Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

At 4 years old, she has her father’s adventurous spirit, courage, and sense of independence. She started diving under water at 2 and knows all of the Star Wars characters. She once ate an entire raw onion slice off of my hamburger and told us it was “yummy.” She will tackle any roller coaster without hesitation and refuses to let me kiss her boo-boos. But for all the parts of her that she inherited from Daddy, she is just like Mommy too. She has no less than 5 “babies” emerge from her tummy per day. They are often dragons or frogs or turtles or cats. She names them, feeds them, puts them to bed, and cares for them when they are sick. Like I was at 4, she is a little mommy.

And 20-something years from now, when she is ready to truly fulfill her role as a mother, other mothers will probably tell her many things. They may warn her of how painful labor will be. They may tell her that she will never sleep again and that she’ll bid farewell to her pre-baby body and free time. They may tell her that her marriage will change forever and that she will not enjoy sushi happy hour for years to come.

But sweet girl of mine, there are so many things that I hope nobody tells you about motherhood.

I hope nobody tells you that you will feel like a failure, because, you will. You might feel it more than you feel success.

I pray nobody tells you that nursing might be damn-near impossible and is almost as painful as delivery.

I hope nobody warns you that you’ll shut herself in your bedroom and lock the doors so you can silently sob into a pillow after your 4-year-old pees her pants for the 95th time.

I pray nobody warns you of the days that your spouse calls at 4:00 in the afternoon and hears the crack in your voice as you struggle to hold in tears. And screams. And swears.

I hope nobody scares you and tells you how isolating it will be. I hope nobody forewarns you that you will take your baby to the park and search with exhausted eyes for another mom in the hopes of bridging a friendship.

I pray nobody says that at bedtime, when the kids ask to be snuggled, you will make up an excuse of why Mommy can’t, because Mommy has nothing left to give.

I hope nobody tells you that you will, on more than one occasion, sit “criss-crossed applesauce” on the floor with your 5-year old and confess that “Mommy messed up and Mommy was sorry” for yelling at him when he did nothing wrong.

I hope nobody tells you that you will make a habit of loading up all 3 kids in the car and then steal back into the house for 5 extra minutes by yourself, because that’s how desperate you will be for space.

I pray nobody warns you that while you will relish your time alone, you will also suffer crippling loneliness in the same day.

I pray nobody tells you how terrified you will be to mess this job up and how equally terrifying (and humbling) it will be to ask for help. But I hope you do find the courage to ask.

I hope you enter motherhood naive and optimistic and confident. Because if someone tells you how gut-wrenchingly hard this job is, you may miss the pride you’ll feel watching your confident 5-year-old walk into kindergarten without looking back. If you are warned that your failure at potty-training will break you into a shell of a mother at times, you may miss tea parties and marathon puzzle races with your only daughter. And if you are warned how challenging every hour of every day is going to be with a toddler who breaks everything, steals everything, and eats everything in his path, you might possibly miss his dimples, him learning new phrases like “How ’bout… dis one?” and him asking for “hug, Mama, hug.”

My prayer for you, my beautiful 4-year-old innocent little girl, is that nobody tells you how painful motherhood is before you embark upon the journey yourself. For that would be the greatest gift you could receive.

This post was originally published on The 21st Century SAHM


So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

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

Order Now

Karen Johnson

Karen Johnson is a freelance writer who is known on social media as The 21st Century SAHM. She is an assistant editor at Sammiches and Psych Meds, staff writer and social media manager for Scary Mommy, and is the author of I Brushed My Hair Today, A Mom Journal for Mostly Together Moms. Follow Karen on Facebook, Twitter , and Instagram

Brothers Fight Hard and Love Harder

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two boys play outside, one lifting the other on his back

The last few years have been a whirlwind. My head has sometimes been left spinning; we have moved continents with three boys, three and under at the time. Set up home and remained sufficiently organized despite the complete chaos to ensure everyone was where they were meant to be on most days. Living in a primarily hockey town, the winters are filled with coffee catch-ups at the arena, so it was no surprise when my youngest declared his intention to play hockey like his school friends. Fully aware that he had never held a hockey stick or slapped a puck,...

Keep Reading

Stop Putting an Expiration Date on Making Memories

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and son in small train ride

We get 12 times to play Santa (if we’re lucky). This phrase stopped my scroll on a Sunday evening. I had an idea of the direction this post was going but I continued on reading. 12 spring breaks 12 easter baskets 20 tooth fairy visits 13 first days of school 1 first date 1-2 proms 1-2 times of seeing them in their graduation cap and gown 18 summers under the same roof And so on and so on. It was essentially another post listing the number of all the monumental moments that we, Lord willing, will get to experience with our...

