We were all sitting in a big awkward group in the church’s large conference room. I sat there hoping I didn’t get the Hershey’s Dark Chocolate bar; we all were.

I was at MOPS and it was our 2nd meeting of the year. As such, we played some ice breakers with embarrassed and uncomfortable chuckles. One game included passing a jar of candy around the room and answering specific questions based on the candy you drew from the jar. The candy’s question that nobody wanted was the Hershey’s Dark Chocolate: what do you like to do with your free time?

My mind scanned my days with the kids and scoffed inside: Free time? Seriously?

I could tell I wasn’t alone with my thoughts. Other moms were murmuring things like, “Who has free time anymore? I have no idea what I would do with myself!”

So as the jar was passed around, many mumbled, “I don’t want the Hershey’s. I don’t know what I’d say!”

As I waited for my turn, my mind wandered back to an earlier conversation I had that day with a mom friend of mine. We talked about her son attending preschool. She mentioned she taught a yoga class during his time at school. She said it was hard for her to make a decision about that small window of free time she had while he was in school but she knew she needed to do it because it made her feel so good about herself.

While she talked I could see the life in her yes when she mentioned the class, but heard the strain in her voice.

The strain that said what I was thinking that night at MOPS: Why is it so hard for me to handle the little free time I get as a mother?

We tell ourselves as mothers that we could be doing something better with our time. We live a life of them before us. And slowly, over time, as we look in the mirror, we’re not even sure who we’re looking at anymore.

The result of this unknowing is fear. It’s the same small fleck of fear I got when I sat there at MOPS afraid of a candy bar. My heart didn’t want the question about free time because then I knew I’d have to face myself and ask, “Who are you and what do you even like to do anymore?”

Because the reality is that ever since I became a mother I’ve lost myself.

I am not the same woman who said yes to my husband ten years ago, who wore trendy clothes, watched whatever I wanted on Netflix, whenever I wanted. Having a career was a no brainer at the time. Finding time to work out was simple and paying for a membership to a gym was no big deal. I could eat that extra piece of cake without too much worry. If a friend called and needed me, I could be there in no time. Volunteer work in the church or community was easy to fit in my schedule.

Being myself seemed easier then.

But as soon as you’ve been gifted the beauty of raising tiny humans, all those easy parts of yourself start to fall to the wayside as the them before you starts to grow. And as time passes while you’re wandering in the sleepless fog of mothering, you start missing those little parts of yourself that you’ve lost.

Maybe this tension of who we were before we had kids and who we’re becoming as mothers is because we’re constantly reaching for those lost parts of ourselves. Constantly reaching for something I’m not creates conflict in my heart of not being enough. A worry starts overtaking my heart because I just can’t quite get back those parts of who I was.

If I keep trying to retrieve who I was then I’ll never be able to step into the freedom of who I am now.

We’re so afraid of losing ourselves that maybe we’re missing the development of our new selves because we keep looking back.

Sure, there are new things about me that are less than epic: I go to bed earlier than I used to, I have one show I try to keep up on, I wear pants that are bigger and working out is harder than I could have imagined. I still eat my cake but hold off on that second piece.

But…

I also know a love that I never would have understood before children.

I have found a gift inside myself that I never would have explored so deeply otherwise.

When a friend needs me, my time with her is limited but becomes even more meaningful during our short times together when I can get away.

I have found a new group of women who call themselves mom and are responsible for raising a generation of young people who understand what it means to love others as they love themselves.

That’s pretty epic.

Dear mamas, It’s OK to lose yourself when you become a mom because then, then you step forward into all the new that you are as a woman.

I am a woman who is learning that it’s OK to be uncertain of what to do with my few opportunities of free time. Free time is like getting reacquainted with an old friend. I try different things until I find that connection and while it may not be the same as it was years ago, I’m grateful the for the new memories that will be made as I grow.

I have found new parts of myself that I grab onto fully.

Embracing the change that inevitably comes with motherhood is like a breath of fresh air. No, it’s like coming up for air.

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

Gloryanna Boge

Gloryanna is a teacher turned SAHM whose identity is found in her relationship with Christ. She is married to her high school sweetheart who insists that dirty clothes can be left on the floor. Gloryanna writes to encourage others in their walk with Christ, no matter what season you're going through. If you want to be encouraged, you can follow her writing at http://www.gloryannaboge.com/. You can also catch snippets of her faith and scribbles on Twitter - https://twitter.com/gloryannaboge Facebook - https://https://www.facebook.com/gloryannabogewriterand Instagram - hhttps://www.instagram.com/gloryannaboge_writer/a>

I Had to Learn to Say “I’m Sorry” to My Kids

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Mom hugs tween daughter

My two oldest kiddos are at the front end of their teen years. I remember that time in my own life. I was loud, somewhat dramatic, I let my hormones control me, and I never—ever—apologized. This last part was because no one ever really taught me the value of apology or relationship repair. Now, I could do some parent blaming here but let’s be real, if you were a kid whose formative years were scattered between the late ’80s and early ’90s, did you get apologies from your parents? If so, count that blessing! Most parents were still living with...

