Little Light Shines

A short Enjoying the Small Things post tonight.

New school routines and all the things that make life busy and full yet complicated and exhausting caught up with us today.  We’re all tired and consequently, we had a little battle of wills tonight. I said something along the lines of, “you’ll be going to bed early if your attitude doesn’t change”–definitely one of those “I sound just like my mom” moments.

The attitude didn’t change, and I knew I had to follow through.  And it sucked.  There was a point in the middle of all the crying and her passionate rebuttal when I asked myself, “Why?”  Was I trying to prove a point that I was a tough mom who did what she said she was going to do?  Was this an important life lesson?  Did it really matter that much?  Something inside me said it mattered–that it really was important tonight to follow through, gently and with love.  So I did.  I hugged her and rubbed her back even though she didn’t like me very much (she told me).

I know babies are the easiest part of motherhood.  And after that, the next easiest part is a tired first grade rant.  So it’s just going to get harder and more complicated, and there will be so many more nights of wondering if I did the right thing or feeling really awful because my kid went to bed feeling sad or let down by me. But I also know that there’s a motherhood pilot light that never ever ever burns out. I’ve never felt anything so strong in my life than that little light, even at its dimmest glow.

Tomorrow is a new day.

In the meantime, a little propane for our light…Enjoying the Small Things:

He likes bubbles.
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Searching Internet Hairstyles is a new favorite of ours.
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Dash, you’re not sixteen, okay?
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This bag of Saltines.  Everywhere.  Everyday.
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Two words:  Swishy. Ponytail.  
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Nella, you’re not twenty-one, okay?
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Kanga and Roo–my favorite Pooh characters.
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She fell asleep with Brett tonight, staring at him, kissing him and touching his face until she got so tired, she closed her eyes and passed out.
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I used to practice drawing Elmo just so I could whip him out on restaurant placemats for my nieces.  Sister’s still got it. Even if Prairie Dawn is a hot mess.
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This little light of mine. I’m gonna let it shine.
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.


This week, I’m sharing:

On BabyZone: 17 Ways to Support Friends When Their Baby is Diagnosed with Special Needs
On All Parenting:  Our Family Bed  (Looking back on our six years sharing a family bed)


Leave a Comment
  1. Way to go, mama. Was feeling the back-to-school pressure myself tonight and this made me feel better. xoxo

  2. Yes! I feel ya mama. No one ever warned us about these things. :)

    A favorite of mine… “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”

  3. You are the best kind of Mama there is.
    I hope you have a beautiful weekend with your family.

  4. Some day, she will thank you for the follow through. I am now even passed that part with my grown up children but it meant a whole lot to me to hear that they appreciated the discipline. Hang in there!

  5. First week of kindergarten caught up to us tonight with 6 tantrums or 1:15 of relentless screaming. “It” was bound to hit the fan, seeing that the past three days have gone seemlessly; but she’s asleep and tomorrow is another day. Sorry for your evening and yes it only gets harder. May your weekend being some good vibes.

  6. We had one of those days here too. It was so sad when I had to follow through and put my boy to bed before kickoff of Football season. But when the instincts say it is the right thing, we have to listen. I only hope the early bedtime will help with a good weekend. For both of our families!

  7. We had one of those days here too. It was so sad when I had to follow through and put my boy to bed before kickoff of Football season. But when the instincts say it is the right thing, we have to listen. I only hope the early bedtime will help with a good weekend. For both of our families!

  8. it’s worth it, mama. now’s the time they are learning if you mean what you say. pretty sure she got the point ….. even though she’ll probably try you again. =S it will be worth it in the long run. hope everyone sleeps well tonight.

  9. I just recently started following your blog ( less than a week ago), and I am so in love!! I just posted this exact kind of post to my IG account tonight. I know all of us mamas endure days/ nights like these, but it is still always great to see ( or read) that we are all in this together! Thanks for being authentic in your writing! I love it!!

  10. Of course it mattered. I used to ask myself the same question, until the rebuttals came more and more often. Thankfully, I cracked down before she permanently used me as her carpet (for walking all over). Did that one little moment make or break anything? No. But it’s a building block. If they don’t learn from you to listen to authority, to accept consequences for not doing so, they’ll likely never learn. When I taught middle school, I encountered numerous kids who never had a consequence for anything at home, so they had no respect for adult authority or rules in general.

    Yes, it mattered. Good for you for following through.

  11. My son recently started lashing out at me verbally, saying he doesn’t like me etc. Its not my favorite but what I tell him is that “that’s okay, sometimes we don’t always feel like we like even the people we love the most.” He says “that’s not what you’re suppose to say.” Which I think is funny. Part of what makes us compassionate loving parents *is* following through, making our kids feel safe when we don’t waiver and confidently and lovingly stand our ground. (Not like I know what the heck I’m talkin about or anything :)). What I do know is that I still really really love my parents despite their (probably because their) standing their ground and not taking any of my crap :)

    Beautiful kids.
    Nella’s hair is so full and amazing.
    So lovely watching your babes grow.

