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The Importance of Knowing You’re More Than a Mom with Kari Kampakis (Mental Health & Wellness Series)

Being a mom is amazing. Being a mom can also be all-consuming. But have you ever considered that to be the best mom you can be for you kids, you need time and care to be your best you?

Kari Kampakis is Julie Lyles Carr’s guest today in our Mental Health and Wellness series for an in-depth look at how to take care of you so you can take care of others.

Interview Links:


Purposely: Your life, God’s purpose. Listen at

Julie Lyles Carr: Before we jump into today’s episode is part of our special series on mental health and mental wellness, I have a favor to ask you. Something I really could use your help with. We’re putting together a special episode. It’s going to be coming up soon with our top listener questions. And I want to hear from you, would you please send in your questions for me, whether it has to do with parenting, with mental health and wellness, with marriage, with your faith walk, with work, whatever it is we want to hear from you, and if you would send those questions to [email protected]. That’s [email protected]. We’re gathering up those questions over the next few weeks, and then we’re going to have a special episode just for you. Now for today, we continue our special series on mental health and mental wellness. You’re on the AllMomDoes podcast. So let’s jump in to today’s episode.

I’m excited today to welcome back to the show Kari Kampakis. She was with us a few episodes ago, back on episode 136. I’ll ask Rebecca to put that in the show notes so you can check it out, talking about daughters, but today, as part of our series on mental health and wellness, Kari has come back for us to be able to talk about a topic that is near and dear to her heart.

Kari, thanks so much for being with me. 

Kari Kampakis: Thanks for having me back on Julie. 

Julie Lyles Carr: So give our listeners that little snapshot again, of where do you live in the world and your family and all that stuff. 

Kari Kampakis: Okay. I live in Birmingham, Alabama, and, um, I’m married to Harry or our name’s rhyme – Kari and Harry. Um, and we have four daughters. Our oldest daughter is a freshman at Auburn and then our other daughters are in 11th grade, ninth grade, and sixth grade. And then on top of that, I have written four books. I’ve written two books for teenage girls. And then after those books released, I released a book for moms of teenage girls. And then this new one that we’re talking about is for moms ourselves. 

Julie Lyles Carr: That’s so exciting. You know, I was born right up the road from Birmingham and Huntsville, Alabama. So that is kind of familiar territory in some ways. I lived there until I was about four. And then took off traveling the country because of my dad’s career with the space shuttle.

But that just still feels like home turf. I was in Birmingham for a conference a little while back, and it just, it is interesting how those places in spaces from our early childhood still really, really connect. So love your part of the world. Kari, as part of this series we’ve been trying to really drill down into the things that women are grappling with today.

And there are things that seem to be consistent throughout. And I think we could look back at some of the things that our grandmothers maybe great-grandmothers were dealing with and go, oh, you know what? There’s kind of a commonality there. There’s a, there’s a place across the generations. It feels familiar.

And then I think there are places too that do feel a little fresh. And one of the things that I know a lot of us can be thinking about in this lane has been what it’s been like for women during the pandemic. And the statistics and things that we see coming out of that time and what it means in terms of the weight that women carried, the number of women who had to exit the workforce to try to navigate all of the demands that were being made.

It also feels like to me, in some ways, even pre pandemic and you correct me if I’m wrong, but it feels like to me, there’s just been a lot on women in general, in the last couple of decades, in a way that is unique I think. And I, and to me, part of what comes from that is there are times that I think women have been limited by what their cultural or historic role was.

And we’ve seen some of those things go away, which has been great, but it also seems to have opened up this wide cavern of now, women are sort of expected to do EVERYTHING. What are some of the things that you’ve noticed when you talk with women and the women that you minister to, that you’re seeing, do you see that that kind of aligns with your experience?

Kari Kampakis: Yes. And I think you raised some great points about, you know, in a way, I think we’re really the first generation of moms that are working and raising kids. My mom worked when I was growing up, but she was rare in most moms didn’t work then. And so I think, and it’s interesting, even with my daughter’s generation, like I was surprised by how many of her friends had these big plans for their lives already as juniors or seniors in high school.

