Parenting is not a clean-cut, simple process for those who like to follow the rules. Family life is messy and unpredictable, but it is the greatest adventure you will ever have. We are Mike and Alicia Hernon, parents of 10 children ranging from 6 to 23 and we would like to invite you into some of the conversations we have had with each other about marriage, parenting, and Catholic family life. Our hope is that our conversation sparks a dialogue between you and your spouse that leads to greater unity and intentional Christian parenting in your home. Listen in to our podcast and start the conversation as we seek to lead our families to heaven. Visit us at MessyFamilyProject.org for resources, guides, links and show notes.
Here's the Latest Episode from Messy Family Podcast : Catholic conversations on marriage and family:
“This world is our ship and not our home” ~St. Therese of Lisieux This past summer our family lost a beloved uncle, brother-in-law, and husband. Alicia’s uncle passed into eternity at home with his wife, and Alicia and her … Continue reading
The post MFP 139 : The Honor of Accompanying a Soul to Eternity appeared first on Messy Family Project.
The family is so important because, when it’s lived well, it teaches us how to be really human. It’s a school in how to love. – Archbishop Chaput In this podcast we continue to answer some very important listener … Continue reading
The post MFP 138 : Non-practicing Spouses, Mouthy Teens, and Keeping Kids Catholic appeared first on Messy Family Project.
“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” – James 1:5 Listeners send us questions all the time and … Continue reading
The post MFP 137 : Toxic Relationships, Social Media, and Talking to Kids about Sex appeared first on Messy Family Project.
Ritual is an ancient and inextricable part of human nature. And while it may take many forms, it remains a powerful tool for promoting resilience and solidarity. ~ Dimitris Xygalatas, researcher Rituals are an essential part of creating connections … Continue reading
“Most good people are taking care only of themselves, while most evil people are taking care of everyone else.” Fr. James Keller Looking at the turmoil we are experiencing within our culture, we are becoming more and more convinced that … Continue reading
“Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.” ~MLK, Strength to Love Many of … Continue reading
The post MFP 134 : Talking to your kids about Racism, Riots, and Real Reparation appeared first on Messy Family Project.
“Trust is choosing to make something important to you vulnerable to the actions of someone else.” – Charles Feltman Trust is the foundation of any healthy relationship. When we trust our spouse we can stand before them, just as … Continue reading
“If your boundary training consists only of words, you are wasting your breath. But if you ‘do’ boundaries with your kids, they internalize the experiences, remember them, digest them, and make them part of how they see reality.” ― … Continue reading
(Parents) must be recognized as the primary and principal educators. This role in education is so important that only with difficulty can it be supplied where it is lacking. ~ Declaration on Catholic Education The Church has always made … Continue reading
Day 1: No big deal. We can do this. Day 2: Did school with kids. Ended in tears. Argued with teenagers. Day 3: Screens all day. Gave up on abstaining from alcohol for Lent. Day 4: What are we doing??? … Continue reading
The post MFP 129 : Parenting During Crisis – The Corona Diaries appeared first on Messy Family Project.
“Man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, can fully find himself only through a sincere gift of himself.” ― St. John Paul II Men and women approach sex from two very different … Continue reading
The post MFP 128 : Make Love not War: A Field Guide for Marriage appeared first on Messy Family Project.
“Parents are, through the witness of their lives, the first heralds of the Gospel for their children.” ~St. John Paul II This Lent and Easter why not walk on the path of holiness that God has laid out for … Continue reading
The post MFP 127 : Celebrating Lent and Easter with your family appeared first on Messy Family Project.
“If we’re not teaching our children how to understand tough moral issues, then the world will” ~from Made this Way by Trent Horn and Leila Miller Our culture all around us is throwing tough issues into our lives and … Continue reading
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” Mt 18:20 For some couples, praying together is very natural but for others, it feels awkward or forced. (You’ll have to listen in to … Continue reading
The post MFP 124 : Praying as a Couple – A threefold cord is not easily broken appeared first on Messy Family Project.
