Life of a Real Mom

Unedited Mothering

Tag: kids

Parenting Special Needs Children

Recently a reader shared with me how hard it is to find helpful and accurate information about raising children, especially special needs kids. That’s one of the reasons she and two of her friends created a site called She writes:

“Lately, my husband and I have been talking about what the future will look like for our 6-year-old son, who has Down syndrome and autism. We have some time, but we already know he won’t be ready to move out on his own at age 18 or even 21.

“It’s been surprisingly hard to find practical resources for parents of young adults who aren’t likely to be able to live independently! But after a lot of digging, I discovered a few really good ones. I wanted to share them with you in case you want to add them to your site:

Renters Rights for People with Disabilities
Managing Your Child’s Transition to Adulthood
Guide to Remodeling a Home for Adults with Special Needs
Special Needs Checklist: How Disability-Friendly is Your City?
Vocational Training for Adults with Special Needs

MORE LINKS FOR Parenting dynamo kids with SPECIAL NEEDS

Parents of special needs children have my utmost admiration! I have special needs friends and friends with special needs children. You are all amazing. You are beautiful! I love you!

May you feel the love of God through your blessed journey!

Curt’s Dream

Curt had a cool dream while we were camping at the Harold Parker State Park Campground in MASSACHUSETTS.
I wonder what it means?!

“In the beginning there was a meeting of religions in a auditorium lecture hall. Me and Tori (the new blonde girl from Studio C) were on the top row of the auditorium. She saw the Cheerio Bee and called over to the him. When he got up there, she asked if she could have more honey on her cheerios. She really was holding a bowl of Cheerios. He took his honeycomb wand and poured honey with the honeycomb wand on her Cheerios and it made a delicious looking pumpkin pie with whipped cream inside her bowl.

“The seats in the auditorium were super steep and the whole thing was full of colors, like fancy lights. The curtain was full of colorful lights too. Then the music started jamming, like electric guitar: super cool music! People started liking Mormons more because they knew it was music from Mormons. “Mormons make sweet music and they play their sweet jams and tunes.” Now the Mormons appealed to the others at this meeting of religions. Everyone liked Mormons.

“Nobody was converted, right then, but they knew we were cool. The Mormons were seated at the top of the Auditorium. The Muslims were in the middle with the Hindus, and the other Christians were down low.

“Then it was like how it happens in a movie sometimes when you miss a part and you catch the end and you don’t know what is going on. I felt like I was still part of the movie and there at the most important spot. Somehow Tori had become bad and my Mom punched her and she fell into a black hole and there were psychedelic lights all over. Oh, ya! The lady that punched Tori from studio C was my mom!

“… And I had massive thighs. I was ripped.

“Dad came in and said, ‘What just happened?’”

hahhahahaha! What do you think that all means? I PUNCHED a Studio C star? Mormon music IS cool.

That same night Adam had a dream that he had a wispy mustache. Now, THAT IS amazing!

I am Amazing, so Why am I Washing Dishes?

How can I help you understand how I feel?

I am special! I think about it every day, many times every day. I am special and nobody knows it. If I am so special there should be something to show for it, but there isn’t, so maybe I am not doing what I am suppose to be doing. Maybe I am not “measuring up.”

Some may ask, “You aren’t suffering from a lack of self esteem, are you?”

No. I DO have a good self esteem. I have an over abundance of it, as a matter-of-fact. That is the problem. I think too much of myself.

I am amazing!

So, I think every day, I should be DOING something amazing. The problem is that I am washing dishes and trying to catch up on photo albums, just like everybody else.

Its the pits.

And do you know what else? Do you know what Heavenly Father wants me to do?

He wants me to wash dishes and catch up on photo albums. I just need to be okay with it and that is hard.

Have you ever felt this way?

You probably want to remind me: “You are a daughter of God, of eternal worth and potential. Mothers are on a divine mission. You will be a queen to your husband.”… and all that great stuff. I know. Plus, there are the cool accomplishments and blessings I should never forget: my wonderful cute kids, my loyal and good husband, and the talents I have been given and have developed. Plus there are the callings of trust and responsibility that I have fulfilled valiantly and people’s lives that I am helping in my ward and community. Thank goodness I am doing something with my time here on earth. Don’t worry. I will continue ministering and learning and I will continue to love it. I will be given happiness and joy from these opportunities, as always. I have am so blessed. Then why do I feel like I am waiting?

I’ve tried to break out of this life of housework and normalcy. I’ve thought about leaving it behind. Thank goodness that awful day is behind me. … Some people struggle with the thought of leaving family or life behind for “ease,” “glory,” or some other reason. May God bless them. Their cloud is heavier and darker than mine. My heart goes out to them and I pray they will find peace. Since my opportunity to escape came, which I decided wasn’t what I wanted, I have never looked back. I AM my kids. I love that part of myself. Nothing on earth would be worth walking away from my husband or my children. Ever.

