I am all about soaking in moments.

They bring joy in the journey of motherhood.

But some days it seems the only moments are the crazy ones…not the ones that make time stand still and turn my heart to mush.

Dealing with Interruptions

There was a day a couple months ago where I actually started writing down the “moments” as they rolled on right in front of me because my “moment” was realizing that wow, life is nuts.

Let’s start by setting the stage:

There are five children home from school…all of them with at least one friend traipsing through the kitchen while I cook dinner for us and for a sick pregnant friend I offered to bring dinner to two nights ago but forgot.

The phone is ringing off the hook.

Even if I wanted to answer the phone, (which I don’t), I would never be able to find the darn thing because our family has a knack for leaving those cordless things in the wackiest places (the freezer? the pantry? Yep, I’ve found it there…and the sad thing is that I’m just a guilty as the rest of them).

I just got called as Young Women president and I’m still feeling like I may need to throw up as my mind is wrapped up in trying to figure out how in the world I am going to be able to do this and who in the world I should ask to be my counselors. I’m stressed because they need my decision two hours ago.

Another section of my brain is stressing about finding someone to teach my scouts class rotation for the hundreds of people who will be at Round Table tonight for the calling I have been released from but nobody knows nor has anyone been called to replace me yet. I’ve already called everyone I can think of with no luck.

Claire is a broken record begging me to help her scrounge up some old fabric scraps so she can decorate a turkey drawing she’s supposed to glam up for a school project.

I have located my cell phone when it alerted me to a text, followed by some sort of important phone call and as soon as I answer I have three children suction-cupped to my side thinking that NOW is the time to talk to me about their day.

Elle is getting ready for tennis and is needing something to eat before she goes but is teary-eyed because she’s in so much pain from her new elastics the orthodontist stuck on today. I stop and pull out the blender frantically throwing together a smoothie before her carpool comes.

The volleyball carpool has just called saying they have pneumonia and can’t drive tonight while I’m supposed to be at book club (and teaching at Round Table if I can’t find a replacement).

Dave’s 40th birthday is coming up and my mind is partially wrapped around the phone conversation I had earlier with my friend who’s husband is also turning 40 and the surprise party we need to get out invites for asap. (The party never actually happened in the end since our friends didn’t end up coming to town after all.)

Max is plunking hard on the piano because he’s mad (again) that I won’t let him quit piano lessons. And he can NOT seem to get that section of that darn song right. My heart sinks because I need to be in there helping him, but I need to be in here too or the sauce will burn, (and I need to be three other places too).

Claire and her friend (having given up on decorating the turkey) run in screaming from the trampoline because they have realized there is a dead bee of all things in Claire’s hair.

All this is set to the music of Lucy in one of her awful moods screaming for milk every time I turn around.

And just as the chaos reaches the peak of it’s cacophony of noise my phone dings politely with a text from Dave reminding me I need to go vote…which closes in ten minutes.

Do you ever have a single moment that makes you stop and realize how silly it is to be frantically chasing your tail and not really accomplishing anything? For some reason on that day back in November that text in the middle of the swirl of activity was my “moment.” It’s what made me stop everything and smile to myself. I don’t know why, but it made me stop and almost laugh at the prospect of loading up all the kids in the car and rushing over to vote, picturing the guy there closing up the booth saying, “Sorry ma’am, you just missed your chance.”

For some reason it made me stop and soak in the fact that I was there. Right where I needed to be. Not really getting to everything I wanted to, but trying my very best and knowing that I was in the right place at the right time. And that the world would go on if I didn’t get over to vote, and if I didn’t make it to book club, and if other leaders would have to fill in for me at Round Table while I brought my boy to volleyball.

Yes, sometimes the moments that fill up a mother’s day don’t seem to be so sweet. But if we step back and not take it all quite so seriously we realize that life is good. So very good. And that brings the sweetness into the memories of the craziness.

