Catholic Conference 4 Moms: "Joy in the Family"


Editor’s Note: This is one of a series of 5 reflections on the Catholic Conference 4 Moms, an annual online conference hosted by CatholicMom contributor Tami Kiser. This year, the conference theme is “Pass It On: Equipping kids for the journey of faith,” and is proud to be a conference sponsor. Visit to sign up for the FREE 5-day conference and enter the door-prize drawing. – Barb

"Catholic Conference 4 Moms: Joy in the Family" by Courtney Vallejo

Copyright 2018 Tami Kiser. All rights reserved.

We’re moms, which means we don’t always do the best job of making time for ourselves. For me, going on a retreat is a rejuvenating experience, but at the same time, one that comes with a cost. Retreats can be far away, expensive, and time-consuming. They often require us to find child care and make arrangements for the family while we’re attending the conference. As you’ve heard this week, there is a wonderful opportunity for moms to experience a retreat. There is no travel needed, no babysitting required, and best of all — it’s FREE! What could be better than an absolutely free conference that you watch from the comfort of your couch, in your pajamas?

When I heard about the conference, I was eager to listen to the sessions, but I had a nagging thought. Conference talks usually last about an hour. By the time I sit down after a long day, the idea of focusing on a talk seemed almost impossible. I logged into the site and realized the talk was only 20 minutes! I wondered if there was a mistake, or if this was only a portion of the talk. I came to find out that each talk is actually about 20 minutes. It was a completely doable amount of time to stay focused and engaged. The talks can be listened to during nap time at home, or lunchtime at work.

I was grateful to be able to review Steven Ray’s, “Joy in the Family.” Mr. Ray made a variety of points which challenged me to look at my motherhood and the choices I’ve made in my parenting. Today, I will just share a few with you, as I wouldn’t want to spoil the talk for you.

The first point I want to mention was that we have to eventually wean our children. As they get older, we need to let them break away. I tend to feel like a helicopter mom, always worrying about my kids. Are they behaving, are they hungry, are they playing nicely with others, are they getting made fun of? Through the gift of counseling, I’ve been able to practice detachment from my need to control. I’m praying that as my children grow, I can allow them to make their own choices. I pray that I won’t feel the need to control the outcomes for them or enable them in any way.

Steven Ray mentioned that many of his children got married at a young age. When asked about their reason for their young weddings, one of their sons admitted that Steven and his wife had made their marriage look so fun. He wanted to join the fun as soon as he could. It really made me wonder about what our children think of our marriage. They see us argue, but do they also notice when we have fun together? Do they see how much we outwardly and inwardly love each other?

The last point I’ll mention today is something I feel like posting on the fridge as a reminder. He said, “A kid’s job is to play.” I don’t know if I really stopped to consider that. We homeschool and so I see the benefits, especially for my boys, of being able to run around and play outside when they need to burn off some energy. I think that society is so focused on being productive and having something to show for it that play gets ignored and removed from the schedule. After my sons run around and play, they come back inside and I can see an improvement in their learning. They are more focused and more attentive.

I can’t encourage you enough, to take the time to participate in this conference. Take the time for yourself. Allow yourself to be rejuvenated and refreshed. Think of this as a crash course in parenting. Take a moment to be inspired and uplifted, to head back into the land of motherhood.

Read the rest of our reflections on the Catholic Conference 4 Moms.

Copyright 2018 Tami Kiser for Catholic Conference 4 Moms. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2018 Courtney Vallejo


About Author

Courtney Vallejo is a convert to the Catholic faith, who lives in California. She and her husband homeschool their three adopted children. She is the cofounder of, whose mission is to inspire, encourage, and reclaim joy in motherhood. She also writes for her own blog, Courtney holds a Master's degree in Film Production and a California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. Follow her Gluten Free/Dairy Free adventures on Instagram: @aglutenfreerevolution.

Leave A Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.