I mean, several of them want to be doctors and just dreaming big. And I was like, I don’t think I knew anybody who wanted to be a doctor at our age because women were just starting to work. But, um, it’s great in the option in the sense that it’s given us a lot of options, but. But yes, just juggling everything.

And I think motherhood has become so much more demanding. Social media doesn’t help it because we get to compare ourselves to every mom who’s out there. And I often think about – gosh, these poor moms with little ones. I raised my kids for six or seven years without social media. And so I wasn’t constantly questioning myself or getting all my information from the internet. If I had a question, I’d go to a family member or a friend rather than getting 700 opinions on the internet and it just simplified things. And I think now it’s just so easy to feel like we’re not doing enough or we’re falling behind. And then with the pandemic drone on and just all of the stress of that.

Um, I do, I do think, and that’s one reason I wrote this book just really focusing on a mom’s wellness because I was struggling at the time. And every mom I was talking to was struggling personally. And, um, and it was interesting because my editor was wanting another parenting book and I kept telling them what, well, what I’m saying, I feel like we need to focus on the moms because the moms are struggling and that’s affecting our parenting.

So that was something I really had to get across because I think that we, moms are so quick to do things, to help her kids. We are so quick to invest in our relationship with our kids. But when it comes to helping ourselves, we just don’t think we have the time for that. But what we realized during the pandemic, especially is that when we’re not in a good place, then it affects our parenting.

And we’re not as strong and healthy as we need to be for our family. And I felt like that was really the crack that opened up for myself and a lot of the moms that I was talking to is, I’m not in a good place and my anxiety is affecting my child’s anxiety or, you know, me not feeling like I’m going to healthy place it’s not like helping me be a strong mom for my children, like I want to be. And so it really forced us to take a look at ourselves and say, okay, what inner work do we need to do to better prepare ourselves to raise these children and be the moms that we want to be. 

Julie Lyles Carr: I love that you really leaned into that because I, I also have a parenting book and I I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity to have written that, but it is interesting because when you get to the end of that kind of a project, you begin to realize.

Wow. The quality of our parenting can only rise to the quality of how well we’re doing. We can have all the tools in the world and we can have all kinds of great approaches for managing our children well and dealing with their schedules and helping them fully realize who they were designed to be. But if we are struggling, there’s no way it’s not going to impact our kids. No matter how much we try to shield it, no matter how much we try to distance them from what we’re going through. We, we simply can’t. 

What is the top thing that you’re hearing from women? If you can crystallize it, we’ve kind of got this large issue, right? Of women who are stressed over work, trying to do all the things. Is there one thing that really bubbles to the top, when you talk with women about what they’re feeling, when it comes to all of the burden that is on them right now? 

Kari Kampakis: I really feel like it’s just the anxiety. And I do think that one that the teenagers, I think they say now one out of every three children is struggling with anxiety.

And as moms, of course, we’re feeling that for our children, but then we’re also anxious and we’re anxious in every season. And I talk to a lot of moms with younger kids and they were like, you know, should I get my kid the vaccine or not? Or they just talked about a lot of tension in their relationships, especially during the pandemic.

They had a friend get married, but they were pregnant and they didn’t really want to get into the wedding. They were scared of getting COVID and their friend wasn’t always that understanding. So there’s just so many, there’s so many decisions to be made and this future is so uncertain, I think, it’s creating a lot of anxiety.

And, um, and something else I do think is creating anxiety. I think there’s a mentality out there that – you especially say this as the kids get older and it’s what I’m seeing a lot in this season of parenting and hearing about a lot just in different communities I go to, is that. There’s this mentality that there’s just one track to success.

And if your child, you know, doesn’t make this team, then the plan is over or they don’t get in this friend group everything is ruined and it’s really just, you know, putting all of our eggs in that one basket at that one outcome. And as we know, life is not turning out the way we all expected it to at this point.

