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IF YOU ONLY HAVE TEN MINUTES TO TRY AND BE A BETTER HUMAN TODAY, READ THESE.

You guys, some weeks I feel like I’m cruisin’, just kicking the trials of motherhood in the rear, speeding down the freeway of daily life without a care in the world.
And….on other weeks,
I’ve got a ticket for one on the Struggle Bus. 😐

Sometimes my spirit is dampened by the words or actions of others, sometimes life’s circumstances just become too much when piled on one after another, and, you know what, most of the time it’s my very own attitude that needs a bit of a realignment in order to take on what life is throwing.  To be very honest with you, I have not been World’s Best Mom this week.  I’ve been less than patient, frustrated quickly, and, worst of all, I found myself shooing my kids away more than I was opening my arms to them.  Sigh.  This sour attitude of mine wasn’t random: it was a culmination of my husband getting stuck with a longer-than-normal shift leaving me lonely and tired, some unkind and unwarranted words sent my way from Internet strangers, feeling like a failure at keeping up with my home AND my business simultaneously, and…the thing that brought me to tears finally…?  I’ll let you check my Instagram stories [HERE] today for that little tidbit. πŸ™„ It was such a ridiculous thing to cry about, but, when you are at your wit’s end, just about anything can break that camel’s back, you know?  I laugh now, but man…a good cry sure felt good.  πŸ˜‰

Write here...

Anyway, I know you guys can relate.  We all have on weeks and off weeks, but…usually, for me anyway, the fix comes when I fix my attitude, even in the midst of trials, big or small.  One way I try to do this attitude adjustment is by taking 5-10 minutes in the morning or during kiddo naps to read a very quick yet very poignant devotional, or, if my parenting patience levels are subpar that day, I’ll read a chapter from this book.

YOU GUYS.  HEAR ME:

If you only have ten minutes a day to try and be a better human/mom, these are the books for you.  Let me tell you why:

Streams in the Desert is not your typical daily devotional book.  It’s a culmination of thought-provoking, inspiring and downright challenging selections from varying authors, hymns, prayers and verses.  The style of this book (lots of different types of selections, rather than the same author’s thoughts constantly) is so intriguing to me, because it’s a different style, a different perspective each and every day.  The daily readings take maybe 5-10 minutes, and I leave feeling refilled each time.  This book is especially powerful if you are in a dark place, if you are struggling through challenges big or small, or if you just need help adjusting the ol’ ‘tude…like me.  It was sent to me by a friend, and, as a friend, I’m telling you it is one of the best and most helpful AND most interest-keeping devotional helpers I’ve read.  No one tells you how to think in the readings: a thing is said and you decide how to take it in.  I LOVE that concept.

Loving the Little Years, likewise, not your typical “27 Steps to Magically Being a Perfect Parent” type of book.  No no no.  βœ‹πŸ»  At the time of writing, this gal had FIVE children FIVE AND UNDER.  πŸ˜³  Holy sweet mother of Moses, give that woman a medal.  Or a cookie.  Or a glass of wine.  All three.  πŸ™€  The thing I love about her book is that it is not precious, it is not written from a perspective of looking back fondly on all the bright and shiny moments remembered from motherhood.  Nope.  In the opening chapter, she can hear hundreds of toothpicks being dumped out as she writes.  It’s THAT kind of book.  πŸ˜‰  She keeps those chapters shooooooort, y’all.  So short, in fact, that this morning’s chapter that I read only took two taps of my Kindle screen, and done.  πŸ™ŒπŸ»  She tells it like it is, she wrote from a place of GETTING IT, and…her words will challenge you to open your arms and adjust your ‘tude…so that you can love your kids where they are.  It’s truly the ONLY parenting book I haven’t rolled my eyes all the way through, and it is certainly the only one I have ever reread.  I seriously read it at least once a year, if not more.  Short, to the point, funny, and challenging.  Boom. 

Anyway, I thought I’d share these two very very quick yet poignant daily reads with you in hopes that someone out there might be encouraged to tune their ‘tude right along with me.  I struggle and fail often; and I think it is in the failing that we have a chance to change and grow.  These two short and sweet tools certainly help me in my own growth, so I thought I’d pass them along to you buddies.

