THE 'MORE THAN ENOUGH' STORY
My mother died one year ago this month -- on Easter Sunday. And every day since, I've thought, at one time or another, "That's something I would have told my mom." There are some things you tell your mom because she's the only person on earth who'd be interested. And there are some things you tell her because she's the only person on earth who wouldn't think you were bragging. You know what I mean?
Anyway, she was one of the most Christian people I've ever known. And she was a GREAT mom.
But I when read through her journals after she died, a recurring theme was, "I'm not doing enough."
She and my dad raised five children. She got her Master's Degree when I was eight. (That was back when she was the only mom in the whole world with a Master's Degree. That's what I thought, anyway.) She was PTA president, Relief Society president, and vice-president of all activities her kids got involved in. She sewed almost everything we wore. She made three square meals a day. When we were teenagers, she went back to work and taught part-time at the nearby university. And later, she worked full-time as a kindergarten teacher.
And she wasn't doing enough?!
So you'd think I would have written that idea into a song back then...but I didn't. I didn't have that idea until a few weeks ago, when I called my daughter to read her my original Mother's Day lyrics. Which started..."Like an angel..." And though many moms really are like angels to us, the lyrics might have been a little over the top, i.e. "Mother, you're perfect."
After I finished reading the lyrics, Rebecca said, “So I don't love it." Followed by, "And I don't relate to it."
She has two little boys and I could hear them yelling in the background. "Today I don’t feel like that kind of a mom at all. On days like today, I just want to know I’m doing enough.”
And I knew that was THE idea. That rang true to me. Of course it did! My mom felt that way. I felt that way. And now Rebecca feels that way.
And so, I enlisted her help. And together, we wrote, "More Than Enough." This is only the second or third time in my life I've collaborated on a song, and I loved every minute of it. (Even the 5 hour phone conversation we had one night. From 10:00 pm to 3:00 am. Yikes!)
Order sheet music and recordings of "More Than Enough" here.
I think we all know where that "I'm not doing enough" feeling comes from. It certainly doesn't come from our children. Because they only really need a few basic things from us. And so, as I worked on the song, I intentionally included my own list of most important things Moms can do for their children. Well…besides feeding them. :)
- Spend time with your kids. As much time as possible. (Walk by my side / Read me stories at night)
- Listen to them. A lot. (Stay by my side / Hear my stories at night)
- Teach them to love God and serve Him, and that He loves them. (Teach me to trust in God’s love.)
- Make sure they know YOU love them. (Give them a hug, maybe two, and you say, “I love you.”)
- Pray for them. (How you pray for my every need)
- Live the gospel of Jesus Christ, as Elder Jeffrey R. Holland says, “as conspicuously as you can.” (But all that I know of faith and of kindness and love and strength, I learned just by watching you every day.)
And now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking parenting isn’t that simple, and you’re right. But these six things go a long, long way. Even when life gets complicated and children are difficult. In fact, there were many times when I was particularly worried about a particular child, and I would pray and the answer was always the same: "Just love him."
I wanted something grander or more sophisticated or more original than that. And I'd go back and plead and pray some more. But the answer was still, "Just love him." And occasionally, I'd "hear" this: "He's my child, too. And I'm watching over him." That was always tremendously comforting to me. And that knowledge helped me be a compassionate and patient parent. At least sometimes. :)
*One last thing about the song, in case you were wondering: I left out the word ‘mother’ for a few reasons. For one, I couldn’t decide whether to use -
Mother (too grown up and old-fashioned)
Mom (too casual)
Mommy (too young sounding) or
Mama (too Reba McIntyre)
And the other reason was because I know many children are being raised by someone other than mom. And I wanted them to be able to sing to their Dad or their grandma or whoever that person is.
So if you’re singing the song or teaching the song, and you feel like it needs the word "mother/mom/mommy/mama" or some other version of that word, feel free to insert that word in the song.
In the end, it just seemed fitting and childlike to sing, “I think you’re doing enough.”
PS: When you watch the video, you’ll see that both times the children sing, "I think you're doing enough," there's a picture of a young mom holding a baby. That's my daughter. I put that picture there because at that moment, she was doing enough. The dishes and laundry and professional goals and church work and community service and helping your neighbor and PTA and Pinterest and decorating and shopping and everything else put together can’t replace holding your baby. Just sayin’.
I'd love to hear your thoughts about the song when you get a minute.
Thank you for this song, and sharing your story. It really hit a chord with me. My mom died 2 yrs ago, she was 95. She held it all together with 7 kids, one income, one car, and a husband who was gone a lot. As the youngest I did feel left out, but when I was married I called her or she called me everyday. I have 8 children, when the days were long, she still lifted me up. Praising my kids, and sometimes even me, we shared so much. I still miss her.
Shawna, I am amazed at all you’ve accomplished since I used to babysit the kids for you! It brings a smile to my face to see some of them in your videos and to hear your inspiring music and think of the wonderful mother you are in my memories of being with you. I can’t believe Rebecca is now a mother herself and helped you write this song! It’s what I need to remind myself every day. I am a seminary teacher and was looking for a song on the Savior and I came across your Miracles video. I showed it this morning at the end of our lesson and the spirit was very strong because of your words. Thank you for your songs you have shared – you are so talented. Say hi to the kids for me! ❤️❤️
For the first time in a long time I’m not serving in Primary. My children wanted to practice their Program songs and we looked them up on YouTube. They were so excited to sing along “We will choose Him again.” I teared up pretty badly…
So we left the page running and “More than enough” came up. My son said, “Oh! This is the Father’s Day song!” and happily sang along. I was a little confused at first when I saw the title “New Mother’s day song” but quickly recognized how inspired this song was to apply to anyone who is raising a child.
Thank you for sharing your talents, Shawna.
I feel such a debt of gratitude to you for writing and sharing your songs. My almost 3 year-old son (and 11th child) has autism, and “More Than Enough” and “Choose Him Again” are the only way we can get him to calm down when he is inconsolably crying or is otherwise emotionally distraught. These two songs seem to be the only way to help him ‘emotionally regulate’, and our family is SO thankful for them! I honestly don’t know how we would make it through many of our days without these songs.
An additional blessing is that playing or singing “More Than Enough” for my son reminds me of its important message—and I need to hear it often!
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I hadn’t heard this song until I saw it posted on FB yesterday! I just love it and the truthfulness it brings to all mothers of every stage in mothering. I love your work and am thankful for your talent as a songwriter. You capture the essence of what most think but never speak. Thank you ?
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