A Mother’s Day Gift

Magical JourneyBeing a mother is no piece of cake. From the beginning there is seemingly endless crying, sleepless nights, demands on your time and energy, exhaustion both physical and mental, putting your needs on indefinite hold—forgetting what your needs even are. Kids fight—with each other and with you. You know it’s your job to do something about it but seem to have no idea what to do. You need a break. But will you give it to yourself? Probably not.

This Mother’s Day I have a break for you. I find that in times of stress, when I’m full of indecision and don’t know which way to turn, when I know I want something but don’t know what it is, when I need to get something off my chest but don’t really want any advice—what always helps is an understanding ear and sharing with someone who knows just what I mean.

Katrina Kenison is that person who knows just what you mean and has been there in one form or another. Her books, The Gift of an Ordinary Day and Magical Journey are memoirs of growing and learning to let go throughout her parenting years. Together with all the changes, tragedies, and daily doings of each ordinary day, Katrina gives you that ear, that understanding—even though she doesn’t even know you.

Katrina has a way of telling us about her life, her thoughts, her relationships, and her parenting that feels like a warm blanket of validation. She is writing about herself and her experiences but at the same time is seeing you. Reading Katrina’s books, for me, was like talking to my best friend.

Every mother I know worries and fears at some time or another about the future—what it will bring for her and her children—based on her past—what she experienced and what she is unintentionally projecting. It is shamefully hard to live in the present, to simply be with your children, especially if the present is difficult.

If our children are screaming, dawdling, demanding, withdrawing, we have to do something about it. So we go into teacher or even dictator Gift of an Ordinary Daymode, and if that doesn’t work, we may give up. Rarely are we able to be present, accept what the moment is bringing, deal with the feelings arising, and honor those feelings with integrity. This is the journey. This is the lesson of our lives—to let go of what we fear will happen, let go of our past stories, and simply drop into the present.

In both her books, Katrina takes us along her journey and in doing so helps us see what our journey is about.

“As I loosen my grip on the past as I keep taking one small step after another in the direction I want to go, I discover I’m being supported and guided after all, and that as soon as I’m willing to embrace change, something or someone comes along and shows me how….When hearts are open, when love is flowing, magic happens.” Magical Journey

Here’s how to win one of Katrina’s books:

Write a comment about where you are in your journey right now, what it feels like, what you worry about, or what you cherish. Or simply say, “Count me in.” I will choose two winners at random from the comments and send you an autographed copy of either The Gift of an Ordinary Day or Magical Journey. Drawing will be held Sat. May 18th and the winners will be notified.

And if your appetite has been whetted and you like the sound of these books even if you don’t win, here are the links to Katrina’s website and her books on amazon for your search:

Katrina Kenison’s website and blog – http://www.katrinakenison.com

Her books on Amazon:
Magical Journey
The Gift of An Ordinary Day
And here are two videos you might like to see:
Magical Journey
The Gift of An Ordinary Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful mothers!

Congratulations to Laura and Jora !

They each won (via random.com) a copy of Katrina’s books. Thanks to you all for your comments. I know you would all love Katrina’s books so even if you didn’t win, do treat yourself to one.

And please keep on commenting.


53 thoughts on “A Mother’s Day Gift

  1. Thank you so much for all your insights. I look forward to your newsletter and learn so much from reading it. Thanks for the opportunity to win these books.

  2. I am smiling as I read these book descriptions of these books. Can’t wait to share the titles with my gourmet club – as we are always talking about great books! Could even be a great inspiration to record our own thoughts on this parenting journey!

  3. I greatly appreciate your “for instances” if mothers actually influenced society… especially the last two:
    – Mothers who choose to stay home to raise children would get enormous tax deductions for their time, energy, and expertise in raising the future of society.
    – Parent education would be standard procedure

    Thank you!

  4. So excited for a chance to win!!! Thank you!!

    Right now, my boys are almost 12 and 9. I worry so much about just wanting them to be happy and nice boys. I want them to know how to treat people and be most of all to be honest. I worry that I am now setting a good enough example…I worry about ordinary days. Will they look back and say “wow, I had a nice childhood!”

    I cherish….dirty socks on the floor, the milk jug always being empty, the belly laughs from the top bunk, LEGOs all over their room, and most of all request for snuggles. Awe, those are the best.

  5. I look forward to reading your books and newsletter. As a Mom of 3 young boys with very different needs, it is often difficult to know I’m addressing their needs. Your perspective seems to be something I can relate to and hope to emulate. Happy Mother’s Day!!!

