhaps you’re a stay-at-home mom struggling to meet other moms. Whatever the case, building new friendships in adulthood can be a daunting challenge.

I’ve experienced all the above; I moved to a new state, I outgrew most of my friends, and I was a stay-at-home mom struggling to make connections with other moms. To ice that cake, I’m also an introvert and I homeschool my children—which made it even more challenging to find people I could relate to.

As a woman in her thirties, I’ve made many friends in my adulthood, but lacked the quality friendships I desired.

Quality Friends Memes, Quotes, and Inspiration

Let me differentiate the two. With a casual friend, we might go out to coffee and catch up every now and then, but neither of us is committed to taking the relationship to the next level.

And that’s okay!

Everyone needs friendships like these. I call them seasonal friends.

A quality friendship, however, is a friendship where both parties are committed to realizing the potential of their relationship. It goes beyond the coffee dates and birthday party invites. There’s more transparency, a stronger connection, and most importantly—mutual edification.

I’ve discovered finding a good friend is a lot like finding a mate. In fact, my friends and I jokingly referred to our new friendship phase as “dating.”

Here, I don’t just want to talk about things I’ve learned that helped me make friends as an adult, but also things I’ve found to help sustain those friendships. Of course, I’m coming from the point of view of a homeschool mom, but you’ll find these tips can apply to you regardless of your walk in life.

As a disclaimer, I don’t have a ton of close friends. In fact, there are only two people on this earth I can call a close friend. But please be assured that one good friend is all you need. After all, quality friendships take time, love, and dedication to blossom. So, let’s get to it, shall we?


15 Ways to Make—and Keep—Friends in Adulthood


1. Enjoy your singleness.

If your goal is to make quality friends in 2019, don’t just sit around your house and hope for it. Instead, take that hope to the next level. That means doing the things you love—by yourself.

You must start living!

Enjoy Your Own Company Meme, Quote, Inspiration

You don’t need a BFF to go to the movie theater and watch that movie you’ve been wanting to see. You don’t need a BFF to go eat lunch at your favorite restaurant. And you certainly don’t need a BFF to travel or take advantage of wonderful social opportunities. You never know; you might run into your future BFF at the movie theater, coffee shop, or airport.

Just enjoy your own company!

Yes, I’ve dined alone, traveled solo, and showed up to social events with just me, myself, and I. I made meaningful connections, became confident in conversing with strangers, and even met my BFF!

Fellowship is important, but learning to be content with being by ourselves is also necessary for our personal growth and development. It is where we learn the art of balance.

 

2. Practice wholeness.

I’ve learned that no one should complete me. I should be whole all by myself. In fact, when we rely on people to fill our inner void, we set ourselves up for disappointment. Why? Because people are imperfect beings.

So, how do I practice wholeness?

  • By being intentional about improving my spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health.
  • By maintaining a connection with God through prayer, meditation, and worship.
  • By allowing God to help me regulate my emotions and express them in a healthy manner.
  • By taking my thoughts captive to filter out the negativity.
  • Lastly, by developing healthier eating habits and staying active.

When I actively pursue the path of wholeness, I not only increase my chances of being an edifying friend to others, but also building quality friendships that last.

 

3. Build your confidence.

Practicing wholeness naturally increases my self-confidence, making me more attractive to quality people. Other methods I use to help build my confidence are:

  • Praying before attending events. I ask God for confidence and the courage to be myself. I also pray for the people attending the event. I pray that God gives them confidence, peace of mind, and the ability to make meaningful connections.
  • Remembering names. I try to remember the names of the people I want to build a connection with. Addressing people by their name is a small act that makes a huge impact on potential friends. If you belong to a club or group that has a social media account, don’t feel creepy about studying the faces in profile pictures to memorize their names. I’ve done it!
  • Practice small talk. Small talk isn’t my favorite. I like deep conversations. However, I’ve found that most people gravitate toward small talk, and I should become good at it if I want to make connections. And, to be honest, small talk isn’t that bad once you identify your motive. In my case, that motive is to get to know people better. Simple questions like, “Are you from this area?,” “How many years have you been living here?,” “How old are your children?” (if they have any), and “How is your week going so far?” have given me much success in opening the door to conversation.

Arrogance requires advertising. Confidence speaks for itself. Memes, Quotes, Inspiration

One thing’s for certain; when our confidence levels are high, not only are we more likely to engage in conversation, but we’re less likely to resort to “advertising” ourselves in an attempt to gain friendship. You know? When we try to sound as interesting as possible, but it just comes off as braggadocious? You can never go wrong with asking the questions and allowing a person to tell you about themselves. Most people love talking about themselves!

 

4. Join something. Anything!

Well, maybe not anything. Make sure it’s something you have a genuine interest for. Join a book club, a mom group, an art club, or volunteer for a cause you’re passionate about.

Now, this is where I lose some people.

I know joining a group can seem intimidating. But making quality friends will require getting out of your comfort zone.

I’ve learned I’m never going to meet anyone if I don’t attend the fieldtrips, playdates, and classes hosted by my homeschool group or co-op. I’m not talking about an occasional thing, but actively attending most of the events and raising a hand to volunteer. This practice ensured I saw the same faces regularly, which provided more opportunities to develop quality relationships.

There was a time when I didn’t attend events because I felt “too awkward.” I was always off somewhere by myself and it seemed everyone else was hitting it off, except me. If this is you, please stay in the game! Don’t let these experiences keep you home. Push through the tough, awkward moments.

The more I became comfortable with being uncomfortable, the greater my confidence grew. Eventually, those awkward moments passed, and I found myself getting to know new people.

 

5. Don’t always trust your first impression.

Sometimes first impressions are accurate, but they can also be wrong. I’ll be the first to raise my hand and say I’ve unfairly written people off based on first impressions. But, one day, a thought came to mind in the case of negative perceptions:

Instead of being so committed to being “right” about someone, start hoping that you’re wrong. 

Negative Perceptions About People. Quotes, Memes, Inspiration

After all, perception is simply an interpretation, and your interpretation of a person could be wrong. Love always assumes the best of others.