Keep Reading

5 Things Your Child’s Kindergarten Teacher Wants You To Know

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child raising hand in kindergarten class

I am a teacher. I have committed my life to teaching children. Of course, before I began this career, I had visions of standing in front of a group of eager-eyed children and elaborating on history, science, and math lessons. I couldn’t wait to see the “lightbulb” moments when students finally understood a reading passage or wrote their first paper. And then I had my first day. Children are not cut out of a textbook (shocking, I know) but as a young 23-year-old, it knocked me right off my feet. I was thrown into the lion’s den, better known as...

Keep Reading

To the Extended Family That Shows Up: We Couldn’t Do This Without You

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Family visiting new baby in a hospital room

This picture—my heart all but bursts every time I see it.  It was taken five years ago on the day our daughter was born. In it, my husband is giving her her very first bath while our proud extended family looks on. It was a sweet moment on a hugely special day, but gosh–what was captured in this photo is so much more than that. This photo represents everything I could have ever hoped for my kids: That they would have an extended family who shows up in their lives and loves them so deeply.  That they would have grandparents,...

Keep Reading

You’re Almost Grown, But You’re Always Welcome Back Home

In: Kids, Motherhood
Teen in room studying with computer and smartphone

Dear child, In the days before you could walk or talk, there were times when you would wail—when my rocking and shushing and bouncing were seemingly futile—but it didn’t matter. Each day and night, multiple times, I always picked you up and welcomed you back into my arms. As a toddler and a preschooler, you had some pretty epic meltdowns. There were times when you would thrash and scream, and all I could do was stand by and wait for the storm to blow over. Eventually, you would run to me, and I would welcome you back with a warm embrace....

Keep Reading

No One Warned Me About the Last Baby

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding newborn baby, black-and-white photo

No one warned me about the last baby. When I had my first, my second, and my third, those first years were blurry from sleep deprivation and chaos from juggling multiple itty-bitties. But the last baby? There’s a desperation in that newborn fog to soak it up because there won’t be another. No one warned me about the last baby. Selling the baby swing and donating old toys because we wouldn’t need them crushed me. I cried selling our double jogger and thought my heart would split in two when I dropped off newborn clothes. Throwing out pacifiers and bottles...

Keep Reading

Parents Are Terrible Salespeople for Parenting

In: Kids, Motherhood
Tired mother with coffee cup on table, child sitting next to her

As the years of fertility start to wane, many of my childless peers are confronted with the question, “Should I have kids?” With hesitation, they turn to us parents who, frankly, seem overwhelmingly unhappy. They ask sheepishly, “Is it worth it?” We lift our heads up, bedraggled, bags under our eyes, covered in boogers and sweat and spit up, we mutter, “Of course! It’s so fulfilling!” It’s like asking a hostage if they like their captor. Sure, it’s great. We love them. But our eyes are begging for liberation. Save me, please. I haven’t slept through the night in years....

Keep Reading

Soak in the Moments because Babies Don’t Keep

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Roller coaster photo, color photo

I love marking the moments, the ones that count—making a note and storing them for memory. But I often miss out on them when it comes to our oldest. ⁣ ⁣The day he wanted to be baptized, I was at home with another kiddo who was sick. He called me from church excitedly, emphasizing he was ready and didn’t want to wait. I couldn’t argue with that, so I watched him go underwater through videos my husband and sweet friends in the congregation took. ⁣ ⁣On the day of his fifth-grade graduation, we found ourselves at the pediatrician’s office. Instead...

Keep Reading

Sometimes a Kid Just Needs a Sick Day

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy outside, color photo

My middle son stayed home from school today. He said he was sick. I’m not sure that is the truth. I was lucky enough to have a mom who was an amazing caretaker, especially when you were sick. She pulled out all the stops. A cozy clean space to be, a thermos with ice cold juice by your side, Mrs. Grass’s soup, and Days of Our Lives on the screen while she tidied up the house. It was the best feeling in the world to be home and cozy with my mom when I was sick. It felt cozy and...

Keep Reading

Sometimes We Need Someone to Just Sit With Us in Our Struggle

In: Kids, Motherhood
Sad woman sits on floor, black and white image

Early this morning, I told (yelled is more accurate) my sons to get up with the same furious ferocity I use every morning when I realize they should be ready to go, but are still unconsciously snoozing away. One son lazily said, “I’m up, Mom” (even though he was very much not up). The other son, who typically has no problems getting up, had overslept and immediately freaked out, thinking he would be late to school. He proceeded to have a mini-meltdown from the dark recesses of his bedroom. That overflowed into the hallway where I found him lying face-down,...

Keep Reading

Daughter of Mine, Do Not Let the World Extinguish Your Fire

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and young daughter, color photo

Daughter of mine, I see the fire behind your eyes. Do not let it die. Daughter of mine who runs wildly and loves freely and whose anger is always whipping silently just under the surface like a pilot light, ready to ignite with one tiny spark. Do not let it die. RELATED: There is Wild Beauty in This Spirited Child of Mine Daughter of mine, one day you will become a woman, and the world will try to steal you and mold you and tell you who to become. Do not let it. It will try to fit you in...

Keep Reading