Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

I’m not known for a clean house.

The mismatched furniture is covered in sticky fingerprints and crayon marks. The carpet has more spots than all 101 Dalmatians combined. Luckily, you can’t see any of that under the fine layer of baby socks and hot wheels which cover every inch of our living room.

Despite having a high tolerance for a certain level of mess, I’ve spent the last few days scrubbing every inch of our house. If there is a corner or cubby that can hold junk – which in my house is almost certain – I have dumped out, sorted, and scrubbed the contents.

Family and friends keep chuckling when I tell them that I’ve spent the last eight hours organizing my closet and sending my kids under the bed to retrieve items I can no longer reach. “Oh, you must really be nesting now. Baby coming soon?” They laugh and smile knowingly.

I know they are right. This is obviously a hormonal, primal urge that has overtaken me. I haven’t cared for the last 18 months that my kitchen utensil drawer was disorganized (and let’s be honest, slightly sticky). But now every crumb, every mismatched sock, every broken toy is driving me insane.

Nesting during my first pregnancy was fairly straightforward. I bought a bunch of stuff, then washed it and sorted it into some organizational system that fell apart immediately after I brought the baby home.

During my second pregnancy, I spent weeks obsessing about the baseboards. I knew I wouldn’t have a chance to clean them after the baby came. But I couldn’t bend down far enough to vacuum and wash them. The scuff marks and spaghetti sauce droppings mocked me every time I got a glimpse.

“You will never be ready in time for baby,” they seemed to say. “How can you expect to handle two when your house is this dirty with one? You know you won’t have time to clean me after baby comes. Much less do anything you want to do.”

Everyone cleans a bit more when someone is coming over to their house for the first time. It’s a mark of hospitality – “I care so much about you that you shouldn’t have to sit on a couch covered in graham cracker crumbs.” (Or perhaps, “I care enough about your opinion of me that I don’t want you to know my couch is typically covered in graham cracker crumbs.”)

I clean because I want my company to think my house looks perfect. And because I want to think everything actually is perfect.

I want some semblance of order to reassure myself that I will actually be able to handle three kids under five. I convince myself that if I can just get every last toy sorted into the correct toy box, that might actually happen. Whenever visitors come over, I try to trick them into thinking I am a competent, organized person. I’m just hoping I can pull the same trick on this new baby.

My second was born a month early, before I ever got around to cleaning those baseboards I had been so worried about. And I was right – after he was here, I never did get around to cleaning them. Free time was too precious, and there was no way I was going to waste it on my hands and knees scrubbing rogue Sharpie marks.

But as soon as I brought him home, I didn’t give them a second thought. They faded back into the backdrop. I didn’t worry so much about the mess, or what it said about me. Because my baby wasn’t company coming over for a visit. Baby is family, and family loves you even when your baseboards are dirty.

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

Jackie Semmens

Jackie Semmens is a writer by nature and a mother by nature. She has two boys and is willing to chase them all over the hills of Montana in order to get them to nap.

5 Kids in the Bible Who Will Inspire Yours

In: Faith, Kids
Little girl reading from Bible

Gathering my kids for morning Bible study has become our family’s cornerstone, a time not just for spiritual growth but for real, hearty conversations about life, courage, and making a difference. It’s not perfect, but it’s ours. My oldest, who’s 11, is at that age where he’s just beginning to understand the weight of his actions and decisions. He’s eager, yet unsure, about his ability to influence his world. It’s a big deal for him, and frankly, for me too. I want him to know, deeply know, that his choices matter, that he can be a force for good, just...

Keep Reading

A Mother’s Love is the Best Medicine

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child lying on couch under blankets, color photo

When my kids are sick, I watch them sleep and see every age they have ever been at once. The sleepless nights with a fussy toddler, the too-hot cheeks of a baby against my own skin, the clean-up duty with my husband at 3 a.m., every restless moment floods my thoughts. I can almost feel the rocking—so much rocking—and hear myself singing the same lullaby until my voice became nothing but a whisper. I can still smell the pink antibiotics in a tiny syringe. Although my babies are now six and nine years old, the minute that fever spikes, they...

