Mamahood is…

Mamahood is…

Mamahood is knowing exactly how to hand your four-year-old a banana so she doesn’t see the tiny blemish.

Mamahood is not leaving your house all day except to check the mail but by the end of the day your feet hurt.

Mamahood is using your toddler’s bottle of milk from the fridge for cream in your coffee.


Mamahood is not being able to stop your toddler from going fishing in the dog bowl with her bath toys because you’re pumping and don’t want milk to get everywhere.

Mamahood is weighing 13 different contributing factors when your kid asks if they can play with play-doh. Factors include the distance between meals, their level of energy, their level of rascaliness (I’m sure that’s a word), how clean the house is, and whether or not you were planning on vacuuming the second time that day.

Mamahood is bouncing your baby until your biceps are sore praying they’ll nod off, and then missing their snuggles when they’re asleep. 


Mamahood is deciding what’s for dinner based on how much energy you have for cleanup.

Mamahood is throwing impromptu dance parties just because it’s Wednesday. 

Mamahood is perfecting your band-aid rule book. 

Mamahood is letting them play in the backyard paddling pool and deciding they are clean enough for bed.


Mamahood is wearing nine different shirts in a day when your baby is on a spit up spree.

Mamahood is having your eyes water every time your baby laughs because it’s so beautiful you can’t take it. 

Mamahood is eyeballing the bench at the gym trying to decide if it is wide enough to nap on. 

Mamahood is working so so hard to ensure enough boredom for them to be creative.

Mamahood is magic kisses and hugs that heal the hurt. 

Shaping Our Family Culture 

Shaping Our Family Culture 

Lately I’ve been listening to the audio book Desperate by Sally Clarkson and Sarah Mae. In it, they talk about sitting down with your spouse and deciding what kind of family culture you want to have. Just like any goals in life, they advocate if you don’t set the goals for what you want your family to look like, ten years from now you may find yourself just trudging through and find you never did any of those things with your family you wanted to do.

So when Matt and I went on our date night a few weeks ago, we talked about it.

Clarkson and Mae write, “Plan what kind of family you want to be. Determine for yourself what you hope to be the outcome for your family. What legacies do you want to leave for your children?”

We talked about teaching our girls to love Jesus and be loving to everyone they meet, and have servant’s hearts. To show hospitality, and be dependable.

Adventure, and being outside are important to us. We want them to experience different places and ways people live and gorgeous scenery.

We want them to be immersed in culture–we want them to be well read, able to carry on intelligent conversation, love music, and value a wide range of art and aesthetics. We enjoy cooking and good food, and want them to appreciate a perfectly cooked steak well as a pbj.

We want to teach them to be comfortable and themselves in any situation–whether camping in the backwoods or hanging out with friends or dining at a restaurant with 3 Michelin stars or attending a Presidential inauguration.

We want our home and our family to be FUN, that our girls feel like home is the best place in the world.

We want them to value experience over possessions. To be lifelong learners. To be kind and generous.

These are a few of the things we talked about. Yes, you might be thinking well DUH, doesn’t everyone want that for their kids? and yes, maybe there are a lot of overlapping themes. But the point is we sat down, talked about it, wrote it down, and started to come up with action plans on how to incorporate each of these things into our family culture.

We’ve made it a point to try to sit down to dinner together–which is a lot easier now that Matt is done with his MBA! We try…but it isn’t always successful…

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This is Kenna giving me her rice noodles. And dropping them on the floor.

And this is Tatum making letters and shapes out of the noodles. I guess I should be happy she’s learning?

The girls started off sitting together on the bench. Then they fought over raisins and when Tatum tried to get off the bench she somehow fell over and all I saw were two feet flying in the air. Matt and I hadn’t even sat down yet when she was asking to be excused. Neither girl ate much, the baby was fussy, and Tatum was grumpy but we slogged through.

Last weekend we bought dollar water guns and a kiddie pool and had a water fight in the front yard, then washed the car while the baby slept. Fun definitely got checked that day!

On Saturday it was Oklahoma Free Fishing day where you didn’t need a fishing license, so Matt took Tatum to Lake Arcadia and they had a daddy daughter date learning to cast and reel. They spotted a beach that looked fun, so yesterday (Sunday) we loaded everyone up after nap, grabbed dinner and went to the lake. Kenna had quite the ensemble…

Matt was a very happy daddy…

This picture is a bit deceiving as when I went to nurse Bennett she had a complete meltdown for about 10 minutes…until I put her in the sling and she passed out! She spent most of her time in there with me while Matt wrangled the big girls.

We’ve been making a concentrated effort to develop our family culture. There’s been tears and bad attitudes and things that didn’t seem but be a success, but we’re committed to doing them.

So I thought I’d share our efforts to develop what “The Palmers” look like. This month, before it gets too hot, I’ve been pushing for an overnight camping trip. With three kids 4 and under? Crazy? Maybe. But Tatum did inform me yesterday, “I am an expert at peeing behind trees” so at least we have that going for us!

If you’re a mama, I highly recommend the book Desperate. I’ve been taking my time going through it…usually while grocery shopping at night after the girls are in bed or while walking around the track at the Y. If you’ve never tried Audible, your first book is free and if you give me your email I’m happy to send this one to you!