Appreciate y’all each and every time you take a few minutes to stop and say hello over here–I love connecting with you on the blog, and I hope you do, too!  Let me know if there are any other great devotionals or parenting books/blogs I should check out, and have a great day, friends!
πŸ’—Erin

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  1. Looking up both of those on Amazon! Thanks for showing the human side to Instagram farmhouse perfection! You’re the raddest πŸ˜‰πŸ‘πŸΌ

  2. Rachel says:

    I feel ya friend! Hang in there! We’ve moved boxes are everywhere kids dogs stress 😳. But alas these days will pass and our kiddos will be grown. People always say that and it use to be annoying to me but now I see it. Time with the Lord always helps. Hope you had a chance to look at my website for the fundraiser. Helping others always helps take me out of the pit too. Hugs your way! ❀❀

  3. Amy Carlin says:

    Erin,

    You’re among friends. I’m personally not a mother yet, but I am human, going through some trials and tribulations of my own. And yes, watching people on social media "living their best lives" or what appears to be "picture perfect", tends to be so misleading and overwhelming who ISN’T living their best life at the moment. I hear you girl, I’m with you. Just know, while I’m rather new to your Instagram feed, I follow because you seem approachable, realistic and just down right FUN! I find myself looking forward to your stories and whatever it is you have going on… good bad or ugly. Personally, I needed this little boost you just gave as well. A simple reminder that it’s okay to not be perfect, or just plain ol’ HUMAN. I’ll be looking into your recommendations, and heading out on a mind clearly walk momentarily. Keep on keepin’ on.

    -Amy
    @amycarlin88

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      Appreciate your commiseration and encouragement, too, Amy! And here’s to free walk-therapy. πŸ˜‰β€οΈ

  4. Melody says:

    I don’t get out of bed without reading God Calling…I’ve been reading it since I was 17…and I’m 60 now!!! Yikes…I’m old…but, anyway…it’s soooo good. You can read the days devotional or skim through until you feel like you read what you needed for that moment. I have the app on my iPad! πŸ™ŒπŸ»πŸ˜ŠπŸ™πŸ»

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      Is that like Jesus Calling? I have that one, and it is so short and sweet–perfect for when I don’t have a ton of time!

      • Melody says:

        Yes…like Jesus Calling. In 1932, two women from England went away for a year and sought the Lord. And this book was edited from their time that year. Sometimes, I don’t put it down until I find an "All is well" message. Repeat after me…all is well, all is well, all is well! πŸ™ŒπŸ»πŸ™πŸ»

  5. Danelle says:

    Oh my! I think it’s the week. I just wrote a blog post about my souring week and have been crying all morning. 😭🀧😭🀧😭🀧 Sometimes we put the most pressure on ourselves. I’m finding that with me at least. Hang in there, lady! It will all look different next week! 😘

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      I FOR SURE put the most pressure on myself, more than anyone else is putting on me…when will we learn?! πŸ˜‰ Appreciate you sharing!

  6. Bree says:

    I love the, ‘The Power of a Praying Parent, Wife, Woman books by Stormie Omartian πŸ™‚

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      I think I might have the Woman series somewhere from long ago…need to dust it off–thanks!

  7. Sonia Oquendi says:

    Thank youu! Erin.! πŸ’•

  8. Misty says:

    Oh, I am so with you. There’s just something going on in the universe, because I have pretty much been a crap mom this week. Ok, fine, for a couple of weeks. Motherhood is rough, and I only have ONE! I can’t even imagine mothering four kiddos, especially when the husband is working late. YOU deserve the medal and the cookie and ALL OF THE WINE! Hang in there, Mama <3

    Also, the book I Heart My Little A-Holes is a must-read, if you haven’t already! It’s a quick and easy read, easy to put down and come back to later, and it’s just real and hilarious and always puts me in a better mood. She has another book now too called I Want My Epidural Back LOL! I haven’t had a chance to read that one yet, but I’m sure it’s also amazing.
    AND! Toddlers Are A**holes: It’s Not Your Fault is another good one. Can you tell I only read hilariously raw parenting books…

  9. Miranda says:

    I’m a somewhat new follower but man I love your honesty! I have 3 girls and a husband gone for long periods of time so I FEEL you! This has been a pretty craptacular week here too so I appreciated your post today.

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      I’m with you, man. It comes and it goes…and I’m ready for the crap to GO asap!! πŸ˜‰

  10. Sherrie says:

    Been in tears myself this week! Thank you so much for for sharing your heart, thoughts and feelings. Also, for just being so dad-gum real! Hang in there…we’ll all get through this together!

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      I’m too tired to try and be anything I’m not, so thanks for sticking with me through the awkward and the cray. πŸ˜‰ Hugs!

  11. Summer says:

    I will definitely be checking out those recommendations. Thank you!! My go-to devo is "First5". It’s an app meant to be your "first five minutes" of the day. Even though I don’t alway get it in the first 5!

