The worst thing people say to us moms. by Jenny Acuff

Sometimes Jon and I do Q&A sessions at events. I don’t love being on stage but the whole thing is pretty painless. One of the questions that people always ask is this:

“We have heard all about Jon’s dreams and passions, but do you have any Jenny?”

This question always makes me laugh because I know people are not going to like my answer.

Folks want me to say, “My passion is baking or sewing or photography.” We all have a definition of what really counts as a passion and often it most be artistic by nature. People essentially think you’re going to respond with something that is found on Pinterest.

But do you know what my passion is?

Raising our kids.

Being a mom.

Taking care of the Acuff house.

That is my definition and I don’t particularly care if other people think those passions “don’t count.”

They count to me.

I refuse to believe that being a mom isn’t a “big enough dream.”

I’m happy. I’m dreaming. I’m living my passion.

Don’t have kids? Not married? Awesome. I don’t think women need to be defined by either of those things. But if I choose to be, don’t think I’m not dreaming just because my dream comes with pacifiers and car seats.

I’m writing a book about being married to a dreamer and dreaming yourself. (Sign up for Jon’s newsletter to hear more about that when the book comes out.)

In the meantime, be careful.

As you chase a dream, make sure it’s with your definition of success, not somebody else’s.

Write your own dictionary.

Jenny Acuff is a mom/wife/awesome lady. You should follow her on twitter: @jennyacuff.

  • Becky Castle Miller
    Posted at 07:38h, 26 November Reply

    “People essentially think you’re going to respond with something that is found on Pinterest.” Great line!

    • Ariadne
      Posted at 09:50h, 26 November Reply

      Such an awesome line!!

  • Laura Danella
    Posted at 07:42h, 26 November Reply

    Thanks for sharing….as women, I find we are way to hard on each other! There is a reason God created us as individuals. Why can’t we celebrate who we are AND who the people we meet are? Go, dream…be a great mom…take care of your home…I for one have your back!

  • Allison
    Posted at 07:47h, 26 November Reply

    Fantastic post Jenny! Great reminder to not let other people to define your passions.

  • David Mike
    Posted at 07:49h, 26 November Reply

    My wife shares the same dream. Thanks for your insight, and for sharing it with us.

  • Erik Fisher
    Posted at 07:50h, 26 November Reply

    It counts. It very much counts. And it’s in a lot of ways harder than any other “dream” that people put on a pedestal.

    • Christy
      Posted at 15:49h, 26 November Reply

      So hard! I nanny so I’m not even a Mom or even full-time at that… And it’s a whole nother level of hard work!

  • Emily Carlton
    Posted at 07:52h, 26 November Reply

    Great post, Jenny! Dream definitions are easily categorized… way to not fall into the trap of thinking yours is less than.

  • Michele Bettinger
    Posted at 07:59h, 26 November Reply

    Truth! Everyone’s passions are different and ALL are valid!

  • Matt McWilliams
    Posted at 08:09h, 26 November Reply

    Oh, so like my wife, you are *only* a mom? Pffft.

    All my wife does is be solely responsible for 9 hours each day for our daughter’s safety, education, and meals. Well I guess she also pays all of our bills, cleans the house, makes most of our travel plans, buys all of our groceries, and has her own side business.

    Yeah, nothing important.

  • Tammy Fuller
    Posted at 08:11h, 26 November Reply

    Your dream is beautiful.

  • Natasha
    Posted at 08:18h, 26 November Reply

    When I was younger, I dreamed that I would be a judge someday. While other little girls played house, I would play court. (My Teddy Rupskin doll had a long rap sheet) But, all that changed when I realized what an amazing thing being a mom could be! I still have people say things like “it stinks you had to give up your dream” or “you will get your life back someday.” The truth is, I was given a better dream and I am amazed by it every day!!

  • Laretha
    Posted at 08:18h, 26 November Reply

    Thank you for this. My dream is going back to school and it’s not artistic either, so I compare myself to others more creative dreams. although, I do have a Pinterest board for it. 😉

  • Laura N.
    Posted at 08:25h, 26 November Reply

    A few months ago I met Jon at a talk in MA and he asked me about my dream. I responded that I have always wanted to be a mother and grow a family (plus own a business). He immediately said “that is just what Jenny would say”. I love that he recognizes and supports that passion of yours!

  • Emily E
    Posted at 08:29h, 26 November Reply

    100% agree!

  • Nicole
    Posted at 08:30h, 26 November Reply

    Thank you so much for this!! I didn’t fully realize until I read this that, deep down, I feel like my passions like homemaking, raising my daughters, being a good friend, and even”artsy” things like writing and knitting don’t”count” as passions because they don’t or unless they do make money. Your post made me reassess and realize: if my passions make life even a little better for someone else, even if they don’t actually earn money, how can they not “count”? Thank you, Jenny!

    • Cinnamon
      Posted at 09:25h, 26 November Reply

      This is SO true. It is amazing how deeply engrained in our mindset is the idea that for something to be worthwhile it must generate income. I am a 44 year old career mother of four. I’ll be done homeschooling our youngest son in 3 1/2 years. I have invested the past five years in a part time job that took a significant turn and looked like it was going to be my future ( and a crazy bright one at that). Three months ago, God told me to leave it for no apparent reason at the time and He now has me serving at my church in a way that is JUST as demanding and time-consuming with a LOT less freedom (the secular working world is far easier to manage in many ways), WAY less encouragement and affirmation (sad and weird but that’s OK), and I make ZERO dollars. Looks like the worst business deal of the century, but I wouldn’t trade it. *laugh*

  • Emily Northington
    Posted at 08:32h, 26 November Reply

    My husband is a dreamer/do-er/entrepreneur (whatever you want to call it) too, and I am so excited for a book from your perspective, Jenny!

