Wednesday, May 15, 2019

What I’ve Learned So Far

Motherhood is a tricky balance.
I wonder what people think I do all day as a “stay at home mom” of three kids.
(Mind you I do still work part time from home)

Heck, As a young single I probably thought stay at home mom’s had it all.
Free time.
Exercise whenever they want,
Grocery shop for hours for all organic, healthy foods.
Sit around on Pinterest.
Don’t have to deal with the high demands of a stressful career life (not to mention dead beat coworkers)
The list goes on...
  

The truth is, parenting is harder, more time consuming, more emotionally taxing, and more physically exhausting than my high profile career life.
I had more time on my hands, exercised more regularly, and ate better as a young single. I had more energy, slept more (yep, even with two pets), had less stress.

There are a million and one ways to be a good parent, and there are also a million and one ways to be a bad parent.
“Well my parents did it this way....”
Is never an excuse for poor parenting. It’s also not really a good excuse for great parenting since your child’s needs will vary from your own. 
Parenting is a one on one relationship with EACH child.
For example: I think I’m a little bit worse of a parent with my middle child.
He’s a three year old Tasmanian machine with boundless energy, recklessness, and dirt.
He also has the most severe case of “night terrors” his pediatrician has ever seen. We still haven’t figured it out. So, being immensely sleep deprived (more so than just a mom of three who sleep at night) he is also my wild child during the day and my patience runs thin with him.
So.
The point is, one kid may grow up thinking you were awesome. Another might grow up thinking you sucked. Both are right.
My goal is to suck as little as possible.
This means not putting too much weight on “this is how my parents did it” when I can clearly see that my children’s needs are different.
It means avoiding all the bad things that hurt me while growing up, being completely in tune with what hurts my own kids, and then keeping an open line of communication so that they can tell me how I can be better.
I always ask this. Too, on a regular basis because kids don’t always know to ask ahead of time. Sometimes they don’t think they have a right.
Kids always have a right.

One of the things I love about my daughter’s Preschool class are the communication skills they teach. If a kid is mean to another kid, the victim is taught to tap the bully on the shoulder and say. “I don’t like that.”

This level of communication and taking responsibility is something many generations can benefit from. There’s nothing wrong with a child saying, “I don’t like that.”
And a parents response of, “I don’t care!” Is about as harmful as it comes.

I know plenty of adults who would freak out if you said to them, “I don’t like that.”
They take it as if you’re attacking them.
These adults have never learned open communication or how to assume responsibility for their own behavior.
It starts with teaching a child.

Thank you, preschool.

Teaching my kids round the clock is a never ending endeavor. If you want your kids to behave (which they rarely do) you cannot even rest from instructing them. They need CONSTANT guidance. This means, no, I do not sit down and watch my fav shows on Netflix.
What’s even popular?

It means I put my phone down and read books with them.
It means I get off the couch when they’re fighting and go mediate to make sure they use the communications mentioned above, but also monitor that no harmful behavior is happening.
(Hitting, biting, pulling hair)

It means I tell nighttime stories and stay up later than I can handle to make sure they’re tucked in, only to be too exhausted myself to relax and fall asleep.
I have soooo much stress over caring for these three precious lives that I have anxiety, three ulcers, and IBS.

A nine to five job with a crappy boss kinda sounds dreamy.

Just kidding.... ;)
I’d never give up what I have, but oh what I learned.
Have I learned how little possessions matter.
Want proof?
I have a chocolate hand print on my wall that has been there for months. I cannot bring myself to wash it off because of the memory of how it got there.
Couches, chairs, picture frames, even carpet can all be replaced. At a cost.
Children and their precious minds can NEVER be replaced, at any cost.
There is no going back and fixing what you screw up.

You can always say sorry and try to do better, but big errors cannot be erased.

