I get the nicest comments on this blog.

They make my day. (Thank you so much.)

But sometimes, although I really do try to “keep it real” on here, those super nice comments make me think that maybe I’m not portraying the real me.

The one who flies by the seat of her pants most days (that is, until I finish off this Mind Organization for Momsthen I’m going to be a force to be reckoned with… ๐Ÿ˜‰, and slams doors and is always running late.

I’m a mess.

Let me tell you what I forgot last week:

–two birthday parties (yes, really)
–a swim strokes class for my older girls
–an important prescription for Claire
–one of my dearest friend’s birthdays (seriously, and I still feel sick to my stomach every time I think about it)

And I’m sure in a few days I’ll remember more things I forgot that I could add to that list.

After a year of having a stack of scout merit badge patches for Max sitting on my desk (yes, a year), I finally took time out to sew them all on his sash thingy…on the wrong side.

I got so busy with the rest of life that I got mad at Grace on the last day of school.

I called one of my children a “brat.” How’s that for supportive? No matter how much she did or did not deserve it, (which I must say she kinda did in this instance…a story for another day), you don’t just call your child that.

I continually feel like I’m in one of those dreams where you are trying your darnedest to RUN but you just can’t seem to make your legs work.

As I’m scrambling around trying to get to the “have to dos,” my heart is aching to do the “want to dos.” You know, the reading with each child each night and the making my eyes sparkle while looking deep into each of my own childrens’ sparkly eyes as they tell me wandering stories about their days….all at the exact same time.

I wrote about being overwhelmed clear back here, and one comment from my very wise cyber-friend Julie made has stuck with me ever since (I’m just quoting part of it):


You totally speak to me. In the last month I have learned a lot about myself. The biggest and most important thing was that being the best at something is never easy. What I mean is becoming an amazing mother is a lot of work for years and years and years… Being a good mom takes A LOT of work. I am not a perfect Mom, but I am a great Mom because I try. This year I have been late to pretty much everything. Including school. I have at all times nine loads of laundry to be washed, and only a few items hanging in each closet. My downstairs and upstairs are never clean at the same time, and I am in constant fear that I will die and the Relief Society will come and clean my house and know “the truth.” We are the only family on the block that have their trash cans out a day after the trash man came. All these things used to bug me and embarrass me and make me feel just horrible, until last month. I read something and I realized that while my days are absolutely exhausting and overwhelming at times, and while I feel like I can’t keep up, I am still and incredible Mom because I keep doing it and I’M the one doing it. My perfection comes in my imperfection. I’m doing EXACTLY what I should be doing. Exactly what Heavenly Father wants me to be doing. I don’t think he cares so much if my bathrooms are spotless. So much as if I’m taking care of “his” children.

I can’t say how much I have thought about this comment over the past few years.

Because it’s easy for moms to get down on themselves. It’s easy to slip into feeling frustrated because we feel like we can’t quite keep up, especially when we compare ourselves to others who seem to be able to run circles around us.

BUT, we keep at it. We keep being “the mom,” through thick and through thin. Although sometimes we fail miserably, we can be good mothers because we’re trying our best. And we’re the one doing it. As Julie says, “our perfection comes in our imperfection.”

Yes, sometimes we make mistakes. Yes, we all forget things (right??? or am I the only one??). Yes, we agree to add too much to our plates at the expense of our families at times. We make bad decisions. We don’t think things through enough sometimes and maybe we don’t handle situations in the best way. We all do that. (Ok, at least I sure do.)

But I’m trying to be deliberate about how I mother, and when I get knocked down and frustrated, I’m going to keep getting right back up.

Because you know what that means? I get to be there with my children. The ones who call me “Mother” and who quickly forgive me my imperfections (which is great, because I have a lot of them).

Yes, I’m the one who gets to be there with them each day. And I love that.

I love this series of pictures too:

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  1. As I am reading this post I am crying…I feel the same way and glad that I am not the only mom out there, feeling like less of a person than I am…Thank you for your honesty…Thank you for giving me hope and the strength to keep on going.

  2. Oh thank you for this post! Just what I needed to hear! And I did have the Relief Society come in and clean my house and find out "the truth" because I had to go to the hospital with a high risk pregnancy. Talk about humbling, but one of the sisters who came to clean said to me, "Your house looked like the rest of ours with a bunch of kids…we are all doing our best!" And my house was spotless 6 weeks ago, but I have had a baby in the NICU for 6 weeks and it is right back to being where it was before that….but I am caring for "His children" (my favorite line in that not you got) the best I can and that is what counts!