Here’s the thing; speaking from a mom point of view, I’ve learned I was going to see moms at their worst. Not only do most of the moms in my homeschool group have multiple children, but many of them work side businesses, babysit and homeschool other people’s children, and are active foster parents and volunteers. Sometimes, these moms get frustrated and lose their ever-loving mind. So, extending grace toward others is definitely a prerequisite to building friendships in my case.

I admit, I’ve ended up building connections with people I wasn’t too fond of at first. I’ve made sweeping generalizations about their character and God humbled me by showing me I was wrong. I simply judged them based on a moment. These days, I pay more attention to patterns rather than “moments.” Studying a person’s patterns will always offer a more accurate character assessment.

 

6. Ask for them digits.

Am I telling my age with that phrase? Who remembers when we used to say this in the ‘90s? What I mean is, don’t forget to ask your potential friend to exchange phone numbers. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hit it off with someone and left an event with absolutely no way to contact them.

It sucks.

I remember when I met one of my dearest friends at a homeschool event. We were chatting it up and hitting it off, but neither of us thought to exchange numbers. At the tail-end of our conversation, her husband actually interjected and suggested we exchanged contact info to keep in touch. We’re such good friends now, but every now and then I think of how we would’ve just left that event with no way of keeping in touch.

I know it may seem awkward in this day and age, but requesting contact info is a bold step worth taking—and a great habit to develop. It shows that you find a person interesting and want the opportunity to get to know them more. A great first impression, if you ask me.

 

7. Be authentic—flaws and all.

The first thing most of us are tempted to do when first meeting someone is to make ourselves look as polished, intelligent, and interesting as humanly possible. After all, we’re advertising ourselves to potential friends. However, in my experience, I’ve found the best way to connect with someone is to be authentic—to allow people to see my imperfections.

So, rather than pretend, I admit to people right away that I’m nervous and apologize for my awkwardness. This usually breaks the ice and even evokes a few confessions of their own. I’ve made more connections this way than I ever made rambling on about my life-story and accomplishments.

I get it. We want to put on our best face to impress people. But putting on a good front will only result in your appearing pretentious and untrustworthy. Even more? We’re tempted to judge people for not being as good at “faking it” as we are. Just be real and free yourself from the fear of judgment. Otherwise, you’ll have to put on this persona every time you’re around this person—which is tiring!

I’ve learned to accept my flaws, which gave me the ability to accept the character flaws of others. It’s not always easy, but it’s necessary for building and maintaining quality friendships.

Accept Your Own Flaws. Quotes, Memes, Inspiration

 

8. Stay true to yourself.

This may sound similar to my last point, but I want to emphasize the importance of being yourself. Can I say it louder for the people in the back? Furthermore, this point speaks more on maintaining a friendship, while my last point speaks more on first impressions.

Sometimes when we get into new relationships, we tend to slowly mold ourselves into what we think the other person wants. Let me tell you, friendships like this are draining and almost never last because that act is difficult to keep up with.

For instance, I’m what many consider a girly girl. I like to paint my nails, wear makeup, dress up, and say “awe.”  But when I used to “date” potential friends, I’d forgo any evidence of who I truly was. I thought my love for playing dress up would be a complete turn-off. I feared they’d see me as vain and shallow, and I knew I was so much more than what I chose to wear for the day. Those friendships didn’t work out. But you know what did work out? The friendships where I remained true to myself.

 

9. Redefine “friendship.”

In grade school, and maybe even college, friendship meant hanging out with your bestie every single day and doing everything together. Perhaps you’ve even spent hours talking on the phone. At least I know I did.

As a thirty-something-year-old married woman with small children, having this type of relationship with another human being is just impossible. I had to redefine the way I’ve known friendship and let go of those expectations formed in my adolescence.

For me, redefining friendship meant knowing most of our encounters will involve facilitating playdates, exceeding small talk, texting more than calling, seeing each other’s homes in less than stellar conditions, and having each other’s back in the case of an emergency.

It also meant establishing boundaries.

I love my friends, but I don’t want to desire their company over that of my own husband and children. But that’s what often happens when we don’t define friendship and put it in its place.

 

10. Have a disagreement.

Not on purpose. What I truly mean is to allow yourself to have a disagreement. Do not fear a differing of opinion. In fact, disagreements make for healthy relationships. You won’t always agree with each other. And if you suddenly find yourself disagreeing that doesn’t mean the friendship won’t work out.

Relax.

Disagreements are bound to happen the more time you spend with someone. This is especially true in new relationships because boundaries are still being drawn and are bound to be overstepped a time or two. How people handle disagreements is very telling of their true personality, so pay attention!

How People Handle Disagreements. Quotes, Memes, and Inspiration

What’s great about these types of hiccups in a friendship is that we can let our guard down (or run!) once we’ve seen what’s on the other side of that smile.

 

11. Take it easy.

Having a new friend can be exciting, but please take it easy at the beginning of the relationship. Don’t expect this person to be your everything. Like you, they have a life to live. It’s not realistic to expect them to meet you for lattes every day and go shopping every weekend. I know you want to get to know them, but you cannot microwave a friendship. It will take time and dedication to build companionship, transparency, and trust.

My biggest mistake was revealing too much about myself too soon in order to move the friendship along. I soon learned that being transparent while maintaining my mystery is an art. If you hang out every day and reveal every detail of your life within the first few weeks of the friendship, what is there to look forward to in the years to come?

 

12. Make your motives plain.

Most people will lose sleep trying to decipher the motives of others. Make it easy for your new pal and tell them straight away what your intentions are. It’s okay to have motives, but you should let the other person in on them. If your motive is to become good friends, express that to them. Let them know you’ve been on the hunt for quality friendships and you’re in the “dating” phase.

During the new phase of one of my friendships, I let my friend know that I’m making more of an effort to reach out to people to form friendships. Lucky for me, she was in that phase of her life, too. So, it worked out for both of us. No guessing. No losing sleep. Just being upfront right at the beginning by saying, “Hey, I think we’re a match!”

As another example, I once told a friend of mine that I wanted to make sure my children built friendships with people who didn’t look like them. That was my motive. I wanted more diverse friendships for myself and my children. She also happens to be an outstanding homeschool mom and human being that I can learn from. That is why I chose to build a relationship with her and that’s okay.

