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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Let This Mom Inspire!

You may remember a review I did a month ago about teaching phonics through the Godfrey method. Well, I was really inspired by the author, Shannah Godfrey. She is a mother of 14 children, former rocket scientist, writer, speaker and parenting coach.

I love highlighting mothers who are inspirational, and I was interested in hearing her story. After reading it, I had to share it with you all. Shannah shares her story below and her tips for surviving being a busy mother. Trust me, you are going to want to read this. It is amazing! I hope this inspires you as much as it inspires me!

How did I get so many children and become a rocket scientist?

For my first 8 years as a parent, I was an at-home mom with my first 5 children. During this time, I was also a foster parent for 19 other children and adopted 3 of them – 3 little sisters. Not long after, I found myself going through separation and divorce, so I started college and work for the first time at age 27 with all these children to support. It took me 9 years to finish a 4-year Bachelors degree, with working and family, but I did it.

In the middle of my education, I remarried a wonderful man who lovingly accepted my 8 children and gave me 3 precious step-children, too. After a couple of years, we decided to have a child together, so I was pregnant with her when I graduated from the university.

About this same time, a friend’s daughter was also pregnant and offered us her baby boy for private adoption. What a precious gift. Of course we said yes. I thought, what a funny way to get twins!

I started my career, as a chemist working on solid rocket motor fuel, with 13 children and the youngest 2 only being about 3 months old. Talk about an early-morning, childcare nightmare! We figured it out, though. A few years later, we were blessed with our final and 14th child, a precious daughter.

I worked in the aerospace division in northern Utah for over 8 years, then went back to school, earned my Masters degree and changed my career to project management in the defense division of the same company in Missouri. All this time, I wrote for my own children to get them reading before kindergarten.

What are some tips for surviving busy motherhood?

1. Prioritize your values and put those most important first in your schedule.

- For me, that meant coming home from work or college and nursing/holding the baby, holding and reading to the preschoolers, helping the older children with their homework (while I did mine), and spending time with my husband.
- The housework and cooking were shared by all, and we only worried about survival-mode stuff. Dishes and laundry were important, as was vacuuming and cleaning the bathrooms weekly. Everything else took a back seat unless absolutely necessary.

2. Always read to your young children.

- Bedtime can be a great time for a five- or ten-minute book.

3. Enjoying motherhood depends a lot on what you tell yourself.

- If you view your children as blessings, even the hard parts, you feel happier about the sacrifices that we moms all make.
- Each day, find something to be thankful for in “daily living.” Life’s not a constant party and scrubbing the tub over-and-over gets boring. But life is also a matter of attitude. Notice the beautiful rose growing outside your window. Be thankful for simple hugs and smiles.

4. Simplify your life.

- Remove the fluff and focus on your priorities with family first. We women are notorious for fluffing everything up and going over the top. Tone it back a little.

- "We women are also known for comparing ourselves unfavorably to others. Knock it off. You are perfect in your sphere. Quit worrying about how other women do things."

5. Read Erma Bombeck’s, Motherhood: the World’s Second Oldest Profession.

- It humorously puts everything into perspective!

- Remember that you had your childhood, whether good or bad. It’s your children’s turn now.

- They should still help with chores, but we must put their needs before our own, most of the time.

- Sure, we need alone-time to recharge our souls, but at the minimum.

- I am not saying to indulge children’s every whim. There needs to be balance.

6. Have fun with life!

- It’s better to laugh than to cry.

- See the humor in every situation and read the book, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff (It’s all small stuff).”

- Perspective and attitude are the main keys to surviving motherhood.

Thank you for sharing your beautiful story and fabulous tips, Shannah! Check out more about Shannah and the Godfrey method of teaching children how to read at her website.


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