Looking Up: Finding Your Gifts and Talents
5 Tips for Happy Morning with Kids
Simplicity This Christmas
3 Habits to Give Up for Your Best Year Yet
Win The Battle Against The Mattress
10 Things Millenial Women Must Know
The Marvelous Moms Club Podcast
Lessons from Mary
The Perfectionist Mom
When I became a Mom, I was so completely in love with my new little baby. I finally felt like I was fulfilling my true calling in life. I stayed awake for 48 hours staring at this perfect little being, in awe that he was actually mine! My whole life revolved around him and I was going to try my very best! Our little family was going to have the perfect life together.
I would teach my little one everything and give him every opportunity. I was going to play on the floor with him every day, sing to him, bake cookies, finger paint, read books, take him to the park, dress him perfectly, and spend every waking minute staring at him growing and developing— watching and documenting every tiny little milestone. Like I said, it was going to be perfect. I was going to do all of this every day… while simultaneously doing the laundry and the dishes, cooking healthy and well balanced meals, baking bread for the neighbors, while magnifying my church callings, and changing poopy diapers and blow outs, AND exercising, and budgeting. And still find time to volunteer and give blood, and make crafts for fun.
I was NEVER going to get mad at my sweet little man. He was going to be perfect and I wouldn’t have to discipline him at all.
Well, it’s been 6 1/2 years since I became a mom. I can honestly say that I have given my darnedest to this sweet little man who is now 6 going on 16… and his little sister and little brother. They are my world. I have tried tirelessly and tiredly to be the mother I thought I would be from the beginning. I have done all of it, imperfectly, but I have done it.
Many moms, including myself, hold themselves to an IMPOSSIBLE standard. The Pinterest generation that wants the picture perfect EVERYTHING all the time. And then you wake up one day and realize… it’s not possible. That was hard for me.
I love every minute I have with my kids. They don’t listen to me, they fight, they often won’t clean up their messes, they get too tired, hungry, unreasonable, they lie sometimes, they sneak things that they shouldn’t, they take toys from other peoples perfectly behaved kids, they love ramen noodles more than most of the things that I cook for them.
I am trying to be the perfect mother. I get mad, yell more than I should, whine to my husband about all the sticky stuff that I can’t get off of my always squeaky clean floors, cringe when a kid stains a brand new shirt, love it when I find stale string cheese in their beds, smile at the marks of blue and pink toothpaste all over their bathroom sink, and dried pee on the toilet seats… all while being buried in laundry that smells and I can barely fold and put away completely to save my life!!!
I really do try to do everything for them, but stuff happens. I’m grateful that they love me anyway. And I am glad that they don’t care about all the ‘other’ stuff. They just care about me and having fun. That is what we do. My house is a mess 85% of the time– and that’s just how it is. Have you ever tried cleaning up during a tornado? That’s about what it’s like, but I have three.
Being a mom is the greatest thing you can do with your life, your time, your mind, everything. Nothing else can compare.
You are the perfect mom for your kids, flaws and all.
Here’s to you moms for trying your best! Don’t worry about all of the ‘extra’ stuff so much.
But here is what is most important to teach our kids….
Teach them to pray while they are young. Read to them from the scriptures even though they may not understand all that you read. Teach them to pay tithes and offerings on the first money they ever receive. Let this practice become a habit in their lives. Teach your sons to honor womanhood. Teach your daughters to walk in virtue. Accept responsibility in church, and trust in the Lord to make you equal to any call you may receive… Encourage your children to read books more and watch television less.
It is the home that produces the nursery stock of generations. I hope that you mothers will realize that when all is said and done, you have no more compelling responsibility, nor any laden with greater rewards, than the nurture you give your children in an environment of security, peace, companionship, love, and motivation to grow and do well.
-Gordon B. Hinckley
A family that runs together, stays together!
I have always had a passion for health and wellness and that is what I studied in college. Wellbeing is so important and applies to everyone! It seems to me that the world has become very extreme with fitness ideals, nutrition, money, parenting, almost everything! These things are all good and important but if you only focus on one or two and allow them to run your life, then what?
