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

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

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.

You Came between Us

In: Marriage, Motherhood
Toddler between mom and dad under sheet

Right in the middle of our deepest love, you came—just between us. A silent, unseen surprise. A mysterious miracle of incarnated love and joy. From that sacred moment that we couldn’t imagine being any sweeter, came you. Sometime in the middle of all the daily goodbye hugs, my stomach began to grow and you came between us. This beautiful bundle of life blossoming right inside of me. And we were in awe of every single tiny formation of you. In awe of who you were, excited by who you’d be, in awe that you were ours. You came between us...

Keep Reading

God Redeemed the Broken Parts of My Infertility Story

In: Faith, Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Two young children walking on a path near a pond, color photo

It was a Wednesday morning when I sat around a table with a group of mamas I had just recently met. My youngest daughter slept her morning nap in a carrier across my chest. Those of us in the group who held floppy babies swayed back and forth. The others had children in childcare or enrolled in preschool down the road. We were there to chat, learn, grow, and laugh. We were all mamas. But we were not all the same. I didn’t know one of the mom’s names, but I knew I wanted to get to know her because she...

Keep Reading

I’m a Mom Who Reads and is Raising Readers

In: Living, Motherhood
Mom with infant daughter on bed, reading a book, color photo

Since childhood, I’ve been lost in a world of books. My first true memory of falling in love with a book was when my mom read aloud Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. With each voice she used, I fell deep into the world of imagination, and I’ve never seemed to come up for air. My reading journey has ebbed and flowed as my life has gone through different seasons, but I’ve always seemed to carry a book with me wherever I went. When I entered motherhood and gave my whole life over to my kids, I needed something that...

Keep Reading

I Look Forward to the End of a Work Day for a Whole New Reason Now

In: Motherhood
Dad hugs toddler at home

Those minutes matter. Whether it’s 5 or 15, every single second of them counts. Unless you’ve been there, it’s impossible to explain. I’m not sure there are any words that could really create the right picture. But believe me when I say those minutes count. I’m talking about those final minutes leading up to that door opening and some form of relief being on the other side. Those minutes you never thought would come. Those minutes mean you made it through another day, and there is (possibly) some relief in sight. This is a new experience I wasn’t quite ready...

Keep Reading

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

I Didn’t Know How Much I Needed Other Mothers

In: Friendship, Living, Motherhood
Two mom friends smiling at each other

I read somewhere the other day that when a child is born, a parent is too. In my first few months being a mother, I’m learning just how odd that sentiment is. In an instant, I became someone new. Not only that, but I became part of a group I didn’t realize existed. That sounds wrong. Of course, mothers existed. But this community of mothers? I had no idea. It took us a long time to get where we are today. Throughout our journey with infertility, I knew in my heart I was meant to be a mother. I knew that...

Keep Reading

I Wasn’t Sure You’d Be Here To Hold

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother with newborn baby on her chest in hospital bed

I stood naked in my parents’ bathroom. Even with the tub filling, I could hear my family chattering behind the door. I longed to be with them, not hiding alone with my seven-month round belly, sleep-deprived, and covered in pox-like marks. For three weeks, I’d tried Benadryl, lotions, and other suggested remedies to cure the strange rash spreading over my body. No luck. By Christmas Day, my life had been reduced to survival. Day and night, I tried to resist itching, but gave in, especially in my sleep. At 1 a.m., 2 a.m., 3 a.m., the feeling of fire ants...

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

God Has You

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman hugging herself while looking to the side

Holding tight to the cold, sterile rail of the narrow, rollaway ER bed, I hovered helplessly over my oldest daughter. My anxious eyes bounced from her now steadying breaths to the varying lines and tones of the monitor overhead. Audible reminders of her life that may have just been spared. For 14 years, we’d been told anaphylaxis was possible if she ingested peanuts. But it wasn’t until this recent late autumn evening we would experience the fear and frenzy of our apparent new reality. My frantic heart hadn’t stopped racing from the very moment she struggled to catch a breath....

Keep Reading

To My Wife: I See Your Sacrifice

In: Marriage, Motherhood
Family of 3 sitting on floor together at home

Selfless. No other word more clearly depicts your commitment to your family. Motherhood is drastically different than you dreamed of your whole life—the dreams of what sort of mama you would be, of how much you would enjoy being a mother even on the tough days. Since day one of our relationship, you’ve been selfless. Since day one of being a mama, you’ve been selfless. Your love for your family shines through on the brightest and darkest days. But on the dark days, it shines the brightest. I can’t count the hours of sleep sacrificed, the tears cried, the time...

Keep Reading