Welcome to MomStory

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We All Have One

We are making history, except it's not his-story. It's Mom-Story. And every mom has a story.

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100% Real Moms Guarenteed

Each MomStory on this site is authentic. These women are real moms who were willing to put their story out there in hopes of it helping another mom on their journey.

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One Size Does Not Fit All

We realize that most moms are just doing their best to get through whatever phase of mothering they're in. We also realize that everyone's "best" looks different - and we celebrate that!

Mom Story #31

Meet Katelyn

What’s your name, mama?

Katelyn Huntsman   

Where’s your nest?

Shelley, Idaho  

How many peeps live in your nest?

Husband Jade and my two little peeps Hallie Jade age 5 and Heston Jim age 3

What is your biggest obstacle as a mother?

For me I feel the hardest part has been bringing my little family into this world. I know this struggle is faced by many women today and each struggle is unique. My story started 8 years ago after my husband and I decided it was time to start our family. We had been married for 10 months and I was pregnant pretty quick. We went in for our first ultrasound to find no heartbeat. Little did I know that this ultrasound was the beginning to a long road of disappointing doctor visits and multiple miscarriages. 1 D&C and two miscarriages later we had Hallie Jade and what a miracle she has been in our lives. Luckily for us Heston came two years later; another miracle! I know it's far from over as I pray for two more children. With 3 more miscarriage, 1 ER visit and over 2 years of trying for my third I would say the journey has been hard but it's worth every moment having these two little ones in my life.  

What is your greatest triumph as a mother?

Watching my children play and take care of one another. It's not always sunshine and rainbows but those moments when I see they truly care for each other is a triumph for me. 

What is something you do to hang on to who you are as a person?

 I love being in nature. Camping, hunting, nature walks as Hallie calls them, any time spent outdoors just helps me in so many ways. I also love to take pictures of wildlife and landscapes. I like to find great deals, become more organized, and do crafts with family. 

What is something you wish you did better as a mother?

I wish I spent more of my time with each of my children. I need to take the time to truly listen to what they have to say and become more involved in learning how they think and what they love. I love being a mother and I just want to become the best mother I can be for them.  

What has been a defining moment in motherhood for you?

When I decided to be a stay at home mom. I had my first job when I was 15 years old at the local Dairy Queen and went on to become a dental assistant while working toward my associates degree at BYU-Idaho. I continued to work while my husband was attending college and I knew that when Hallie became a part of our little family I wanted to be home with her and work towards becoming the mom my little family would need.

What has surprised you the most about motherhood?

How different I have to be with each of my children. What might work with Hallie does not work with Heston. How you interact, discipline, and play with each one can be such a mystery to me. Right now it’s racking my brain how to best parent my determined, energetic, and fun little boy Heston. :) 

What did your kids eat for dinner last night?

Chicken Strips and battered fries from the country club. The kids helped with the member clean up and there was a bbq after. Free food and no cooking I am in! 

Who is your mother mentor?

My own mother who has always been there for me no matter what the cost has been for her. Also my mother in law I have truly learned so much from both of these mothers selfless examples.
 

MomStory #30

Meet Danelle

Where’s your nest? 

Springfield, VA 

How many peeps live in your nest? 

3 kids and a hubby. E, age 8. A and H, age 2. 

What is your biggest obstacle as a mother? 

Lack of sleep. Seriously. I haven't slept through the night in over 5 years.  And it has less to do with my young twins and more to do with my 8 year old who has Type 1 Diabetes.  Having a child with Type 1 Diabetes means her body doesn't produce its own insulin - a life sustaining drug that regulates the body's blood sugar.  It means I regulate it…I am her pancreas.  I never thought that would be one of the requisites as a mother, but there it is!  It's an all consuming, full time job.  She was only 3 when she was diagnosed and we started off with multiple daily shots but now we have her on an insulin pump.  I have to count every carbohydrate she consumes and calculate how much insulin she will require.  Too much or too little insulin could have severe consequences, including death…a fear I live with daily...and nightly.  But I've learned to count the carbs in most things with a single glance!  It's like a super power! ;)  I rely heavily on medical devices to tell me when her blood sugar is too high or too low…but they fail sometimes so I also depend on that God given gift - a mother's intuition.  I can't tell you how many times I have woken in the dead of the night thinking something is just not right only to discover Eliza's blood sugar is dropping dangerously low.  But it would be wonderful just to sleep through the night without wondering if my baby girl is going to wake up in the morning.  I know that sounds dramatic, but it's the reality of having a child with an incurable disease. 

What is your greatest triumph as a mother?  

My biggest triumph would be any time I choose to say "I can do this" instead of saying life is hard.  I think as women we often look at other people's lives, and when we see their challenges we say "I could never do that." When the truth is, we are stronger than we know.  If my 20 year old self could have looked ahead at my 40 year old me, I think she might have said "No way I can go through all of that!" But here I am doing it.  People say to me all the time that they could never do what I do, especially in reference to dealing with Eliza's diabetes, or our decade long infertility, or the crazy adoption process we went through, my horrible pregnancy, or even now with having twins. When I hear someone say "I could never do what you do!" I think, but you could if you weren't given another choice. And saying we are strong enough does not mean we are expected to do it alone.  It means we know we can do it because we have a team of people we can depend on. We have to remember that we are more capable than we like to admit. 

One of my favorite quotes is from Nelson Mandela who said, "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."  

What is something you do to hang on to who you are as a person? 

Trying new things.  I have always said "I can't bake." But then I decided to try.  And it turns out I make amazing cookies.  I have discovered things I really don't like to do in that process (like knitting and making chocolates) and I just say, "Now I know!  That's not my thing."  But I have found more often than not, I am more capable than I imagined.  It's how I discovered that I like to do "food art" for my daughter.  I wanted to find a way to let her know I was thinking of her when she was at school, and I never want her to feel food is her enemy (as a diabetic food often feels "off limits" or problematic).  So, I make it fun.  

What is something you wish you did better as a mother?  

Planning.  I am spontaneous.  I think all my kids suffer because they want a plan.  Especially my oldest.  And I am spur of the moment all the time.  No one can plan on what my crazy day will end up looking like. 

What did your kids eat for dinner last night? 

Enchiladas, red rice, and refried beans.  Trader Joes makes an amazing red enchilada sauce. I use a rotisserie chicken, shredded cheese and tortillas and everyone is happy.  It's one of my easy go to meals. 

Who is your mother mentor? 

So many amazing women that I watched and learned from years before my own children came, Sarah Dyckman, Katie Blakesley, Rebecca Stowers, my own mother (of course), my sisters. I could name a million more! 

MomStory #29

Meet Annie

My nest is in Ogden, UT


I have a husband and four daughters.


