{A note from Nickey: I met Emily while living overseas in Australia. Listening to her speak is like listening to sugar. She is the one of the sweetest souls that you will ever encounter. Emily makes parenting look effortless and is someone I would definitely consider a “Super-Mom”. I hope you enjoy her guest post as much I have.}


“Stop hitting your sister!”

“Don’t play with your food- EAT IT!”

“Why are you peeing on the floor instead of in the toilet?”

“How many times do I have to tell you that we aren’t supposed to jump off the coffee table onto the baby?!”


I find my voice raised in countless admonitions like these throughout the day. I have three delicious children (yes, they are literally edible- I nibble my baby’s thighs constantly), all born within less than three years of each other, so I have had my hands and heart full for quite a while now. Before them, I never knew how fiercely you could love someone & how furious you could be with that same small person all at once. I’ve been a fairly even-keeled person all my life, and most people I know would probably echo that statement, but when One and Two get to bickering & pushing & blaming, all bets are off. And I HATE THAT. I HATE the harshness that can enter my tone, the volume level to which my voice can rise, and the tears from my babies that inevitably follow. In the moment, it can feel justified, like the only option. And then in the hours that follow, the mom-guilt starts to set in…. “why didn’t you handle that differently?” … “I’ve never seen [insert name here] yell at her kids before, yet they’re always so well-behaved!” “ … and, inevitably… “why aren’t you a better mom?”


This post is a funny one to write because I’m not speaking from a “hey everyone, let me tell you how it looks here on the other side!” perspective; this is is very much something that I’m still in the middle of learning and internalizing and walking out. That disclaimer aside, there are two things that God has been speaking to me about specifically in regard to my parenting journey (ok, fine, He’s hardcore challenging me about them!), and they both have to do with the power of my voice.

The first is this: my children need MY voice. Not my SuperMommy friend’s voice. Mine. Creator God, who knit them together in my womb, who knows them & their every quirk & bent intimately and knows mine the same, decided that we should be together, that I should be the one speaking into their lives every day. If you are a nanny, one: you’re my hero & two: this also applies to you, because for at least this season in your precious little kiddo’s life, God has specifically designed you to step out of the choir & sing into the mic during this beautiful concert He’s conducting called their life. I don’t know about you, but knowing that He has qualified me as mom before my feet ever even hit the floor in the morning is incredibly comforting. It can’t stop there, however.


Because my voice does carry such weight in my children’s lives, I must take the greatest of care to care for my heart, so that when the testing moments come, the words that rise to the surface are edifying and helpful, words that build, and not destroy. The second part of Luke 6.45 in the NIV says, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”, and I know that, unless I am caring for my heart, any efforts to speak life to my kids will come to nothing in the heat of the moment (nothing like a toddler-flung Dinotrux toy to the head to bring out what’s actually living inside of your heart!).


One practical way that I care for my heart is attempting to get an adequate amount of sleep (I realize this is not always possible, especially in the midst of growth spurts & teething, etc. but sometimes you just need to say no to Netflix, and HIT. THE. HAY. Preaching to myself here, y’all!). I am VASTLY more short-fused with my babes when I’m running on empty in the sleep department, and while I do believe that God’s grace fills in the cracks, I am not helping my cause when I stay up until 2 a.m. watching documentaries about serious environmental issues (ok, fine, it was Parenthood!). Another way is making sure that I am filling up on God’s Word, and supplementing that with great books, not the other way around. There is a tangible difference between the days when I intentionally set time aside to read & hear from His heart, and the days I allow the grind to suck me in immediately. Because He knows me and my children better than anyone else, because He’s, like, GOD, He has infinite wisdom and revelation on what they need to hear, at just the moment they need to hear it.


Your voice becomes your child’s inner narrative, and the words you speak, and the way in which you speak them, shape them in ways that will last long after you are no longer changing their diapers and wiping up their messes. There is a weight to this that you could allow to break you unless you remember the fact that they need YOU and no one else, as we spoke about earlier. After you remember this, and rest in that reality for a moment, then it’s time to start making intentional decisions, and potentially, changes, about and in the way you are living your life on a daily basis, so that your heart is happy, your body is healthy, and your mind strong. Then, as you face the new day with your tiny (or maybe not so tiny!) humans, your voice will speak love, encouragement, trust, and hope into them, and they will, in turn, be released to bring that to the world around them.

Do you ever doubt your role as a parent or caregiver, and if so, what kinds of things make you feel that way? With regard to not flying off the handle with our kids, we talked about sleep & ensuring that you are focusing on the right thing from the beginning of the day. What other practical tips or insights do you have that help you keep your cool in frustrating situations?


Emily is a mom of three incredible babies, all four & under, in Brooklyn, New York, and wife to amazing hubby Chad. She has traveled the world, lived on three continents, and plans to make her next big adventure moving with her family to San Francisco, CA to plant & pastor a church there under their church in NYC, Liberty Church. Emily grew up writing (and illustrating!) short stories, writing music & singing, and she hopes to inspire her own kiddos to pursue their dreams, via whatever avenue that may take them. A few of her favorite writers are Ann Voskamp, Shauna Niequist, C.S. Lewis & Richard Foster, and one of her bad habits is needing to finish any book she starts before she goes to sleep that night.

Photo Credit: Jenny Catlow Photography 

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