Ornaments, Candles, Tees and More! Order Soon for Christmas Delivery!🎄 ➔

Dear children,

Let me first say this: I love you more than anything in the world.

Remember that sentence because I know there are times where it doesn’t feel like I love you. I know I spend a lot of time yelling at you—way too much time, actually. I wish I didn’t do that. I’m trying to change. Every day I struggle to control my anger when you make naughty behavior choices, or when I’m frustrated because I forget that you are not an adult and you don’t act or think like one.

And every day I lose. 

I wish I were better because I love you and I want you to have the best mom I can be. 

I don’t like being frustrated and angry. That’s not how I treat other people, and it rips at my heart to know I treat strangers with more patience than I give you. 

I wish you could see the mom you don’t get to see after you’re asleep. I wish you knew I check in on you, and I watch you sleep peacefully. I wish you could hear the “I love you”s I whisper while you breathe deeply and I tuck the covers around you. I wish you could feel the pride emanating from me as I think of all your accomplishments that day.

I wish you knew the pain I feel when you talk about others who hurt your feelings. I hide that pain to show you strength while I help you understand, cope, and deal with those kids.

I wish you knew how I brag about you. I know it seems like I criticize often, but the truth is, you are amazing. You are thoughtful, empathetic, caring, and sensitive. I love that you show those qualities more than I can. You are smart and wonderful.

I wish you could see my pride when you keep trying even though something is hard and you want to give up. I know I show frustration when you reach this point, and I need to do better showing you how to cope with frustration, and showing my pride when you persevere through the struggle.

I wish most of all that I showed you the love you deserve to be shown. I feel it inside myself. It’s bursting forth but I don’t show it like I need to. Sometimes I feel it comes across as something else—annoyance, frustration, relief—when I say “I love you but . . . ” and tack on something else. I do love you. Period. Even when your behaviors are less than likeable. Even when I’m annoyed. Even when I’m tired and frustrated and want a vacation away from kids. Even when I’m on the computer or my phone. I love you more than anything.

Not only do I love you, but I need you. I need you to teach me how to be a better mother. It will make me a better person. Teach me how to show love without wondering what those around me are thinking. Teach me to find joy and excitement in the dreary “ordinary” of every day. Teach me to “just be” and to live in the moment. Teach me to find adventures in our living room. Teach me to be curious and inventive. Teach me how to leave stress behind and to enjoy these moments, THIS moment, with you.

Because I know someday, I will miss this. I will crave your hugs and kisses and “I love you, Mommy.” I will crave your attention. I will crave you hanging on my legs while I try to navigate the kitchen. I know if I don’t capitalize on it now, I may also lose out on a close relationship with you later.

I love you more than anything but I’m not perfect, and I’m not always comfortable showing affection, especially in public. Please, help me show my love for you through my words and actions. Please remind me to smile more, hug more, say “I love you” more, tickle, and laugh, and even cry with joy. Please help me be the mommy you deserve.

Love, Mommy

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Jessica McCaslin

Jessica is a mom who is working outside the home part-time and who is learning to cope with the ever-changing daily challenges of full-time parenthood. She graduated with her Master's degree in community counseling from the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 2005, and works with a diverse mental health population. Jessica resides in Central Nebraska with her husband and four children on the family ranch.

Don’t Fear the Gap

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Baby lying on mother's chest, black-and-white photo

I was afraid of the gap. You know, the one where you have some kids and then wait several years to have another? That gap. When we moved here, we kept all the baby things because we weren’t ready to say we were done but weren’t ready to start over. Moving to the farm brought wayyy more chores than our neighborhood home and adding a tiny human to that mix felt a bit crazy. RELATED: I’ll Always Want Another Baby There were months of back and forth . . . talk of barefoot baby feet stomping all over this place...

Keep Reading

Dear Daughter, If Something Feels Off, It Probably Is—Trust Your Intuition

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Mother and daughter black and white photo

A few weeks ago, my 7-year-old daughter was playing at a friend’s house when she messaged me on her game tablet to come pick her up. I didn’t ask why I just went to get her. I asked her once she was home how it was, and she told me she had a weird feeling and she was just “trusting her guts,” which I loved hearing her say. Apparently, her friend had a bunch of extended family show up at the house that we were unaware of. She is extremely outgoing, friendly, and confident so she thought nothing of listening...