I’ve learned parenthood is the most selfless thing you can ever do.
If done how it was meant to be done, a true parent councils their kids, plays with them, AND disciplines them.
There is structure, learning, and love in the home.
Piano, sewing, cooking, reading, writing, singing.
(If all you do is watch TV or tell your kids to “go play by yourself” we kinda have a problem)

No, there’s no right way, but as I learn and grow, and dive into research of speaking with other people whom I admire, seeking out ideal matriarchs for advice, reading books, and PRAYING PRAYING PRAYING, the inspiration seems to flow.
It is natural.
All the feelings that come with parenthood are instinctual and innate.
“Well my parents whipped us with a belt”
Does not make it right to whip your own kid with a belt. It should FEEL wrong.
Each parent has the opportunity to choose for themself what is right and wrong, and for the good of their growing child.
Without proper inspiration, however, and without the right attitude of selflessness, determination, and never ending WORK, parents’ responsibilities are dwindling.

I’m constantly begging people to step up. Not because I’m perfect but because I also need cheerleaders and inspiration.
We can do this.


Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Mother's Day (Smother's Day)

Mother's Day 2019
for me was....
ground breaking.

My husband took me and our kids on vacation for three days.
We saw a hot air balloon festival.
I was SMOTHERED in lurv.
Came home to warm weather.
I waxed my lip.
And I cracked the uncrackable code of figuring out how to make my DCIM folder appear when plugging in my iPhone X to my comp.
(If you just said in your mind: "You just plug it in via USB and file explorer or iTunes will pop up" then I hate you and you clearly aren't up to date on the latest iPhone drama)

After six hours of tech issues, reading forums, including all the "Apple" help guides, I figured it out and followed ALLLLL the uninstall/reinstall/disable/reinable crap...
Here we are, with 3,000 pics/vids now saved on my PC :)

Seriously, though...
I really do wonder if sometimes the more advanced technology becomes, the worse it truly gets.
(Now an expert however, at getting the DCIM folder to appear when you plug in your iPhone)

So.
Mother's Day.

I had such a wonderful weekend and thought I'd recap some photos here
(that are saved on my PC now...ahem...Cause my DCIM folder finally appeared)

Here we are, just outside of Vernal, Ut. Enjoying camping, hikes, arches, caves, hot air balloons, dinosaur tracks/bones, and FOOD!

















I never thought I'd take a vacation to Vernal!
Of all places...
turns out, it was a massive hit and the kids have been asking to go back ever since.


Good. I'll be glad to take more pictures.
Now that my DCIM folder can be found...;)
haha...

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Documenting Brittany: Overcoming Abuse

Have you ever had someone mistreat you physically, spiritually, or emotionally?
I have.

Have you ever had someone tell you if you’d just been a better wife none of it would’ve happened?
I have.

Have you ever had someone say to you that it must not have been that bad or you wouldn’t have been so in love with him? 
I have.

The thing with abuse is it happens way more than we know, and sometimes the abuser has been raised with so much abuse that it’s so normal to them, that they wouldn’t consider it “abuse”.
That never makes it right.
It also never makes it YOUR fault that they’re abusing you.

One thing abusers do to try to justify their behavior is blame it on you, the victim. If you’d just been, “...X, Y, or Z... they wouldn’t have done it.”
This is so false.

Abusers must and will take accountability for their own actions, as everyone on earth is an agent of themselves.

What you can do as the victim is be an agent for YOURSELF. You can find healing and recovery.
It is NOT your fault.
It is NEVER okay.

For more information on abuse and healing visit
ARP.LDS.org.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Documenting Brittany: Diary Entries by The Perfect Christian Mom

Diary Entries by The Perfect Christian Mom:


I totally work out every day. I really do. I have biceps to prove it. But let’s get one thing clear: My workouts consist of doing planks, downward dog, upward dog, scolding the kids dog, drinking flavored water dog (cause plain water is yuck) and basically ALL the dogs...whilst said kids are climbing, jumping, and hanging from my yoga inspired positions. Need a bicep workout? Just add 65lbs of resistance...not kidding. I can loan you 63 of those pounds for free on any given occasion.

