Hey friends! I am continuing in my interviews of FAITHFUL EVERYDAY MOMS with not one, but TWO, Moms today!
Meet Faithful Everyday Moms: Elizabeth Courtner and Katie Pope Simpson
Katie is married to Rob and they have three boys: Grady, Bo and Parker, and Elizabeth (who I call Liz,) is married to Matthew and has two kids: Colton and Emma Kate.
We go way back…all the way to college at Union University together. After college, we all stayed in Jackson, TN together for several more years and became newly-weds and first time moms together. So, some major transitions in our lives, becoming wives, and moms, and when you have those major life changes together, they tend to make your friendships even deeper. You probably know some people like that in your life?
Since we have all moved away from one another, but we’ve remained close friends, so I am thankful share on this topic with them today: Finding Contentment Where You Are In Motherhood.
My first question, as usual, for each of them: How do you have your quiet time as a mom?
Katie: When I was new in my walk with the Lord, I felt like I had to sit and read and go through a devotional or a specific book of the Bible, but that has really evolved over the years to be more of the goal of depth rather than just to cross it off the list. My favorite way since having kids the last couple of years, is to go through a Bible reading plan provided by my church. First I like to listen to it on a Bible reading app, and then I read it. I really catch a lot of different things by doing that.
I like the combination of reading and listening, because I really catch a lot of different things by doing both. Some days when I am running behind, was up with sick kids, etc., my time does not allow for both reading and listening, but I at least get Scripture in everyday at least once this way!
Liz: I would say I kind of change it up each year depending our season of life for what we have going on. This year, I’m doing a Bible reading plan as well, reading through the Bible chronologically. I think it’s going to take me longer than a year though, because I’m trying to really study it as I go along and understand what certain passages mean with other passages. As far as time of the day, that can kind of vary because it may depend on what we have going on with our family, but I always try to do it in the morning and for sure before the kids get home from school.
Mallory: Answers revolving around the kids schedules is normal for this time of life, but the important thing is to make time with Jesus a priority!
Now for a funny question–What would you say makes you an everyday mom?
Katie: Well, when I was in college, once I went to visit my older sister and there was a pair of tiny little boy underwear in her ceiling fan, and I was like, “Why is there a pair of tiny little boy underwear in your ceiling fan?” Without blinking, she just shoved it off and said, “Oh, it’s fine.” And she just walked off and I thought, “What?!” Well, now that I have three boys…so I get it! Fast Forward: I could totally see this happening now at my house with 3 boys now and not blink an eye.
Liz: Being an “everyday mom” makes me think our Legos and little pieces of American Girl stuff everywhere: In my car, in my house, etc, and I also think my constant leggings and messy buns. 🙂
Mallory: Those are just fun questions to get to know Liz and Katie better, so let’s jump into our topic for today!
What does it look like to just be content in motherhood in the exact stage that you’re in? So specifically today we’re talking about being content in the stage of having school-aged children, whether you’re homeschooling them or you’re sending them to school. Specifically, pre-K through elementary years, since applies to all three of us.
You may be reading and have babies and toddlers right now or have older or grown children, so you think this blog isn’t for you. But keep reading, because in any stage of motherhood, I think that we all find ourselves wishing we were in another stage.
Wishing our kids were little again for sure or even wishing they were a little older and more independent in the toddler years, so we can go to the bathroom by ourselves! 🙂 But in EVERY stage, we must learn how to be content in where we are in motherhood.
Katie, why do you think that we struggle as moms to be content with the stage that our kids are in?
Katie: I think when your kids are babies, it’s hard because you’re just getting used to the whole thing. In those early years it seems like you have more control over control their schedule: eating, sleeping, etc.–even though it takes a while to get used to the rhythm of all of it the first time!
Then as they get older, it’s hard sometimes to let go of that control. They don’t need you for every little thing anymore and they may be going to school, a homeschool co-op, playing sports, etc. and have more time where they are not with you. So, we go through this phase of having to identify ourselves in each new stage. So once they go to school: Am I homeschooling them? Am I sending them to school? Private School? Public School? Am I going to go back to work full-time? Am I going to work part-time? You just have to look at yourself and go, “Okay, now I’m sort of redefining how I view myself and what I want to do as a career or with my time each day.” So yeah, I think that it’s both of those things that you’re kind of juggling: control and redefining.
Mallory: Yeah, they needed you physically much more in the early years, to dress them, feed them, etc. Then as they grow up they begin to need you in a lot of other ways..
Katie: Yes. They need you emotionally and spiritually as they grow: Learning to manage time, working through struggles with self-confidence, learning how to identify sin in their lives, figuring out what they are passionate about and being a mom taxi carting them around to their new found “social life.” 🙂
You start to realize…They are really growing up! It’s like that moment when they can play a board game. I feel like that’s the defining moment. You’re like, “Oh, we can have fun now. I can not worry about you grabbing that dice and choking on it. We’re going to have a fun night together.” (haha so true)
Liz, what is something that you really like about this stage of having school-aged kids?
Liz: Well, my kids are getting even older. My son is in fifth grade and my daughter’s in third grade, so we’re slowly creeping towards the middle school phase. But I’ve really enjoyed their independence. Each year is just so much more fun than the year before, because they’ve learned new things, they have new skills that also comes with different control issues. When they’re a toddler, they can’t articulate what they want, but when they get older, they can articulate it, and it’s a little bit harder because you have to reason with them a little bit, and they may not have the mindset to be able to understand all the reasons.
So one of the things that we have been working on is just talking through friendships and just difficult change of life things. Both of my kids changed schools this year, so we’re just really adjusting to a new season of life for them. But it’s created really good conversations about what it’s like to be a new person in a situation. Both of them have never really had to have much change. We’ve lived in the same house, they’ve gone to the same church and until this year gone to the same school. So they’ve really not had a lot of big life change. So this has been good for them to put themselves in other people’s shoes a little bit more and learn a little bit more of empathy.
