Each year on Mother’s Day, moms are honored for all they do for their families. Flowers, cards and restaurant visits are abundant.
But how are these extraordinary women taking care of themselves? What are ways mothers can model self-care for themselves and the families they love?
Kari Kampakis explores these questions in her latest book, “More Than a Mom.” The book is a product of the extra load mothers began to carry during the pandemic, said the Birmingham-based author, speaker, podcaster and newspaper columnist.
“Every mom I know is struggling personally,” she explained. “The pandemic exhausted us, and we now realize the importance of strengthening ourselves mentally, spiritually, physically and emotionally.”
“We’re quick to help our children — yet also quick to let our needs slide,” Kampakis noted. “Steps that we won’t take to help ourselves, we will do for our children’s sake if not doing so will hurt them.
“This book is about the wellness that makes you a better parent and a healthier human,” she noted. “That is motivating to moms.”
A mom’s world
Kampakis is entrenched in the “mom world,” with four daughters. Most of her time is spent taking care of them and carving out time for her husband. Though she didn’t have a shortage of material, finding the time to write “More Than a Mom” was difficult and most of her writing was done while her girls were in school.
Writing the book made Kampakis more aware of ways she could better model self-care.
“This book has made me mindful of things that hold me back, like negative self-talk,” she acknowledged. “I never thought about my self-talk until I wrote a chapter on it, and now I try to be more intentional.”
“As a small example, I recently dropped some blueberries and I said, ‘I am such a klutz.’ I’ve been saying this to myself since I was a teenager, but when I realized my sixth-grade daughter overheard me, I corrected myself in front of her and said that we shouldn’t give ourselves that label.
“That’s not the life-giving narrative God wants and created us to walk into,” Kampakis noted.
Relying on the knowledge that God’s mercy and forgiveness are new each morning, Kampakis said she continually reminds herself how important it is not to get stuck on mistakes or regrets.
“I’m just always trying to learn and grow and walk forward in the freedom of knowing that I’m forgiven because of what Christ did on the cross,” she said.
“More Than a Mom” is Kampakis’ fourth book, and she still gets excited when a book is released and she hears stories from readers whose lives have been affected. She has learned that if she shares her stories creates meaningful community as others share their own.
Kampakis hopes the book encourages women and helps them to not be so hard on themselves. Encouragement is essential for today’s mothers, she said.
One way the church can serve women and families better is by helping mothers see their worth through God’s eyes and reminding them to give themselves grace, compassion and kindness, Kampakis said. “As we strengthen the women raising today’s kids,” she noted, “we strengthen families. As we strengthen families, we strengthen churches and communities.”
Wisdom not wounds
“The most effective parents parent out of their wisdom, not their wounds,” she said. “But to do that, we’ve got to address old habits, scripts, mindsets, beliefs, etc., that may be hurting us and affecting our ability to walk confidently as children of God; find strength through Him and pass that strength on to our families and children.”
While Kampakis affirms the importance of a mother’s role and the life-changing calling of motherhood, she likes to remind women that there is even more. She encourages mothers to keep in mind that families can change overnight or disappoint, and their core value needs to be found through something bigger.
“The truth is that our greatest identity, our core identity, is being a child of God, which is even bigger than being a mom,” Kampakis declared. “When we find our value, worth and identity as a child of God, it helps us stay strong, stable and confident as moms. It makes us more effective parents and healthier human beings.”
Each chapter of “More Than a Mom” includes an example of how modeling certain traits affects children and family. Reflection questions at the end of each chapter make the book ideal for personal study, group studies or small groups at church.
“More Than a Mom” can be found wherever books are sold. For more information about Kampakis and her work helping parents, visit karikampakis.com.