Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

I’m the mom of teenagers, and I thought I’d be better at this by now.

I thought I would learn how to keep my house clean and my cupboards organized and my counters uncluttered. Yet, here I sit at 9 p.m., with dishes in my sink and this morning’s coffee cup still on the table.

After being a mom for more than 14 years, I should have this meal planning thing down to a science—and remember that yes, my family wants to eat every single night. But we made breakfast for dinner tonight with a box of Bisquick and freezer-burned bacon, and I’m hopeful we have enough food in our house to scrape together lunches in the morning for three growing kids.

I thought by now I would be smart enough to put the laundry I started in the morning into the dryer when I got home that night or take those boxes that have been sitting in my hallway to Goodwill or return those pillows to Target because I didn’t really need them anyway. But all those things sit waiting for me to do something with them. Again.

I figured I would have found the patience to not yell at my kids when they left their dishes in the sink or dropped their muddy soccer cleats in front of the door or draped a wet towel over the banister. Most days, however, the words come out before I can stop them.

After working part-time since the birth of my kids, I thought I would have found work-life balance, that I wouldn’t need to finish projects long after my family went to bed or sometimes before anyone woke. But my to-do list keeps growing while the time I can focus on it shrinks.

I’ve been a mom a long time, and most days, I still have no idea what I’m doing, sometimes even less so than when I was a new mom with three babies. Shouldn’t I have it all together by now?

But I’ve learned that while I’m not always good at the housework or the organization or staying calm or finding balance, we’ve still done OK. More than OK I think my kids would say.

I should have all the confidence in the world as a mother, but yet I still sometimes get consumed by what I didn’t do on any given day, how I failed my husband and my kids, how I could have finished one more task. 

I’m the mother of teenagers, and I should be better at this by now.

Not too long in the future, I won’t have so many clothes to wash or meals to make or messes to clean up. My house will be organized and my evenings free. I’ll have time to focus on my work and may even remember to switch the laundry out the first time I hear the beep.

And I hope when I look back at this chaotic, messy, unorganized time when my home was the center of my children’s world—even if I think I could have done better–they know that I did the best that I could.

You may also like:

Dear Mom, This Is What I Need You To Remember Now That I’m a Teenager

This Simple Strategy Changed My Relationship With My Teens

My Kids Are Growing Up, But I’m Still a New Mom

Want more stories of love, family, and faith from the heart of every home, delivered straight to you? Sign up here! 

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

Whitney Fleming

Whitney is a mom of three teen daughters, a freelance writer, and co-partner of the site parentingteensandtweens.com You can find her on Facebook at WhitneyFlemingWrites.

You Are Someone’s Beautiful

In: Motherhood
Woman hugging herself

It’s 10:45 p.m. For the first time since I “put my face on” this morning, I stood staring back at myself in the mirror. I poked at my eyes and forehead. “How much you’ve changed,” I thought as I noticed new lines and grooves in my face. It’s funny, because earlier in the evening, I sat at my parent’s kitchen island, looking at magnets that hung on their refrigerator. Our daughter’s birth announcement stood out to me. “Wow!” I remarked to my mother who was admiring them with me. “That feels like forever ago.” It was only six years ago when...

Keep Reading

Do They Notice My Self-Doubt as a Working Mom?

In: Living, Motherhood
Woman taking a selfie in a bathroom mirror holding a coffee cup

At the office, I forget yet another small detail. Later, I am asked a simple question, something I should know the answer to, and I respond with “I don’t know” because it didn’t even occur to me to have that information on hand. I feel incapable of planning much ahead and insecure about my ability to read through the fine print. Another day of work is missed to be home with a sick baby, it’s been a difficult winter with illness striking our home, including a round of influenza for me. Meetings I was supposed to lead are covered by...

Keep Reading

Having Kids Shows Who Your Real Friends Are

In: Friendship, Motherhood
Mother and child walking through forest, color photo

Any mom, typical or special needs, will tell you having kids is the fastest way to tell who your real friends are. When your child is born with special needs this process becomes even more severe and obvious. At first, people visit and want to hold the baby, but once the delays kick in slowly people start to pull away. Disability makes them uncomfortable. That’s the truth. They hope you won’t notice, but you do. Honestly, most stop trying altogether. It’s not just friends who act this way either, sometimes it’s family too. That hurts the most. As a parent...

