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If you’re wondering how to be kind to yourself in 2021 – Nicole’s story is beautiful! Be inspired by her words and embrace your season this year, mama. Enjoy!
In May of 2017, my husband and I welcomed one of the most precious gifts one can receive. Our son, Kaleb, was born on May 30th, the day before what was supposed to be my last day of work. Then in November of 2018, we had our beautiful daughter, Kallie. Her birth was a whirlwind, taking only an hour and a half from the beginning of labor to delivery. (Whew! I mean, I said I wanted her to come quickly, but geez…) My kids are an amazing blessing from God, and I would not change anything about them.
However, I was not prepared for just how much my life would change when I became a mom.
All through this stage of becoming a mom, I was also trying to build my business. My business journey began in 2015, going through a couple of name changes and rebrandings along the way. In 2017, things started to shift for me. I knew I wanted to build a business that would allow me to stay home with my kiddos, and it finally looked like it could happen.
Have you ever tried to juggle a toddler, a newborn, a laundry basket, and a cup of coffee? Yeah. That’s how running a business with two babies feels.
There are just not enough hands or hours in the day. Amidst my new stretched-out body, postpartum depression, nursing, and tiredness, I was still fostering this dream of making a living doing what I loved.
Designing and making jewelry had been a fun outlet for a couple of years before I had kids. I was tired of trying to get things to ‘take off.’ I wanted to become an overnight success and just get on with my life. I had a plan to make it all happen, including scheduling my day down to the minute.
Of course, when you’ve got kids, no one sticks to a schedule. (Unless it’s a 2am feeding.)
By February of 2019, I was a hot mess. I was still fostering my dream of creating a jewelry brand that would help women see their God-given identity. But how was I ever going to make it happen?
I was comparing myself on the daily with other boss-moms who were killing it in the marketplace. Thoughts like, “I should be where they are in their business right now.”, “You’re never going to be good enough.” and “You just have to work harder!” had eventually driven me to a pretty low point.
I was ready to throw my hands up and call it quits.
Unfortunately, the comparison snuck into my spiritual life as well. I would look at other moms posting scriptures or pictures of what they had read in the Bible that day and feel awful.
I don’t have time to spend an hour in the Bible every day!
A few months later, I heard Dan Mohler say that if you’re using the time you spend in the Bible to be okay with God, you’re doing it for the wrong reason. After that, I started taking snippets of time with the Lord throughout my whole day.
You cannot contain God in a one-hour Bible reading session! I worship while I do the dishes. I pray while I fold the laundry.
You see, comparison destroys creativity.
I spent so much time comparing myself to others– other moms, other business owners, and other pastor’s wives. And I always came up lacking. I spent many tear-filled mornings with my husband, so desperate to see my dream come true, all the while feeling doubtful that it would ever happen.
Thankfully, God had placed a friend in my life that could speak some truth exactly when I needed it. April Nicole Scipio and I have never actually met in person, but she is an amazing friend nonetheless. She’s also a pastor’s wife and owns a Christian coaching business. She helps women in faith, leadership, and business.
To make a long story short, April hit me with some much-needed truth, right between the eyes. I poured out my heart over an hour-long coaching session, and she delivered some wisdom and counsel straight from the Lord. “Stop comparing yourself, Nicole. You are exactly where you need to be,” she told me. “It’s okay to build your dream slowly. But the greatest disservice you would do to yourself is giving up now.”
And she was right.
We are always told to be kind to others as we’re growing up. Rarely do we hear that we need to be kind to ourselves.
We as women especially have this skewed idea that if we give ourselves grace, we are failing in some way. Resting equals procrastination. Why do we hold ourselves to such high standards and then wonder why we’re discontent?
Through that very tough season, I had to learn to slow down and be okay with where I was in my life and business.
That’s just it.
It was a season.
Now, I’m in a different season. My kids are a bit older. My three-year-old son goes to preschool for half days, and my two-year-old daughter hangs out at home with me. They are a bit more independent now, which is somehow more difficult than the baby stage at times. However, I do have more time and flexibility to work on my business.
I’ve learned that no matter what season I’m in, there will be challenges.
I’ve learned how to persevere.
My husband and I still lead a crazy-busy life. As full-time youth pastors, there’s a whole other dynamic added into our schedules. I’ve learned to always come back to my friends’ advice: to be okay with slowing down my vision.
“A little progress is still progress!” — Be kind to yourself.
Let me tell you, as a task-oriented person, slowing down the vision is hard. I have many grand schemes of what I’d like to see and do, where I want to be in five years.
But I also don’t want to be so focused on the business vision that I forget what matters more.
I don’t want to miss picnics with my kids.
Or get so angry with them when they decide to give each other a dirt bath that I fail to enjoy that silly moment.
I don’t want to feel guilty that I haven’t spent time reading the Bible.
If you’re not careful, even reading the Word and praying can turn into a religious act. You don’t have to do any of those things to be in right standing with God. You are in right standing because of the blood of Jesus!
If you’re struggling to balance mom-life while you build a dream, just remember that you’re the one writing your story – be kind to yourself.
You don’t have to be in a specific place by a particular time to be a success. You determine what success looks like for you! It’s okay if your vision doesn’t come about as fast as you want it to, or exactly as you’d planned.
Be kind to yourself, dear Mama.
May God bless you in all you put your hand to.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. -2 Corinthians 13:14