Giving myself permission to just be Mom seems like a no-brainer, but it’s just not that easy. I’m already thinking about my lasts of motherhood with all my kids now in school. Time is going too quickly for me and I can’t keep up with my own life.

I went on a school field trip to the apple orchard this fall with my youngest child and I had so much fun. We loved the time together. He and I both enjoyed learning about apples and the workings of an apple orchard. I watched as he ran around the playground with his peers laughing and jumping. I was present to witness him being a child. He was free and concerned with nothing but the joy of the moment. He fully felt the excitement for the next moment when he climbed up to the top of the slide. He yelled down to me and he was waving at me through the worn wooden slats at the top. He smiled and jumped down the slide and came shooting out fast like the slide couldn’t contain his energy.

My tears teased me and one even slipped out as I realized that since he is my youngest child, this would be my last apple orchard field trip as a chaperone.

It was a mom epiphany for me. I realized I want to live in my moments as mom just as he fully lives in his moments as a kid.

As a parent chaperone, I rode that bus back to school with all the first graders. I watched my son cajole and tickle friends. The bus was a giant social party for them because they didn’t have to do anything else but sit and talk or laugh. I again felt a bittersweet twinge on that loud bus. This orchard field trip bus ride was a last for me in my motherhood because the older grades don’t take field trips to the orchard.

I am having lots of motherhood lasts as I feel my mothering of young kids slipping away. I already miss it. As my kids are getting older I see my motherhood getting older too. I miss each stage as my youngest passes through it and I realize how fast this motherhood job is going. I realize I won’t have them much longer. I need to give myself permission to just be Mom and live in the moment as much as I can.

My oldest has only a handful of school years left before he’s off to college. I feel like he was just born.

I am amazed to be in this place in my motherhood already. How could time be going so fast? Why am I always too busy to slow down to fully enjoy it? I always have way too much to do. I’m always overwhelmed by my to-do list.

Standards are too high. We must have a clean organized nice smelling home. We must make healthy homemade meals and snacks, not processed. We must take our kids to sporting practices and games and music lessons. We must wash those sports uniforms. We must have time for household laundry and cleaning. Make time for faith and church. Make time for work. For shopping. For homework helping. We must make time for our spouses. For extended family. For our friends. For exercise. For social time with neighbors and friends. For time with pets. For outside time. For time to sleep. For time to do social events for our kids like play dates and birthday parties and sleepovers. For time to read a book and stay caught up on social media with friends and family. For fun seasonal activities. For volunteering. Time for ourselves, which often falls last on the list for parents.

I’m dizzy with that list. I’m drowning in that list. These days I feel like I’m scrambling. Like I live my life in a constant state of anxiety and panic always needing to get something done and always failing to accomplish it all. I felt this way the day I brought my first baby boy home and somehow I thought that feeling would go away or get better as the kids grew up, but it’s not going away. It’s not better. In fact it’s even busier now that they are older because we have more activities, more homework, more social activities, more meals, more snacks, more eating, more shopping, more kids to parent. It’s not slowing down, it’s going faster and faster and I’m running to catch up with my life.

I know as crazy insane busy as I am right now, I wouldn’t give it up because I love mom life. It might be crazy but it’s mine while I have it. It’s mine while my kids are under 18. I get to own it. I get to let it consume me while I have the chance to be a mom to my kids while they are still living at home.

But when is it OK to say no I’m not helping someone? When is it OK to say I’m too busy mothering my own kids to take on more?

This is an issue I wrestle with because I like to help others. I like to volunteer. But I’m taking a stand. I’m giving myself permission to just be Mom. I get to say no to new obligations. I get to be selective in them. I’m giving myself that right even though I feel torn about helping out in so many other places. I will still help where I can but I’m cutting back and I’m saying no to some old obligations and no to adding new ones. Now is my time to dwell in my own moments as mom because I’m realizing mom moments are fleeting.

This is my mom life right now and I’m taking it. I’m giving myself permission to just be mom.

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

Julie Hoag

Julie Hoag is a freelance writer and blogger, wife, and mom to three busy boys, & fur mama to two rescue dogs and two guinea pigs. She writes on her blog about motherhood, kids, family, recipes, DIY, travel, and faith. She is a vegetarian who loves to cook and create recipes when she’s not driving her three boys all over town to sports practices in her crumb-filled minivan. In her past life she has worked as a Scientist and Medical Data Manager, a pediatric nurse, and a SAHM. She loves to volunteer in her kids’ schools and help fundraise money for their schools. She is a Christian who loves nature, animals, traveling, gardening, swimming in her pool, and simply spending time with her family. Her favorites are dark chocolate, red wine, and cheese with yummy bread.

God Gave Him Bigger Feelings

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy on playground, color photo

He came home from school last week and asked, “Why do I get so angry but my friends never do? Why am I not the same?” And it broke me. Because he is passionate and intelligent and kind and intuitive and beautiful. He didn’t always seem different. We never paid attention to how he would line everything up in play. And we would laugh it off as a quirk when he would organize everything dependent upon shape, size, and color. He was stubborn, sure, but so am I. And then COVID happened, and we attributed the lack of social skills...

