Artifact Motherhood | I'm Making This Parenting Stuff Up as I Go Along, But These are Our Current Parenting Goals

This is Artifact Motherhood; a collaboration of artists from around the world who have come together to share our stories of the joys and struggles of our journey. Through our writings and visual records, we want to create memories that are more than photographs with dates written on the back. These are the artifacts we are leaving behind for our children and for generations to come. Please visit the next artist in our blog circle, Lauren Webster, and continue through all the artists until you get back to me!

^^Two of my favorite faces.  The big boys let me take some headshots of them.  I need to do this more often... because, you know, Mom goggles.  Levi's wound is exactly a week old in these pictures. No more stitches and healing up well!^^

The other day, I sat and calculated what year each of my children will graduate from high school.  This unborn baby will graduate in 2038.  That feels like forever away!  But then I calculated for Jed.  He will graduate in 2028.


That's just 8 years away!  Those years are going to come and go in a blink.  Jed is already more than halfway grown!  What?  How??  His early childhood has gone so fast!

Of course, these thoughts trigger other ones like, "Am I doing enough?"  "Am I enjoying him enough?"  And cue the mom guilt, am I right?!?

That's when I try to back it up and answer myself honestly.  Yes, I am doing the very best that I can.  Some days I feel like an utter failure, but I am learning and growing right alongside my children.  My love for them is the driving force behind my getting up every morning to try and try again.

As for enjoying him enough?  The honest answer is yes and no.

I've realized lately that I need to show Jed more affection and love; I need to create a healthy relationship between him and I for the no doubt turbulent hormonal years ahead.  I want that special mother-son bond between us -- between each of my sons.  I want my boys to know without a doubt that I love them unconditionally every single day.

"Jed," I asked one morning, "do you sometimes feel left out when I love on Conrad but don't come give you a big hug?"  "Yeah.  Sometimes," he sheepishly responded.  "Well, I'm going to change that!  I'm going to do better," I declared with a big squeeze and a wet kiss on his cheek, "because you are one of my favorite people and I love you more than anything."  Jed grinned.

I also try to take advantage of most days and DO something with my boys that is outside the realm of running them around to their activities and feeding them dinner.  Sometimes it's a funny conversation at the dinner table.  Sometimes it's cuddling up on the couch to read or watch a show together.  My most favorite though are the days we get to go swimming, hiking, biking, and exploring together.  THAT is enjoying my boys to me.

I admit, some days it's near impossible to do.  I'm exhausted and my head is in a whirl; I'm just not all there mentally or emotionally.  And I think that's okay.  That's reality.  That's real life!  That's pregnancy right now.

The new year is always a good time for reflection and for beginning new habits.  For me personally this year, I've really struggled to come up with any worthy goals.  I'm pregnant, expecting a brand new baby, and have no idea what to really expect when it comes to building a house, fixing up the one we're in, and moving.  The only word that comes to mind is: SURVIVE.  Lol.  In other words, I'm keeping my personal expectations low.  I'm just going to enjoy this new baby as much as possible and do my best to take care of my postpartum self, okay?

For some reason, however, my thoughts and efforts have instead been turned to my children and my role as their mother.  Bron and I have been discussing how to help them be the boys (and eventually men) we know they are capable of being.  And so, together, we have been working towards instilling new habits in our parenting.

Interested in hearing what we're doing?  If you are, read on!


1. First, I believe in a daily routine of responsibilities and expectations for my children.  Boys are messes and noise and chaos but this mama definitely has her limits.  There is absolutely no way I can keep this home in order without their help.

I've already initiated a nightly routine of their responsibilities.  We call it the "Get 'R Done Hour."  They need to empty the dishwasher, feed the dogs, do their homework, and practice.  On Saturdays, they clean their bathroom.  They're also getting better at vacuuming and dusting and picking up.

Jed thrives on checking items off a list.  I haven't found exactly what makes Levi tick, but I have a feeling that this new "Family Economy" we plan on adapting to our family this year (totally stole the idea from this blog post) will help motivate him.  You see, Levi likes money.  And what better way to teach how to responsibly use money than with a system like this in place?

2. The second is initiating immediate consequences for not following through with their responsibilities and other unwanted behavior. (i.e. Not listening to their mother!)

For example...

"Hey, I asked you to turn off the tv.  Turn off the tv and give me 10 push ups."

"Did you feed the dogs?  Remember, you will not eat any dinner until your dogs are fed."

"I see shoes on the floor.  If they are not picked up in five seconds, I am taking them away."  Cue the rush to the living room!  Lol.

The boys have really risen to the level of expectations we've placed upon them!  It is SO NICE.  My house occasionally looks like a bomb went off, but when we work together as a family, it can be whipped back into shape in no time.

I really don't believe our expectations are excessive; the kids have plenty of time to play with their toys, participate in sports and church, and watch tv too.  They are KIDS who are learning that daily work is a part of life!

Believe me though, following through is a skill I am definitely working on as a mother.  I have a natural tendency to be a marshmallow!  Lol.  I've learned, however, that I need to commit to following through with consequences for my own sanity.  When I don't, the boys do not take me seriously.  And then I feel frustrated and it's all downhill domino slide from there.

3. Last, but certainly not least, we've made it a point to read the entire Book of Mormon this year using Come Follow Me as our guide.  I am already loving the difference our efforts are making in our home!

The boys take turns reading a few verses.  Not only are they expanding their vocabulary, but they're gaining confidence reading aloud.  Conrad even repeats short verses.  It is SO CUTE to hear him say huge words like "authority" in his immature voice.  It makes us all giggle.

Hands down, the best part of reading the Book of Mormon in the evenings so far this year has been the opportunity to discuss the meaning of some scriptures and stories.  At times, the spirit can be felt so strongly in our home.  I can tell Levi is especially aware.  He gets this big sweet smile when something makes sense and he's enthusiastic about marking the verses that touch him.  What a sweet testimony builder for a 7 year old!  I really hope that my boys will always find joy in reading the scriptures.


So 3 big goals for our parenting.  Wish us luck in sticking to them this year amid all the changes!  Remember, we're making up this parenting stuff as we go along, so we reserve the right to make adjustments or do a 180* at the drop of a hat!

1 comment

  1. Love this! I expect the same of my boys and we have daily and weekly chore lists. It's good that they're learning to contribute to team goals.


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