What are some examples of some of those conversations that you’re having with them at the age that they are now?
Liz: I would say for my daughter, we have a lot of conversations about friendships. Girls and friends, just even early on can be really, really crucial for their lives. Whether or not they really enjoy their friends or they’re trying to figure out the dynamics and how close they are to their friends. They’re just always judging that, because a girl can really see a friendship through a different lens than a boy can.
My son can have a good day or a bad day based off of if he caught a football or if he shot the basketball and scored at recess, that’s his measure of a good day. That’s not my daughter’s measure of a good day, how many people talk to her who interacted with her that day. So it’s just a very different kind of conversation based on our genders.
But for my son, he’s had a hard time with owning up to things, so he’s kind of been blaming a lot of people for his problems instead of taking ownership. So that’s been the main thing that we’ve been working on with him, of owning your own sin and just confessing it both to each other and to the Lord.
Mallory: Have they both accepted Jesus?
Liz: They have. My son was six when he accepted Christ, and my daughter accepted Christ last year. So they both have been baptized and have made that decision for themselves.
Mallory: That’s awesome! And that is another level of maturity for sure, because I have one that has and one that hasn’t. So that’s definitely a milestone in the conversations we can have with our kids.
Liz: For sure. It makes a huge difference in their maturity.
Mallory: Katie, you mentioned earlier about when the kids go to school, you said something, basically like you have to redefine your purpose, what you’re going to do if you’re going to homeschool, that can become your full-time job. Or if you’re going to send the kids to school, what do I do now while they’re there? Am I going to go back to work? Am I going to stay home? And just struggling with the ability to find contentment with that, I think, and just that change. So when we were talking about this, you said when they need you in the little years, you kind of know their schedule, you know they physically need you for they’re going to eat every three hours and you can kind of plan like that, but then when they get older, all of a sudden you’re getting birthday party invitations, they’re playing little league and you’re having VBS and then you’ve got things if you’re working for yourself. You said your husband’s in school, right? So Rob’s in school and there’s just a lot more going on, as far as the schedule goes. So you kind of have to learn what your priorities are going to be.
Katie, could you share with us a little bit about the transition of that in your home and how y’all started to work on that?
Katie: Sure! So in our family, my husband is a pastor, and I work full-time at my kids’ school.We quickly realized with work and kids in school getting a social life, that our life was getting busy, quick! I think it’s important for you and your spouse to stay proactive in conversation about what you want your family’s future goals to be.
Ask, “What is the end game for us? And what are we hoping to grow our children in so that they become and end up a certain way?”
A big factor in that is how we use our time. And so I think that as humans, it’s just natural for us to let time sweep us up and our schedule to just be decided for us by whatever we’re asked to do. But I think it’s so important, the older your kids get, for you and your spouse to sit down and go, “What do we want to spend our time doing?”
For us, it could easily be sports with my oldest son if we let it, because he is super athletic…He would play sports every day, all day if he could! But even with that, we have to ask, “Okay, are we going to be run by an athletic schedule? Are we going to do that all year, every day, every season of every sport?” Of course, I think there’s a great opportunity for your family to come together around sports, and they’re a wonderful opportunity for you to minister to your community and to other families and get to know other people. Also, not to mention all the health components and social components for your child, but you also have to ask, “Do we want church to be a big part of our life? Do we want to be missing church to do sports?”
And for our family the answer is no. Sometimes you have to say no and not do everything, and I think that is okay. It even teaches your kids to learn to prioritize what they really want to do. Because our kids are young, and we’re still in the early years of this, but as they get bigger, you are faced with that a lot more decisions and options of busyness.
So at this stage, I think, is your first step dipping a toe in the water of that and kind of deciding what runs your life and what your schedule revolves around. And the same is true with friendships. Do we go to every birthday party? We try to go to the ones that are close friends from church or school, but sometimes we can’t because we have other things that are important to our family.
It’s a juggling act, nobody does it perfectly. Just decided now to hold your schedule with open hands and just trusting the Lord that you’re going to do what He wants you to do, when He wants you to do it.
Liz, what is a challenge that you would leave with a mom that’s reading today, you want her to that away above all else?
Liz: Remember the influence that you have on your kids life while they are young is a crucial time to pour Jesus into them, while you have their ear.
I know that my influence with my kids, in how much they listen to me is going to change and morph over the next few years as they become teenagers. That’s just natural. Most teenagers listen to their friends or to other people in their lives, their coaches, hopefully they’re church leaders.
So it is so important to keep those priorities in line when they’re little that we as moms are speaking the truth of Scripture into their lives. Bring others alongside you that have a great influence in their life, like grandparents, church friends, etc. that can help continue to point them to Christ when they are not with you.
So that’s the challenge, overall, to keep your priorities in line and point your kids to Jesus!
Mallory: Yeah, absolutely. As moms, if we will get into the Word of God, it will overflow into your kids and really point them the right direction, and give them that foundation that you want them to have.
Katy and Liz, thank you both so much for joining me!
And mom, thank you for checking out this blog today. Be sure to check out the podcast version HERE that can be more fun and personal to listen to sometimes! And don’t forget to email me if you have a Faithful Everyday Mom that comes to your mind. These are moms who, like you and I, are not perfect or famous, but just everyday moms growing in wisdom and actively choosing to live out their faith in Jesus and share it with their kids. EMAIL ME if you are thinking of someone to suggest for me to interview. Or maybe it’s you, and you have a story to share about something the Lord has taught you in motherhood. Would you please do me a favor and send me an EMAIL, message me directly on INSTAGRAM or share your story in the comments below. I would love to hear from you!