On second thought, can we maybe trade services? I’ll loan you my precious ankle and wrist weights for an evening out on the town. Have you tried hiring a babysitter these days? I’m not sure what is more horrifying: 1) the fact that they expect to be paid above minimum wage for doing what people should, by any obligation, DO. (Keep other humans alive, take one for the team, make it a village) or 2) that they literally sit on Facebook the entire time, and you come home to a 16 month old running around the house with an open sharpie, toilet paper unraveled, chalk drawn on the walls, and spilled food that was probably once the Seashell Shaped Annie’s Mac n Cheese smashed all over the kitchen floor. (Who eats non organic Kraft these days?) Screw babysitters. I have other mom friends who are die hard shape shifters and would watch my kids on the nonnegotiable universal fee of FREE so that society isn’t being led by frazzled, starving women who have been told they can simultaneously demote the highest ranking male CEO of their company (and likely send him to jail, too) and properly steward a home of Christ-centered offspring.

Oh, shoot. I haven’t mentioned my Christian roots yet? Eek...right. Church.
God. Bible. All the prayers.

I can’t miss church on Sundays because heaven knows I need my weekly dose of repentance. It’s good to be spiritually fed. How can we teach our kids right and wrong if we haven’t learned the Christian Code ourselves? Trying to lead your tribe by example? Piece of cake. Take modesty for starters. I make sure I’m within at least a four mile radius of a splash pad before sending my swimsuit selfies into cyber space.
I don’t believe in physical punishments. 
 I’ve never actually spanked my husband. MY CHILDREN! Oops...did I say husband? I’ve never spanked my—cough—children. Not. Once.
 Emotionally abuse them? Maybe. You decide. 
I tell them to “Stop crying!” “Shake it off!” or “Make better decisions!”  Because the end of the world is coming and my family WILL BE THE SOLE SURVIVORS OF THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, darn it! And also, Jesus will be there so...we need to be presentable, toddlers and all. 

Holding my kids to an adult level of perfection (one that even I will never meet) is always going to be the first thing I beg for forgiveness for. Why can’t they just stop fussing?! Seriously, if I hear, “Mom! He bit my hair!” One more time...I’m going to break 4 and a half of the 10 commandments. 

(Who? Like. Who, bites hair?)


On the topic of hair. I spent 12 years as a professional cosmetologist so I can confidently say that I have the nicest hair in the chapel. That’s right. I said it. I adequately wash my hair once a week. (Saturdays. The night before Sunday. Lest I lose my reputation as the Sunday Slay Queen of the Congregation) I also take time to shave. All the way up to my knees!! Borrow my husband’s deodorant, and give my kids a good pep talk about being reverent during our worship services. My husband and I {lead by an example of reverence} by not talking to each other. IIf the chitlens last more than eight minutes in the pew I call it a win, and we spend the rest of the hour in the hall playing tag and eating fruit snacks. Be jealous.

Spiritually, I think we are pretty solid. My kids know how to 
Say prayers and actually argue about who gets to say the blessing over meals. I’ve never been more proud than when one of my kids uses, “That’s not what Jesus would do!” in a sibling war. What confuses me is how frequently kids pick fights with one another. We instill values of honesty and open communication, but suddenly our children are possessed by the devil of Tattle Telling (and a Devil she is!)
“He stole my play dough!”
“She said I didn’t like this cartoon, and I do like it!”
“I called the black car seat first!”
“He’s eating the dish soap!”

{Alright, thanks for that last one.} Now go work through it like a half-rational mammal.


I’ve only been the neglectful mother who almost killed her kids a handful of times. Like the time I rolled my car window up on my kid’s throat, or discovered whole, intact Shopkins accessories in my 20 month old’s diaper. You win some, you lose some.