We started this topic in our last podcast MFP122, but there was so much to cover we had to continue the discussion! In this podcast, we discuss the different ways boys and girls deal with aggression and why parents need … Continue reading
The post MFP 123 : Parenting and Appreciating the Giftedness of Boys and Girls appeared first on Messy Family Project.
“There is no such thing as a “child” there are only boys and girls.” ~ Dr. Leonard Sax In a culture that is proclaiming gender as “fluid” and is encouraging “gender-neutral” parenting, we proudly stand and say boys and … Continue reading
The post MFP 122 : They Sure are Different! Boys and Girls in a Messy World appeared first on Messy Family Project.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem, the Lord surrounds his people, Both now and forever. Psalm 125:2 The power of a name, the importance of memory, the responsibility to heal the world, the reality that God dwells with us – … Continue reading
The post MFP 121 : Lessons Learned from our Jewish Brethren appeared first on Messy Family Project.
“We owe it to our husband or wife, our fellow workers, our children, our friends, indeed to everyone who comes into our lives, to be as happy as we can be. Happiness is a moral obligation.” ― Dennis Prager … Continue reading
“I don’t know what’s more exhausting about parenting: the getting up early or the acting like you know what you are doing.” ~Jim Gaffigan There are few bigger changes in life than going from having no children to having … Continue reading
“…a time will come when the decisive battle between the kingdom of Christ and Satan will be over marriage and the family. But do not be afraid, because Our Lady has already crushed his head.” ~ Sr. Lucia … Continue reading
The post MFP118 : Know Your Enemy: Spiritual Warfare for Parents appeared first on Messy Family Project.
“Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.” ~Stephen Covey St. Francis would tell his followers “Let us begin again for until now … Continue reading
The most important person on earth is a mother…She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral—a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby’s body. — Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty Our society not only devalues mothers, … Continue reading
Therapy is not giving another person control over your life. It is taking control of your own life and emotions and making the choice to change. Social fragmentation, the break down of the family, isolation, and stress has wounded and … Continue reading
The post MFP 114 : Blessed in Our Brokenness Counseling and the Catholic Family appeared first on Messy Family Project.
You’ve got questions, we have some answers During our tour of Australia, we had the opportunity to meet many listeners and make some amazing new friends. One of our events was a day seminar for engaged and newly married couples … Continue reading
“The family is indeed more than any other social reality, the place where an individual can exist ‘for himself’ through the sincere gift of self…it is the ‘sanctuary of life’” ~ St. John Paul II, Letter to Families, #11 … Continue reading
Have you ever felt like your world was going up in smoke? Listen in as we explain this dramatic story of our car fire, where no injuries occurred or lives lost, but the disaster was complete. Though the loss was … Continue reading
“The world offers you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.” ~ Pope Benedict XVI Men today can’t do anything right. The world has taken the idea of masculinity and distorted it to … Continue reading
“Prayer knocks at the door, fasting obtains, mercy receives.” ~St. Peter Chrysologus We have a very exciting program to share with you all in this podcast that we are doing for Lent. We know that we want to bring … Continue reading
“Love is never something ready made, something merely given to man and woman, it is…a task which they are set. Love should be seen as something which never ‘is’ but is always only ‘becoming’…” ~St. John Paul II “I define … Continue reading
“Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14 Most parents realize that young children are not little adults and they have particular needs for their physical and … Continue reading
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children, instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4 More than any other topic, discipline is something listeners have asked us to address in our podcast. Our hesitation has … Continue reading
Welcome to the 100th podcast! We are celebrating the public launch of our ministry with new branding, new website, and even new intro and outro music on the podcast itself! As promised, we decided to interview the people who had … Continue reading