My biggest obstacle as a mother is the fact that all of these dang kids just do not come the same.  You would think that the fact I have four girls would mean that they were all similar or reacted to things the same but it just couldn't be farther from the truth.  They are each so different.  Trying to make sure I approach, react and interact with them in a way that is best for their personality is definitely what keeps me awake at night brainstorming all the solutions.  I feel like girls need a lot of emotional validation and when you are spreading that out between four different personalities, it's a little daunting.  This is something I frequently fail at and something I am constantly working on.  I'm afraid I will have to continue to do so for the rest of ETERNITY.  That's not overwhelming at all.  So until then, bring on all the eye rolls, tantrums, crying and sulking.

  

My greatest triumph as a mom is the fact that my kids let me sleep in until 8:00AM every day in the summer, my baby takes three hour naps and my oldest can babysit her younger siblings now.  Those may sound like trivial things but the combination of the three genuinely make me a better mother and makes me love them more which makes them kind and sweet girls. 

 

Something I do to hang on to who I am as a person is put my headphones on while my kids are outside and go for a brisk walk.  Like 80s speedwalking style.  I just do laps up and down our cul de sac and I tell them that if they need me the music is up pretty loud so they are going to have to come right up to me.  Don't worry, I check on them occasionally as I pass the house and yes, I am certain my neighbors think I'm strange  Honestly, being outside is really important to me as a mom and for my kids.  We thrive when we can get outdoors and ride bikes, hike and especially when I can speed walk.  Now I just need some hot pink leg warmers. 

 

Something I wish I did better as a mother is to be less distracted.  I find that I am in my head all the time distracted by all the things I need to do that I often don't listen as well to my kids as I would like.  I know they have to ask me the same questions more than once and I really need to try and be better about that.  So then they just ask me the same question eight million times.  Maybe one of these days we can figure it out.

  

For dinner last night we had sandwiches, watermelon, veggies and chips and had a picnic at a park.  See that outside stuff does me right.


You know when I think of my mother mentor there are just so many faces that come to mind.  My own mother of course, but there were other moms as I was growing up that were a great influence on me as well.  As I have grown I have found that my friends, siblings and family members have had a huge impact on the mother I would like to be.  I am surrounded by so many wonderful mothers that picking one would be impossible.  I am just so thankful that I have such wonderful examples to learn from in my life. 

MomStory #28

Meet Lindsay

Where’s your nest?

Oakton, VA

How many peeps live in your nest?

Five. My husband and I, and our three little boys.

What is your biggest obstacle as a mother?

My biggest obstacle as a mother is trying to figure out the root of the problems that my little chicks face. Once I know what’s causing their struggles–then I can act, make a plan and go from there. But my hardest difficulty, is deciphering, discerning, and diagnosing those problematic issues –especially when it comes to my three little boys who either cannot talk, or if they can –its weeding out excuses and cutting out the potential blame that we often use to justify our actions. It doesn’t matter if it’s a serious illness, mental disorder, anxiety, bad hair day or bad day at school –my work as a mother is the same. For example, why are you waking up screaming in the middle of the night? Why don’t you want to go to school? Hungry? Tired? Bully? Sick? Anxiety? The unknowns of motherhood force us to research, ask questions, ponder and search out answers that only we truly have access to understand and who are authorized to receive. Once the REAL problem has been uncovered, then I feel the science experiments and remedies of love, medical assistance and therapies are at our finger tips… but the diagnosing is what I find to be my greatest obstacle. And I think that this obstacle will continue as long as I’m a mother. I will never stop wondering how my children are –even when they’ve moved out and are married off. It is in a mother’s intrinsic nature, as well as in her inherent responsibility to problems solve and then to help her children do the same for themselves and those they love.

What is your greatest triumph as a mother?

My greatest triumph as a mother goes hand in hand with my answer to the above question. When I have uncovered the REAL obstacles, have fought tooth and nail to either advocate, find doctors, find schools, find therapies, implemented plans, and whatever else, and THEN find my children begin to soar –that’s when I triumph and that’s when we CELEBRATE as a family.

I find joy both acknowledging the triumph with my husband, AND in helping our child see that THEY have really been the ones to work hard and reap the benefits of their hard work. Our children, in whatever capacity –large or small, sometimes need it to be spelled plainly to them that they are the heroes, that they worked hard, and that they succeeded. I want them to see they can do AND have done hard things. As a family, we celebrate and cheer each other on.

I speak from experience of trying to get my son with extra-special needs off his feeding tube. It was something that took years, and literal blood, sweat and tears. It was endless therapies, hospital visits and surgeries. But we show him often, as well as his siblings and cousins what a wonderful, hard and great thing he accomplished. When the other child does something as simple as getting ready all by himself in the morning (checking off all 7 steps on his chart that he wrote) we all celebrate. And aren’t the small things also big things? Those victories, large in scale or teeny-tiny in size, are what make my life sparkle.

What is something you do to hang on to who you are as a person?

I don’t like to post a lot about religion and or/politics because I find people who do so create divisions and often create unintentional contention. But my desire to be honest and real trumps my previous statement. And so I answer your question: the one and ONLY thing that I have to do to hang onto myself as a person, is make time daily to open my scriptures and READ (not listen, it doesn’t work as well for me).

We welcomed our third child 11 months ago and it has kicked my butt more than any other time in my life. His first 6 months he was chronically sick (in and out of the hospital more times than I’d like to remember), my second son with Down Syndrome (cutest child you’ve ever met in your life) was going through a second diagnosis of autism (and who sees 8 doctors on a consistent basis), my oldest son has the attention span of a gold-fish and sometimes required more work than the other two put-together, and my all-star husband’s work, travel, and church demands had reached an all time high. I had little help, and I was sinking. Every ounce of my energy and time was given to my family and I started to hit my breaking point. At that time, I remembered an Old Testament Bible verse about God being a jealous God. I found it odd that I was thinking that, since I felt I was spending my time in worthy areas, -but I realized even God wanted HIS time each day. And so I decided to sacrifice my time, and give a little extra effort in opening my heart to the scriptures everyday. I recognize different people have different beliefs, but my faith is such that I feel the word “sacrifice” is an oxymoron. I mean, I can’t remember the last time I didn’t receive more than what I “gave” to God. Sometimes it took awhile to see the miracle, blessing and/or gift, but in my life, there is nothing but a consistent pattern of getting WAY more than the ounce I have “given” to Him. So at this most crazy and stressful time in my life, loosing myself as a person, I decided to prioritize my time to give a little more to God in scriptures, (and maybe a little less time to social media). I honestly do think he was jealous. I know it sounds cliché, but I can say I have discovered more of who I really am, received more confidence in my efforts, and given more strength to juggle all on my plate. It doesn’t make sense to me how it all fits in my life, and boosts my spirits and  abilities when I have now less for myself, but that’s why I feel it comes from He who holds the source of all power.

What is something you wish you did better as a mother?

Good heavens, where do I start? I wish I could figure out how I could re-wire my body so I could better function off less sleep!

