Families With Grace

Helping Christian moms create homes filled with grace, love & faith

Mother’s Day craft for kids 3 to 18

Free Mother’s Day craft printables to make gift-giving meaningful and easy for moms and grandmas

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Maybe it’s because my kids are still relatively young, but one of my favorite kind of Mother’s Day gifts to receive are those from the heart. I love when my kids make a Mother’s Day craft for me that includes a bit of sentimental stuff to boot.

Because I’m not a crafty person, my favorite kind of crafts to do with my kids are simple ones that are more content-based than art-based. A few years ago, I did a Mother’s Day craft with my early elementary Sunday School class and it’s one of my favorites.

So, this year I took that idea and expanded on it. I created some free printables for kids to express their feelings for both their moms and grandmas. I broke them down into age groups to best match kids’ skillsets. And I’ve also included a free printable craft that I’ve done with my kids as toddlers and with my son’s entire kindergarten class a couple of years ago. It’s easy and adorable!

All About My Mom worksheets for preschool through 2nd grade

Mother’s Day crafts that have kids thinking about their moms and what she likes as well as what they like about her are my favorites! While some kids are writing up a storm throughout at least parts of this age group, others aren’t as much. My daughter loved writing from the first time she could figure out how to do so. My son, who is a current 2nd grader prefers drawing. So the preschool through 2nd grade All About My Mom worksheet is designed so that kids can do either.

You can totally do this for a group of other kids to give to their moms. But, you could even print it out or pass it along to your husband and let your kiddos do it on their own. I’ve got to be honest that I’m totally going to print these out for my kids just to see what they say. I have one kid in each age group!

There is also a sheet for grandmas designed the exact same way. It makes a great Mother’s Day gift that you can include with a nice card, a photo or even in a picture frame.

All About My Mom worksheets for 3rd through 12th grades

I didn’t want to leave out older kids by any means. I started this worksheet at 3rd grade, but definitely pick whichever one would best for your child and what they like to do as well as their skillset. For this Mother’s Day craft, I went a little deeper and made boxes for the kids to write in.

Yet again, there are versions for both moms and grandmas. Especially with this worksheet, you could easily print it out and let your big kids have a go at it by themselves. While we want them to come up with their own ideas for gifts, sometimes a nudge is OK. After all, you are still going to be surprised by what they write. I can pretty much guarantee it won’t be anything you expected!

I Love You to Pieces craft

And then there is this I Love You to Pieces craft. Along with the All About Mom (or Grandma) worksheet, this works for a card, especially for younger kids. I have done this with my own child when he was a toddler and with his entire kindergarten class. Basically, you print out the sheet, let your kiddo tear up some pieces of construction paper and then use a glue stick to attach the pieces to the heart. Don’t forget to include your child’s name and age as well. It’s a great Mother’s Day craft that moms and grandmas will love!

Picture frames

To kick up these Mother’s Day crafts a notch, go ahead and frame the printouts to make a nice keepsake. I found a few picture frames that would be great for these.

Looking for more Mother’s Day ideas? Check out these posts as well!

10 No and low-cost Mother’s Day gift ideas

Moms don’t need an expensive gift to be happy!

I first put this list together back in 2013 when I had a newborn and a preschooler. Now my kids are 7 and 10, but the list STILL holds true. I’d love every single thing on this list for Mother’s Day any year.

This year as we are heading into Mother’s Day weekend either still in or maybe barely out of quarantine, we must remember moms don’t need expensive Mother’s Day gifts to feel loved and appreciated!

Mother’s Day is Sunday. I saw a cartoon recently where a woman was interviewing for a job as a mom. She said to the interviewer, “So, I only get one day off for Mother’s Day?” The interviewer responded, “Yes, and technically we still work then.” 

I laughed. It was funny in the way that something is when it has a nugget of truth in it. Motherhood has no days off.

Ideally, all moms would be able to relax on Mother’s Day and do what they want to do. But, that’s just not reality. However, moms don’t require much to be happy. If you know a mom (or a married to a mom!) who has young kids at home, I guarantee she’d like anything from this list and most of them don’t even need you to leave your house or spend a penny.

1. Give her the gift of a nap. 

Yep. This is my number one. I love naps. At any given moment, I would happily fall asleep if I could. This includes a nap sitting straight up in a chair (been there, done that). A nap where someone else is in charge of my youngsters for a couple of hours and I actually get to lie down in bed? Now THAT’S a wonderful gift!

2. Give her a compliment on her appearance. 

I’m constantly hunched over doing things like changing diapers, nursing, playing games, wiping faces, etc. Between my hunching, my post-babies’ body (which wasn’t a stellar one to begin with) and the fact that I’m beyond overdue for a hair cut, nothing about me feels attractive 99.9% of the time. 

