This has been such a great week! I have been really inspired reading through all of the thoughtful answers to some pretty tough questions. Each mom’s openness about her struggles has been really refreshing to me. Sometimes as moms we can be kind of isolated and forget that other women are going through the same things we are. This project has been great bringing things out into the open so that we can all benefit and be encouraged through shared experiences.
Beth Hoff is passionate about families and has actually devoted her career to being the Family Pastor at Bethel Cleveland. She is one of the hardest working people I know and has been on a journey of learning to balance a job that she is so passionate about with her realized dream of becoming a mother.
Beth pours so much of herself out to see families living healthy and whole. She is a boss at organizing events which build up and encourage parents and marriages. She has a unique point of view as a mom who works in the church. Many times pastors work long hours and are always on call, which can be difficult for family life, but I love watching Beth include and prioritize her family in her job.
Name: Beth Hoff
1. How long have you been a mom? 6 years
2. How many kids do you have? 2
3. What is your favorite thing about being a mom? My favorite thing about being a
mom is sharing life with my kids and watching them discover the world around them.
Everything is new and exciting to them and their joy is contagious. I find myself
entering into the wonder of God’s creation and stories about princesses and
homemade chocolate chip cookies in a fresh way, and I love it!
4. What has been one of the most difficult things you’ve experienced as a mom?
Hands down, the most difficult thing I have experienced is the loss of our first baby
through miscarriage. My heart absolutely broke and I plunged into depression. So
many questions about life and God and future swirled around my mind and heart. It has
caused me to think differently about so many things and to cherish my family even
5. What is something you’ve learned through being a mom? I’ve learned that the
things you think are a big deal, so many times just aren’t. It’s so easy to be hard on
myself for not doing things perfectly, but one of the biggest joys of childhood is
learning & growing. I am learning to shift my mindset to one of growth, rather than
perfection. My kids are helping me see that it’s okay not to be perfect, and that there is
joy and love and humor in the imperfections. I am also learning that, more than a clean
house and delicious dinners and organized activities, my kids need me to be present
with them. Not a tired, stressed out me, but the heart of who I am…fun, relaxed,
laughing me. I’m working on minimizing the non-essentials so that I can be the real me
with them on a daily basis.
6. Have you surprised yourself in your motherhood? Yes! I have always been the
biggest puke-a-phobe. If anyone, anywhere even thought about throwing up, I was
running in the opposite direction. I knew I had crossed over into true motherhood the
first time I caught vomit with my bare hands…on purpose!
7. If you had to repeat one thing in your parenting that your parents did what
would it be? Prioritizing our family. I never had any doubt that our family was the
priority to both my Dad and my Mom. Friday was family day. My parents said no to
anyone and anything that tried to interrupt our family day. Every night during dinners,
we took the phone off the hook. My Dad set a limit on the number of nights per week
that he would be gone and held to it. If one of us needed our family, they were always
there for us, no matter what. This is my heart for my family as well.
8. What is one encouragement you would love to pass along to a young mom?
This may be the opposite of what some people say, but you don’t have to “enjoy every
moment.” I’ve had so many people tell me that, and I understand the heart behind it.
But I can’t help but feel guilt & stress under that unrealistic expectation. The reality is
that no, you won’t enjoy every moment. And that’s okay. You will have some really
amazing moments and some really low moments as well. But the hard times, if you’re
intentional, can knit you together as a family in an even deeper way than the wonderful
moments sometimes. Let the hard moments teach you something. Let them help you
shift priorities. Let them show you your needs. Let them encourage you to ask for help.
Let them invite community into your life. Let them teach you to trust God as your
Father. Yes, definitely enjoy the good moments with your whole heart! But embrace the
hard moments too. Because in those moments, we often become more like Jesus.
I love Beth’s answer to number five. I would have to agree that the more kids I’ve had the more I’ve come to realize that the things I once thought were a big deal in the beginning turned out not to be. I thought I had to control everything, but really the only person I can control is myself, and that’s on a good day! Striving for present over perfect is so important as a mom and more necessary now that ever before when we have so many things fighting for our attention.
Something that I really appreciate about Beth is that when you are with her she is present and makes you feel like the most important person in the world at that moment. I know that translates to her mothering, and it is beautiful to watch her love her daughters so well.
Beth, thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions so honestly and thoughtfully. I know that a lot of mothers have lived through similar experiences, good and bad, and speaking out about them can offer hope and healing.
Just remember moms, that whatever you are going through, it is so important to connect to community. It is in community that we realize our problems are not so unique. Moms have been mothering since the beginning of time, so get around some good experienced moms that can pour into you, make you laugh as they retell their crazy stories, and give you hope that you are not only going to get through this, but that you can thrive in your motherhood!