J/K –I think you want a serious answer. My struggle is being okay, and even seeking the healthy chaos of motherhood. I wish I could handle a messy kitchen and home a bit better –so I could let go and play with my kids a little more. I wish I cared less about body image and hair goals so I could do more cannonballs and have more water-gun fights at the pool. I wish I had the discipline to put my “to-do” list away until after the kids are in bed, and had more energy to building forts, stack Legos and make messes. How I’m wired is that I sometimes value cleanliness and organization more than healthy messes and time with my little boys. Both are important, and I’m trying to find the balance.

What has been a defining moment in motherhood for you?

Hmm. If I want to be REAL, then I would link you to a blog post I did almost two years back and it was the single most important thing I’ve ever learned both then and now.

And it demonstrates the reason why I can, and hopefully always will be able to put one foot in front of the other –even if it means I turn into Job (which I haven’t and hopefully will NOT). You can find it here: http://lindsayanddanricks.blogspot.com/2014/08/did-god-answer-your- prayer.html 

But besides that epiphany, I’d say my defining moments come from my village. Let me explain –I have people in my life that don’t include me –some intentional, some unintentional. I have people that make my life harder –some intentional, some unintentional. And as any normal human being, you’re constantly thinking, discerning, deciphering and trying to figure out your path. And so what are the defining moments? My cheerleaders. And I have some of the best this world has to offer. Just typing this last sentence, I was interrupted by two of my best friends that paraded into my home with a huge poster their girls had written up entitled, “Summer Bucket List” which listed all the fun things that we will do this summer together –since I am mostly homebound with my little chicks. These family and friends validate me, they love me no matter what, they encourage me, and help me navigate and discover the hard answers to my own personal journey. I simply would be lost as a mother without them.

What did your kids eat for dinner last night?

Frozen Costco Turkey Burgers. They cook in 5 minutes, you don’t have to thaw before cooking. And I just added cheese and ketchup. Don’t think anyone ate fruit or veggies (come to think of it, I don’t think I even made any).

Who is your mother mentor?

Zero hesitation: My mother, Erlynn Lansing. She is my biggest cheerleader. She has taught me more than anyone that a silver lining can be found in any situation, condition and circumstance. She taught me that things can ALWAYS get worse… so then why not be grateful?!? She taught me the power and art of how to ask questions. Both for revelation, to make someone feel loved and want to get to know them, and to problem solve. She has also mastered the power and art of giving compliments. Her compassion and attention to people and her ability to make her home and those around her sparkle is an incredible gift.

Mom Story #27

Meet Kandis

Where’s your nest

We live in St. Louis, and have for the past 5 years. Although, we have just bought a home in Salem, UT, and are preparing to move back to Utah (after being away for 9 years) in June. My husband completed anesthesia residency last year, and he is finishing up a pediatric fellowship in June.   

How many peeps live in your nest? 

After many years of trying, we now have 3 girls; Alyssa (5), Norah (3), and Charlotte (6 mo). Our journey to this point was a long one. We were married for 7 years, and had over 4 years of infertility before we were blessed with our first positive pregnancy test. We were quite skeptical at first, but eventually became elated (after multiple blood tests confirming the pregnancy). It happened after a second failed attempt at IUI, so we were completely shocked that we conceived naturally. I have no answers except to look back and say that it was the Lord’s timing. Alyssa was born just as Colt finished medical school, and before he started residency. He had nearly 3 months where he could spend time with her and bond with her before he was gone all the time. That timing also allowed me to work all through medical school to support us. Colt was able to start residency, which pays very little for the hours they put in, but it was a paycheck. The timing was truly perfect, we couldn’t see it at the time, but looking back we definitely have a better perspective.      

What is your biggest obstacle as a mother?  

Balancing it all, and not letting my kids see how overwhelmed I can get. Cleaning, cooking, laundry, teaching, playing, running errands, finding time to work out, and throwing working days into all of that. Colt is gone a lot, so it mostly falls to me. I tend to always feel behind in each of those categories, behind in the laundry, cleaning, etc. I always feel like I am trying to catch up, or just get on top of it. Then I find I am missing so many teaching and playing opportunities with my kids, because I’m so worried about how clean the house is or making the perfect meal. Working out is nearly nonexistent, and it is something I want to fit in each day. On the days I work, everything piles up even more. It’s a battle I feel like I lose most days, and something I try to do better at each day.      

What is your greatest triumph as a mother? 

Watching my kids master something I’ve taught them, or something they have worked so hard to learn. My kids are all still pretty young, but I absolutely love the look in their eyes when they realize “they can do it!”  I want nothing more for my girls than for them to grow up believing in themselves, and realizing that they have the ability, through hard work, to accomplish all that they set out to do.    

What is something you do to hang on to who you are as a person?  

I am a pharmacist. I worked full time up until I had Alyssa, and then I cut back to working 2 days a week. I always find it difficult to leave my children the night before I head into work, but then once I’m there, I love it. I love working with my patients, and helping them with their medications. I love the relationships I build at work, and I love when something I have done has impacted someone’s life for the better. I love being a pharmacist, and I feel it is important for myself and for my girls that I continue working. I want my girls to know that they can be whatever they want to be. I do believe that being a mother is the most important job I have, but I also feel that working as a pharmacist is something that allows me to dive into a different world I also enjoy.       

What is something you wish you did better as a mother? 

According to my 5 year old I need to take them to more parks and splash pads! As for me, I wish I was more patient. I find that I lose my patience too quickly, and then I’m left with so much regret for yelling too much or overreacting to a mess that was made. Each night I find myself praying for more patience for the following day. This is especially true with my 3 year old. She is a very happy-go-lucky little girl, and is in her own make-believe world of pretend play and music all day long. I find myself getting so impatient with her, because she doesn’t respond to “hurry, we have to go.” She does things at her own pace, and I am always trying to hurry her through her day. I need to find more patience and ways to teach her on her level and at her pace. I need to remember that they are little, and my way isn’t going to be their way. It is definitely a learning curve for me, and something I am trying little by little to be better at each day.      

What did your kids eat for dinner last night? 

A chicken enchilada bake from Costco and fruit. Our house just went on the market, and has to be show ready at all times, which is so stressful with 3 littles. I am not cooking right now, so we are trying to be creative with meals that cause very little mess (and that don’t smell up the house too much).   

Who is your mother mentor?

My mom. She is someone I have always gone to for advice, or just from her example from my childhood. She has always been and still is a great example to me of a strong, smart woman, and a kind, loving mother. She also has a way to keep me in check, and help me see the big picture at times when I feel too overwhelmed. She has also been a lifesaver to me when I have had each of my children. She has been able to drop what she is doing, and come and stay with me. She cooks, cleans, does laundry, and helps out with the bigger girls. It has been the most amazing thing while I try to get back on my feet after each child.    Living away from home, I have also been mentored by the wonderful friends that I have had along the way on this journey we have been on. I have been blessed to be surrounded by some of the most amazing mothers which have stepped in to help me when I have had no family around, and a husband who is gone a lot. Many of these women are other fellow resident wives. There are too many to mention individually, but they have each helped me to be a better mom through their service, example, and friendship.      