I’ve also tried to start businesses, advanced degrees, and careers. Heavenly Father taught me important lessons with each experience, but they weren’t meant to be long term solutions. I thank God for His mercy and guidance through each season. God is in charge. I know this is truth for myself and for you. He loves us all equally. He knows each of us and our unique potential and is leading us toward it.

Still, I feel like I am waiting to grow into my shoes. What am I capable of? When am I going to not just feel, but BE amazing? What if this long awaited quenching of my lifetime thirst doesn’t come? What if I am just ordinary, mediocre… Could I handle it? What will bring me satisfaction? Can I find it now?

I know the answer, but I don’t want to admit it, because it doesn’t seem enough. My entire childhood I wanted to be a mom. I love my kids. I am living my dream come true. I know that mothering is the most important work I could be doing. So, the answer is in the Atonement of Jesus Christ. This gift is available to me now and every second, to feel His love, to feel and BE amazing. I can find peace. Through Him I am more than I can be alone. I just need to accept it and then act on it.

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf says, “Faith must be accompanied by action; else it has no life (see James 2:17). It is not faith at all. It doesn’t have the power to change a single individual, let alone the world.

“Men and women of faith trust in their merciful Heavenly Father—even during times of uncertainty, even during times of doubt and adversity when they may not see perfectly or understand clearly.

“Men and women of faith earnestly walk the path of discipleship and strive to follow the example of their beloved Savior, Jesus Christ. Faith motivates and, indeed, inspires us to incline our hearts to heaven and to actively reach out, lift up, and bless our fellowmen.”

Julie B. Beck shared this beautiful perspective,”I was recently at a park where I met a group of women with mother hearts. They were young, covenant-keeping women. They were bright and had obtained advanced degrees from respected universities. Now they were devoting their considerable gifts to planning dinner that evening and sharing housekeeping ideas. They were teaching two-year-olds to be kind to one another. They were soothing babies, kissing bruised knees, and wiping tears. I asked one of those mothers how it came about that she could transfer her talents so cheerfully into the role of motherhood. She replied, “I know who I am, and I know what I am supposed to do. The rest just follows.” That young mother will build faith and character in the next generation one family prayer at a time, one scripture study session, one book read aloud, one song, one family meal after another. She is involved in a great work. She knows that “children are an heritage of the Lord” and “happy is the [woman] that hath [a] quiver full of them” (Ps. 127:3, 5). She knows that the influence of righteous, conscientious, persistent, daily mothering is far more lasting, far more powerful, far more influential than any earthly position or institution invented by man. She has the vision that, if worthy, she has the potential to be blessed as Rebekah of old to be “the mother of thousands of millions” (Gen. 24:60).”

If I pray to ask what Heavenly Father sees in me, I’ll probably get the same answer: “Patience Child. I will teach you line upon line….Help others. Stay in the loop. The lives of your children are the most important contribution you could possibly make to this world. Even the just shall live by faith. Faith is the power to transform lives, yours especially.”

And for all of you out there, who like me, thirst for your final SELF, I testify that Jesus Christ IS the answer. So, now is the time for us to trust God, to learn, to support others, to feel peace (through the Atonement of Jesus Christ) and to be patient. We ARE special. Our futures will be worth the wait.


I admit: I can be arrogant and prideful. I am trying not to be. Believe me, I have had enough embarrassing moments to be humble by now.

J.D. was honored with a gift of insight from Heavenly Father through a member of his stake president yesterday, who after a meeting asked if he could “have a word ” with J.D. After pulling J.D. aside, President Jones put his arm around him and said, “J.D., You are awesome! Relax. You are doing everything to receive the blessings the Lord has in store for you. Just keep going.” Now that is what I am talking about! Little reassurances like that can help us endure to the end, to be patient as we learn precept upon precept, there a little and here a little.

What are the blessings I have seen from living by faith?

If I pray to ask what Heavenly Father sees in me, I’ll probably get the same answer: “Patience Child. Line upon line…let Duncan be AMAZING in the bishopric. You are staying in the loop as Institute substitute. Even the just shall live by faith. Faith is power.”

I know that I have been guided throughout my life because of my faith in a caring God. I have a sense of security that He is watching over me and that truth is all around me. I receive more truth as I live by the truth I already have. I feel loved by Heavenly Father, who is like a father to me – one I can confide in and share everything with. I feel loved by Jesus Christ in a different way. He is my Savior. He has set the perfect example, endured indescribable pain, and has died so I can be cleansed and return to my Heavenly Home. He is my hero. This knowledge gives me confidence and peace. I don’t know what I would do without my faith.

LEARN more about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
LEARN more about why Mormon women often put child-rearing ahead of a career.
LEARN more about other Mormon women.


Many of us humans have been touched by anxiety in one way or another so it is a pertinent subject.

