The chair rocked back and forth, my baby’s sniffles the only sound in the quiet room. In the dark, I looked down, and she lifted her head off my chest and smiled at me. I started sobbing. 

At 15 months old, Nora’s not a baby anymore. But she’s still a baby to me. And in the room next door, my middle child, Allie, was sound asleep, dreaming of her very first day of school the following morning. It felt like somebody punched me in the gut with how fast time had gone.

All I could think of were the times I’ve told Allie no to playing Barbies or sitting on the couch and watching Paw Patrol with her. The days I’ve been frustrated and yelled when she disobeyed or asked me for one too many snacks. What will she remember of her childhood?

Shouldn’t I have more to show for these years we spent at home? A weekly tradition I’ve established, or pictures on the fridge from arts and crafts time I happily did each week? 

As I continued to rock, I couldn’t help but wonder if I would have been a better mom if I had worked outside the home.

I imagined having more patience, losing my temper less, and making more time for fun. I might have been more intentional with my time if the line between work and play had been clearer. I pictured myself getting down on the floor to play with the kids after work, having missed them all day. 

RELATED: I Hope I Loved You Enough Today

Instead, I spent all these years not knowing when my next break from them would be. I juggled diaper changes and potty training alongside checking my email and texting friends and cleaning the floors. So many times, I’ve envied my husband because he was better at playing with them.

My husband is the one the kids run to at the end of the day, shouting their excitement upon his return. And he, in turn, experienced the feeling of missing them. With three kids, someone always needs a hug, is hanging from my leg, or is feeding from my body—I rarely feel an ache for them. And it isn’t often they miss me.

My time with them isn’t over, of course. But now, my mind raced with everything I could have done better. 

Choking back the sobs to not wake Nora on my chest, I thought about how I still had time to get it right with her. 

The next day, I walk Allie to the bus for the first time in the crisp morning air. My son bounds ahead, already a pro at riding the bus and going to school. 

“Let me take your picture before you go,” I ask. My heart squeezes, and my nose burns. 

A grin fills Allie’s face, her cheeks beam. Her backpack hangs well below her knees. Then she’s gone; the rainbow backpack is the last thing I see. 

I walk away from the bus, my eyes well with tears. Then finally, they break, and the tears stream down my face.

A few hours later, I walk up to the school to pick Allie up, and she runs straight into my arms, “Mom! You came!” 

I squeeze her, backpack and all. 

RELATED: I Don’t Love Every Moment of Motherhood, But I Love Being Their Mom

“Of course I did! How was your day?” I ask, stroking her hair. “I missed you.” 

“I missed you too, Mama.” 

My kids have seen me at my best and my worst.

Over the years, there were moments when I was so tired, lonely, and overwhelmed that I wished I wasn’t a stay-at-home mom. But the good outweighed the bad. And I know I’ll never be able to list all of the ways I loved, what I taught them, and the fun we did have—and I know there’s still so much more ahead of us. 

“Let’s go home,” I say, grabbing her hand.

I pray they remember the good moments more than the hard ones

I hope that for me, too.

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

Stacy Bronec

Stacy Bronec is a wife, mom of three, lover of cake, and writer. She and her husband farm and ranch in the middle of nowhere Montana. In her previous life, she was a high school counselor. Now, when she’s not taking meals to the field or cleaning grain from the dryer vent, she’s doing spin classes in her basement, reading, or writing stories to make sense of the beauty and challenges of rural life. You can occasionally find her on her blog, or Instagram.

Sometimes You Need To Hear it Out Loud: You’re a Great Mom

In: Living, Motherhood
Mother and daughter on beach laughing

Almost exactly one year ago, I was yelled at in front of my kids by a stranger in a pickup truck. It changed how I see myself and how I see other moms. The morning started like any unseasonably cool, rainy, Wednesday morning. The baby was squawking in her crib and the big kids had just turned on cartoons downstairs. I rolled out of bed, got the baby, poured cereal in bowls, and yelled at my kids to stop yelling at each other. Awesome. Even though it was still drizzling out, we all needed some fresh air. I drove the...

Keep Reading

The Ugly Truth of an Overwhelmed Mom and Resentful Wife

In: Motherhood, Relationships

It’s 10:30 p.m. and I’m exhausted. The kids have been in bed for an hour, and my husband is asleep on the couch next to me. I shut down the laptop, turn off the TV, and pick up the cordless house phone to put in the charger. I am aware that if I don’t remember to do this tonight we won’t have use of our home phone the next day because someone has used the other handset, forgotten to put it back, and now it’s lost with a dead battery, somewhere in my house. I pass by the dog’s food...

Keep Reading

All That Matters When You’re Overwhelmed is That You’re Overwhelmed

In: Living, Motherhood
Overwhelmed woman leaning on wall

I slashed through the cardboard with a serrated knife because, like everything else in my life, my kitchen shears were misplaced. Packing tape, then the packaging itself, then styrofoam went flying. It was a race to the bottom of this box, and I knew what I would find. Days earlier, on a family vacation, I had confessed what all women across the globe at one time or another confess: I was overwhelmed. My husband and I had snuck away for a dinner out with Grandma watching our four kids. It was December in Florida. Warmth, waves, smiles, fun. And as...

Keep Reading