Obsession with one or two things while nearly neglecting other important parts of life (such as home, family and spirituality) is not healthy. It will cause you to become unbalanced, making it impossible to achieve your ultimate goal of true joy and wellbeing. If you only focus on one square inch of a massive work of art… you are missing out on the big picture and the beauty that such a sight beholds.
For example, an unbalanced life can be related to body building. The ultimate goal as a bodybuilder is to build as much muscle mass as possible on a continuing basis by focusing on all muscles equally. In doing this, you reach the ultimate goal of ‘body symmetry’. Meaning, a symmetrically pleasing physique. So, if I go to the gym every day and work on my biceps while neglecting the other muscles– we all know what happens. Will I have big biceps? Yes. Will I be more prone to injury? Yes. I will be out of balance and I will not achieve my ultimate goal– body symmetry.
To me, it is all about moderation. In the scriptures, we are taught often to be ‘temperate’ which by definition means to be moderate and self-restrained. That is what being well balanced is! Our ultimate goal? For most people it seems that they want a healthy, joyful and fulfilling life. A happy life, is not the same as a joyful life. You see, happiness is fleeting. Happiness will come and go and will not fill your soul– your whole being. Joy, however, is all encompassing. It includes your body AND spirit. To have joy, means to live a lifestyle where you are constantly seeking balance by nourishing your mind, body, AND spirit with what God (who I believe is our Father in heaven) has given us— We are agents of ourselves. Don’t make excuses. You ultimately control your time. So what will you do to become more balanced? What are you neglecting? Mental, Physical, Spiritual, Emotional?
“Your soul consists of your body and your spirit. Feeding the spirit while neglecting the body (which is a temple of your spirit) usually leads to spiritual dissonance and lowered self esteem.”
-Jorg Klebingat (more on this HERE)
I promise that you will find peace in yourself and the greatest joy to behold as you seek to nourish your body and spirit together.
So here is a Marathon Momma Challenge
I invite you to look at your life and evaluate where you might be out of balance and fix it. Maybe it’s phone use, work that is keeping you away from your family, an obsession with exercise, food, or keeping up with the Jones’. Maybe you eat out for every meal, or fill every minute of time with music, phone, tv, video games and you aren’t taking enough time to fill up your spiritual cup. For myself, I have spent a lot more time lately on my phone and laptop consumed by all the fun that this blog has been! I am loving all of your positive feedback, comments, texts, and shoutouts on instagram. Keep them coming! I have set some “work” hours aside now so that I am not neglecting the most important things– such as mothering and time together as a family. So if I don’t get back to you right away, that is why.
Identify where you are out of balance, set a goal, and follow through! I am excited to hear about it! Leave a note in the comments about your plan, goals, success. If you need some help or want to keep things more private, please email me at
There are some exciting changes coming to marathonmomma.com so stay tuned!
Always trying to keep Him our number #1 priority
The kids and I hiking in Zion National Park… I love these little people!
Me and my man. I’m one lucky gal.
This is me trying to run as fast as lightning!
5 Months As Vagabonds
The Not So Perfect, Perfect Adventure
As I mentioned in a previous post (click HERE), my husband, myself, and our three kids (ages 6, 4, and 2) have been traveling for the last 5 months. A new city every month, staying in a furnished apartment or house, and living a transient and simple life. Everything we brought, had to fit in our minivan. So, we each had 4-5 outfits that we washed and wore and washed and wore. My kids had a small basket of cars, some Jenga blocks, and a little stuffed dog to play with, oh, and lots of books. We didn’t pack any utensils or pots and pans, and most of the time we were furnished with very little to cook with. I was also training for a marathon.
Why did we do this?
