How To Keep Growing as a Mom

By February 1, 2013General


It was the only time I ever cried while listening to a podcast.

It was a business interview. The podcaster, Chris, was talking with New York Times best selling author, John Maxwell. Chris was clearly honored and excited to be interviewing John. The interview itself was fascinating, but it was the last 3 minutes that made me cry.

First, John took a several minutes to tell Chris what an excellent interviewer he had been. He named specific things he had done well. You could tell it wasn’t flattery but honest, heartfelt and intentional encouragement from an older man to a younger one.

Chris remained professional, but you could tell he felt like a 12 year old girl who just got complimented by Taylor Swift. He was so moved.

And then I cried. You see, Chris had mentioned in some earlier small talk that his daughter was ill. At the end of the interview, John asked if he could pray for Chris’ daughter. And he did. Tears.

I’ve listened to a LOT of podcasts, but I’d never heard anything like that. It was so unexpected and powerful. John just sounded like a very wise man who is moved to do what is right and not what is expected.

What Does This Have To Do With Motherhood?


After I blew my nose and wiped my tears, I bought his book the 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. I bought the Audible version AND the Kindle version and I recently bought the paper version.

I kind of like this book.

I’ve often thought that my greatest fear is to be the same person at 67 as I am at 37. I’ve met older people who seem just as impatient and immature as they probably were as a teenager.

I’ve always wondered how that happens. Why do some people grow in “wisdom and stature” and others don’t? This book answers that question in the first chapter. It’s called The Law of Intentionality.

The Importance of Being Intentional

Mr. Maxwell says that we often have “one or more mistaken beliefs that create a gap that keeps you from growing and reaching your potential.”

Here are the 8 Gaps that he identifies. I just think this is so simple yet brilliant.

  • The Assumption Gap – “I assume I will automatically grow.”
  • The Knowledge Gap – “I don’t know how to grow.”
  • The Timing Gap – “It’s not the right time to begin.”
  • The Mistake Gap – “I’m afraid of making mistakes.”
  • The Perfection Gap – “I have to find the best way before I start.”
  • The Inspiration Gap – “I don’t feel like doing it.”
  • The Comparison Gap – “Others are better than I am.”
  • The Expectation Gap – “I thought it would be easier than this.”

The Thing About Motherhood


The thing about Motherhood is that there is no Motherhood University. There is no step by step program. At any given time we can struggle with all of these Gaps. The goal, then is to recognize them as barriers to our growth as mothers.

“Our floor is our children’s ceiling.” -unknown

I don’t want to survive motherhood or endure it. I don’t want to be comfortable and safe. I want to struggle and push my boundaries so that I can be all God has for me and give my children the best start possible.

So I choose to grow. It’s hard and it hurts and I fail more than I’d like. But I’m determined to learn and to work and to change.

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. -James 3:17

Identify Your Gap

My biggest struggles are in the Knowledge Gap, the Perfection Gap and the Inspiration Gap (yes, even “Inspired to Action, doesn’t always feel inspired…).

I’ll be writing about this book all year long. It’s the sort of book I don’t want to just read but I want to apply. I hope you’ll join me. You can get it on Amazon or at your local bookstore.

I pray we’ll all look back on 2013 as the year we grew. And grew. And grew.

Which Gap do you struggle with? Have you ever thought about being intentional about growth? Do you have a plan? Click here to join the discussion!

Leave a Comment



  • My ‘word for the year’ is intentional. And especially in relation to being a mom. For a variety of reasons, I felt like I just kind of floated as mom the last six months of 2012 and I don’t want to float this year. I want to be present and aware and on purpose this year as a mom to my 3 year old and 18 month old, they’re only going to be so little for a short time.

    The Mistake Gap, Inspiration Gap and Comparison Gap all whisper discouragement but it doesn’t have to be so.

    Thanks for the excellent post!

