Sometimes I feel like the Rapunzel’s “fake” mother Gothel at the end of Tangled when Flynn Rider (Eugene) cuts off Rapunzel’s magical hair and that old wicked woman realizes her youth is going to fly out the window.

She grasps onto it with every ounce of her soul.

Oh! She wants that youth! (and life really, because she’s so old by then she is really just dust without the magic…and if you haven’t seen Tangled then you really need to. I think it still might be Elle’s favorite movie:)

I feel like her because I am trying to hold on too.

But what I’m trying to hold onto is these vanishing years with children home with all my might.

Do you know that yesterday I got all melancholy because I miss this right here below?

Yep, honest promise and for reals. I miss it all, even the tantrums.

I wish I could be right there and scoop that little girl up on my hip and put her cheeks between my palms and tell her everything is gonna be ok.

I wish I could feel her body melding into mine and wait for her breathing to slow down to match mine, and that life was that simple again.

Now life is so much more complicated, but man, I know I’ll miss this too: The comings and goings of Claire’s senior year. Lucy’s daily emails to me from school about everything from her grades to her choir concert. Grace’s weekly calls from her mission. Listening to the big, away kids cheer on their little sisters over FaceTime and watching them find their own ways.

Motherhood is golden.

And sometimes I stop in my tracks because I start to get so busy with the “doing” that I forget the “being.”

The other day I was so deep into figuring out some Relief Society ministering, pouring over texts on my phone, and I looked up and realized Lucy had been waiting patiently for my help practicing the piano.

And practicing the piano with that girl is golden I tell you. Oh how I’ll miss that too!!

Mothering takes time.

Lots and lots of time.

Even MORE time as they get older I am finding. (Not so much physically, but emotionally and spiritually and mentally.) And I feel prompted that I need to protect that time like never before. And also that I need to spend more time wrestling in prayer trying to gain the promptings as to how to help (or keep my mouth shut! ha!) as I hold on to these days.

I always wanted seven children, oh I really did from the depths of my heart. It was all I could do to sweet-talk Dave (for two full years of begging!) into “just one more” to get Lucy here at the end there.

But I’m starting to understand much better mom’s “answer” to her own prayer years ago when she wanted ten…

”Linda, you don’t even know what you’re up against with nine!” (or something like that :). Each child is so incredibly different with such different needs. I do not know how my parents did it so well with nine.


And they did it (and are still doing it…because you’re never really done parenting) seemingly so seamlessly.

Mothering takes time.

And patience.

And grueling work sometimes.

And there are so many other things to be done simultaneously.

How do you find a balance between the “doing” and the “being?”

Part of me wants to put all my interests on hold and be IN this all with them, I want to take their classes with them, I want to discuss the world with them, I want to put away my computer and my phone and be so much more present.

But I do think it’s important for me to get promptings for myself and my goals as well. Good for them to see me striving and pushing and learning and growing myself. I’m trying to find the right balance on that. I know it’s good for kids to figure things out themselves, to work with their siblings, they have their own secret worlds I am not a part of.

But I don’t want them to head off into the big, wide world without pouring as much as I can into their childhood.

As Anna Quindelin once said, we can be there for our kids as much as they need us, but are we there for them as much as we need them?

This motherhood thing is my favorite.

And wifehood too. And I keep feeling these nudges to let go of the minutia more so that I can do those jobs better.

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  1. This post has been my heart so often these days. Praying for wisdom. Thankful I’m not the only wife & mommy with these wrestling thoughts & prayers.

    1. Yes, this sure is tricky business! Sending over lots of love as you navigate along with all you other mamas out there!

  2. Would love any insight to conferences/books/articles for moms who are beginning to experience the ’empty nest’ and rediscovering our own purpose and new callings. Thank you for your blog, which has blessed my life for many years!

    1. My parents wrote a book along with my sister called “Empty Nest Parenting” that has a lot of ideas. I also did just give a talk in an online conference about this. It seems that so many people I know are in this phase right now. I will do a post with some of the information at some point, but if you want to listen to that “class,” the link is here: https://shawni–

  3. I appreciate reading your perspective. My 5 kids are 7, 5, 4, 3 and 6 months. Mothering so many little ones is so so demanding sometimes I just dream of how easy life will be when they’re older. Of sleeping through the night and what it would be like when they’re all at school and having time to myself. But your picture and description of Lucy reminded me of my chubby cheeked three year old. He has the worst tantrums too. But you’re right the solutions are so simple at this stage. As hard as it is this is a great reminder of how fleeting and magical this stage is too.

    1. Yes, it’s so hard to remember you are in “the good days” when those days seem absolutely awful! But it’s just such a short time! It passes so quickly. Lots of solutions to some of the tough stuff over here:
      (All of those posts linked have thoughts about being a “durable object” during tantrums.)
      Sending lots of love your way!

  4. Oh, what a constant struggle, and I too am finding that adult children need no less time from you than when they were too. They may not throw the tantrums, but when you get a call at 10 p.m. from your 22-year-old son who has just figured out how he can finish up his mast credits at the Y through online courses so that he can do a really awesome internship -you listen-even when you are tired and were just about to go to sleep.

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