Keep Reading

10 Lessons I Hope You Learn Playing Youth Sports

In: Kids, Motherhood
Boy dribbling down basketball court, black-and-white photo

Last night was my sixth grader’s last basketball game of the season. He played with many of the same gang of boyhood friends he has known since kindergarten. This year, however, they were introduced to a traveling team, older players, and much stiffer competition than they had encountered in the past. They stood the test and played their little boy hearts out. I am proud of my son, his team, his coaches, and all the familiar faces we came to know in the Greenwood Laboratory School cheering section each week, sometimes two to three times in one week!  Here’s to...

Keep Reading

I Love You At Every Stage

In: Kids, Motherhood
Three children at park, color photo

Confession: I love the 1-year-old phase. Our youngest is one and such a joy to be around. He’s still so cuddly, finds such joy in the smallest things, is learning new things every day, and smiles at every little thing his big brother and sister do. I love the 3-year-old phase. Our only girl is three. She has a flair for the dramatic, but she is very forthright with her feelings. “I’m having a hard time.” “I just miss my daddy when he’s at the Fire House.” “I’m a princess.” “God made me beautiful.” She is quick to be a...

Keep Reading

Simple Moments Shape Childhood

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy in shallow water of beach

Sometimes it’s the little things that can turn out to be the biggest things. Motherhood has made me appreciate the everyday moments, the simple moments, differently.  Being outdoors with my boys can be simple in theory, but I absolutely love the adventures we take. Whether we are hiking, biking, swimming, exploring, or checking out a new park, this momma knows it is time well spent.  RELATED: I’m Watching You Grow Up in the Little Moments Because whether they realize it or not, these memories being made are the special ones. The ones my boys will carry with them in their...

Keep Reading

I Promise to Show Up for You

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter in garden

My child, I hope you know you can count on this: I will show up for you. I will show up when you wake in the middle of the night, when you get up too early or stay up too late. I will be there to make your meals, read you a story, and tuck you into bed. I will show up when you are sick—taking time off work, bringing you to the doctor, cleaning up your throw-up, and sitting up with you. I will show up at every game, sitting in the stands or a camp chair, freezing or...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Growth Is Tangible, and When It Is You Hold On Tight

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mom putting bike helmet on child

I never expected my sign to come in the form of a plastic bag. As a parent, you’re told over and over how fast it all goes, to cherish these times because they’re gone in a blink. You see the gradual changes in your kids as they move through milestones. One day, they can hold their own spoon. They begin stringing words into sentences. Their ages are counted in years and no longer months. You watch these things happen every day, but I didn’t realize some transitions would come in tangible ways, like a grocery bag filled with wet swim...

Keep Reading

Some Nights They Need You a Little More

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy sleeping, color photo

Some nights they need you a little more, mama. Because of the bad dreams or the bogeyman they are adamant is under the bed. Because firefighter daddy’s schedule leaves him missing goodnight tuck-ins and bedtime stories several times a week, sometimes leaving them a little needier and more emotional. Some nights they need you a little more, mama. RELATED: I’ll Lay With You As Long As You Need, My Child Because they are sick. Because they feel safe in your presence. Some nights they need you a little more, mama. It’s not always easy. It’s not always (okay, hardly ever)...

Keep Reading

Sweet Babies, I’ll Be There

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two children lying in bed, color photo

When your world is calm and peaceful, I’ll be there. When your world is chaotic like an ice cream shop on the hottest day of summer, I’ll be there. When you need a Band-Aid applied and a boo-boo kissed, I’ll be there. When you want to perform in your Frozen microphone like you’re performing for a crowd of 20,000 people, I’ll be there. When you feel lost and alone, I’ll be there. When you feel you have nowhere to go, I’ll be there. RELATED: I Will Always Be There When You Need Me, My Son When you need a pep...

Keep Reading

I’m in the Big Little Years

In: Kids, Motherhood
black and white photo of little boy and little girl standing in a window together

I’m in the big little years. It’s when you’re no longer in the tender season of babies and toddlers—those sweet, smothering, exhausting years of being constantly touched and needed . . . . . . but you’re not yet in the big kid years—navigating boyfriends and driver’s licenses and bracing your heart for the impending ache of an empty nest. I’m somewhere in between. I’m in the years of having littles that aren’t so little anymore, but still need you for so much. They have big feelings. Big ideas. Big dreams. But they have mostly little problems (even though they...

Keep Reading