When You Realize Kids Are People Too - Raising and Connecting with Tweens

First of all, I wanted to give a massive and tearful thank you to all of you who read, commented and gave me tons of love and support on my last post about divorce. It was definitely THE hardest thing I'd ever had to write about in the 11 years I've been blogging - but I can now confidently say that I'm so glad I did.
I shared this photo, along with some thoughts on Instagram recently, and wanted to make sure they were seen here as well.
"There are no right words for the amount of love and support I received yesterday. Thank you, from every part of my heart... really, thank you😢💗. I will continue to work through the comments and emails this week, but I just have to say that the stories, advice and uplifting words I’ve read so far have given me more comfort and hope than I can even start to describe.
Thank you for lifting me up. Thank you for making me feel stronger. All of you women are so amazing, inspiring and kind. I am incredibly proud to call you my friends (may sound a little presumptuous, but that’s truly how I feel). THIS is what social media is about for me. THIS feeling of connection and support with other amazing humans (that I probably would never have had the opportunity to connect with otherwise) is why I am here. 
I love and appreciate each of you💗

PS: A friend from my church dropped off this perfect bracelet to me today, and it’s definitely helping me hold my head up just a little higher. #sograteful #womenneedwomen #vulnerabilityequalsconnection"

Moving along...

Recently I've gotten lots of questions about being a Mom to tweens, and daughters in general. It's kind of funny, because never in a million years did I think ANYONE would ever ask ME for "Mom advice".

I've opened up before about being a toddler Mom, and how it seemed like a very different experience for me than for my other Mom friends. There were SO MANY of you that could relate, and it was really nice to know that I wasn't alone in those feelings.

Fast forward 7-9 years later, and here I am - 35 years old and completely in the thick of tween Mommin' it every day.
Disclaimer: I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING. (do any Moms really?😁)
But I DO know that THIS stage of life with my kids is SO fun, and SO much more rewarding than EVER, for me as a Mother.
In no way, shape or form do I feel like an expert or pro in the tween Mom category, but I DO have thoughts, experiences and moments where I've realized... "HEY! That totally paid off! I AM doing okay at this Mom gig!?" lol
So, I wanted to share some thoughts with you. Maybe they will help, maybe they won't. Maybe you have suggestions of your own and want to share them in the comments (which I'd LOVE!), but either way... we're all doing this Mom thing together the best we can - so why not share helpful suggestions and ideas that may work for us, with others!?

Alright, so here are a couple examples of questions that I've gotten, that have triggered my thoughts for today's post.

“Hi Shelley! I have a question and I even feel terrible for admitting it! #worstmomever I have three girls as well, oldest being 10. And lately I've had a hard time connecting to her, (my oldest) I find I let her get on my nerves, or I find her annoying, again WORST MOM! Have you ever felt this way? You and your girls have such a great relationship! I love the way you all are towards each other, and having a house hold of girls myself I want to create that friendship. Just wondering if you had any tips to create that great friendship?  Thanks so much!”

"I love that you actually have fun with your girls. I feel like they "LIKE" you. I feel like such a drag all the time. I don't laugh with my kids, joke around or have fun with mine - even though I LOVE all of those things - or I used to, I think. Being a Mom has put that kind of me on the back burner. My kids are 4, 7 and 9. How do you start doing stuff like this? I almost feel like it's too late and I should of started earlier. Any advice on how to step out of "just being the rule enforcing Mom" role, and into the "let's have fun too" role?"

First of all, you are NOT a bad mom. I can almost promise that anyone who's reading this right now... is NOT a bad Mom.
So stop. Don't say that anymore. It's not fair to yourself.
You're just... a Mom.
And more importantly?... A PERSON!
Just because you birth, adopt, foster or take care of a child (just like you are their own mother), and you lose your crap on them from time to time or don't think that they're someone you want to snuggle, love on, dote over, play with on the ground or hang out with at Target and be next to 24/7... YOU ARE NOT A BAD MOM!

Have you ever met a 9 year old who picks up baby talk from school?
Or an 11 year old who brings the ever-snotty-sounding, "fine, whatever!" into their vocabulary?
How about screeching?
Booger eating?
Odd new ways of laughing that they picked up from another kid that make you want to rip your ears off?
Or maybe the stage where they say "Mom!, Mommy!" or "Hey Mom!" TEN GAZILLION times, even when there's NO ONE else around and you are LITERALLY the only one walking right next to them!?!?!?
It's like, why do you have to start EVERY sentence with MOM first!? I know you're addressing me, I'm the only one here remotely in ear-shot - JUST START TALKING!... and then the best part... when you finally say... "Yes?" or "What?" they go into "Ummm" or "Hmmm", and after about 10 seconds of that they eventually pipe up with... "Oh, I can't remember - I forgot."
**Cue deep breathing, eyes slowly closing and therapeutic neck rolling. #serenitynowserenitynow**

We have ALL felt annoyed, bugged, frustrated or just OVER our kids at some points. And just because you are HUMAN, and some things grate on your nerves worse than others... it does NOT make you a bad Mom. In fact, I'd like to venture out and say, that if your child(ren) isn't (aren't) starving on purpose, is (are) clothed in some sort of way, and even remotely healthy!?... you're a GREAT Mom!!! - and don't let yourself or anyone else tell you differently.

