Pre-Order So God Made a Mother

There was a time when I considered myself to be a fun-loving person. A person who would never pass up a day at the pool, or a party, or a meal out. A person who thoroughly enjoyed spending warm days meandering through the park or exploring the county fair.

As I began thinking about having kids, I imagined sharing these experiences and more with my children. There would be summer days spent at the pool, and picnics underneath shade trees, and trips to the zoo. I imagined sledding down snow packed hills, and riding bikes as winter turned to spring, and braving thrill rides as we settled into summer. I could almost hear my future children’s shouts of glee filling the air and I expected doing these things together would actually be fun.

After my first child was born, I held onto that expectation. Those days spent splashing in the pool, and going to the zoo, and eating at whatever restaurant happened to be the flavor of the week. Riding carousels, and going to birthday parties, and picnicking at the park. I expected it all to be fun. But as my child has grown older, and another has arrived, I find myself saying no to fun far more than I say yes.

I often deny requests for fun with the excuse of having too little time or money, and sometimes this truly is the case. But more often than not, I say no simply because I don’t have the energy for fun.

As a parent, fun isn’t so fun anymore. Fun is work. It takes extensive planning, and huge quantities of patience and energy, both of which are in short supply.

Fun means packing a day’s worth of food just to spend an hour or two away from home. It means bringing three cups for each child in preparation for their unending demands for milk, juice and water. It means hauling around diapers and wipes and extra clothes. It means packing up the potty chair for the child who refuses to use a real toilet.

Fun means loading up the stroller and the baby carrier. It means lifting 60+ pounds of children in and out of the car repeatedly. It means physically forcing resistant children into car seats, children who suddenly seem to have the strength of a man twice my size. It means dealing with whining and crying before even leaving the driveway.

Fun means managing a kid who demands to go home as soon as we reach our destination. And it means managing a kid who refuses to leave when it’s finally time to go home. It means tantrums when somehow, I failed to pack the correct snack in the suitcase of food that I haul around. It means trying to use a public bathroom while my child rolls around on the filthy floor and tries to escape underneath the door of the stall.

You see, fun is just so.darn.exhausting. And the exhaustion is why I say no.

But after finally saying yes to a recent outing with my kids, I realized I’ve been saying no to much more than fun.

I’ve been saying no to memories that, for my kids, will only include the fun and not the work. And while I doubt they’ll remember me as a “fun mom” I certainly want them to remember having fun.

I’ve been saying no to quality time together, time when I’m not distracted by dirty dishes, piles of laundry, and computer screens. Time when my kids, for once, have my full attention in both the fun and the frenzy. Time when I really look at them, see them.

I’ve been saying no to the sparkle in my children’s eyes; the sparkle of adventure that can only be seen through the eyes of a child. I’ve said no to the most joyful laughter; the laughter that only escapes from the mouths of children who are experiencing the unencumbered fun that only childhood allows.

And while I’ve been saying no to them, it turns out I’ve been saying no to myself as well. No to a full heart that thrives on children’s laughter and delightful energy. No to the sight of happy children, and eyes that clearly see how blessed I am to have them. No to opportunities that will pass me by if I don’t start paying attention, if I don’t start putting in the work.

So while it’s true that fun has become work, it’s also true that in the middle of the work lies the wonder and fulfillment of motherhood. And it’s taken me just a little too long to figure that out.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Jenny Albers

Jenny Albers is a wife, mother, and writer.  She is the author of Courageously Expecting, a book that empathizes with and empowers women who are pregnant after loss. You can find Jenny on her blog, where she writes about pregnancy loss, motherhood, and faith. She never pretends to know it all, but rather seeks to encourage others with real (and not always pretty) stories of the hard, heart, and humorous parts of life. She's a work in progress, and while never all-knowing, she's (by the grace of God) always growing. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

You’re Learning Life by Watching Me

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child touching mother's face as they lie on a bed

