Nichole Nordeman Shares Life Changing Parenting Advice in Her New Book 'Slow Down'
Nichole Nordeman is an award-winning singer, songwriter, and author. Her new book Slow Down: Celebrating the Everyday Moments of Motherhood tells of her journey navigating the joys and challenges of having children and how her faith has shaped her approach to parenting.
Hope for Women: What inspired you to write a book about parenting?
Nichole Nordeman: I was really overwhelmed by the response to a song and video I released called Slow Down. I think it surprised me to watch it go viral the way it did, and I realized that this is the universal cry of a parent’s heart. Wanting our children to grow, of course, but not as fast as they are. In the absence of being able to slow their little lives down, somedays the best we could hope for is to slow ourselves down, and be more present in their lives. I really wanted to explore what that looks like.
As women, and mothers, we hold ourselves to such absurd standards…standards set by advertisers, or bloggers, or social media. For me, that can be paralyzing. Sometimes it helps to raise your hand and acknowledge how this feels. Almost always, other women start to raise their hands to say “me too.” This is the power of vulnerability and honesty. I wanted to write essays about being a mom that would give other women permission to have the “me too” moment.
HFW: What do you hope that readers take away from your book?
NN: I hope they feel seen and heard. I hope they feel less alone…especially the new moms, just starting out. I hope there are some practical suggestions too that are helpful in sorting out what really matters in the day to day. It’s so easy to get distracted by what doesn’t. I’ve created some journaling space in each chapter too. I think writing down your own reflections and intentional hopes in that space can be a really clarifying process.
HFW: What has been one of the most important lessons you’ve learned in your parenting journey?
NN: Ask for help. My friend Shauna Niequist gives new moms one beautiful line of advice when she’s at a baby shower… “Don’t do it alone.” I love that. Motherhood can feel very isolating, especially if you don’t feel like you’re doing it right, or the way everyone else is doing it. When I had really little children, I was too proud or insecure to wave my arms and ask for help, when I was going under. I felt like I should be strong enough to soldier through it alone. I wouldn’t make that mistake again. We are so much stronger together. And we can model supportive friendship for our children from a very early age.
HFW: What would you say is your greatest accomplishment?
NN: I don’t know that I would say this is an accomplishment as much as a gift. But I feel very blessed to get to do what I love, for a living. I don’t remember a time in my life when music wasn’t the language I wanted to speak, most fluently. Even 20 years later, the idea that I still get to make music (and people still want to hear it), really floors me.
HFW: Who has been a major influence or mentor in your professional life?
NN: My mom. She has so much more influence in my life than the usual mom encouragement and love. She’s an incredibly talented musician herself, and for as long as I can remember, she has been my most trusted soundboard. She’s the first one I play a new song for, or ask for a critique or feedback from. She’s my go-to person.
HFW: How do you find balance in your life?
NN: This answer changes with the seasons. Sometimes I feel like I have a real handle on life/work/family balance. Other times, I want to sob into my latte every morning. I’ve made peace with the fact that this is an ongoing part of my journey. I am always tweaking and adjusting. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to have self compassion, when things are out of balance. Not to beat myself up. Rather, acknowledge what’s not working, make the adjustments that need making (big or little), and declare tomorrow a new day.
HFW: What role does your faith play in your life and career?
It plays an enormous role. The first words I ever sang, and the first song I ever wrote was about Jesus. The church was my first stage (and still is my favorite one). In many ways, I think music is the way God had tethered himself to me, over these many years….sometimes by a thin thread. Regardless of the kind of music I write or record in the future, my first love will always be singing about the love of God.
HFW: If you could give one word of encouragement to moms what would you say?
NN: I would say you are enough. Exactly as you are. As you look. As you feel. Stop reading or watching or listening to anything that tells you differently. Stop comparing yourself to other moms. Comparison is soul death. God choose you, and you alone, to be a mom to your beautiful miraculous children, and they adore you.
You don’t have to strive or strain or beat yourself up about any of the ways you fall short. Right now, you are enough. Full stop.