So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

New Year’s resolutions are my least favorite thing.

This year’s top resolution is to “be a better person”. Maybe this is well-intentioned but I’m guessing it really means “be better at EVERYTHING”.

I’m going to get in shape and lose 20 pounds. I’m going to fully declutter my house and be organized. I’m going to get that promotion at work. Be a better mom. Better wife. Cook better meals. Wear better clothes or have better hair. 

Just BETTER. 

Everything about me just needs to be BETTER.

So where is the next 10-step plan? Which group do I join? Where is the magic cure to it all–to just make me BETTER?

So silly.

I’ve spent my entire life wishing I could look different. Wishing I could lose that last 10 or 15 pounds. Even 20 years ago when I should have been walking around in a bikini every day, I always thought to myself . . . just five or 10 more. 

I look at photos now and realize how crazy that was. Look at my body! Look at my flat stomach! Look at my clear skin–wrinkle-free! Look at my perky breasts (I had such a nice rack)! Why didn’t I just take care of it and enjoy it? Why was I constantly striving and listening to the critical little voice in my ear?

I am embarrassed to say, today I often do the same thing. My stomach is NOT flat. And now it’s decorated with stretch marks from five babies. My chest has unevenly deflated and my once clear skin looks like a pimply teenager’s while my eyes are framed with laugh lines. That critical little voice still creeps in and whispers, “Do something! You can be better!”  

I won’t even get started on the things this voice tells me about my mothering skills.

I’m guessing I’ll look back in 20 or 30 years and say the same thing. Look at my body! Look how pretty I was! Remember when I didn’t need to dye my hair? Remember when I could take two months off then go run five miles no sweat? Why didn’t I just take care of it and enjoy it?

And by then my children will be gone and I will have forgotten all about those little things I got wrong as a mom.

I’m not suggesting we all just throw in the towel, let ourselves go, and stop trying at life. 

But what if I just stopped?

What if I didn’t buy in? 

What if learned to ignore all the hype to be a smokin’ hot perfect mom with a beautifully decorated and organized home, amazing husband, and over-achieving children? 

What if I stopped feeling like I am not enough when I fall short in every single one of the categories the world measures us by?

What if we all did?

This year, shortly after Thanksgiving a little eight-year-old girl in our neighborhood died suddenly and unexpectedly from acute leukemia. They didn’t even know she was sick. 

Her death went off like a shot and reverberated all around our little neighborhood.

I’d met this family a month prior at a Halloween carnival in the neighborhood and chatted for a while with the mom. She pointed out her children running and playing with all the others. I barely knew them. But as a mom I felt I knew her wholly and completely. 

And now the loss of her child? Her precious baby, so adored? What shock. What grief.

I went to the balloon memorial ceremony along with over 100 others in the neighborhood. All the moms looked dazed, their cheeks tear-stained and eyes puffy. 

Those balloons really were beautiful as they floated away amid children and classmates hollering goodbyes.

But I couldn’t seem to pull my eyes away from this mother. I watched as she let a balloon slip from her fingers and crumpled to the ground in sobs. What incredible, unthinkable, unimaginable pain. There was nothing anyone could really do.

It is all so fragile.

We are all so powerless.

I remember how I closed my eyes then and prayed. It was the only thing left to do. 

I prayed God might let me carry one small shred of her pain carefully and tenderly in my hands. I prayed I might take some of that mother’s unbearable pain and let it pierce into my own heart so that she might be able to walk through the next minutes and hours and days . . . a lifetime without her baby girl. 

Maybe if I carried just the littlest bit, she might be able to endure her little girl’s funeral. Or Christmas. Or all the thousands of other moments she’s going to have to face now–a mother’s most awful and terrible fear–now her reality.

I suppose it’s unfair of me to use this awful tragedy in my own life, but I couldn’t help it. That night I gave my baby girl a bath and sat quietly watching her dump the water back and forth as she laughed and splashed and played. 

I sat memorizing her roly-poly body and dazzling smile, her adorable laugh and her beautiful gray-blue eyes. And I couldn’t help thinking…

What if I only get eight years?

Eight years with this amazing, beautiful little creature?

Wouldn’t it make all those silly, frivolous, superficial things I worry about so often just drift away? My body? My weight? My clothes? My hair? My dinners? The condition of my home? Skin care?

And wouldn’t this be a wonderful way to live? Whether eight years or 80 . . . isn’t this the way we are meant to live? Isn’t this the kind of life I want for my children?