My strategy, when I am feeling anxious, is to talk. I feel like I need to talk through things a lot. I am grateful for those who have been the receiving end of my “thoughts” at those important times, especially my Heavenly Father. I admit I am not as experienced or informed as most, but since talking is the way I get through things, I encourage my kids to talk to me a lot. I ask serious and personal and funny questions as often as I can, then LISTEN. I stay up late, wake up early, go on outings, pray like crazy, whatever I need to do to get them to open up. I work on truly accepting them and doing what I can to make them feel safe around me. I am sure that you are all doing this too. I don’t know if that helps, but that is what comes to mind right now.

I also feel that a personal relationship with Heavenly Father and being in-tune with the Holy Ghost is most important. However, this is not the only thing needed sometimes. We need to be honest and in-touch with our bodies and minds. When we need help, get it.

Here are some books I have been referred to from an excellent source that I trust, but I haven’t read any of them yet. 🙂

Happiness Is A Serious Problem by Dennis Prager
The Holy Scriptures by God
The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine Aron
Reinventing Yourself by Steve Chandler
Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
Leadership and Self Deception by The Arbinger Institute
Putting on the Armor of God by Steven Cramer
Bonds That Make Us Free by C. Terry Warner
Our Search for Happiness by M. Russell Ballard

Other good book ideas:

How to Stop Worrying and Stop Living by Dale Carnegie—in this book is the concept that you plan for the worst and hope for the best. Sometimes we think, what would happen if my worst fears happened? What would I do? How would I overcome it? When I decide that I could handle it, then it is easier to HOPE FOR THE BEST.

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell—in this book is the concept that you are the expert of your life. Experts can guess upon the outcomes of scenarios in the first few seconds. Because you are the expert of your life, your FIRST INSTINCT is the most accurate one. Many of us have a long history of second guessing things. We can try to give myself credit for our first impression. Tell ourselves “What was my first impression?” when we start to waffle. Perhaps we should not even give any credence to the second thought: the first impression (the babies are safe, the car is safe, the curling iron is off, the floor is clean) is right.

Choosing Clarity by Kimberly Giles—this book is really good at pointing out where we are still living a fear-based life. Some absolutely love the podcast by this author called “Relationship Radio”. Kim and her podcast partner, Nicole, speak often about behaviors that are based in fear.

Real Love in Parenting by Greg Baer—this book is so different than other parenting books that you might get scared off. Ironic, of course. Anyway, this one talks about how all conflict and behavior issues are the result of a child not feeling unconditional love but are fearful instead. It is a very expensive book (over $20). The digital copy is far cheaper.

“Happier with Gretchen Rubin”—this podcast has indeed made some happier. It is only 25ish minutes. Gretchen gives so many ideas about how to be happier. Her ideas are so easy to put in place. By listening you just want to be happier. She does this podcast with her sister Liz Craft and the sister dynamic is very appealing, with the girls giggling all the time and calling each other by their nicknames.

“Bold New Mom” podcast—A recent one talks about the differences between sensations and emotions. One of the amazing things about it is the speaker’s description of how sometimes you just need to let your emotions be there and not act on them at all. She says she can have fear wash over her now and almost laugh about it:

There are also many excellent BYU and conference talks such as the BYU talk by Lynn G. Robbins “Be 100% Responsible” and nearly every conference talk by President Gordon B. Hinckley and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland.  

Parent Listening Skills

Active listening allows a parent to connect with their child. Connecting skills keep your relationship strong. You want your teens to trust that you will support their development. Active listening communicates that you REALLY care about your child.

“Listen earnestly to anything [your children] want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.” – Catherine M. Wallace

#1 –
– Notice body language clues (such as looks of confusion, sadness or anger),
– Face the child (Turn your body toward the speaker),
– Engage in eye-contact (Do not look at the computer, your work, or phone while actively listening),
– Use good starter questions (such as “What happened at school today?”), and
– Avoid quick fixes to their problems (This shuts off the child’s talking and problem solving).
Don’t get distracted, change the subject, criticize or judge, or interrupt.

#2 –
– Use “Tell me more” phrases to keep the conversation rolling and get more details (such as “Can you explain that?”) and
– Summarize (Rephrase what they said in your own words to show you WERE listening and to make sure you understood what the teen was saying).
>Don’t get distracted, change the subject, criticize or judge, or interrupt.

#3 –
– Show that you understand their feelings (You may ask, “How did that make you feel?” and follow up with an understanding thought or phrase like, “I understand why that would have made you sad…”) The four major feelings are: Mad, Glad, Sad, and Afraid, but there are others of course.
– Encourage your teen to be his best. Show that he is important to you and that you believe in them by making them a priority and REALLY listening to them.
>Don’t get distracted, change the subject, criticize or judge, or interrupt.

What skill are you going to work on this week? I am going to work on avoiding quick fixes. I want Curt and Adam to know that I really care about them. If I am not actively listening to them, not only will they sense I don’t care, but maybe I really don’t. Woah!

“Purposeful Parenting” by Joy Jones and Bonnie Cordon

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