Mom Story #26

Meet Melinda

Where’s your nest? 

We currently live in Holladay, Ut, but we are all flying the coop soon to start a new adventure in Grand Junction, CO.     

How many peeps live in your nest? 

I have four kiddos: three boys and a baby girl. And that rooster...do I count him? :)     

What is your biggest obstacle as a mother?

I learned really early in my motherhood journey that my kids aren't perfect, and I am even further from it. My oldest son didn't pass the newborn hearing screening in the hospital and was soon diagnosed with profound bilateral hearing loss. He was deaf and I had absolutely no context or training whatsoever to know how to proceed. All of my preparation and education and dreaming about motherhood seemed suddenly so superfluous! I had to go back to the drawing board. And that is my greatest obstacle as a mom: accepting that life circumstances often aren't what I planned. It can be something as simple as making an incredible meal only to watch my little rascals spit it out, or something as complicated as health needs, surgeries, therapies, medical mysteries, endless appointments, etc. It is difficult for me to recreate a vision for my life when things don't go "as planned." But somewhere in that revisionist exercise a magic emerges that I could never have created on my own. It's that magic of discovering who my children really are, and watching them figure it out too. That motherhood magic keeps me going.   

What is your greatest triumph as a mother? 

When my oldest was in kindergarten he brought home a questionnaire he filled out for Mother's Day about me. One of the questions asked him, "What is something your mom always says?" And he responded, "You have to earn it." And it's the truth, much to my children's chagrin. I make them "earn it." If they want to buy a toy, they know they have to practice their instruments daily until they save enough money to buy it. They also have charts and behavior points to earn special nights with mom and dad. We make it a point to "go all out" when they reach their goal, and I love seeing the satisfaction in their smiles when they pat themselves on the back. So far they know they need to work for what they want, so I'm counting that as a win.    

What is something you do to hang on to who you are as a person?  

I love to write, exercise early every morning, and eat a bowl of cereal most nights before bed. That all helps me stay sane. Its also important for me to challenge myself with new adventures or pursuits--that helps me evolve and grow as an individual.    

What is something you wish you did better as a mother?

 Cook. I'm OK in the kitchen, but I've never really enjoyed it.    

What did your kids eat for dinner last night? 

Fajitas! Or at least that's what was offered...pretty sure most of my boys ate some sort of cheesy-chicken quesadilla version of dinner. That, and sips of their carrot-strawberry-katsup-salty "soup" they concocted in their water cups.     

Who is your mother mentor? 

So many good mothers have influenced my life. My own, of course, and also my mother in law and grandmothers and sisters and friends. Each has her own style, and strengths and stories that empower me, make me laugh and help me learn.   

Mom Story #25

Meet Jen

Where’s your nest?   

Humble Texas (pronounced Umble. Texans. They're crazy like that)   

How many peeps live in your nest?

We have three little peeps. All crazy, but adorable. 

What is your biggest obstacle as a mother?   

I think I have hit a rough spot with my oldest. We are similar in a lot of ways and yet so different that I have had a hard time knowing how to parent her. She is such a sweetheart and really doesn’t want to disappoint people, but she is also very caught up in friends and not missing out on anything that is happening with them. So we sort of get into power struggles with each other and my husband gets annoyed because both my daughter and I want to win. I want things done on my time and my way, and my daughter is much more free spirited like her dad and can’t see why I’m asking her or having her do things my way. We end the day (and start the day) many times with tears. It’s AWFUL! I feel like a failure and then she feels unloved and we both are miserable. I just want what is best for her and so it is hard for me to give up some of my power and realize that my way might not always be the best way. Lol. So lately I have been telling myself I have to let things go. My husband and I joke that we are just trying to survive this stage of life, but the last two weeks or so I have been thinking that was a horrible outlook on all of this. Then I started reading Chip and Joanna Gains book and I laughed when I came across a chapter that was about not just surviving the moment but thriving. So in short….my biggest obstacle is trying to let things roll of my back more often and realizing that everything doesn't need to be done the way I wanted. I feel like I had a magical childhood. My mom is awesome with little kids and so really that's all I want for my children. They are never going to remember if the house was clean or not or if they got to bed on time, but they will remember fun adventures and stories we read in bed. So it’s a daily reminder that I want to love the day and try to make the best of it, even when my oldest is yelling at me and telling me she doesn’t like me, my second is running naked and laughing about it, and the baby is screaming for food, it will be more fun to look back and realize I laughed with them rather than yelling at them.

What is your greatest triumph as a mother?   

Those days when everything click! We wake up happy. We make a yummy breakfast and get outside early to enjoy the day.  I love days when my children learn something new and you can see pure enjoyment in their eyes.  I think one of the best triumph moments for me within the last month was seeing my oldest daughter realized that she is a Child of God. She wanted to share with all those around her what she believed and why she felt it was good and true. This is something that is always in the back of my head and worries me. My husband and I see religion very differently and I want my children to learn from the both of us that it is wonderful to question the world around them. However at the end of the day (I really want them to see my way J !) It's a proud moment for me when she makes decisions for herself without any coaxing and is good example to friends and family. These small moments or days and the "Ah Hah" days for me when I feel like a million bucks and am so happy to be a mom. I realize that that is doesn't matter what the latest fashion trend is, or how the heck my house looks, or that I am not running my own company and so on. I am just happy being a mom to three wonderful kids!   

What is something you do to hang on to who you are as a person?    

When my brother hit 30 he hated it. We talked about it and I just laughed at how dramatic he was being. Fast forward a few years and I hit my 30th and I totally got it! I was leaving my 20’s, which had been pretty darn fun, and I thought l didn't have much to show for it. I totally was freaking out. I hadn’t had some big career. I hadn’t written a book. I hadn’t physically or spiritually saved anyone’s life. I didn’t even know what I liked anymore. Did I have any hobbies? What kind of music did I really like? Was I old and boring just raising kids? Yeah I went a bit crazy. I wasn't expected to do anything mind blowing but I now realized where my brother had been coming from. Well I soon got off my own pity party train and looked at my life and could see it was actually pretty awesome! But I did come to realize I had lost a few things that made me ME once I became a mom. Lately something that makes me hang on to who I am is journaling. I never have been a journal(er) or written down my thoughts, but I have started a journal that is my everything! Some pages are doodles of my dream home; some are drawings of me pulling my hair out because that's how I feel. Some pages are notes on books that I’m reading and have inspired me. Some are just my grocery shopping list or music I heard and loved. I write down weekly goals as well as activities I want to do and things I want to learn. I now love having this crazy looking book with randomness in it. I’m pretty sure that's what the inside of my head looks like. A billion thoughts running all over the place and now I have a spot to put all of it. It's very me, a bit loud, crazy, and all over the place.    