Sometimes I literally look in the mirror and do a double-take when I find I don’t look nearly like the exhausted, hunchbacked zombie I feel like.  A sincere compliment from my husband might make me roll my eyes on the outside, but it also makes me feel good on the inside.

3. Give her some flowers. 

Listen, I have a fear of plants (I admit way too much in this blog) and even I love getting flowers. A vase of fresh flowers is cheerful and uplifting. They don’t have to be anything fancy. A bouquet of fresh flowers from the grocery store are just fine. 

The best kind of flowers to a gal like me are those I can enjoy in a vase for a week or two then throw out. Other moms might like the kind they can plant and maintain. My own mom and mother-in-law can plant anything outside and not only keep alive, but have it thrive. Go for what the mom in your life likes!

4. Give her a night off from cooking.

Even better, give her the whole day off! Whether we’re the kind of mom who cooks everything from scratch or relies on convenience food or somewhere in between the two, moms are constantly doing food prep of some sort. 

We probably don’t mind most of the time, but getting a break from making three square meals plus snacks for a day is nice. Even better is a homemade meal that we didn’t have to lift a finger for, but takeout works, too.

5. Give her the gift of laundry. 

I still keep my laundry schedule as best I can with a newborn and 3-year-old, but I also pretty much always have a load of laundry hanging over my head. (This is still true now even with my kids being a bit older now!) Right now, I do really, really well if I get two loads of laundry finished in one day. More typical is one load of laundry and even that may sit in the dryer for a few hours (or overnight…). Doing laundry for any mother is a blessing.

6. Give her the gift of a clean house. 

I’ve come across sayings about how cleaning your house when you have young children is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos or shoveling while it’s still snowing. Yep. Sounds about right! Any home in which young children reside could use some cleaning whether it’s putting away some toys, scrubbing toilets or vacuuming — or all of the above!

7. Give her the gift of uninterrupted, fun time with her children. 

What moms really want (after more sleep) is more good memories with their children. Most of us have realized that their childhoods go flying by. Sometimes doing the tasks and chores involved with taking care of our families and everything else keep from being able to just hang out with and enjoy our children. 

Moms need that. Children need that. Take mom out of the house with the kiddos and have a picnic. Or just let her sit for the day and play with the kiddos without having to worry about cooking or cleaning.

8. Give her gifts made with love. 

A craft created by little hands just for mom that mom didn’t have anything to do with is special. Yes, we are that easy. We also love a heartfelt note of appreciation. Being seen for all we do in motherhood is priceless.

9. Give her the gift of alone time. 

We definitely want more memories with our kids, but we also could use some alone time to sleep, read, sleep, shop, sleep, watch television, sleep or whatever we want to do. I’ve been almost finished with the same book for the last three months since the birth of my son. I seriously could have the book finished at least within an hour, but finding an hour to just sit and read on any given day is impossible. 

Maybe make mom’s alone time outside of home so she’s not tempted to clean or catch up on other chores. We’re kind of crazy like that.

10. Give her the gift of appreciation. 

Moms do what they do out of love. We get up every morning and wipe noses, make lunches, play pretend, do laundry, kiss boo-boos, hug through tears and even discipline because we love our children more than anything else. But, we still need to hear thank-you sometimes. 

We need to hear it from our spouses and from our children. My husband has been good at this so our daughter is learning to as well. Just the other night she thanked me for dinner while she was eating. 

Everyone likes to be appreciated. We moms need to know that all our hard work and sacrifices are being noticed. While we don’t do them for glory or for thanks, being appreciated makes us feel good and helps strengthen us to keep going.

Moms really are pretty easy to do things for. We appreciate small acts of kindness. Most of the time we’re so busy taking care of everyone else that we don’t do much for ourselves, so when someone else does something to take care of us, we appreciate it. We accept it as a gift. And we sincerely enjoy it.

Happy Mother’s Day to all my fellow mamas! You are awesome, strong women who are doing the best for your children. May your day be filled with lots of love and laughter and — if you’re lucky — a nice, long nap!

Want more on Mother’s Day? Check out this post:

To the mom who is overwhelmed

Encouragement for when life gets hectic

It’s the end of the school year for many of us. Whether you have little ones or big ones finishing out the school year or school isn’t even on your radar right now as you change one diaper after another, I’m guessing you know what overwhelmed feels like.

Being a mom is so incredibly awesome, but it’s also draining and hard. And sometimes we are just plain overwhelmed. Currently I wish I had one more day each week and a couple of extra hours each day. Then maybe I could get closer to conquering everything I have to do. Know the feeling?

Today I’m sharing an open letter to all of us moms who feel overwhelmed, no matter which phase of child-rearing you’re in right now.

Dear Overwhelmed Mom,

First, I want to thank you for taking time to even read this letter. I know how hard it is to find a spare second in your day. I’m guessing you’re reading this while hiding out in the bathroom or while flopping on the couch after the kids are finally in bed before you have the energy to actually put your own self to bed as well.