  12. Lindsey says:

    Thanks so much Erin for being honest, its really refreshing to hear/read other mom’s who tell it like it is. I love your Instagram stories & to anyone who dampens your spirit with unkind words just know on the other side you brighten my day with your decor, fashion, and Mom stories!! I have 2 little girls so I am going to try to find 10 min to read Loving the Little Years, maybe in the laundry room cause I am the only one in my house who goes in there πŸ™‚ And now I want some toast with jelly after seeing your pic!! Have a great weekend!!
    XOXO,
    Lindsey

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      Aw, thanks so very much, sweet Lindsey–this was so kind! And here’s to hiding in the laundry room!! πŸ˜‰

  13. Patti says:

    God bless you! You are way ahead of the game by reaching out, finding solutions and quiet reflection time for yourself. I look back at when my three boys were young and most days I was a lunatic by the time my husband walked in the door from work.πŸ˜‚AND I just kept it all in and didn’t ask for help. So good for you! No worries though, my boys are not scarred. They have grown into funny, intelligent, respectful, and big hearted young men. Hang in thereπŸ’•

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      Oh thank you so much, Patti–encouragement from the other side of the toddler years is priceless!

  14. Mara says:

    You are my absolute favorite. Thank you for being so honest. I have had a rough few weeks myself and I can COMPLETELY relate to crying over something so silly, like an entire pizza upside down on my floor after a horrible week, which by the way my kids have NEVER let me forget. It is hard not to let others words bring you down even when you know they aren’t true, we are human. I am so sorry that people say unkind things, probably only because THEY are having a bad day and want someone to feel as bad as them.

    As for books I have started reading one called "you are a badass" and another one that was recommended to me wa "the universe has your back"

    Thanks for being you and being an honest, raw, and hilarious person!

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      "It is hard not to let others words bring you down even when you know they aren’t true, we are human." <—THIS. Thank you for saying this. Lots of people tell me to just let it go when total strangers are unkind, but…it is easier said than done, bc I’m human, too. Thank you for getting it.

  15. D says:

    Thanks so much for being YOU and sharing with us! I have a 4 day old and 18 month old along with company in my home all week. Post baby blues have arrived….your post was refreshing!

  16. Kelley Marie says:

    I have a front row seat on the struggle bus this week so I hear ya! I always go back to my moms advice "if you don’t have something nice to say don’t say it at all." i love your honesty about the good, bad and ugly of life. Thanks for sharing it with us and just know us loyals are in your corner.

  17. Sandee says:

    Oh Erin, I wish I could give you a big ol hug. An emoji hug will have to do. πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ€— I’m guessing your about my daughters age. Trust me when I tell you this old Momma has good cries too and I don’t have any littles around. Sometimes life just gets stinky and we need a good ugly cry.
    Thank you for the recommendation of the first book. I’ve been needing this in my life right now. I look forward to reading it.
    Your such a talented, genuinely sweet person. Just know so many of us love you. 😍😍😍

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      I’ll take all the emoji hugs in all the land, Sandee!! Thank you for being so so kind to someone you don’t really know–that means more than you know!

  18. Lindsay says:

    Totally relate! Your honesty and genuine heart is so refreshing. Thank you so much for sharing your life. Love the book reccs! Will have to look for these!! I have been reading Present Over Perfect and it isn’t a parenting or marriage book but I have taken so much away from it that pertain to just those things and they hit me in the hurt so good ugly cry spot that helps my whole perspective in this season of life. If you haven’t read it check it out. Short chapters too! πŸ˜‚πŸ’• hugs, love Lindsay

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      I’m all for short chapters–ha!! πŸ˜‰ Thanks so much for taking a sec to stop by, Lindsay!

  19. Amy says:

    Love you. Love your blog. Love your honesty! Thank you!! In an Instagram world of pretty pictures, it’s so refreshing to find someone who is real and shares from the heart. I just purchased the "Loving the Little Years" book. I have two under two and can’t wait to get it. Praying you have a restful weekend!! ❀️

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      Oh man, Amy, I was right there with my first two..brought Daughter #2 home from the hospital when Daughter #1 was 16 months old…and then I ordered "Loving the Little Years." πŸ˜‚πŸ™ŒπŸ» You can do this, Mama!

  20. Caroline says:

    Thanks for the recommendation. Thank you for being honest and saying what we all feel. That is reality. No one has life perfect. As a mother of 7, I certainly have those days (or weeks), especially in the summer when they’re bored and fighting and I’m trying to keep my positive mom hat on. Sometimes it gets blown off and I have to bend over and pick it up again.

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      Caroline, I think you are spot on–we’ve hit that part of summer where things are less shiny than they were at the start. 😳 Thank you for the encouragement!

  21. Sue LaFranchise says:

    Erin, (and all you other stressed mama’s)… "be good to yourself". My mom used to say this to me often. I am old enough to be a grandma+ to all your little ones, so here is my 2 cents worth. It’s a thought that you and your peers might not have as you are "in it" and I am "past it". Please know that while a bad day, bad week, or even longer feels so traumatic when you’re in the middle of it, you can always insert the phrase ‘twenty years from now ______________" (will this matter? will this be remembered? will this make a difference? etc).

    Kids are INCREDIBLY forgiving. We love our children to the moon and back and God graciously gifted them with forgiveness for the tough days he knew mommies would face. Twenty years from now they will reflect on 20 years of you loving them, and those scattered days or weeks of stress, impatience, and maybe a little ‘snippiness’ are forgotten and forgiven. This grandma has clung to those same memories of where I fell so short in my mom-job and I have had the chance to reflect with my grown children. Almost without exception they don’t remember the incident at all!