Just the anxiety of things, not going, like we thought they would. And, you know, from what I write, I write from a Christian standpoint. So it really does open up that topic of like, okay, what’s God’s plan for my child or my God’s plan for our family or for me. Um, you know, I know a number of people got divorced during the pandemic.

They’re amazing moms, and now they’re doing it alone. And so their life is not looking the way that they thought it would, but just to really just be confident and that God can still work with our circumstances no matter what is going on or put in our life just to keep leaning on him and trusting that plan, even when it’s not the plan that we originally envisioned envisioned for our children or for ourselves.

Julie Lyles Carr: Talk to me about a place that I see a lot of moms get to that I think deeply impacts their wellness. And yet it’s really thorny. I have a friend who always uses the phrase “there’s a lot of hair on that.” It’s really thorny because they’re being a great mom, really to their own peril. And here’s what I mean by that.

I have been in seasons myself. I have definitely been around women who they are so invested in their kids. Meaning if their kid can get on that team or be able to go to that event or make that kind of grade, that, that child already may be feeling anxiety themselves because they are wanting to be able to do these things. And these things are important to them. 

But now Mom is so invested in it that she herself is a big old, stress-ball because she’s so into it. Where is that line that we need to start thinking about as moms that we should be invested in our kids. We should really care, but when it’s our whole world, when it is everything, I think I’m finally learning Kari, after all these kids and all these years that when I’m that deeply invested, it actually does not help my child. I could almost argue it could hurt my child because everything becomes about them. What are you seeing with moms in that way? And how do we resist that draw that pull that feels like good mom energy, right? But, but instead can be taking us to a place where it’s burdening our kids too much because all of our hopes and dreams and expectations are on them, right? 

Kari Kampakis: Oh, that is, I think that’s the number one thing. And I actually just wrote an article about this, but I think it boils down to where we finding our identity and we are living in a culture of child centered parenting where it is that “all-in” parenting and we want to be the best moms we can be. But sometimes we’re finding our identity so much in our children, that our joy is centered on our children. And even I have, uh, friends, uh, you not think about what kind of relationship I want to have with my children as they grow up and leave home, like what will make them want to come home?

And one of my psych therapist, friends, she’s like, you know, my mom, I’m the center for universe and I hate it because it’s, she just puts all this pressure on me to be her source of joy instead of getting her joy from another place. And she’s like, I really think it preserves your relationship with your child when they’re not the center of your universe when they’re very important. 

But, um, but a good way to illustrate this – a psychologist friend recently told me about this is I think it’s called the circle of security. And it basically says that the goal of a parent is to be the stronger, kinder, wiser one. And so we want to be the stronger in the relationship with our child and a good analogy for this. As you imagine that say your child is getting on the emotional roller coaster and they are getting all panicked over something.

And as moms, it’s hard not to get panicked alongside with them because we’re seeing all the details play out. We know their lives so well. Sometimes we know too much of what’s going on. And so instead of getting on that emotional roller coaster with them, we can be the one who’s telling them, you know, I’m not going to ride that ride with you, but I will be standing here at the gate with my arms wide open waiting for you when you get off.

And so I think that’s really the goal as parents is we want to be the stronger one and we want to of course, empathize and listen and be sensitive to what our kids are going through. Let’s also give them that source of security and strength and to be that one that I’m not going to get rattled. I know that everything’s going to work out even if it doesn’t look like it right now. And I think our kids really crave that. And what I’ve realized as a mom, after parenting for 20 years, I’ve finally come to realize this, like, to be that person I have to take care of myself. And, um, one thing I really think that we don’t do enough as moms is build our own support network and our own adult village, because we’re so concerned with our child center parenting and helping our kids make friends and making sure they’re okay that sometimes we neglect our needs, like our needs for an adult village.

And, um, you know, I said, especially when you’re raising teenagers, I’m like, they don’t always make you feel good. You know, they’re not always going to. But, you know, it’s, it’s tough. It’s and it’s – it’s hard to keep loving them when they’re rolling their eyes or you’re having a bad day or you’re in a rocky season.