    I get similar questions, and because I am still in my undergrad, I get funny looks when I say that I would love to raise our children after I work a couple of years. Someone asked me once if I felt guilty for wanting to freeload. I certainly do not. Raising children is not a 9-5 gig. It’s a lifetime, and a beautiful passion to have. Good for you, Jenny Acuff!

  • Sarah Hubbell
    Posted at 08:34h, 26 November Reply

    Great post and thank you for sharing your dream with us, Jenny. When I was much younger, pre-marriage, I shared the same dream. But my dream has evolved and I admit to not having a huge deal of passion around running our household. Of course I want to do a good job and the character of my kids is super important to me, but I have a few other dreams outside the home. I think one of my biggest dreams though, is serving others together as a family.

  • Hanna
    Posted at 08:35h, 26 November Reply

    Thank you for this post, Jenny. I am married with no kids yet, but I have the same dream and I’m excited about the future. We are just trying to get my husband through graduate school before we begin that part of life. With that, I look forward to and talk about my dreams and those sweet future babies and love to learn and read about parenting and people think I’m crazy and tell me I shouldn’t think about babies because I’m not ready.

    I have learned that there are a lot of people who love you and mean well, but they give advice based on their experiences and cultural world view, so I”m going to keep dreaming about raising those children.

  • James Dibben
    Posted at 08:35h, 26 November Reply

    Thank you Jenny!

    My wife has been a stay-at-home mom for the last 16+ years. It was all she ever dreamed of doing. In the early years of our marriage we struggled with infertility, and she was distraught with the idea of never having a family. We ended up adopting two amazing daughters. Then God blessed us with two surprised biological daughters.

    My wife lives her dream every day, but she still struggles against the cultural pressure that says contentment can only be found in a career.

    We both rest easy at night, though. We both know that we won’t look back over our lives and wish she had spent more time building a career. We like the investment that we’ve made.

    • Rebecca C
      Posted at 11:40h, 26 November Reply

      I just wanted you to know that reading your comment was an encouragement to me. My husband and I have been fighting infertility for over two years. We’ve always known that I wanted to stay home and homeschool our kids, but also thought college would also be a worthwhile investment. So for the past couple years we’ve been in that desperately sad and weird place, where I don’t know what to say when someone asks what I want to do. Others look at my degree, and ask if I’ll be starting a career, but if I answer that I want to be a SAHM the question is always the same. “What about until then?” Well, obviously I have no idea when ‘then’ is going to happen.

      Anyway, I’m rambling. My point is, your comment sounds like what we hope to be in the future, and it is nice to hear from someone on the other side.

      • James Dibben
        Posted at 18:39h, 26 November Reply

        Rebecca, it feels good to actually be able to say to you, “I understand.”

        We were 3 years in before we decided to become foster parents. That created another 8 years of joy And heartbreak.

        I don’t envy your situation. Even now the emotion associated with those years is palpable.

        Not everyone understands the weight a women like yourself feels. Most didn’t understand my wife (myself included).

        Just smile, because they don’t understand the depth at which you want a family.

        Don’t give up.

        (Click my name and visit my site if you want to learn more about my family. Maybe you will see a glimpse of your future)

        • Rebecca C
          Posted at 20:28h, 14 January Reply

          I just happened across this post again, and saw my old comment. I’m reading this post with fresh eyes as I am nursing our 4 month old daughter, who I am blessed to stay home with. Praise God.

    • Lindsay
      Posted at 11:23h, 06 January Reply

      I’m also encouraged by your story. We’ve been struggling with infertility for 7 years. My whole life up until now has been working towards being “ready” for kids…moving to a nice area, making a home, saving up money, working a good-paying job (that I could tolerate until kids came)…and now I’m just kind of floating in this “what now?” phase. I feel very lost and sad. I’ve broached the foster/adoption subject, but my husband won’t give up hope just yet. My prayer is one day to sit where you sit, hugging family (biological and/or adopted) and thanking God for what He’s brought us through.

  • C
    Posted at 08:36h, 26 November Reply

    There is always that inevitable moment when someone new joins a bible study group, and we go around the table and introduce ourselves. What is your name, who is in your family, and what do you do? When I say I am a stay at home mom I am always met with the question of “What did you do before that?” The worst of it is when someone says something to the effect of “But you are so talented that’s not all you have to be.”

  • Sadie
    Posted at 08:38h, 26 November Reply

    I love being a wife and mom, too. But I struggle because it is not my “dream”, yet I feel SO GUILTY saying that. I have a yearning in my heart that extends beyond the home, but that is not really politically correct in SAHM-world if you know what I mean. Please tell me i am not alone. LOL

    • Carrie
      Posted at 08:40h, 26 November Reply

      Of course you aren’t, and you need not feel guilty. I love my children intensely and am with them all the time (homeschooling 6 kids), but I have personal ambitions too. I’m SO thankful that I’m able to scratch that itch alongside my primary occupation of mothering.

      • Sadie
        Posted at 09:00h, 26 November Reply

        Thank you Carrie! I have 6 kids as well (I homeschooled my oldest two for one year and kind of miss it!)
        I would not give up my kids for anything, but it is nice to hear that other folks share my dilemma!

    • Michelle
      Posted at 20:11h, 27 November Reply

      I am a much better mom when I can find something stimulating outside of the home. Don’t be ashamed of it. I have just “found” that part-time for me, is the best of both worlds, although some days it seems like the worst. I am here before and after school for my children, yet out doing what I love during the day. I feel more well-rounded and whole if that makes sense. It does get hectic at times, but happy wife, happy life.

    • Lisa
      Posted at 13:34h, 10 January Reply

      I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’ve put off being married and starting a family because I have career ambitions that I think would be much harder to accomplish if I had kids. I want them, just not until after I’ve had a chance to work on a Star Wars movie ( which is now so close I can taste it, so the fact I’m getting married this year is actually okay and good timing). I think it’s more than fine to want both, and I’m never giving up my VFX ways forever. I’ll just have to teach it to my kids early on, haha.