  12. damn girl, you took the words right outta my mouth. the pilot light analogy is on point. been feeling all kinds of worn out, run down and low on fuel since my oldest started K three weeks ago. such a huge change affects the entire family. I will keep my light on for her and for us;)

  13. haven’t commented lately… but just gotta remind you how awesome you are.
    i still love reading your words and find myself nodding my head and smiling in agreement with everything you say.
    oh-and i had a brett::nella type bedtime with clove tonight. rubbed her little nose and sang to her until she went from looking into my eyes into a sweet deep breathing slumber.
    keep doing what you’re doing.

  14. … “there’s a motherhood pilot light that never ever ever burns out…” Amen to that!! There will be many more moments when it’s glow is dimmed. But reach down into your heart and remember the thousands of days that it shone brighter than your Florida sun!! You are an amazing Mama and tonight, as hard as it was and how we question ourselves in those hard moments…you did good Mama. Setting boundaries and following through is so important at this young age :)…”gently and with love”

    Photo of Nella – two words – mine would have been skinny jeans. hightop converse. (okay four words haha) SUPER CUTE

    And so many of your commenters here and on IG comment on who Dash looks like…I know I don’t know you and your family personally, just from what you post here and on IG, but I think he looks a little like your brother.

    Heres to many bright light shining moments and hugs to you on the days it just ain’t gonna shine so bright…cuz that’s parenthood!

  15. beautiful photos and thanks for giving us a peak into your world. I love your blog. thanks so much for sharing!


    Have a beautiful weekend!

  16. Prairie Dawn is spot on! 😉

  17. “But I also know that there’s a motherhood pilot light that never ever ever burns out. I’ve never felt anything so strong in my life than that little light, even at its dimmest glow.”

    Beautifully put. It might be one of my favorite things you’ve ever written. It’s nice to know we’re all together in this crazy mamahood journey. Thanks for sharing yours with us.

  18. I so don’t like the first two weeks or month of school….the pressures and everything starting up at once make me nuts. Good job on listening to yourself and responding with love. That’s what they will remember.
    p.s. Dash is so darn cute now, can you even imagine at 16???!!!

  19. I love reading your thoughtful and heart centered posts and enjoy the photos too! You dress your children so cute! What you said about babies being the easiest rings true with me currently … My 33 year old daughter ((who has little girls of her own) isn’t speaking to me right now because she doesn’t like what I said to her about getting divorced and having an affair! Life with adult children gets way more complicated and I’m not sure I will ever be ready for it even though it happens. Life happens though and the good news is there is always good news even in the difficult stuff. Thanks again for being a bright spot in my day !

  20. Keep being strong, Mamma! That’s how it goes and you’re right, the light never ever burns out. Neither does the love. Neither does the thrill of being one busy happy mamma! xo

  21. Love Dash and the bubbles.

    And I still have Nella hair envy. Always will.

  22. We need you to come over and draw on our sidewalk. My Elmo would be unrecognizable; the kids would say what is that red blob with eyes? Follow through is so important. My mom was so consistent and I try to mimic that in my parenting. False threats are the worst, if you say they will have a consequence, you need to follow through. She also used to say if you don’t want them to do it, don’t ever let them do it. Mixed messages are so confusing for kiddos. Great job!

  23. By the way, the consequence fit the situation, she was probably dead tired so extra sleep was what she needed. :)

  24. Oh, the pilot light! What a wonderful, perfect image. Thank you. xox

  25. Good job! Hard is it may be to follow through on the “punishment”, you have to do it so they know you’ll keep all the promises you make, good or bad. The feelings sucks, but it’s short-lived and worth it.

  26. This could possible be the best line you have ever written! “But I also know that there’s a motherhood pilot light that never ever ever burns out. I’ve never felt anything so strong in my life than that little light, even at its dimmest glow.”
    Loved this post!

  27. If you ever watch Super Nanny you will see that consistency and boundaries are absolutely needed. You did the right thing and should not be feeling guilty. Just wait until she turns 13!

  28. hoping today is better.
    Motherhood is hard!
    good for you for following through!

  29. Love that song – shine your little light, Mama! Your description of the mother’s pilot light gave me the chills. So true. Proud of you for sticking with your Mama gut and following through with Lainey. I know that it must have been hard, but it was the best thing for her to see you stick to your guns. And um, hello! Tell Dash and Nella to just slow down – they are growing up WAY too fast. And are so gorgeous! Have a lovely weekend, Kelle!

  30. Firstly, your kids are TOO cute! Nella’s high tops? Seriously!

    Secondly, I am not a perfect mom by any stretch. I admittedly don’t know it all, so I try to read to learn about it. By following through last night with Lainey I believe you taught her something. You taught her you mean what you say and in the end this lesson will make her feel love and security. This lesson of “you mean what you say” comes more often with smiles when you show up to watch her perform in a school play. Rules, expectations, and structure make kids feel like their parents love them (even if they tell us they don’t in the moment).

