“I should be able to get the dishes done,” I told my therapist. Since losing a baby in the second trimester of pregnancy, we had been using disposable plates and cups. It wasn’t glamorous, but my three young children didn’t mind, as long as the peanut butter and jelly was still served.

My husband was wise enough to know that in a season of grief, time was not best spent doing dishes. He was the one who bought the disposables. It took a load off after meals, and provided increased time for needed rest in the evenings, yet I still felt guilty. I felt guilty that our bright, happy plates sat unused. I felt guilty for the waste generated by the disposables—even if they were recyclable. Most of all, I felt guilty for not being able to maintain what I thought was a reasonable level of tidiness at home. A competent mom can wash dishes even while grieving, the lies would call to me.

Now that we were coming to the end of our stash of paper plates, my angst had come to a crossroads. Should I swallow my pride, admit that I did need the rest and buy more paper plates? Or should I force myself to make it work, adding regular dishes for five back into my routine? I knew I still needed the rest—but I wanted to be back to normal. I wanted to be out of this season of grief and to feel skilled at adulting and running my home again.

“Do you want to know what I think?” my therapist asked.

“Yes,” I replied.

“You should buy another pack of plates.”

I felt both relieved and conflicted. I asked her how long she thought it was reasonable for us to use the paper plates. How long it was OK for me to focus on rest and grieving over getting back to my normal responsibilities.

“You’ll know,” she said. “You’ll know when your desire to use regular dishes supersedes your desire for rest. You’ll know when your need for folded laundry exceeds your need for kid-free rest time during naptime. You’re going to be in this phase of grief at least through your due date, likely longer. Now isn’t the season to do it all. I’d get another pack of plates.”

I tucked this thought away in my mind for a time when I could unpack it further and we continued talking. Then she hit me with, “Guilt doesn’t help you rest. If you’re going to embrace the grieving and practice self-care, don’t cheapen it by carrying guilt with you. You’ve made the choice to rest—now reap its benefits.”

On the drive home, I chewed on this thought more. I mulled over the things I knew to be true: I was still grieving and needed more rest than usual. My kids needed my rested heart, mind and body more than they needed non-disposable plates. I wasn’t willing to let my pride cheapen the rest and self-care I wanted to embrace.

I pulled into my driveway, picked up my phone and called my husband. “Hey honey, I thought of one more thing to add to the Costco list. Paper plates. We need more paper plates.”

Originally published on the author’s blog

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

Amy Hurst

Amy Hurst is the creator, curator, and contemplative behind Life Coming Alive. She loves her hubby, her free-spirited kids, a good cup of coffee, being in airports, hikes in the woods, sunshine, and grace. She is messy, imperfect, and totally human. She dreams of a generation of families coming alive together, seeing an experiencing the world, learning through life, raising kids that care deeply about the needs around them, and living in bold joy through life’s ups and downs. 

I Thought Our Friendship Would Be Unbreakable

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Two friends selfie

The message notification pinged on my phone. A woman, once one of my best friends, was reaching out to me via Facebook. Her message simply read, “Wanted to catch up and see how life was treating you!”  I had very conflicting feelings. It seemed with that one single message, a flood of memories surfaced. Some held some great moments and laughter. Other memories held disappointment and hurt of a friendship that simply had run its course. Out of morbid curiosity, I clicked on her profile page to see how the years had been treating her. She was divorced and still...

Keep Reading

The First 10 Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking

In: Journal, Marriage, Relationships
The First Ten Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking www.herviewfromhome.com

We met online in October of 2005, by way of a spam email ad I was THIS CLOSE to marking as trash. Meet Single Christians! My cheese alert siren sounded loudly, but for some reason, I unchecked the delete box and clicked through to the site. We met face-to-face that Thanksgiving. As I awaited your arrival in my mother’s kitchen, my dad whispered to my little brother, “Hide your valuables. Stacy has some guy she met online coming for Thanksgiving dinner.” We embraced for the first time in my parents’ driveway. I was wearing my black cashmere sweater with the...

Keep Reading

To The Mother Who Is Overwhelmed

In: Inspiration, Motherhood
Tired woman with coffee sitting at table

I have this one head. It is a normal sized head. It didn’t get bigger because I had children. Just like I didn’t grow an extra arm with the birth of each child. I mean, while that would be nice, it’s just not the case. We keep our one self. And the children we add on each add on to our weight in this life. And the head didn’t grow more heads because we become a wife to someone. Or a boss to someone. We carry the weight of motherhood. The decisions we must make each day—fight the shorts battle...