Keep Reading

When Your Kids Ask, “Where Is God?”

In: Faith, Kids
Child looking at sunset

How do I know if the voice I’m hearing is God’s voice? When I was in high school, I found myself asking this question. My dad was a pastor, and I was feeling called to ministry. I didn’t know if I was just hearing my dad’s wish or the call of God. I was worried I was confusing the two. It turns out, I did know. I knew because I was raised to recognize the presence of God all around me. Once I knew what God’s presence felt like, I also knew what God’s voice sounded like. There is a...

Keep Reading

Go Easy On the Parents Who Refuse to Skip Naps

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two little boys and their sister walking down a gravel road, color photo

Greetings from a mom who is done with napping children. It’s great to have the flexibility during the day for longer activities, meeting friends for playdates, or day trips to faraway places. It’s a new life . . . the life without naps. The freedom to make plans and keep them. But not that long ago, I was something very different than the flexible, plan-keeping, up-for-it woman I am today. I used to be the mom who refused to skip my child’s nap. Yep, that one. Here’s the thing, for a lot of parents, It’s so much more than just a...

Keep Reading

My Heart Isn’t Ready for You to Stop Believing in Santa

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy standing in front of lit christmas tree

“My friend doesn’t believe in Santa anymore, Mom,” my son said out of the blue the other day. We were driving in the car, and when I met his gaze in the rear-view mirror his eyes searched mine. Immediately, my heart sank.  This sweet boy, he’s our first. Thoughtful and smart and eight years old. A quick Google search tells me that’s the average age kids stop believing in Santa, but as his mom, I’m not ready for that—not even a little bit.  I can still hear his barely 2-year-old voice going on about reindeer as we lay together on...

Keep Reading

Motherhood is a Million Little Letting Gos and Fresh Hellos

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother sitting with child on her lap by the setting sun and water

I missed my grocery-shopping buddy the other day. Mondays are usually the days my littlest and I knock out our grocery list. In the past, we’ve dropped the kids at school and then headed to the store. I grab a latte, and she chooses a hot chocolate. But that day, they were all in school. That day, she sat in her kindergarten class, and I went to the grocery store. Alone. A new rhythm. A changed routine. A different season. I listened to a podcast on the drive. My podcast. Then I grabbed a drink. Just one. I got the...

Keep Reading

Dear Kids, This Is My Wish for You

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother hugs three kids

To my kids, The world you’re stepping into is unlike anything I experienced at your age. It’s fast-paced, interconnected, and sometimes overwhelming. But within this chaos lie countless opportunities for growth and joy. My wish for you is that you find the perfect balance between embracing the modern world and staying true to yourselves. Change is one thing you can always count on. Embrace it because it’s often the motivation for growth. Embracing change doesn’t mean letting go of who you are; rather, it’s about evolving into the best version of yourself. Remember, you don’t need to have all the...

Keep Reading

Dear Daughter, Stay Wild

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter on beach, color photo

I can’t really put my finger on it. Or manage to find all the words. But there’s just something about that girl. Maybe it’s the way her hair sits tangled. Curled up at the end. The way she moves. Dances. As if everyone was watching. Or no one at all. RELATED: There is Wild Beauty in This Spirited Child of Mine It could be the way she smiles. With her heart. The way only she can. The way she cares, loves. For everyone. For herself. You see, she is beautiful in the way only wild things are. The way they...

Keep Reading

You’re Becoming a Big Sister, But You’ll Always Be My Baby

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Pregnant woman with young daughter, color photo

The anticipation of welcoming a new baby into the world is an exciting and joyous time for our family. From the moment we found out we were expecting to just about every day since, the love and excitement only continue to grow. However, amidst all the preparations for the new addition, I cannot help but have mixed emotions as I look back at old videos and pictures of my firstborn, my first princess, my Phoebe—for she will always hold a special place in my heart. As the anticipation grows, my heart swells with a mix of emotions knowing we are...

Keep Reading

Cowgirls Don’t Cry Unless the Horse They Loved Is Gone

In: Grief, Kids, Loss
Little girls Toy Story Jessie costume, color photo

The knee of my pants is wet and dirty. My yellow ring lays by the sink—it’s been my favorite ring for months. I bought it to match Bigfoot’s halter and the sunflowers by his pasture. Bigfoot is my daughter’s pony, and I loved him the most. The afternoon is so sunny. His hooves make the same calming rhythm I’ve come to love as I walk him out back. A strong wind blows through the barn. A stall labeled “Bigfoot,” adorned with a sunflower, hangs open and I feel sick. I kneel down by his side as he munches the grass....

Keep Reading