And so I’ve learned it’s really important for me to strengthen my relationship with my spouse and my Bible club and my friends, and just have people in my life who were building me up, who were loving me and that way I can turn around and love my child and be strong for them regardless of how they’re acting towards me.

And I think that’s really what moms we’re not always doing for ourselves. Finding those outside sources, especially leaning on our faith too, and just drawing our strength from God and, um, you know, just really pursuing him and just relate you to building that relationship so that we can then turn around and love our child the way that God loves us, regardless of whether we’re loving him back at the time.

But it’s hard.

Julie Lyles Carr: It’s is! One thing that I found that became really interesting for quite a period of time. Some of my primary relationships tended to be toward the other moms who were part of my kids’ and their kids’ shared activities. And some of those friendships are really sweet and, and still remain to this day.

But I needed to get to a place where my friendships were not all just with the soccer moms or the dance moms or the whatever, you know, where I had relationships outside of that, because sometimes we can stand back and go, oh, well I do have friendships. I do have a village, Kari. I’ve got it. And then if we stop and think about it, we’re like, But yeah. But when that kid finishes up that whole soccer club and goes on to college, like, that’s it. So you have, who is not just aligned and attached through those activities through school, through all that kind of stuff. You know, for a long time we’ve been pushing back against this phrase. We’ve been reminding ourselves, we’ve been telling our sisters, Hey, let’s not say I’m just a mom.

You know, like that’s such a, that’s such a difficult phrase because you’re diminishing what you do and what you do is so important. And so we’ve been working on purging that from our language. I love in this new book that you have entitled it “More than a Mom.” And I can almost imagine there are some moms who are going to have a sense of, Ooh, Well, but my children are my world and my call is to be with these kids. And more than a mom, I mean, I’m not going to slide into some kind of self-involved you’re like, what, what is that going to mean? And so talk to me about those places when we feel a sense of almost guilt, like, well, can I be more than a mom? Like I don’t, I don’t know. Am I supposed to be dad? I mean, I’m only gonna have these kids in my house, a short amount of time. All the things that we tell ourselves. 

When we start feeling that, that maybe we, we aren’t ready. Or how do we feel about being more than a mom? How do we get over that sense? Because I think there are a lot of places in our culture today and frankly, within our and within our faith communities that sometimes it’s like, okay, well, it’s fine if you don’t say you’re just a mom, but I don’t know if I’m ready for you to say you’re more than a mom, right?

Kari Kampakis: No, I agree completely. And I think that I learned that lesson the hard way, you know, especially having four daughters close together. I was like, I am all in. And so I just felt like if somebody was, I met somebody, that was my introduction. I’m a mom of four girls. Like that is my identity. That’s, that’s who I am.

But what I’ve seen as my girls grow up is that our kids grow up and they get a life of their own. And what happened as my girls became teenagers is I was still kind of like centering my life around them and they didn’t want that. I mean, they still want to be engaged, but they didn’t want to be the center of my attention.

And it was starting to hurt our relationship. And I think that’s what happens, you know, with moms, when we don’t see ourselves as just more than a mom, when our children become more self-sufficient as they go to college and our relationship changes, and we’re still there to mentor them, coach them, cheer them on, guide them that they don’t need us in the same way.

It’s more of an adult relationship that if we do keep centering our life around them and making them the center of our source or the center of our joy. You know, our, everything that sometimes it can push them away. And so what I found is, as I started investing in other things, like still making my family a priority, like they’re still my priority. I still feel like my family will always be my biggest purpose in life. Like nothing will ever compare to raising children or compare to my calling as a mom. That definitely has given me the greatest joy in my life, but also having other things that, you know, other things in my life that don’t relate to my children Just work that I’m passionate about and friendships, strong friendships.

And what I also realize I’m doing, I’m modeling this for my children. And, you know, especially you realize that as your children become teenagers, um, you know, they, they’re always going to remember what they witnessed in our life right now. And I was so aware of that, especially my daughter’s final years at home before she went to college.