My husband is a medical student and is currently applying for a very competitive specialty. These “away rotations” are a way for him to get to know different programs and the people involved with them. My kids and I had a choice to be separated from Daddy for 4-5 months, OR stay together and see him some evenings and most weekends– AND have lots of adventures in cities across the U.S. which were previously unknown to us. So, we opted to do what anyone would do, right? We chose adventures and family time. So, we strategically packed our minivan to the brim and off we went.
Everything went very well for my husband. He was meeting new people, making contacts, and kicking butt like he always does (proud wife moment!) As for me… here I was with my 3 young kids, in a new living space (which was often less than desirable), in a new city, with no friends or acquaintances. Don’t feel bad for me, I knew what I was getting myself into… sort of. And, my kids are incredibly social and outgoing so making new friends was easy for them. It was all a little overwhelming, but I had hope that we could do this together. I just had to plan and pray.
I’m not going to lie, there was definitely some Netflix happening for the kids, and some Instagram/Facebook for me (it was my only real connection to home, family, and really anything very familiar.) I was also homeschooling my son who is in kindergarten (some days were more successful than others). Every day we would venture out at least once to see something new that the current city had to offer. Most often a children’s museum, zoo, science center, park, farm, gardens— you name it, we did it. I think I may have had PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) from one kid running one way, the other hanging from that thing, and the last melting down because he/she was tired or hungry or both. It was fun! Really… and not so fun sometimes. At least I can laugh about it now!
Allow me to paint you a picture… like the time I took the kids to Costco and the Christmas toys were already out in like –AUGUST (Holy cow, way to early Costco!) and one kid was hiding somewhere in between crates stacked twice my size, another kid was hanging on the bar that had all the new Christmas dresses, and one was throwing the tantrum of a lifetime because I wouldn’t buy him a Christmas present NOW!
But this is all totally normal mom stuff, right? If you’ve had at least two young kids and ventured to Costco, you know. YOU KNOW the utter anxiety and exasperation. You may have even thought to yourself… “Well, if I just leave them here, maybe no one will notice. Surely they will have more than enough food and plenty of plush oversized animals to sleep on. Maybe they can even play on the playground… the one up in the “Costco sky,” or camp out in the 10 man tent.” — Next thing you know there will be a Costco babysitting service— Pay $39.99 an hour to drop your kid off overnight and they will have bottomless hotdogs, pizza, fountain drinks, and FUUUN! I might be on to something here. Kid heaven. With no parents. (If any Costco representatives would like to contact me, I will gladly provide new insights and ideas for a free membership renewal.)
Anyway, my mom brain is digressing.
Here is what I didn’t expect…
1. PERSPECTIVE: I didn’t realize how my perspective would change concerning what REALLY matters. My kids were HAPPY. They had hardly any THINGS to play with, but not once did I hear them complain about the toys they missed at home. And it’s not because they don’t ever complain (trust me), and it’s not because they don’t have any toys at home (ha!), it’s because they had each other. We were a family with little to no distractions when we had time together and that is what life is all about. It’s not about acquiring the best and coolest toys and having the most friends and finding the coolest things to distract us from what matters most. It’s not about being in the same room spending time together, each on our own “device”. Our children just want US. They want our time and attention and to spend time BEING AND INTERACTING AS A FAMILY.
My kids became each others best friends.
2. DEJUNK AND TRY LIVING A SIMPLE LIFE: In this consumer driven society, I think it is very VERY easy to become subject to things. It was so refreshing to have next to nothing. If you can try it, TRY IT! I will be filling up my house with bags of things to donate here soon. I challenge you to do the same thing and donate to a worthy cause. Simplicity is key. This is one lesson I don’t want to forget when I am back home with all of our stuff. I don’t want the management of my things to take up my life and hinder me from the best use of my time.
