Month: April 2015

How Being a Parent Is Like a Rock Star

rock star

The difference is that a rock star is paid bazillions of dollars for his work. A parent, well…nothing. The only Rock in my life was rocking a crying child and the only Star was following the words, “Twinkle, Twinkle..”

How we classify success and happiness, however, is upside down. Do the ingredients of insane amounts of money, fame, and screaming fans make for a good life? I believe they do not, and most find these as transitory. I see the ruin that becomes most rock stars; I see their hardened faces and livers, their broken relationships and wonder why, why? do we promote fame as a desired lifestyle?

I’ve seen too many celebrities with children who can hardly stand the sight of their parents. I’ve read too many stories where rock stars and other famous people use family members for their own popular promotion, using them for their advantage. No, they can keep their mansions, reality TV shows, interviews on Entertainment News and talk shows, and Gucci handbags. I’ll take a quiet, unheralded talk with my teenager about her day at school while we dunk Oreos in milk. I’ll read a book with my son before bedtime and share a laugh about a “knock knock” joke he just made up.

I will never be famous. I will never earn bucket loads of money. The only people who scream my name are my children when trying to find me in a crowded room (and one time when I almost burned down the house, but that’s another story). And although I felt as a young mom like a Mother Hen being pecked to death by her baby chicks at the end of a long day, I still could fluff my feathers and tuck them in at night knowing I was doing the best job in the whole world.

I know that as my children grow and leave the nest, our relationship grows richer. The right kind of rich. The kind that holds your hand when you get old and says, “Mom, thanks for every thing. I love you so much and hope to one day, be half as good a mother as you were.”

Book Review from Utahtopia

It seems like I’ve read about a hundred parenting books in my time, and even worked for a while with a “parenting” company, and I’d pretty much lost hope on there being a truly good, applicable, healthy, and enjoyable book for the complexities of raising a family in today’s world. Too many authors want to be all-this, or all-that, blame the parents or blame the kids, while life often requires a more subtle approach. Which is where Keep It Real and Grab a Plunger comes in. I truly appreciate author Julie K. Nelson’s down-to-earth perspective. It’s not all tips or principles, but a bit of both, and a lot of perspective on life as a mom.

Many of us were raised by “housewives,” yet we want to be more “stay-at-home moms.” Are we keeping our house? Or raising our children? Both? Do we focus mostly on our family (#priorities) but still feel guilty about the messy house, especially when the family looks kinda messy, too? Many of us feel like that sometimes, and I think Nelson shares in that, too. Happily, her practical yet principled advice will help us “keep it real,” be more effective, and work through parenting decisions before they erupt in our faces. For example, many parents will appreciate the chapter, “Keep it Real… and and Take a Time-Out: How to Stop Yelling at Your Kids,” and I think our children would appreciate the good and valid advice she has to offer, too. The book covers a range of concerns that basically all parents face, and offers some clear advice in an easy-to-read format, that I found helpful, informative, and encouraging as well.

The original review can be found at: and on Amazon:

My Friend, Julie Nelson

Stacy Julian, a long-time friend and incredibly successful business woman, wife and mother of 5, was generous enough with her busy schedule to read and review my new book. I’ve pasted the review below as well as the link here:

Stacy’s Blog — a very fruitful tree

When Geoff and I moved to Chicago, IL in 1990 (so that Geoff could attend the Loyola Stritch School of Medicine we had been married just barely 6 months. We moved into an apartment in Forest Park and I was very eager to go to church and hopefully meet some friends. On the very first Sunday attending the Westchester ward (congregation) I saw a young father that looked familiar to me. Either that day or very soon after, we met Roland Nelson and his wife, Julie. Turns out Roland had lived in an apartment building very near one that I lived in at BYU, so I undoubtedly saw him walking to and from campus. Anyway, when we met, they seemed so “old” to me. They had been married 8 years and they had 2 children. I remember thinking, “Wow. I wonder what it will be like to be married that long and have children!” Julie was very welcoming and before long we were invited to dinner. As I got to know Julie better, I watched her closely. I liked the way she did things—I watched her relationship with her husband and I watched how she cared for her children. I was two thousand miles from my home and parents, and spent a lot of time alone, as Geoff was busy with school and studying. I was impressionable and I admired Julie a great deal. In 1992 I found out I was pregnant, which was a bit of a surprise, since we had planned to start our family closer to the middle or end of 1993, so that Geoff would be almost finished with medical school. Clark came in February 1993 and I needed to continue working full time to help support us. This meant I also needed to find someone to watch my baby, which especially with your first child is an overwhelming thought. Julie ended up being one of the people that tended Clark for me. I don’t remember all of the details, but I believe she watched him two or more days a week. I also remember that I wished she could watch him full time, because I knew her home was a wonderful place to be. She was kind and loving, but also confident and capable. I knew that she was not just watching Clark, but teaching him and disciplining him in a way that I approved of. I wanted to parent like Julie did. Anyway, the point of these recollections is that my wonderful friend Julie has recently authored her second book on parenting. After Julie left Chicago, she managed a large day care facility and eventually got her masters degree in marriage, family and human development. Oh, and she also had three additional children and continued to manage her own home.

