So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

My husband and I recently welcomed our third and final little girl into the world. We are head over heels in love with our newest bundle of joy, bringing or household to three kiddos under three. We are filled to the brim with princess dresses, singing, and all the cookie baking you could imagine. Her sisters are over the moon, and we are knee-deep in newborn bliss.

We prepared for this final chapter, and everything went smoothly. Our nights are sleepless, and we are covered in babies (and loving it). We go to bed each day completely exhausted and sometimes defeated. Our hands and hearts are full.

And yet, I don’t feel done.

We are maxed out with three babies, and the plan was always to stop at three.

We are capped out financially. We have just enough bedrooms and seats in the car. Vacations are possible and we can all (mostly) fit into restaurant booths. We are so fortunate to have healthy kids that make every day an adventure. We are exhausted, and our patience is tested daily. There are days I feel like I don’t know how we made it to bedtime all in one piece. Our plate is overflowing, and it makes sense that we are done having babies.

RELATED: I’ll Always Want Another Baby

And yet. That nagging feeling that there is one person missing is still there. Whenever I surface from the fourth-trimester fog and terrible twos long enough to take a breath, I am hit with the overwhelming feeling that we are not yet complete.

Being done having kids is the right decision for us. It allows us the means and attention we need for our three kiddos. It aligns with our future goals and allows us to move into the next phase of parenting. We may be complete as a family of five. But as the mom, I am having a hard time.

Being done having babies is an identity crisis for me.

I always imagined I would know when our family was complete. I would soak up all the lasts just like I did with all the firsts, and I would feel relieved to know I would not have to endure pregnancy again. No more morning sickness or cluster feedings. No more breastfeeding struggles or postpartum hormones. But I realized with my last baby, that these challenges are part of my identity.

RELATED: I Fear I’ve Lost Myself To Motherhood

We all have multiple parts of our identity. When I became a first-time mom, I remember hearing so many people tell me not to “lose myself” in motherhood and maintain the other parts of my identity that make me, me. For me, finding my identity as a mom was one of my greatest joys, and a part of my identity that I feel is the strongest. Trying to conceive, tackling pregnancy, and getting to know myself as a mom to my babies have been a huge part of my life for the last three years. Growing a family with my husband has allowed me to love myself as a mom, wife, daughter, and friend more than I ever have before.

And now that time is coming to a close. Instead of losing myself in motherhood, I feel a sense of lost identity as I enter the next stage.

What parts of myself will I identify with the most in the next leg of my journey? What other parts of me need to be nurtured as I navigate into our new normal? Will I feel as confident and overjoyed in the next phase as I feel now?

RELATED: We’re Done Having Kids and it Hurts a Little

My husband is confident in our decision to stop at three. Society tells us four kids are too many. My head tells me we are absolutely making the right decision to move forward as a family of five just like we planned.

And yet, I don’t feel done.

For now, I keep moving forward. I keep getting to know myself again and learn who I am now in this season of life. Every day, I keep loving on those three babies and cherishing each and every last. I am hoping my heart will catch up to my mind. Until then, I will wait for the done feeling to hit me.

Katelyn Samuels

Katelyn is a working mama bear to three under three and a believer of living out all of your dreams. She believes you can be so deeply in love with your babies while still chasing your ambitions. She believes you can lean into your career and lean into motherhood at the same time and win at both. She believes in strong coffee, deep breaths, and endless snuggles. Raising future dreamers while still chasing hers and trying to find the joy in the journey.  

I Want My Boys To Become Men of Character

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young boys with arms around each other by water

I’m a single mama of two young boys. As a woman raising young boys, I’ve thought a lot about how I want them to act—as kids and adults. We joke around that I’m not raising farm animals, and we don’t live in a frat house. I’m trying to plant seeds now so they grow into men with positive character traits. They burp, fart, spray toothpaste on the sink and somehow miss the toilet often, but I’m trying to teach them life lessons about what it means to be great men and gentlemen.  Interactions with other men provide opportunities for us...

