Pre-Order So God Made a Mother

When my girls were little, people at the library or church or in the grocery store would smile at them and tell me, “They’re adorable . . . but just wait until they get to be teenagers.”

I didn’t know what, exactly, it was that I was waiting for.

I supposed it was all the things people talk about when the subject of raising teenagers—especially that particular breed of progeny known as the “teenage daughter”—comes up.

I thought maybe I was waiting for when they wouldn’t need me anymore. I didn’t know I was waiting for when they would need me more in deeper, heart-level ways.

I thought maybe I was waiting for when they wouldn’t like me. I didn’t know I was waiting for when we would be not only mother and daughters, but friends.

I thought maybe I was waiting for when they wouldn’t want anything to do with me.

I didn’t know I was waiting for when they would want to do movies and shopping and lunch and, sometimes, just nothing with me.

I thought maybe I was waiting for when my opinion wouldn’t matter to them. I didn’t know I was waiting for when they would send a text—”What do you think of this?”—attached to a picture of a dress they were considering buying.

I thought maybe I was waiting for when they would be self-absorbed and oblivious to the interests of others. I didn’t know I was waiting for when we would be at a family gathering and I would be busy in the kitchen and they would say, “Mom, I made you a plate of food. I got you some of that dip you like because it’s almost gone.”

I thought maybe I was waiting for when they would walk away from the foundation of faith their dad and I tried to lay for them. I didn’t know I was waiting for when they would choose faith for themselves and make it their own.

RELATED: Dear Kids, As You Grow Older

I thought maybe I was waiting for when I wouldn’t be able to get them to tell me anything about their lives. I didn’t know I was waiting for when they would say to me, “Something amazing happened today, and my first thought was, ‘I can’t wait to tell mom about this!’”

I thought maybe I was waiting for when I would cringe at their clothing choices. I didn’t know I was waiting for when they would tell me, “Mom, you look so cute! Can I borrow that shirt next week?”

I thought maybe I was waiting for when all the things I used to do for them when they were little no longer meant anything to them. I didn’t know I was waiting for when they would text me during the day and ask, “Is there any way you can have some chocolate chip cookies ready for me when I get home?”

I thought maybe I was waiting for when they wouldn’t talk to me.

I didn’t know I was waiting for when they’d ask, “Can I talk to you about something?” and, afterward, would tell me, “I’m so thankful I have a mom who always makes me feel better.”

I thought maybe I was waiting for when they would only think of themselves. I didn’t know I was waiting for when they would text me a picture of a dress they’d just found in a resale shop, along with the question, “Do you like this for yourself?”

I thought maybe I was waiting for when they’d tell me not to worry about them anymore. I didn’t know I was waiting for when they would sometimes worry about me, too.

RELATED: When it’s Time To Let You Go

My college freshman came home from school a couple of weekends ago, and every once in a while, I’d forget she was there. I’d pass by a room and see her in it, and it was like finding a gift under the tree on Christmas morning that you forgot you’d asked for.

When my daughters were little, I thought maybe I was waiting for when they would leave.

I didn’t know I was waiting for when they would come back.

My sweet girl hung around that weekend as long as possible. A few minutes before she left, she came up to me in the kitchen and said, “I love you. Thanks for letting me stay.”

It was so worth waiting for.

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 for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Elizabeth Spencer

Elizabeth Spencer is mom to two daughters (one teen and one young adult) who regularly dispense love, affection, and brutally honest fashion advice. She writes about faith, food, and family (with some occasional funny thrown in) at Guilty Chocoholic Mama and avoids working on her 100-year-old farmhouse by spending time on Facebook and Twitter.

Don’t Call, Text (and Other Things You Need to Know about Me As Your Mom Friend)

In: Friendship, Living, Motherhood
3 moms holding babies on a couch

This is the kind of mom I am right now. Don’t talk to me during gymnastics class or swim class—this is my quiet time, and I am either getting a break from life or catching up on texts and emails or looking up the hours of the trampoline park for our next playdate. My Notes app is filled with grocery list upon grocery list. I have developed systems to stay sane. When grocery shopping, I get the one item I need first rather than last because too many times I forget the one thing I need and can’t make dinner....

Keep Reading

There’s No Hard like NICU Hard

In: Baby, Motherhood
Three women and two toddlers, color photo

To the mamas and daddies navigating the NICU: There’s no hard like NICU hard. Seeing your spanking-new beloved placed in a glass bassinet and rolled away from your aching breasts and empty arms—it’s the absolute hardest. No one who hasn’t been there can possibly understand. But many of us out here get it. We understand your emotions—the tangled and tied-up ones that unraveled in that bassinet’s wake. Fear, anger, frustration, helplessness, sorrow. You feel like a failure. You feel completely undone. Defeated.  But you’re not even one of those things. You are parents, and parents are practically superhuman. You have...

