Shawni Eyre Pothier is the mother of five children between the ages of twelve and three. She received a bachelors’ degree from Brigham Young University and is an accomplished writer, speaker and presenter. Shawni is also in demand as an artist and photographer specializing in images of children and families. She and her mother, Linda Eyre, are the co-authors of A Mother’s Book of Secrets: Keys to Making Motherhood Memorable, Meaningful, and Magnificent you can also follow along with Shawni on her blog, 71Toes.

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“Library Mom”

Today I tried to conform into what I always aspire to be: what I call a “Library Mom.” You know those moms at the library who speak in hushed tones to their kids as they usher them around helping them find appropriate books. They check out a huge stack and always return them on time. The ones who are always at story time every week. I also categorize some of those great moms I see at the doctor’s office as these moms…the ones who bring a bag full of age-appropriate learning things to do with their kids while they wait, and as they “play” with their kids they softly explain to them their plans for the rest of the day…”We’ll be here at the doctor for just a little longer and then we get to go to the grocery store. You can help me pick out the broccoli! Then we’ll go home and read all your library books!”

You get the picture. Pretty much the opposite of the usual me: that mom who’s racing through the library trying to keep up with her kids while juggling her baby and a stack of books on her hip as her kids are twirling around yelling in excitement at the books they’re tearing off the shelves. Or the mom at the doctor’s office who’s trying to keep one eye on her kids while trying to catch up on reading her book club book with the other eye. Or there’s the grocery store…that mom who’s trying to keep from crying herself as her kids are whining begging for gum and fruit snacks and chocolate while she’s trying to check out and realizing she forgot something very important that’s in the back corner of the store. She stands there debating whether she can just leave her crying kids while she runs back to pick it up…or, in a desperate situation and if the grocery clerk is a nice one, she may even wonder if she should just make a run for it. That nice clerk will surely adopt those poor abandoned kids and give them a good home. After all, they are pretty cute.

But today was different. Today my girls and I had a serious plan, and I think I got as close as I’m gonna get to those library moms.

This morning Grace, Claire, Lucy and I packed up the double stroller and clicked Gracie’s bike helmet on and headed out for our four mile run to the library.

Now, I must admit, we didn’t actually make it into the library, but I’m going to go ahead and count that we returned two books that were two months overdue in the drive thru book return as we ran. We took a break to take in the beauty of the horses and the strange emu and four nice dogs on the way. We stopped at the riparian preserve behind the library and fed the ducks. Then the girls wanted to stay and play. So I sat there with them and hung out in the gorgeous weather (among all the “real” library moms who no doubt had just been to story time at the library and were getting ready to spread out nutritious picnics on the picnic tables nearby). I’ll count that I had a handful of gluten-free cheerios on hand instead of a full-on picnic…the kids didn’t seem to mind.

And really, a “real” library mom would have been wearing a nice colorful sweater or something proper like that, and I was there in my workout clothes doing the “plank” and sit ups under a tree with Lucy while the older girls climbed around on the stuff there to their heart’s content, but I’m still counting that because I’m sure a good library mom always gets her workouts in. I worked with Lucy on recognizing each of her sisters, what her nose is, and what her shoes are. On the way home we looked for “signs of spring” and gathered a whole armful of wild flowers to bring home with us. We picked up some trash on the way home to help “take care of our world.” I was even compassionate both times Grace fell off her bike and howled like she was going to die because of a tiny scrape. Yep, I’m sure any real library mom would have been proud.

This afternoon I bribed the girls to help me clean out and re-organize all the winter and summer clothes getting the closets ready for spring. Grace worked so hard she earned a mini-pedicure and you should have seen the excitement oozing out of her as her toenails were painted bright, glittery blue with white flowers. Claire didn’t work so hard, but I was able to let her know that next time she’d be picking out some sparkly nail polish too if she worked her little heart out like Gracie did, and not even one tantrum resulted from my explanation.

Then we came home and had a big dance party with root beer floats before I tucked them into bed. Today was magical. Today I was my own kind of “library mom.” Yes, I did forget the sunscreen resulting in one of poor Lucy’s large cheeks being sun “kissed”, and yes, only two out of three of the girls got their hair done today, but Grace did proclaim me to the best mom in the world three times. Now that feels good.

Tomorrow I’m sure I’ll be flying by the seat of my pants again, but we do have another “plan” in store so we’ll see how it goes. Each day I really put my heart into it I think I come a little closer to being that mom I want to be. That mom that Heavenly Father wants me to be. Who knows, maybe I’ll even make it to library story time next week!

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