I love this quote:


“When you are exasperated by interruptions, try to remember that their very frequency may indicate the value of your life. Only people who are full of help and strength are burdened by other persons’ needs. The interruptions which we chafe at are the credentials of our indispensability. The greatest condemnation that anybody could incur – and it is a danger to guard against – is to be so independent, so unhelpful, that nobody ever interrupts us, and we are left comfortably alone.”

from The Anglican Digest

So I guess those interruptions to what could otherwise be sweet moments can be our “moments” as well. And it all works together to make up the beautiful tapestry of motherhood we are weaving day by day, crazy minute by crazy minute.

In my mind there is nothing quite so good as to be a Mother (except for being a wife, but that’s another post for another day). The one who is interrupted the most. And I must cherish those moments of interruptions while they last. Because before I know it these children will grow up and leave off to create their own stories, and I’ll be left with just the memories of all those life-enriching interruptions echoing through my house.
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  1. Oh Shawni, this is my day so very often. And there are times when I just say it's enough and we call it all off and just to do what we can do. Because it's amazing how many things will wait when growing children and missed opportunities won't!

  2. so well written…i needed this today as i so often need what you write! I think I need to put that quote on my blog so I can read it often! thank you

  3. I thought I felt overwhelmed every day…my life is BORING compared to yours. You have a great attitude to help you get through it all.

    I just finished reading your moms book, "A Joyful Mother of Children." I loved it and got lots of great tips from it. I often wonder what it must have been like growing up with such amazing parents. You are a very lucky girl.

    Deb (a devoted reader of your blog)

    P.S. I'm trying to blog more and more so I can record all my memories(I too am the worlds most forgetful person). But it seems like it takes me forever to do one post. Is it the same for you or am I just slow. How long does it take you to do a post each day? Do you have tricks for speeding up the process?

  4. Thank you so much for this post. I can completely relate to your well-described afternoon (especially the piano practice!) I love your blog and really appreciate your perspective on life. As crazy as things get in our home with 4 young ones, I continually tell my husband I dread the day when there isn't a mess or someone hollering my name for help. Mothering is like nothing else.

  5. Thank you. I can't tell you how much I needed that perspective today. I've spent the last week complaining again and again about all the interruptions in my life. I have three kids under three and I'm about to have another in 2 weeks. All I ever wanted was to be this: a mom of beautiful children, and along with all my complaining lately, I've felt a lot of guilt for not loving it, but I just haven't been able to find a way to love it recently. THank you, thank you, thank you for your beautiful thoughts and perspective. It came at just the perfect time.

  6. Beautifully said Shawni! Thanks so much for the inspiration.

    When I feel pulled in so many directions, I often end up chanting to myself: "Love much and do the best you can" (from Dr. John Lund) In the end it's all that any of us can or should do. 🙂

  7. Wonderful post. I see myself in the same position a few years down the road. My oldest (a boy) loves piano now, but I can see the writing on the wall as teenagehood arrives. The rest of mine are girls as well, and I'm sure we'll have plenty of these moments. Thanks for sharing.

  8. hi shawni…i've been following your sweet fam for several months now, but have never commented {cuz i don't want people to think i'm the crazy blog stalker that i am}!!! but i just had to leave you a comment today…this post was exactly what i needed! i'm super over-committed and stressed and have an inability to say no! this quote literally brought tears to my eyes…so THANK YOU! 🙂

    i really do LOVE reading your blog – because your family is presh, because you're so real about successes AND mistakes, and because you have awesome suggestions about parenting, life lessons, etc! thanks so much for sharing your life with us blog stalkers!!! 🙂

  9. Funny to me how crazy this motherhood thing can be! Your description of an average day was spot on!!

    Thanks for helping the rest of us to realize that it isn't only us that lives in the crazy zone!

  10. And THAT is why I keep reading your blog! In the most respectful of ways, I was trying to explain to my husband why I had your family's blog on my "blogs I read list". He kept saying, "Where did you find this blog?" "Why do you read it everyday?" Honestly…I don't know where I came across your blog, but look forward to it each morning. Now, after reading about your perspective on "interruptions" I am reminded why I tune in. I guess for me, your family is a foreshadow of sorts for ours. Our kids are 5, 3, and 18 months with hopefully 1 or 2?? ha! more on the way in the near future. My husband and I are excited by the days that you describe so vividly…even though I know they may come with great challenge, organization and responsibility with so many kids pulling you in various directions. I applaud you! Roz, in MN

  11. Thank you so much for your post – about 10 minutes ago I was grumbling to myself about all the interruptions that are keeping me from getting anything done. 🙂 What a wonderful perspective! Thanks for sharing.