Second, I want you to know that what you do every day, every minute matters. It really, truly does. Your children will be better because you loved them. They will survive because you fed them, bathed them, taught them and disciplined them even while they fought you the entire way. They may not say thank you now (or ever), but you are not invisible or unappreciated. Know that your heavenly Father sees your daily struggle and honors you as a servant to the least of these.

Third, I want to remind you that are more than a mother. Don’t glaze over this point. Don’t skip ahead. Read it again: You are more than a mother. While being a mother is the most noble job you could have and what you do in motherhood matters, you are still a person separate from that.

You are a woman. You are a wife, perhaps. You are a daughter. You are a friend. You are YOU. You are still in there, underneath the exhaustion, underneath the yoga pants, underneath the fear that you’re screwing it all up. You are still in there. One day, you’ll come back more full-time, but for now, don’t forget yourself.  

Find little ways to let you out. Listen to music from a time in your life when you felt free and alive. Take 10 minutes after bedtime to paint your fingernails. Get a babysitter and do something just for you. Order pizza for dinner and take the night off from cooking. Turn the kids over to your husband and spend that cooking time reading your favorite blog, magazine or a book. Hide in the bathroom for a few extra minutes. Whatever it takes, do something to connect with who you are outside of motherhood and responsibilities.

Fourth, know that this will pass. This is twofold. Know that it will pass so that you can survive this really difficult phase where the baby tries to eat everything and yells when you deflect him from pouring out the dog’s water bowl while the preschooler is asking how to spell 20 random words for something she’s working on and lunch is burning in the toaster oven.

Know that it will pass so that you can survive this really difficult phase where one kid has a practice in one place, the other in another and they both have homework that has to be done — not to mention dinner that needs to be made.

Know that it will pass so that you can survive this really difficult phase where your teenager rolls his eyes at everything you say and barely speaks a word for two days.

It will get better. No parenting phase lasts forever. But, because it will pass and it will pass so very quickly, take time to appreciate the small moments of greatness. Stop to smile and remember the way the baby toddles around with a grin; stop to smile and take in the preschoolers’ look of determination as she practices writing.

Stop to really cheer on your kid as they’re playing a sport instead of listing the things you have to do on your phone. Stop to notice the way your teenager’s hair still curls slightly on his forehead just like it did when he was a baby. It will all pass.

Fifth, know that you aren’t alone. Scores of other mothers are struggling daily to somehow survive and still find some semblance of who they are at the end of the day. Generations of other mothers have somehow survived this daily fray and lived to tell about it. You aren’t alone.

Seek out support. Talk to God about it; He’s always present. Talk to your husband, your mom and your friends. E-mail them if you can’t actually talk freely without being overheard by the children and need to vent.

I say it again, you are not alone. You are not alone even when you feel so very lonely and like not only have you slowly slipped away and morphed into a whole other person but that no one has even noticed. You are not alone. If your support system is broken, do what it takes to fix it. You need it. No one should go through motherhood alone.

Sixth, don’t make apologies for taking time for yourself. So many of us have been brainwashed into thinking that we must do it all, all the time with a smile and an appreciative heart. It’s not possible. Take care of your family, but know that part of taking care of your family means taking care of yourself.  

Find a babysitter. Use the time to nap, read a book, see a movie or just plain regroup. Chores can wait. They’ll still be there tomorrow. Take time for you so you can take care of them. It’s OK. It’s normal. It’s necessary. If you don’t do this, you will become Grumpy Mom. Nobody likes her, not even you. Make it a priority.

Seventh, give yourself some grace. You’re doing the best you can. None of us can do it all. It’s just not possible. There are too many roles. There are too many internal pressures. You’re doing the best you can and that IS good enough.  

Stop comparing yourself to other moms or to some unobtainable ideal of the perfect mom you want to be. Yes, work to improve yourself. But, don’t beat yourself up. You’re doing the best you can. Some things may be slipping today. Other things will be slipping tomorrow. It’s just the nature of life. And it’s OK. Your children, husband and house will survive. Your extended family and work will survive. The world isn’t going to implode. You are doing just fine. Stop telling yourself otherwise.

Motherhood is a hard gig. It’s a gig we signed up for. It’s a gig we couldn’t fully understand until we were in the thick of it and it was too late to turn back. And it does have good rewards. It has great payoffs.  

But, the hard days are incredibly hard. The challenging phases are challenging to the core. It’s OK to recognize that. It’s OK to not always be happy about that. Just don’t get stuck there.

Recognize how you’re feeling right now. Recognize the overwhelming sense of failure and look at whether you can change something. Then pull up your boot straps and keep on keeping on.  