And as fate would have it, our motives were pretty similar. We connected for the sake of our children, but it turned out that we actually liked each other as people. Go figure!

So, don’t be afraid to say: “Hey, our children seem to be hitting it off, would you mind if we connected more?” or “Wow, your children seem to be thriving, would you mind connecting more? I’d love to learn about your approach to child-rearing.” If your motives are pure, sharing them should never be an issue.

 

13. Get uncomfortable.

We tend to gravitate toward people we feel comfortable with—people who are like us. But lately, I’ve been challenged to get uncomfortable. That is, build connections with people unlike myself. I’m not merely talking about physical appearance, but also personality, culture, and lifestyle-wise.

Step Outside the Box Memes, Quotes, and Inspiration

Why is building a relationship with people different from you important? Because it edifies you.

I’m so amazed at how much I’ve learned through my unlikely friendships—how much I’ve grown as a person. I’ve connected with people that couldn’t be any more different, but we’ve discovered our core values are the same.

Connecting with people we’re comfortable with is great, but I encourage you to also connect with people you can learn from. If you’re having difficulty managing your homeschool, connect with someone who does it well. If you’re trying to improve your financial stewardship, connect with someone who is excellent at it. If you want to explore outside your culture, connect with someone who has a rich culture.

These relationships may not always feel the most “comfortable” at first, but they will certainly enrich your life.

 

14. Pay attention to how they treat others.

This one may help you dodge a bullet.

Do they gossip about people often?

You might be next.

Do they put all the blame for the failure of their past friendships on other people and take zero responsibility?

You might be next.

Do they ditch their current friends to hang out with you?

You might be next.

Notice a pattern here? How a person treats their friends is a foreshadow of where your relationship is going with them. Take heed.

 

15. Become the friend you desire.

Have you ever been in one of those frustrated, one-sided relationships where you’re the only one committed to “making time?” There’s no longevity in those types of friendships. Not only have I been that friend who never made time, but I’ve also been on the receiving end.

We’re all “busy.” That’s why maintaining our commitment to making time for others shows we value their friendship.  There must be some sort of sacrifice and it must be reciprocal. I’m not talking about putting off important things, but rather putting off things that “can wait” to grab coffee with that friend or attend that playdate.

Become the Friend You Desire. Meme, Quotes, Inspiration

Everyone has heard the adage: “treat others the way you want to be treated.” This, in my opinion, is the surefire way to grow in consideration, compassion, and humility toward others. If you want a good friend, you must first be one. If you expect others to accept your flaws, you must do the same for them. Extend grace where grace is needed.


 

The key word here is “maintenance.” Most of us are good at making connections but are terrible at putting in the work to maintain those connections. With that being said, these are practices I must work at regularly. They are also practices I know work! Even if you have great friendships, we all need a reminder now and then to make more of an effort to strengthen our bond with others.

If you’re in the same boat I was in, take courage. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for nine years and it took me a while to learn these things. It’s only been the past three years that I could finally call someone a friend. What I found essential is to remember to change my mindset. When I had this notion that there were no good people out there, I was making a rather haughty assumption that I was the only good human being left on the planet.

Which wasn’t true.

Yes, there were people out there who used, backstabbed, and abandoned me. But, going through the fire refined me and increased my discernment to recognize when I was face-to-face with a genuine person. It also taught me that I was no angel, either, and could use a few lessons on being a good friend myself.

Well, I hope this post was helpful. At the end of the day, that’s all I’m aiming to do. Feel free to share your wealth of knowledge about how you’ve made and maintained friendships in your adult years.

Until next time, friends…

SAHM? How to Not Be Miserable.

10 Ways Not to Be Miserable as a Stay-at-Home Mom

Welcome to the New Year!

Okay, so being a stay-at-home mom is no joke. Can we all raise our hand and agree?

I know, I know—we chose this lot in life. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get challenging. And it certainly doesn’t mean we can’t acknowledge it.

So, here I am acknowledging it.

Miserable is a harsh word, but it makes for a great title. I am not miserable. But I do acknowledge that some stay-at-home moms are—and that I, too, have experienced those challenging moments.

I’m not talking about clinical depression or any mental disorder that requires medical attention. I’m talking about feelings of unhappiness, discomfort, and/or inadequacy.

Perhaps I can be of some help. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for nine years to two boys, ages 5 and 9. On top of that, I also homeschool, run a business, volunteer, the list goes on.

I’ve experienced a season where I hardly saw my husband due to his job, where I had to care for a newborn and a toddler while battling the baby blues, where I didn’t live close to family or friends, and where I felt isolated, anxious, and alone. And that is just naming a few!

I may not understand exactly what you’re going through, but I have an idea. Won’t you stick around and read what I’ve learned during those seasons?

Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or an old faithful reader of my blog, I know that at least one of these points will speak to you.

Note: I don’t mean to assume you’re a Believer, I can only write from my personal perspective. If you’re not a Believer and want to be, please refer to the bottom of this post.

So, without further ado, on with the blog:

(This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclaimer for more information.)



10 Ways Not to Be Miserable as a Stay-at-Home Mom

 

 

1. Know Your Purpose.

Knowing your purpose is directly linked to knowing who you are. When you know who you are and what you’re doing here, you increase your sense of self-worth and wellbeing. This is essential because some negative opinions about stay-at-home moms can really hurt. But when we know who we are, and understand our purpose, those unsolicited opinions roll off our backs easier.

You are not “just a mom.”

You are not “lazy.”

You are not “outdated.”

You heard the call and you answered!

Many stay-at-home moms are called to this particular ministry to inspire people only THEY can inspire. And yes, I said “ministry.” In whatever we do, whether it’s working a corporate job or being a stay-at-home-mom, our primary focus should be to glorify God, love others, and spread the good news wherever we are.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart

There are stay-at-home moms in your city that don’t know Christ or who’ve fallen away from the faith—women only YOU can reach. This is why we shouldn’t only associate with people “like us.” I’ve made some of the best connections with people I’d never expect to have anything in common with.