What is something you wish you did better as a mother?  

I am awesome. I’m sure I couldn’t do any better. Oh wait that's a lie. Something I could do better is being a better example. The mothers I look up to most, my mother being one of them, never says to Do, she Does. If she expects something done she is there doing it with you. Moms who want their kids to do service for others are showing by example or wanting a calm peaceful home are calm and peaceful themselves. I sometimes want my kids to do certain things and then I realize that I probably need to be a better example in those areas that I want them to be better at. So be a Better Example!! I loved a talk by LDS member Joy D. Jones saying “Children are great imitators so give them something great to imitate”  I think whenever you have things on your mind you find that others talking about the same thing. Just like the book earlier. Funny how that works J  

What did your kids eat for dinner last night?   

Ahh I’m embarrassed to say! We had swim team and no dad coming home for dinner so we ate hamburgers at Culvers. My kids are not big meat eaters though so really it was a dinner for me! My kids would prefer to eat rice and vegetables.  

Who is your mother mentor? 

I grew up around some pretty remarkable women. My sister is one of my biggest mentors though. I love how her and her husband parent. Their children are wonderful examples to my kids and I love it.  

Mom Story #24

Meet Sarah

Where's your nest? 

My nest resides in Blackfoot, Idaho.

How many peeps live in your nest?

My husband Dirk and I have two boys, M is 13 and B is 10

What is your biggest obstacle as a mother?

My biggest obstacle as a mother is having patience. I am slightly OCD and I crave perfection and efficiency.  I have to remind myself daily that there is plenty of time in the day or week to accomplish the most important things, and my family being the most important thing. 

What is your greatest triumph as a mother? 

My greatest triumph as a mother is raising two boys who challenge me and make me want to try harder every day.  They are my life.

What is something you do to hang on to who you are as a person?

This past year I have taken on running. Although there are days I dread it, it has helped me find time for myself and is also a great way to relieve stress. Making earrings is also something i very much enjoy.  Nothing makes me more happy then finding a good piece of leather to make new ones. I adore fashion and I feel accesories are what makes the outfit. I find myself picking my earrings out first and then finding the outfit to coordinate.   

What is something you wish you did better as a mother?

I wish I had more patience. lol!

What did your kids eat for dinner last night? 

My kids ate chicken dumplings and rolls that were already made from Costco and just had to be reheated.. I don’t really love cooking, so dinner is probably something I wish I did better as a mother too.  ;)

Who is your mother mentor?

My own mother is a great example of service as well as my sister.  Two people I completely admire and strive to be more like.  

Check out the earrings made by Sarah and her sister at Featherlite Leather

Mom Story #23

Meet Arynne

Where’s your nest? 

I have recently moved to Pocatello, Idaho, but I’m originally from Blackfoot like my sister/partner, Sarah.    

How many peeps live in your nest?  

I have been married for 23 years to Michael. I have two daughters; Olivia is 18 and Abigail is 13.    

What is your biggest obstacle as a mother? 

My biggest obstacle as a mother is trying to juggle it all while maintaining my sanity!  

What is your greatest triumph as a mother? I don’t have perfect kids, but I am very proud of who my girls are. They are true to themselves and are kind human beings. This tells me that I’m doing okay most days.      

What is something you do to hang on to who you are as a person? 

I haven’t ever felt that I have given up who I am to be a wife or mother. That is a huge part of who I am at my core. However, my husband has really made it possible for me to accomplish my individual goals of earning my Master’s degree, working, traveling, and enjoying hobbies that I love. I guess I would say that being who I truly am has always been possible because of his love and support. I hope he can say the same.   

What is something you wish you did better as a mother? 

I wish that I didn’t freak out over things that, in the end, really don’t matter in the big picture. I am a Type A neat freak, and sometimes this makes me a grumpy mom. While I do contend that teaching our children to be organized and to take care of what they have is valuable, there are times I lose my temper over what seems small in hindsight. I admit that it is typically when I’m about to drop one or more of those balls I’m juggling and…I snap at my kids. I always regret this. It’s not their fault. Sometimes we need to take some time to calm down and then come back to face the situation without our own baggage.    

What did your kids eat for dinner last night?

Ha! I’ve been terrible with cooking lately, BUT I did make dinner last night! We had Idaho potatoes with beef stroganoff topping.      

Who is your mother mentor?

I have so many friends and family who shine as examples, but probably my mom and my Grandma Anita stand out as the two who influence my mothering skills day to day. I also bounce things off of my sister, of course. She is my best friend and someone who I look to for advice and whine to when I’m questioning my mom skills.  

Mom Story #22

Meet Kelsey

 
Where’s your nest?

The beautiful Shelley, ID! Potato capital of the world!   

How many peeps live in your nest? 

My sweet hubs/golf fanatic, Nick, M (6 years old) we call him our mother hen because he has to make sure everything and everyone is just right, G (4 years old) always keeping us on our toes- wild man, and P (6 months old) sweetest baby boy. #boymom 

What is your biggest obstacle as a mother?

I only have to name one?! I could be here all day. Honestly, imperfection is my main one. I know how bad that sounds but the older I get and the more kids I have, the more OCD I become. In a world where perfection is expected, I'm constantly stressed about making sure my house looks perfect, my kids have perfect clothes (which is a major struggle when you have a 4 yo who changes his clothes 4 times a day and prefers pajamas), our life is perfect. It's totally not realistic and I know it but I struggle with realizing that my life is real and messy and that's ok!    

What is your greatest triumph as a mother?

Mothering without a mother. It's tough not being able to call my mom when I'm having a bad day. So just being able to do that and have 3 sweet boys who are well-behaved and kind is something I'm proud of.

What is something you do to hang on to who you are as a person?

I am a certified permanent makeup and lash extension tech. It's a good out for me to have a few hours of interacting with other amazing women. It helps give me purpose along with being a mom.  

What is something you wish you did better as a mother?

Laundry! I SUCK at laundry! Any tips?!   

What did your kids eat for dinner last night?

I have no idea.  I hosted a party at my home and was supposed to feed them before my MIL took my kids but I was running behind and didn't feed them. I'm guessing mac 'n' cheese at grandma's house.  

Who is your mother mentor?

My sweet mama passed away when I was 16. She was an amazing mom. And because she passed, I have lots of mother mentors. My MIL, (the queen of service), my "borrowed mom" (seriously THE best step-mom on the planet), my 6 sisters (making this mom thing a little more fun and easy), and lots more women I associate with. 

Mom Story #21

Meet Katie

Where’s your nest?

Salem, UT

How many peeps live in your nest?

6 peeps! And for the record..no pets! Like ever!

What is your biggest obstacle as a mother?

Wondering if the things I do on a daily basis is making my humans into good humans! Because this world needs just some really nice humans, ya know?! 

What is your greatest triumph as a mother?