Keep Reading

Dear Child, You Are Not Responsible for How Anyone Else Feels about You

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Teen girl looking in the mirror putting on earrings

Dear kiddo, I have so many dreams for you. A million hopes and desires run through my mind every day on a never-ending loop, along with worries and fears, and so, so much prayer. Sometimes, it feels like my happiness is tied with ropes of steel to yours. And yet, the truth is, there are times you disappoint me. You will continue to disappoint me as you grow and make your own choices and take different paths than the ones I have imagined for you. But I’m going to tell you a secret (although I suspect you already know): My...

Keep Reading

Hey Mom, It’s Okay Not to Be Perfect

In: Motherhood
Mother with head in hands and child jumping on couch nearby

Have you ever walked into a room, to an event, or a meeting, where you immediately felt out of place? As if you had come into a foreign space where you were not worthy, or just didn’t belong among the other mothers in the room? Maybe you were not dressed the part. Your hair may have fallen in messy strands around your face, or you may not have taken the time to put on a full face of makeup as the other women in the room had. Maybe your clothing choice of the day was just not quite as put...

Keep Reading

Now I Know How a Mother Is Made

In: Motherhood
Husband, wife, and young son, color photo

It’s been almost three years now, but I can still remember how your 8-pound body felt in my arms. Night after night as we tried to sleep, I remember your sounds, your movements, and your tiny hands. I gave it my all but still felt I fell short. You see sweet little one, you may have been brand new to this world, but so was I. The day you were born, a mother was born too. Things didn’t always go according to plan. It’s hard when you try your best, but you just can’t get there. So many new things...

Keep Reading

I’m Praying for My Teenager in These Challenging Years

In: Faith, Motherhood, Teen
Teen boy holding a smartphone and wearing headphones

In my mid-40s, I began to long for a baby. We didn’t get much encouragement from friends and family. My husband is a high-functioning quadriplegic, and I was considered way too old to start a family. But our marriage was stable, we were used to obstacles, we were financially prepared, emotionally experienced, and our careers were established. I began to paint my own sublime mental portrait of parenting tranquility. What could go wrong? At 48, I delivered a healthy baby boy, and he was perfect. We adored him. The baby we had longed for and prayed for, we had. And...

Keep Reading

Going to Church with Kids is Hard but We’ll Keep Showing Up

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother holding young daughter in church

Going to church is hard with young kids. It used to be something I looked forward to. It’s something I’ve always valued deeply and needed desperately. It’s the one place that will always be home regardless of what location or building it’s in or what people attend. Church is my sanctuary. But it’s become a battle with the kids’ resistance, my tired mind and body, and my lack of ability to actually listen to the sermon. Going to church is hard with young kids. It’s become normal for me to lie down in bed on Saturday night thinking, with dread,...

Keep Reading

When Motherhood Feels Like a Limitation

In: Faith, Motherhood
Ruth Chou Simons holding book

Twenty-one years ago, my husband Troy and I welcomed our first son into the world. Two years later, I gave birth to another boy. And again two years later, and again two years after that. A fifth boy joined our family another two years later, and a final son was born 11 years after we began our parenting journey. If you were counting, you’re not mistaken—that’s six sons in just over a decade. We were overjoyed and more than a little exhausted. I remember feeling frustrated with the limitations of the little years with young children when I was a...

Keep Reading

I Obsessed over Her Heartbeat Because She’s My Rainbow Baby

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Mother and teen daughter with ice cream cones, color photo

I delivered a stillborn sleeping baby boy five years before my rainbow baby. I carried this sweet baby boy for seven whole months with no indication that he wouldn’t live. Listening to his heartbeat at each prenatal visit until one day there was no heartbeat to hear. It crushed me. ”I’m sorry but your baby is dead,” are words I’ll never be able to unhear. And because of these words, I had no words. For what felt like weeks, I spoke only in tears as they streamed down my cheeks. But I know it couldn’t have been that long. Because...

Keep Reading