  • Carrie
    Posted at 08:38h, 26 November Reply

    I love this – and totally agree that we should define our own dream no matter what society says (don’t GET me started on the doublespeak our society engages in around mothering.UGH.)

    Speaking as a mom of a large family, my kids ranging from 1 to 15, I realized that I also have other dreams that don’t involve my kids and husband. And that’s ok… as my older kids get older my desire to have something “else”, something that will last beyond my intense mothering years, is important for me.

    I’m a full-time, homeschooling mom but I’m also a best-selling Amazon author and blogger. Doing all those things at the same time is my dream. 🙂

  • Traci
    Posted at 08:44h, 26 November Reply

    LOVE THIS! And I am with you. The greatest dream in my life is my husband and my children. My kids are beautiful and amazing and worth more than anything else on the planet to me. My husband is a wonderful father and my best friend. I love investing in them!

  • Wendie
    Posted at 08:50h, 26 November Reply

    YES! Exactly! This is how I have been feeling for quite some time! Thank you Jenny for putting my feelings into words!

  • Veronica
    Posted at 08:53h, 26 November Reply

    I love this! This has always been my dream too. I made it very clear to my husband when I was dating him so he could get out if he wanted to. I’ve now been doing it for about 2 months and it’s stressful and crazy and I love it. Thank you for saying this is a real dream.

  • LarryTheDeuce
    Posted at 08:54h, 26 November Reply

    We’ve got our kids basically raise and my wife now dreams of taking care of her aging parents and future grand babies.

  • Karen
    Posted at 08:59h, 26 November Reply

    These are my current passions as well. Thank you for confirming that these are just a legitimate as anyone else’s! I sometimes struggle with this not feeling like ‘enough’.

  • Brenda
    Posted at 09:04h, 26 November Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing, Jenny! I’m currently single, but my dream is to have a family, be a wife and mom. Yes, I have things that I like to do as hobbies, but I don’t dream about them the way I do about a family. Thanks for saying that it’s OK to define your dream however you want.

  • Melissa
    Posted at 09:08h, 26 November Reply

    I love this. I always tell people that no matter what hobby, activity, community event, or dream I am chasing, they are all secondary to being a mom and a wife. If a mom and wife are all I ever am, I’m okay with that. I’ll still have a chance to be an awesome grandma too. 😉 I’ve decided that I was born in the wrong era. A clean house, baking and crafts with the kids are my ideal perfect day. I do have other dreams, but if I fail at this passion of mine, what good are all those secondary things?

  • Wes Molebash
    Posted at 09:13h, 26 November Reply


    My wife gets this all the time, too! Because I’m a cartoonist and I’m chasing that dream, a lot of people assume my wife is creative, too (she IS creative, just not in the “Pinterest-y” way that you described).

    Like you, her dream is to be a full-time stay-at-home mom. And because that’s her dream, it’s part of MY dream, too. Just like my dream of being a full-time cartoonist is part of HER dream. We both support each other and work together to make sure our dreams are being prioritized.

    Kari and I had our first child in August, and just this month Kari was able to go part-time at her day job so she could spend more time at home. It is a HUGE win for us as we get closer to her goal of staying home full-time.

    Thanks for writing this, Jenny! Awesome stuff!

  • Jennifer Kelley
    Posted at 09:13h, 26 November Reply

    I feel like I might have just been struck in the heart with a baseball bat. I have struggled with this. I have spent the last 14 years being a stay at home mom and doing all of the things that comes with that. Somewhere along the way I began to feel like I wasn’t worth anything because I didn’t contribute financially to our family. Im not sure why or when it happened, but it happened. I am a dreamer by nature, but nothing ever came to fruition due to lack of financial backing. This year my youngest child (We have 4) started Kindergarten. I thought, ,”Yay! I can work and do my hair and put on make up without feeling selfish! I can contribute!”…. now, having gone through real estate school, failing the state exam by one question… twice…. I get the feeling God is telling me something. He actually said, “SERVE”. For some of us, Serving is exactly our life’s work. Serving our family, our church, our friends, those in need.
    When I read your post…. I felt confirmation that these things are important. (in my head I know they are important but there is definitely a constant struggle with serving vs income producing). So the point to all this is Thank You.

  • Scottieclifton
    Posted at 09:13h, 26 November Reply

    I love this! Essentially: “I’m dreaming. Here’s how. The end.” I wish we all had this kind of resolution to our dreams.

  • Cyndi
    Posted at 09:15h, 26 November Reply

    I was always confused in high school when we had to write or even think about what we wanted to do when we grew up. I could never come up with anything. Lol. Even then I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, but you can’t write your paper on that and try telling other teenagers that! Whew! Teenage feminists can be scary! I have now been a SAHM for 10 years, had lots of failures and success but I am so happy I am able to live out my dream.

    Also, thank you for writing this post. It is great to see your (and Jon’s) perspective.

    • Amber
      Posted at 09:54h, 26 November Reply

      I would always say that I wanted to be a teacher. It was the closest thing to being a mom that I could come up with. In college I majored in Elementary Education so I could halfway feel like I was following my passion. But being a teacher was never my real dream!

  • Katie
    Posted at 09:17h, 26 November Reply

    I will never forget how excited I was the day we bought our minivan! I was pregnant with our 3rd child and I was living my dream! I still love that van.

  • Melissa
    Posted at 09:21h, 26 November Reply

    Yes. So much yes. “As you chase a dream, make sure it’s with your own definition, not somebody else’s.” Thank you! I am in absolute awe of my friends who are mothers and I admire that dream. I also appreciate the ones who give me space with words like yours to dream my dreams too. Love this little taste, Jenny!

  • Rob Knight
    Posted at 09:22h, 26 November Reply

    I love it!
    Here’s for all you passionate moms –
    It’s a spoken word poem I wrote a few years ago that was performed on a Sunday morning by one of the women from our church.