  6. Hi Bonnie,
    So nice to meet you. Where am I in my journey? I have three teen age boys, one soon to graduate from high school, one a sophomore and a 7th grader who is currently not speaking to me and won’t tell me why! Sometimes, I feel like I’m running out of time with them. Is there still time to teach them everything I want them to know and show them how to be strong, loving capable young men? I hope so, but I do feel the sand trickling down in the hour glass. I am so looking forward to reading your newsletter and am grateful that Katrina sent me your way!

  7. Now that I have learned of this site, I look forward to reading the newsletters. It’s always encouraging to know that others have the same thoughts that I have. My worries are always with me. It’s hard to be a parent. I want to do the right thing, but know that I learn from my mistakes.

  8. Amen, Bonnie! And here is what I’m grateful for:
    How amazing my kids are; how fabulous it is to know them in their early adulthood, and to see them making their (very different) ways in their lives; how close they are with each other; having had resources like you to move me along when I was stuck.

  9. I am a 65 year old grammy who cares for my 21 month old granddaughter five days a week full-time. I pick up her older sister from the first grade each afternoon and we play, have snacks and dinner, do homework, and go to any extra curricular activities that are scheduled for the day. It is exhausting! Some days I don’t want to do it because I do not know where my energy has gone. But I have learned that when I do at least one thing that I need for me before the day begins, I find the energy. I believe that I am making the world a better place because of the special role I play in their lives. That’s where I am today.

  10. Thanks for the great giveaway! I am a homeschooling mama to our three children who are six, almost four, and 13 months old. I’m continually working on finding rhythms that work for the school stuff, the housework, the playdates, dinnertime, and everything in between. I’m always on the lookout for helpful advice, especially in the form of a great book. I so enjoyed Katrina Kenison’s “Mitten Strings for God”. I’m looking forward to reading another of her beautiful books!

  11. Hi Bonnie – I just finished part 1of your buttons class online & feel I’m finally starting to scratch the surface of my negative beliefs from my past – it’s scary & exciting at the same time because I think it’s a critical piece to shifting my mothering. I’m very excited for part 2!

  12. Thanks Bonnie for all these years of being a sound board and a great teacher. I learned how to let go of my mother issues from the past and know I’m doing the best I can. It’s ok if I make mistakes as long as I own them. It’s ok not to have the cleanest house in the world. It’s ok if we leave dishes in the sink. The time and connection I give my kids is way more important. There will always be dishes or chores to do, but only a few opportunities to connect with our kids and make a life long difference for them. I’m far from perfect, but I’m on a wonderful journey of tantrums, temperament, agendas, and connections. Thank you always for being there!!! It’s what every one wants.

  13. Hi Bonnie,
    I’m not sure how I got to know about Katrina, but I think it was you who mentioned her video on The Gift of an Ordinary Day. It was very touching, and I eventually read it…. Could not put it down. I stumbled upon your book (Confident Parents) on a library shelf in a small town in NZ. Somehow it beckoned me. It resonated so much with me, unlike most parenting books. Thank you. Yes, what you say makes a lot of sense. But I still struggle to maintain that connection with my 8 yr old who is an extremely challenging child. I believe he is my guru, constantly pushing buttons I didn’t even know I had! We have since moved to Virginia and life is even more challenging. Hope you can come to VA to give a workshop or talk . 🙂

  14. Hi Bonnie, this is a wonderful mothers day giveaway. For the past 4 years I have felt like I was in survival mode raising my two little ones, I never imagined that I would feel so alienated and at times resentful towards my children. I want a more peaceful, authentic connection that honors us all. Part one of your Buttons class was amazing, I look forward to the second half.

  15. Thanks Bonnie. I have 14 and 16 year old sons. It seems only yesterday they were toddlers on my hip! The changes in the way they relate to me, and their increasing independence are expected but unsettling. I find myself often stuck in some gap between the parent that I want to be and strive to be, and the reactionary and vulnerable individual that I cannot deny exists in me. I am a college professor with summers off and I so look forward to some stimulating reading! Thanks for counting me in!

  16. I am 8 years into my parenting journey. I am lucky enough to have three great kids. but i am overwhelmed most days. i just keep trying to move in the right direction. I am trying to figure them out as well as myself. I have loved your books. I can hear you speaking in my head” when they are being a problem, they are having a problem”. I look forward to the chance to read Katrina’s books.

  17. I am the mother of two girls (3 and 9 months). Everyday is a new blessing and challenge. We try to follow Alfie Cohen right now. I look forward to your newsletter and book. Thank you fot sharing and for the opportunity to win.

