The Mom Next Door Series: Shelly C

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Our Mom Next Door Interview comes all the way from rural Alaska, thanks to the candid and amazing Momma of twins and a singleton (all boys!), Shelly C.  If I'm being honest myself - over the past two years, I have come to consider Shelly as an actual real life friend of mine, despite the fact that we've never met in person.  The internet brought us together in this little corner of the MommyBlog world and I have been grateful ever since.

Through her gorgeous pictures, hilarious snippets of life with boys, and her enthusiasm and dedication to a life that is literally off the grid - I find inspiration regularly from Shelly.  I know you will too, so please take  minute today to read more about Shelly, her boys, and her life as a Bush Momma.


Hi! I am Shelly, a stay-at-home mama of three, living most of my life in a tiny village in Alaska and blogging at The Cunningham Family in Bush Alaska. In addition to my three rambunctious boys (the twins, Logan & Jack, age 6 and "the baby" --I seriously HAVE to stop calling him that-- Wyatt, now 3) I also live with my best friend (and husband) Josh.

In my former life, I earned my bachelors degree in psychology with a minor in human development, and while I am not using that degree in a career, I find it quite useful on a daily basis raising three littles. Also in my former life I spent six years as a classroom assistant in special education.

Now I am - what I refer to as- a "bush mama", meaning I homeschool, entertain and hang out with our three boys; and I also bake bread, make tortillas and cook things from scratch (less from desire than for necessity). I consider it "warm" out if we are above ten degrees, thanking God for every day that the twins can gear themselves up to go outside now, and willingly spend $15 on a twelve pack of Coke at the co op in our village.

Marshall, Alaska

Which chore is your least favorite?   My least favorite chore has to be making bread. It's a necessary evil, and I am always ridiculously happy when it's done, but I hate doing it. I also dislike making tortillas and meal planning.

What has become (at least for now) you're parenting mantra or guiding principle?  "There is only love" has been my mantra lately. It helps me remember to see things from their perspective and love them through whatever they are going through.

What keeps you up at night?  Feeding the kids right, getting them enough exercise; balancing praise with not creating competitiveness between the twins; loving "the baby" (there I go again!) through his tantrums, while not raising him to be a spoiled brat.

What big projects, worries, or events have you busy right now?  We are just settling into our routine again after spending the summer in Washington state. While it feels good to be back home in Alaska; unpacking, organizing and jumping back into homeschooling has been, at times, overwhelming!

What do you feel like you are really good at as a mom?  I am really organized. This is a huge boon to our family as living in a remote place like we do, requires a lot of planning. Stocked shelves in the pantry, well thought-out packing for summers spent away, and traveling over 2500 miles as a family of five are all a lot simpler when planned in advance.

What do you feel like you wish you were better at being a mom?  Not rushing. I wish I could remember to slow down.  And also go to bed earlier. I'm much more pleasant then.

What is the one "Mom Tip or Trick" that you can share that has made your life easier somehow? When traveling for a long period of time, have one bag that is for your short term hotel stay that has everyone's things in it. That way, you don't have to unload the whole car for just one night!
Also, there is no shame in velcro shoes, water can almost always cheer the children up (hello bath time!), and sometimes, it's okay to have cereal for dinner.

What are the small joys of being a Mom that you treasure most right now?  I treasure small feet in Saltwater sandals, all three boys asleep in the back seat, and their eyes on fireworks at the fourth of July. Magic.

What do you miss most from Mom days already gone by?   Baby wearing. My three year old is now over 40 pounds and I really miss his squishy baby self. I also miss rocking him to sleep.

What would your pre-mom self be surprised to know about motherhood?  Every.single.thing that I EVER judged a mom for, I now do. I give in to whining sometimes, I have had pink mold in my bathroom from a lack of proper cleaning, and sometimes my kids' hair looks like they just rolled out of bed. I am also surprised that it feels wrong (selfish) to take time for myself.

What would your pre-mom self be proud to know about you in motherhood?  That my heart grew big enough to love all my children, and that I would do anything for those boys. I am a mom through and through, and I took to parenting like a fish to water. My younger, more naive self, would be shocked that I live where I do, but I also know she'd be proud that I was willing to sacrifice so much in order to be home with my children.

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