  • May Bohon
    Posted at 09:31h, 26 November Reply

    Thank you for your honesty, Jenny! I’m glad to know you’re a very awesome mom!

  • Judy
    Posted at 09:31h, 26 November Reply

    My dream is the same, and I have been blessed to seem my dream fulfilled in countless ways in the past 24 years as a fulltime wife and mother of four. My husband’s hard work fulfilling his dreams has allowed me to fulfill mine. We support and complement each other and it has worked beautifully. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Stacey
    Posted at 09:35h, 26 November Reply

    Thank you. I recently stepped down after being a worship leader for 11 years. I was definitely passionate about leading worship, but somewhere along the way giving everything that was demanded to that job began to cheat my family. They started to get my leftovers and I realized that I had to stop. I’m still passionate about worship, but I finally get to live my dream of investing in my kids and husband full time. I’m passionate about caring for them and taking care of our household. I’m so happy and fulfilled right now, but all I get from everyone is: “I’m sure you must be enjoying all your free time/vacation (ha!), but when are you going back into ministry?” Listen to me moms: Motherhood IS a ministry. We all have different callings in our life. Never let someone tell you that yours (whatever it is) is less than someone else’s.

    • Jessica
      Posted at 10:50h, 06 January Reply

      Yes! I wish that this was expressed more. We’re told over and over again to find our niche in ministry. Our families are our ministry. Our primary one at least! My husband is a pastor and we made this mistake for a long time almost at the expense of our marriage.

  • David Johnston
    Posted at 09:35h, 26 November Reply

    Great stuff here! Just goes to show that everyone won’t understand your dream

    • David Johnston
      Posted at 09:38h, 26 November Reply

      I think my wording is confusing there. Some people understand your personal dream some don’t. Haha I’m not a writer! … And I’m running on very little sleep

  • Teri
    Posted at 09:45h, 26 November Reply

    Thanks for saying it so well for all of us moms! I agree, and when my adult children are living their dream, then it gives great contentment.

  • Amber
    Posted at 09:51h, 26 November Reply

    Yes! Thank you! I feel like something is wrong with me because I don’t have this “passion” for some sort of hobby outside of my home. My passion is my home and my family and my kids. Not that working moms or moms with other hobbies are less-than, but I sometimes feel pressured to find something else so I can “be me”.

  • Estrella
    Posted at 09:52h, 26 November Reply

    Jenny, you are so cool. Keep on rocking it.

  • chad
    Posted at 10:01h, 26 November Reply

    You know you’ve been married to Jon to long when awesome is part of your vocabulary. that or your from the nineties. lol

  • Katie Alicea
    Posted at 10:30h, 26 November Reply

    Wow! Thank you so much for writing this, Jenny. My husband Tony and I are getting ready to move to Charlotte, NC from South Florida with our 5.5 month old little baby boy. I am going to leave my great paying job working for the president of an international non-profit in order to stay home with our son. To me, taking care of our home and raising our baby is a dream come true. Just like anyone else’s dream there will be difficult days and road blocks to overcome, but ultimately…it’s where I come alive. Some people may think that it’s “throwing away” years of resume building and hard work to get where I am, but what I have realized is that all that I have learned through working has prepared me for the 24/7 work of being a mom and homemaker. I’ve learned how to be organized, detail-oriented, and dedicated. I’ve learned how to put my needs second to the greater need of others. I’ve learned to push myself past what I thought were my limits. I’ve learned to not let failure stop me from moving forward; but to learn from it. I’ve learned that women can do anything they want to do. And this woman…wants to take all I’ve learned and pour it into my family and let the overflow spread out into the lives of our neighbors and community. Bless you, Jenny!

  • Brian Russell
    Posted at 10:31h, 26 November Reply

    This is great. My wife says this often. Love her to death. Go moms!

  • Jamie Lapeyrolerie
    Posted at 10:34h, 26 November Reply

    High five Jenny! I love this!

  • Brynn
    Posted at 10:57h, 26 November Reply

    Awesome post Jenny! Don’t let others define your dream… I loved it! Being responsible for raising another human being is huge. You’re the one that molds & shapes them and inspires them to dream. Being a Mother myself I have learned this. My kids are my heart. Thank you!

  • Maria Cowell
    Posted at 10:58h, 26 November Reply

    You rocked it, Jenny! Do you know how many women dream of being able to stay home and raise their kids? I did it for 15 years and was so grateful to God to be able to do so, to do what I felt in my heart was my passion and calling despite other voices implying I was wasting my life and my degree. It is often a tiring, messy, obscure and seemingly thankless job, but this is still true: The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” Your are extending influence and legacy into future generations.

  • Shari
    Posted at 11:23h, 26 November Reply

    So needed these words today Jenny. I was a stay at home mom for 14 years and then went back to work and grad school. I finally graduated in June after five and half years. I made the very conscious choice to take this year at home full-time rather than seek a job using my degree. I wanted to pour into my family after a long season of chaos. I get the most confused looks when people ask what I’m doing now that I graduated…but indeed right now being a mom, wife and taking care of my house these last few precious years before my baby (17) leaves for college IS my dream. Your words were validation for my heart. I have Start on my bookshelf but haven’t cracked it open for fear I would feel bad for my lack of “dreaming.” Thanks for the perspective that being a mom is indeed a dream!

  • Catalyst John
    Posted at 12:00h, 26 November Reply

    Thanks for saying what needs to be said! I applaud you!

  • Matthew Grant McDaniel
    Posted at 12:07h, 26 November Reply

    An elegant point, stated in exquisite prose, by an excellent woman. Thanks so much for sharing, Jenny.

  • April
    Posted at 12:14h, 26 November Reply

    I have been married for 3 and half years, and we don’t have kids yet. I really struggle with when to have children because I am pursuing a big dream of my own right now. I do want to have children, and I don’t want to wait too long, but at the same time I don’t want having children to pause the pursuit of my dreams “until they get older.” My husband won’t have to put a hold on his dreams when we have kids, so why should I? – I know that is not really what this post is suggesting but it’s sort of my view from the other side.