So, stay on course and realize this lifestyle you chose has more significance than you think.

Your children are the future and they need YOU.

The stay-at-home mom community needs YOU.

And God is working through YOU!

 

2. Know it’s Supposed to be Challenging.

Being a stay-at-home mom is not for the faint of heart. You can’t be ready to quit at the first sign of adversity. If it’s truly a calling then, as with all callings, you can expect to face challenges. Challenges aren’t meant to break you, but to edify, improve character, and increase faith. Therefore, expect:

Frustration.

Tears.

Guilt.

The desire to quit.

Feeling like it’s not worth the trouble.

When these things happen, it can be tough. But remember, we aren’t operating in our own strength, but God’s. When we expect challenges, we eliminate making permanent decisions based on temporary emotions.

When we expect challenges... Quote, Meme, Inspiration

Even more? When we expect challenges, our first inclination will not be to get “sad” when they appear, but to armor up and fight!

 

3. Establish Your Village.

We’ve all heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” No truer words have ever been spoken. We weren’t meant to take on the responsibility of childrearing on our own. It’s not healthy for us or our children. Children need to be exposed to varying personalities, perspectives, and environments to help them become well-rounded adults.

We need companionship and support to help edify us.

It wasn’t always this way but, these days, I’m fortunate enough to have the support of my family, friends, and community. But if you don’t live close to family or friends, sign your kids up for local classes and activities. The public library is a great place to start if you want to know what resources and events your city has to offer. They usually have pamphlets at their front desk, or you can ask a knowledgable librarian. Many events I’ve attended were not advertised online so a Google search may not be your best bet.

And dare I say, join a mom group?

I know, I know. It’s HARD!

You tried, and it didn’t work.

Or, you simply just don’t want to do it.

But hear me out, you will never find the perfect group of women. You, yourself, are not perfect. There will always be some women in that group you can’t stand the sight of. But I promise you, if you stick with it, you can establish healthy friendships. But, you must be determined.

Most women give up too easily. I, myself, gave up easily at one point. But by God’s grace, I was able to connect with other women. And if this introverted, socially awkward black woman can make friends in a 99% white support group in the Confederate South, you can do it, too.

 

3. Create an Income Stream.

Contributing to the household income can be a satisfying feeling. But you don’t have to leave your home to do it. Today, streaming additional income from home has never been more attainable. All you need is a skill you’ve honed and a computer with internet access.

Proverbs 18:16 reminds us that our gift will make room for us!

A mans gift. Proverbs 18:16

I know plenty of moms who’ve put their gifts to use to earn income. They have virtual shops where they sell one-of-a-kind crochet designs. They host webinars that help people manage their finances. They write ebooks and author resources. The possibilities are endless!

I, myself, create educational resources for teachers and parents around the globe, and it’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. Earning money is just a bonus!

 

4. Make a Difference.

Some of the happiest moms I know are those who serve others. Ever hear the adage “the quickest way to get over your own problems is to help someone else with theirs?” Research shows making a positive difference in the lives of others increases our sense of self-worth and combats anxiety and depression.

I’ll be the first to raise my hand and attest to that. One of the reasons I continue to blog and create resources is because of the emails, DMs, and comments I receive from people who’ve felt I’ve positively impacted their lives in some way. Reading the words “thank you” and “this is just what I needed” never gets old for me!

Getting involved in your community is another way to make a difference. Find a cause you’re passionate about and go for it! That’s where it’s helpful to be a part of a mom group or club. When you belong to a community, it’s easier to be presented with opportunities to serve.

And I want to note that, above all else, you’re making a positive impact on the lives of your children when you serve your family. After all, your family should be your first ministry.

 

5. Step into Your Role.

You are the manager of your home. Yet, many moms stray from the true definition of “manager.”

But what does a manager do?

The purpose of a manager is to set goals, decide what needs to be done to achieve those goals, and delegate responsibilities to ensure those goals are met. You were not meant to do everything alone.

I’ll repeat it louder for the ones in the back:

YOU were not meant to do everything ALONE! 

Don’t you dare do all the housework if you have children of age who are capable of doing chores.

Don’t you dare not consider asking your husband to contribute to keeping the house in order.

Of course, everyone’s situation is different. Perhaps you have an infant or a husband that’s deployed. Perhaps your village is non-existent. But if you can help it, never do everything by yourself. Even children as young as three-years-old can pick up after themselves and wipe down a table using a non-toxic cleaning spray.

And there’s no shame in hiring help if you can afford to. Hire someone to do your lawn care, shampoo your carpets, or deep clean your bathrooms every week. I’m not ballin’ like that at the moment, but if you are, go for it! We must stop shaming moms who hire help and we must stop making overworked, worn-out moms the face of motherhood.

 

6. Count Your Wins.

Let’s forget about how many times we’ve failed. Instead, let’s remember to count our victories. One method that helped me in the past was taking inventory on a regular basis. Every so often, I would ask myself what I did right and reflect on those things. When I started this exercise, it suddenly occurred to me how much I focused on my failures and how rarely I thought about my wins.

Consider this verse:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).

Whatever is true...Philippians 4:8

Let’s emphasize, “If anything is excellent or praiseworthy.” You can’t be doing it all wrong. There has got to be something you’re excellent at and is deserving of praise.

When we reflect on our failures, we start identifying ourselves as failures. Which is simply not true. Romans 8:37 tells us we are more than conquerors! Furthermore, we must remember we are what we think. For “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).

 

7. Stop Comparing.

Whether you think you’re better or worse than the next mom, comparison is a joy stealer! I know it’s tempting, but please resist the urge.

Most people talk about comparing yourself to others in the form of feeling “less than.” I want to talk about the other type of comparison. It’s easy to see why feeling inferior to another mom isn’t healthy, but I would venture to say that feeling superior to other moms isn’t healthy either.

Consider this:

Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you (Romans 12:3).

We must remember not to mistake arrogance with confidence. Arrogant moms tend to have a revolving door of friends because they depend on putting others down to feel better about themselves. But confidence doesn’t depend on the inferiority of other people.

Don’t be that mom!