We moved our family to Australia 5 years ago!  It was the scariest thing to send my kids to a new school where they literally knew NO ONE!  I remember being so scared for them and they came home the first day with friends and a birthday party invite!  It was in those first few weeks of living abroad that I realized that my kids were pretty awesome.  They adjusted to our new life heaps better than I did!  When the time came to move home after 3 years it was just as hard to move back to Utah!  Conquering that adventure as a family made us so much stronger!

What is something you do to hang on to who you are as a person?

This one is easy! I have always been good about finding “me” time!  A run to the gas station to get a drink or dessert with friends. When my oldest was 10 days old I had a baby shower and my older sister told me to leave him and let my husband know that he is very capable of taking care of our son.  I think that’s why I have been really good at “me” time…my husband understands how important it is for me! 

My sister and I launched a kids clothing line in January of this year, Coonies Apparel. Starting a business is harder than we thought (everyone that owns a business can you hear me haha). It takes a lot of money, patience, and a LOT of bumps (like I can't emphasize the unexpected bumps that are around every corner)! However, when you finally get your product and your customer loves it as much as you or even more...that makes it WORTH it! Our company, as of right now, only has one product! We have a vision of the future and that makes me excited! Our baby jammies have a lot of cool features that make our product unique! We saw a need that could help make a mom's life a little easier!  

What is something you wish you did better as a mother?

I wish I was better at one on one time with each of my kids.  I wish I took more time to have dance parties in the kitchen!  

What did your kids eat for dinner last night?

Spaghetti! Duh, it’s on repeat!

Who is your mother mentor?

This is a good question!  I grew up with a mom that worked full time which left me with a lot of mothers who filled in.  My Aunt Vina started babysitting me when I was 2 weeks old.  She's the sweetest lady on the planet!  My sisters are 10 and 12 years older than me and are both amazing mothers who I try and imitate.  And, of course, my own mother!  My mom never gossips, is always positive, and taught me from a very young age that I can do hard things!  A lesson I am forever grateful for!
 

MomStory #20

Meet Kandas

Where’s your nest?  

Lexington, Kentucky

How many peeps live in your nest? 

There are 5.  Me and my hubby and our three children.

What is your biggest obstacle as a mother?  

My biggest obstacle as a mother right now is making it all work well.  “Well” being the emphasis.  Us moms have a lot on our plates.  We have to make sure the kids are taken care of, that home work gets done and that everyone is where they need to be on time.  We have to make sure the house is clean, laundry is done, the yard looks nice and dinner is on the table.  Oh and don’t forget to pay all the bills but make sure there is still room in the budget for groceries and gas because both cars are about empty.  We also try to serve others that are in need and still have time to play Legos on the floor and teach life lessons when opportunities come up…the list goes on and on.  My husband is completing his medical residency and to be honest the last few years of our life have not been easy, and we still have a few more to go.  We live miles away from family, on an extremely tight budget and most days (and nights) I am a single mom and it can ALL be exhausting.  But I don’t want my kids to feel like it’s exhausting... so it’s tricky.  It’s an obstacle that I am still trying to master.  Because at the end of this crazy adventure I want to say that we did it well, not that we merely survived with years of hard and negative memories.
  
What is your greatest triumph as a mother?  

I can’t say that I have one big triumph, but I have triumph moments and those are what keep me going.  My kids are my greatest joy and although we have tough days, especially because one of them is currently 3 years old, we have some really good moments.  Moments when I see them serving, reading to each other, or playing together.  Moments when I catch them praying or putting others first.  Moments when I see them faced with a hard choice but they choose right or when I see them finish something that was difficult for them.  Those moments are small victories for me and I realize, I just may be doing something right.  

What is something you do to hang on to who you are as a person? 

This is tricky!  I had someone ask me a few months back what my hobbies were.  I literally laughed inside because I am a mom.  I don’t have time for hobbies, am I right?  My hobbies consist of house cleaning, cooking, child care and laundry.  But that question burned into my soul and I couldn’t get it off my mind.  At one time in my life I had lots of hobbies.  I realized then that I did need something for me.  I realized that I could be a good mom and still have a little something for myself.  So I opened an Etsy shop, Miss Avie.  My mom taught me how to sew when I was younger and I really enjoy doing it.  So now I sew when I need a little break and it has been such a positive thing for me.

What is something you wish you did better as a mother? 

I wish I said “hurry” less.  It’s been a personal goal of mine to slow down and enjoy it all.  I feel like I tell my kids a million times a day to hurry and most of the time I am not sure what we are hurrying for.  I am trying to slow down and enjoy the journey, even the hard parts.

What did your kids eat for dinner last night? 

I love how this question is worded.  My kids hardly ate anything.  They ate 5 bites of Taco Soup; I know because we had to count them before they could leave the table.

Who is your mother mentor?

My mom.  I have never met a more selfless person.  It seems the older I get, the more I need her too.  I am constantly asking for advice and she’s always there to listen with loving, nonjudgmental ears.  If I can be half the mother she is then I will have succeeded. 

MomStory #19

Meet Maria

Where’s your nest?

I originally hail from Southern California, but have lived in Virginia about 12 years. I now live historic Williamsburg, Virginia, and don’t plan on EVER leaving!!!

How many peeps live in your nest?

We total 4 – My work-from- home husband, myself, and my two crazy little girls E (5 yrs. in May) and R (3 yrs. in June).

What is your biggest obstacle as a mother?

One of many that comes to mind: ENERGY. It is so difficult for me to find the energy to take my kids on errands, to the park, or to any other get-out- of-the- house trip. And when I do take them somewhere fun and see their joyous faces enjoying themselves, I feel very guilty of depriving them of such days! Rainy days are nice for that reason, ha ha. I’m sure that going to bed before midnight would help with my energy, but as we all know, hours after kid bedtime are precious. I have to remember, however, that the fun outside hours for the kids are too!

What is your greatest triumph as a mother?

That my children have not only survived my parenting, but are happy and healthy. I don’t say this lightly! As parents, we have changed our whole life, our way of living, based on our children’s needs. Our life revolves around them. Where are jobs are, sometimes the schools, the size of house, the size of cars; we spend money on their toys, their clothes, their food, their furniture. We change poopy diapers. Everything we do is for them, and it makes me happy to see that my children get what they need and have a happy life. Though I feel like a slave to them sometimes, they are the joys in my life!

What is something you do to hang on to who you are as a person?

I have hobbies – sewing, painting, gardening, reading, etc. When I actually have time to work on them, whether it’s at night or during naps, I feel like I am giving something to myself. I feel like I am improving myself as an individual. I think it is very important to give yourself some alone time, to learn or to meditate at the least. I think that if you believe you do not have a talent or ability in something, if you are at least interested in something - you can learn it and it will become a talent. A year ago, I didn’t know how to use my sewing machine and never thought that I would be making Waldorf dolls and other homemade baby items with it. But I learned with trial and error (and YouTube), and now it is a hobby I work on regularly. If you want to pick up a hobby but have no experience, don’t let that stop you!