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

I Know It’s Just Summer Camp but I Miss You Already

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Kids by campfire

You would’ve thought I was sending you off to college. The way I triple-checked to make sure you had everything you needed and reminded you about the little things like brushing your teeth and drinking plenty of water about a thousand times. You would’ve thought I was sending you to live on your own. The way I hugged you tight and had to fight back some tears. The way you paused before leaving just to smile at me. The way I kept thinking about that boyish grin all the way home. The way I kept thinking about how you’re looking...

Keep Reading

The Kids are Grown—Now What?

In: Grown Children, Motherhood
Middle aged couple at home smiling

Between video chats with our son stationed overseas, our daughter flits in and out our door from college while the shoe jungle by the front door and lack of peanut butter in the house are proof our youngest adult son is still under our roof.  Our kids are now independent—almost. Gone are the days of diapers, endless food preparations, naps (well, not for me), and announcing everyone’s daily schedule like a calendar drill sergeant. After years of simultaneously spinning multiple plates on various body parts, we managed—by God’s grace—to raise three kids to adulthood. We made it! (High five!) We...

Keep Reading

Until There Was a Boy

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother looking at son and smiling, color photo

I never believed in love at first sight . . . until there was a boy.  A boy who made my heart whole the first time he looked at me.  A boy who held my hand and touched my soul at the same time.  A boy who challenged me and helped me grow. A boy who showed me that, even on the worst days, the world is still a beautiful place.  RELATED: I Met a Boy and He Changed Everything A boy who reminded me how to laugh until tears ran down my cheeks. A boy who tested my patience...

Keep Reading

A Mother’s Heart Remembers These Sweet Moments Forever

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and baby laughing

Motherhood gives you all the feelings. It’s hard not to be utterly thankful for and grieve the little things of your last baby, trying to take in all of the firsts and lasts. Every bin of clothes and baby gear packed up produces a tiny crack in a mother’s heart, breaking just a little bit more each time she says goodbye. It’s not that she needs those baby clothes, but it’s the memories each outfit held that are difficult for her to let go of. She does not want to forget those beautiful moments. When she looks at that bin...

Keep Reading

I’m Never Not Mothering

In: Motherhood
Mother hugging young child

I’m not sure what I thought a break would look like once I became a mother, but I was under the impression that the opportunity for one—a real, restful, mind-body-and-soul break—would be an option even if a rare one. In the early days of motherhood, people would say things like . . . Sleep when the baby sleeps. Schedule date nights. Take time for yourself. As if it’s that simple. I remember scrolling through photos of friends who were a step ahead of me in this mothering gig. They appeared to be enjoying breaks involving date nights, girls’ trips, or...

Keep Reading

Mothers Are Exhausted Because the Needing Never Stops

In: Motherhood
Mom hugs daughter

To the mom who’s tired, I see you. To the mom trying her best, I see you too. To the mom who lost her cool today, I see you. I am you. We’re tired. We’re overstimulated. And we’re exhausted. We wake up in the morning and before we can even wipe the night’s sleep from our eyes someone needs us. The needing never stops. We get the children ready for daycare and make sure they’re presentable. Lord forbid the children aren’t dressed properly because then everyone will think we’re slacking. We pack their lunches and get them breakfast. All while...

Keep Reading

I Traded My Body for This Full Life

In: Living, Motherhood
Happy family smiling

It was supposed to be the happiest time of my life. I was cradling my firstborn child—my rainbow baby—tenderly in my arms as she contentedly nursed. I looked down at this beautiful miracle, unable to mirror her blissful content. Six weeks after the birth, I was still feeling like garbage. Being a first-time mom, I figured the fatigue was par for the course. My other symptoms, however, were suspect. Will I see my daughter grow up? were my thoughts as the streams of grief flowed, pooling on her swaddle. At my medical check-up, I brought my concerns to my doctor...

Keep Reading

No One Told Me It Was the Last Time You’d Be This Little

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and young son playing in ocean

No one told me it would be the last time I rocked you to sleep. A cry in the night, the haze of a dimly lit room, our rocking chair worn brown. We were the only ones in a little world. No one told me it would be the last time I carried you on my hip. The way my body shifted—you changed my center of gravity. Your little arm hooked in mine, a gentle sway I never noticed I was doing. No one told me it would be the last time I pushed you on the bucket swing. Your...

Keep Reading

5 Secrets to the

BEST Summer Ever!

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Creating simple summer memories

with your kids that will  last a lifetime