  3. Absolutely, I forgot things, especially this last month. I'd forget to pick up my daughter from sewing, one day I completely forgot to call the mom I car pool with and tell her we weren't coming. Her daughter was sitting outside waiting for us and was super late to her class because of ME and my forgetfulness. (And that mom is ALWAYS on time and never forgets…but thank God is super nice and understanding.) I can go on and on.
    And I have said to my daughter, "You are acting like a spoiled brat" many times. Just last night as a matter of fact, in response to a bratty self-centered complaint she said right after I had busted my you-know-what to take everyone swimming and for pizza. Sometimes they need to hear it.
    I love that comment too.

  4. I came across your blog through the Power of Moms website and just want you to know that I find it so inspiring and real. You have posted so many thoughts and experiences that really help me to stay positive and keep going even when crazy things like work and school and church and family seem to crowd out the wonderful little moments and expectations (my own and otherโ€™s) get me down. Someone told me yesterday that I'm not a very good mom (those words exactly) because my house is a messy and I let my toddler unplug the vacuum when we're done tidying up. I suppose if we measure ourselves by the all of the things we don't do or forget to do then none of us are very good moms. I spent most of yesterday feeling really bad about that comment and myself, but I'm sitting here in my office today, having read your post, feeling really grateful that I have a messy house, because the few waking hours I got to spend with my little girl after work yesterday were spent at the playground filled with squeals of laughter, lots of hugs and slobbery toddler kisses. And when it was time to vacuum, my tiny little helper waited patiently beside the outlet for me to say "help mommy" and then very, very seriously unplugged the vacuum cord and brought it dutifully to me, making a winding motion with her hand all the way across the room as if she was winding it up. When we were done, she applauded. Thanks for helping me remember the things that really do matter and for chronicling your journey as a mother in a way that really inspires other mothers to continually improve. I have โ€œborrowedโ€ many of your ideas and am so much the better (as a mom and an individual) for it.

  5. I may have said this before, but I love it, so here it is again.
    My old Stake President was a Phychologist. He spoke once to us mothers, and said something that really stuck with me.
    He said to imagine that each of us is an iceburg. When you look out across the ocean, you see the top 10% of the iceburgs in the water. That 10% is the part that we want others to see. He said that it is important to remember that each of us has another 90% that we're "hiding" below the surface. He told us "Never compare your 90% to someone else's 10%. It's not a fair comparison."
    Isn't that great? We all show our best selves, our best 10%, but we all struggle with different things, and we all have weaknesses and insecurities. The trick is to remember that what we usually "see" in others is their best 10%, too.
    I think you're awesome, by the way. You ARE an inspriration to me, and I'm so thankful that you will sometimes share your "other 90%" with us!
    The looks on your kids' faces tell a lot about you, as their mother. Obviously you're doing great!

  6. I have been reading your blog for the past several weeks (hope you don't mind. I don't even remember how I stumbled across it) and am in awe with how amazing you and your family are. It's good to hear the things that are hard for you, it makes me feel a little more normal. But just know that even with your imperfections, you are an awesome mom/person/wife/etc.

  7. Wow, it's so nice to hear about reality. I've been reading your blog for a few months and after "getting to know" your family and about you as a mother I have been so impressed and inspired. Also, the family you come from seems exceptional as well. I've thought…how on earth could I ever be like that?!? It's really nice to hear about all sides of you as a mother. And I can totally relate to being a mother who gets down on herself. In talking with my husband the other night he said that is something that's worried him a little about me lately. Why am I so hard on myself?! Man it's hard to keep an eternal perspective all the time. Thanks for sharing what you do, you are a mothering role model for me!

    Also, I loved the comment about the iceberg. I'll remember that one.

  8. I read your blog all the time. You are very inspirational! One of my most favorite quotes of all times,

    "The most important thing she'd learned over the years was that there was no way to be a perfect mother and a MILLION ways to be a good one." Jill Churchill

  9. Darn! and I thought you were flawless, you just blew your cover. C'mon girl, give yourself a break. I think the only one that expects you to be perfect and flawless is yourself. And I'm sure that no one is picking that up from your posts. You're keeping it real.
    Now about those Scout patches. HAHAHAHA! I have a love/hate relationship in this dept. Some man came up with the patches because only a woman would have been smart enough to make them all iron on. Am I right? There is this amazing, wonderful life saving stuff that is an adhesive for those patches specifically and it works like crazy glue (I LOVE IT!) They sell it at the scout shop. I even used it to keep the hem of my daughter's pants intact until I could get around to sewing it back up. Just ask for it at the scout shop, they'll know what you're talking about. It comes in sheets (like paper).
    BTW: I so so so love how you do Lucy's hair. It always looks so cute.