Can I somehow be BETTER at living this way? 

Can we all?

I’m sure this isn’t a once and for all decision. There are too many voices whispering and temptations and comparisons are everywhere. 

But what if it could be an every-morning mindset?

What if every morning I wake up and gratefully ask God to lead my way? Ask Him to help me be present and content throughout the moments of my day? Ask Him to show me who I’m meant to love and serve each day then do my best to carry it out?

I bet that looks like healthy eating and plenty of water and sleep and exercise. Not because it keeps my weight down but because I feel better when I’m a good steward of my body.

I bet that looks like changing diapers and doing dishes and folding laundry and cleaning up messes and reading bedtime stories and disciplining for the 100th time in an hour then sending a text to my husband to thank him for working so hard for us.

I bet that looks like lingering a few minutes at Target so the elderly lady behind us in line can chat with my little ones and smile at Lizzy and squeeze her tiny hands.

I bet that looks like a phone call or card to a friend or dinner for a neighbor.

I bet that looks like mixing up cookies with my kids after school and sitting down together to eat them warm out of the oven. Just eat the cookies!!

And I bet that looks like asking forgiveness from my family for the millionth time when I inevitably lose my temper and hurt their feelings.

Isn’t this really the way we want to live our lives?

Sure, sometimes the kids fight. They yell and run in the house and throw punches and slam doors and tell me they hate me. 

Sometimes someone wets the bed or the baby blows out her diaper or they track dog poop into the house. 

Sometimes, even when I’m trying to be patient, I’m so angry the vein sticks out in my forehead and I yell so loud my throat hurts for the rest of the day. 

They skin their knees and break their arms and spill their milk three times in one dinner and sometimes I find boogers in the most absurd places. 

Sometimes everyone seems to hate each other and everything is a mess and it is all so awful I want to cry and I imagine anything would be BETTER than this.

But sometimes the big boys give me a spontaneous hug . . . not because they are leaving for school or heading up to bed, just because I’m their mom. 

Sometimes I find my four-year-old rummaging around in the kitchen after the other kids are in bed, trying to pack up leftover cookies for his brothers’ school lunches. 

Sometimes my baby girl squinches up her eyes and smiles and lays her head down on my shoulder and calls me Sis. 

And sometimes we have a dance party together in the living room, the little ones hopping and jumping, the big ones popping and rolling on the floor and doing the worm, and everyone is smiling and laughing and there is so much love and it is all so wonderful I want to cry and I can’t imagine anything BETTER than this.

This life. 

This is the beautiful, messy life God has planned for us. 

He wants us to enjoy all our gifts, however imperfect. He wants us to really live it. He wants us to be gentle with ourselves and love others. He wants us to just be still and cease striving. He wants us to open our clenched fists. He wants us to let go of perfection and make room for grace.

Now, can anything really be BETTER than that?

Originally published on the author’s blog

Mikala Albertson

Mikala is a wife, family practice doctor turned mostly stay-at-home mom to five kids, and writer. She is the author of Ordinary On Purpose: Surrendering Perfect and Discovering Beauty Amid the Rubble available wherever books are sold. Mikala writes to give you permission to release your grip on all the should-dos and have-tos and comparisons and “I’m not measuring up”s and just be free to live your life. THIS life, however imperfect. In this body with these relationships in this house at this job with these parents and these circumstances. Your ONE precious, beautiful life! Join her on Facebook and Instagram.

Fall into the Arms of Jesus, Little One

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Child walking

I have three younger brothers, so I know how crazy and wild boys can be. Lots of falls, cuts, scrapes, bruises, broken bones, and even a couple of head stitches. My husband has two younger brothers. He’d always tell how they used to jump from the banister down two floors onto the glass coffee table. Why anyone would do that, I have no idea. Pure madness and chaos.  Right now, I have a little baby boy who’s only seven months, but I know he will probably be just as wild as his uncles and dad. But that doesn’t mean I’m...

Keep Reading

10 Tips to Banish Teenage FOMO

In: Faith, Motherhood, Teen
Teen with red hair smiling

Do you ever feel like the whole world is having a party—and you weren’t invited Maybe you worry about being included in the right groups or invited to the right sleepovers. Maybe you envy the relationships you see at school or youth group or feel jealous of the perfect social media posts showing others making memories together. If you’re a teen in 2022, you’re probably well acquainted with the fear of missing out. Knowing or wondering what you’re missing or who is getting together without you can leave you feeling lonely. It can leave you lonely and a little blue....

