When you get to know Claudia Pettway-Lewis the word “amazing” might quickly come to mind. She’s the mother of seven (her children ranging in age from 15 to 6), a board-certified music therapist, a music minister, and she runs her own videography/photography business.
The Power of Mothers
Claudia believes mothers have the power to change the world.
“I was inspired to create The Amazing Mom because I believe that throughout history, women have served as significant and essential agents for effective and long-lasting change,” Claudia says. “I believe that a culture of empowered mothers is the key to transforming our society – and our world – for the better.”
Claudia says her experience working in the public school system and working as a music therapist helping people of all ages with psychosocial challenges strengthens her belief in the power of mothers.
“I discovered that regardless of a teacher’s attempt to teach a child throughout the course of a school day, it is the child’s home environment that predominately drives the efforts for the child’s character development and impacts the child the most,” Claudia says.
As a therapist, Claudia has worked with children as young as 3 as well as adults in addiction recovery and newly paroled prisoners.
“I have frequently observed that — above any other consequences faced as a result of their poor decisions — the toughest consequence and the greatest guilt commonly suffered by the offender is the disappointment of their mother. Whether she is living or deceased, the person who they want to make proud is their mother. This speaks volumes to me.”
Discover Your “Inner Amazing”
Claudia created TheAmazingMom.com and The Amazing Mom TV to help moms discover and cultivate their “inner amazing” she says. The site offers resources, tips, inspirational stories, and more to help mothers be their best selves.
On her YouTube channel, The Amazing Mom TV, Claudia offers tips on age-appropriate chores, ideas for art activities, book recommendations, and lots of encouragement to simply help moms hang in there and keep going.
“I believe that there are moms out there who have yet to realize the magnitude and potential of their impact not only on their children and families but on society and the world,” Claudia says. “TheAmazingMom.com was created to give them that reminder. And for the moms who do realize their impact, this platform was created to provide them with continued spiritual and practical encouragement, empowerment, and resources for their parenting journey.”
On Being the Mom of 7
Claudia has wanted a large family for as long as she can remember.
“My paternal grandparents, together, had 30-plus children,” Claudia explains. “I have a hard time keeping count. So many aunts and uncles – some of whom I never had the chance to meet! As a child, I loved the magnitude and energy of our family gatherings, and I wanted the same for my own household, as well as to leave a similar legacy.”
Claudia also calls herself a “spiritual risk-taker” and says she felt called to mother a big family.
“I have always desired to live a life completely surrendered to whatever God intended for me and if it involved acts of faith and trust such as birthing and raising many children even while working and in full-time ministry, then I was totally here for that too,” Claudia says.
“It has always been my belief — and fortunately my experience — that if God brought me to it, then He would bring me through it! If God gave me a large family to manage and steward over, then I trusted that He would also provide the spiritual and practical means for me to do so in the best way possible.”
Believe it or not, Claudia says everyday life was more challenging when she was the mom of 3 than it is now.
“When our third child came, managing everything was really hard, and it forced me to come out of my ‘wing-it’ mode of parenting,” Claudia explains. “Having three children required me to become more disciplined as a mom and more disciplined as an individual. It forced away any residue of selfish habits and behaviors that I had, which was very challenging, and very uncomfortable.”
After having two more children, more changes were needed.
“Having a family of five forced me to minimize and remove many material possessions that didn’t matter and served no purpose yet took up so much space,” Claudia says. “However, once I learned to master these particular challenges, having more children after that didn’t really change much of anything.”
Striking Down Stereotypes
Claudia is aware of the many misconceptions and negative stereotypes about large families. She says some people assume her family is financially irresponsible, that her house is a mess, and that her children are unruly.
“In spite of our large family size, my husband and I have been able to establish high-yield savings accounts for ourselves and each child, as well as generate additional income through investment property,” Claudia says regarding her family finances.
And her house is just as in order as her bank account.
“Since college, I have had the nickname ‘Monica’ (from the TV show Friends) because of my superfluous standards when it comes to cleaning,” Claudia says. “Having a large family didn’t change that. Even now, people who visit our home joke about it being clean enough to ‘eat off of the floor.’”
And if you think Claudia’s home is filled with one sibling rivalry after another – think again.
“The kids understand that bickering and such will not be tolerated, so they usually work out their issues before I even know or hear about them,” Claudia says. “I would also like to believe that my close relationship with my husband and our ability to resolve conflict sensibly serves as a healthy model for our children to emulate.”
Claudia says some also assume that her family only works because the older children are helping to raise the younger ones.
“I have always upheld the standard that none of my children would be expected or allowed to carry any of the weight or responsibilities that come with parenting,” Claudia says. “I usually wait until a child asks to help before allowing them to do tasks such as feeding the baby, looking after the baby, or changing diapers. Even after they’ve asked, I try to limit the amount of help I allow them to give because they are still kids.”
Claudia believes she defies stereotypes by taking pride in her appearance, too.
“There is the assumption that moms of large families ‘let themselves go,’” Claudia says. “But I love looking good. Although my style is simple and uncomplicated, I always make an intentional effort to look and feel my best.”
A Day in the Life of An Amazing Mom
While most believe that work/life balance is a unicorn, Claudia has made it a reality.
“Over the past 16 years, I have learned to balance my parenting and work through scheduling, planning ahead, establishing structure in the areas where I can, as well as leveraging opportunities to work and create during idle moments,” Claudia explains. “I also have learned to guard my priorities and set healthy boundaries with people outside of my home.”
She also wakes up early – really early – so she can have her necessary “me time.”
By rising at 2 a.m., Claudia makes time for a daily devotion a morning workout, and any work or leisure activities she wants to get done before her husband awakes at 5 a.m. and her kids get up at 5:30 a.m. Their routine is simple – family devotion, getting ready for school or camp, breakfast, and then out the door.
Evenings are for playtime at home or a park, homework, and dinner. “Dinner time usually involves a critical thinking question that everyone has to answer, followed by a black history lesson or reading by my husband,” Claudia says. Kids are in bed by 8 p.m. except on the weekends when they can stay up later for family movie night.
Of course, the COVID-19 crisis changed everything!
“Our routines have completely changed since the pandemic!” Claudia says. “Our morning routines are similar to before, but they now involve everyone waking up much later than usual.”
Bedtimes went from being “strictly-enforced” to “lightly-enforced.”
When schools closed, navigating virtual classrooms for seven children across three different school systems was tough. And Claudia’s ministry workload increased as she had to help her church quickly develop an online presence.
But Claudia found the bright side. Her children began to spend more time playing together outside than ever before. Family movie night shifted from weekly to daily. “My husband and I are spending even more quality time together with each other and with each of our children,” Claudia says.
Claudia’s Amazing Future Plans
As Claudia thinks about the future of The Amazing Mom brand, her mission is clear: “My plan is to cultivate a healthy group of women who will change the narrative of motherhood as overwhelming and victimizing work.”
One way she plans to do this is through more interviews with real-life moms. She also wants to be sure to keep things fun with giveaways and mommy meet-ups. Her long-term goals include offering one-on-one coaching and hosting national and international conferences all about empowering moms.
“The most rewarding aspect of being a mother of seven is the love, life, and immense energy that fills my day-to-day,” Claudia says. “I simply love these people, and they love me back. I thrive in the hustle and bustle of our home.”
Claudia’s Recommended Reading
Claudia Pettway-Lewis of TheAmazingMom.com shares three books that helped her discover her “inner amazing”:
An Intentional Life by Karen Stott
Lioness Arising by Lisa Bevere
The Best Yes by Lisa Terkeurst