And last but not least…
3. THERE ARE GOOD PEOPLE EVERYWHERE: This is so true! I loved meeting so many different people all the time. So many good samaritans that were kind and helpful. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and we must have attended at least 10 different wards (congregations) in the time we have been gone. Upon learning that we were only going to be there for one month, it would’ve been easy for people to say, “Oh, okay… well enjoy your time here!” THE END. But this didn’t happen. There were many wonderful people eminating incredible examples of Christ like love. People who approached us as new faces, learned of our temporary time in the area, and took us in regardless. They told us they were there for us if we needed anything, offered to show us fun things to do in the area, invited us to dinner, or to a play date at their house. This, to me, is emulating the Savior and what he would do. He wouldn’t ignore, or cast out with uncaring… he would embrace, love, help, and welcome. I want to be this way, always.
Could I have learned these lessons at home? I don’t know, maybe. But I am so glad I learned them now.
We are HOME now. I get to sleep in my own bed, my kids have their own rooms WITH beds, I have cooking supplies, a garage, a backyard, a computer, a grocery store nearby, friends, AND (drumroll please…..) I am not living out of a suitcase!!! Three cheers and a HALLELUJAH! I want to say that I will never take these things for granted again… but I know it’s not true. It’s human nature. So, I guess we will have to do this again in a few years!
This is a much longer post than I intended, so If you stuck with me this long, congratulations, you should get a prize!
How about you?
-How do you minimize distractions in your home when there is family time to be had?
-How do you dejunk/organize? Share your secrets!
To Mothers and Future Mothers Everywhere
“It is the home which produces the nursery stock of new generations. I hope that you mothers will realize that when all is said and done, you have no more compelling responsibility, nor any laden with greater rewards, than the nurture you give your children in an environment of security, peace, companionship, love, and motivation to grow and do well.” -Gordon B. Hinckley
I grew up in a home where my mom gave me a gift. The greatest gift she could ever give. Herself. She was educated, talented, a certified teacher and worked until the day she delivered her first born child. That day was the first of many years that my mom stayed home with us, all six of us. She taught us, nurtured us, and worked 24 hours a day- joyfully and inexhaustibly taking care of our needs as my dad provided for our family.
By the world’s standards, my mother’s choice to stay home and raise her children was, and still is, a waste of talent and lack of contribution to society. To me, it is the exact opposite.
My mother knew that “The greatest work that (she) could ever do would be within the walls of (her) own home. “-Harold B. Lee
She used her mind, talents, and love to teach and guide her own children to become responsible, kind, contributing citizens of this wonderful country of ours.
The responsibility mothers have today has never required more vigilance… Children are being born into a world where they “wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12) -Julie B. Beck, Mothers Who Know,for full address click HERE)
I commend you working mothers as well. Every situation and family is different. I know that whether you are a stay-at-home mom or a working mom— the Lord loves you both the same. You are doing his work and nurturing and caring for his children on earth. He will bless you ten fold for your efforts. If you seek his help, he will strengthen and sustain you as you bless his children.
One week ago, I was packing everything up in our little apartment in North Carolina. We were preparing to drive all the way to Austin, Tx. Simultaneously, I was preparing to run the Greensboro Marathon the following morning. The kids were especially difficult and didn’t seem to understand that I had a lot of work to do. With a list of everything to be done, including carb loading, staying off of my feet, and getting a nap… yeah right! I had trained for this marathon for months, and followed my training plan to the letter. However, I still felt overwhelmed, nervous, and tried not to be discouraged that this was one of the hilliest marathons in the country. My goal was to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Choosing such a hilly marathon was an over sight, as there was not a topography map on the website at the time I registered. I’ve never been one back out of a race so I was trying to stay positive, but feeling extremely defeated already. I needed peace. I came across this incredible speech by one of my running heroes, Elaine S. Dalton. These words brought me great comfort. I hope you love it as much as I do.
“We often debate this question in our family as we are traveling to run a marathon. What is the best part—running the marathon and crossing the finish line or preparing to run a marathon? Each of our family members has strong opinions about that, but for me, the preparation is the best part. I love it! I love the discipline it takes to wake up every morning and to put in the time and the miles that will help my body respond to the stresses of an actual marathon. It takes desire, planning, discipline and action. It’s like life in so many respects—making a plan, strict training, hills, a set path, beautiful vistas, training partners, long lonely miles, people cheering, falling and getting back up, injuries, aid stations, and of course a finish line. A marathon is one thing that you cannot do virtually! You must act and be in the arena.
