Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

I used to tune into Chopped on Food Network almost every evening. I loved the outlandish ingredients that were pulled out of the mystery basket (Durian and sheep’s hooves, anyone?) and the chefs with their unbelievable knife skills and risotto-making superpowers.

In particular, I remember one episode, not for its culinary wonders or drama, bur for a snippet of an interview that set me on edge. The chef on camera said, “I have two little girls and I have a full-time job as a sous chef. I’m a mom and climbing the ladder in the culinary world. I just want people to look at me and go, ‘Wow, how does she do it all?!'”

I sat there with my bowl of salted caramel gelato, mildly irritated by her over-the-top honesty. She was willing to admit on national television that she wanted the admiration of the world. She wanted to be known as someone who “does it all”.

But then it dawned on me: don’t we all love to be seen as multitaskers who manage to pull off impossible schedules with ease? Don’t we love to look like we have our juggling act together and pretend that not one of our 11 balls goes flying off in the wrong direction?

OK, my hand is raised. I admit: I like to look like I have it together. I like to think I never lose it. That I never come undone.

That happens for sure. Then I wake up and have to start my day.

I remember a somewhat inconsequential incident when my little people were babies. I wanted needed coffee. Starbucks was calling my name. And so was my desire to show the world that I got this: that I could effortlessly handle two babies without anyone’s help and could get my tall, non-fat, no-whip caramel macchiato whenever I felt like it.

I lugged the 18-month-old to his car seat and strapped the two-month-old in hers. With a diaper bag that brimmeth over, the mom-mobile zipped off. Woohoo. We were getting the show on the road and I was actually wearing clothes that Goodwill wouldn’t reject.

We survived. For about 3.5 minutes. Then inexplicable wailing started from the backseat. The two-month-old was shrieking in a way that only two-month-olds can. The 18-month-old looked over from his car seat to hers, a little perplexed. He decided the best option would be to exercise his lungs at that precise moment. I tried to stay focused on the road. I was so close, I could smell the coffee. The wailing got super INTENSE. Like, don’t-even-THINK-about-ignoring-me intense.

Two teary babies and one almost-in-tears mama headed back home—without coffee.

My head almost imploded from my lack of independence. Forget doing it all, I couldn’t even manage to get coffee.

I felt like a failure. A de-caffeinated, burnt-out failure who should stay at home in spit-up stained PJs.

Fast forward a few years and I ask myself, why do we moms put ourselves through the wringer trying to prove ourselves? Why do we try to measure up to some standard set by some 26-year-old Hollywood screenwriter who scripts lines for the TV mom who eats right, works out, makes a ton of money and is always nice to her kids—all while looking like a million bucks.

Sitcom moms aside, let’s get something straight—no one does it all. At least not all the time. Something’s got to give. There’s always a cost. If we think we know women who have it all together, then we probably don’t know the full story. We don’t see the struggles and the tears, the fights and the pressure.

I really believe we have discovered the antidote to the ‘do it all’ disease. It’s called do what works for you.

I shouldn’t try to live someone else’s life. I shouldn’t try to meet someone else’s expectations. I shouldn’t have to prove myself to anyone.

I love the song Good, Good Father, especially the line: “I am loved by You;  It’s who I am.”

That pretty much sums it up. I am loved by GodThat’s who I am.

Not the sum of my actions.

Not the checks on my to-do list

Not my salary or my college degrees or if my house looks like a magazine centerspread or if I host Pinteresting parties.

I’m defined by something entirely different and pressure-free.

I don’t need to prove my worth by doing it all. I just have to live loved. That’s who I am.

Originally published on the author’s blog

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

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

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Susan Narjala

Susan Narjala is a freelance writer who shares her faith with authenticity and humor, and has been published on leading Christian sites. You can find her at susannarjala.com and @susannarjalawrites.

I Thank God Every Day for These Babies

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother and two children, color photo

You know that saying, “All of God’s grace in one tiny face”? Growing up, I never understood the meaning behind it. I thought it was overused, cliche even. I mean, of course, babies are adorable, but I never fully grasped the concept of the saying. That is until I became a mother myself. Everyone has a different journey to entering motherhood. Mine, in particular, was unique, to say the least. All my life, I couldn’t wait to have kids of my own. Yes, even when I was a kid myself, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God’s...

Keep Reading

Daddy, Am I Beautiful?

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Daddy holding preschool-aged daughter, color photo

“Daddy, do I look beautiful?” I heard my daughter ask my husband from the other room. I barely heard what she said as I was in the kitchen washing the dishes, but her words struck a chord in my heart. My sweet girl, all dressed to go out, asked for her Daddy’s assurance that she was beautiful, that she was admired and special. It hit me in that moment: this pure and built-in desire we all have to be loved, admired, and wanted. Just as my sweet girl wanted her Daddy’s approval and assurance of love, I so often cry...