    My mom was a stay at mom, that’s really what she had always wanted to be. I think it was a wonderful dream, and she has been an amazing mom. The problem is I never really saw my mom step out of that and do something on her own for herself. On the other hand, my dad had a huge personality, successful career, and lots of hobbies outside of the home. Now that my brother and I are grown, I have watched my mom struggle with who she is outside of being a stay at home mom. It’s not that she is unhappy, but I think her identity was so in being a mom that when we grew up she wasn’t sure what her other passions were. Just something to think about…

  • Jody
    Posted at 12:16h, 26 November Reply

    Amen, Jenny! That is an absolutely beautiful dream.

  • Geri
    Posted at 12:57h, 26 November Reply

    I 100% agree with you about dreams being individual and all of them are just as valuable. But, I wonder if we can say we know what others expect us to say when they ask us? Unless they actually say it outloud, we don’t know their thoughts. I think a lot of it is our own self-talk and self-doubt about whether we are doing enough. I don’t have children and that was my choice, and I’m often questioning myself if what I’m doing is enough. But, for me, I have literally been criticized for my choice. Perhaps those few people dumb enough to criticize me have caused me to assume everyone agrees with them. It’s hard to keep that in perspective. No one should be criticized. And we also need to not criticize ourselves. So, thank you for the reminder.

  • Tina
    Posted at 13:05h, 26 November Reply

    Yesterday for a Girl Scout assignment, my daughter had to interview a woman about the “role” she plays. She interviewed me. I told her that my role was mom. She said, “but you do so many other things! You teach in our homeschool co-op and you lead Girl Scouts!” I told her that was true, but my main role is mom. Then she asked what I could do if I could do anything. I said, “I wouldn’t change a thing.” Mom, your role is SO important!

  • Nadine
    Posted at 13:47h, 26 November Reply

    I love this a lot!

  • Abby
    Posted at 16:01h, 26 November Reply

    Thank you so much for this post! My husband and I became parents a little over two months ago, and all through the experience of pregnancy, birthing, and now motherhood I’ve felt self-conscious about not having a “bigger dream”. Thank you for letting it be okay for me to say that raising my child (and hopefully more children in the future) can be where my passions are.

  • David Hooper
    Posted at 16:07h, 26 November Reply

    Strong woman!!

    I think it’s easy for people to overlook the contributions of the “non-public” half of a couple or partnership. Nobody does anything without help though and it’s often the “non-public” help that makes things possible.

    Looking forward to your book!

  • Libby Acuff
    Posted at 21:54h, 26 November Reply

    L.E. and McRae are super blessed to have you!

    • LarryYoungren
      Posted at 13:06h, 27 November Reply

      The only comment that is better than this one is (drum roll) is by L.E. and McRae, “We love you mom xoxoxoxo!!!!

  • Pete Herrick
    Posted at 05:30h, 27 November Reply

    A song from 20+ years ago changed my thinking on this, for dreamers and moms. Check out folk singer Steve Key’s “Welcome To My Real Job”. I think it’s great, fun perspective on what other people don’t see as a normal job or dream.

  • Jamie
    Posted at 05:35h, 27 November Reply

    Preach it girl. I sometimes feel looked down upon by “professional” women because I have no desire for a career. I work simply because we need the money. Though I have some other dreams I’m trying to figure out what to do with, I think part of my passion lies in simply wanting to be home, taking care of our home. If my husband and I add kids to our lives, I pray that I’ll be able to do that.

  • Sheryl
    Posted at 06:28h, 27 November Reply

    Great post! So many women don’t realize the importance of being a wife & mother. Good for you! I love the line “Write your own dictionary.”

  • Jennifer Haston
    Posted at 07:52h, 27 November Reply

    I love this! Any dream, as long as its yours is worth chasing! Nice Jenny! I can’t wait to read your book!

  • Londa
    Posted at 08:09h, 27 November Reply

    As much as we love SCL and your husband, I knew I’d love you’d be my favorite, Jenny! (No offense, Jon!) I’ve been a mom for ten years with four little gems under our roof. I often feel like I’m viewed as “just a mom”. I don’t homeschool or have a booming mommy blog, a successful in-home business, or really any skill that will gain us a paycheck or notoriety. However, I love getting to spend everyday with a front seat view of our very own family learning about life! Thank you so much for your example and encouragement today!

  • Megan
    Posted at 08:15h, 27 November Reply

    Couple of things: First of all, THANK YOU!!! All I have ever wanted to be is a mom and run my household and love my husband and all in a way that honors and glorifies the the Lord. Our first obstacle was that we couldn’t have kids and when we finally did have one I felt ridiculed for wanting to stay home. However, Mike and I knew that me being home would be the best for our family. Now, our son is seven and I still want to be home. I still want to take care of our household and I don’t think the “raising” of our son stops just because he went to kindergarten three years ago. I appreciate that you voiced this as your passion. The other part of all of that for me, is if I’m taking care of our needs at home my husband can go out and live his passion for teaching and leading.

  • bestillanlisten
    Posted at 08:17h, 27 November Reply

    Amen, sister! I stayed home to raise and homeschool our kids through high school. My husband and I can clearly see that they have so much more emotional, mental, and spiritual health at their age simply because we stayed together and I stayed home to parent them. Oh, that more women would invest in their families. No, my husband did not “make enough for me to stay home.” We chose to do without and live a lower lifestyle for our kids. They are in their 20’s and both graduated with honors from their universities. They and their future families are worth it. Godspeed!

  • Donna
    Posted at 09:42h, 27 November Reply

    Thank you. Thank you so much.

  • Alan Jackson
    Posted at 09:45h, 27 November Reply

    Jenny even if we didn’t know you through Jon’s many doting remarks, I think we would all be drawn to your honesty here. Truth is that’s how most of us feel too. That we’ll be judged about whatever passions we are or want to pursue. Loving and caring for those that need us is far more admirable than blindly seeking money or fame.

