might·y: possessing great and impressive power or strength

tow·er: a place of defense; a protection

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Don't Forget to Look Back

There is a lot of talk out there about how we should always look forward and never look back. Well, call me Justin Bieber but I believe never say never. 

Yes, it is good for us to not dwell on mistakes or choices we've made in the past that may have not been what we wanted. However, recently I was spending all my time looking forward and it seemed like a long road ahead. 

Then, this morning I got an email from Fitbit that forced me to take a look back. I don't even use my fitbit anymore (it is lost in my house somewhere and has been for months). However it is linked to myfitnesspal and I logged in to that last night for the first time in almost a year and in the process updated my current weight.

I was surprised to see this number because it shows more than just the last 11 months where I've lost 60 pounds. It shows the extra 20 I had back when I started using a fitbit tracker.
I guess my point in sharing this is simply to say never forget how far you've come. We can't be perfect all the time and we will stumble and fall on any journey. When those hard times come where all you see is a long journey in front of you take a moment and look at how far you've already come and take courage.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Let It Go- Ode to a Recovering Perfectionist

Image via http://bit.ly/1XMaGQz

Recently there was a very popular Disney movie that swept across the nation like wildfire. You’ve probably heard children everywhere singing what some would call the movie’s theme song, echoing the phrase “Let it go, let it go!”

I have heard this song literally hundreds of times over the past year in my own house, aroudn town, on television, and at Disneyland. I know the words by heart and have even been known to join Queen Elsa in belting out the chorus of “let it go.” Yet, how often do we as mothers or even just as women heed this royal counsel in our own lives?

Ever since I was a young girl I have struggled with the idea of perfectionism. It doesn’t help that we live in a society where being perfect is sometimes applauded more than giving it your best try. I always wonder how the runners up on reality singing or dancing competitions feel. Do they acknowledge that they gave it their best and did a great job? Do they accept that even though they weren’t the winner they accomplished something great? Do they let it go or do they let that moment of “loss” define them?

I had an epiphany this morning as I was making my bed. There are many household chores or tasks that I am always behind on (laundry anyone?) but I decided several years ago that I wanted to make my bed each morning. As I looked at the sheets all tangled at the foot of the bed, the pillows all skiwampus my shoulders got a bit heavy. I have so much to do this morning, does my bed really have to be perfectly made? My perfectionist self would usually pull everything off the bed and one by one put each thing in it’s place. Pull the sheet up. Check. Now the comforter, mind the wrinkles! Now the pillows, blue one in the middle. Stand back in awe. This morning I thought maybe I could just pull the sheets and blanket up together just enough so they are sort of flat and leave the pillows where they are. Could my recovering perfectionist self do this? Could I really just let it go?

Now, you may be thinking I’m crazy but take a moment and think of something in your life you like to have or do just right. Maybe it’s having the sink empty before you go to bed each night. Perhaps it’s choosing the perfect dinner menu and the idea of cold cereal on a busy night would make you gasp. Or possibly the idea that going to the gym for only 10 minutes because you don’t have time for a longer workout isn’t worth it. Or, maybe you are the total opposite of me and have no problem letting it go all the time.

My point is, wherever we fall I hope we can all take a step back in our lives when it comes to our families, our homes, our projects, our community, our personal goals and put it all in perspective. Choose those important things that we do need to do just right, or try to anyway and for all the rest, well, do as Elsa says and just let it go.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

So This Just Happened

An article that I wrote a couple of years ago but just published on Power of Moms was picked up by the Deseret News website! I'd love for you to read, share, and enjoy. :)

Photo via Deseret News/istock
Motherhood Matters: Dear mother who wonders if she is enough | Deseret News