What is something you wish you did better as a mother?

I wish I showed more patience – shocker! There are times I can completely ignore the whining, but when I am trying to run out the door or get my girls to stop fighting, I tend to threaten them with punishments that don’t fit the crime. “You will never play with the tablet ever again!!!” I can tell when I am a little too harsh when my eldest daughter uses the same words and tone with my youngest. That is what I sound like?! I have to stop and remember that they don’t understand the larger picture I have at the moment (I’m late for whatever errand), but then neither do I. They are only young once, and love and patience will have a more positive effect on them than anything else.

What did your kids eat for dinner last night?

Freschetta Pizza with a side of parmesan asparagus (which my youngest did not eat, and my other child complained that it made her pee smell funny). It was my easy cooking night, which I give to myself about twice a week.

Who is your mother mentor?

No one person in particular – more like all the women I socialize with. They are all very different from each other, and I glean from all of them. They each have tried various methods to handle family situations, and I love how these methods were

dependent on their kids’ personalities and ages. These mothers try their hardest, and though many times I feel they surpass me in motherhood, it is nice to see when they take a break as well and try not to be the perfect mother that does 20 kid activities a day (wonderful if you do!). When doing small chores like my kids’ laundry, lunches, or sweeping, I have called my own dear mother to thank her for inadvertently teaching me that these small things show how much a mother cares for her children.


Check out Maria's Etsy Shop, Chippie Chubbs for her darling handmade baby items. 

MomStory #18

Meet Nancy

Where’s your nest?

I'm currently homeless! Haha, kidding, but not really. My husband got a new job and he is in Florida with all our stuff. I’m at my parents for the next 6 weeks until the kids and I move down with him!

How many peeps live in your nest?

2 Little Chicks. S girl who is full of life is 5 ½ and C is my quieter (but just as wild) little 2 ½ year old.

What is your biggest obstacle as a mother?

I would say my biggest obstacle is trying and wanting to do it all. I know we read things and hear talks over and over again about how we don’t have to do it all, but that is my personality. I want to be the best mom, wife, nurse, neighbor, friend, daughter, etc... I just want to do it all! I really have to try hard and focus on what needs focusing at that time, and realize we are still amazing women even if we don’t "do it all."

What is your greatest triumph as a mother?

I really just love looking at my kids and realizing that they are mine-that my husband and I created such beautiful little people. It scares the heck out of me at the same time, but I really do just get blown away that they are mine forever.

What is something you do to hang on to who you are as a person? 

I sometimes feel I have an old soul. I often think I should have been a 1950’s housewife. So when so many people are around be doing all the latest and greatest, you will find me listening to the radio and working on my latest quilt project or outside gardening in my flowerbeds. 

What is something you wish you did better as a mother?

I really wish I had more patience. I’m just a Type A person, it’s hard for me to not have everything just so all the time. I want my babes to listen to me the first time and just do what I say (don't we all?!) It’s a daily prayer that I can be more patient and remember that they are just little kids and just like us, need constant reminding.

What did your kids eat for dinner last night?

Chicken casserole, green beans, apples, and a roll (I cheated, we ate dinner at my in laws-my MIL cooked!)

Who is your mother mentor?

As most people, I definitely would say my own mother. I honestly can’t say enough good things about her. Everything she does, she gives her whole heart and soul to. I know it’s cliché, but if I turn out to be half the woman she is, I will consider myself a success. We talk daily (even multiple times a day) about everything and probably always will.
 

MomStory #17

Meet Agnes

Where is your nest?

Utah

How many peeps live in your nest?

We have 6 kids, family of 8,

What is your biggest obstacle as a mother?

Trying to find time for family time. Family time to me, includes teaching my children. I want to be able to teach my kids life skills. I want to do my best to teach them everything they need to know to be a successful adult. I learned at a young age how to cook, do laundry, clean and how to bake. I was making dinner for the entire family at the age of 12. Yes it was hard but when I look back, every burnt sheet of cookies was an experience that I learned from. I learned from that experience what to do the next time I made cookies. I want my kids to be able have the opportunity make cookies and every now and then burn a few. The best lessons in baking were learned after I burnt a few cookies. I want my kids to turn a load of laundry pink and figure out why. I want my kids to be able to mop the floor and stand back admiringly and think "oh my gosh I did that and it looks good".

We love to eat dinner as a family around the table everyday. This is one area I think we are actually pretty good at. Tim and I like to talk to the kids about their day. We usually go around the table at dinner and ask "what was the best part of your day?" Every child has time to talk and we learn more about each other's day.

What is your greatest triumph as a mother?

Breaking my left leg in 5 places with 6 kids ages 9 months -11years old...and still managing to keep them ALL alive! It was rough! I remember crying the day I was suppose to go home from the hospital. I thought, "how in the world am I supposed to care for 6 kids with a broken leg?"2 days prior I had a 4 hour surgery and was given 2 plates, 10 screws and I rod to help repair my leg. This was no small break. With the help of my neighbors and others friends from church I was able to make it through that huge trial. I learned so much about service during that time. My neighbors were absolutely amazing.

What is something you do to hang on to who you are as a person?

I love to dance. I really like Zumba I feel like it helps me find the old Agnes. I use to run (before I broke my leg). I'm getting stronger every day. I hope to run again soon like I use to.

What is something you wish you did better as a mother?

I wish I prayed more. I feel like the days I do my best and I am more patient  are the days I start off with prayer. Even knowing that, some days I rush into my day and I don't make time to pray. I do pray it's just that I want to be more consistent at praying every day. I need all the help I can get.

As a child I'd rush into my parents room in the mornings to tell them I was ready for school and they would be kneeling along side their bed praying and I'd tip toe out as quietly as I could and wait till they were done. Sometimes is was both of them, other times it was just my mom. I remember my mom saying her personal prayers more than anything.

What did your kids eat for dinner last night?

Leftovers from Easter dinner.

Who is your mother mentor?

I've never even met her. You're gonna laugh but I feel Michelle Duggar is. I was intrigued by her even before they had their show. Seriously, 19 kids and I can't even imagine her raising her voice. She has the sweetest calmest voice. I wish my voice was that calm. I'm sure she has raised her voice, but so far I've never seen it on any episode. I'm sure she knows the cameras are on but honestly that hasn't stopped other TV moms from raising their voices. Also I'm so impressed with her fearlessness in having a lot of kids. I know she's not perfect, but who really is? I really admire her. This morning I came across this quote in one of the conference talks I was listening to (“Drawing on the Power of Jesus Christ into Our Lives; By Russell M. Nelson from the April 2017 LDS conference):

"Faith in Jesus Christ propels us to do things we otherwise would not do. Faith that motivates us to action gives us more access to His power." 