Keep Reading

We Have a Big Family and Wouldn’t Change a Thing

In: Kids, Motherhood
Four children in front of Christmas tree, color photo

I have just had my fourth baby. A baby who wasn’t expected but very much wanted and very much loved from the moment we found out. When we told people we were expecting, the response was underwhelming. The stream of intrusive questions would then ensue:  You already have your hands full, how will you cope with four? You’ll need a bigger car! Where will they all sleep? Don’t you own a TV? You know how babies are made right? People seemed to have such a strong opinion about me having a fourth child. RELATED: We Had a Lot of Kids...

Keep Reading

As a Mom I’m Far From Perfect, But I Hope You Remember the Joy

In: Kids, Motherhood
Happy mother and daughter on the beach

Sometimes, I think about the future when you are grown and I am gone. When all that’s left of me are photographs and memories. I know what the photographs will show. I took most of them, after all. But the memories I’m less sure of. I wonder what will stick with you after all that time. How will you remember me? One day, your grandkids will ask you about me. What will you say? Will you tell them I was always distracted? Will you remember that I looked at my phone too much? Will you tell them I didn’t play...

Keep Reading

Being a Daycare Mom Can Be So Hard

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Woman holding boy on couch, black-and-white photo

Dear daycare mom,  I know it’s hard.  To get yourself up before them, to make lunches, to pack the bags, to get yourself ready.  To go into their rooms, where they are peacefully sleeping, and turn the lights on.  To struggle to get them breakfast, get them dressed, and get them out the door.  I know it’s hard.  To have a morning rush when all you want to do is snuggle up on the couch and ease into your day.  RELATED: When a Mom is Late To Work To feel like you are missing out on their childhood at times...

Keep Reading

The PB&J that Saved the Day

In: Kids, Motherhood
Table with three plates of PB&J sandwiches, color photo

It was one of those days.  One of those days when your pants are too tight, you wake up with a headache, and the kids’ rooms are disasters at 8 a.m. It was one of those days when I had to physically go into Target for our groceries since I didn’t have time to wait for pickup—I think that alone should sum up exactly the kind of day it was.  The kids were hangry. The toddler was, well, toddler-y. RELATED: Toddlers Are Human Too—And Sometimes They Just Need Grace Two minutes into our shopping trip, she had kicked her light-up rain...

Keep Reading

One Day He’ll Love Another Woman More than He Loves Me

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding baby, color photo

To Benjamin, my 16-month-old son, I am everything. I am the first person that boy looks for when he wakes up in the morning and the last person he wants before he goes to bed. If he is in a room full of people he loves and I am not there, he will search for me.  If he has a problem, mommy is the solution. I am the answer to his cries. I feel confident in saying that I am the most important person in that little boy’s little world. I love it. It is an honor and a privilege...

Keep Reading

To My Sister, Thank You For Being the Best Aunt To My Kids

In: Kids, Motherhood
Aunt with three young kids

“Do you have the kids’ basketball schedule yet?” you texted the other day. I sent back a screenshot of the calendar, and within an hour you responded telling me which game you’d be coming to. It was a simple exchange, but I was overwhelmed with gratitude for your love for my kids in that moment. It’s something I think often but don’t say nearly enough: thank you for being such an amazing aunt. Truly.  I know it’s not always convenient. You live three hours away and have a busy, full life of your own—but still, you show up for your niece and nephews...

Keep Reading

In Defense of the Stubborn Child

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy hanging over dock, color photo

“Lamp. Lamp. Laaaaamp,” my 2-year-old son screamed while stomping his feet. Tears were running down his face and snot was dripping dangerously close to his mouth. I put on what I hoped would be a soothing, motherly tone, “Okay, just calm down.” While trying to maintain eye contact, I slowly reached toward the tissue box. This must be what the greats like Jeff Corwin, Steve Irwin, or the Kratt brothers feel like when facing a volatile animal in the wild. The sound of a tissue being pulled from the box caused the crying to stop abruptly. His eyes flitted toward...

Keep Reading

Dear Stepdaughter, You Aren’t “Mine” but I Love You as My Own

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter hug

First off, I love you. I wasn’t there the day you were born or when you got your first tooth. I wasn’t there when you took your first steps or learned to pee in the potty. But, I have loved you since the day we met, and I’ve been there for every moment since. I’ve given you baths and eventually, taught you how to shower on your own. I’ve brushed your hair, clipped your nails, and taken care of you when you’re sick. I’ve tucked you into bed and kissed you goodnight, held you when you’re sad, chased away your...

Keep Reading

I Was Meant to Be a Boy Mom

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and three boys, black-and-white photo

When you’re a little girl, you dream of the day you can pass all your Barbies and dolls on to your daughter and continue that same form of make-believe, to play dress up, do their hair, and go shopping with . . . at least I did.  You grow up, fall in love, get married, and decide to start a family and all those same emotions come rushing back about all you’ll do with your baby girl. You cut open that cake and the blue frosting peeks through, and you’re so excited that you forget all those girl dreams. You...

Keep Reading