Motherhood: Racial Reconciliation

Motherhood: Racial Reconciliation

Image by Danielle Coke @ohhappydani

Racial reconciliation has been on my mind for awhile now. Back in January, I sat down with 3 of my mama friends to discuss motherhood and race for a podcast episode. Motherhood is hard, and it’s our job to have hard conversations in order to know better and do better. Our kids are needing us to lean into this.

My friends and I:

Toni – a Filipino woman raised in Africa

Krisler – a black woman raised in multiple states in America

Sarah – a white woman raised in Texas

me – a first generation born American woman, half Mexican, half Arab

Together we discuss how racism affects our conversations with people of a different race, how racism impacts our parenting, and how can we be a part of the solution to end racism.

Image by Danielle Coke @ohhappydani

I don’t know if I will see the end of racism in my lifetime, but I do know if we don’t enter the space of befriending those that are different than us, or don’t start having in-person conversations about race, then things won’t change.

Our children are so observant, and are excellent at mimicking our behavior. What are we doing to actively be agents of racial reconciliation? Listen to our conversation on Season 2, Episode 2, and then join us as we learn to know better and do better. Be The Bridge Nonprofit is a great place to start for more resources.

Image by Danielle Coke @ohhappydani
Mothering Bust

Mothering Bust

I’m not an elementary teacher. I’m not equipped to homeschool. These days in quarantine have left me feeling like I’m failing this mothering thing. I had the brilliant idea last weekend to search through the attic for party supplies and carnival games. Throwing a party is my mothering talent, and thanks to volunteering this past year at the school as the PTA-Program and Events “person”, I can set up a party in under 30 minutes.

I wanted my kids to have fun and I wanted to feel like I was succeeding at something. Our favorite family vacation spot is Disneyland, so I grab all the attic things to turn our backyard into DIY Disneyland…or at least make it feel like we were actually getting to go somewhere fun for the day.

I handmade all the signs, set up the games, popped the popcorn, and created a special Disney drink. Then the moment to show the kids what I was up to came. I just knew they would be so excited.

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Missions: Go and Make Disciples

Missions: Go and Make Disciples

This just in: Missionaries do not spend 18 hours of their 24 hour day reading the Bible.

jokes from Season 2, Episode 1

Matthew 28:18-20 says this: And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Season 2, Ep. 01.

Keri Campbell joins the show today to share her experience as a full-time missionary. When we sat down to record this episode in January 2020, Covid-19 wasn’t even on our minds. Now, we’re quarantined at home and I’m left wondering, how is Go + Make Disciples even applicable right now? I don’t have an answer for you, but I know God does. Now is a good time to develop a real relationship with the Lord. I encourage you to download and listen to this episode as you sit at God’s feet and wrestle with opinions, convictions, and doctrine.

The command to “go” doesn’t include, “go, unless there is a pandemic”. So now what do we do? That’s what I’ve been sitting and asking God these past 2 weeks, “God, what is it you want to tell me in this? What is it that You want me to do, now?”

Here’s a pretty tool to help you sit down with God and dig deeper.

Support our podcast by downloading each episode and writing a review. Subscribing and streaming is great, but downloads and reviews are the magical helpful things for others to find our podcast too. We appreciate your support!

To learn more about Keri Campbell and her families pursuit of full-time missions go to PrayforBerlin.org.

*Correction to podcast* I said on this episode Jesus was tempted and then ministered by angels. What I was trying to reference was Matthew chapter 4, where Jesus went into the wilderness and fasted for 40 days and nights (I said 3 on the audio, which is incorrect)

Love Thy Neighbor: the pursuit of giving + loving NOW

Love Thy Neighbor: the pursuit of giving + loving NOW

We all have heard the greatest command, “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matt. 22:36-40). Bring on all the coffee cups, T-shirts, and hashtags of “be kind” or “do good”, but do we really practice this? The holidays have come and gone, and now we’re approaching the season of spring, and I wonder if we are still striving to give and love.

Are we even aware of opportunities to love our neighbors or community right where we are? I was walking the halls of my children’s school the other day and wondering if parents knew the volunteer needs at the school, and next found myself wondering what needs were weighing on the hearts of parents at this school. It’s easy to recognize the needs of others during the holidays thanks to Santas ringing bells and collecting change, or the hundreds of other non-profits sharing their needs, but what about the other 11 months out of the year?

What if I told you that loving your neighbor didn’t have to be a huge holiday production? Now, don’t get me wrong. Volunteering at your city’s homeless shelter, feeding the hungry a Thanksgiving meal, or even traveling across the world to dig water wells are all great things! They are needed. However, there are also needs right next-door to you, at work, or at school, now, in your community.