One of my top 10 favorite quotes was given by former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt. This quote has motivated and inspired me many times as I have wondered if what I am doing is worth it. President Roosevelt said:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”1
Every year in Australia, an endurance race that goes from Sydney to Melbourne is held. This race is 543.7 miles long and takes world class athletes five full days to complete. It is known as the world’s most grueling ultra-marathon. And the athletes who enter are mostly young, less than 30 years of age, highly trained and sponsored by large companies.
Let me share with you the story of a very unlikely competitor named Cliff Young, who at 61 years of age showed up at the start of this race wearing his overalls and work boots. Everyone assumed he was a spectator, but when he picked up his number and joined the other competitors, everyone was shocked. When he was interviewed by the press, they told him in effect that he was crazy to attempt this and that he should not even start the race. They told him there was no way he could ever finish. To which Cliff replied: “Yes I can. See, I grew up on a farm where we couldn’t afford horses or tractors, and the whole time I was growing up, whenever the storms would roll in, I’d have to go out and round up the sheep. We had 2,000 sheep on 2,000 acres. Sometimes I would have to run those sheep for two or three days. It took a long time, but I’d always catch them. I believe I can run this race.”9
The professionals who had run this race knew what it took and they had calculated that in order to finish in five days, a person had to run for 18 hours straight and then sleep for six hours. Everyone knew this fact. Everyone that is, except for Cliff Young!
When the race started, Cliff was left in the dust. He wasn’t flashy, he wasn’t sponsored, and he wasn’t fast. In fact he didn’t even run properly—he shuffled! So on the second day of the race, Cliff was forgotten. But to everyone’s surprise, he was still in the race. He had jogged all night long! And not only that, but he had determined to run for the next five days straight to the finish line without sleeping at all. No one believed that this could be done—no one that is, except Cliff.
“Cliff kept running. Each night he came a little closer to the leading pack. By the final night, he had surpassed all of the young, world-class athletes. He was the first competitor to cross the finish line and he set a new course record…Today, the ‘Young-shuffle’ has been adopted by ultra-marathon runners because it is considered more energy-efficient. At least three champions of the Sydney to Melbourne race have used the shuffle to win the race. Furthermore, during the Sydney to Melbourne race now, modern competitors do not sleep. Winning the race requires runners to go all night as well as all day, just like Cliff Young.”10
What does this story teach us? It isn’t that we shouldn’t sleep; rather, it teaches us that we can change the world! We can do hard things. We can endure. We must prepare and all our life is preparation. Believe in yourself! Don’t give up. Endure! You have the power to achieve anything you set your mind to. There are many lessons and each is custom fit to you. What I know and have learned is that anything worth doing is not easy and that we can do anything that is not easy if we believe. Now you may not be contemplating a marathon or an ultra-marathon, but you may be in the middle of a challenge that looks like one. You may feel opposed on every side. You may wonder if you really can continue to push forward with a perfect brightness of hope. So as Paul taught the Hebrews, today I repeat the same words to each of you—“Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.”11 Go forward with faith knowing if you do your part, the Lord will always do His.
For more information on Elaine S. Dalton click HERE
This speech has been abridged, for the full speech click HERE
This speech spoke to me on so many levels that day one week ago. Her advice can be applied to just about any trial that we face in life. If you prepare and do all you can on your part, things will work out. They may not work out the way you want them to, but they will work out for your good. Last week my hopelessness turned into comfort. The marathon went well, I finished 2nd in my age group without a BQ (Boston Qualifier). I showered, jumped in the car, and the family was off for our next destination, Austin TX . It was disappointing to not qualify for Boston, but I sure tried hard. I learned some great lessons from this experience and gained an appreciation for enjoying the journey along my route to qualifying for Boston.
I hope you learned something from this post that will help you Maximize Mommyhood and help you get through those every day trials of life.
You can do this!