    At the end of the day, when doing tuck-ins, hugs and kisses, it’s ok to apologize and say "I’m sorry mommy had a bad day" and ask for an extra hug and kiss and their forgiveness. They learn bad days happen, to offer up a little extra love, and the bad day doesn’t last forever. They start to know the joy of helping someone they love feel better. Valuable life lessons.

    You are family. That is the strongest bond, and with all that estrogen in your house the years ahead will surely test you πŸ€¦πŸΌβ€β™€οΈπŸ€·πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ. But your little loves knowing how to forgive a remark or an eye roll, and how to offer up a hug when one is needed (to each other) will be your reward for the stress you’re putting yourself through now….

    I SO GET the desire to plan, the aim for pretty near perfect (my parents talked about my "A or F" syndrome when I was young. In my mind report card time revealed "A’s" (yay!) or "anything less than an "A" (translation: "F"). I just couldn’t get the distinction that a "B", or even, heaven forbid, a "C" (😳) could be something I might be able to live with. Kind of an all or nothing mindset. [Self imposed, I might add.]

    Twenty years from now your family will be happy and loving and fine. They won’t remember this bad week. Don’t beat yourself up so much… "be good to yourself". ❀️😘❀️

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      Sue. 😭 I am legit crying reading this. So much wisdom said with so much grace. Not the easiest combo to blend together, but you did it beautifully. THANK YOU.

    • Kara says:

      You had me in tears! Your advice was perfect and something I will always remember is "to be good to myself". Thank you for sharing this with Erin because it helped this momma out!

  22. Kimberly says:

    Hugs to you. Being a mom and a working woman (or even just one of those) is harder now than ever. I always say parenting is using the tools you are given to put your best foot forward 99% of the time. The other 1% is reserved for whatever you need to do with it. My girls are 18 and 22. It’s been a beautiful and bumpy road.πŸ’•

  23. Jennifer Horton says:

    Unsure how anyone can be hateful and unkind to you…Im guessing it’s sour grapes due to jealousy, wishing they had your life. I would just chalk it up to that…but if you were already feeling emotional I can see how it would get to you…Just hang in there, you are FAB! You will likely find your period will start in one second and this will all make sense to you! Hahaha!! We women are all nuts! πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‚
    Hugs from Colorado!

  24. Morgan says:

    I love the Loving the Little Years book! I think that’s the one where she describes the "Cozy Coupe" as the "sin wagon." πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ so funny! (And true!) I think my husband might have the Streams in the Dessert book! I will have to see if I can find it in his stash! Thanks for the recommendation! 5-10 minutes=win!
    ~Morgan

  25. Cassandra says:

    As many previous posters have mentioned, I appreciate your "realness" more than I can say! Every day we are bombarded with the picture perfect little squares on our Instagram feed and it can feel overwhelming to try and "keep up with the Joneses" so to speak.

    I love to see that you’ve posted a new story so I can watch it and feel like I’m having a little chat with a fellow mama!

    My only daughter is 16 months old, so I don’t have quite as much on my plate as you, but some days I can just feel down and defeated like everyone else has their s*** together and I’m trying to just stay above water between mom-ing, running my Etsy shop and blogging.

    I’m sorry that a stranger was feeling insecure enough that hateful words towards you felt warranted. I hope all of the positive and supportive comments I have read from previous strangers have healed that wound at least slightly.

    Cheers to Friday, and to next week being better! Keep that realness coming!! xoxo

  26. Heidi says:

    Love both those books! They ministered to my heart during separate, but both hard, seasons. Hugs!!

  27. Ann McFarland says:

    Sweet Erin, your story put a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. I come from 5 generations of girls only, and sometimes we just need to weep. I mean full on, can’t talk, can barely catch a breath in between weep. The best gift we were given by our precious Father was grace, and you my sweet are so full of love and grace! My hubby worked graveyard as our two daughters were growing up, and there were times when I wondered if being single would be less lonely. Combine that with my full time job and kids in sports and my huge (OCD, cutting grass outside with scissors 😭), and I felt a bitterness growing in my heart.😒 My inlaws were pressuring me to read the Bible more, pray more, praise Jesus more, but that just plain made me mad ☹️ We are always the hardest on ourselves in times of weariness, and I had to dig deep at times for patience and kindness… Not my proudest moments as a mom, but kids are forgiving lil creatures, and there is more love in you for your beautiful girls than they will ever know! We all stumble, we all fall short of our own expectations, however, if the saying ; "The same sex parent is the most influential and powerful role model in a child’s life", then your babes are blessed! Erin, I’ll be 50 in 2 years, and you humble me. You work so so hard, and I know how hard it is keeping everything "just so", not for anyone else, but for ourselves because dang it, it’s important to have our blankies draped down around to the floor perfectly πŸ™ŒπŸ»β€οΈ Just know that your girls are blessed to have you and you are teaching them valuable lessons as woman to be. It’s good to show them resilience sweet girl! You got this Erin, and you are really a rare and precious woman! Be kind to yourself-
    Love and all the squishy stuff! Ann

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      Wow, this was so encouraging to read–thank you for sharing it with me, Ann, and I totally agree that a good cry is sometimes exactly what we need!

