I have two girls home from school sick today.

One of them is for real.

One, not-so-much. 

Max and Elle were home sick a couple days last week (it is so hard for high school kids to miss school…they are going to be making it up all week this week).

Lu and I were sick the week before that right as Dave left for China for ten days. 

He just got home on Thursday and we celebrated.  We missed him so.

Usually when he is gone I get some serious house projects done, but this time I was just sick with sickness and also sick with worried-ness about a couple of my children and how I am mothering them.

There is not anything monumental going on, just some serious evaluation of how I help them through things, how I balance my time, and how my example in our home is what I see reflecting so prominently in how they act and live their lives.  It scares me to death sometimes to have such a responsibility.

So my “project” while Dave was away was to lay in bed a couple mornings and scour through parenting books:
2013-01-16 untitled 67890
(A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
is actually an awesome parenting book in my book…I think Katie is a pretty amazing mother.)

I don’t have time to link them all here, but if you click here you can quickly find any of those titles you are interested in.

…along with all the day-to-day stuff while I tried to re-evaluate how I do things around here. 
And pray with all my heart.

I came across one of my favorite quotes again:

“…If we are to search for real light and eternal certainties, we have to pray as the ancients prayed.  We are women now, not children, and we are expected to pray with maturity.  The words most often used to describe urgent, prayerful labor are wrestle, plead, cry, and hunger.  In some sense, prayer may be the hardest work we ever will engage in, and perhaps it should be.”  –Patricia Holland

Motherhood can be gut-wrenching sometimes, I tell you.

I’m so grateful God is in it right there to help Dave and me along if we remember to ask. 

So, my epiphanies from while Dave was gone are:

1) Get rid of technology when my kids are home (really, really hard but I’m trying my best and it makes me—and all the rest of us–so much happier).  Sometimes I just get so bugged by my phone and emails and texts.  I know it’s the way of life now, but I’m trying to change that around if I can.

2) Read more.  Benjamin Franklin said you should always carry two books with you, one you are reading and one you are writing.  I’m pretty good at the writing part but not so hot at the reading so I’m changing that around here.  There are so many inspiring things to read out there (first off I’m finishing those books up there in that picture).

3) I need to let my kids establish their own relationships with God to work through the tough stuff that comes along.  I need to help them foster that relationship rather than swooping in and fixing things for them.

I’m off to get my Dad at the airport.  So excited.  First thing on the docket: some long parenting discussions. 

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  1. Shawni,

    Thanks for your blog and sharing your thoughts with us. I think there is something that also applies here, and that is President Hinckley's encouragement to women. He often said, "You are better than you think you are."

  2. Thanks–I really needed to read this today.

    My almost-sixteen-year-old son recently told my husband and me that he didn't feel the spirit during a really nice fireside, and that, in fact, he had "never felt the spirit".

    Needless to say–we felt crushed. He is our oldest, so it is a real learning curve with him. We are very active in church, he goes to early-morning Seminary, we have FHE. It occurred to us, though, that we need to do SO much more. The spirit is in our home as we don't watch much TV and we are a very close family, but we need to do MORE. I know he HAS felt the spirit, but he either doesn't recognize it or is fighting against it or both.

    Thanks for your encouragement and suggestions.

  3. Thank you for your post. I just read and reread it at least 5 times. I know I'm doing my best as a mom…but I still always feel like I can do better. I'd love to hear more of your thoughts and epiphanies…this parenting thing is so difficult 😉

  4. I think I was led to read this post today. We've had some really scary events taking place in our neighborhood recently & it has rocked my teenage sons' world (and mine too to be honest). I try not to freak out & keep things peaceful at home, but man I need some parenting inspiration today! I have most of those books in your stack, too. I had forgotten about the parenting going on in a Tree Grows in Brooklyn (loved that book). THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for the Pat Holland quote! I need to reevaluate my work ethic as applies to prayer. 🙂

  5. HI Shawni! You are not alone! These are crazy times and it is so great to get off the treadmill of life sometimes and evaluate our methods. I LOVE that you have two of your moms books on your list. "I Didnt Plan on Being a Witch" is my all time favorite parenting book. I am trying to be more joyful this year in my mothering so I will dust off that book and start over.

    Since you mentioned reducing the tech time, I had to suggest the book, idisorder. It has really helped me create boundaries for myself and family. The resistance from my 17 yr old son is astounding though!

    Let us pray for each other. . .

  6. hi shawnie,
    first let me say i admire you and your family from afar here in new orleans!! i love your parenting style!! like you though i have a dilemma. I have two daughters, 10 and 8. and though i was great at the baby stage, toddler stage, and first few years of school, now i am feeling lost. i feel disconnected and lost in their lives and cannot solve the problems like i used to. i have always been an attentive, caring, loving mother,but have to admit that i was never a player. i was more interested in the schedules and routines and raising up of the girls and now here i find myself. knowing full well that the job is far from complete, i find myself at a lose for how to connect!! do you or any of your fans reading this, have any advice?!?! pls email, (tylermblife@aol.com)

  7. I just read Katrina Kenison's book "Mitten Strings from God"…loved it! I am now reading her book "The Gift is an Ordinary Day". Loving it as well. So much parenting wisdom in both.