  18. I am the mother to a 3, 5 and 7 year old and I still feel most days that we are “in the trenches.” I struggle to stay in the moment and cherish the days with my kids while they are so young and dear while dealing with chaos and fighting and whining. I know these days are so sweet and I so love moments in them, but I would love to find a way to let go and enjoy enjoy even more. 🙂

  19. I have a girl(6) and a boy(5) and sometimes the anger and way of speaking from my daughter astounds me! I think Bonnie talked about this as well, that we weren’t allowed to express ourselves unless it was in a nice pleasant way, and we want our kids to be able to let us know how they feel. Well I guess there is no problem there, here’s to hoping it all turns out in the end!
    Thanks for your wisdom and wonderful insights Bonnie.

  20. I’d love to win one of Katrina’s books. I’m living a similar journey to Katrina with her youngest son. Would love to read her new book and see how she dealt with it.

  21. Please count me in. I feel like I add a new worry to my list every day. No matter the age of my chldren, I worry about their future, their friends, teaching morals in a world that sometimes seem to have lost theirs.

  22. Funny how my teaching mode with my 12 year old daughter seems to slip into dictator mode. At least she thinks so. And honestly sometimes I do too. But I am fearful about what lies ahead. I need to learn how to communicate with her — and maybe myself too.

  23. My worry/fear is that I will raise my son teaching him my own fears. As someone who came to parenting at a later age, what I lack in energy I make up in patience and yet the fears are still there. I love Katrina’s writing and am happy to have found your own. Blessings.

  24. My journey continues with advising, as requested, 3 young adult children, grandparenting 1 grandson at least 2 week nights and every other Saturday night sleepover. My biggest challenge is ‘parenting’ the parents. One has successfully passed on to our final destination of heaven, while the other is still in need of assistance. Along with this balancing act God I found that he does not give us more than we can handle, as my full time 20 year career went away when the parents needed the most ‘parenting’. Now with re-training for a new career almost complete I have learned most of all that balancing all of this is an art. Taking time for yourself is a key element.

  25. After being led here through Katrina’s email, I am so glad to find you, and have signed up to receive your newsletter. I have learned that it is okay to admit to needing help. As the homeschooling mother of three, ages 16, 14, and 11, and dealing with the pleasures of puberty along with that, I REALLY need help. I do feel joyless, and know that one day I will look back on this fleeting time, and wish I had communicated better when I was frustrated. I’m so thankful to have found you and Katrina both, and look forward to receiving your emails. Happy Mother’s Day.

  26. I am a huge fan of Katrina’s writing, and am so pleased to have found your blog and website. I recently won a copy of Katrina’s newest book, but would love to pass these along to a friend. I will definitely introduce my daughter, who is parenting a two-year-old (my first grandchild) to your writing. Thank you and Happy Mother’s Day!

  27. thank you for this exquisite and generous offering. grateful to you and katrina. in my mothering, i am acutely aware that my children are experiencing the center of their childhood (at 8 and almost 10). i am grateful for the simple, yet sacred everyday moments, and i am intending daily to release the shame soak and instead revel in love.

  28. I’m a mother of two boys, 12 and 14. I met Bonnie over 10 years ago at a parenting class, sought her out for her ‘Buttons’ class. I’ve been grateful for her guiding voice more often than I can express. I stumbled into Katrina’s “Ordinary Day” and “Mitten Strings” as deep winter reading and both were beautiful. Can’t wait to see her latest! Heartfelt wishes to Bonnie and Katrina for a Happy Mother’s Day, and to all of us who strive to be the best mothers we can.

  29. I loved the Gift of an Ordinary Day. My kids are still in elementary school but the book gave me a peek as to where I am headed. It reminded me how short my current time is with my kids. It also made me think about what I will do when my kids are gone and my mothering role changes. I do need to read Magical Journey!

  30. I often feel like my life is in a tail spin with 3 kids 3 years and below yet I would not trade this for any other life. I am finding it true that your children really are your teachers in life.

  31. I want to read Magical Journey and find out where I am headed. Please count me in!

  32. I am aware of my daughter’s adolescence being a time of great growth and transition to adulthood hopefully not too rapidly. I admire her capabilities but know there are pitfalls along the way for us all and hope to gracefully rise above the fray with her. Happy Mother’s Day to all!

  33. My older son is constantly picking on his younger brother. It’s so hard not to be reactive! Count me in

  34. Count me in! My kids and 3 and 6 and I struggle most days, coming out of PND. I’m racked with guilt about me and them and my husband, everyone wants my time, and I need it for my own creative output (I’m a writer). I never enjoy “ordinary days” and feel guilty about it. Yet I don’t want to look back on this time and regret not having enjoyed it.

  35. Hi Bonnie –

    I have written to you before, I met you in person at one of your lectures in Brookfield, CT, I have read both of your amazing books, and your strategies have completely changed my life as a parent. I would like to share with you where I am in my parenting journey.