  • Susan Herold says:

    Oh Kat!
    This email was perfectly timed! You are our link to Mom University. I don’t have a mom who has helped me grow in any way shape or form so I love, love, love this Inspired to Action website. You have helped me grow in so many ways. Why this email was so perfectly timed is because I am haunted by my thoughts about yesterday and left yesterday feeling like such a failure. (I can be hard on myself) I look forward to this next catalyst for growth it sounds like a fabulous book for me. Thank you for being Mom U to me!

  • shelly says:

    Oh my….which gap do I NOT struggle with at the moment? This is and will be the most challenging year in quite a while…..pregnant, with a deployed husband, and a ‘spirited’ toddler, while living far from family has me wondering many days how to keep on keeping on. lol! I want to at least be able to look back and see that I have grown in positive ways.

  • latoya says:

    Hi. I am reading this book upon your recommendation, and it could not have come at a better time. My youngest is going to start school soon, so I am contemplating my next phase of motherhood. My gaps that I struggle with are assumption, knowledge, and perfection. I am excited to hear your experiences while reading this book.

  • Maria says:

    Hi Kat. I ordered this book for myself and a friend when you posted about it a couple weeks ago. Like you said it’s not a book to just read but to apply to your life. We just finished chapter one and will be having coffee next week to discuss how we can apply it to our lives and help motivate each other in growing this year. Thanks for recommendation…I look forward to your future posts about the book!
    Oh and I struggle with the mistake gap and the comparison gap.

  • Abby says:

    What was the podcast ? I would really love to hear this. Sometimes I need a good cry.
    I’m pretty sure you could do a blog series on each of these gaps. I love your blog and especially posts like this one. I think you have a great way of balancing; practical with fun and inspiration/encouragement. Your mentoring posts are challenging me to face the fear and ask someone. I’ve even started praying about it, you know something’s up when that happens!;)

  • Barb says:

    I bought this book straight after I read the post recommending it – and have launched into it with pencil in hand to underline and highlight what jumps off the page. So much! I have pondering the difference between having good intentions and intentional follow through. My word is consistency for 2013 – even when I don’t feel inspired or motivated. Complacency and apathy are both a slippery path down to yuck and I so don’t want to go there by default!
    I shared about this book at a mum group get together this afternoon and challenged each mum to think about three ways to feed their body, soul and spirit this next month until we meet again – to be the best they can be like John says. To be filled in order to give and serve. This book is a great tool to feed your spirit and keep growing. Looking forward to more Kat!
    with blessings, from Australia 🙂

  • This is so genius. I struggle most with the Mistake Gap and Time Gap. Oh and the Perfection Gap. Oh and the . . .. 🙂

  • Sandy Cooper says:

    A few weeks ago, I realized God was leading me to a Year of Intention. I felt like God was directing me to stop “wishing” and “hoping” and “talking about” my dreams (or even my to-do list!) and start approaching everything with great INTENTION.

    Since then, the words “intentional” and “intention” are popping up EVERYWHERE for me. I’ve read many John Maxwell books, but I have not read this one. I’m off to buy it right now.

    Thank you.

  • Tawnda says:

    I’ve read several of Mr. Maxwell’s books. This is a new title for me. I’ve currently been told to change by my business mentor. I’ve just finished reading Laura Vanderkam’s “What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast” and just started her “168 hours: You Have More Time Then You Think.” The Maxwell book you’ve “endorsed” also sounds good and I’m going to put it on my wishlist. I look forward to your posts. Btw he has several other books on change. I’ll be reading them too:)

  • Michelle Good says:

    Kat, I’ve been reading this book ever since you recommended it before and it has been life changing for me! I’ve wrestled at some point with most of the gaps, but the one that really got me going was the assumption gap. I was so convicted because I realized I waited for accidental growth to happen, instead of being intentional with my personal growth. I’m looking forward to more discussions about this book!