It’s been extra fun to read Julie’s book, because I can hear her voice. She is funny and real and she uses personal stories to illustrate principles she is writing about. She reached out to me on Facebook to see if I would read her book and tweet about it, or share it in some way and now that I’m (nearly) done I want to do so much more.

This book is 100% AWESOME. I’ve been reminded of things I know and need to do better, I’ve felt inspired to implement new ideas and with each chapter I find myself feeling really positive about my desire and ability to improve. I think that’s most likely the goal, right? Sometimes you read (especially with marriage and parenting books) information and feel like “I just kind of suck!” You know? But that’s what I like most about Julie’s book. She is real. She uses humor and candor. She is clearly very intelligent and has done the research, but she just talks to you, as one who understands. She is, most importantly, a mother, who has been there and actually still is there. She’s like me. We’ve both “launched” a kid or two, but we still have a long way to go and so when you read, you get this very helpful mix of what’s proven and what’s practical. I find myself saying, “I need to try that!”

One of my favorite chapters is about family dinners, which with teenagers is something I really believe in. On many days, sitting down to dinner together (as difficult as that can be) is the ONLY time you will see, let alone talk to your teen. Julie reminded me of the things I already know (no electronic devices) but sometimes do not follow through on very well. She also gave me some great ideas for “Reprogramming the Script” which is needed, especially with teens, when conversations can become too much about homework or other unappetizing topics. She talks a lot about turning on your parenting power to influence your children in powerful ways. For example, you can make a secret goal with your spouse to sneak in at least one compliment to each child during the meal. Or you can increase a sense of awareness for each other by doing something a bit more intentional. I loved this idea:

“Family RAK. Start by putting a cotton ball under a dinner plate. When dinner begins, everyone looks to see who has the cotton ball (“Warm Fuzzy”). That person secretly chooses another family member that they will do Random Acts of Kindess (RAK) for before the next mealtime. The Warm-Fuzzy person secretly puts the cotton ball under the RAK person’s plate before the next meal, and you do another reveal to discover who had the RAK done to them. Have them share what RAKs were done while you eat. This person then becomes the Warm-Fuzzy person and chooses another family member, and so on. ”

A photo I took in 2007 when we made the effort to see the Nelsons on a trip to Utah. Our families had done some changing in the intervening years!

A photo I took in 2007 when we made the effort to see the Nelsons on a trip to Utah. Our families had done some changing in the intervening years!

I’ll end by sharing one other bit of wisdom. In the “Keep it Real and Call Your Grandma” chapter, Julie advises channeling your inner (or future) grandmother. In other words, at the brink of meltdown madness, try to step back and imagine what your grandmother would say or do. Grandparents are kid experts, they have survived the tough years, learned to overlook the stuff that won’t matter and relish in the little things that will. She says,

“One way we can summon that older, wiser version of ourselves is through journaling or photography. When your toddler has taken your favorite tube of lipstick and “painted” you a pretty picture on your bedspread, step back and grab a camera. Through that “lens,” we envision a grandma looking, laughing, and sharing this story in future years. Writing down this frustrating, funny or cute experience in a journal will help capture emotions in a healthy way. ”

As a scrapbooker, I’ve learned and used this approach many times, with toddlers and now teenagers, and I’m grateful for every single photo that has possibly prevented a less appropriate response.

I’m delighted that Julie sent me her book and that I can now recommend it to you.

Fathers, Be Good to Your Daughters


I heard the song “Daughters” by John Mayer last week at a pizzeria with my husband and son. It’s one of those songs that has so much depth and gut-punching truth to it. It’s so beautiful and sad at the same time. I’m including the lyrics here for us to ponder. The most profound part is his plea:

On behalf of every man
Looking out for every girl
You are the god and the weight of her world

So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

We all need to realize the power fathers and mothers have on the their children, who will one day be parents themselves.


I know a girl
She puts the color inside of my world
But she’s just like a maze
Where all of the walls all continually change
And I’ve done all I can
To stand on her steps with my heart in my hands
Now I’m starting to see
Maybe it’s got nothing to do with me

Fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Oh, you see that skin?
It’s the same she’s been standing in
Since the day she saw him walking away
Now she’s left
Cleaning up the mess he made

So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Boys, you can break
You’ll find out how much they can take
Boys will be strong
And boys soldier on
But boys would be gone without the warmth from
A womans good, good heart

On behalf of every man
Looking out for every girl
You are the god and the weight of her world

So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Why You Should Lower Your Expectations

Do you feel like you had to kiss a frog to find your prince?


This article I wrote was published in Family Share. It addresses marital expectations, but parenting is just a relevant. Click on the link below to access it.

“Why you should lower your expectations”

Why you shouldn’t be best friends with your kids

This is a great article I contributed to. It was on Deseret Newspaper’s online version on March 27, 2015. It also went to print. There’s a lot for parents to think about. What kind of parent are you?…/why-you-shouldnt-be-best-…

'A great article I contributed to. There's a lot for parents to think about. What kind of parent are you?'