When Jesus says “love thy neighbor” it’s an action. It’s not just a feeling or heart posture of kindness and inclusion, but is also doing something.

So then, how do we love our neighbors? Step 1: you need to know them. You need to be ok with being weird, and be ok with being rejected. Go and be weird or awkward and introduce yourself to people you see on your street, at work, or at your child’s school. Just do it! Step 2: serve them=love them.

My neighbors on my street are some of the most amazing people in Texas and possibly America. They daily live out Steps 1 and 2. We all know each other. We are intentional to talk while seeing each other outside, having each other over for a meal, playdates with our kids, and block parties. Being known has given us the opportunity to be humble enough to share our stories and what is going on in our lives. For example, when I recently resigned from my job and started my own business I couldn’t afford traditional childcare, so a couple of my neighbors offered to pick up my kids from school if I ever needed help. There were several times these sweet moms saved my butt.

One of the biggest acts of service I experienced was from our sweet friends and neighbors that allowed us to live with them for 2 months while we were in-between homes. We shared our experience on the podcast on Season 1, Ep. 7 “Giving Community”, and I encourage you to give it a listen.

We recently made new friends at our children’s school this year, and they heard about our story of temporarily living with neighbors for 2 months. Guess what? They are going on an international mission trip to Africa and need someone to watch their daughter while they’re away, so they asked us to help. They said they felt less awkward to ask us, because they knew we understood what it was like to need help. That’s one of the best parts about loving others well and the action of giving. It has a ripple effect.

I’m sure you’ve heard or maybe even experience the “pay it forward” chain. Someone paid for your Starbucks order so you paid it forward. Again, this is a good thing, so don’t misunderstand me…I’m not knocking on this. I want you to think differently though. You are living next to, working with, or at school with someone who might need your help right now. Maybe it is a need for coffee (and all the moms of newborns said, amen), but maybe it’s something else. You’ll never know until you get to know them, and be humble enough to exchange stories.

The one thing I know for sure in parenting is this, our kids are watching. Those short people are listening to me when I talk to friends on the phone, or my anger problems while driving. They are watching me and learning. What if we taught our kids to be kind, to give back, and to love well by our daily actions of serving our neighbors now?

I want my kids to do more than just follow the golden rule. I want them to love God and others well. So, I’m determined to model this for them as frequently as possible and pray they copy and practice this as well. Hopefully, more than they copy my love for sarcasm.

IDEAS TO SERVE, GIVE, LOVE:

  1. Children’s outgrown clothes: give them to a neighbor (y’all, how many times does your kid outgrow something? Especially those soccer cleats you use for one season)
  2. Invite neighbors over for a meal (mine is always pizza, keep it simple, unless you’re a chef…you’re basically required to show off then)
  3. Carpool: (that carline is dangerous and stressful)
  4. Babysit: (childcare is like a second mortgage-babysitting is the gift that keeps on giving. Datenight babysitting or school days–all say LOVE)
  5. Cleaning a home: (do you love cleaning? I hate cooking so I offer my cleaning skills more frequently)
  6. Run Errands (my neighbor always shoots me a text when she’s going to Sam’s Club, “hey you need anything”)
  7. Wine Fairy (this was my favorite thing to do for awhile, I would drop off a bottle of wine on my neighbor’s porch just because…she’s a mom)
  8. Just ask, “How can I help you?”
Dear Stay-At-Home-Moms

Dear Stay-At-Home-Moms

Dear Stay-At-Home-Moms,

I’m sorry. I’m so sorry for hurting you. I owe you a giant apology for judging you, for being mean to you, and even for my thoughts.

I’m sorry for my pride. I thought, as a full-time-office-working-mom that I was more important, more achieved, and busier than you (SAHM). I wouldn’t have flat out said that to your face in those words at the time, but my thoughts and actions definitely played that out. For example, if I was driving to work and I would see a woman out walking her dog or running with her kid in the stroller I would think, “it must be nice to have so much free time and be able to spend your day doing whatever you want”. Or if my kid’s school would ask for parent volunteers or help I would think, “I better see all the SAHMs I know sign up first before I offer to help.” I’m sorry for being a prideful judging jerk. Will you forgive me?

I’m sorry for looking down on you. I’m sorry for my role in causing you to feel like “you’re just a mom” or when someone asks what you do for a living your response has been “I just stay home with my kids“. Man, I suck and I’m sorry for being a part of the problem and not the solution. Do you forgive me?