Keep Reading

Right Now I’m a Mom Who’s Not Ready to Let Go

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter hugging, color photo

We’re doing it. We’re applying, touring, and submitting pre-school applications. It feels a lot like my college application days, and there’s this image in my mind of how fast that day will come with my sweet girl once she enters the school doors. It’s a bizarre place to be because if I’m honest, I know it’s time to let her go, but my heart is screaming, “I’m not ready yet!” She’s four now though. Four years have flown by, and I don’t know how it happened. She can put her own clothes on and take herself to the bathroom. She...

Keep Reading

Each Child You Raise is Unique

In: Kids, Motherhood
Three little boys under a blanket, black-and-white photo

The hardest part about raising children? Well, there’s a lot, but to me, one major thing is that they are all completely different than one another. Nothing is the same. Like anything. Ever. Your first comes and you basically grow up with them, you learn through your mistakes as well as your triumphs. They go to all the parties with you, restaurants, sporting events, traveling—they just fit into your life. You learn the dos and don’ts, but your life doesn’t change as much as you thought. You start to think Wow! This was easy, let’s have another. RELATED: Isn’t Parenting...

Keep Reading

Our Kids Need Us as Much as We Need Them

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy sitting on bench with dog nearby, color photo

During a moment of sadness last week, my lively and joyful toddler voluntarily sat with me on the couch, holding hands and snuggling for a good hour. This brought comfort and happiness to the situation. At that moment, I realized sometimes our kids need us, sometimes we need them, and sometimes we need each other at the same time. Kids need us. From the moment they enter the world, infants express their needs through tiny (or loud) cries. Toddlers need lots of cuddling as their brains try to comprehend black, white, and all the colors of the expanding world around...

Keep Reading

Your Kids Don’t Need More Things, They Need More You

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Mother and young girl smiling together at home

He reached for my hand and then looked up. His sweet smile and lingering gaze flooded my weary heart with much-needed peace. “Thank you for taking me to the library, Mommy! It’s like we’re on a date! I like it when it’s just the two of us.” We entered the library, hand in hand, and headed toward the LEGO table. As I began gathering books nearby, I was surprised to feel my son’s arms around me. He gave me a quick squeeze and a kiss with an “I love you, Mommy” before returning to his LEGO—three separate times. My typically...

Keep Reading

This Time In the Passenger Seat is Precious

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen
Teen driver with parent in passenger seat

When you’re parenting preteens and teens, it sometimes feels like you are an unpaid Uber driver. It can be a thankless job. During busy seasons, I spend 80 percent of my evenings driving, parking, dropping off, picking up, sitting in traffic, running errands, waiting in drive-thru lines. I say things like buckle your seat belt, turn that music down a little bit, take your trash inside, stop yelling—we are in the car, keep your hands to yourself, don’t make me turn this car around, get your feet off the back of the seat, this car is not a trash can,...

Keep Reading

So God Made My Daughter a Wrestler

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young female wrestler wearing mouth guard and wrestling singlet

God made my girl a wrestler. Gosh, those are words I would never have thought I would say or be so insanely proud to share with you. But I am. I know with 100 percent certainty and overwhelming pride that God made my girl a wrestler. But it’s been a journey. Probably one that started in the spring of 2010 when I was pregnant with my first baby and having the 20-week anatomy ultrasound. I remember hearing the word “girl” and squealing. I was over the moon excited—all I could think about were hair bows and cute outfits. And so...

Keep Reading

A Big Family Can Mean Big Feelings

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Family with many kids holding hands on beach

I’m a mother of six. Some are biological, and some are adopted. I homeschool most of them. I’m a “trauma momma” with my own mental health struggles. My husband and I together are raising children who have their own mental illnesses and special needs. Not all of them, but many of them. I battle thoughts of anxiety and OCD daily. I exercise, eat decently, take meds and supplements, yet I still have to go to battle. The new year has started slow and steady. Our younger kids who are going to public school are doing great in their classes and...

Keep Reading

You May Be a Big Brother, but You’ll Always Be My Baby

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother with young son, color photo

It seems like yesterday we were bringing you home from the hospital. Back then, we were new parents, clueless but full of love—a love that words can hardly explain. I can vividly recall holding you in my arms, rocking you in the cutest nursery, and singing sweet lullabies, just like yesterday. I can picture those times when you were teeny-tiny, doing tummy time, and how proud I was of you for lifting your head. And oh, the happiness on your face when “Baby Shark” played over and over—that song always made you smile! We made sure to capture your growth...

Keep Reading