I love this verse:

Don’t compare yourself with others. Just look at your own work to see if you have done anything to be proud of (Galatians 6:4). 

It’s easier said than done. But it’s not impossible. What has really helped me to stop comparing myself to others was to live out Galatians 6:4 and focus on my own endeavors. Do you see why I recommended seeking volunteer opportunities and establishing healthy hobbies and friendships? You’ve got to be so busy enjoying an edifying life that you don’t have time to reflect on what the next mom is doing.

 

8. Monitor Your Self-Talk.

Self-esteem is measured by the way we think and feel about ourselves. I used to think of myself as a confident person, but I became amazed at the things I told myself when I wasn’t paying attention. A devotional by Barb Roose, titled Beautiful Already, was what inspired me to REALLY listen to the lies I told myself about myself.

Even today, I must still take heed and pay attention, lest I subconsciously fall into negative thought-patterns.

Why is this important?

Because when we don’t feel good about ourselves, we project those insecurities onto others—including our own children!

So watch phrases like:

I’m not good enough.

Nobody likes me. 

I’m failing at motherhood.

My kids aren’t like those kids.

Remember when I said you are what you think? Whatever you meditate on becomes your reality. Of course, we must be real with ourselves if we need to improve in certain areas, but constantly putting ourselves down isn’t doing us any favors.

You are what you think. Inspiration, Quotes, Memes

9. Practice Self-Care.

I’m going to repeat this airline cliché:

Put the oxygen mask on yourself first before you assist others.

Self-care means different things to different people. For me, it means ensuring I’m pouring enough into myself so that I have plenty left over to pour into others.

Can I be real? I went an entire week without practicing the self-care habits I normally do. I was a complete mess! There are many excuses women use as to why we can’t put themselves first. But the reality is, we make time for what’s important. The question is:

Why don’t we consider ourselves important enough to make time for? 

Exercise.

Quiet time.

Fellowship.

Hobbies.

These things are not luxuries. They’ve been proven time and again to improve our quality of life. They are necessary. I know moms who get up at the crack of dawn just to ensure they have time to exercise, meditate, and work on their hobbies. It’s that important to them. I, myself, know that I’m a better person when I practice self-care.

I know it’s difficult to develop these habits, but all you need is to take one step at a time. Can you commit to seven minutes a day of physical activity? Ten minutes a day to do something you enjoy? One day a month to meet with a friend? Wake up just ten minutes earlier to pray and meditate?

It all starts small! You can increase over time.

Here’s a seven-minute workout routine I like to do when I don’t have much time. Here’s my favorite twenty-minute HIIT workout at the moment.

 

10. Appreciate Your Season.

I can say this, and still, most of us will not feel the truth of this statement until after the fact—savor the moment.

If you don’t stop and smell the roses in the spring, you’ll regret it and long for them in the winter.

Life is full of seasons. As a stay-at-home mom, I’ve gone through many of them.

When I was a nursing mom, I desperately wanted my body back. When I was a new mom, I desperately wanted my baby to sleep through the night.  I think you can see where I’m going with this.

I remember talking with a fellow homeschool mom at the local skating rink. After exchanging a few comical mom stories, she stared into the distance and said:

“If my kids went back to being small like yours, I would play with them more. Take long walks and crunch the leaves with them. I would steal more kisses, more hugs. I spent their childhood waiting for them to get older, be more independent. Now that they are, I realize they are never going to be small again.”

Wow! I absolutely loved every word she said! You will NEVER regret spending more time with your children. How fortunate are we that we get to spend even more time with our children than the average American mom?


I want to sign off by saying, your feelings are valid! This post is not meant to guilt-trip or condemn, but to offer a bit of advice that has helped me over the years.

Of course, I am not an expert. I don’t know everything. All I know is that being a stay-at-home mom is taxing. But what greater purpose to labor for than for the wellbeing of our family!

Until next time, friend…



Want to change your life and become a Believer of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? Say this prayer with faith and conviction, and then find a fellow Believer who can point you in the right direction.

Sinners Prayer for Salvation.

Did you just give your life to Christ? Email me and tell me about it!

 

 

Looking for some FREE resources for your little one? Check out Nike Anderson’s Classroom and follow me there to be the first to know when I upload a new freebie!

Nike Anderson's Classroom Free & Affordable Educational Resources

 

 

Make Mom Life Easier

Busy Mom? 5 Ways to Make Life Easier

Welcome back to The Better Mom Tuesdays! Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or working mom, life gets hectic! And since you’re probably short on time, I’ll spare you the intro and get straight to the point. Here are five things I’ve been practicing to make my life easier. Hopefully, these tips will work for you, too!

1.    Design a uniform.

One of My "Mom Uniforms"
One of my “mom uniforms.” I can do pretty much anything in black trousers and a solid blouse. It looks put together and pretty much camouflages the unpredictable mishaps of motherhood.

Yes! It sounds strange, I know. But I pretty much wear the same style every day in a different color. Here’s the deal; once I find something that’s flattering, stylish, and comfortable, I don’t stray too far from that style. At this point in my life, I don’t have time to hop on trends, so I stick to classic pieces that can work for most occasions. An example of my mom uniform is pictured above. I’ve played with many looks, but I keep going back to the high-waist trousers, solid blouse, and (sometimes) a cardigan. You can also catch me in high-waist jeans, a solid camisole, and my favorite button-down flannel.

My secret is adding accessories! Eye-catching shoes, scarves, handbags and jackets can really dress up my uniform and create different looks. But, honestly, most days I don’t bother to accessorize. I can tell you that shopping is easier and less expensive. A few classic, well-made pieces that will last a few years is a much better investment than a bunch of trendy items that will be a thing of the past next Fall.  Even better? I know exactly what I’m wearing on those days I’m crunched for time.

2.    Eat the same thing.

Sounds boring, I know. But trust me on this one. Having set meals for each day of the week can save you a headache. Not only will you know exactly what your shopping list will look like each week, but you can also predict how much you’re going to spend.  On shopping days I can literally just cruise into the grocery store with the same list, throw what I need into the cart, and stay in budget because I know how much everything is going to cost (unless there’s a sale!).