  10. Your honesty is why people like you so much and you get such great comments from people. Just this post is going to gain you that many more fans. (By the way, regarding scout patches, I trade for photography. Total genius and everyone continues to think I've got it all together).

  11. i somehow knew this post was coming, and i am glad it did.

    on the last day of May, i made a huge sticker goal list of things i wanted to make a habit in my life. it was called the 30 day challenge and on it i had all sorts of things that i intended to do daily from June 1st to the 30th. i was extatic. i adore things like this.

    but then, June 1st came. i failed to fulfill a lot of it, lost my temper with my sweet son, and ended up realizing that life is a bit too crazy for a 30 day challenge.

    and then i realized then and there that no chart of any kind will allow me to be perfect. only the Savior can help make me better.

    i know you already know that, and i am thankful for your blog that helps me hear it from another mom's perspective.

    i love you Shawni and hope your summer is filled with growth and love and enjoying your sweet darlings ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Thanks for sharing all those thoughts, Shawni. I think everyone needs to hear about the "not-so-picture-perfect" sides of the people they admire. Can't wait to see you at the Retreat!

  13. This is great…I mean, not that you list all of the stuff that sucks in your life, but, yes, that you list all the stuff that sucks in your life. We all have stuff and it's good to get it out.

    BTW…I love the "missed kiss" picture…those are my favorite!

  14. Thanks for your wonderful post! Nice to know that i am not the only MOM that forgets B-day parties and Piano lessons.. OH and sometimes i forget that i have laundry in the washer…..

  15. Instead of "it is not requisite that a [mother] should run faster than [she] has strength," (from the Book of Mormon) I think it should read "run like the wind or you will be buried alive!"

    Love this post!

  16. My favorite thing about you isn't that you are a perfect mom (although you are pretty amazing), but that you LOVE being a mom. I think THAT is what keeps us all coming back to your blog and being inspired by you. You have a talent for mothering and loving, both of which inspire me every time I read a post. I think most people would miss a carpool or two to have that talent.

  17. Are you my long lost twin that I always secretly wished I would have had?
    I share many, many of your thoughts and concerns about the challenges of motherhood and the struggle to not compare myself with those around me who seem to always have everything under control.

    Thank you for reminding me that I am the best mother for my kids even with all of my many shortcomings. They love me and I love them and that is all that matters.

  18. I love the photo series, your girls are so gorgeous ๐Ÿ™‚ (& Max of course!). I know what you mean about your blog usually showing the best parts, but I think seeing the best of people helps us to aim high, and then it's nice to acknowledge that they are the 'best parts' sometimes too ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Hi Shawni, I'm sure you don't remember me. My name is Susie Piper (was Ives) I was a little girl In Epsom ward in England when you and your family were over here. I found your blog on the power of moms, which my sister and I love by the way. I just have to say how much I love this post and your friend Julie's comment. It is never easy being a mum but it is the best job in the world and it gives me such a boost when I can see that all us mums are the same. Always trying and doing the best we can to look after the wonderful children we have been blessed with.

  20. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the pictures of Claire and Lucy! I'm guilty of calling them a brat too and it makes me feel sad. So.. Now I say "That is brat-like behavior" Makes me feel a little better. hehe

  21. HoOrAy! Shawni you are my Girl! loved this post! Had a similar awakening recently. It feels good to let go and say….I am doing my best…. and that is all I can do.

    Like a breath of fresh air to a woman who is also drowning in b-day party invites and laundry! Keep it up Girl!

  22. i think you have just expressed, so clearly, how so many mothers feel. running on the treadmill of life. well done to you. i think that anyone who reads a few blogs soon learns that blogs are only a 'glimpse'. thank you for keeping yours real.

    those photos: too cute.
    think we need a tutorial on how to do that super-cute hairstyle!

  23. Shawnie, could you do a post on how you do your girls hair? I have a one year old girl (and a 5 and 7 year old boy) and I can't wait to start doing her hair. I just don't know where to start.

  24. Ok, I just have to comment because today I was picking up my 8 yr. old from school to get a new retainer (because he threw his last one in the garbage again). As I was signing him out, the office gal decided to inform me that my kindergartener had 24 unexcused tardies this year and he was getting a "reputation"! He's lucky he gets there at all. It's good to know we're all crazy busy and going a little insane together. (Last week I locked both sets of my suburban keys in the car at the same time!)

