I feel a little bit spoiled because I’ve been able to attend a myriad of inspirational weekends lately. Yes, from motherhood retreats to Women’s Conference to Time Outs, surely I have soaked in enough uplifting, invigorating and motivating messages that by now I really should have been able to transform into Superwoman.

I have grand visions of how I will change when I come home to those sweet children and husband of mine (who always seem to have become even more witty and good and beautiful in my absence).

I vow to do what it takes to become that better person those words of wisdom I’ve soaked in have motivated me to be.

The problem is this:

Life happens. And as it does, my resolutions begin to fade.

Sure, it’s just gradual at first. The cushions get pulled off the couch for the 25th time and as I am rushing around tripping over shoes that have been left out to get to the fourth carpool of the day I rack my brain to remember the words, the wisdom that washed over me so recently.

Oh yes, I’m supposed to take a deep breath and count to ten. I do and life is better for a bit…

…until I realize I’ve forgotten an ingredient for dinner, Max starts teasing Grace who begins to howl, Elle’s tugging at my arm to come put her eye drops in, papers are stacked all over the counter waiting to be sorted, Claire is telling me some story from recess I wish I could pay attention to as two different phones are ringing, Lucy is wailing about being “so hungry” for the fifth time and the e-mails compiling by the minute on my computer start to make me feel sick to my stomach.

As much as I try to shove away the frustration and impatience that looms large in front of me, it’s too late. Because by then the clock is ticking late into the night filled with endless homework, unfinished practicing and perpetual messes.

And of course, the homework is usually stuck to something un-wiped on the counter and someone is crying because they have forgotten their math book and as I sit to help them I notice the stack of insurance bills I was supposed to sort and call about today that I never got to, which reminds me I never called to schedule an appointment with the new whiz-bang doctor I’m sure is going to solve all Lucy’s issues.

Oh yes, and there are five sets of fingernails that need to be clipped.

But before I let myself get mired down in frustration I must remember that as much as I want to nestle into real life and become my better self…someone stronger and wiser, I can’t do everything at once. No matter how hard I try (at least not until some day when I figure out how to grow six extra arms and a few more eyes and ears).

Someone wise once said “the first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.” Yes, little steps will make all the difference. Now if I can only get organized enough to start on those little steps again…

I’d love to hear any ideas on how to incorporate more inspiration into the every day.

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  1. Hi Shawni! I look forward to reading your blog everyday – it is so inspirational. It's also nice reading your thoughts on the hard days (you are writing the thoughts and frustrations running through my own head today). We've never met, but I saw you at Costco yesterday as you were walking in with Lucy in tow. You were on your cell so I didn't want to be rude and interrupt. It was kind of exciting to see you after feeling like I've gotten to know your family. You feel like a friend, even though you have no idea who I am. You are a wonderful writer, photographer, and mother. Thank you for your example. By the way, we have a common friend. Kara and Paul Kelly were in the same ward with us in Kentucky while her husband was in dental school and mine was in medical school. We think they are pretty wonderful! Keep writing!
    Danette McOmber

  2. I could have written this today (although not as well!)..just getting home from the Power of Moms retreat and boy do I feel the same way. I think it was your sister Saren that said.."How do you eat an elephant?..bite by bite"..I really enjoyed meeting your sisters this weekend. They are wonderful and talented moms!

  3. You're gonna make it! We all have those days. The best advice I have is to smile through all of the chaos. My mom had nine kids like yours and she always had this poem up in our kitchen: "it's easy enough to be happy when life goes along with a song. But the one who's worthwhile is the one who can smile when everything goes dead wrong.". There were lots of days when things went dead wrong—but my mom just kept smiling and I remember that more than the forgotten homework, messy house, etc. She smiled through it all. I love Pres. Hinckley's quote that said something like "it will all work out. Its not ever as bad as we think it is." You are such an awesome mom Shawni! Darcy U.

  4. I just love your blog. I never miss a post. Even though your life is crazy and hectic it is fulfilling too. You have 5 gorgeous children who are wonderful and energetic individuals!! How fun! How crazy too I'm sure… When I'm having one of "those" days where everything is boiling over I just look around at my "sunny day" notes.

    When I'm having good days, I write little sticky notes for myself to remind me to keep my chin up when the clouds start thundering in. πŸ™‚

    It may be super cheesy but it makes me smile. I write things like, "you have the sweetest husband ever!" or "remember kendall's smile" (my daughter) or "you are SO lucky!!" Little things like that help me keep my cool and remind me of happier times. (sometimes only 5 minutes before) πŸ™‚

    I just love your blog and you. You truly are such a wonderful mom and an inspiration to me. πŸ™‚

  5. Lately, I have started having my own personal "time outs." I can't feel guilty, I get to do what "I" want to do and I take as long as I need. I also gained some perspective through a personal experience…remind me to tell you when I see you next or read about it on my blog. Relish these moments and when they take you over..sit back watch and sip on your favorite drink.
    Each day we get to try again and do better than the day before. Woo Hoo!!

