Ornaments, Candles, Tees and More! Order Soon for Christmas Delivery!🎄 ➔

A letter to my future self,

I am writing to you from the dirty, kid-stained couch that sat in the overly-cluttered living room in the very-crowded-but-full-of-love apartment you lived in 20 years ago. Your daughter was two and your son was nearing one. You were thankful for the rain on that day because it meant you were able to stay in pajamas all day with your little loves and your husband and to just be together inside. You didn’t want to shuffle around to do errands or arrange playdates; you didn’t want to pack bags and lunches for nursery school and for work; you didn’t want to be tied to the never-ending, barely-bending schedule that defined your life at the time. 

It was an uncommon occurrence indeed that on that day both children napped and you found yourself alone for a few minutes. There was, of course, an endless list of things you could have done in that time: wash the bottles, clean up the toys, take a shower, vacuum, make dinner, fix some more bottles, do the laundry (you really needed to do the laundry); but instead, you sat down, took a deep breath and looked around.

You saw that the carpet was covered in arts and crafts and you smiled knowing that the materials had just sparked your daughter’s imagination for a solid half hour. You saw that the counter was covered in food scraps, dirty dishes, and milk that had been out for way too long and you kept smiling reminiscing about the fulfilling lunch your family just shared together. You saw that the bins full of shoes, hats, gloves and scarves were spilled all over the hallway and you laughed at the evidence of your son’s favorite source of entertainment at the time. 

You looked at it all and said, “This is a big mess.”  

And then, you corrected yourself and said, “A big, beautiful mess.”

And you were right. It was a big mess. And it was so very beautiful. It was as if God pressed the pause button on your bustling, busy life and allowed you to see just how beautiful the stage you were in was. In that moment, you were reminded of the fact that having two kids under two was, in fact, a temporarily time in your life—one that you would surely and sorely miss one day. You wondered, “When that ‘one day’ comes, what will my children be like? Who will they become? What will my life look like then? What stage will we all be in our lives?” 

While you escaped into fantasyland for a moment or two, you knew deep down that no amount of forecasting the future will ever influence the present. You knew deep down that there really is no future, there is only right now. You knew deep down that as their mother, you will naturally have a great impact on your children; still, the sometimes frustrating and even frightening thing about motherhood is that you cannot really ever control things like what they will be like, who they will become, what will happen to them, and what all of your lives will look like 20 years from now. You knew deep down that, really, all you have complete control over is you.

And so you thought, “When ‘one day’ arrives, what would my children think of me? If asked, what would they say about me? How would they feel about me?”

Your mind initially spun in circles with words and phrases and ideas ricocheting off of one another and then, right before the sudden imminent pressure to identify out the type of person you should be could take its hold around your chest, you felt a peaceful calm overcome your mind as you realized the answers to these questions are actually quite intuitive. 

I want my children to know I’ve loved them and that I will always love them with every fiber of my being.

I want my children to know I gave them the very best version of me in every single passing moment.

I want my children to say I am loving, kind, empathetic, compassionate, patient, and giving.

I want my children to say I value my life, my family, my work, my relationships, my home and my spirituality—along with creativity, education, passion, the arts, and our environment.

I want my children to love me and to feel secure in my love for them.

I want my children to know I love and trust them enough to let them go . . . and grow into the wonderful, independent humans they are meant to be.

You read and re-read this and suddenly felt a feeling you’ve lost touch with in recent years: confident. You felt ready, you felt empowered, you felt capable. “I can do this,” you thought. Suddenly the qualms about “who will they become in the future?” disappeared as you let that pressure go and made room to focus on “who do I want to be right now?” 

You reminded yourself that God chose you to be their mother and that this list here in this letter—it is made up of things you already are inside. You felt assured that although there is no handbook on how to be a good mom, you had all of the answers right there inside of you—you just needed to believe in yourself a little bit more. (OK, maybe a lot bit more.)

You hoped that one day in the future you would read this letter to yourself on a couch somewhere—maybe even in the same apartment, or maybe in a new home you built with love somewhere else—and you would feel proud of yourself for committing to this perspective.

You hoped you would feel proud of the decisions you made, the actions you took, the words you choose, the feelings you embraced, the experiences you engaged in, the hugs you gave, the lessons you modeled, and the empathy you embodied day-in and day-out as each moment in your life as a family transpired.

But, deep down, you knew you didn’t need to hope. 

You believed with your whole heart that when that day came, you would find your children had grown into the young lady and man that each was meant to be . . . all because you became the mother you were meant to be the day you wrote this . . . sitting there on that couch . . . looking at your beautiful mess.

So, be grateful you gave yourself this chance and honored your intuition. Be grateful you took the time to write to yourself, to reflect, and to reread your own words over and over. Because every time you fell apart and thought you didn’t know how to be a “good mom” you looked within and found your truth. 

Your truth will always turn fearful mothering moments into fulfilling mothering moments.

Your truth will always guide you.

Your truth will always lead you and your family to love.

Love,
You, 20 years ago: a beautiful mess of a mother 

Originally published on Today Parents

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

Pre-Order Now

Amanda Motisi

Amanda Motisi is a mother of two, a teacher, and a certified holistic health coach. She writes about motherhood, parenting, education and overall health and wellness in an effort connect, inspire, educate and empower women from all over the world. She'd love for you to join her in her journey by following her on Instagram and Facebook, or you can visit her website here.