  25. Can I get an "Amen".
    Love it. Love your blog. Love you.
    I am a what I believe a to be a lovely mother. But gee's I am a laundry mounting, sometimes yelling, often behind in all things housework, but always thankful for my beautiful boys Mum too.

  26. Great post Shawni…just ordered M.O.M! And am bummed I'm not making it out to the retreat…Sarah and I were thinking of meeting at it but with a baby at home who does not want to give up nursing..it's not happening this year! Hopefully next year!

  27. Just when I think the Lord gave me all these kids (7 adopted) and I am a royal screw up, I remember they are mine for a reason! He placed them with me because we needed eachother. I don't think I will ever have it all together ever again. Thank heavens we are all in the same boat.

  28. Thanks for sharing this!! I love how you keep it real on your blog and write from your heart! I can relate to all you shared — we all definitely have our days. Thanks for sharing that quote from your friend, it is what I really need to read as well.

    I admire your ability to run a home, be a great mom and so involved with your kids, take fabulous pictures, and also have time to write a little inspirational something everyday! I try and do all those things as well, but it gets too hard to balance everything at times. Your blog is the one stop I make everyday to be reminded of the great privilege we have of being mothers! Thanks!

  29. I don't think I ever thought you were perfect, but just really great at making a fun environment for your kids to grow up in. It is so refreshing to see it on here when I am surrounded by dysfunctional families on tv and even in my own extended family! Your kids always have such a sparkle in their eyes and you can just tell that they are overall HAPPY kids. I have the type of personality that thrives off of good examples around me. So motivating. Thank you for sharing so much with us. It gives me focus and clarity when I need it most.

  30. This is so true Shawni, it's hard to be present and be a great mom, and nobody is perfect, we all try our best. and we are our worst critic too! beautiful post and even though you have imperfections, we ALL do, and you are NOT alone!
    p.s. I have called BOTH my girls BRATS before, so don't feel bad, they know we don't mean it and we always say sorry and admit our faults, that's the IMPORTANT thing!

  31. Oh, I love thank goodness I'm normal posts like these. What a great comment too..we all need to stick it on our fridges. I don't have time to list all of the bad mom moments I've had these past few weeks.

  32. Like your first commenter, I cried as I read. The feelings you shared are just so familiar. And I wonder…why is it so easy for me to think or say to someone else, "You're too hard on yourself–you're a great mom!", but so hard for me to think the same about myself?

  33. ohhhhhhhhhhhh you have the loveliest blog! Your pictures are just gorgeous and I'm so glad to find you.

    I must admit I had to reveal on my blog that if I make my life look easy I don't mean to! One lady met me at a market and said wow I have to meet you because your house always looks immaculate in photos – I told her I always made sure I just photographed in a tidy place!!!

    you're doing an awesome job and have a very beautiful family

    adding you to my favourites now!

  34. I just found your blog and took some time when the house was quiet to go through and read some of your posts (although I should be cleaning something I am sure). I had to comment on this post. It is amazing and puts everything in my life in perspective. Thank you for your honesty and thank you for your post. I try, I may not be the best mom, but I try and therefore I am a good mom and as long as I continue to try, I will continue to get better (and coming into the pre-teen years, that is a good thing).

    I will continue to read this blog as it really speaks to me. Thank you for sharing your life and making the rest of us feel we are right on track.

  35. I just found your blog (through Pinterest), while searching for "chore chart" ideas. I have not stopped reading your blogs, and I came across this one! Boy, God is AMAZING! This is exactly my struggle since becoming a stay-at-home-mom. There are so many times that I feel inadequate, and like a failure on so many levels! I am so glad to hear that I am not alone in this! I cannot even begin to put into words how grateful I am for coming across this blog on this very day.

  36. Hi! I have been reading your blog for a few months now. I came across it on pinterest and you have hit the nail on many topics of being a mom and keeping life focused on the family. I love your ideas you have shared in regards to keeping a balance with each child. Not an easy fete with my 3 let alone you have 2 more than I do. My oldest daughter, Madison, was born with a genetic disorder, Prader-Willi Syndrome, which too can lead to obesity. ( Reading about Beidel-Bardet they have a couple similar things. ) Reading your posts brings me comfort knowing that I am not alone in trying to keep positive in the midst of chaos and that it is ok to not be perfect. Accepting the fact that all one can do is try their best and not worry what others have to say. Thank you!

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