Faith Spilling Over… Into Everyday Life

Renaissance Motherhood: Making Space in Your Life for Personal Growth


colonna-madonnaDo you ever feel like your world has narrowed to toddler snacks or carpools for teens? There’s a whole wide world of opportunity out there, and it’s frustrating to lose touch with it. A mama can be hard pressed to invest in herself when keeping up with the needs of her family saps her energy. When you find it difficult to make time to get a shower, pursuing personal growth seems out of reach.

Because you’re busy changing diapers.

Because you’re up to your ears in homeschooling, or school carpool and PTA meetings.

Because juggling work and family has left you worn-out.

Even so, taking time to invest in yourself is vital. You need it to stay sane. Your family needs it because a frazzled, frustrated mama brings everyone down with her. Your home revolves around you. You are the biggest influencer of your husband and kids, so taking care of yourself makes sense, doesn’t it?

I love the term “Renaissance Mother.”

It inspires me because it lends dignity to motherhood and suggests a blueprint for personal growth. According to my Webster’s Dictionary, a Renaissance man is “a highly cultivated man, skilled and well-versed in many of the arts and sciences.” That describes what I want to be: a cultivated, accomplished mother!

I’m convinced that investing in my own personal development will make me a more effective parent, but then reality hits. Laundry calls. Some days just getting groceries unpacked and dinner made after home school leaves me undone, with nothing left over.

But I’m committed to investing in myself one baby step at a time.

Even ten minutes to read the news can go a long way towards broadening your horizons. Taking small bits of time for yourself just might make you a happier person who’s more fun to be around. Here’s my blueprint for pursuing a renaissance mother lifestyle, but you can’t do all of these at once.  That would be way too overwhelming. Instead, how about choosing one or two ideas to try this week?

A Renaissance Mother’s Blueprint for Personal Growth:

Dress the Part: I don’t want my kids remembering a woman who wore sweatpants every day. (If sweatpants fit who you are, you’re wonderful the way you are, but they’re not me.)  So I try to dress up for home school just as I would to have coffee with a friend.

Exercise: Take a walk. Get your bike out of the garage. Go to the gym for a Pilates class.

Develop a Creative Hobby: Take a class in photography, drawing, or painting. Learn an instrument. It’s never too late to start.

Learn something new: Take an adult education class. Check out Khan Academy on-line or listen to a Ted Talk. You’ll be inspired. If you are homeschooling, try learning a few things alongside your kids. Latin and trigonometry haven’t changed my life, but they developed my mind.

Learn about the World: Watch international news. (We like BBC.) Subscribe to National Geographic.

Read for Pleasure: Take 15 or 20 minutes a day to read whatever interests you. Carry a book with you for those waiting times at the doctor’s office or during a public transport commute.

Seek Spiritual Growth: Read the bible or a Christian book.  Listen to a sermon on-line. (I like Desiring

Do any of these ideas resonate with you? What is one thing you could do this week to invest in your own personal growth? You go, Renaissance Mom!


Author: betsydecruz

I want to enjoy the everyday life God is giving me as best I can, even when the road gets bumpy. I love having fun with my teenagers, learning almost anything, and drinking dark roast coffee with my friends.

13 thoughts on “Renaissance Motherhood: Making Space in Your Life for Personal Growth

  1. Betsy! What perfect timing! My friend and I are going for a walk this afternoon after work – shaking the cobwebs off our winter bodies and breathing some fresh air! Good suggestions, we need these! Thanks so much!

  2. “Read for pleasure” SO resonates with me! I do carry a book of some sort (paper, electronic, or audio) with me virtually everywhere. What I find myself craving are larger chunks of time to read. In fact, one of my Spring Break goals is to have some bigger chunks of time to make a dent in the pile of “to read” books……..if I can manage around chauffeuring the teenagers to their various Spring Break activities…. 😉
    (I actually do have a plan of how to accomplish…it just seemed apropos to say.)

    • Yep, chauffeuring the teenagers around is part of life, LaNette! So if you can work reading into that, more power to you. I sometimes read even in five minute snatches, but lately I TRY to read a half an hour before bed. I probably only really do it three times a week, but I’m making progress!

  3. Betsy, I saw an article in that satirical journal The Onion last week, called “Mom’s got her thing tonight” — and it went on and on about mothers who go every week to their “thing” and their kids aren’t quite sure what her thing IS (it used to be her book thing but now it’s a different thing) … so when I read your post I thought, yeah, we moms all need our THING. Preferably more than one thing.

  4. Betsy, I love this wonderful post about learning and improving ourselves. It saddens me when I see women I know who are “content” to make no effort towards personal growth. I feel like they are missing out on a better life!

    • Thanks Deborah. I don’t know how content they might be about it, but I guess sometimes any extra effort is just so overwhelming with everything else women/mothers have going on… I can understand totally.

  5. so now i feel completely justified in having spent much of the past two days of spring break reading “Ender’s Game” and basking in the luxury of immersing myself in a book. 🙂

    and i just might pick up my daughter’s more sophisticated camera tomorrow and experiment with some settings i’ve never tried…

    thanks for the prod to grow, Betsy! great way to set a healthy example for those around us…

  6. Pingback: Embracing Self-Care

  7. As a teacher, we often talked about encouraging kids to be Life Long Learners. Now, I teach my kids at home, but still have that as my goal. How though can we as homeschool moms expect our kids to want to learn and enjoy learning if they never see us doing it? I hate to hear other HSMs answer when I ask what they are reading that they don’t have time to read except for their kids textbooks. What?

    My husband and I make a conscious effort to learn new skills, information and I don’t know what all. Our kids see us learning and failing and continuing on. Because of this, they are more willing to try something new, to read another book, to draw, to build, etc.

    I am stepping out of my comfort zone these days and learning how to draw. It’s scary, and I’m not that good, but I’m learning. Maybe I’ll end up a renaissance Mom after all. 🙂

    • Good luck with your drawing, Kimberly. After taking a look at your blog, I’d say you’re ALREADY a renaissance mom. 😉 I think you’re right on about modelling a life long learning lifestyle for your kids.

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