  12. I call those kinds of days hootenanny days. A hootenanny is a merry gathering, and when things get that crazy, that's the only it can become w/o people ending up in the corner or the nut bin.

  13. i feel like i'm constantly fighting to keep our life as simple as possible… and it's still really chaotic!

    thanks for this. i'll be thinking on that quote for a long time.

  14. Love your post. Love the quote. Love that I am not the only one with a three year who constantly needs milk or liquid gold as we call it at our house. Thanks for the inspiration!

  15. LOVE this post! I only have two kids and I feel flustered all the time to get things done because I'm pulled in so many different directions. I also love the quote.

  16. Hi! I saw you at TOFW and LOVED your family mission statement. Is there any way you would share? I would love to replicate it. Thanks so much for all you do. If you are willing, please email me at kstone70@sfcn.org. Thanks!!

  17. I'm stressed out just reading that and kind of glad I only have 1 starting school this year….when they're all at home life sounds peachy compared to that!!!!!!

    but no matter how busy I get I'd never swap my life or number of children for anything!

    I hope you take it easy every now and then and get some time for yourself


  18. Well written Shawni. Boy, do I feel better when its not just me. I have three boys and I work from home so I feel you. From what I'm told about boys while they are little (as mine are-all under 10) you may as well have 2 girls to each of those boys. (However, I'm told that reverses with teenage girls-so Lord help you.) That quote at the end is PERFECT. But, I think you are doing double what most of us are and with grace, so take peace in that-when you get a minute that is!

  19. Okay, I'm sorry to say it, but I just laughed and laughed as I read this. (a nervous kind of laughter that comes from having just come from one of these types of moments) I sooooo know what kind of day that is. Those days seem to happen alot at our house too. Being a mom of 6 with ages varying between 16 and 1 life can get CRAZY! I feel your pain. The thing that I keep telling myself at times like this is "breathe…" but then again sometimes there doesn't even seem to be enough time for that. 🙂

  20. Exactly! Thanks for such a great perspective. I think I need to write the quote on my forehead so I can read it first thing every morning when I look in the mirror! 🙂

  21. This post hit home. I'm glad I'm not the only one feeling this way. It gives me a little extra strength to know others feel the same way. Thank you for your thoughts!

  22. I have moments like this at least 2 or 3 times a month with my 28 sweet little second graders. Half of them need me at exactly the same time and besides that Murphy's law is in full effect. It does get to the point that I just have to laugh!

  23. I remember these days, and I miss them. I didn't know it then….boy were those some hard times. I miss the noise now, and the interruptions. Funny. Sometimes I think we should live life in reverse. I love your perspective and your ability to be real. God bless you as you muddle through.

    Have to say it again…your blog is one of my favs!!!

  24. i woke up to a messy, messy house after going to bed way too late because we had a guest over and we just kept talking and talking. Was woken up way too early by our energetic toddler and it was one thing after another. Almost slipped and fell in some yucky juice a watermelon had dripped all over the counter and down onto the floor. Then my toddler spills her cereal milk all on the floor. The dog is asking to be let out. I'm 31 weeks pregnant. And did I mention the house is a mess (pet peeve!)

    And then…while I distracted my toddler with a show to give myself a few moments of peace and quiet…I came across this post of yours.

    Thank you:) You are so right. And it's something I know, but it's so good to be reminded and encouraged.

  25. Thank you for posting this. Found you via another post of yours on pinterest & I am hooked on your blog now. I needed a couple minutes away after dinner to unwind & my gracious husband offered to help clean up dinner so I could escape those "moments". I prayed for clarity to see how all the craziness of life was playing out for us and guess what, I found this blog. So thank you for being real and an example of a mother to look up to.

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