  • Thanks for such a moving post! I too have seen older people behave like children and wonder at it. I mean, aren’t they supposed to be the wise ones? This is so encouraging! 🙂

  • Faith says:

    Umm, I could probalby list all the gaps but the ones that I stuggle with the most are Comparison, Perfection, and Inspiration! I sometimes feel like I am the most nonconsistant person on the planet so this may be a good place to start improving on that!

  • Amy Bo says:

    Thanks, Kat. My biggest troubles are the Timing Gap (which I’ve been blaming on my kids lately, but realize I never did these things BEFORE I had kids) and the Perfection Gap. I recently heard “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good” (by Voltaire?) and I think about that all the time when I am tempted to be frozen by my perfectionist tendencies. My plan is to fill my mind with mini pep talks like this so I can overcome these.

  • Missy says:

    God has perfect timing. I, too, have focused on being more intentional and just ‘surviving or enduring’ motherhood. I so appreciated line after line that I read in this post, Kat. The comparison gap and the perfection gap both get me good. Throw in a timing gap, and it’s the perfect recipe for a stall-out. I also ordered the Audio version of this. It seems like a book that I will need to digest slowly and implement bit by bit with every ounce of intention I can muster! 🙂

  • […] you liked the Meal Planning Boot Camp and the John Maxwell book, I think you’ll love this series on getting things done. I have two speaking engagements […]

  • Janet says:

    I suffer from all of the above at different times 🙂
    I ordered the book from my local library system. I look forward to reading it and getting involved in the discussions.
    Have a beautiful day!

  • Danielle says:

    I got this from my library but I think it will be in my amazon cart before too long. 🙂 my gaps are the inspiration and motivation gap. But really, they all get me at one time or another, especially the “I need to research this on pinterest before I can get started.” I am glad I decided to take your recommendation on this book and looking forward to following along this year.

  • Tanya Bell says:

    I am really excited about this book! I struggle with the knowledge gap and the inspiration gap. Looking forward to making 2013 a year of intentional growth!

  • Kayla H says:

    I love John Maxwell, and I loved that interview. That podcast is one that I listen to regularly. And now I NEED this book! 🙂 I have been struggling with some aspects of motherhood lately, and I am sure that I will be encouraged by it. Do you listen to Minute with Maxwell? It is also available on itunes.

  • Emily says:

    Must say a huge thank you for recommending this book! Even the introduction was so encouraging (when he talks about potential) 🙂 I can identify with and struggle with pretty much all the gaps, but particularly with “perfection”, “comparison”, and “expectation”. I found it so helpful when he pointed out the growth is NOT the same as simply achieving goals….I’d love to be able to develop habits that will produce long-term growth. Yay!

    • Kat Lee says:

      Yay! I’m so glad you’re enjoying it. I’m on my second (or third?) time through and still gleaning SO much.

      • Emily says:

        I very much look forward to your future posts about this book, and I’m thankful that my husband is reading this with me too. But I’m curious how you and others are applying it – in the introduction, Maxwell recommends reading a chapter a week and then applying that week’s law. However, after reading the first chapter, and feeling very pumped and determined to start growing NOW, I’m now faced with – “ok so what exactly do I DO after carving a time each day???” I’m assuming this is in addition to my regular quiet times / prayer (which is already hard to keep up with due to active kiddos!)….but do I just run down my list of goals or what? Then I noticed that later in the book there’s a chapter on “Reflection”, I skimmed part of this because it sounded very interesting, and then I thought, the way I could apply the 1st Law would be to reflect during the time I’ve carved out. But I’m not sure if there is something more specific Maxwell has in mind? Do you recommend that I read the whole book first before deciding how to apply it? Sorry this is ending up much longer than I expected!!

      • Amy says:

        Emily, I too was wondering how to get started. There are so many areas that I would like to grow in. I spent some time thinking about them and writing down what I would like to be. Now I am just wondering if i pick one area and work on that first. I have good motivation now and think if I read the whole book first then try to go back and take action, I might lose momentum.