We listen to what our parents say to us because this is how we figure out who we are. – Dr. Meg Meeker The words that parents say to their children are important, but equally as important (if not more) … Continue reading
Raising children is beautiful but also hard work. It’s a task for unselfish, devoted parents. ~ Archbishop Chaput Parenting is not for cowards, that is for sure! Thankfully, God gives children two parents who, when they work together, can provide … Continue reading
“Each family finds within itself a summons that cannot be ignored and that specifies both its dignity and responsibility: family, become what you are” (Familiaris Consortio, #17) We have discussed how important a family culture is. It is a powerful … Continue reading
Creating a Family Culture is a powerful way to influence our children in a way that goes beyond our relationship with any one individual child. It is greater than just you or your spouse. Family Culture is the unspoken system … Continue reading
Siblings: Children of the same parents each of whom is perfectly normal until they get together ~ Sam Levenson One of the greatest gift we can give our children is more brothers and sisters. But as parents our responsibility isn’t … Continue reading
“…the ability to be “at leisure” is one of the basic powers of the human soul.” – Josef Pieper, Leisure, the Basis of Culture How many of us really appreciate what it mean to enjoy leisure in our lives? Life … Continue reading
“Sanctify the family and you will sanctify the world.” No, we are not talking about dad (although he may be king of the remote!) We have a different King in mind. 62% of children say they stopped being Catholic between … Continue reading
“Emotions are like children. You shouldn’t lock them in the trunk, but you don’t want them driving the car either” Have you ever had a child melt down because they didn’t get what they wanted? How do we respond to … Continue reading
“The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference” ~Elie Wiesel Have you ever felt distant from your spouse? Living like married singles in the same house? or maybe just some dryness in your marriage? Every marriage goes through … Continue reading
We regularly get questions from our listeners on a variety of topics. Some can become podcasts, some are answered individually, but some questions are a bit in between. On this episode, we tackle someone struggling with outgrowing a friendship and … Continue reading
The post MP 088 : Questions on Friendships, Godparents, and Special Needs Kids appeared first on Messy Family Project.
Dads, no one will call you Hero like your daughter will. – Dr. Meg Meeker The Father-Daughter relationship is sweet and sometimes cute, but the reality is that it is of vital importance in the light of every girl who … Continue reading
“Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way…” 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 Very few of us are blessed to be surrounded by people who … Continue reading
The post MP 086 : Navigating Family Relationships when Values Clash appeared first on Messy Family Project.
Our family is a circle of strength and love. Every joy shared adds love, every crisis faced makes the circle stronger. With every birth and every marriage, the circle grows. All of the parenting we have done for our son … Continue reading
The post MP 085 : We didn’t lose a son, we gained a daughter appeared first on Messy Family Project.
Screens are part of our world and they are here to stay. TV, computers, smartphones, tablets are all around us and becoming an essential element in our everyday lives. Though many would like to demonize these devices, the reality is … Continue reading
“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Ps 37:4 Making decisions is a stressful and sometimes difficult task for most of us, especially when you are a parent. Deciding where to live, what … Continue reading
The post MP 083 : Decisions, decisions, but what does God want? appeared first on Messy Family Project.
We are all looking for the perfect gift. What gift is more treasured than our Lord? Many of you deeply desire for your children to know Christ in a special way this Christmas. In this video broadcast, we encourage you … Continue reading
Make Advent a time to renew your family’s faith life with scripture. This the audio version from the Advent video series from Messy Parenting. Our hope with this series is to help you make Jesus Christ the King of your … Continue reading
The post MP 081 : Advent – Making the Word of God Flesh in Your Home appeared first on Messy Family Project.