Keep Reading

You Make Our Marriage Work and I Love You More than Ever

In: Faith, Marriage
Husband and wife, smiling, selfie, color photo

I used to write love letters to you. I’d sit in my dorm room for hours, penning pages of poems that you’ve apparently kept in a drawer in our bedroom closet ever since. Recently, you mentioned you miss that girl. We laughed because neither of us knew you would turn out to be the sentimental one. And I was thinking, but never said, that the older, more cynical version of me has no idea how to write a love poem anymore. I look at love differently now. I’m different now. We’ve waded through years of never-before-known territory—sometimes treacherous, often mundane,...

Keep Reading

Going to Church with Kids is Hard but We’ll Keep Showing Up

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother holding young daughter in church

Going to church is hard with young kids. It used to be something I looked forward to. It’s something I’ve always valued deeply and needed desperately. It’s the one place that will always be home regardless of what location or building it’s in or what people attend. Church is my sanctuary. But it’s become a battle with the kids’ resistance, my tired mind and body, and my lack of ability to actually listen to the sermon. Going to church is hard with young kids. It’s become normal for me to lie down in bed on Saturday night thinking, with dread,...

Keep Reading

I’m Praying for My Teenager in These Challenging Years

In: Faith, Motherhood, Teen
Teen boy holding a smartphone and wearing headphones

In my mid-40s, I began to long for a baby. We didn’t get much encouragement from friends and family. My husband is a high-functioning quadriplegic, and I was considered way too old to start a family. But our marriage was stable, we were used to obstacles, we were financially prepared, emotionally experienced, and our careers were established. I began to paint my own sublime mental portrait of parenting tranquility. What could go wrong? At 48, I delivered a healthy baby boy, and he was perfect. We adored him. The baby we had longed for and prayed for, we had. And...

Keep Reading

When Motherhood Feels Like a Limitation

In: Faith, Motherhood
Ruth Chou Simons holding book

Twenty-one years ago, my husband Troy and I welcomed our first son into the world. Two years later, I gave birth to another boy. And again two years later, and again two years after that. A fifth boy joined our family another two years later, and a final son was born 11 years after we began our parenting journey. If you were counting, you’re not mistaken—that’s six sons in just over a decade. We were overjoyed and more than a little exhausted. I remember feeling frustrated with the limitations of the little years with young children when I was a...

Keep Reading

The Day My Mother Died I Thought My Faith Did Too

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Holding older woman's hand

She left this world with an endless faith while mine became broken and shattered. She taught me to believe in God’s love and his faithfulness. But in losing her, I couldn’t feel it so I believed it to be nonexistent. I felt alone in ways like I’d never known before. I felt helpless and hopeless. I felt like He had abandoned my mother and betrayed me by taking her too soon. He didn’t feel near the brokenhearted. He felt invisible and unreal. The day my mother died I felt alone and faithless while still clinging to her belief of heaven....

Keep Reading

Jesus Meets Me in the Pew

In: Faith
Woman sitting in church pew

I entered the church sanctuary a woman with a hurting and heavy heart. Too many worries on my mind, some unkind words spoken at home, and not enough love wrapped around my shoulders were getting the best of me. What I longed to find was Jesus in a rocking chair, extending His arms to me, welcoming me into his lap, and inviting me to exhaust myself into Him. I sought out an empty pew where I could hide in anonymity, where I could read my bulletin if I didn’t feel like listening to the announcements, sing if I felt up...

Keep Reading

Can I Still Trust Jesus after Losing My Child?

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Sad woman with hands on face

Everyone knows there is a time to be born and a time to die. We expect both of those unavoidable events in our lives, but we don’t expect them to come just 1342 days apart. For my baby daughter, cancer decided that the number of her days would be so many fewer than the hopeful expectation my heart held as her mama. I had dreams that began the moment the two pink lines faintly appeared on the early morning pregnancy test. I had hopes that grew with every sneak peek provided during my many routine ultrasounds. I had formed a...

Keep Reading

5 Kids in the Bible Who Will Inspire Yours

In: Faith, Kids
Little girl reading from Bible

Gathering my kids for morning Bible study has become our family’s cornerstone, a time not just for spiritual growth but for real, hearty conversations about life, courage, and making a difference. It’s not perfect, but it’s ours. My oldest, who’s 11, is at that age where he’s just beginning to understand the weight of his actions and decisions. He’s eager, yet unsure, about his ability to influence his world. It’s a big deal for him, and frankly, for me too. I want him to know, deeply know, that his choices matter, that he can be a force for good, just...

Keep Reading