And I was like, I need to take care of my health. I need to keep my doctor appointments because I want her to keep her doctor appointments. If she’s not feeling well, I want her to go get it checked out. I don’t want her to let it slide. And I wanted her to see me having strong friendships. I was like, I want my daughter to have strong friendships.

So she grows up and becomes an adult. And I’ve got a model in my life, what I want to see in her life. And, um, you know, and this all kind of coincided too with my mom passing away. And you know, when you lose a parent, it’s just, you just have this flood of memories. And I was so surprised that so many of my memories with my mom were from my teenage years and my early twenties.

Like just so many, they’re just very vivid in my mind. And I think it’s because I was at that age where you actually remember things and also is at the age while still spending a lot of time with my mom. It’s I think it’s moms, you know, sometimes motherhood is motivating. We might not do these things for ourselves.

Well, I don’t need friends or I don’t need a life beyond my children, but actually it’s good for our children to see us doing that. And I have found that it has strengthened my relationship with my children. That way, you know, when my daughter’s at college, when she’s living her life, you know, I’ve got things that keep me busy at home, things that I’m passionate about.

But yet I’m so excited when I get to see her. And, um, I’m not making her like the center and the source of all my joy, because I’m finding that as a child of God and just in these other things that I’m doing. Um, so for me, the faith component really comes into play here. The whole premise of this book is that we are more than just a mom.

That is a, a huge identity and. Uh, part of our identity and a huge role in our life. But our greatest identity is that we are children of God. And that is our number one identity. And just really seeing ourselves as a child of God and knowing that we still have a purpose, even as our children leave home.

I think that’s one of the biggest misconceptions that women have. And I hear from a lot of moms who are in that season, like I’m really struggling. I don’t have a job or anything I’ve done besides motherhood. And they’re feeling lost at age 50 or 55. But in my opinion, I’m like, you’ve got the greatest tool to offer the world.

You know, you have got a mother’s heart and you can take that into any calling, any job, I mean, there’s so many needs in our world that that call for mother’s heart. And you can’t teach that to a 20 year old. You can’t teach that in a training seminar. And I think it’s just really helping women see that we can have so many different purposes in life.

Nothing may compare to being our calling as a mom, nothing may give us that same kind of joy, but we can still add good to the world and do things with our lives and our talents as our children are living their lives.

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It’s funny that you bring up this idea of modeling for our kids, what adult womanhood looks like. You’re so right. My mom has recently passed as well and you’re right. I mean, it is the memories from those teenage years and early twenties. And I think I was watching more closely. There’s something assumptive I think when you’re younger about your parent being alongside you, there’s sort of this mythical character that takes care of you and you’re not necessarily super imposing that upon who do I want to be? What’s the kind of woman I want to be? And I do remember several things much more clearly from those years of my teenage hood until my early twenties with my mom.

You’re so right. It’s interesting to me too, because I was reflecting as you were talking about that. When I was a kid growing up in Southern California, my dad’s office was actually part of the, it sounds strange, but in the town, in which we were living, which was all aerospace industry, there were offices that were leased to different people in a hotel.

That sounds weird. I know, but there was a bottom floor that were office suites and they looked out over the hotel swimming pool. And so as kids, my brothers and I, my mom would take us and we were able to go swim at this pool. And I knew my dad’s office was just on the other side of that window and every now and then Kari every now and then we get to slip in and say hi to him in his office.

And it was this moment as a kid of going, my dad has this whole life that exists. I know he loves us and he’s home in the evenings and we’re having dinner and we’re doing all the things, but he has this whole world that is this full life. And in many ways, I assumptively thought that I knew my mom’s whole world because she was with us all the time.

