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About Jenny

One of the lies of motherhood is that you are all alone. Alone in loneliness, alone in struggling, and alone in your faults. At times you feel you are the only one. The only one who can’t get dinner on the table or the laundry put away. The only one who struggles with patience. The only one.
Another lie is that there is little to do about our downfalls and weaknesses.
Yet another lie is that what we do is menial. And boring. And bothersome.

I am here to not only expose those lies but to find the truthful alternatives.

My Story

I’m Jenny. I’m a thirty-two-year-old wife and mom. I spent my childhood in Canada before my dad’s job moved us permanently to the United States. When I was a child, I couldn’t shake the feeling that God wanted me to do something really big, like change the world big, like Joan of Arc kind of big.
Fast forward to adult me—adult me who had a one-year-old baby and had just quit my job as Director of Campus Ministry to stay home with my baby. Fast forward two more years and I had gone from: Mom of One, Director of Campus Ministry, to: Mom of Four, Poop-Cleaner-Upper.
(How’d we go from one kid to four in just two years? The short story is that when our daughter was one-year-old we adopted our son and then promptly found out we were expecting twins!)
I suddenly had four kids and no time—not to think, not to pray, not to clean, not to shower. We lived (and still do!) in a two bedroom, 900-square-foot house. When the economy crashed the company that my husband worked for moved, and then the next one he worked for folded. Falling back on his construction and carpentry background, John was never home. I lived in frustration, stress, and mess.
All I ever did was change diapers, not the world. This was not the stuff my childhood dreams were made of.

Why Did I Start Mothering Sunshine?

I started a blog soon after I left my job because I watched and loved the movie Julie and Julia. The girl in the movie started a blog because she needed purpose and something to do. I too felt like that and so I too started a blog, called it “Mothering Sunshine,” and wrote on it intermittently. Later, when things got really hard, writing helped me keep a good perspective on life.
After the twins were born I was in the height of my chaos ridden, messy house, and broken bank era. One night out of frustration and desperation I started something I called 100 Days of Order. I needed to get out of the black hole I was living in. I sat down and wrote rules that I would make myself follow for at least 100 days. This exercise was life changing.

Let me say it again. Living the rules of my 100 Days of Order was life changing because it altered everything—my attitude, my relationship with God, my family, my house—truly everything. I am eternally grateful for that night of first frustration and then inspiration. I started to practice order. Practice is usually painful, but always fruitful.

My 100 Days of Order began an ongoing transformation in me. I went from being completely overwhelmed by work I found difficult, boring, and fruitless, to embracing my work and recognizing it’s transformative and enduring power.

Why Did I Continue Mothering Sunshine and What is it Today?

I now have this website because I want other mothers to know that they are not alone in their little black hole. I want them to know that life can get better, and does get better, and that there are things you can do that will change your life.
I don’t just want to inspire, I want to give mothers the tools to succeed and to realize that the poop smeared on the wall at nap time is not the meaning of life.
We are learning and growing every day. Many days the old bad habits try and creep back into my life. However, when I give into those old habits I know my way out. I know the secret to beginning again, and that is to do it constantly.
And so, I am working everyday on figuring out this mothering thing. While I work and learn I am excited to share my experience with others, with you.
I don’t just want to give a good feeling, but useful insights and helpful tips. When things get boring, or tough, or messy, or lonely, I want Mothering Sunshine to be a community that lifts women up in this all important, world-changing vocation.
Welcome to the Mothering Sunshine Community.
I am glad you are here.

~ Jenny Ryan

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