Moms Are the Real Christmas MVPs

In: Motherhood
Mom and little girl looking at Christmas tree

Browsing through shelves of holiday books in the children’s section of the library, I am reminded of the CD my mom checked out from the library every holiday season. It was the Alvin and The Chipmunks version of all the classic Christmas songs. We would listen to that CD in the car all season long. Alvin and his buddies, Theodore and Simon, would belt out the Christmas classics we all know and love, but in their squeaky little chipmunk voices. It became a favorite tradition for my sister and me. Since this isn’t the ’90s and cars nowadays don’t have...

Keep Reading

What I Know For Sure About Having a Tween

In: Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Tween close up of braces on teeth

They all say it’s coming. I have an inkling it might be true. Yet I’m holding on–I’m believing the same things that worked when you were a little girl, will work during the tween years too.  Some of my methods might need tweaking, but the principles are the same. When you’re upset, you’ll still want to be held. It just might take you a little longer to realize it. When your feelings are hurt, you’ll still want to be heard. I might not have as many answers, but I can still offer my listening ears. RELATED: The Secret to Parenting...

Keep Reading

Don’t Fear the Gap

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Baby lying on mother's chest, black-and-white photo

I was afraid of the gap. You know, the one where you have some kids and then wait several years to have another? That gap. When we moved here, we kept all the baby things because we weren’t ready to say we were done but weren’t ready to start over. Moving to the farm brought wayyy more chores than our neighborhood home and adding a tiny human to that mix felt a bit crazy. RELATED: I’ll Always Want Another Baby There were months of back and forth . . . talk of barefoot baby feet stomping all over this place...

Keep Reading

The Magic of Having Kids Who Still Believe in Santa Is Worth the Christmas Chaos

In: Motherhood
Kids looking at Elf on the Shelf toy

Our elves showed up sometime in the night between Thanksgiving and Black Friday, just as they have every year for the last seven.  All three of our kids had been excited for their arrival, but we noticed our oldest was especially eager this year.  “Our elves come this month!” he announced on November 1, eyes twinkling with anticipation. He counted down nearly every night after, and once they finally showed up we found him in the corner talking to them several times throughout the day.  “How was the trip from the North Pole?” “Man, I’ve sure missed you guys.” “What...

Keep Reading

It’s Exhausting Being a Teacher and a Mom in the Month of December

In: Living, Motherhood
Mom and two kids smiling by Christmas tree

I absolutely love Christmas. In fact, I start listening to Christmas music right after Halloween. I’m always itching to put decorations up as soon as my other family members are willing. I love the magic of the season, the giving and the meaning behind all of it. By the time November begins, I’m ready to take on the holidays in full force as both a teacher and a mom. If I’m being honest though, Christmas as a teacher mama is both magical and downright exhausting. There are parties for both my own children and my students. There are gifts to...

Keep Reading

Being a Working Mom When Kids Get Sick Is Complicated

In: Living, Motherhood
Mom holding baby on couch

I didn’t know what my ringtone sounded like until I went back to work after maternity leave. “You know it’s always on silent,” I would say every time I missed a call from my husband. “What’s the point of having a phone if you never answer your calls?” “Who calls these days? Text me like a normal person!” It was a circular conversation, lighthearted, and not intended to bring about change. He will always prefer to call, and I will always prefer to keep my ringer off. But when I got my first early pickup text from my daycare provider...

Keep Reading

Dear Daughter, If Something Feels Off, It Probably Is—Trust Your Intuition

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Mother and daughter black and white photo

A few weeks ago, my 7-year-old daughter was playing at a friend’s house when she messaged me on her game tablet to come pick her up. I didn’t ask why I just went to get her. I asked her once she was home how it was, and she told me she had a weird feeling and she was just “trusting her guts,” which I loved hearing her say. Apparently, her friend had a bunch of extended family show up at the house that we were unaware of. She is extremely outgoing, friendly, and confident so she thought nothing of listening...

Keep Reading

What Single Moms Really Need

In: Faith, Living, Motherhood
Mom holding toddler on hip outside on dirt road

No, you’re not a single mom for a weekend. I’ve heard it said at social gatherings, in passing at church, and on social media. Perhaps the words are being uttered in a state of awe as if comparing themselves to valiant warrior princesses, knights in shining armor, heroes.  Usually though, it’s an under-the-breath complaint about being left by their otherwise attentive and loving spouse for the week or weekend. “I’m a single mom this weekend; my husband is on a golfing trip with his brothers.” “My husband is away for work, so I feel like a single mom this week.” ...

Keep Reading

I Love You At Every Stage

In: Kids, Motherhood
Three children at park, color photo

Confession: I love the 1-year-old phase. Our youngest is one and such a joy to be around. He’s still so cuddly, finds such joy in the smallest things, is learning new things every day, and smiles at every little thing his big brother and sister do. I love the 3-year-old phase. Our only girl is three. She has a flair for the dramatic, but she is very forthright with her feelings. “I’m having a hard time.” “I just miss my daddy when he’s at the Fire House.” “I’m a princess.” “God made me beautiful.” She is quick to be a...

Keep Reading

10 Lessons I Hope You Learn Playing Youth Sports

In: Kids, Motherhood
Boy dribbling down basketball court, black-and-white photo

Last night was my sixth grader’s last basketball game of the season. He played with many of the same gang of boyhood friends he has known since kindergarten. This year, however, they were introduced to a traveling team, older players, and much stiffer competition than they had encountered in the past. They stood the test and played their little boy hearts out. I am proud of my son, his team, his coaches, and all the familiar faces we came to know in the Greenwood Laboratory School cheering section each week, sometimes two to three times in one week!  Here’s to...

Keep Reading