While I’m winning in the spiritual and bicep department, I find myself losing in the bedroom. Anyone else find romance a little gag-worthy postpartum? I really do try for my husband. Truly. I wouldn’t put so much energy into cooking healthy, and balancing three kids on my back to do push-ups if I’d completely thrown in the towel on intimacy. Where things get weird is the fine print between the reality 
that I have to hold my breath while snuggling him
and I have to ask him NOT to bump my thumb-sized hemorrhoid if we get frisky. (Not foreplay, in case you didn’t know)
Wondering if you’re still hot? Still “got it”? Nope. Not even a tiny bit. My hottest moments are catching the eye of the butcher in the deli department at the grocery store or having my 90 year old neighbor compliment me on my sense of fashion. (He was wearing his glasses!)

So what if men forget to tell you you look good, Never wash the sheets, Can’t eat a hot dog on regular bread, Work “so hard during the day” they’re just “too tired to help around the house or play with the children.” They still deserve some lovin’, ammiright?!? 
That is called  sarcasm. The S is pronounced as a Z.
Said in my most Sardonic Snow White Voice: If you’re too tired to help with the dishes I guess you’re just too tired to make love. Awww...

Is that why people start swinging??? Sigh....where’s my bible? Why am I here? I should’ve been a Lesbian...

Who needs attention, anyway? That is vanity, right? And we are good, Christian people with a life focus on faith, hope, and charity. 
(Side note: “Stop screaming! This is a house of harmony!” Ends up number two on your list of things to seek forgiveness for on Sundays) 




It’s tricky toeing the line of raising kids who are sweet buuuut not doormats. Where do you remind your kids to “be nice and a peacemaker” but also teach them that bratty kids have no power over them. “Uh-uh! awwww nawwww, that girl did NOT just say you couldn’t sit with her!”
Kids are straight up bullies these days.
The phrase “LOL, they’re just being kids” is the lazy parent’s guide to discipline.
Sure, they’re just being kids.
Then, they’re just being teenagers.
Pretty soon, they’re just being dipwad adults. And whose fault is that?
50% of a human’s idiotic behavior can be pinpointed to an idiotic parent. (Why do you think I suck) The other 50% is environmental factors and learned behavior, so do us all a favor and freakin turn off Sophia the First.

We must Get off our butts when our kid is being a stinker, make them accountable, have them return the toys they stole, look the other kid in the eye and ask for forgiveness, be polite, and clean up after themselves. It takes conscious, dedication to raise a new generation. It means getting off Twitter and Pinterest and facilitating decent, common curtesy and ACTING as mediatior, not just rolling our eyes as they stink their way through life.
When you bond over parenting skills with your female BFF.
*LEANS OVER AND WHISPERS CLANDESTINELY**
“Please, Marry me.”

Sensitive spirits (like mine and my first born child’s) take bullying to the core. It wounds their spirits and in those “they’re just being teenage years” a sensitive kid can go down a suicidal rabbit hole.

The lazy parent of a bully should get shoved up quite another hole.

Shoot. Love thy neighbor as thyself and forgive 70 times 7. We’re cool, yeah?

On top of all this, there’s the easy stuff.
Spend $800 on back to school clothes. Volunteer in the kids’ classroom 14 times out of the school year. Wait, whhaaaa??? Buy only white furniture. Keep your dogs tranquilized. Only post pics online in front of a chic wall, or standing in the middle of the street. #CauseAesthetics. Pretend you’re snacking on almonds when it’s really handfuls of skittles. Let the noodles dry BEFORE you try to sweep them up (you’ll thank me later). Set a good example at church by listening to the speakers, but don’t create an atmosphere of loathing for your children who will associate gospel learning with whatever you do. (AKA: colorful mini marshmallows)

Get into debt shopping the latest trends on ridiculously overpriced Instagram boutiques. Wipe up the third spilled cup of milk (waste is the new teach your children independence ). Be present in politics but not opinionated. No one wants to lose followers. Wake up before your kids so
 they can eat a nutritional breakfast before school, regardless of the zero minutes of sleep you 
Got the night before. Be choosey about which mom friends you marry, which you secretly divorce, don’t discriminate 
 but send that nasty, foul-mouthed neighbor child home, understand family is family, but know when to ostracize that one cousin who is literally the meanest, spawn of Satan you’ve ever encountered. Refrain from cursing at your child when they wake up screaming for a popsicle at three in the morning. Do us all a favor, squeeze in some quality “Me Time” by getting a facial (your Mom acne, fo real) in all of your spare time. 
If you’ve got tips on mom acne...