So yea, I may not want to eat spaghetti every Monday or chicken and broccoli every Wednesday, but on those days when my head is in a fog, I’m grateful for the routine. Even better? Cooking in bulk so that the meal stretches two or three days. Every few months I challenge myself and try new recipes (when I have extra time!). If my family likes the new recipe, it goes into rotation with the others.

3.    Pull your hair up.

Updos on Natural Hair
Updos like this sleek, low bun on my natural hair make mom-life less complicated. It takes less than ten minutes to do and will stay in place even during the most challenging mom moments.

Wearing my hair loose takes way too much time in the morning. I’m constantly fussing with it to make it behave. That’s why I’m the self-proclaimed mother of updos. Top knots, military buns, sleek ponytails, classic pinups—they all take less than ten minutes of my time in the morning. Even better? They look chic and sophisticated and can be dressed up or down.

4.    Put your kids to work.

My boys have reached an age where they can be of some real use around the house. Lucky for them, they have an outstanding dad who shares in household responsibilities to model after. My eight-year-old loves to help vacuum, sweep, wash dishes, and wipe down the tables. My four-year-old loves to put the wet clothes into the dryer, help load the dishwasher (safe items only), and clean up his toys when he’s done (okay, so he doesn’t like cleaning up his toys).

I placed this tip on the list for those of you who have young ones and have not thought about delegating chores. Every little bit counts. You’d be surprised by how much having your kids clear the kitchen table, bring in the groceries, and load the dishwasher can shave time off your cleaning schedule. Make it a family thing!

5.    Plan the night before.

Home Management Binder
My Home Management Binder helps me keep my home (and thoughts) in order. It contains my daily to-do list, meal plans, events calendar, and schedules, among other things.

Spending just ten minutes each night to write down my goals makes a huge impact on my productivity, gives me peace of mind, and helps me rest better. I like to write my goals down in my home management binder. This includes things I’d like to accomplish the next day, month, and year. Give it a try!

To make your mornings run even more efficiently, take time the night before to prepare everything you’ll need to make getting ready a breeze. Clothes. Shoes. Accessories. Coupons. Backpacks. Lunches. You name it! Don’t forget to also lay out clothes and accessories for your children. Older children can be encouraged to do this on their own. There’s nothing like waking up and already having things together.


As a disclaimer, I am not perfect. I’m still learning to stick to some of these habits. Likewise, it’s important to remember that we are all different, so what I find easy may seem challenging for the next person, and vice versa. The important thing is that you find what works best for you. And when you’ve found your groove, share the wealth with others—it may help someone else!

So what are your mom shortcuts? Let us know in the comments below! Stay tuned for more posts on “The Better Mom Tuesdays” series! Every Tuesday this month I’ll be sharing mom tips! 
 

Stay at Home Mom

So You Want to Be a Stay-at-Home Mom

First off, I commend you. Making the decision to be a stay-at-home mom isn’t easy. There are a series of what-ifs coupled with conviction and excitement. I’ve been there.

The moment God placed it on my heart to become a stay-at-home mom wrapped me in a swirl of emotions. I never saw myself as the soccer-mom type, but suddenly there I was, knowing for certain that staying home was the best thing for my family—yet still struggling with doubt that triggered from the what-ifs. What if we can’t afford it? What if my husband loses his job? What if I hate staying home?

Let me tell you. All of these things happened and more! But God’s grace is always sufficient and, with His help, we are fulfilling our call to be the parents He destined us to be. Eight years in, and two kids later, I’ve learned some things I’d like to share with you. So without further ado, here are eight things to consider as you journey into becoming a stay-at-home-mom. 

1.    God is with you. When God told Joshua to lead the Israelites into the promised land, God’s exact words were “Do not be afraid; Do not be dismayed. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). Whenever God gives us a task that initially scares us out of our wits, we can rest assured that He is with us. With that said, being a stay-at-home mom is not easy. There’ll be sacrifices, tough moments, and unwarranted opinions that’ll tempt you to give up. Trust that God will never leave you or your family hanging. Yes, it WILL be tough at times, but it is in those moments that we strengthen our character and persevere. 

2.    You should consider the cost. Going from a corporate job to a stay-at-home mom can be quite the adjustment. You may be accustomed to contributing to your household and, perhaps, having that extra income to splurge on the things you desire. Please, place your desires into perspective and consider the cost of being a stay-at-home mom. Your household budget will likely tighten, but it is set in place to help you afford the opportunity to stay at home with your children. Remember, “Don’t begin until you count the cost” (Luke 14:28). For our family, that meant no cable television, one cell phone and car between us, and many other sacrifices, like dropping my husband off at work early in the morning (6am!) so that I could have the car for the day. 

3.    You may hate it at times. Even people who absolutely love their job have off days, maybe even an off week. Please don’t let a bad day or a bad week convince you that you’re not cut out for the job. At the end of the year, you’ll see that those bad days don’t even matter in the grand scheme of things. Trust me, you’ll have more good days than bad. Remember, “do not grow weary in doing what is good. For at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9). And what is that harvest? All the good things that result from investing time into your family!

4.    Your husband may lose his job. Yes, this happened to us. I want to stress how important it is to have multiple streams of income. The word of God tells us to “invest in seven ventures, yes in eight; for you do not know what disasters will come upon the land” (Ecclesiastes 11:2).   Therefore, consider investing your money elsewhere, whether in stocks, bonds, a startup company, or other ventures God may have for you. Not only will this grant you peace of mind, but you’ll have a cushion to fall on should your husband lose his primary job. 

5.    You can still work. I know that may sound like a longshot when you’re chasing down your toddler, but consider that there’s a time for everything. Of course, when I was a new mom, my main priority was caring for my babies, especially since I nursed them around the clock. But as my children grew older, more independent, and I started getting enough rest, I seized the opportunity to invest in my own ventures to help add more passive income to our household. Proverbs 31 tells us about the virtuous woman who managed to run her home while contributing to household finances. It can be done!

