October 20, 2017

They’re Never Too Big: Don’t Take “No” for an Answer


I close my eyes and remember my three little stair step boys packed like sardines.

Yes, three boys, one bed, packed together by choice.  They have their own bunk beds, but it was one of those nights when they felt stronger united, rather than divided.

I tuck the covers in around them and their imaginations take me away to another land.  An empire where they have conquered the enemy, defended the honor of the kingdom, vowed allegiance to the brotherhood, and made promises. Promises they would keep.

They know we are big on promises in this family, and right now this trio feels empowered. We remind each other of the importance of vows. Once again, I share our family motto of how it’s better to not make a vow, than to make a vow and not keep it.

Fast forward more than a decade. Today, on the eve of our eldest son’s graduation party, I tip toe into that same bedroom.  The legs of our three teen sons, all over six feet, dangle off the edges of those same bunk beds. They’ve been requesting new beds for the last year, and I think it’s time to oblige. The posters on the walls have changed, and so have their music choices.

The room’s name has distinctly been coined the “Man Cave,” but our family motto still rings true. Now, I rise up on my tip toes to give these big men children some hugs, but the whispers of being true to your promises are still the same.

For any of you who have been a regular reader here at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam, you know that I am big on goals, but not huge on New Year’s Eve type resolutions; no, definitely not. (Remember my Rebolutions post?)

I tend to take on too many tasks, and I just need to concentrate on doing the next thing.  This Type Z personality of mine would like nothing better than to just take life as it is without a care in the world, but then nothing would get done in my home.  I used to get so frustrated with myself for not being able to keep up my New Year’s Resolutions and follow them as is.

Well, I found out I am not alone. P&G everyday shared with me a recent survey which revealed that 51 percent of 1000 Americans  polled admitted to not following through on their goals after making a resolution. Seventy percent admitted that their reasoning was because the goals were either too big or they tried to achieve too much. (Raising hand high on that one.) Eighty eight percent believed that they would be more successful if they set smaller, more manageable resolutions rather than committing to one large goal.

Can I tell you how excited I was to know that there has been a method to my madness when I have asked you all to join me on these little baby steps?  Whether it’s exercising together or challenging each other’s budget during our Food Waste Week, most of us appreciate the accountability of knowing there are others out there in the same boat.

This month, I’ve joined an everyday resolution campaign that encourages us to make small pledges to ourselves and our families to make the everyday better – to truly live a life in progress.

This is right up my alley. Each day, I am going to challenge myself to accomplish one thing that might not be on my typical “To Do” list, and I’d love for you to join me.

Think of all the meaningful things we can get done if we just resolve to do one, small thing.

Over the course of the month, it will add up to sheer beauty.  I’m going to focus on home goals, family goals and heath goals, and goals that will enrich my community – nothing huge, just very manageable baby steps.

For instance, I’m starting with those three big boys of mine, and their man cave. Rarely do I snuggle with them anymore in their bedroom. With our girls, that’s a nightly thing, but with my big boys, it’s a rare occurrence. (I’ve shared about the questionable smells that reside there regularly. ☺)

Well, this week, I just don’t care. I am invading their Man Cave each evening for some necessary “forced bonding.” Yes, it may be their “place of solace,” which they tell me often, but for this mom, my everyday resolution is to spend quality time in their Man Cave for more than just a quick good night.

I’m going to crawl up into their beds like I did years ago, and invite them to share with me the “battles and kingdom” they are conquering lately. They are never too big to need some intentional TLC from their momma. Don’t take “no” for an answer.

I’m going to ignore the questionable odors and piles of clothes that were supposed to be put away and just embrace the simple moments.

Will you join me with some everyday resolutions of your own?

Let’s hold each other accountable.

 This week for me, it’s my boys, next week, it’s the bathroom. 😉


  1. This post made me teary – as a mom of one boy I know how special that relationship is (and with my 3 girls as well) but there is something truly unique about a mom and their son… and you get that x3! I love your resolution and I know your boys are head over heels for you. You can tell in those pictures you are their shining example.


  2. I love this idea Jen. What a great post! I am going to try this week to stop what I am doing and look at my 3 precious children and my husband – to give them intentional eye contact and let them know I am attending to them. Thanks for the encouragement!


  3. Oh my! Those photos of you with your sons are precious. My oldest son just got his driver’s license and started a new job this week. It’s exciting to watch him grow up, but a bit sad too. and my oldest daughter is in China. I’m pretty sure this won’t be her last visit to that country. I’ve been trying to remember to take time with my younger kids, because I know they will grow up so fast!


  4. Angela Kerlin Olha says:

    You’re never too old to need to feel loved and accepted by your parents.