  28. Lacie says:

    Hugs to you!! You are awesome!! I’m also dying to see this table your MIL found!!

  29. Linda says:

    Don’t be so hard on yourself… you’ve got a lot on your plate. I know that this is easier said than done but you are juggling so much of course you will have a meltdown or 2. You, raising 4 little girls sometimes alone while Hubby is at work IS difficult…. you are doing the hardest job and the most important job anyone can ever do and I’m sure you are doing it magnificently. I have much admiration for you. It’s A Ok …. actually I think crying is the perfect outlet to clear those difficult emotions. When my son was born he was very ill and was hospitalized too many times and had too many surgeries …this whole experience caused me to clam up my emotions " because I had to tough and strong". I couldn’t cry anymore as I felt it made me look weak. Recently I have again learn how to cry when I need to and it feels so good. BYW… my son is healthy and a strong young man who I am extremely proud of.. .. hang in there Mama YOU are doing great!!!

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      Oh man, I bet that was such a hard season, and I can’t even imagine the emotions involved. So glad he’s happy and healthy, Linda!

  30. Maureen says:

    Erin,
    It always surprises me when people choose not to lift each other up. I don’t know what negativity was hurled at you this week, but there is something to be said for my mother’s favorite saying "if you don’t have anything nice to say, say nothing at all". She was a wise woman. Everyone gets down all on their own and we don’t need help. We all have weeks when we just can’t put our finger on what is the root of our feeling overwhelmed/discouraged, but I believe in a good, old fashion "ugly@ cry. Good for you!! I am so proud that you took your moment and that you’re not afraid to share it. Prayers for a better week coming.
    Maureen

  31. Vicky says:

    First off I’m sorry if someone who sees you on Instagram thinks they can be mean … we should be inspiring one another like you do for us … the world is hard enough not to rise each other up. Second been right there with you this week.. maybe it’s something in the moon;) Having a hard time readjusting my attitude but finally did.. it’s hard being a Mom – working – not working. Some days are just hard- some days we reach our limit- it’s human and some days we want to hide away, but Moms don’t get that option. We need to recharge just like anyone. Breathe, hug your little ones a little tighter & try to find the joy in the little moments … it all does go so fast – we will survive these days and you being real helps us & we hope this community helps you. Woman need woman to understand each other’s crazy 😜

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      Women need women to understand each other’s crazy….YES. πŸ˜‚πŸ™ŒπŸ» I love that!

  32. Vicky says:

    Don’t let anyone make you think you are anything but precious! I’m a 52 year old , Erin wannabe πŸ˜‚ You have no idea how many people admire your talents or you for just being you. Chin up buttercup!! You are loved

  33. Nancy says:

    First…you’re amazing and don’t ever think anything other.
    Second, even though it feels like sometimes you have lost your way for a day or two on the mommin…let me tell you, your girls are watching you follow your dreams so someday they will follow theirs too. I once saw a Ted Talk by Larry Smith entitled "Why You Will Fail To Have A Great Career". It’s worth a watch…it will be a paradigm shift for you. I know I needed it when I drove night after night to grad school and sat writing papers for what seemed like days in my doc program. My boys didn’t get all of my attention, but they witnessed something more important than a 27th round of Chutes and Ladders, mom accomplishing.
    Third, you have like 120K followers on IG. Let’s just say 12 people send you not so nice comments. That means that 99.990% of people love what you say and what you do. If only .001% of people who have ever read my blog/IG and didn’t like me I would consider it a great success. Don’t let .001% get to you…their not even whole people…statistically or otherwise. πŸ™‚

    Nancy from Slightly Coastal

  34. Lynn Lam says:

    I agree everyone goes through seasons like this. You need a good cry to wash away all the bad feelings. It takes a village to raise kids so I can only imagine that and doing a job. I know so many people that do it but at a price. I’m also glad that you have so many people on here that you can talk to….not many people have that. Just remember that you have so much love and support from your peeps……We love you and you do you! β€œDeclare over yourself: β€˜God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.’”