6.    You may lose yourself. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the needs of your children, husband, and home. But you must take care of yourself, first. This doesn’t just mean physically, but also mentally and spiritually. Feed your mind by continuing to invest in the things that interest you. But, most importantly, feed your spirit. When Martha opened her home to Jesus, she became easily distracted by all the preparations she had to do. But her sister, Mary, ignored the preparations and sat at Jesus’ feet to listen to his teachings. What did Jesus tell Martha? “Mary has chosen what is better” (Luke 10:38-42). The lesson? It’s great to serve the ones we love, but never place it before spending time with God. 

7.    The grass will look greener in the corporate office. There will be times when you envy working mothers. Not only do they get regular breaks from their children, but they also get monetary recognition for their work ethic and achievement. Take heart and know that God sees and values all of the work that you do. Remember when David worked as a shepherd boy? It seemed no one noticed when he fought off lions and bears to protect his sheep. But God did! God gave David (who later became king!) an opportunity to shine before men (1 Samuel 16). Remember, what’s done in secret will be rewarded openly (Matthew 6:4).  

8.    This is your calling. Being a stay-at-home mom is not for everyone. It is a calling. Therefore, resist judging mothers who are not called to stay at home with their children. God has a different path for them. It’s easy to believe EVERYONE should be doing what we’re doing when we feel so passionately about something. However, when we don’t consider that every woman has a different walk, we place God inside a box and put ourselves on a pedestal as “the only way to do it.” Even worse? We stifle other women’s passions and pursuits by forcing our own on them. Stay on your own course and fulfill your calling with a joyful heart. “For the gifts and callings of the Lord are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29). 


There’s so much more I want to share, but those topics deserve a post of their own! For now, I’ll leave you with the first eight things God placed on my heart to share with you. Whatever path you’re on, remember not to compare your journey to others. Comparison will always be the thief of joy.  

Join me this month for my new series called “The Better Mom” Tuesdays! Every Tuesday of this month I’ll be sharing some nuggets of truth I’ve learned from being a young wife and mother. You don’t want to miss it! 

 

Stay-at-Home-Mom

Dear Stay-at-Home Mom | How Will You Cope When Your Nest is Empty?

Stay-at-home-mom or not, being an empty nester can be challenging for any mom. Take a friend of mine, for instance, who just kissed her eighteen-year-old son goodbye as he settled into his new life as a college student. This working momma wrote a compelling list of things she had to grow accustomed to now that her only child has left the nest. Having food last longer in the house definitely made the list, as did walking by his clean bedroom every day, and pumping her own gas (gosh, I love this list, lol). But, the most difficult thing to get used to was the empty nest itself. The quietness, loneliness, and sadness of walking into an empty house after work—without being greeted by her son. And this was where she got me shedding some tears. I don’t care what motherhood path you’ve chosen in life, empty nesting is hard!

I don’t know if it’s just me, but people tend to ask me this question indirectly: “What are you going to do once your children leave the nest?” In reality, it sounds a little something like this: “I could never be a stay-at-home-mom. I know my kids will leave me one day, but at least I know my career never will.” Oh, the shade of this comment (*side-eye), but it does allow me an opportunity to educate others. Just because someone is a stay-at-home-mom doesn’t mean they don’t have a career, hobby, or passion “that will never leave them.” In fact being a stay-at-home mom would be unbearable without such outlets. 

Nevertheless, when I am hit with this question, my reply looks a little something like this…


Five Things I Will Do Once My Children Leave the Nest?

 

1.    Continue to pursue and reach my goals.

If you’re a stay-at-home mom and you don’t have any personal goals, I suggest you start developing some. One of the biggest disservices we can do to our family is to lose our identity in them. It’s important to know who you are—outside of being a wife and mother—and what you want out of life. I spent quite a few years fleshing this out for myself after I started a family. My personal goals just fell by the wayside as I became completely enamored by the precious little faces that were my children. That was all fine and dandy, but I also encountered some serious identity issues because I lost my sense of self. It wasn’t until God reminded me of my aspirations that I remembered that I had so much more work to do on this earth outside of being a wife and mom.  You do, too!

2.    Continue to learn.

Part of my vision for homeschool is to encourage my boys to have a love for learning so deep that it becomes a lifestyle. Of course, this happens naturally because I, myself, love to learn. But there’s so much more to learn outside of academics—things only time and experience can teach us. As a mom to a three-year-old and a seven-year-old, I’ve learned invaluable lessons on infancy, toddlerhood, and early childhood. Some of these lessons parallel other facets of life in splendid ways. You’d be amazed how parenting can mirror running a business! As my boys grow into adulthood, I will continue to learn. As they evolve, so will my knowledge of them. That is the beauty of parenting! I look forward to learning more about my children even as they learn to fly out of the nest.

3.    Continue to enjoy my season.

Life is full of seasons, and in each season we develop—mature a little, if you will. There’s a time for a full house of children, and a time for an empty nest. I’m thoroughly enjoying these moments where my home is full of my giggling, delightful, and—sometimes rambunctious—little humans. A fellow mom said this to me: “If my kids went back to being small like yours, I would play with them more. Take long walks and crunch the leaves with them. I would steal more kisses, more hugs. I spent their childhood waiting for them to get older, be more independent. Now that they are, I realize they are never going to be small again.” This statement inspired me even more to enjoy the season I am in. But I’m also looking forward to a season that yields a neater home, more traveling opportunities, and more hubby time! (*wink, wink).

4.    Continue to use my talents.

Most stay-at-home moms I know also wear many hats. In this new era of stay-at-home mom bosses, I am no exception. These days there are clever ways to make a living, contribute to society, and be a stay-at-home mom (technically a work-from-home-mom!). Whether it’s owning your own business, helping your husband run his business, or serving your community, these are great ways to sharpen skills, build your credentials, and exercise your many talents. Yes, I know managing an entire household sharpens a boatload of skills in, and of, itself. But I haven’t met one mom yet who didn’t say having an outlet made her a better wife and mom. Likewise, I know women who’ve nurtured their talent while raising their children. Once their children left the nest, these moms harvested new businesses, new outreach programs, and even published a few books!

