Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

I wake up to the sound of my kids in the kitchen, the morning sun peeping through my window. I immediately cringe at the thought of having to parent today. And why? Because my anxiety and depression is so strong that I want to curl up in a ball and cry.

I start thinking about all the things I need to get done, and then I remember that one child has baseball practice for two hours tonight. The other child won’t want to go and will pitch a fit. I roll over to get the sun out of my eyes. “What am I supposed to do to keep them busy all day?” I whisper to myself. I feel the tears rising up in my eyes. I just want to be normal. Then I hear it. Footsteps coming toward my bedroom.

“Mommy, are you awake?” I look up only to see sad eyes staring at me.

“Yes, what’s wrong?” I ask, knowing she needs me to get up.

“I’m hungry. I need you to get up now,” she begs. I take a deep breath. My heart is racing with panic and for no reason other than now I’m awake to the world. My phone will ring, the neighbors will want to play with the kids and I’ll have to function. I step into the kitchen and begin making waffles, all the while my heart is pounding in my chest. Then I hear it. The sound of my phone buzzing on the counter. Such a simple sound shouldn’t send me over the edge, but here I am, about to hyperventilate over the phone ringing. I ignore it as best I can and feed my kids breakfast then go back to room to take my medicine.

I used to feel ashamed of taking medications to feel normal. Now I embrace it. If that’s what it takes to be a better parent, wife and friend, then so be it. I sit quietly, taking deep breaths, wishing I could just make it until bedtime. When did my life become a series of waiting for twelve hours to pass, just to feel sane? With my husband working two jobs, because my anxiety is overwhelming, I’m doing this on my own.

I take a few more breaths then walk into the living room where my kids are happily finished eating but are squirming now. “Mommy, can we go outside? Mommy, can we call friends to come over? Mommy, can we go to the park?” All these questions go around and around in my head, causing me to want to run. Then my other child won’t stop grabbing at me. I am hypervigilant. Every sound they make seems amplified. Every time they open their mouth, I feel as if I might scream. I see them getting upset that I’m not answering right away and that I keep pulling away from my youngest.

“Just give mommy a minute,” I plead. I just need a minute. A minute to breathe, to pull myself together and get out of my panicked head.

“Let’s leave Mommy alone. She needs a break,” I hear my oldest whisper to my youngest. He’s only seven. On top of my panic, now my heart is breaking. I have to be strong. I have to be that mother I thought I’d be before my mental illness set in. I follow them into his room and see them sitting on the floor at his LEGO table.

“I’m sorry. Mommy was having a bad morning. It’s over. Let’s get dressed and go for a walk. I need some outside time,” I say. That was the truth. I needed to be outside the confines of these four walls that I spend every day in. They light up and run to get dressed.

Parenting with mental illness is hard. It’s not what people glorify it as. But I do it. Everyday. Some days I am too scared to take them anywhere, and some days I find myself taking them all over town. I just hope when they’re older, they’ll realize that I did the best I could and that it’ll be enough.

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

Kera Vest

I am currently in school at the University of Phoenix to get my Bachelors of Arts in English. My plan is to be a writer/editor.

Six Feels So Much Bigger

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood
Little girl with horse, color photo

Six . . . Six is only one number more than five,  one grade, one year . . . but it feels so different. Five is baby teeth and new beginnings. Five is venturing out into the world, maybe making a friend. Meeting a teacher. Learning to ride a bike. Six took my breath away. Six looks like a loose front tooth—tiny and wiggly, soon to be replaced by a big tooth, one that will stay forever. Six looks like a bright purple bike zooming down the driveway. RELATED: When There Are No More Little Girls’ Clothes Six looks like playing...

Keep Reading

You Were Meant to Be Our Oldest

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood
Brother holding little sister on back

Dear oldest child, Thanks for taking one for the team. You’ve probably thought by now that Dad and I really have no idea what we are doing. You’re not wrong. Please don’t misunderstand, we have goals and ambitions as parents. We’re trying to raise you to be a healthy, positive, and contributing part of society. But you are—and have always been—our guinea pig. You are the test subject to this whole parenting thing. Each new phase you encounter brings another new phase of learning and growth. Unfortunately, with that comes growing pains, and you often take the brunt of those....