And so her sitting at the table working on taxes, that was her desk. That was her office. That’s where we ate dinner. You know, I mean, it was this place where I felt like I had more of a window into her daily world, but I also kind of took it for granted that we were the center of it. So in that way, I feel like when we’re talking about being more than a mom, that mentality of what is our quote-unquote “office” where our kids know there is this world, there’s this container for things that they are loved and adored, but aren’t all about them that we’re doing and how powerful that felt even to observe that as a child. What are some top things we can do? Because this term, self care, Kari, you and I both know it’s super loaded because there are times where like, it’s not just about getting a pedicure and I’m like, sometimes it is a thousand percent about getting a pedicure, but how do you unpack that idea and how do we make sure these are things that are really going toward our wholeness, our health, particularly if we are concerned we’re going to slip into a self-indulgence?

Or maybe we have, because honestly, Kari, I have observed some situations. I am not trying to mom judge at all, but when we face difficult times, if the teenage girl is being difficult in our household, it’s human to want to escape and avoid that. If things are tough in the marriage, if we’re in a season of parenting, that’s really challenging it’s normal to want to put distance between ourselves and that. And even that’s not really self-care and it can lapse over into just avoidant behavior. So how do you approach this whole idea of self care and putting the checks and balances in place that make it what it’s really supposed to be? 

Kari Kampakis: Yes. That is a great question. And I actually talk about that in the book that, you know, self care has a lot of negative connotations, and I think that we’re just a country of extremes or just a world of extremes. Sometimes we have a hard time finding moderation in things. And so it seems today in society, we either have a mentality of self worship or mentality of self neglect.

Like I don’t need to be taking time for myself. My family is my everything, but once you’ve been parenting 10 or 20 years, I mean that, that mentality will catch up with you. And I’m at the age now where I know people who have a diagnosis that they’re like, I just didn’t go to the doctor for five years. If I had gone five years ago, I would not be at this point right now. And so, you know, self-neglect does catch up with us at some point, but as you said, I think there’s also that common mentality of self worship and what, you know, up self-care is such a big buzz word right now. We could do anything in the name of self care.

We could, you know, go on a cruise every month. That we could leave our family in the name of self care. I mean, there’s, it can take a, definitely a negative and even a toxic turn. So again, I think it all goes back to the faith component and really thinking about like, what is feeding our soul. And maybe it should be more about like soul care and really what’s helping us grow closer to God.

What’s helping us be the role model that we want our children to see. And like I said, with my girls growing up, that’s something I really think about a lot. And you know, I look at it as, okay, I want to be. I hope to live another 40 or 50 years, God willing, who knows. But I was like that, I got to take care of myself to make it that long.

You know, sometimes I feel like I’m going down right now. You know, you already feel the elements of age. Um, that I’ve also noticed too, that, you know, teenagers are naturally self-centered. I think we live in a little bit of a narcissistic society just with social media and all that. And so it’s so important for our kids to see that they’re not the center of the universe and you really see that as they get older, that it hurts them in their relationships. It hurts them in everything when they, when they have that mentality. And when they don’t understand the importance of giving back and using their gifts to help others. And just seeing that, they’re just a small part of the picture.

They’re very important, but they’re put on this earth to serve others and to show God’s love to others and to use their talents and gifts for a higher purpose and it’s going to make them happier. It’s going to lead to more meaningful life. And I think that as we show that as moms that, you know, we’re taking care of ourselves, but it’s basically so that we have more to give, give to others.

So that we have more energy and talents to pour out to others. That that’s really the sole purpose is that we’re trying to keep ourselves in a good place so that we can keep serving others to the best of our ability. And just seeing that, I guess that big picture. And, um, you know, it is, it is neat, even my oldest daughter’s in college and I think she might go into counseling or psychology now, but she doesn’t know exactly what she wants to do, but she knows she wants to help people.

And she’s kind of saying some of the, what I’ve done through some of my writing and it’s influenced her and having that bigger picture of wanting to help people and see a tangible result of that. And so I do think it’s important just, and we can do this a stay-at-home moms, even if that’s our job. I mean, there’s so many women with these beautiful talents and they do so much, they are the unsung unsung heroes. I mean they will make an event beautiful. They do the flowers or they plan the party. They’re the one going and sitting with a friend who’s, who’s having a hard time. Um, and I know mom and my community that there was a mother with MS years ago and she couldn’t drive. And so several moms would each take a different day each week and they would take her to Bible studies or to the grocery store.