“Seven days without prayer makes one weak.” The days between Thanksgiving and Christmas are full of many tasks, which are fun and beautiful, but also may take our eyes off of the One we need most at this time. Making … Continue reading
“A child will have many friends and companions in their lives, but they will only ever have two parents.” ~Mike and Alicia The role of parents in the lives of their children cannot be underestimated. Of course we have a … Continue reading
“Life is pain, your highness. And anyone who tells you differently is selling something.” – The Princess Bride Children today are less able to deal with failure, rejection, and pain than ever before. As parents, we hate to see our … Continue reading
“You left just as you were becoming interesting.” ~ Professor Henry Jones to Indiana Jones All throughout our children’s lives we are laying a foundation. A foundation upon which the rest of their lives will be built. How we relate … Continue reading
“Anger is never without a reason, but seldom with a good one” ~ Benjamin Franklin We thought we were really nice people before we had kids. Our children can sometimes trigger anger in us that we didn’t even realize was … Continue reading
“For the grace of Baptism to unfold, the parents’ help is important. So too is the role of the godfather and godmother, who must be firm believers, able and ready to help the newly baptized on the road of Christian … Continue reading
The future of evangelization depends in great part on the Church of the home ~ St. John Paul the Great Every Catholic is called to evangelize. No matter where you are in life, we are to spreading the gospel of … Continue reading
“The more ready you are to give yourselves to God and to others, the more you will discover the authentic meaning of life.” ― Jason Evert, Saint John Paul the Great: His Five Loves Chastity is a Fruit of the … Continue reading
“You can learn many things from toddlers, for example, how much patience you really have” ~Anonymous One blessing of having 10 kids is that we have matured and learned enough about kids to appreciate the toddler years of children #9 … Continue reading
“It is in the family that young people have their first experience of Gospel values and of the love which gives itself to God and to others.” ~ St. John Paul the Great As Catholic families, we want our children … Continue reading
“Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.” ~Ben Franklin God could have made food boring, dull, and simply to sustain us. But He didn’t. He made food good! Added with human creativity … Continue reading
“More than ever necessary in our times is preparation of young people for marriage and family life.” – St. John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio Preparing for a wedding can be a whirl of appointments, deposits, planning, decision-making, “Pintresting”, and, sometimes, … Continue reading
“Once you’re a parent, your relationship matters more, not less, because now other people are counting on you.” ~ TheDatingDivas.com Marriage is under attack, but many times the attack is not direct and aggressive. Instead, it is slow and subtle … Continue reading
This is part two of our podcast on teenagers. There are few tasks in parenting that can be as rewarding but also as challenging as disciplining sons and daughters who are moving from childhood to adulthood – otherwise known as … Continue reading
The post MP 065 : Discipling and Disciplining Our Teenagers – Part 2 appeared first on Messy Family Project.
Don’t throw away your friendship with your teenager over behavior that has no great moral significance. There will be plenty of real issues that require you to stand like a rock. Save your big guns for those crucial confrontations. ~Dr. … Continue reading
The post MP 064 : Discipling and Disciplining Our Teenagers – Part 1 appeared first on Messy Family Project.
“Father Mike Scanlan was a priest of the New Evangelization before there was a New Evangelization,” ~ George Weigel Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, impacted many lives with the saving message of Jesus Christ. He was a friar, priest, preacher, teacher, … Continue reading
“Human beings look separate because you see them walking about separately. But then we are so made that we can see only the present moment. If we could see the past, then of course it would look different. For there … Continue reading
“In children we have a great charge committed to us. Let us bestow great care upon them…Form the soul of thy son aright, and all the rest will be added hereafter.” —St. John Chrysostom We are so grateful for all … Continue reading
“Harboring unforgiveness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die” Unforgiveness destroys marriages, relationships, families, and communities, but forgiveness is the most powerful weapon we have as Christians. When we forgive, with the grace of God, … Continue reading
The birth of Jesus brings us the good news that we are loved immensely and uniquely by God – Pope Francis The Advent season is more than just a countdown to Christmas. It is a time of preparation for the … Continue reading