I want you to hear me, you are NOT “just” a mom. You do NOT “just” stay home with your kids. You are a working mom too. All moms work. I’m serious. I’m not blowing smoke up your ass. There is no scale measuring the amount of workload that each mother does or doesn’t do in a day, and I don’t know why we, yes myself included, are so obsessed with trying to measure one another. In the end there is NO trophy. No night at the Oscars for Motherhood, and there shouldn’t be. So why do we have to categorize one another and why do we shame ourselves for not measuring up to some invisible award?

You are a mother, like me, trying to raise a child or two and I want to support you not judge you. I’m sorry it’s taken me this long to understand that. Do you forgive me?

I wish I could say I’m this super cool mom that realized this on my own but I didn’t. Honestly, that’s a good thing because remember my pride from before. God kindly asked me one day, “why do you think your time is more precious than your SAHM friend’s time?”. Busted.

I want you to know that not only am I so sorry for my role and how I’ve hurt you, but that I also want to do better. How can I help you? How can I support you? Please don’t feel bad for asking for help whether it’s big or small. The saying it takes a village is true, and it’s a good thing motherhood is made up of different types of moms. It’s good that some work in the office, some at the home, some part-time, and some side-hustlers. We all bring something to the village to offer. We all have a unique gift to support. Are you up for giving this village-motherhood-support-thing a try?

Please forgive me, and join me!

-Viv (formerly wanting to be called “a working mom“)

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STORY: The Podcast

STORY: The Podcast

Always Working Mom Podcast exists to encourage and strengthen all mothers: Working moms, SAHMs, Mothers-to-be, Women that desire to be moms, and everyone in between, through gospel-centered resources.

-vivian knox, host of Always Working Mom Podcast

The idea behind the podcast has morphed several times now. Since the idea originated I’ve experienced multiple “ah-ha” moments that have helped shape the heart and spirit of our podcast’s mission.

First, during my life as a full-time office-working mom I experienced a couple of situations with coworkers, whom were moms, that strived for competition over support. These situations empowered the vision of a desire to encourage women to chose community over competition. You know, “empowered women empower women” and “women support women”. The idea was to focus on being a part of the solution, not the problem (or revenge, or self preservation or whatever feelings I was wrestling from being hurt).

Second, experience was God convicting me. My crime? Pride. It’s a subtle and deadly sin, and I hadn’t noticed it in my heart or actions, but it was there killing me. I thought, as a full-time office-working mom that I was more important, more achieved, and busier than a SAHM (stay at home mom). I wouldn’t have flat out said that in those words at the time, but my thoughts and actions definitely played that out. For example, if I was driving to work and I would see a woman out walking her dog or running with her kid in the stroller I would think, “it must be nice to have so much free time and be able to spend your day doing whatever you want”. Or if my kid’s school would ask for parent volunteers or help I would think, “I better see all the SAHMs I know sign up first before I offer to help.” God was super nice about gently convicting me. He kindly spoke to me, “why do you think your time is more precious than your SAHM friend’s time?”. If you’re familiar with the Bible, doesn’t that sound just like God [insert my nervous laughter here]? When Adam and Eve sinned, God didn’t lose his temper and yell chasing them with a wooden spoon for a spanking. Nope. (I’m thinking of his series of questions to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:9-13 and Jesus with the Woman at the well in John 4) This was the BIG “ah-ha” moment. All Moms are working moms. Instead of measuring who’s time is more precious, what would happen if we offered to support. Changing our posture from pride to service.

Lastly, when I started to interview different mothers for season 1 of the podcast I noticed that whether the mom was an office worker, side-hustler, part-time employee or even a SAHM we all struggled with guilt, and we all just wanted to be heard and understood. If we all want to be heard and validated, then wouldn’t it be good to strive to listen to one another? I wanted to share these women’s stories in hope of other mothers being willing to listen. Not for the purpose of agreeing or believing the same things as them, but to change their posture to humility and empathy. We must learn to listen better.

Now, we’re here working on Season 2 with a fresh mission. AWM Podcast exists to encourage and strengthen all mothers: Working moms, SAHMs, Mothers-to-be, Women that desire to be moms, and everyone in between, through gospel-centered resources. We want to encourage a posture of humility, to learn to listen to one another, to empathize. I want to listen to you, and I want others to listen too. I don’t have the power to validate you, but I can introduce you to the One that does. I’m learning to let go of my guilt and my fear of being judged for every thing I do or don’t do as a mother by resting in my identity in Christ. Because Jesus came, died, and rose from the dead for me, I am now God’s beloved daughter in whom He is well pleased with. (Matthew 3:17)

Will you join us? Will you humble yourself being willing to listen to one another in hopes of empathy? We want you! The saying “it takes a village” is true. You are needed in this community of mothers supporting mothers.