I think her faith in Jesus Christ gives her power to do her best to be a good mother.
 

MomStory #16

Meet Libby

Where’s your nest?

Chandler, AZ, where the sun never stops shining.

How many peeps live in your nest?

5

What is your biggest obstacle as a mother?

Having the patience to look past the surface symptoms (bad behaviors, lashing out at me and/or siblings, etc), and see the deeper issue. When I can really get down on my kids’ level, and see their “soul,” my love for them makes everything more understandable, thus more treatable.

What is your greatest triumph as a mother?

Helping guide sibling relationships to friendships. With personalities that point East, West and South, it’s tricky to point them all true North together. But when they’re in harmony and happy together, I feel an incredible sense of pride and happiness.

What is something you do to hang on to who you are as a person?

I started a small photography business seven years ago. It has grown and flourished into my own work of passion. It’s also my sanity some days. Turning to something that is all my own, and putting my energy into something creative allows me to keep track of myself. That, and regular manicures. Don’t underestimate the power of a good manicure.

What is something you wish you did better as a mother?

Whew! That list is long. But, at the very top of that list is patience. Patience through potty accidents, sibling bickering, huge messes after I just spent hours cleaning, outright disobedience to me and/or my husband, and so much more. PATIENCE to deal with all of it in a loving, yet firm and consistent way. So much easier said than done.

What did your kids eat for dinner last night?

An average of 5 bites of Chicken and sausage gumbo each. They hated it.

Who is your mother mentor?

My mom. Never have I met someone so kind and selfless. I truly hope to grow up to be half the woman she is.

MomStory #15

Meet Carly

Where’s your nest? 

Ogden, Utah

How many peeps live in your nest?

3. My hubby, myself, and our 9 year old daughter miss S.

What is your biggest obstacle as a mother?

My biggest obstacle as a mother has been our infertility struggles & all the feeling/ emotions attached to having an only child. The Mom/women guilt that creeps in is real my friends. I honestly would have never in a million years thought that I might NEVER experience pregnancy again after our first child! (I think I've been in denial for the past 9 years.) It's really hard to look back. Like really hard. I wish I would have taken more pregnancy pictures, soaked in pregnancy more: those rib jabs, heartburn, and hiccups in the middle of the night. I wish I would have just relished the opportunity more. I don't talk about it much. It hurts. A lot. The feeling of creating another human inside of my body is one I NEVER want to forget! I feel so very blessed I got to experience this amazing blessing! I know so many whom never have.

Over the years I have felt every emotion you could possibly think of; sadness, regret, anger, self-pity, yearning, alone, crushed, dark, jealousy, pain, loss, major mom guilt & why? I've felt like less than a woman, a failure, left out of the club. I have felt like I haven't earned the true Mom Badge; I've felt a disconnect with other women. I watch other families and yearn for my daughter to have that comradeship that naturally comes between siblings. That love, hope, sacrifice, cheer-squad, example, learning device....everything that sibling have!

When people are pregnant or have new babies, no one asks a parent of an only child for any advice. That hurts too.

I have often wished my hubby would have married someone else, so he could have a larger family & our daughter would have the siblings she's always asked for.

But...I can feel the refining power of my Heavenly Father. I'm trying to become better, not bitter from my trail. I haven't always done well with this. I've pushed people away because of my insecurities, drawn back & turned inward. I'm digging deep to pull out my light that's been buried. Somewhere on the other side of my soul, I'm beginning to accept my HF's plan for me. It's not easy, but somehow, he ALWAYS knows best. & I'm hoping to become a little more polished because of it. A friend recently wrote to me “Your biggest struggle is often conquered by your greatest blessing.” I’m clinging to that thought for now; along with my faith that things are just how God wants them to be for us, he’s stretching and polishing us...his plan is usually way grander than what we could have dreamed up on our own. For along time, I have kept these thoughts and feeling buried within. I was embarrassed of these feelings; ashamed of the sting I felt when another pregnancy was announced. I realize now, that somewhere, someone needs my story, my vulnerability to bring a connectedness that helps push us onwards and upwards out of the sorrow deep within our souls to the light that propels us to do more, to be more, and become someone whom is polished and unwavering.

What is your greatest triumph as a mother?

My greatest triumph as a mother is seeing my daughter exceed every expectation I could have imagined for her. She was born with some congenital issues and I have been so amazed over the years seeing her push through and exceed the expectations and limits of her congenital disorder. She is our living miracle and greatest blessing. She teaches me what true love, endurance, determination and will truly is. She is our greatest example and triumph.

What is something you do to hang on to who you are as a person?

When my daughter left for kindergarten, I decided to go back to school as well. I love plants and decided to pursue a degree in Horticulture. It was very intimidating to go back to school as a 30 something year old, but it turned out to be very rewarding! (I was even surprised when I received student of the year in my field! That was very rewarding, because I worked hard and pushed myself!)

I find that having hobbies outside of “Moming’ helps me continue to grow and develop as a person and to feel fulfilled. I’ve done a lot on my own...cooking classes, joined a gym, hikes, shopping, small day trips, spa days, gardening classes, and classes just for women. Sometimes I’ll invite a friend or sister, but most of the time I go alone. I do these things for me! I feel that when I am challenged, stretched and doing something that I enjoy, I am a happier me. I need progress and growth to be and feel my best! Last year, after graduating, I jumped way out of my comfort zone and with some nudging from friends and family, I started a gardening Instagram and blog. (@thegardenspot & www.thegardenspotblog.com). It has been a great tool for me to continue to push myself and to continue learning about a subject I love and enjoy so much!

What is something you wish you did better as a mother?

Oh, one of my biggest struggles is letting my daughter be her own person. I have to remind myself that she is not me. She is her own person with her own hopes, dreams, aspirations, visions, views, and opinions! When she was tiny I could dress her and do her hair in the way I thought was darling, decide what she was eating, what activities she was involved in etc... But, then one day, she started growing up and forming her own opinions! Some of those opinions I cringe at (like when she wants to buy the shirt with the big cat, or peace signs on the front of it). I try and remind myself that she is finding her own path and way. She is learning and growing and becoming someone. Herself. With that said, I can totally remember my mom trying to pick out clothes for me and be very put off by her “mom” choices! Ha!

I’m not perfect at this and still make up excuses for not buying something she picked out, or getting rid of a few things here and there. But I really try, because I want her to be her; loud and clear, proud of who she is.

What did your kids eat for dinner last night?

Creamy Tuscan Garlic chicken, GF Pao de Queijo, and pineapple 

Who is your mother mentor?

I have soon many! !I definitely CANNOT choose just one! I am surrounded by so many amazing mothers that I look up to! I have learned many different perspectives, ideas and lessons from them all. Neighbors, friends, grandmas, aunts, my amazing mother, mother-in-law, 4 amazing sisters and one amazing SIL. I have been blessed and surrounded by strong, rockstar women my whole life!

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