“I don’t know what’s more exhausting about parenting: the getting up early, or acting like you know what you’re doing.” ~ Jim Gaffigan, Dad Is Fat Babies are a joy. People will tell you that no one can describe what … Continue reading
Warning! Political Talk Ahead! “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing” ~ Edmund Burke This election is a difficult one for many reasons. What is a good Catholic to do? Over the … Continue reading
…do good, be rich in good deeds, and be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the … Continue reading
“To love is to be vulnerable.” – C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves Many cry that marriage is under attack, but often the attack is actually more like a cancer that creeps into our relationship with the person that we should … Continue reading
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. – Romans 13:1 Every day it seems like we hear of another … Continue reading
I don’t believe an accident of birth makes people brothers or sisters. It makes them siblings, gives them mutuality of parentage. Sisterhood or brotherhood is a condition people have to work at. – Maya Angelou Growing up all we remember … Continue reading
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying … Continue reading
“We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer Our faith celebrates and values children and openness to life, … Continue reading
Every single person has a different perspective when looking at the same thing. How many times in our marriage do we come into conflict with our spouse over things that are not moral issues, just differences in opinion? It happens … Continue reading
You can’t put your head in the sand. If you don’t bring up tough issues with your child, they are going to encounter them, but from the perspective of someone else. When do you bring up sticky issues with your … Continue reading
Being a working mom is not easy – you have to be willing to screw up at every level. ~Jami Gertz The phrase “working mother” is redundant. First, let’s be clear – deciding if mom should work outside the home … Continue reading
Disrespect rarely motivates a man. When we judge or criticize another person, it says nothing about that person it merely says something about our own need to be critical. Which statement to you agree with more – “I don’t know … Continue reading
“I have this problem with low self-esteem, which is really ridiculous when you consider how amazing I am.” ~ the modern child Raising confident children is the obsession of many parents today. Cries of “Good job!” “You can do it!” … Continue reading
The post MP 043 : Raising confident kids who aren’t full of themselves appeared first on Messy Family Project.
“Am I not here, I, who am your mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? … Continue reading
The post MP 040 : Introducing our children to the Blessed Mother appeared first on Messy Family Project.
“Musical nourishment which is ‘rich in vitamins’ is essential for children.” ~Zoltan Kodaly, music educator Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and … Continue reading
“A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.” – Garrison Keillor “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5 Thanksgiving and Christmas … Continue reading
“With great power comes great responsibility” ~ Ben Parker (Spiderman’s Uncle) As Catholics, we have a great blessing in the clarity and beauty of the Church’s teaching on contraception. Using the natural rhythms of a woman’s cycle to regulate birth … Continue reading
You might be a millennial parent if you… have more pictures of your kids than you do of yourself on social media, feed your kids only organic food, regularly ask the internet for parenting advice, have a tattoo or piercing, … Continue reading
“…parents must be acknowledged as the first and foremost educators of their children. Their role as educators is so decisive that scarcely anything can compensate for their failure in it.” ~ Familiaris Consortio #36 Making educational choices for our children … Continue reading
The post MP 033 : Educational choices; how do you know what’s best for your child appeared first on Messy Family Project.
“What I do, you cannot. What you do, I cannot. But together we can make something beautiful for God” ~ Blessed Mother Teresa In our culture today, kids have so many options for activities that it can be overwhelming! How … Continue reading
The post MP 032 : You can’t “Be anything you want to be” – Kids and Activities appeared first on Messy Family Project.
To go on pilgrimage really means to step out of ourselves to encounter God where He has revealed Himself, where His grace has shone with particular splendor, and produced rich fruits of conversion and holiness ~ Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI We … Continue reading
“Where there is a family with love, that family is capable of warming the heart of a whole city with its witness of love.” – Pope Francis Our Holy Father has a pastor’s heart, but often his quotes become controversial. … Continue reading
The post MP 030 : Pope Francis, Controversy, and the Family appeared first on Messy Family Project.