Like that was their, their thing that they would do for their friend. And that’s the kind of thing you don’t see on social media, but it’s so important. And I think as our children see us investing in people beyond our own family, it’s planting those seeds that hopefully they will think beyond themselves one day too.

And they’ll think beyond their own family. And yes, like I said, keep your family priority, but also just see that bigger picture that the world has so many needs out there. So many people are struggling and suffering and we can help them. And it’s going to lead to a richer life. If we do. 

Julie Lyles Carr: Kari, talk to me about the woman who kind of comes up to the surface and says, wow, I have dedicated my whole world to my kids, my husband, and now I’m sort of waking up a fresh into realizing that I’m tired. I’m resentful. I spent all these years, these people have all spun out to do their own lives and kind of left me here because for some women making that transition from just a mom to more than a mom can leave them with a lot of resentments and angers and feelings that they missed opportunities when they were younger.

That, and that isn’t appreciated with the people that they did it for. How does that mom move into a place of making peace with that? Because the reality is you and I both know there’s just time you can’t get back and you’re going to be making choices. I know a lot of women who probably could have been here in a career if they had you know, didn’t been a little more strategic in how they handed off certain components of their household responsibilities. I know women who resent that they didn’t get those years with their kids because they were in a different kind of position. And so as women are moving through those seasons and realizing that they’re loving their motherhood, but it is not the thing that can always remain center.

What does that woman do with those feelings that are not a sense of, oh, the sweet years we did that. They’re looking back and going, man, I missed a lot of life or I was undermined or I wasn’t appreciated. And now here I am. What does she do with that? 

Kari Kampakis: Oh, that is such a good point. And a great question. You know, I think that, I think it’s important for all of us is to just remember that we can’t change the past and we can’t change our decisions.

And for the mom who feels like she poured and poured into her family and invested and it went unappreciated, but also find peace and saying, you know what, I’m very proud of that. And that, you know, I loved my people well, and I think that’s something we don’t give ourselves enough credit for. And yes, I did sacrifice this opportunity, but I invested it in my children and my family. And, um, I’m thankful that I had that opportunity and that I did that, that, um, you know, I think there’s that you can look at it that way. 

But I do also think that that’s probably a journey of having to get through that resentment and that bitterness. And like I said, our kids, I don’t think our kids can really, they can never, probably fully appreciate us, like maybe an adult would, but also until they become a parent, which might be what, 20 years from now and not wait for the day when you can finally understand. But like what I really, what I’ve really learned as a mom is I have the sweetest husband in the world.

I mean, he is so understanding, but as my kids have gotten older, I’ve realized I’ve needed my mom friends even more. And it’s, it’s funny with your mom, friends. I feel like you need them when your kids are little, when you’re just surviving and just help me get through the afternoon and whoever’s baby needs a diaper change. You just grab that baby and change them. 

And then I think with parenting, we sometimes get to that sweet spot where we felt like, okay, this is my jam, my family, it we’re just, we’re cruising here. This is a good spot. Before the teenage years, I feel like now looking back, it’s kind of when you catch your breath for what’s to come, and then you go through the teenage years and you’re launching kids and you’re looking at an unknown future.

And, um, and it’s hard. I mean, everybody’s, life is hard in different ways, but the, the teenagers are having bigger problems and bigger struggles. We don’t always have quick answers or solutions. You might be struggling in that relationship. And I really think it’s so important for moms to have mom friends and, um, you know, especially if you are doing it alone, just have mom friends that get your heart and that know, oh my gosh, I know your child didn’t appreciate that birthday party, but I know you spent three hours planning that, or I know that you blew up all those balloons by yourself. That balloon arch took you five hours to make. Something that our kids wouldn’t even appreciate or think twice about. 