So I’m curious–what do you want your family to look like ten years from now?

Never Trust A Parenting Book

Never trust a parenting book…if the author has no kids. Or even just one kid.

With one kid you can figure them out for the most part. Correct the child and they usually obey. If they don’t, a well-placed I’m-your-mother-obey-me-now look will do the trick. They don’t stick their fingers in the light sockets after you’ve disciplined them once. Or five times. Or ten times. They eventually listen…and stop trying to eletrocute themselves.

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Only children have no one to have screaming matches with…for fun or in fury. No one is touching their stuff. They can play with their toys that have tiny pieces wherever and whenever they want…not just in a loft bed during quiet time so the younger can’t try to aspirate a Shopkins yogurt cup. They may not have the insatiable desire to put everything in their mouth.

You might be rolling along with your single child, thinking smugly you’ve got a handle on this parenting thing. Sure, it might be more work with more kids, but the discipline thing you’ve got down. Lots of love, right?

Then comes #2. And even though you have tried so many different methods of correction–from sternness to clapping to smacking a chubby hand to yelling in an attempt to scare them into obedience–they STILL pop those socket covers out and try to shove their two-year-old fingers into it. EVERYTHING goes in the mouth. Shoes, the cat’s tail, dirt (so much dirt), EVERYONE’S toothbrushes, those socket cover safety-thingies, poop-covered fingers. Oh, and that was just today.

Yep, if you’re going to read a parenting book make sure it’s at least written by someone with multiple children. And at least one who is “the wild child.” The one who has no fear. Who you honestly wonder if they have a hearing problem because they are so good at ignoring you calling them…and then they come running when they hear the whispered word “cookie.” The one who takes off running in a parking lot if they are not physically tethered to you. The one who thinks it great fun to reach in the back of the diaper and pull out handfuls of poop…you know why? Because they know it might lead to a bath.

If you only have one kid right now, I’m sorry. You might get two doe-eyed angels who respond to discipline just as you wish. But if you get a kid like my crazy Kenna, hang on. You’ll need every book, Focus on the Family broadcast and ounce of grace you can get your hands on.

The good news is that cuteness seems to be in proportion to how much grace a child needs. Kenna is irrevocably loving. Beyond adorable with her blonde curls and large blue eyes and her own toddler language and voice inflections. Devoted to her big sister and copying her every move…even moving her sit and spin so close to Tatum’s that they can’t even spin around properly. She is an expert snuggler–when she wants to be–and is the best and easiest sleeper you could ask for.

So before you load up on the next thing in parenting philosophy, make sure it’s written  by someone who spends 12+ hours a day on average with multiple children. Someone who knows that one discipline style–which made your firstborn straighten up–will make your second look at you with a twinkle in their eye like, “you’re so cute for trying to stop me” and test (and blow up) every limit of your patience.

You don’t quite realize how easy parenting one kid is…until you have two. But as wild and crazy and uncontrollable as #2 may be, you can’t imagine life without the crazy sauce.

Now someone tell me what #3 is like…

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Because of, not in spite of

As I sat on the toilet with Kenna in my lap trying to jam her fingers into every orifice in my face chanting “OKAY! OKAY!” and Tatum climbing on the heaps of clothes in Matt’s closet singing a made up song about climbing mountains in Colorado, and Roy literally laying on my feet, I realized other people might see the humor in this like I do.

And I realized I missed writing and sharing the funny, aggravating, and crazy mundane things that happen every day. I was reminded of a distinct memory, being pregnant with Tatum and laying in our upstairs neighbor’s bathtub while they were out of town (with permission), reading Alice Walker’s, In Search Of Our Mother’s Gardens. There is a chapter titled, “A writer because of, not in spite of, her children.”

I remember thinking I wanted that to be me. Walker goes on to describe the dedication in Buchi Emecheta’s book Second Class Citizen which reads:

To my dear children,
Florence, Sylvester, Jake, Christy and Alice,
without whose sweet background noises
this book would not have been written.

Alice Walker initially scoffs at this–who thinks of those background noises…of FIVE kids…as sweet? But as she gives an overview of the novel–which is largely biographical–she says the heroine “reasons that since her children will someday be adults, she will fulfill the ambition of her life not only for herself, but also for them….since this novel is written to the adults her children will become, it is okay with her if the distractions and joys they represent in her life, as children, become part of it.”

Re-reading those words is so inspirational to me. There will not be many days (right now) that I can sit down with a hot cup of coffee, a clean desk, soft music playing in the background and a head full of inspiration to spill out.

As I write this, I am wearing my 2-month-old daughter in a sling, just carried my screaming and overtired 2-year-old to her nap (yes while wearing the baby), and my 4-year-old is watching an annoying episode of Doc McStuffins and grudgingly eating a grilled cheese she begged daddy for for 20 minutes but doesn’t want anymore.

But I will write. I’ll get it down whether it be one-handed while nursing and filled with typos and stupid autocorrects, or wearing my baby and standing at my desk (thank goodness for a standing desk), or if it hits me at 4:45 in the morning after I’m done calming Tatum down from a night terror. I’ll get it down before it slips into the oblivion of wet wipes and essential oils and granola bars. I’ll make digital ink because one day these three girls will be the adults I want to write for.

I’ll write because of, not in spite of, my children.

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