    You are so right that parenting is hard work – and it seemingly only gets harder as our kids age.

    I actually read this past week in a book called “Nurture Shock” that the kids of parents who have rules and structure actually lie less. (According to the research 96% of all kids lie with four-year-olds lying once every 2 hours and 6 year-olds once an hour. Crazy!) If that isn’t enough to make me hanker down on the structure, I don’t know what is :-)

    Thanks so much for sharing a harder part of parenting!

  31. consistency:) Your kids will thank you for it later:)

  32. so beautiful! And that “you’re not 16″ heart melted.

  33. Beautiful! Wishing you all a great weekend.
    Tejas hugs,

  34. Hi Kelle! I LOVED this – all of the photos are awesome, and I call my son Robbie ‘Roo’ – though only at home now that he is 12, and of course it does get harder….and I still struggle…but I love him more than life itself EVEN at 12. So hang in. PS baby Dash? OMG…..

    SarahLICMom xo

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  36. Your job isn’t to be her friend, it’s to be her MOM. Being tough sometimes is a very important part of the job. Your kids will thank you one day for knowing better.

  37. I am always battling the “mean mom” guilt. And you are so right. Tomorrow is a new day. Thanks for making me feel better about following through with discipline.

  38. Being consistent and following through on what you say, is so important and even thought they throw a fit, they like knowing there are boundaries. That’s why they test, to see just what they are going to be allowed to get away with. As an elementary teacher, we get a few new Kindergartners every year that just start having tantrums as soon as they don’t get their way. When they see the teachers don’t give in, they stop around the end of September. You did the exact RIGHT thing in that situation even though the tears are hard to hear. :)

  39. Have you ever read….blogger… ? i just read an incredible post about businesses set up by some fantastic children with downs. Might i inject that i love your site, your enthusiasm for life, and your incredible genesis for parenting !! You make me smile !

  40. Tomorrow is a new day! Thank God! Love your pictures. Prairie Dawn looks cute!

  41. Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you for letting us know that Friday-night-back-to-school-I’m-too-tired meltdowns happen in your house too. WIthout the rainbows and unicorns. We had one in our house too, so it’s great to know we’re not the only one.

  42. Ah..motherhood! Thursday nights at our house always seemed to be the nights that everything crashed & everyone was beyond tired. You did good even though it is so hard. Loved this post & your amazing pictures! Isn’t the Push & Ride great?! I love the photo where your little guy is just sitting back with his feet up on the dash. So adorable!

  43. It is really important to follow through on our “threats”. Our kids have to know that we keep our word to them (even when they don’t like it). It’s all about finding the limits and kids thrive on knowing where they are. Yes, you will have many more tough moments through the years and they do get harder. But you will get tougher with more experience. I moved my first born into her college dorm for the first time last weekend. I felt a little part of my heart break off when we left her. But her new adventure is so exciting at the same time, I think I have a whole new understanding of bittersweet. Oh the trials of motherhood. Such a blessing. :)

  44. I love that you wrote about this. Sometimes it can feel like we’re all alone with these hard moments in motherhood (I just wrote about a tough night we had too with my little ones and I almost hesitated to push “publish” since there’s sometimes this pressure to make it appear that we’ve all go it so easy–but I think honesty is ultimately so helpful to others and ourselves). Thanks again Kelle!!

  45. girl, i HEAR you. in the middle of a melt down i always wonder is this drama something I am creating?? Or am I helping?? and then of course the guilt and blah blah blah…. ugh. well at least we are all not alone!

  46. I’m catching up on your blog…Dash looks just like you! I’m sure you’ve been told that already. :)

  47. Kelle….
    Oh dear, I have fallen behind on your Blog!! Well, I shall just have to do something about that!! 😉
    “Sometimes being a Mom is hard.”. I recall a childhood memory of one time when my Down syndrome brother had been naughty. That is hard to believe now, as he turned out very well!! But my brother was little, and had been bad. My Mom was left with no choice but to punish him…. Or he will never learn. After letting my brother know that he was not a good boy, she emerged from the room in near tears. And then my Mother said this. “Sometimes being a Mom is hard.”. Hang in there. It does get better!! ;-D

  48. I know you’ve been hurt by the church. It’s a sad fact that “Christians” can actually push people from finding Christ:/ I wish so badly we could curl up on the couch, coffee in hand, and share our faith experiences, talk about love and truth and pray it all out:)

    I’m acutely aware that I’m a flawed mess and the ONLY thing that makes me whole is grace, mercy and forgiveness. It’s a place you come to…your drawn to. It’s freely given. It doesn’t have to make sense. We can’t really comprehend His ways…they are way beyond our human comprehension. That’s why it’s called childlike faith. Love you girl.

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