    β€” 2 Tim 1:7

  35. Lindy Blake says:

    Wow, I’ve needed an ole ‘tude adjustment myself this week and found myself presented with Hebrews 11:1… whew. Our youngest’s middle name (just at 20 months) is Faith. And let me tell you she has brought all sorts of growth in faith, even when she was in the womb… oh, and I mean the growing pains type. The "at wits end all there is, is surrender into faith" types of pains. Thank you for sharing these books, I’ll be checking them out. Just their titles are intriguing. I appreciate every bit of you and your keepin’ it real. May Blessings shine down upon you post this week of growing pains!❀️❀️❀️

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      Oh man, Lindy, I think you’ll love these then, especially the "Loving the Little Years." So much wisdom in such a short read!

  36. Denice says:

    Praying for you, Erin! You are a great inspiration for so many. Be blessed and know you really are doing just fine (from the mother of 5 adult children who survived me and actually became pretty awesome people!)

  37. Talitha says:

    I’m with ya there! My husband and I have adopted 3 kids in the past year, making our family of 4 now a family of 7! It’s an adjustment, to say the least…but yes, most of the time it’s my own attitude that needs the adjustment! I look forward to reading those books, thank you! One I think every parent should read is, "Parenting with Love and Logic" by Foster Cline and Jim Fay. I go back to it again and again. -Talitha

  38. Sharon says:

    Short and sweet…you are a treasure!!

  39. rachbrew13 says:

    I’ve been looking for a good devotional. Will definitely check this one out!!!

  40. Heidi says:

    Erin,
    Ok I totally want to be your bestie😊
    You are in inspiration when it comes to decor, but more importantly to being a real authentic person. We all have struggles or "off weeks" and I love that you try to turn the ship around and focus on Him. Amen and Amen. I’m a total Erin fan!! πŸ™Œ

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      Aw, thank you so much, Heidi! Turning that ship around is easier some weeks than others, so thank you for the encouraging words on a harder week. πŸ’—

  41. Kelly Gillespie says:

    Definitely understandable! I tried my best to enjoy every moment of the "early years". Unfortunately, I was a young mom having my daughter at age 19. It was hard to understand a lot of things. When my son came in 2005 I was 25 and more mature. I had changed the way I did things the second time around. I tried to simplify things so I could spend more time with my kids. Now at the ages of 18 and 12 they still keep me pretty busy but it’s easier since they have now taken on responsibilities. Enjoy your babies, no one is perfect! You can only do what you are capable of. Start each day with a smile. I learned that when you are having those off times to take a step back. If the kiddo’s need something smile before giving an answer! Always take time for yourself, even if you have to lock the bathroom door to hide for a few minutes. Also, never let the negative comments from others affect you. You do the best that "you" can. They don’t live the same life you do or situation. Everyone has different opinions and unfortunately there are those who will put you down to make themselves feel better. Prayers!

  42. Michelle says:

    Mean people suck Erin. Please don’t let them get you down (although easier said than done). I used to somewhat blow off the whole Moms-take-care-of-themselves-last notion, but its SO. DARN. TRUE. I can’t remember the last time I spent a few hours shopping alone, getting a pedicure, working out without a 4-nado little ninja interfering with my HIIT, etc. Do the kids ever climb all over husbands when they are making dinner, cleaning, etc? NO. But with me! EVERY. STINKING. TIME. Sometimes we just need to not be touched, talked to, fetch food, snacks, drinks for others. And don’t even get me started on potty training. My four year old son just REFUSES to poop in the damn potty and I’m about to join wine.com.

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      Wine.com…πŸ˜‚ Sign me up, too! πŸ˜‰ I can totally relate to all of the above, and…you’ve reminded me I prob need to go get a freakin’ massage or something soon before I go totally crazy! πŸ˜‰

  43. Karen says:

    There must be something in the air this week! I’ve had a crummy attitude lately, too and even found myself praying for patience on the way back from my lunch break this afternoon to make it through the rest of the day. I’ve been so short and crabby with my sweet hubby and kiddo who don’t deserve it! Momma needs a timeout! 😜 I will check these out and hopefully get myself in check and start off next week fresh!
    I just want to say – you seriously seem like the sweetest person in the world (can we be real life friends?! πŸ™‹πŸ») and I’m sorry people can be so nasty! THANK YOU for keeping things real over here and making me laugh! You keep doing you, girl!

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      Oh Karen, I FEEL YOU. I’ve let my attitude be affected by too many outside influences this week, and….the ones paying the price are those on the INside of my life: hubs and kids. Hate that. I’m so glad I’m not alone though. Hugs, Mama!

