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REAL MOMS, REAL ADVICE
Features writer Amy Bredeson writes about Lowcountry moms who have advice to share. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week's mom
Name: Ashlee Shotwell
Favorite mommy moment: Right after having a baby
Most annoying thing for this mommy: Tattletales
Weaknesses: Spoiling her children and not spending enough time with her husband, Duane
Other than lesson planning, Bluffton mom Ashlee Shotwell doesn't make many big plans anymore.
Shotwell has learned the hard way that no matter what her plans are, she is not in control. When her oldest child, Christian, started having seizures a year ago, there was nothing she could do to stop them. The boy takes medication, but that's no guarantee that he won't have more seizures. At any given time he could zone out and turn blue -- like he did May 17, 2011, in the middle of a video game.
Shotwell tries not to worry about the future, though.
"I've learned to let go," she said. "I was a control freak. God is the only one in control."
Of course, it was a lot harder on her when Christian was first diagnosed with epilepsy. She said she was so scared of the disease that it consumed her.
But Shotwell said she had to push those feelings aside for the good of her children. She didn't want her fear to affect them. They shouldn't have to be afraid just because their mother was.
"Let them do their thing," she said. "Don't make them fearful. Let them live a normal life. ... Freak out in private, and get over it."
Shotwell would rather put her feelings about epilepsy to good use.
She wants to start a local support group for people with the disorder. She'd also like to host a 5K at some point to raise money for epilepsy research.
So, how does she keep up with everything? How does she homeschool three children in three different grades, chase after a 1-year-old, care for the needs of an epileptic child and run a cleaning business from home?
Shotwell said what sustains her is her time reading the Bible. She usually reads after the children are in bed and sometimes snags time while they play.
"I do it all for my kids." she said. "There's no secret. There's no formula for anything. ... I just genuinely love my kids. And that's what motivates me to do everything."