    Thanks for being a Mom. Thanks for the countless times you’ve encouraged Jon. Thanks for being you. Seeing all of those things gives us hope that being true to ourselves will also make a difference.

  • Anita@ Losing Austin
    Posted at 10:09h, 27 November Reply

    I love the fact that you need to make sure you’re chasing your own dream.

    But… there is no way I could ever work hard enough to make that dream a reality (really my dream is to do that 80% and spend the other 20% speaking/writing). So I don’t see it as the same type of dream as those we’re pursuing- if that makes sense. My husband is disabled and I have to be the primary earner. So unless God makes drastic changes, like healing my husband or giving me a different one, that’s not possible. And that’s true for many people, who have a dream that no matter how hard they work or give up for it, it isn’t actually possible. So I’m not sure that yours is a dream as much as a blessing, because being a mom and wife isn’t something you could earn or work hard enough to get.

    Still a blessing nonetheless.

  • Michael
    Posted at 10:47h, 27 November Reply

    AWESOME….I too am a dreamer who is married. Just because society as a whole thinks your dreamers are not worthy or too small. Dreaming is not about what the world thinks, dreaming should be very personal. If YOU think your dreams are worthy….follow YOUR dreams. One of the biggest and best compliments ever heard at a funeral is “HE/SHE was an awesome parent, caregiver, provider, etc”. Not they were a great inventor, speaker, writer, etc., these are just what you do not who you are….I loved IT !!

  • Debbie Davis
    Posted at 09:16h, 28 November Reply

    Great advice Jenny! As you pointed out – not every dream can be easily found on a Pinterest page. I had a great life epiphany back in 1991 when I was sitting at my kitchen table, pen and paper in hand, pondering over my personal “mission statement”. I decided that what I love to do most is nurture others! I am sort of a professional nurturer – it is like an art form for me, and what I feel that I was born to do.

  • LadyTam
    Posted at 15:54h, 29 November Reply

    I have a LOT of respect for folks who raise kids. Parents, grandparents, guardians…good kid-rearing is just such a rare thing these days. 😀

    I’ve always avoided it like the plague because of personal issues; I just don’t think I have the temperament to be a good parent. Sometimes I wish I did; becoming a parent seems to be a much easier dream to accomplish than most others. (By that I mean it’s usually much easier for a woman to get pregnant than it is for a woman to become CEO or something. 😛 Not always, obviously, but usually.)

    Now, becoming GOOD parents isn’t easy, but actually producing offspring seems to be something even ne’er-do-wells can do accidentally.

  • Anne Winz
    Posted at 16:18h, 04 December Reply

    You go, Jenny! I’m on your page. Love your children well. They will go far in life because they know how much you love them. Cheers to you as you spend a lifetime writing your own dictionary.

  • Erin C.
    Posted at 10:38h, 06 January Reply

    “The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only – and that is to support the ultimate career. ” -C. S. Lewis

  • Katie
    Posted at 10:39h, 06 January Reply

    Jenny, I loved this post! I spend so much time wondering what my passion is…what my dream is. Really? Right now, my dream is to be a stay at home mom. My passion? Making sure I raise my 3 beautiful children (and any more I have in the future) to be the best people they can be.

    Thank you for validating those of us whose passion lies with our families.

  • Megan
    Posted at 10:39h, 06 January Reply

    Thank you! I struggled with what my passion ‘should’ be since for some reason I thought it couldn’t just be my kids. But it is my kids. And that’s not just ok, it’s perfect. I really needed this reassurance to not feel like some kind of failure. Which is silly since I’m helping raise the next generation. I think that counts as pretty important.

  • Deb W
    Posted at 10:39h, 06 January Reply

    YES! YES! YES!!!

  • Jane @ Devoted Sonriser
    Posted at 10:41h, 06 January Reply

    I have the same dream! Nothing makes me happier than to make an apartment (for now) a home. And I can’t wait to be a mother. 🙂 Thanks for this, Jenny! Loved it.

  • Angela Brettschneider
    Posted at 10:41h, 06 January Reply

    Thank you so much for putting words to my thoughts. I’ve always felt the need to come up with an answer to that question- one that didn’t include family, homeschooling, or mom. Now I realize that I don’t have to 🙂 I like being home with my kids, teaching them, baking for them, being a wife and mother. I am also a part time counselor, but that is more of my gifting, not my passion, although I am passionate about it.
    Well, it makes sense to me.

  • Shannon Fox
    Posted at 10:42h, 06 January Reply

    Good word. Thank you, Jenny!

  • Rebekah
    Posted at 10:43h, 06 January Reply

    “As you chase a dream, make sure it’s with your own definition, not somebody else’s.” Thanks for that line!! My husband and I don’t have any kids yet, but my passion is very much wrapped up in caring for our household. It’s tempting to try to fit molds and meet other’s expectations of what life *should* look like as a 21st century woman. Thanks for your transparency.

  • Kevin Haggerty
    Posted at 10:56h, 06 January Reply

    Not only does this passion “count,” it may count more than most. Being a mother is one of the single most important jobs in the world. My mom was a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM). My wife is a stay-at-home-mom. Neither of them were/are JUST stay-at-home-moms. To use the word JUST or ONLY with the idea of being a SAHM is ridiculous. It’s a job with no breaks or vacations. It’s a calling of true love and dedicated passion. You are truly doing the Lord’s work, Jenny. Your kids will be forever grateful.

  • Ondria
    Posted at 11:06h, 06 January Reply

    I love this answer! I am currently looking for a new job (out of need not want)…and on interviews I’ve been asked the wonderful question “Where do you see yourself in 5 years” I can’t answer…”not working.” but I want to!! I want to work for 3-5 years…pay off debt and then focus on my dream of being a full time mom and wife!

  • Casey
    Posted at 11:08h, 06 January Reply

    Because Acuff’s.