 

5.    Continue to uphold the value of my commitment.

Let’s face it, people don’t value stay-at-home moms like they used to. My prayer is once my children are grown and leave the nest, I will continue to uphold the value of stay-at-home moms. One way I do this now is by supporting other moms who’ve been called to this challenging, yet rewarding, commitment. You may or may not have a “career” when your children start adulting, but you will have invaluable experience that’ll serve as great advice for moms just starting out on their journey. Don’t keep your experience to yourself! Share it with others and empower fellow stay-at-home moms!

If your children have left the nest already, let us know some ways you’ve learned to adjust to this new season in your life!

Superwoman Has Retired

Superwoman Has Retired | And How You Can, Too!

I have a confession. I’m not really Superwoman. As wonderful as she may be, I just don’t identify with her ideals. Not that I’ve always been this way.  In fact, up until very recently, I’ve always referred to myself as such—the “do-it-all” mom who also happens to be a “boss,” and looking quite fly while she’s doing it. But, as I reassessed my life, I’ve drawn the conclusion that I’m not doing any of this by myself. This mom thing. This homeschool thing. This business thing. I have a partner in all of this. I call him “husband.”

I may have had you fooled. You may have seen my posts on Instagram or Facebook—the images displaying my dedication to manage my household and life. And you may have assumed that, like many women, I’ve taken on these roles all by myself. I haven’t. And that’s where me and “Superwoman” collide. Superwoman does it all, but Nike Anderson knows when to ask for help.


“But, what I’ve learned is this: I can absolutely do it all, but why would I want to?”


As a stay-at-home mom, I’ve had the opportunity to hang around tons of women from all walks of life. What I found is the most stressful moms of the bunch carried something in common—they were trying to DO it all and BE it all for their family. I feel where they’re coming from. I love to “do” for my family, too. And it’s tempting to want to “be” it all. But, what I’ve learned is this: I can absolutely do it all, but why would I want to?  When I do it all, there’s no room left to take care of ME.

Taking care of myself stems beyond washing and grooming. For me, it means that I exercise my gifts and talents, pursue my passions, strengthen my relationships, and invest in MYSELF. In order to accomplish this, I can’t fall victim to “doing it all.” I need help. So I ask for it. And I don’t turn it down if

it’s offered to me.

The former “Do-it-all-Nike” (as I like to call myself) brings me back to the time when I traveled to Palm Springs. During my layover in Phoenix, I heard the solemn news that my connecting flight to California would be delayed until the next morning. This was especially bad news considering I had brought my one-year-old with me! Thankfully, the airline made accommodations and placed us in a nearby hotel for the night.

That night, I recall struggling to push the stroller and roll our suitcases to the elevator. A nice gentleman and two of his friends stopped to ask if I needed any help. I firmly said no and kept it moving. I made it to my room without any help, but as I sat on the hotel bed I started reflecting on what just occurred. Help was offered to me, yet I chose to struggle. Why on earth did I struggle my way to my hotel room if I didn’t have to?

I asked myself a similar question last year when I found myself overwhelmed with all that I had going on in my life. I was that mom who had no energy to do anything for herself because I was too busy trying to “do it all.” Suddenly, God had spoken to me in the midst of my frustration and said, “Nike, why on earth are you doing this alone when your husband keeps offering to help you?”


 “I was choosing to struggle when I didn’t have to, and this needed to stop if I was going to take care of myself the way God intended.”


You see, if I was cleaning the house and my husband asked if I needed any help, I’d say no. If I was cooking and my husband asked if I needed any help, I’d say no. My husband offered to help me homeschool our boys and I had not taken him up on his offer. Maybe I felt pressured to be Superwoman. Maybe I was just too proud. Or, maybe it was both. I don’t know. What I do know for sure is that I was choosing to struggle when I didn’t have to, and this needed to stop if I was going to take care of myself the way God intended.

So what did I start doing? When my husband asked if I needed any help, I’d accept his offer.  And when he didn’t offer, I didn’t hesitate to ask for his assistance. We became a homeschool team. My husband started helping our eldest son learn his sight words, reviewing his math and reading comprehension, and began giving him bike riding lessons—all of which offered me more free time. This year, my husband is becoming even more hands on as our boys take on music lessons and learn the ropes of our family business.

Some of these father/son moments you don’t get to see because I’m either working or simply respecting their time together—so moments like these are not captured on camera. I may highlight much of what I do on social media, but you don’t get to see my husband making breakfast, making sure the boys do their checklists, helping them take showers and brush their teeth, or taking them bike or scooter riding during the early mornings. All of these contributions grant me time and energy to invest in myself.

With that being said, it’s safe to say that Superwoman is officially retired. I want to encourage you today, if you feel pressured to do it all and have put yourself on the backburner, start investing in yourself now!  Whatever that means to you. Whether it’s becoming more fit and healthy, starting that business, writing that book, having a lunch date with that friend—seek help from your spouse, family, friends, church, and/or community to carve out that “me time.” There’s no shame in asking for help. You don’t have to be Superwoman.


Here are a few tips to help you along your journey.

1. Write it down. Make a list of everything you’d like to do for yourself but keep putting off.

2. Prioritize. Organize your list in order of importance.

3. Be a team player. Talk to your spouse about your list and discuss ways he can help you execute your goals. (If you’re not married, perhaps a family member or close friend will do.)

4. Start small. Don’t expect to knock out your list in one go. If you only have 30 minutes to yourself every day, decide which item on your list you will dedicate that time to.

5. Open your mouth! Ask your spouse to put the kids to bed, clean the bathroom, etc, so that you can have some alone time.

6. Accept help. Let your in-laws take the kids for the weekend. And it’s okay to have takeout for dinner every now and then.

7. Be diligent. Don’t abuse your “me time” to do things that have nothing to do with your list.

8. Be consistent. After about a week of carved out mommy time, you may feel like you’re on top of the world and start to slack off. DON’T!

9. Celebrate small victories. No matter how small it is, acknowledge and celebrate each time you check something off your list.

10. Shake off criticism. Sometimes women can be quite vile toward one another. Shake off the criticism from other women who try to guilt trip you for taking time to yourself.


As always, I hope you found this post inspiring. Let me know in the comments the items on your list that you’d like to do but keep putting off.