    I am the proud mom of a 14 year old girl, a 6 year old boy, a 4 year old girl, and a 3 year old boy. I spent the majority of my teenager’s childhood as a working single parent, but I was blessed to later find my soulmate, who is the dad of my youngest 3 children, and because of him I am now a very happy stay home mom. My teen was a very easy child to parent, and I believe I was blessed with the “easy one” when I needed it most. My 6 year old, however, turned my world upside down, and from the very beginning fit Mary Kurcinka’s definition of a “spirited child”. I shed more tears over him in the first 3 years of his life than I did in total over my older daughter. I could not use the “traditional” parenting techniques on him because he was (and is) very smart, curious, tenacious, persistent, and emotional. Your books saved our relationship. I now have the most beautiful connection with him, and I am beyond thankful for all the lessons I learned about myself, relationships, and parenting all because of him. I’ve never had the same struggles with my younger 2 children because they both have milder temperaments, plus I had changed my parenting approach thanks to their older brother.

    My kids know I am on their side. I allow my children to have their feelings, and then help them handle those feelings. My main focus is teaching my kids how to love themselves and be aware other people’s feelings. I encourage my kids to make their own decisions and not make choices for the sake of living up to other people’s expectations. I always look at problems or issues from their point of view, and guide them along the path to finding a solution. I agree with your philosophy about punishments and threats – they only foster anger and resentment in children, end up pushing them farther away from the parent, and do not teach anything valuable. I wish that my parents had used your approach with me, and that more people today would realize how dangerous the “traditional parenting” methods are on the self-esteem and mental health of our children.

    I do try to take a little time for myself each day, because I know that only then am I in a good place to be a good mom to my kids. I do try to involve my kids though in whatever I might be doing, from preparing dinner to folding laundry, to just sitting outside in the sun. At the same time, I make sure they have plenty of time to “goof off” and just be kids. Don’t get me wrong – we have “those days” when everyone is in a bad place and it’s one crisis after another after another. But, I do my best to not take things too personally, and focus on the fact that “this too shall pass” and my kids are not out to get me!!

    A few weeks ago, the secretary at my younger childrens’ school said to me that my kids are happy all the time. That melted my heart. Yet perhaps the best way to sum up where I am right now in my parenting journey came from the words of my teenager just a few days ago. We were in the car together, and I was giving her some advice on the extra-curricular activities she has in mind for the next school year. She asked me, “Mom, have you ever considered being a motivational speaker?” I could not have felt happier at that moment.

  36. Count me in!

    I’m a single mum and I work full time. I cherish the time I get with my 8 yo daughter, as she spends half the week at her dads house. I really miss her. I love cuddles and kisses and when she is with me I can’t help but be tactile and it’s lovely. I worry about her not wanting that closeness as she grows up and how difficult that will be for me. I worry I don’t spend enough time with her and that she doesn’t get to spend time with her grandparents who live in nz. I also worry about secondary school and her being able to get into a good one.

  37. I love Katrina Kenison’s writing. I have read The Gift of an Ordinary Day and my name is on the waiting list at the library for Mitten Strings for God. I would love to have my own copy of her books to reread and share with friends. I have three daughters ages 8, 5, and 2. Most days I am overwhelmed and exhausted. I try to stay focused on the present moment, but it is challenging. Bedtime tonight was a good reminder that when I slow down to see where my children are and join them in their imaginative play, we get our nightly routine done faster. My youngest was pretending to be a horse, so encouraging her to gallop to the bathroom and giving her pretend oats after she went potty was definitely a lot more enjoyable for both of us than demanding and nagging

  38. When I had my first, almost 3 years ago, I was so lucky to have found a group of supportive moms, all of who’s kids were born within weeks of mine, to start the parenting journey with. Although we had different philosophies, needs, backgrounds (and children!) their support and insights has been invaluable. Several months ago we moved to a new state, and now expecting #2 I miss their companionship more than ever. To find a group of women and parents who support each other rather than engaging in some kind of odd competition is surprisingly hard, I’m finding. We are all just doing the best we can. Lets all give ourselves a break this Mother’s Day, both mental and physical!

  39. Awesome! I am a mother to a one year old and have been reading you blog for years!

  40. I always enjoy your newsletters and you have helped me to understand my wild child. Thank you and a look forward to a chance to win the books.

  41. Count me in. My son is an adult now and every time I think I’ve figured out where our relationship should be now, a visit with him challenges me to revisit that. It is particularly hard to watch him struggle and to remember what I can and cannot help with. I’ve checked in on
    Katrina’s Blog as well.

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