Fire the pervy uncle. Try not to be the pervy aunt. Realize some people will read this and laugh while others will be filled with guilt induced rage and seethe, “She’s talking about me!” Call kids’ parents before you feed them gluten, dairy, sugar, before letting them watch Spongebob, and after your five year old reveals to their nine year old Santa is not, in fact, real. Master the art of not texting back. 
Don’t hold grudges...unless the kids don’t have school on Thursday but it wasn’t marked in the academic calendar. 

It’s acceptable to be an excellent mother and a so-so
missionary (Priorities, people). Do your best, have positive energy, love with all your soul. Cut people some slack cause you’re probably more irritating then all of them. ;)
God’s grace will fill in the rest.

I could boast all day about my garden and the seasonal bulbs about to bloom, but the bottom line is weeds are still gonna grow. It’s inevitable for all of us. Life is about picking and choosing your battles. Which snotty kids you’ll let yours punch. Calculating the exact number of 70 times 7 so that A-hole number 4,957 can receive your full, pent up—haven’t been able to take Prozac because you’ve been breastfeeding for five years— justified, wrath.

A probable first step in being a Christian parent is to  Find common ground with people in all walks of life.
A) the “childless”. Perhaps you’re both interested in reconstructive surgery? Hers for a nose job, yours for uterine prolapse.
B) the “I only have one child”. Hey, a lack of sleep is a lack of sleep.
C) the “nine kids and counting”. The older you both get, the more polygamy sounds reasonable. There can never be too many shoulders to cry on or too many sugared pie crusts.

Take a breather.
I’m here for you.
If you’re about to add PARENTHOOD to your resume, I have one suggestion. Learn to meditate, for a previously undiscovered level of hate will enter your bosom when you witness:
1) someone speeding through a school zone.
2) an environmentalist criticizing your choice to keep your two younger kids in the mini van to watch movies while the older one is in gymnastics class.

If you’re a 9-5 working mom, trying to juggle parenthood and date the man child you have eternally sworn to cherish... I apologize. I can’t help you. 

I WILL pray for you. Cause I’m kind of a nice person. But...

It’s effing difficult out there...God bless all you mamas...
Here’s my therapists number and a signed copy of 50 Shades of Grey.

But seriously...Marry me.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Documenting Brittany: Patriotism

God. Family. Country.


I remember the first time my dad told me the story of how our National Anthem came about, written by Francis Key. He cried sharing it with us.
I now cry every time I share it, too.

I am a devout Patriot, which is loyalty to one's country first. I love this promised, sacred, chosen land. I support our founding fathers and the constitution of America. 
I know God blessed our founding fathers and inspired them when they created the constitution of the United States. I know God watches over this country. I know that as long as good, Patriotic people are doing their best to keep within the standards God has set, this land will be protected and blessed.

I know Dallin H Oaks was inspired when he recently stated that "labels" are trivial and temporary. I know people have hard hearts and divisions in political beliefs are really destroying people, including patriotism. I fear history will repeat itself.