    Great post and I think it speaks volumes to us mom’s who forget that taking care of these families is a pretty big deal.

  • Kevin R
    Posted at 11:14h, 06 January Reply

    I’m so glad you shared your dream, my wife had the same dream and now that she has them raised her dream changed, now she took the first dreams skills she learned and is no a pediatric nurse. She is still a mom but now to other’s kids. Still gets to mend skint knee’s to holding hands of kids going through cancer. Your dreams can change with time.

  • Katie
    Posted at 11:18h, 06 January Reply

    Love this! What a great encouragement to those of us with similar dreams! 🙂

  • Kim
    Posted at 11:33h, 06 January Reply

    I think, if I had a chance, I would have answered in a similar way. I quit working 24 years ago, sold my small business in order, to begin my life as a full time mom, wife and homemaker. I do not regret the decision. My kids are getting old enough to not need a mommy and it is a hard transition because of the interference of these well intended people. They ask, “what are you going to do now that you can get a real job?”, “I guess it is time to start contributing to your family’s financial needs?” “What are you going to do with all you time?” My youngest is 17 and a junior in high school. We home school so I still have daily commitments to his schedule. We have a small business where I handle the administrative affairs, but with all the unseen duties of a mom and wife, it is so hard to try and explain without sounding like I’m afraid to “get a job” or “make a change”, in fact, I believe if I did there would be many things I would no longer be able to do as a result. I love taking care of my family, I chose to stay home, I felt called and listened, that counts for something right? Society does a poor job of dictating success and meaning to women. The hand that rocks the cradle does help the world. I need to always listen to heart, pray and discern the will of God, That has to be my 1st objective, not satisfying the need to fit in to the world’s grid. My filter has never been the status quot, it has always been a bit different, home school, home church, home maker, I am not normal.

  • Rachel
    Posted at 11:41h, 06 January Reply

    Well said, Jenny. Thanks and keep following your dreams! 🙂

  • Faye Bryant
    Posted at 12:07h, 06 January Reply

    Oh my word, yes it counts! Jon would never find his deep v-neck t-shirts if you didn’t keep the Acuff home in order!

    Your passion is an amazing one. One that includes some incredibly tough jobs and extensive on-the-job training with pay that is sometimes small and long in coming. But the benefits that you will reap will not be yours alone. Others are touched by you and your family, and because your passion is to invest in them, you touch the world.

    And if anyone doesn’t like your dream… go 8-year-old on them and tweak their nose.

  • Kerry
    Posted at 13:37h, 06 January Reply

    I truly believe that women should be able to do what makes them happy. I love being a mom but knew my years home with the kids were going to go fast. When they got older and it was time for me to go back to work, I avoided the business world that I’d worked in before. I found a job at a middle school and became a “mom” to @ 900 middle school kids. I then moved on to a high school and am “mom” to 1700 kids. The pay is not great and some days I want to rip all of my hair out, but most days I am happily watching over my very large brood.

  • Liz
    Posted at 14:14h, 06 January Reply

    Thank you so much! I recently, well almost 9 months ago now, had our first little one and thus becoming a stay at home mom. There is a part of me that thought some of my dreams and passions were now gone. But after reading this it has given me hope and a new perspective. They aren’t gone, they are just different and that’s okay

  • Megan
    Posted at 15:08h, 06 January Reply

    Few careers or passions impact individuals as profoundly as parenting. Why, then, are we surprised when someone cites this as their passion? Is it because it is so “regular” or because it is something many people view as an obligation rather than a call to excellence? Either way, striving to raise happy, empathetic, healthy, curious individuals is a very high calling. Striving for excellence in parenting is something I believe more people can/should aspire to!

  • Stephanie
    Posted at 15:13h, 06 January Reply

    On the other end of the spectrum, I’m often overlooked or treated in Christian circles as if I’m not contributing anything significant because I am in my mid-30s, single, and without children (though being a wife and mom *is* a dream I hold). In the meantime, I do have other dreams I follow, both career-related and personally. But all I want, sometimes, is to be able to remind those in stay-at-home-mom and working-mom shoes is that I’m still significant in the Christian community even though I’m not shaping 2.5 kids’ lives with a husband behind our picket fence. And we don’t have to share the same goals–kids, Pinterest, or otherwise–to be in community together and enjoy a friendship. 🙂 I’ve got several close friends who are Jennys, and several who are Pinterest-poster-children, and I land somewhere in the middle and it all works out fine.

    Bottom line: It indeed is important to define your own dream, while not discounting or knocking anybody else’s. Celebrate your differences. If we all had the same passions, we’d be one dull group of folks.

  • Brie
    Posted at 15:34h, 06 January Reply

    That is my passion too Jenny. People always as me if I’m going to pick up my hours as a nurse once the kids are in school. Absolutely not I say. I do that job 1/2 time so we can have a home with a yard, but my passion is making my home a home, being available for my kids and husband. I have to keep reminding myself that this is an acceptable passion!

  • Will Campbell
    Posted at 16:18h, 06 January Reply

    By definition a “passion” is something worth suffering/ dying for… so… you would sound silly to saying you would die for baking. I commend you for correcting another way people incorrectly use words. Hope is another word so often used incorrectly, we’ve given it a negitive connotation as in, “I hope this thing doesn’t go wrong, but I suspect that it will…”. When In fact hope should be a joyful expectation of oncoming good. Just wanted to add to the good momentum, so kudos again. 🙂

  • Michelle Woo
    Posted at 19:40h, 06 January Reply

    For those of us struggling with mommy-hood, it is encouraging and uplifting to hear someone say that being a mom and running the household is their passion. For those of us that do this, but, also have that nagging feeling that their dream is *suppose* to be outside of the house, it is a relief to hear someone on our side – NOT that we are taking sides – but just to hear a voice of support.

  • Paula Friedrichsen
    Posted at 20:59h, 06 January Reply

    Great post Jenny, thanks for sharing!!

