A Book Review :: Steady Days: A Journey Toward Intentional, Professional Motherhood


It was the subtitle that caught my attention: “A Journal Toward Intentional, Professional Motherhood.” Professional? What does it mean to be a professional mother?

Since I have set my career as a nurse aside during our time in Sicily, I guess I would call motherhood my profession. I mean… it’s what I do 24|7! I spend my days teaching, loving, feeding, dressing, and training up these two little people in my life. I want to do my job well. I want to be intentional and professional about it. Don’t you?

I ordered a used copy of Jamie’s book after I’d only been reading her blogs — Steady Mom and Simple Homeschool — for a little while. She is a wonderfully inspiring person; I love how her family of five is made up of four nationsSteady Days a super-easy read with chapters that are about two pages long. I read the book this weekend and felt refreshed and inspired afterwards, so I wanted to share it with you!

The gist of Jamie’s message is this: “We create Steady Days for our children by getting organized, retaining our enthusiasm, learning together, and making memories. When we balance these qualities together, we discover the gentle rhythm we long for.”

Part One: Getting Organized is my favorite. Jamie explains how she used to just drift from one activity to another, letting the day kind of unroll based on how she and her kids felt each day. (That feels familiar!) So Jamie encourages moms to evaluate their schedules — meal times, nap times, errands, activities outside the home — and create a rough routine for the mom and each child. She has heaps of suggestions for structured activities you can plan for during the otherwise “drifting time,” like room time, baking, art, video time, structured play, and free time.

She also encourages them to put this routine into a binder in order to keep your whole home organized. She keeps her shopping lists, meal plans, special dates organizer, important documents, weekly to do list, emergency phone numbers, and even take out menus in her binder. (Basically, she puts everything in her binder that I stick all over my fridge!) I’ve thought about making a “home management binder,” but I’ve never actually made it work. Have you?

I loved this quote: “Some people think that if they become organized, they will lose their spontaneity and passion for living…. This doesn’t have to be the case. Having a flexible structure helps you enjoy spontaneity. If you have taken time to be organized in things that matter most, then you will not feel behind. So when an opportunity comes your way, like the first warm day of spring or a special concert for the children, you can ditch the rest of your plans and go for it. You can enjoy without guilt, because your other responsibilities are up to date.

What if I actually send birthday cards and gifts on time? What if I actually planned ahead for a craft with my kids? What if I actually remembered my dental appointment… instead of missing it twice in a row?! What if I became more reliable, more steady, more organized? That would be a gift to so many, not just my immediate family!

In Part Two: Retaining Enthusiasm, Jamie talks about how to stay inspired as an intentional, professional mother. She encourages moms to embrace their roll as a mom… instead of whining about or regretting this demanding stage of life. She also uses a “Steady Blessings” list in her binder to remind her daily of things to be thankful for, and she keeps inspirational quotes and Scripture verses on cards and rotates one to meditate on each day.

(Just this last idea takes so much more organization than I have right now. Geez Louise! But as I read through her quotes and verses, I was inspired. We need to draw encouragement from true, deep sources, not just from mommy blogs.)

In Part Three: Learning Together, Jamie talks the importance of establishing good habits as well as demonstrating these habits to our children. She also shared ways that she and her children learn together through their “Steady Learning Board” and “Steady Learning Scrapbook,” which you can find more about through her Learning Together archives. I loved these suggestions for incorporating learning into everyday home life… and also for keeping artwork and craft projects organized.

Finally, in Part Four: Making Memories, Jamie talks about the importance of family traditions and about her “Look At Me” and “Mom’s Favorite Moments,” two ways she uses to keep track of her kids’ growth and development. Both of these look better than the current scattered artwork and scribbled lists of “funny things they say” that I keep tacked on my fridge… and then shove in some folder, never to be seen or enjoyed again.


I took great pride in my work as a nurse. I loved doing my job well, from the smallest tasks (arriving on time, wearing neat scrubs, always having a pen handy) to the most significant, like really listening to my patients or addressing an emergency with quick wits, hard-earned skills, and trained expertise. I loved being a nurse that others relied on and enjoyed working with. I loved being a nurse that my patients recommended or requested. I took great pride in my intentionality and my professionalism.

I want to be the same way as a mother. There are fewer boundaries here. The job description includes everything and the kitchen sink. There’s no place to clock out at the end of a long shift.

But whether I incorporate all of Jamie’s ideas or just a few into my life, I do want to incorporate this: a sense of pride in my work done well. I want to aspire to be organized, be enthusiastic, learn together, and make memories together. Unlike some jobs, this job will end — my kids won’t be young forever! And I only get once chance to do this well.

So here’s to be a steady mom! Are you with me?

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8 Responses to A Book Review :: Steady Days: A Journey Toward Intentional, Professional Motherhood

  1. Poppy March 18, 2014 at 5:16 pm #

    I watch with increasing admiration and pride at how intentional and skilled you are as a mother and wife. Those kids will live their whole lives grateful for the home you and Elliott are crafting for them. They will rise up and called you blessed! Yay for great Mom’s that have blessed us and made our lives so very rich!!

    • Becca March 18, 2014 at 8:12 pm #

      Thank you, Daddy! That means so much.

  2. Meg March 19, 2014 at 10:52 pm #

    I wish I had read this when I was a young mother! I guess that’s what we always say at such books! But it does sound like great advice. I echo your dad’s sentiment, you are doing an amazing and wonderful job with your children. I know it isn’t always easy or a bed of roses, but you exhibit much patience, forbearance, love, and ingenuity. And there are years ahead to continue and grow!

    • Becca March 21, 2014 at 4:11 pm #

      Thank you, Mom. Coming from a mom of FIVE, who has skills and patience that I can only aspire to, your encouragement warms my heart!

  3. Alise G March 21, 2014 at 3:51 pm #

    I am so with you on this! Now that my youngest is two months old and we’re finally settling into a shadow of a routine, I’m reay to jump further into being new organized.

    I’ve got to say, I did recoil a little bit about the structured day the author talks about. I think I take pride in being a go with te flow kind of mother. But it’s so true that I am not an entirely reliable person, and I’d really like to be counted on by my kids, husband, friends…everyone! I appreciate your blog so much for forcing me to think about things instead of just going wherever the wind blows!

    We have a bills binder where I keep track of when bills are paid and have a place for the paper to collect during the year. It’s been really helpful to me because filing things is the worst! Hahaha! It’s worked so well for me that I’m really interested in getting organized elsewhere. I’d be interested in seeing your version of a management binder when you get around to it. :)

    Thanks for the post, I guess I need to get off my bum and get organized. :)

    • Becca March 21, 2014 at 4:12 pm #

      Well, I haven’t done anything about making a binder since posting this. :-( BUT! I am still inspired! So we shall see.

      One simple idea she had that I forgot to include: she photocopied or printed the 20 recipes she uses most often from various cookbooks/online, and she put those in page protectors in her binder. Genius! No more running around from cookbook to cookbook or website to website. I will definitely include that in my one-day binder.

  4. Carey March 24, 2014 at 2:12 am #

    Becca, thank you so much for this post. I grabbed Tom and had him come read it with me. This is the kind of mom I want to be too. My copy of the book should be arriving from Amazon this week. You have challenged and inspired me! Thank you!

    • Becca March 24, 2014 at 3:34 pm #

      Thank YOU for encouraging me, Carey! I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did!

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