Anyway, I try to be a "neutral" supporter and vote for candidates that MOST CLOSELY believe in the same things I do (which is becoming increasingly difficult) and vote for those political candidates who support and uphold the constitution.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Documenting Brittany: The Affair That Never Ends (Even After You Stop It)


I post a lot of stuff on marriage (including infidelity and addiction). I’m sorry I don’t talk all rainbows and butterflies. You cupcake people will have to unite together ...and make t-shirts or something. I’ve been volunteering in the Addiction Recovery Program for a couple years now, not to mention I have some experience (heavy ugly depressing) with these topics. My goal is to help other people and open a channel where they can talk about the things many people don’t talk about. (Tosses sprinkles over shoulder)

Also know I’m not trained and I have no degree. I’m zero special. My qualifications are “life” so take it with a grain of salt. I know a thing or two about infidelity, mmmkay? I’ve experienced it. Lived through it. I’ve seen someone lose their soul to addiction and I’ve seen another make mistakes, feel remorseful, and fully repent.

All of these things have added to my strong belief in fidelity and marriage, how the two are delicately connected. How fragile love is, but how eternal commitment is.

Then leave some comments below!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

My Spouse Strayed; Why I Stayed VOLUME 1

“My covenants meant more to me than the mistakes. It hurts and you wonder how you’ll ever love again, but we have four children and they deserve their mother AND their father­čśč They deserve to see us work through every challenge, because I’m today’s world, you won’t escape life without challenges. These challenges get uglier and uglier, and I want to teach my kids how to make it through. How to fight. How to survive. Not how to quit. Quitting has eternal consequences. That hurts more to think about.”

Ive began speaking with people about their triumph over infidelity.
This is a hot topic to debate.
Some think “That’s the end!” If their spouse cheats.
Others think “If they’re sorry, we will work it out.”
Then there’s the inevitable “I’ll never love you, but we are staying together for the kids.”

What do you think you’d do? I promise. You won’t. 
You think you’d walk away because you need to send some sort of message.
You need to “love yourself” enough to walk away from eternal covenants.

I’m not going to say it shouldn’t EVER happen.
Holy cow, it should and it will if God makes it known to you!
Heavenly Father is BY DEFAULT guiding a covenant marriage. If HE IN HIS ALL KNOWING WISDOM knows the marriage shall end. he will make it manifest.
The rest of the time, I’m pretty sure
“For time and all eternity”
Means...
For time.
And.
All.
Eternity.

Ready for the ugly part?
That includes...BIG FAT MISTAKES.

I know so many people (more than not) who have triumphed over infidelity.
I literally have only met two couples. TWO. I repeat, two, who have not faced infidelity in one form or another (and I won’t be asking because I don’t want to know, unless others choose to share) The thing is, whether we like it or not, it’s the new thing. It’s the new “whoops”.
Whoops I smoked a cigarette.
Whoops I skipped school.
Whoops I lied to a cop about how fast I was going.
Whoops I cheated on my spouse.

Cheating is defined by the couple.
I know couples in very open relationships who accept sexual relations outside of the marriage as long as the couple discusses it first.
Know couples who consider pornography cheating.
Whatever you base your marriage vows on, stands.

In a covenant marriage, it’s defined by the laws of chastity as explained in the temple recommend interview. (We know what they are)
Still, why then do so many people stray?
Then, excuse their behavior?

I’m lost on that, but I know it’s time to start offering support and speaking out about the sneaky, elephant in the room.
No more shaming spouses who “stick it out”.
Are you kidding????
Those people are AMAzing!!
They deserve aooo many blessings for honoring their TRI-covenant vow. Yep, the three way promise between them, their spouse. And GOD! Which remains in tact as long as the marriage (sealing) is in tact.
These blessings are tremendous. Huge.
And when kids are involved...it’s a whole different story.
Celestial families do not deserve to be broken up.

When a marriage is abusivo or toxic, Heavenly Father will help guide a separation. We must always also offer support to people who’ve divorced and lost eternal marriages. Nothing hurts worse, not even the death of a spouse. Death has been defeated. Christ overcame death. People will live again forever. But divorce? Divorce shatters “eternity” it shatters “dreams” it shatters hearts.

Stay tuned for more stories, and feel free to submit your own!
Your “Why I Stayed” might only be “Why I stayed for 20 years...and then left.”
I still want to know.
We are still here for you.

Anonymous inquiries
Brittanyshannon.author@gmail.com
.