One day, as I walked to pick up my son from school, the mommy guilt piled on. We had been dealing with some big challenges as a family, and I had not been as attentive or present as I would have liked. I thought to myself, “I just wish I could be like those amazing moms in my circle of friends. They have it all together. There is the mom who is training for a marathon, the mom who embodies patience, another who creates fun craft projects for her children and still another who serves her family so effortlessly.”
I was sure my family was getting less because I wasn’t doing all of the things those other moms were doing. All that my family got were my shortcomings and imperfections.
When I got to the school, I saw my son at the gate. I walked over to him and gave him a big hug. As we headed home in the beautiful sunshine, I carried his backpack and asked about his day. We laughed and held hands, but the experience was a bit overshadowed by my feelings of imperfection.
After lunch, he ran off to play and I sat at the dining room table a few minutes more. A long list of mothering to-dos came to my mind. Maybe I should be doing this thing more or that thing more — things I had seen other moms do, things I’d seen on Facebook, Pinterest, etc. Surely I should be able to do it all, right? That is what my children want.
My son called out from the living room, “Mom, how do you spell 'love'?" I spelled it for him, not really paying attention. A few moments later, I felt a small tap on my shoulder. As I turned around, I saw my sweet boy holding up a dry erase board. On it he had written in his best handwriting a message: “I love my mom.”
The moment stopped me in my tracks. Here I had been stressing all morning about how I was lacking as a mother and making a list of all the ways I was not living up to my idea of the perfect mom. With tears in my eyes, I gave him a hug and told him how impressed I was with his writing and how much I loved it. Then, realizing he could have written a million different things, I asked, “Why did you choose to write this?” His response was like a message from heaven and spoke to my core. He said, “Because I want you to be happy.”
In that moment, with his sweet 5-year-old face beaming, holding his sign proudly, he was sending me a message, and I heard it loud and clear. It finally hit me after all these months of feeling "less than" that I have been the perfect mom for my children all along.
I am far from a perfect person and am continually working on ways to be a better mom. However, my definition of a perfect mom had been skewed. I had thought the previous months had been filled with imperfections, but my children had seen the situation quite differently. They didn’t remember the day I stayed in my pajamas as a lazy day but rather as the fun day we stayed home and played together. They didn’t look at my dinner of cheese sandwiches and grapes and see a fail but rather a dinner of their favorite foods.
When we gather together at the end of the day, put our hands in a pile and say our family cheer (“Families are forever! Jenkins choose the right!”), they don’t see a mom who is exhausted and worn from a long day. They see a mom who puts them first, who prioritizes her schedule so she is home for them. They see a mom who has worked hard for them all day and who is still giving when she feels like there isn’t much left in the tank.
The next time I’m feeling "less than" as a mother, I know I don’t have to look to other mothers, Pinterest, books or blogs to find meaning or worth. I simply have to look at my beautiful family. When I see their love for me, it helps me realize I am more than enough.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

5 Ways to Connect with Grandparents

Summertime for our family often includes a lot more grandparent time. My parents live nearby and my husband’s parents live five hours away. We love visiting with all of them and especially watching our children develop wonderful traditions and memories with their grandparents. However, sometimes it can be hard for the two generations to connect! Different personalities, ages, and interests can make it hard for kids and grandparents to find things to talk about.

There is a great movie called Parental Guidance that really highlights (with a lot of comedic license) some of these differences between generations. In this movie, the parents come to their daughters house to watch their grandchildren while she and her husband are out of town. These grandparents don’t visit often and as they look at photos on the mantle they see several examples of the grandkids having a ball with the husband’s parents. Then, shoved in the corner behind those photos they find one tiny picture of themselves. The grandmother looks at her husband concerned and says, “You know what we are? We’re the OTHER grandparents!” To which her husband comedically responds, “Well, we can’t be all 4.”

While I realize this movie is a bit extreme, I don’t want there to be “other grandparents” in our family. I want my children to love and connect with all of their grandparents and really get to know them.

Here are 5 ways that have helped our family encourage a little more togetherness between grandparent and grandchild:

1) Come Prepared

Some grandparents really don’t know how to interact with children which is something I remember from when I was little. Recently we posed a related question on our Facebook page and many of our readers commented similarly. To help set everyone up for success in this area we like to bring things with us that help initiate those conversations and moments. These are simple things like books, puzzles, board games, movies, etc. Grandparents and children want to connect but sometimes they just don’t know where to start. Have your child bring a stack of their favorite picture books and encourage them to ask grandma or grandpa to read to them. Call everyone to the table for a round of a favorite game. Nothing is more fun to me than seeing all of us around the table from the 6 year old to the 70 year old taking turns bumping people out in a rousing game of “Sorry.”

2) Teachable Moments   

Grandparents are a wealth of knowledge and skills so why not take advantage! Have your children ask their grandparents about their hobbies and talents. What did they like to do when they were younger? What do they like to do now? Is there something they enjoy that they could teach each other? My daughter has had a long running obsession with all things baking. My husband’s mother is a wonderful baker and many times when we go to visit they will make cookies together. It is something they both enjoy and my daughter has been able to practice her baking skills and learn from her grandmother.

3) Get Outside

    I have found over the years that the dynamic changes significantly when we leave the house with the grandparents. We have gone to many places including museums, hiking, theme parks, the library, and the beach. Going somewhere as simple as the neighborhood park brings out a different side of the grandparent/child relationship. Even grandparents who are a bit more serious can be found laughing and acting a bit silly when their grandchild asks them to go down the slide or ride the tea cups. One of my children's favorite outings is a special day at Disneyland with their grandmothers. We only do this once every few years but it is so fun to watch the children take the lead and the grandmas play right along with them.

4) Do as They’re Doing

When we are visiting it can be nice to let the grandparents take the lead and follow what they’re doing. On our Facebook discussion someone commented that they would sit with their grandparents while they watched their favorite television show. Relationships are about compromise and give and take and I think this is a great way to teach that. I was thinking about this when we went on a trip recently to visit my husband’s parents and really wanted to do something my father-in-law would enjoy. We decided to ask him ahead of time to plan a small simple hike that we could go on together. He is very active and enjoys going for long walks and hikes which is something we don’t often do. He chose a good place to go near the house and even had little notepads and pencils for the kids so they could take notes of things they saw. He pointed out the different vegetation to them (who knew there were so many different types of cactus?) as well as animals they saw or heard along the way. Grandpa was in his element and although there was a bit of complaining here and there from my youngest we all had a great time.