  5. Love this, Jen!

    Compelling, inspiring post… from the mama of 4 boys — this so encourages!

    Thank you, thank you for this…


  6. Last night I cried through a preschool graduation. I can’t even fathom my boys being college aged. But I LOVE the idea that we might all still want to hug each other across the man cave divide 🙂 Love this Jen. Every day resolutions – I’m so there!


  7. Jen,

    Yes, yes, YES! IT CAN be done! Intention is so key, I know you know this. My 15 year old is still a snuggler, but his older brother hasn’t been for years. It matters that you try, though, and entering their world (with or without a cave) makes a difference (even if they resist it a little).

    I love that you’re doing this campaign…it sounds like something you’d do even if it wasn’t part of P&G’s initiative :).



  8. Yay for small change, Jen! I am so with you. Love the way you give us inspiration and practical insights together.


  9. Rebecca Griggs Cowen says:

    If I can commit to getting more sleep each night, oh what life would be like! Great article. Can’t imagine you snuggled up with your boys in their bunk beds!


  10. Heather says:

    I enjoy hearing about your life, but get tired of ads in almost every entry! Always partnering with someone to make big bucks, and making a post out of it. . .


  11. Oh this is great Jen! I was raising my hand when you were talking about not following through on goals that set too much. I love the thought of everyday, manageable goals! Looking forward to following your journey this month! 🙂


  12. the this ‘everyday resolutions’ idea!! 🙂


  13. Jen, I love your goal of quality evening time with your boys. My boys are mostly big, too, but they still need that mother/son time. I know I do!

    We always have trouble scheduling family devotionals, but we’ve managed it every night this week on vacation. My goal is to carry that over when we get back home, too!


  14. when you said you have Type Z personality I laughed out loud. I can’t believe how big those boys are – standing next to you?! And you are tall yourself! Amazing how they grow up. The baby steps are key, aren’t they?


  15. Crying. Mom of three, but just one boy. Your post is inspiring, my son is 12 this month…my how the time flies!!! 🙁


  16. As a mama of little ones, I love reading your perspective. Thank you for this. xo


  17. Stacey Hughes says:

    This post put a lump in my throat, and big ole tears in my eyes. How precious! And they sure look like they love their momma, so hopefully it will be a go for you. Thank you for writing this post, my three boys like to ‘cuddle’ with mom by showing how strong they are. 13, 10 & 8. Hopefully they won’t bear hug ya, the size of those boys might end up in a sleeper hold! Too cute. And very handsome young men you have!


  18. I loved reading your post. I do remember those wonderful days when the kids were still in the house. In our house, we believed that love and friendship grows in small spaces. When, I say small space, I mean small houses. We built an 1,100sq. ft. house with a loft for the kids bedroom. They had no doors to close except for the bathroom door, which there was only one of those. Now the kids are grown and have families of their own and my husband and I are hearing the same phrase we shared with our kids being said in their new families. Our children do not live close to each other anymore but the love is still very much alive in both of them. We also, thought our children to follow through with what you say you are going to do. That is the only way to be true to yourself and others. I wish you much success with your plan and I hope the boys stick closer to home as they grow and have families of their own.


  19. My son is just about to turn 3, and I wonder each day where the time goes. I know one day he’ll be starting school, then driving, and college. I have to cherish every moment!


  20. such a beautiful post & commitment to just “be” with them. i love your challenge to yourself, and in turn is speaking volumes to me.

    plus being summer, that’s what it’s all about. quality time to make memories.

    happy monday! enjoy your week together!



  21. I love this post Jen!! I don’t have boys, but even my girls at nearly 16 and 24, we don’t snuggle much any more and I need to make time for that!

    It reminds me about a poem I’ve had on my fridge for years about living with teenage girls – I need to post about that poem and share it


  22. I loved this post, Jen! I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately because my little man seems like he’s just growing up too fast. I want to savor every moment. 🙂


  23. Such a lovely post. And an important reminder. I never want to be too old to snuggle with our girls. (And I guess I should find some quiet time with my own mom, too!)


  24. Oh goodness, this made me so teary – but I’d like to blame the pregnancy hormones 🙂 With just 5 more months until I get to meet my son and knowing how fast time flies and before you know it, they’re graduating, I want to hold on to all those moments and snuggles! As a new mom to be, thank you for sharing this.


  25. Christina Blalock says:

    My sweet “little” boys are now eye to eye with me (you read that right)…..they out-last me more nights than I’d like to admit. This is deeply good, they secretly still love to cuddle and talk about big and little stuff. And no, they aren’t too old or too big. Grateful for the advice and the challenge! I needed that 💞


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