For more info on what I believe or our full mission, visit our About Me and Our Mission page. Share with your friends and family and lets grow our village of support.

Ep. 07 Giving Community

Ep. 07 Giving Community

The beginning of the book of Acts shows a beautiful picture of what the early church looked like. One heart. All pursuing God. No one went in need. We’ve been studying the book of Acts this fall in Women’s Bible study, and once again God whispered to me, “Don’t forget what I did for you, and don’t forget to be open handed and to listen, be willing to do this for others.”.

Three years ago our family of four lived with our friends, the Hoyts, a family of six for two months. God taught me so much during that season of life, and has continued to do so each year as I reflect on our time living under one roof. The time for “giving” isn’t just during the holiday season, it is year round. God used the Hoyts to show us this, and in turn we actively strive to live this way.

It’s difficult to compact all that God did in our hearts in under 60 minutes, but we did our best to summarize our time together on Episode 7, “Giving Community”, on today’s podcast. It’s the perfect way to wrap up season 1. I hope this episode inspires you to take pause during the chaos of the holidays and reflect on God. Stop to listen to His voice, and be encourage to obey him…sometimes He asks us to give by writing a check, volunteering, or bringing a meal to a family in need. Sometimes He asks us to open our home to our friend. Beauty is found in obedience. Can you see it?

LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST

Elf on the Shelf + Jesus

Elf on the Shelf + Jesus

This is not a theological argument if Christians can love Jesus and participate in Santa and Elf on the Shelf. I’ll leave that to wiser bible teachers. This is not a guilt trip if you don’t want to join in on Elf on the Shelf. Girl, you do you. I have a sorority sister, Katie, that has 5 kids and I see her insta stories filled with homemade meals and the cutest bento boxes for school. I will never be Katie…and that’s ok. I was wired to enjoy parties, excel at decorating, and naturally love finding ways to participate in culture and still serve Jesus.

If you like seeing your kids enjoy the Elf on the Shelf, but also love Jesus, and you’re not wired with the creative party gene, then, this is for you. I would love for Katie to show up in my house and pack my 2 kids bento lunch boxes daily, and since it’s not physically possible for me to come into your house nightly to move your Elf, then I want to give you the next best thing.

From the moment I introduced our Elf on the Shelf, I knew I wanted to use it to strategically teach my kids about God’s heart and that Christmas is Jesus’ birthday. And so, our Elf moves nightly, not reporting to Santa, but playing Elf games with the kids. Some nights our Elf is extremely creative, and some nights it’s more like hide-and-seek…he just moves to a new location. But every night, our Elf shows up with a new card revealing a deep truth about God’s heart. Five cards with five biblical truths over the course of 25 days. It’s a magical time where our kids can participate in culture, learn and hopefully believe in who God says He is.

Give it a try. Laminate the cards. Don’t feel guilty if your Elf doesn’t move. Don’t judge us moms that are Elf participating…promise my kid is eating a crappy lunch full of bad ingredients next to “Katie’s kids”. Find a mom like me in your neighborhood and give her a key to your house to move your Elf, ha! You better believe if Katie was my neighbor that she’d have a key whether she wanted to or not.

FREE DOWNLOADS CLICK HERE

*activity was originally created using The Village Church resources for Little Village and shared on my family blog in detail

Episode 6. Five Day Challenge

Episode 6. Five Day Challenge

Ready to grow your community? We challenge YOU to join us on a 5 day challenge to meet a new mom. This can be a new mom at your work, at your child’s school, in your neighborhood…wherever. The point is, meet a new mom, and especially if you don’t have a mom friend that doesn’t “look” like you, meaning, if you’re a SAHM then make a career mom friend and so on. Trust me.

Join our community on Instagram by following @AlwaysWorking_mom and using the hashtag #alwaysworkingmom

5 Day Challenge:

DAY 1. MAKE A PLAN. List neighbors, house number, or specific people you want to meet.

DAY 2. PICK HOW + WHEN. Leave a note on someone’s door, send a card to all the moms in your child’s class, invite over for dessert or pizza, or meet up at the park.

DAY 3. PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE. Take action. You can do it! Be awkward! You won’t die.

DAY 4. TRY AGAIN. Do stop trying until someone says yes. Don’t keep ringing your neighbor’s door everyday…that’s a bit much…but maybe give multiple neighbors a shout.

DAY 5. MEET UP AND DO IT AGAIN. Actually meet up. It’s ok if no one shows up. Do it again. And if they show up, then plan the next meet up for the following week. Keep it simple.

Join our community on Instagram for examples, advice on the challenge, and to “meet” other mamas that are taking action! Can’t wait to see how your challenge goes.