You are doing a great job. You are surviving. You are noticed. I see you. More importantly, God sees you. You will survive and come out of this on the other side stronger. You will come out of this with little people grown big who love you and who have been shaped into wonderful people because of your dedication to them. You are a strong, amazing woman! Never, ever forget that!


The one thing all moms really want for Mother’s Day

If you ask a mom what she wants for Mother’s Day this year, chances are she will either say nothing or make a joke about wanting a nap or a self-cleaning house (or both!). But, I’m going to share with you what we moms really, truly want: appreciation. It sounds so simple, yet it is also so profound.

Moms are often referred to as the glue that holds families together. I’ve heard my husband say to my kids, “Don’t get Mommy sick. If she goes down, we’re all going down. We won’t make it!” Of course he’s just teasing. He’s an incredibly competent man and father. But, his point is that I am the one who keeps our family organized. And, well, that’s true.

While I always appreciated my mom, I didn’t really, truly appreciate her until I had my own children. Even now, I don’t think I appreciate all of her because I’ve only been through motherhood through age 9 and a half. I haven’t had to see my kids off to college or on their wedding days like she has.

But, I now know how much work moms do. It’s so much more than anyone ever really realizes, because much of the time we do it without talking about it, complaining or even mentioning it. We aren’t saints. We aren’t unique. We are just women. We are strong and we have instincts to take care of the little ones entrusted in our care.

My role as a mom has changed through the years. I am past changing diapers. I am past dealing with nursing or bottles. My children don’t depend on me for every single need any more. They take care of their own bathroom needs, they can make simple food for themselves and even usually find ways to entertain themselves when I’m busy.

However, it’s also gotten more complex. When my children were babies, my goal and purpose was to keep them alive. During the toddler years, I added keeping them safe from all the things they wanted to get into and shouldn’t. Moving on to preschool, I added helping them learn more about making friends, basic skills and things like letters, shapes and colors.

Now they are both school-aged with my youngest being in kindergarten. My role has added on the task of helping them learn to really navigate the complexity of friendships and stresses of school. My kindergartener isn’t struggling with most of those things, yet, but my 9-year-old is. I want to teach her how to not just survive in life but to thrive.

The pressure increases and intensifies in different ways as our kids get older. Figuring it all out is pretty much impossible, but we do our best. Moms are counselors, nurses, chefs, chauffeurs, teachers and playmates all rolled into one. We fill a purpose in our children’s life.

And all of that is really what we’d love to be appreciated for. I don’t think my kids are going to recognize any time soon how much I truly do for them or all the responsibilities I have as their mom. That’s OK. That’s how it should be. They are kids and should get to be kids as long as they can be!

You know who really understands it? Other moms. Whether she has kids who are a couple of months old or grown or all the ages in between, moms get it. We know what it feels like to be up all night with a crying baby. We know what it feels like to hold a sick child in our arms praying they can get some rest. We know what it feels like to pray that God blesses you with a child. We know what it feels like to wrack your brain as you organize all the day’s tasks in your head.

Moms know what it feels like to read the same book 50 times in a row because they love it so much. We know what it feels like to make sure that there is food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We know what it feels like to worry when one of them is having a hard time. We know what it feels like to have a piece (or pieces) of our hearts go walking around in the world. We know what it feels like to feel like we’re messing up every day but praying God will take care of our children in spite of us. We know how much we want to keep them from feeling pain.

Other moms know how hard it is to let their kids grow and leave the nests whether in small ways or big ones. We know the ache of wondering how they are doing when they are out of our care. We know the frustration and exhaustion they can cause. We know what it feels like to desperately want a moment to yourself. We know what it feels like to wash laundry 5 million times a day and never be caught up.

Moms know how hard it is to discipline when you just want to rest. We know what it feels like to be a human kleenex and professional bottom wiper. We know the unspeakable love and joy of holding them in our arms. We know the way it feels to kiss soft cheeks when they are sleeping and look so angelic. We know what it feels like to want to go to the bathroom alone.

The list could go on and on and on. So while this Mother’s Day, we might ask a break from all of the work (or even some of the work!) or we might ask for a nap. What we really want most of all is appreciation. Maybe the best appreciation of all comes from other moms who get where you are. Of course our journeys are all different. We all have different struggles, but at the end of the day, we are all moms and we just plain get it.

So for this Mother’s Day, while you’re exclaiming over homemade cards and getting extra hugs, find another mom (or two or three or four!) and tell her how well she’s doing. Tell her that she’s rocking her motherhood journey, whether her kiddo is 4 months, 14 years or 40 years. She won’t stop being a mother as long as she is breathing, and I guarantee that she’d love to hear someone tell her how great she’s doing.

Good job, mamas! You are rocking your journey! You aren’t perfect. You mess up sometimes. But you love your babies and you are doing your best. You’ve got this! Happy Mother’s Day!

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