Pope St. Gregory: Learn the heart of God from the word of God. St. Jerome: Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ. How is the Word of God honored in our homes? God is present in His Word; do we … Continue reading
Nothing makes a father happier than seeing a daughter with a smile on her face and her boyfriend with fear in his eyes. – Willie Robertson Your natural instinct is to protect your daughter. Forget what pop culture and pop … Continue reading
Your marriage is only as good as the work you put into it. A child-centered marriage is a recipe for disaster. Teach children early that their “happiness” is not Mom or Dad’s reason for living. ~Breathing Grace, Everything I Know … Continue reading
“Half of the time I feel like I’m running an insane asylum… the other half of the time I feel like I belong in one. “ There are so many needs pressing on parents, especially moms, all day, every day. … Continue reading
Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. ~George Washington A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter. He who finds one finds a treasure. Sirach 6:14 It … Continue reading
The task now for believers is to form our own families even more deeply in the love of God, and to rebuild a healthy marriage culture, one marriage at a time, from the debris of today’s decision. – Archbishop Chaput … Continue reading
I love playing with preschoolers. They make me feel so powerful! Family game night is quickly becoming lost in our technological age, but it is an extremely valuable pastime for families with many benefits. Not only can games bring people … Continue reading
Life was much easier when Apple and Blackberry were just fruits. Changes in technology happen rapidly and kids are usually way ahead of their parents on the newest app, social media, or website. It is hard, or even impossible, for … Continue reading
“The ability of a child to do a chore is inversely proportionate to their desire to do it.” ~said Frustrated Mother Chores are a part of every family’s life, or at least they should be. Sometimes parents find it easier to … Continue reading
“…the happiness you are seeking, the happiness you have the right to enjoy, has a face and a name. It is Jesus of Nazareth, hidden in the Eucharist” – Pope Benedict XVI The only way our faith as Catholics makes … Continue reading
All great change in America begins at the dinner table. ~Ronald Reagan Those of us who grew up with family dinners and who continue that tradition with our kids may not realize how counter-cultural we are becoming! Having dinner as … Continue reading
Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, But those who deal faithfully are His delight. Prov 12:22 One of the trickiest situations to deal with in parenting is when a child is lying. Do you punish them? If you do that, … Continue reading
“You get in the biggest fights with those you care about most because those are the relationships worth fighting for” “A happy marriage is a union of two forgivers” – Ruth Bell Graham The only person in the world you … Continue reading
“For unflagging interest and enjoyment, a household of children, if things go reasonably well, certainly makes all other forms of success and achievement lose their importance by comparison.” – Teddy Roosevelt Being blessed with a large family is something that … Continue reading
“The family that prays together, stays together” Family prayer should be the center of our lives as Catholics, but often parents find it challenging. Praying consistently with our kids is not our strength, so of course that’s why we wanted … Continue reading
You want to know what it’s like having a fourth kid? Imagine you are drowning and then someone hands you a baby. ~ Jim Gaffigan We believe the most challenging years of parenting are not related to how many kids … Continue reading
“Do you know why God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac when he was 12? Because if he asked him when he was 14 it wouldn’t have been a sacrifice!” The changes that happens in adolescence – physically, emotionally, mentally – … Continue reading
The post MP 005 : Preparing your Tween (and yourself!) for Adolescence appeared first on Messy Family Project.
“Give me an army of toddlers and I can overtake the world!”-Dr. James Dobson.The toddler years are an amazing time of human development, but this transition from infancy to childhood is challenging for most parents. Join us for encouragement and … Continue reading
“There goes a future choir member” – said by our pastor as we rushed out of church with our screaming toddler. Getting kids through mass is a challenge for any Catholic parent. We can give you alot of empathy and … Continue reading
“Parents don’t want justice – parents want peace!” Isn’t that how we all feel sometimes? We do want peace in our homes, but we also want to teach our kids how to handle conflict. Kids are going to fight. It’s … Continue reading
This is our first podcast conversation on marriage and family. This is our basic approach to marriage and family; our parenting philosophy and overall approach to family life. What books have you read and what drives your approach to parenting?