  44. Scarlett says:

    You always make me smile. My kids are 17 & 20 and I still have hard weeks. Hang in there!! What a wonderful post. Thanks for being so real. And ignore anyone who has the time to write something ugly. SMH ❀️❀️

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      I mean, for real. If they have time for that, then COME HELP ME CLEAN MY HOUSE INSTEAD!! πŸ˜‚

  45. Debbie says:

    Hey Erin! Yes! Yes!! I can totally relate. My kids are 18 and 21 but I’ve been having a poor attitude because of Instagram. I see all the beautiful new homes and I want to Move ! Isn’t that horrible. I should just be so grateful to have a home!! Sometimes I just have to step away from " Instagram life" because I keep comparing myself to everyone else. I’m not everyone else, I’m me. God made me unique and I must remember that. So Sorry you had a horrible week, but thanks for sharing. It’s good to remember your human like us. Lol sometimes Instagram makes You think everyone else has it all together! You are so encouraging! I love that your just so real! Thank you. πŸ˜™

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      Debbie, I totally relate to this, and that’s partly why I’ve been taking Sundays "off" of all social media…to clear my head and look up and refocus on ACTUAL LIFE in front of my eyes! πŸ˜‚ Glad I’m not the only one who struggles with that–hugs to you!

  46. Christina Kelley says:

    Thanks for that Erin! I’m not a mom but I run a very busy retail store and I feel like those employees are like my kiddos. (Well.. not quite, I’m only 33 but hey) and an attitude adjustment is needed almost weekly to stay the strong, warm and kind boss and wife I want to be. Thanks for the devotional tip! And I just love getting to see into a small window of your world. You do a great job of keeping it real. πŸ’πŸΌ

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      Thank you for that, Christina! I hope you like the study–it’s for sure different as far as it’s composition, but I kinda like different. πŸ˜‰

  47. Jodi says:

    I happened to come across your Instagram by chance. I have no idea who you are or where you live but your blog and your live video inspired me. I wanted you let you know this. So even though you had a tough week, you helped some crazy lady in California. I myself have 4 kiddos 23,22 and two 20 year olds. They are all out of The house now. We all have good and bad days personally and as parents. The book you speak of I will try and get now. It sounds wonderful. But your blog and live video we’re an inspiration and came at a time I needed it the most. Funny that I happened on it at such a time. So thank you for being who you are. You inspired someone you don’t even know.πŸ˜€
    Many thanks

    My Instagram is
    Jodi_costello_94505

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      I don’t believe in coincidence, so it makes me smile to read your words–thank YOU for taking a sec to leave them here for me! πŸ’—

  48. Nancy says:

    Love you Erin!!! We all have those days, weeks etc. And the things I’ve cried over is hialrious. Secretly hoping your MIL hives you the table…of course finding another for herself!!! I am going to check out the Devotional, it sounds so different. Have a great weekend ans super fun week. I know Sushi Alone is in the cards. Cheers
    Xoxo
    Nancy

  49. Megan says:

    Failed the first time I tried typing this… let’s give it another go.

    I’m with you. So many times I’ve picked up books that were recommended and end up walking away (throwing the book) because it makes me feel like they’re saying " You need to do better. Stop sucking." And I think "Author, YOU need to do better!" πŸ˜– I love it when authors are real with me. It’s probably why I love YOU!!! Thank you for being so real with us. Even when life isn’t pretty or perfect. I’m so glad I found you on the instaworld! You’re fantastic.

    P.S. I have zero clue how anyone could possibly be mean to you. I’m sorry that happened. People can be so hurtful. Keep doing you, lady. We really love what you do. ❀️❀️❀️

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      This made me laugh so hard–I’m the SAME way with bossy books! πŸ˜‚ That’s why I love this one so much–she’s self-deprecating yet extends wisdom with grace. Love it.

  50. Nancy says:

    See below, I could cry over my typing! Ugh…..

  51. Tracey says:

    What a very open, honest, real post ❀️ Needed to read this today. In the world of pretty pictures (which I LOVE to scroll through and devour) it’s so refreshing to be honest. I ordered my devotional from Amazon a few minutes ago πŸ‘πŸ˜€

  52. Kimberly Perkins says:

    Hello Erin!
    I just want to say thank you for having amazing blog posts. This one hits home with me because life is stressful at moments and we all have are break downs and a good cry is sometimes what we need. I had one this week also! 😩 Such is life and our lives aren’t perfect. I really enjoy you bouncing back and staying positive. I always look forward to seeing your live Instagram stories! I hope you have a wonderful weekend! πŸ˜ŠπŸ’•

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      Something must be in the air, because you and I were not the only ones this week! Glad we aren’t alone in it.