Keep Reading

I’m So Thankful For This Little Family

In: Faith, Marriage, Motherhood
Toddler boy and infant girl, color photo

I remember my teenage self dreaming, hoping, and praying for a life like I have now. Praying for a man to love me, to be loyal to me, to want a family with me, to provide for me, to show me what stability felt like and what it felt like to not ever have to worry . . . and here he is right in front of me. I remember my teenage self dreaming, hoping, praying for a house I could make a home and raise my family in. Here it is right in front of me. But most of...

Keep Reading

How I Like My Coffee

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother and daughter drink coffee

I like my coffee with hazelnut creamer and a dash of almond milk. I like my coffee cold and neglected on the countertop because I’m busy soothing my new baby boy, the one who has made me a mother. In my long robe and slippers, I pace the kitchen floor and hold my swaddled son close to my heart. When his fussing grows quiet, I can hear the ticking of the big clock in the den. The dawn slowly reveals itself, brightening the kitchen in increments. It’s hard to imagine keeping my eyes open until he’s ready to nap again....

Keep Reading

Compassion Holds My Heart

In: Faith, Living, Motherhood
Child hugging mother

I lean my head in through the window of his van. The first thing I notice is the funny smell. Like cigarettes. And maybe body odor. The second? His tired, wrinkle-lined eyes. They’re dull, lethargic even. My daughter scrunches up her nose. I give her that look and try to hide my own misgivings. But Compassion climbs in the car with me.  And as the taxi driver guides the car toward our destination, I ask him about his story. Turns out he’s been driving all night. Till 5:30 this morning. Taking people home who were too drunk to drive themselves....

Keep Reading

I Was the Girl Who Ran Away From God

In: Faith
Woman standing in grass, black-and-white photo

I was the girl. I was the girl who’d do anything to get high as a teenager. I was the girl who craved love and just wanted to be wanted. I was the girl who wasn’t afraid of anything. I was the girl who stopped believing there was a God. I was the girl who said I would never go back to church. I was the girl who was certain none of it was real anyway because I was wasting my time going places like that. I was the girl who let the heartache and disappointment of this old world...

Keep Reading

I Prayed for You Before I Knew You

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother holding baby, color photo

Baby, I have prayed for you—even before I knew who you would be.  I prayed I would be a mom one day when I was too little to know what I was praying for and again when I really thought my body would not be able to carry a baby. I prayed for you.  I prayed every day as you grew in my belly that you would be healthy, happy, and strong.  I prayed at every doctor’s appointment and scan that I would hear your heartbeat loud and strong.  I prayed for your arrival—for you to be safe and for...

Keep Reading

Dear Mom, I Miss You

In: Faith, Grief
Grown woman and her mother, color photo

Dear Mom, Yesterday I went over to your house. I was hoping you would open the door, but Daddy greeted me with his sweet smile. Yes, he still has a mustache. The one you hate, but I did manage to trim it up for him. I cut his hair too.   We talked about you over coffee and waited for you to join us, but you never did. He’s doing his best to do this life without you in it, but his eyes are clouded with memories and mixed with pain. He misses you, Momma. RELATED: I Didn’t Just Lose...

Keep Reading

Spaghetti Sauce Faith

In: Faith, Marriage, Motherhood
Mother and little girl holding a bowl of spaghetti, color photo

It was Sunday afternoon, and I was loading my grocery cart higher than I ever had in my life. My husband and I, along with our two kids under two years old, had been living with his parents for three months. We moved from our Florida home to look for a house in Georgia, and they graciously took us in. This was the day I loaded up on groceries—filling an empty refrigerator, freezer, and pantry. My shopping list was all the things. I needed to buy the smallest of table ingredients like salt and garlic powder to the big things...

Keep Reading

Dear Introverted Mom, Take that Break

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman outside with book and food

I am alone, in a hotel room, 20 minutes from home, lying back in the crisp bed, feet propped up on billowing white pillows. A good book is in my hand. The large window beside me overlooks the Mississippi River as the sun slowly sets and people unwind for a southern Louisiana evening in downtown Baton Rouge. I’ll probably order room service for dinner. I spent the afternoon at the coffee shop across the street, sipping on a deliciously caffeinated beverage carefully made to my liking. I ate a delicate snack filled with fruits, fancy lettuce, and expensive cheese while...

Keep Reading

5 Secrets to the

BEST Summer Ever!

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Creating simple summer memories

with your kids that will  last a lifetime