  8. Thanks for sharing your epiphanies, definitely what has been on my mind lately and it was good to see it in words. Me and my husband checking our phones for the couple of hours we are all together as a family, just isn't healthy. I love your blog and you inspire me to be a better mom in realistic ways. You're amazing!

  9. I don't have kids (yet), and sometimes it's hard not to wish away my singleness or my childlessness (for the record, I don't really want children right now, but I do want them badly). Thank you for the reminder that it's not always rainbows and butterflies!

  10. For many of those same reasons I recently deleted my Instagram account and have deleted most blogs from my "favorites". Yours, Shawni is definitely staying though. Keep up the good work. You have helped me in so many ways.

  11. Shawni, this post made me cry, because I am so thankful for you and your honesty. Knowing that a mom I practically worship in the mothering department struggles and worries too, reassures me. I ordered Your Child's Self Esteem after last week's post (I already own all the other parenting books you have ever recommended – but I need to dust some of them off).

    I think I realized why I feel like I am struggling so much right now… mothering babies/toddlers was really intuitive for me, and even easy (other than just physical exhaustion). I had always babysat and been good with little ones, and it just did not seem hard to me – I loved my babies, and everything else was common sense. Now that my oldest is 7 and the next 5, I am getting into the hard stuff – struggles and questions and worries that I DON'T just intuitively know how to handle. Loving and snuggling them isn't enough. I am SO SO thankful for mothers like you to give such wise counsel and a wonderful example! THANK YOU!

  12. Our family is currently participating in a “Fast From the World”, during which we are not watching TV or movies, no facebook, Pinterest, blogs (except a select few uplifting ones) gratuitous texting or e-mailing, radio or non-church/classical music. Our bishop invited our whole ward to do it, and it truly hasn’t been as hard as I thought. You said so many of these things are a “way of life” now- I thought that too until I stopped using them. Turns out the world keeps spinning and life goes on and we all still function just fine.

    Since the fast began I can see patience growing in all of us. The kids (8, 7, 3, and 6 mos) don’t even ask about the TV anymore- when homework is through they just go off to play a board game together, pull out art supplies, or we read a book together (The Mysterious Benedict Society is a fantastic read for the whole family) and they often help me cook dinner now too.

    My husband and I sit at the table and play card games after the kids are in bed or we just sit and talk. We’re really reconnecting.

    Our home has begun to feel like a true sanctuary, where the only influences allowed are our own. I know we can’t keep it up forever (after all, the Superbowl is coming up!) but it has definitely been an eye-opener for me. It’s been like a spiritual vacation. We’re doing one month- we started January 1st- and at the end we plan to reevaluate the role technology plays in our lives.

  13. It is so hard. I'm feeling so burdened right now by teen issues, and re-evaluating everything we have done, as well. So thankful for God's guidance- I don't know how people make it without His wisdom and love.

    Thank you for sharing your own concerns, it is comforting to know that we al second guess ourselves, and strive to imrpove:-)

  14. I'm reading Almost Amish: One Woman's Quest For A Slower, Simpler, More Sustainable Life by Nancy Sleeth. Has definitely got me rethinking "screen time" and our devices and how and when we use them. Lots of good stuff in this book.

  15. Hello! I'm a long time reader (but first time commenter!) and I just wanted to say that I LOVE your blog. I became a mother this year to an adorable baby girl and I tell all my new mommy friends how I get such great parenting advice from your blog. I admire your family and I think you do a wonderful job raising your (beautiful) children! Thank you for the continued inspiration! 🙂

  16. I just found your blog via a friend of mine here in the Seattle area. What a beautiful blog. You've left me teary after reading several of your posts. Thanks for the book recommendations! I can always use another perspective. Many Blessings, Karista

  17. Thanks so much for your thoughts. I guess this crazy, great, wonderful, scary world must be having the same effect on us all. I also am struggling with my parenting and discouragement sets in daily. But, I truly appreciate reading your thoughts on things and you have inspired me to do better (and to implement a job program/money earning for my kids)! So, keep up the good work and know how much you are appreciated!

  18. I better write quick so I can listen to your #1 and get off my technology while my kids are home 🙂

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, your parenting and your parents with us. I can't wait to hear about those conversations with your Dad. I don't have any help at all in the way of parents or family to discuss our parenting. I am thankful for great friends, blogs and church on whom I rely for inspiration.

  19. Thanks for keeping it real as always. Your blogs calm and ground me. I am just learning to juggle four children, but really feel 90% of the time I never get there. But this too shall pass gets me through. Thanks again.

  20. I have been blogging this night/early morning about some feelings I have about the I'm a Mormon profile videos in relation to my own life, and things they have taught me. I feel exactly the same way about my memory and taking pictures. I don't post most of mine, but I love to take them and look through them 🙂
    Anyway, I just thought it was interesting that after seeing your video and thinking "I haven't looked at her blog forever, I will pull it up in a tab and read it when I'm done" I came and starting to read through some posts and came across you mentioning your kids developing a relationship with Heavenly Father too. I gotta say, it helps me feel like I am doing something right because I do the same thing. I'm going to post a link to the entry I just wrote. http://idmillers.blogspot.com/2013/01/i-love-what-she-says-about-journals.html

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