Having those mom friends just can help. Like I said, have that love in your life and that appreciation that you might not be getting at home. And again, I think it’s really important just to find that village and it’s going to look different for everybody.

It might be your hairdresser. It might be your therapist. It might be your grandmother. You know, I hope, um, I’m making a mental note to myself as my girls grow up. Like, I want to be a cheerleader for them. I want to be the kind of mother who’s telling them. You’re an amazing mom. They might not be hearing that from anybody else, but you know, what can I do to help you?

You’re doing an amazing job and now your kids don’t appreciate it yet, but one day they will. But I think it’s so important for women to hear those voices in their lives and to do that for each other. And I really think that’s one thing that’s, um, that’s really hurt us as a society is that we don’t support other moms like that.

We’re all just so focused on keeping our own head above water. You know, a lot of times thinking about how are other people making me feel what’s everybody doing for me without really thinking that, you know what? I have the power to go create that mom community, where we are lifting each other up where we are speaking life and truth to each other.

And, um, especially for our single mom friends or somebody that’s going through a hard time. I’ve always found that when, when I’m going through a hard time, usually have people around me who are strong and they can be strong for me and say, when I feel like I’m in a strong place, I try to be that strong friend for about, for others.

And just know that God didn’t create us to do this alone to really, to work with those things. And that, like I said, as we do create that, that adult village, as we find other things that gives us, give us joy and just leaning into our faith and finding strength from God. And just ultimately, you know, finding our, our joy in Christ and just our relationship with him and just knowing that no matter what goes on in our life, that we still have that joy, that we still have that hope of heaven and that any pain we find that face in this world is temporary.

And there’s so much more to come. But I think just, you know, as we get to that point, growing in our faith, it allows us to turn around, like I said, and just love our children and our family. Like God loves us without those strings attached, without expectations. And as we all know, the people who love like that, who don’t, who can love others without expectation, they’re the ones that we want to be around. They’re the ones that our grown kids are going to want to be around. And so I’m often thinking about how can I become that person? My dad’s a great example. I mean, he just, he’s a love ninja. He loves seeing us and, but there’s nothing expected in return. He’s just a strong person.

He’s got a very strong faith and we love being with him for that purpose. But, um, but it’s hard because as moms, like, like you said, we’re constantly pouring out. And, um, a lot of what we do is unappreciated, but I think it’s just knowing that having those adult friends who get it, and then also having our faith and knowing that no matter what’s happening in our life, just remembering how loved we are by God.

Remembering our identity as a child of God and just really finding and strength and rest in that. 

Julie Lyles Carr: So many great points, so much wisdom. And I know there’s even so much more packed into your newest book, just a mom Kari. I mean “More than a Mom.” I did it again, Kari! See it’s so part of our culture. “More than a Mom,” not just a mom.

Kari, Thank you so much for returning to the podcast. You’re your first episode listeners, just so appreciated. I so appreciate it. And it’s great to be able to have you back. Where can listeners find out more about you, connect with you on social media, all the places? 

Kari Kampakis: Okay. I’m most active on Instagram and Facebook under Kari Kampakis. And then the book is available everywhere books are sold. 

Julie Lyles Carr: Excellent. All right. Well, Kari, thank you so much for being part of this special series on mental health and wellness for moms. I just can’t thank you enough for being here. 

Kari Kampakis: Thanks for having me.

Julie Lyles Carr: Check out our show notes because that’s what you’re going to find all the great links and extra resources. Rebecca puts those together every week. Hey, before you finish up today, would love your help with this. We are putting together – first time we’ve done it this way – we’re putting together an episode with your questions.

It can be any questions you have specific to this series, but it can also be just anything just general faith issues, mom’s stuff, wife stuff. Just send it our way. If you would send those to [email protected], that’s [email protected]. I would so appreciate it. Really excited to put together a special episode for you. And we want to hear from you. 

Join us on the socials. Go to for more posts and resources and great tools. I love to hear from you too. I’m Julie Lyles Carr in all the places on the social medias. And I’ll see you next time on the AllMomDoes podcast.

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