Maybe I should just stop there... because really, I'm pretty sure that the fact I have almost always thought like that⬆, is the main reason I convince myself that I'm killin' it at this Mom thing most days😝.

Set low enough expectations for yourself as a mother ⤏⤏⤏ You'll exceed them every time!

Okay, okay, I'm sort of kidding - but honestly, if you're only worried about YOUR kids, and aren't wasting your time comparing yourself to any self-help book, other Mother, child, or a friggin' beautifully staged Instagram account?... then you're already doing better than you know.

So kuddos Momma. Keep on keepin' on. 

Okay, so that being said, here's a little more insight on how things have worked for me.
Take it or leave it.


Divorce: Working Through Grief, Letting Go & Leaning In

This post has been in the works for over a year now. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read it, tweaked it and sobbed over it. I try to convince myself each time I sit in front of it, that it's too raw. Too vulnerable. TOO real (yes, that’s a thing). Will anyone honestly even care that I want and need to scream MY OWN feelings from one corner of the internet to the other? Or are they content hearing versions from others perspectives or people who think they know my life - or who have decide to google it, and believe everything they read?
Have I been quiet too long?

"Elevation Sometimes Requires Isolation."

Funny thing about the internet is - once you put something out there… it’s ALWAYS going to be there. For your future employers, family, friends, children and even grandchildren to read. And for the longest time I had an internal battle with myself trying to decide what was MOST important for me to feel COMPLETELY HEARD on.
What would REALLY matter later on in life?
What could I say to help someone never feel as alone as I have in my grief, and hopeful?
What is relevant enough, that people who take their time to read what I write will feel value out of reading it?
Most importantly... what will my sweet girls learn from me one day, as I try to lead by example?

In a nutshell...

- Be patient with yourself.
- Stand strong.
- Know it's okay to cry - don't bottle things up.
- Remember who you are - even (especially) when life feels impossible.
- Stay classy.
- Don't sweat the small stuff.
- Try your hardest to let the big stuff go - and don't give up.
- Tell the people you love how special they are to you, every opportunity you have.
- Life is too short.
- Things are just things.
- Time spent with someone = Love.
- Attention given = Respect earned.
- And no matter what... Always Strive to Be Kinder Than Necessary. 

It's 4am, another sleepless night and I can't stop thinking about something my bishop and friend Randy once told me while sitting on my couch.
"Eventually you'll start telling people little by little... and one day it won't hurt so bad. Try people you trust at first, then close friends, move to acquaintances, then someone you don't even know. See what happens and how you feel. It will get easier.”

I never thought those words would ring true for me. I never thought in the depths of my incredible sadness, that telling anyone anything about how I felt during the worst moments of my life, would be something that would heal me, make things easier, or by any means make me feel better.

I was wrong. He was right. He was right more than I’d like to admit. I miss Randy horribly. He passed away just a year ago, and I can’t write this post without mentioning the huge role he played in being supportive, understanding and nonjudgemental through the absolute hardest part of my life so far. He would pull me out of my head and back down to the ground over and over again at the beginning.

...And now I can only pray that he knows how many times that saved me.


The problem with telling people, is that it’s always hard, painful, awkward and heartbreaking for me to say it out loud. But then after it’s out… no matter what the response is from the opposite party… there is an instant feeling of relief. No more dodging. No more acting like things aren’t what they are.
Now we can talk. Really just talk.
And then… the best part… NOT having to talk about it anymore.
That’s the part I work towards. That’s the moment that is worth all the super awful, anxiety filled ones before it. The part where I just get to try and be ME again, and not the girl who’s defined by her husband's choices and life's now MANY uncontrollable circumstances.

That being said, after a massive amount of thought, prayer and many sleepless nights wondering what should and shouldn't make up this blog post - I have decided that the best thing to do is to only share my own experience, grief and truth.
Even though we all thrive on the nitty gritty details of what could possibly force marriages to end and people to be so incredibly sad... it is not all my story to tell. And no matter how painful things feel for me right now... I want to work hard at trying to be the kind of person who continues to give respect to others - whether or not I feel it's deserved.


I’m sick of not fully being me. Even if that “me” has changed so much, that others don’t like or understand the "new me”.
It's a risk I’m willing to take.

So here we go...


Easy Oven Baked Sheet Pan Eggs - Breakfast for the Whole Week!

So, it's basically a giant oven omelet that you can cut into squares and make breakfast sandwiches with, or eat all on it's own.
It's super simple, makes a ton, and bonus... you can say you totally "meal prep" #lifewin.

15 eggs
1/3 cup milk
Salt & Pepper
... really, just anything else you like. Veggies are great in this too. 

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Generously coat a sheet pan with nonstick spray.
- Mix all of your ingredients together.
- Pour them onto the sheet pan. 
- Bake for 18-25 minutes (they are done when the center no longer wiggles)
- Let cool.
- Cut into squares and package in individual portions for easy reheating.