Make Everyday a Great Day

Yesterday, I made my daughter’s last school lunch.

It wasn’t anything special—a thermos of macaroni and cheese, some carrot sticks, a granola bar, a fruit snack, and a juice box.

Later, I asked her why she didn’t eat the macaroni and cheese. She said, it just didn’t look good sitting in the thermos after all those hours.

And I said, “Well, the good news is next year you can start packing your own lunch!”

And then it hit me: I just packed her last elementary school lunch.

Would I have made her something different if I had known?

I don’t know.

That’s the thing about endings. Unless you’re counting down to the last day of school before summer vacation or the last day of pregnancy before your baby is due, an ending is easy to miss. It’s easy to miss because what we’re actually counting down to is a NEW BEGINNING.

I don’t remember the last time I made my daughter’s bed.
Or tied her shoes.
Or gave her a bath.
Or washed her clothes.

She does all those things all by herself. And clearly—trust me, I know—she’s old enough to make her own lunch. It was just one of those things I said I’d keep doing while she was in elementary school, and then all the sudden elementary school is over, and the one thing—THE ONE THING—I was holding onto isn’t even a thing anymore! I did it for the last time, and I did it just like all the other times.

My friends, you are about to enter the golden years, ages 4-10, when love from you and friends for them come fast and easy.

 I’m not going to be the tired old mom who tells you how fast it goes. You have to learn that on your own.

But I have no remorse about telling you to find a way to make all the times so good that even if it’s the last time, it’s okay. Beginnings are even better.

As my daughter walked her elementary school hallways for the last time, she asked me, “So…did you make a ‘last-day-of-school’ cake?” For the record, I have NEVER made a last-day-of-school cake. I just told you how bad I am at remembering the endings. I do, however, always make a first-day-of-school-cake, so instead of cake, we’ll come home and eat watermelon and throw water balloons at each other (just because we have some in the garage we’ve been saving for a special occasion), and then we’ll probably do what we do on most regular days—decide that it’s going to be a GREAT DAY.

And if everyday is a great day, it doesn’t matter if it’s the first or the last. All that matters is that we’re ready for what’s next.

Because the end of elementary school isn’t about graduating from the fifth grade at all; it’s about going to middle school, a magical place where freedom lives and friendships are hard and homework really cramps your style. My daughter is ready. Who am I to hold her back?

Let her make her own lunch!

2026, here we come!

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5 Ways to Grow Your Resume as a Stay-at-Home Mom

I wish I had a dollar for all the times someone has asked me, “Are you just a mom?”

When my kids were little, I got this question all the time. I didn’t know how to respond. What did that even mean?

Am I just a mom?

I wanted to say, “ Are you just an accountant? Just a teacher? Just a dentist?”

I’ve been a mom for almost 20 years, and in all that time I can honestly say that I was never (not once) just a mom.

Sometimes I’ll hear moms say they’re dishwashers and chauffeurs and tutors and short order cooks.

All true.

But they are also managers, CEOs, advisors, and attorneys.

Now I think it’s one of the most useless questions an adult can ask a child—What do you want to be when you grow up? As if growing up is finite. As if at some point you become something and that’s the end.
— Becoming, Michelle Obama

You are not just a mom, although the long days spent wiping snotty noses and changing dirty diapers can trick you into thinking it’s work that will never end.

You don’t have to wish those days away. In the midst of all that has to be done, there are things you can do to bump up the wow factor on your resume.

1) Volunteer. No good work is ever wasted. I spent a decade volunteering at a local hospice, even though I had no desire ever to become a health practitioner myself. Those years taught me how to live well, how to be with people in the midst of their pain, and how to navigate hard conversations—skills I value to this day.

2) Contract a few hours a week. Find extra hours in your day to do something you love—and get paid for it. When I had extra time, I reached out to a mentor of mine to see if there was anything I could do to help her with her own work. Because she was a writer, I was able to assist with research, eventually gaining enough experience to write special features and small articles for our community magazine.

3) Lead something in your community. My husband and I have always attended church. It’s part of our weekly routine, and for a season I coordinated something called Sisters of Support. Basically, the SOS was a network of volunteers commissioned to bring meals to families experiencing hardship in our community. I coordinated the volunteers and supplemented what was needed on a weekly basis by making an extra chicken pot pie or batch of brownies here and there. I was already cooking for my own family, so making extra was no big deal. I led a team of almost 80 volunteers, and I was able to do it all from the comfort of my own kitchen workspace.

4) Find a place to network. I would have gone crazy if I had stayed home all the time. Being a mom is hard work. When my kids were little, I joined my local sorority alumnae group. Each month’s meeting promised the opportunity to meet someone interesting or learn something new. Eventually, I was elected President, and so in addition to the new friendships, I gained valuable leadership experience. Sisterhood doesn’t have to end just because college does!

5) Cultivate hobbies. The worst thing you can do is to spend so much time caring for your kids that you lose yourself. If there’s something you love to do, keep doing it. Just being a mom allowed me the freedom to experiment in the kitchen (I even learned how to use a sous vide), go on long walks (sometimes with a kid—or four—in tow), read books (you can learn a lot from reading children’s books, and I’ve led lots of kid lit book clubs), and practice writing (look, I’m still doing it! :))

Don’t ever let anyone tell you you’re just a mom. There’s something to learn in every season. And even if you don’t incorporate any of the suggestions listed above into your daily routine, I guarantee you’re gaining valuable experience leading people, managing teams, organizing your household, strategizing for the future, and TCB’ing all that other stuff employers think is important.

You’re a rock star! Keep going!

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