Keep Reading

I Am the Griever

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Mother kissing child's forehead

As I write this, my mother-in-law is in the ICU. We don’t expect her to leave.  She’s too young. Sixty-four. We got the call on Saturday.  “Get here this week,” they said. So we did. With a newborn, a 3-year-old, a 5-year-old, and a soon-to-be 16-year-old. We managed ICU visits with my in-laws and juggled childcare so we could all take turns seeing the matriarch. For the last time? Maybe.  The logistics are all-consuming and don’t leave a lot of space for anything else. Also, I hate logistics. My son asks questions nobody knows how to answer: Will I die...

Keep Reading

A Permission Slip for Creativity

In: Living, Motherhood
Create Anyway book in the middle of kids playing with building blocks on floor

The following is an excerpt from Create Anyway by Ashlee Gadd, available today wherever books are sold! In those first few weeks at home with a milk-drunk newborn in my arms, I Googled every little thing, hopping in and out of online parenting forums, desperate for an instruction manual. Is it normal for a baby to poop six times in one day? Does breastfeeding ever get easier? Underneath my nitty-gritty questions loomed the ultimate insecurity every first-time mom battles: Am I doing this whole motherhood thing right? Just a few months prior, I had quit my pencil-skirt-and-high-heels- wearing marketing job...

Keep Reading

Dear Daughter, It’s Okay If You Hate Me Right Now

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Teen girl looking up at mother

Dear daughter: I’ve heard it from you a thousand times when you don’t get your way. You yell it when your force of will doesn’t bend mine, thinking it will convince me to give in. But I’m here to tell you once and for all: I don’t care if you hate me right now. Last night you hated me because I made you take a bath before bed. This morning, it was because I made you wear pants. I’m the worst mom ever because I told you to eat a vegetable, and the whole day is ruined because I won’t...

Keep Reading

Anxious Moms Need Friends Too

In: Friendship, Living, Motherhood
Women hugging outside

When I was 32, my family and I decided to move out of state. The state I had lived in all my life, where almost all my family and friends lived. Most of my friendships were childhood friends or friends I made in college. I made very few new, adult friendships after college. Maybe I felt I didn’t really need to because there was always a friend I could call. Or maybe, I didn’t want to step outside my comfort zone, face possible rejection, and felt it was just easier not to talk to people (hint: it was definitely the...

Keep Reading

The Isolation of Motherhood

In: Friendship, Motherhood
Mom sitting beside stroller, black and white image

During my early years of having children, I can recall feeling like I needed more help with juggling—taking care of my little ones and our home. Although my mother-in-law was only a 10-minute drive away, she was preoccupied looking after my nephew and nieces. Awkwardly, I would only ask if it was really necessary—like a doctor’s appointment or the dentist. Even at church, it was difficult to ask for help—either we didn’t know certain members well enough to entrust our kids to their care or they were friends with children too and that hardly seemed fair to burden them. The...

Keep Reading

You’re Learning Life by Watching Me

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child touching mother's face as they lie on a bed

Every morning my daughter and I go outside for some fresh air. She feeds her chickens and plays and explores and walks around with her dog while I follow her around and have a cup of coffee.  This morning, my girl grabbed one of her coffee cups from her toy kitchen and brought it outside with her while she walked with her dog and pretended to take sips out of it.  Guys. I stood there watching her with her toy coffee cup, walking around with her animals, and I cried giant baby tears.  RELATED: I Wasn’t Counting On You Growing...

Keep Reading

What Happens to the Mamas When Their Children Are Grown?

In: Faith, Motherhood
Five children walking hand-in-hand, color photo

A friend came up to me the other day after church and commented, “I’ve never seen you alone. I had to make sure you were okay.” It’s true. I’m never alone. I usually have one or two children hanging onto me and three more milling about with my husband close. But at that moment, my husband had stepped away to collect the younger ones from the children’s service, and my older two had run off with their friends. I was standing alone. And as I stood there, one thought crossed my mind, “This is what it will be like when...

Keep Reading

Please Don’t Ask When I’m Having Another Baby

In: Baby, Motherhood
Pregnant woman standing lakeside, color photo

We’ve all been asked it. Maybe once, maybe more times than we can count. Maybe we’ve even asked it ourselves, “When are you trying for baby #2?” It seems harmless, and most of the time it probably is. Pre-baby me never even stopped to consider that it was anything other than a curious, sometimes nosey, question to ask. The mom version of me today feels a completely different way. It’s now deeper and more complicated than it seemed in the past. The mom in me struggles every single time I’m asked this. Struggles to come up with an answer. Struggles...

Keep Reading