Keep Reading

You’re a Little Less Baby Today Than Yesterday

In: Journal, Motherhood
Toddler sleeping in mother's arms

Tiny sparkles are nestled in the wispy hair falling across her brow, shaken free of the princess costume she pulled over her head this morning. She’s swathed in pink: a satiny pink dress-up bodice, a fluffy, pink, slightly-less-glittery-than-it-was-two-hours-ago tulle skirt, a worn, soft pink baby blanket. She’s slowed long enough to crawl into my lap, blinking heavy eyelids. She’s a little less baby today than she was only yesterday.  Soon, she’ll be too big, too busy for my arms.  But today, I’m rocking a princess. The early years will be filled with exploration and adventure. She’ll climb atop counters and...

Keep Reading

Dear Husband, I Loved You First

In: Marriage, Motherhood, Relationships
Man and woman kissing in love

Dear husband, I loved you first. But often, you get the last of me. I remember you picking me up for our first date. I spent a whole hour getting ready for you. Making sure every hair was in place and my make-up was perfect. When you see me now at the end of the day, the make-up that is left on my face is smeared. My hair is more than likely in a ponytail or some rat’s nest on the top of my head. And my outfit, 100% has someone’s bodily fluids smeared somewhere. But there were days when...

Keep Reading

Stop Being a Butthole Wife

In: Grief, Journal, Marriage, Relationships
Man and woman sit on the end of a dock with arms around each other

Stop being a butthole wife. No, I’m serious. End it.  Let’s start with the laundry angst. I get it, the guy can’t find the hamper. It’s maddening. It’s insanity. Why, why, must he leave piles of clothes scattered, the same way that the toddler does, right? I mean, grow up and help out around here, man. There is no laundry fairy. What if that pile of laundry is a gift in disguise from a God you can’t (yet) see? Don’t roll your eyes, hear me out on this one. I was a butthole wife. Until my husband died. The day...

Keep Reading

I Can’t Be Everyone’s Chick-fil-A Sauce

In: Friendship, Journal, Living, Relationships
woman smiling in the sun

A couple of friends and I went and grabbed lunch at Chick-fil-A a couple of weeks ago. It was delightful. We spent roughly $20 apiece, and our kids ran in and out of the play area barefoot and stinky and begged us for ice cream, to which we responded, “Not until you finish your nuggets,” to which they responded with a whine, and then ran off again like a bolt of crazy energy. One friend had to climb into the play tubes a few times to save her 22-month-old, but it was still worth every penny. Every. Single. One. Even...

Keep Reading

Love Notes From My Mother in Heaven

In: Faith, Grief, Journal, Living
Woman smelling bunch of flowers

Twelve years have passed since my mother exclaimed, “I’ve died and gone to Heaven!” as she leaned back in her big donut-shaped tube and splashed her toes, enjoying the serenity of the river.  Twelve years since I stood on the shore of that same river, 45 minutes later, watching to see if the hopeful EMT would be able to revive my mother as she floated toward his outstretched hands. Twelve years ago, I stood alone in my bedroom, weak and trembling, as I opened my mother’s Bible and all the little keepsakes she’d stowed inside tumbled to the floor.  It...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Friendships End, No Matter How Hard You Try

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Sad woman alone without a friend

I tried. We say these words for two reasons. One: for our own justification that we made an effort to complete a task; and two: to admit that we fell short of that task. I wrote those words in an e-mail tonight to a friend I had for nearly 25 years after not speaking to her for eight months. It was the third e-mail I’ve sent over the past few weeks to try to reconcile with a woman who was more of a sister to me at some points than my own biological sister was. It’s sad when we drift...

Keep Reading

Goodbye to the House That Built Me

In: Grown Children, Journal, Living, Relationships
Ranch style home as seen from the curb

In the winter of 1985, while I was halfway done growing in my mom’s belly, my parents moved into a little brown 3 bedroom/1.5 bath that was halfway between the school and the prison in which my dad worked as a corrections officer. I would be the first baby they brought home to their new house, joining my older sister. I’d take my first steps across the brown shag carpet that the previous owner had installed. The back bedroom was mine, and mom plastered Smurf-themed wallpaper on the accent wall to try to get me to sleep in there every...

Keep Reading