5) Stay Connected

We have spent most of the past 10 years living far from our parents and visits only happened once a year. When they would come the kids would spend the first couple days getting reacquainted only to have them go home a few days later. My husband and I would sometimes refer to them as “visiting grandparents” because that’s how it felt. Then, shortly after one particular visit from my husband’s parents two letters arrived in the mail. Grandpa had written one to each of our children not only saying what fun he had while visiting but asking them questions and even included a few photos. They were excited to write back (or draw at the time since they were quite young). This went on for almost a year and now that I think about it we should bring it back!

With phones, email, skype, and yes, even snail mail there is no reason we can’t stay connected in between visits. Maybe your kids could write letters to their grandparents and get the ball rolling? Did you go anywhere recently as a family that would be fun to write about? If the grandparents in your life live close by invite them to participate in family activities! My parents enjoy coming to dance recitals, school performances, and of course holiday events. They won’t always be able to attend but let them know you’re thinking about them.

Grandparents are wonderful and the grandparent/child relationship is a special one. I treasure the memories I have of my grandparents who have passed on and love visiting with my grandmother who is still here. Spending time with them and getting to know who they are has influenced me in so many ways, to the point that I named my first child after one of them. I hope my children will be able to say the same about their grandparents.

Question: What ways have your children connected with their grandparents? What would you add to this list?

Challenge: Pick one idea from this list and plan for it this week. If your grandparents live far away perhaps write them a letter. If they live nearby maybe plan a trip to the park. Keep those connections going!


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Making Time for You

Mom time. Alone time. Me time. Whatever you call it, we need it! Everyone needs a break no matter who they are.

For those of you who are deep in the "mom trenches" and are happy to just get 2 minutes alone in the bathroom, let's review what me time looks like.

This time is rejuvenating and encouraging. You feel renewed and refreshed after having me time. It includes anything from reading a book you love for 10 minutes, good for a long run, all the way up to a vacation.

Me time will vary for each person and what works for one might not work for another. Case in point: I tried joining a running group with my friends one summer because they said it was so much fun. It probably is, if you like running.

Just like family time, me time is less about quantity and more about quality. I love a good television show and that can be a good me time activity. However, binge watching Downtown Abbey probably loses it's rejuvenating effect after a while.

So how do we get it? Some moms have no problem finding time in their day for me time. What is their secret? I have finally figured it out and it rocked my world. You ready?

"No one is going to give you me time."

That's it! That's their secret. The person who makes time for you is YOU! Of course we have spouses and friends who can be great supporters of me time and help us make time. In the end, however, it really is up to you.

For years I thought "why doesn't my husband see that I've had a long day and I just need a few minutes to myself." A friend and I were talking about "those days" a few years ago and she said something I'll never forget. She said if it had been a particularly trying day and she needed some me time she welcomed her husband home from work with a hug and simply said, "I'm going to go for a bike ride." Occasionally bike ride was swapped out for a walk or Target but you get the idea. She recognized she needed some rejuvenation so SHE made the time.

Some wonderful moms I know have said they feel guilty or selfish taking time for themselves. These sweet mothers are so dedicated to their families, which is beautiful, but it often comes at their own expense. If you can relate to this let me say: You are allowed to take care of yourself too!

There is that old saying "When mom isn't happy no one is." It's kind of a trite saying but there is some truth to it. When one of my kids is grumpy or not themselves it affects everyone around them. So it is with us. When we take that time for ourselves we are more centered mentally, spiritually, and physically and we have more to give!

So moms of the world, make the time and take the time! Make a list of activities of varying lengths that would rejuvenate you and keep it somewhere you look often. Then when the baby is napping, the kids are happily playing, everyone is at school, or you have a few moments after bedtime stories and goodnight kisses you will be ready to relax and rejuvenate with a little "me time."

Monday, March 30, 2015

Mom Time

After leaving home at the age of 17 for college out of state I haven't been geographically close to my family. And by close I mean the closest we ever lived was a good 7 hour drive.

For the last year and a half we have lived an hour away from my folks and I've got to say, I don't hate it.

In fact, I kind of love it.  

Because even though I'm all grown up and have kids of my own sometimes I just need my mom.

Saturday, March 7, 2015


You know that friend, the one who is so amazing and smart and beautiful...and has the incredible talent of making everyone else around them feel that way amazing and smart and beautiful too? Yes? Well I got to spend time with one of those friends today as well as another amazing gal and it was wonderful. A great event, a picnic in the sunshine, good conversation, and she even threw in the best shoulder rub I've had in a long time.

Only "problem" with such a friend is that you feel so inspired and rejuvenated when you are around them that you feel like you can conquer the world! So now I have all these ideas and inspiration for my family and my blog and my work at Power of Moms and...well, my whole life. But I guess that's a good problem to have.

In the words of one of my favorite movies, "So much time and so little to do! Strike that, reverse it." (Virtual high five if you can name that reference)