  6. How timely was your post! I have been feeling the exact same way. I have been avoiding my blog because what I would write about isn't the most inspiring. More laundry, more piles, fighting kids, terrible economy, frustrating scale won't move and every other thing you expressed.

    I appreciate when someone can express themselves so well.

    Your post helped me to try to refocus-on the good in my life. Instead of dwelling on all the "messes" that I just can't get on top of.


  7. Wow. It all sounds so familiar. Are you sure this isn't about MY house? You hit the nail on the head with the insurance statements and fingernails. I used to think things were sooo crazy when I had toddlers and preschoolers. Never expected things would get exponentially crazier!

    But don't you love having older children who get your jokes? Don't you love seeing your kids doing their activities? Don't you especially love that all of the chaos is really what you signed up for (even if you had no idea what you were getting into!)…and it is all yours? I know you do. It shows.

    Good luck!

  8. oh well I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one chasing my tail.When I get in the car the radio is on 'hope' our christian music channel, all the inspiration and reflection I need listening to the latest christian music! and if the kids start fighting in the back I turn up the radio and they go quiet!!!

  9. I was cleaning out one of my cupboards and pulled out a book that my hubs gave me last year for Mother's Day and recognized your cute girl on the cover. So opened it and saw your family picture. I loved that book! Now I need to read it again now that I feel like I 'know' your family after reading your blog these past few months!

  10. How funny and true!!! I have three still at home and as we discuss the idea of four I wonder if I am trying to overwhelm myself! (: (because boy an I close many times a day!) I once heard Oprah say that every Mother needs a wife and I get that sentiment, someone to pick up the shoes, do the shopping, clean the messes and cook the meals so we can 'just' be there for our kids. This thought doesn't solve my problems but it does remind me that I am only one person and that my best is all I have to give! (Now if only it could stay clean long enough for me to notice that it still is clean!)

  11. I wish I could even get the chance to do anything uplifting. Some of us just keep grinding away with no break. Your thoughts although seeming to equalize you to some of us just come across as complaining.

  12. It's like you were reading my thoughts today but you say it so much better. I was able to attend Education week this summer at BYU and was filled with so many wonderful ideas and inspiration that I just didn't know what to do with it all. I decided the best way to approach it was to just start with something, anything. I also have tried to keep it all refreshed in my mind by pondering on it as often as possible. Since my inspirational high we have had some major obstacles happen and the real challenge is to see if I can keep these changes going even through the challenges. I can't say I have always been successful but I figure if I can succeed at retaining even a small part of it then it will become a part of who I am. It's easy to think that we can make wonderful changes when life is running smoothly but the real test is too see if we can keep it up even in the craziness of life. I found myself thinking about all of this today and felt like maybe I should be grateful for the challenges that come. Even the silly ones like messy houses and running around. They really are a test to see if we can keep it up even amidst the storm and if we can it then the real change we are seeking actually becomes more permanent. I hope that wasn't too preachy or anything but as you can tell its been on my mind a lot too. Thanks for writing such a wonderful blog that inspires me all the time. Keep up the great work.

  13. Have you ever read 21 Days Closer to Christ by Emily Freeman? I think it's fantastic! When I'm having a rough time, I know i need a good book!!
    Thanks for your blog.

  14. I just wrote this post…


    Because I was having a blah day…where I had intended to conquer the world with a skip in my step. But I ended up failing the conquering…

    However I did take a moment and thought for a bit about a couple laughs…some hugs and kisses…funny things my son would say and then I thought…success! Not just because those things happened…but because I remembered them.

    So I guess that's my advice. Remember a funny thing they say…a nice gesture…a hug…and remember that we don't have to conquer our world in one day. πŸ™‚

  15. My favorite part of this post: the five sets of fingernails! I've struggled lately, always feeling overwhelmed with the things I "should" do. I try to step back and decide what I "want" to do. The funny thing is that most of the time the "want" is exactly the same thing as the "should."

    Something would be seriously wrong if you didn't feel this way sometimes. All your readers would have no choice but to hate you πŸ™‚

  16. Those nights (or all nights) are complete craziness…can you all have a "deep breath" moment? When it just seems to be piling up, call for silence, and take a moment to reflect??? Just an idea…I have no prior experience with all of this chaos yet as mine are just 2, but it's worth a try!

  17. my kids bite their fingernails and toe nails (gross right) but now I have one less thing to do on my to-do list. Maybe biting them is a good thing. (:

  18. I don't know you, but I'm sure glad there's mom's like you out there. Mothering can be a little isolating at times, can't it? We all feel like we're the only one who has a house like you just described. πŸ™‚

    I admire you and love reading your blog. I have a feeling like you're doing A LOT of big things right. Thanks for letting us all peek into your world, and for being so candid about the tricky parts. Just keep praying, that's what I always think on my hard days. It's all going to work out! πŸ™‚

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