  • Laura Perry
    Posted at 21:16h, 06 January Reply

    I’ve been a single unemployed mom, a working single mom, a married working mom, a married stay at home mom, and now I am a divorced working mom. They are ALL hard, they are ALL rewarding. They are ALL maddening. They are ALL amazing. I wish we would stop doing this to each other as women. Fierce, brave, smart, unselfish women put their very lives on the line so that future generations of women could have choices. It’s be awfully nice if we, sitting in the cheap seats and enjoying rights we didn’t fight for, didn’t pillory one another for exercising them.

  • Rachel S.
    Posted at 09:08h, 07 January Reply

    God and I are having a bit of a tiff over this right now. Raising my kids is what I’m doing—and I enjoy it, and I’m good at it—but I keep asking God, “Is this it? Being a mom is what I’m going to do? That’s the thing?” I assumed I’d be doing my own thing and have dreams unrelated to my role as a mom. But I think this middle section of my life is the mom time, and I’m supposed to be enjoying it without expecting to be a superstar. Unless there are superstar moms. I’d take that. But “Real SAHMs of the Midwest” wouldn’t do well, I fear.

  • SynCallio
    Posted at 13:04h, 07 January Reply

    Okay, I am not trying to be overly critical about this, but I feel like there’s so much more that needs to be addressed.

    For starters: Jon does not say that being a father is his passion. But I assume he’s a good dad. Can you give us some thoughts about that?

    At some point, your children will be grown. While they will always be your children, you will no longer be raising them. It makes sense that we can be given a new passion at any point in time, but I’d like to hear your thoughts on that.

    How do you separate a passion from a really strong desire? Is there a difference? I have a very strong desire to marry and have children. Right now, that’s not an option. I mean, I’m assuming my desire isn’t the same as a passion, and I have my reasoning, but I’d like to hear a perspective from someone who does have a family.

  • Molly N.
    Posted at 13:00h, 17 October Reply


  • Leilani Orr
    Posted at 06:59h, 23 October Reply


  • Wanda Simpson
    Posted at 08:41h, 10 January Reply

    Lovr this. At a workshop for women, we were asked what is your best achievement, and you can’t say your kids. I was ticked. That is my best achievement. My highest reward. My best work. Raising children takes dedication, wisdom, humor and a lot of love. I look at my two daughters and I have peace because they are bright and beautiful young women who are ready to face a difficult world. And it is team work. A project that my husband and I worked on together. God bless you Jenny Acuff. Your dream is awesome!

  • Tracy
    Posted at 08:51h, 10 January Reply

    I’ve always worked outside the home and like to think I’ve done some mildly interesting and perhaps even useful things in so doing, but the two best things I’ve ever done, am doing, or will do, are, as I type: (1) just starting her second semester at college; and (2) sacked out on the living room floor with a couple of his buddies and an empty bag of potato chips.

  • Kali
    Posted at 09:35h, 10 January Reply

    Hi Jenny!
    I hear you loud and clear. I became a full time mom after a very successful career in finance and insurance, and I still remember the feeling I got when we would go to a party and people would ask me what I did. I said, “I am a full time Mom.” Often the questioner’s face went blank and then they would ask, “But what do you DO?” Seriously?
    Are you ever tempted to take them through the step by step minutiae of caring for two children, keeping a house clean and stocked, feeding the troops and so much more? I developed a permanent groove in my tongue from biting it. Now, I am often asked what we did to raise such great kids who have become a prosecutor and a budding nurse practitioner. Well…
    I support all of my sisters who choose or have to work full time, in addition to raising their families, and particularly those brave women who do it alone. But I also support those who choose to make their family their career; we just need to be careful that we put as much passion into the marriage as we do into the children and that we keep good, healthy boundaries in our relationships with them as they grow up and onward into the future.
    Thanks for speaking out!
    PS: You might want to curate your comments a bit. I doubt sincerely that acne cream, etc. are adding to the discourse. 🙂

  • Kit
    Posted at 09:58h, 10 January Reply

    Amen, sister.

  • Kelly Combs
    Posted at 11:00h, 10 January Reply

    All I’ve ever wanted to be is a mom. Not “Just a mom.” But a mom. I love being a mom. I wrote about it here, on the blog of Michael Hyatt:

    Thanks for validating us moms, Jenny. We are doing hard work. We are raising the future leaders, dreamers, and yes moms, of the world!

  • Dona
    Posted at 14:34h, 10 January Reply

    Oh, yes, ma’am!!! You preach girl. I am 61 years old, raised 7 children and at the latest count, have 7 grandchildren. My passion was ALWAYS raising our kiddos, being a MOM, and taking care of our home! My passion is still my children, and now helping with the grandchildren, when needed!
    There were times that others tried to make me feel like I needed more….but, I knew I was doing what God had called me to do. Thank you!

  • Julie Carns
    Posted at 15:56h, 10 January Reply

    Love this! The hand that rocks the cradle rules the nation.

    I set aside my own businesses to raise our beautiful children; there are NO regrets in my mind to make this choice. We home educate our 7 children and are teaching them to learn how to teach themselves anything…ANYTHING!

    Why do I have to work in corporate America to feel fulfilled as a woman? I am fulfilling my God-given position by making my husband successful as the leader of our family and by teaching our children to be ready for whatever God has in store for them be it full time missions in a third world country or starting their own business. In fact two of our daughters that have graduated from our home school, now have their own business and another daughter that is in her junior year of high school-just completed her first novel. Our 11 year old son is starting his own business in our neighborhood and we are preparing our other children to do the same.

    Being a mom is living a BIG dream; dream big for your family!

  • John
    Posted at 16:36h, 10 January Reply

    Being a mom is a big enough dream. (PS I’m writing a book)

    Posted at 19:57h, 31 January Reply

    Cred c?? ??i-ar pl??cea s?? sari ??i cu parapanta, sau nu?

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