  53. Brittany says:

    Thank you for sharing and you are not alone. I’m 26 weeks pregnant with my second baby girl and it’s been a more difficult pregnancy. I find myself so impatient with my 4 year old and she doesn’t deserve it. We need to love and cherish our precious babies! I hope you can reset and next week is better for you πŸ’•

  54. The 5 Little Sheppards says:

    So I’m going to need to see this table girl! Seriously! I need a good cry and hoping it will workπŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

  55. Kari says:

    I love that you are so open and honest and REAL! Too many try to be perfect on social media and it turns me off to them. I love your stories and think you are absolutely adorable! Thank you for sharing…

  56. Michelle says:

    Thank you for sharing and know that you are not alone. Even though I’m at a different season in life than you I find myself needing a little encouragement every once in awhile. Lately just about everything is that straw that breaks the camels back. My youngest, my baby boy is soon spreading his wings and going off tocollege and I’m not ready for him to go. Last week I was at Target buying him some school supplies and I’m standing in the pillow aisle with tears just streaming down my face because the extra long mattress pads were all sold out. Oh my it was bad, I was a mess and felt like a complete fool. I’m not ready for this season of my life and the struggle is real. Meanwhile my sweet hubby is ready to be empty nesters. I’m hoping one of these books will help me work through my struggles. Again thank you for being so real and sharing with your buddies

  57. Marci says:

    I love all the comments. I can so relate to the week you’ve had. I can’t wait to read your recommendations. I love a good read. I recently read "Only Love Today" by Rachel Macy Stafford. It speaks to my soul. Rachel keeps it real and her perspective is so refreshing. It’s formatted for busy moms and each entry is a quick read. I have sobbed as I’ve read it and laughed and felt great peace. It’s so worth checking out. Much love from another mother of littles.

  58. Verla says:

    Streams in the Desert has been my go to for probably 12 years! It’s amazing how it remains fresh and relevant!

  59. Angie says:

    Thank you. Definitely had the crummiest week and the emotional bucket is about to tip tonight. Needed this and your honesty!

  60. Michele kaplan says:

    Erin,
    First of all you are only human ! Second mean people who needs them πŸ˜‰ You are doing a great job your family loves you remember that ❀️ I love all your IG STORIES they are so positive! You are a beautiful on the inside and out don’t you ever forget that ! I have three kids all teenagers! Yes at times they push my buttons! We as mothers try to do are best that is all we can do ❀️ I am blessed to have my family as well as you . Keep that pretty smile πŸ˜ŠπŸ™ŒπŸ» And chin up .

  61. Emma Bott says:

    Lots of Hugs Erin. We are all only human and wether you believe it or not your an awesome wife, mother and you have a talent with your career we can only dream of. It’s ok to grab that extra chocolate bar and have an extra long bubble bath whatever helps you get thru your day. You do you and don’t worry we love you for you. Hugs all the way from Australia, Emma xx

  62. Heidi says:

    Oh sister I too have been struggling seems like I am on this hamster wheel with no more then the usual mom things to do but feel spread thin trying to make memories during the summer while they are home from school and sometimes negative comments get thrown at ya and heck if you dont start doubting your mom skills! I hope you have a better weekend Hugs to you dear insta friend!

  63. Kate Chapman says:

    Yes! Love this and so thankful I stubbed across your blog and insta! I’m not a momma yet but I am a wife who daily needs attitude adjustment πŸ€¦πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ Humbling and convicting but so good! Definitely looking into getting the desert book! Thank you for your rawness and realness πŸ™ŒπŸ½πŸ’•

  64. Esther says:

    So sorry you had a bad week. Probably what made it worse was your hubby being gone. I don’t know how anyone could take any stabs st you on IG!!!!! You are friendly, so thoughtful and so talented. We are all imperfect people struggling with different things. So maybe those mean people saying mean things, that’s their struggle. At the end of the day as long as you have the Love of your husband and family and friends that’s all that matters. Hang in there little momma. ❀️❀️❀️

  65. Cathy says:

    You are so sweet. I’m an empty nester now and always enjoy your stories. A good cry always comes for me when my head hits the pillow, then I have to muffle it so I don’t wake my hubby. Growing up if you didnt like something, my mom would always say "you can think it but don’t say it". I taught my kiddos the same. It’s so sad to hear people put others down with hurtful words. Kind words and a smile make life a happy place. πŸ˜‰πŸ˜Š

  66. Marie says:

    Don’t be listening to the few ignorant randomers out there! LISTEN TO ALL THE REST OF US πŸ™‚ We think you are amazing wonderful and awesome. Don’t let the words of others destroy your inner peace πŸ™‚ just think to yourself… Not my circus, not my monkies lol.. Keep going hard working Momma. I absolutely love your work πŸ™‚

  67. Barb says:

    I am looking forward to seeing your quest for the dining room table. Also, I like the Q&A idea!

  68. Chanda says:

    Thank you for sharing these Erin. I couldn’t have found this at more needed time. I struggle with being in a dark place most of the time (anxiety/depression/PTSD issues, both me and my oldest son who’s 12 now, but it all stems from multiple traumatic events from when he was younger. Mostly from birth – 4ish yrs old, but the effects and aftermath added their own horrible struggles for us both. Lonnnnnnggg story that I’d have to tell I’ve a bottle of wine. Lol) I will be getting both of these books and pray and hope they help!
    😘 Chanda
    Instagram/cmhowald

  69. Eleanor Hill says:

    I honestly don’t see how u do what u do! You are an inspiration to so many.

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