Keep Reading

The Bittersweet Reality of Your Baby Turning 5 Years Old

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood
Little girl lying on living room floor, color photo

Those first five. Those precious first five years have flown by. I blinked and here we are. I look back and think about all the times I wanted these days to go by faster. The times I couldn’t wait to get to bedtime. The days I wasted being irritable and angry because sometimes being a mom is just too hard. But now? Now, I wish I could have slowed it all down. Savored it a little longer. A little harder. That beautiful wild child who fought like hell from the moment she was born has been burning that fire ever...

Keep Reading

The Petrified-Squished-Spider Stage of Motherhood

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Bug squashed on windshield, color photo

There is a squished spider corpse dangling from the inside of my car windshield. I don’t know how long it has been there. Not because I don’t know when the time of death took place, but because I’ve lost track of the number of days it’s been a fellow passenger of ours. The burial service is past due. And a cleaning of my vehicle is so long overdue, if it were a library book I’d be banned from the library by now. When my husband removed his hat one evening while driving and used it as a spider swatter, he...

Keep Reading

Listen to Their Endless Chatter Now So They’ll Talk to You as Tweens and Teens

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Mother and young daughter talking on the couch

I’m a talker. I’m a spill-the-beans, over-sharing, rambling on about my latest fascination chatterbox. I love words, and so do my kids. I’ve spent over a decade listening to my kids share—often, as they all talk at once. They go on and on about their day, rambling about how their sibling has been driving them nuts, their shenanigans with their friends, and never-ending factoids about video games. So many words, so many significant and yet simple thoughts brought to life in our bustling conversations.  Sometimes I love all the chatter, and sometimes the sheer volume of it drives me to...

Keep Reading

Dear Kindergarten Graduate, My Hand Will Always Be Yours to Hold

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood

Tomorrow you’ll graduate kindergarten. You chose the perfect shirt for the occasion. It’s a blue and white button-up. “Get one with big checkers, Mom, not little ones,” was your request. I know it’ll make your eyes pop from under your too-big red graduation hat. It’s going to be adorable. You’re going to be adorable.  You’ve been counting down the days. You’re ready and, truthfully, I am too—even though I’m so often in denial about how quickly this time with you is passing. Didn’t you just start crawling? How is it possible you’ll already be in first grade next year? RELATED:...

Keep Reading

You Were Made to Be My Oldest

In: Child
Mom and three kids

You are my firstborn. My big. The one who made me a mama. The one who started this whole crazy, beautiful roller coaster ride the day I found out you were on your way. I remember tip-toeing to the bathroom before the sun rose and taking a pregnancy test. The flutter of excitement in my heart turned into a flutter in my growing tummy within just a few short months. And now here you are, seven years old and more incredible than I imagined in all my wildest dreams. You amaze me every single day with your humor, kindness, and...

Keep Reading

I’m a Kindergarten Mom at the Bottom of the Hill

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood
Boy holding hands with his mother, color photo

The local elementary school is perched atop an obnoxious hill. It is customary for kindergarten parents to walk their children to the top of the hill as the rest of the grades, first through fifth, having earned their badge of capability and courage, walk alone. Car line is off-limits for kindergartners, which means it’s a walk in whatever weather, whenever school is in session type of vibe. My oldest misses car line. I miss it as well. It’s so simple, convenient, and most importantly, warm and waterproof. But my youngest is a kindergartner, so for the last several months we’ve...

Keep Reading

When He’s 10

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood
Young tween doing homework at desk, side profile

My son is at an age where he couldn’t care less about personal grooming, his un-selfconsciousness both admirable and aggravating to me. “Let’s clip your fingernails,” I say. No. “Clean your ears.” No. “Cut your hair.” No, Mom, come on, I like it long. But a month or so before his birthday, if he was going to remain a boy and not a lion, he needed a haircut. So, we made some kind of deal, probably a bribe, and finally. Fine. “It’ll be long again before you know it,” I told him, as we walked together into the salon, “you know how...

Keep Reading

He’s Slowly Walking Away with Footprints As Big As Mine

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Teen boy walking along beach shore

The true measure of a mother’s love is her willingness to wake up before the sun on vacation. On a recent trip to the shore, my youngest son begged to walk the beach at dawn to look for shells. So, I set my alarm, tumbled out of a warm, king-sized bed with extra squishy pillows, glared at my dead-to-the-world husband, and gently woke my 11-year-old. Without so much as a drop of coffee, we headed out into the morning, the sun still below the ocean horizon. With each step, I shed my zombie-like state and took in the quiet, salt-kissed...

Keep Reading