Every morning my daughter and I go outside for some fresh air. She feeds her chickens and plays and explores and walks around with her dog while I follow her around and have a cup of coffee.  This morning, my girl grabbed one of her coffee cups from her toy kitchen and brought it outside with her while she walked with her dog and pretended to take sips out of it.  Guys. I stood there watching her with her toy coffee cup, walking around with her animals, and I cried giant baby tears.  RELATED: I Wasn’t Counting On You Growing...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Love Means Slowing Down

In: Friendship, Kids
Two boys on bicycles riding to park, shown from behind

Think of something faster than a 7-year-old boy on a two-wheel bike. Maybe a race car at the drop of the checkered flag? Perhaps a rocket ship blasting into space? Or how quickly a toddler mom books it out of the house after being told she can have a hands-free hour ALONE in Target. Yes, all of these things are seriously speedy, but I have still never seen anything quite as quick as a boy on a bike on a sunny day with endless open track ahead of him. Until today. Today, my 6-year-old son wanted to ride bikes with...

Keep Reading

I Am a Wrestling Mom

In: Kids, Motherhood
Three young boys with wrestling medals, color photo

As the sun is rising on a frigid winter morning, a brave and determined group of athletes are weighing in at a high school gym. They are physically and mentally preparing for a long day spent at a tournament where they will spend only minutes wrestling, despite the hours they sit and wait all day. Their sport uses offense, defense, and mental strength unlike any other sport. My sons and nephew are wrestlers. They are part of a special team of athletes who work together but compete as individuals.           Their youth team is run by all volunteer coaches with...

Keep Reading

3 Ways to Help Your Firstborn Embrace Becoming a Big Brother

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood, Toddler
Pregnant woman holding toddler son, color photo

My oldest son turned four right after his first brother was born. Four years of alone time with his parents. Four years of extra mommy time during the week. Four years of having toys to himself, extra attention from family members, and more. I didn’t plan a four-year age gap; it took our family a lot longer and a lot more help than we expected to have our second son, but age gaps aren’t everything. When my second son was finally on the way, I heard a lot of opinions about how our oldest son would feel once he finally...

Keep Reading

Dear Busy Sports Mom: It’s Worth It

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Mom watching soccer game, photo from behind

My daughter stands on the front porch every morning and waves goodbye to me as I pull out of the driveway to go to work.  She is 11, and recently eye-rolling, long sighs, and tears have become more commonplace in our daily interactions. But, there is also this: “Bye! Have a good day!” she calls to me in the quiet of early morning, neighbors not yet awake in their still dark houses. “You are AMAZING! You got this!” she continues in her little adult voice, sounding more like a soccer mom than a fifth grader.   Her hair is still a...

Keep Reading

Goodbye to the Baby Hangers

In: Kids, Motherhood
Shirt hanging from small hanger, color photo

You bought them when you first found out you were pregnant. It may have been one of the first items, actually, to hold all of the precious new clothes. The smallest ones in your household. Do you remember that first newborn onesie you bought? It was one of your favorites. You couldn’t fathom you would soon hold something so small that would fit into that onesie. You washed all of the new clothing in preparation and hung them up in your baby’s closet. You know the item. A miniature version of the ones in your closet. Baby hangers. “Do we...

Keep Reading

Take the Trip, You Won’t Regret It

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood

Two years ago, in the middle of a snowy, windy, Colorado March, my husband and I made the spontaneous decision to road trip to Arizona with our three very young kids.  Even though I was excited, the nerves were so very real. Over the next couple of weeks, I literally lost sleep worrying about the logistics of our trip. My late-night mindless scrolling was replaced by searches like “traveling with toddlers” and “keeping kids entertained on road trips”. We already had our hands full chasing kids at home in a familiar setting. Were we crazy to think we could just...

Keep Reading

They’ll Remember the Love Most of All

In: Kids, Motherhood
Woman with kids from above, pregnant mother with kids hands on belly

You lie in bed at the end of a long day, the events of the day flashing back through your mind. You do this a lot—recap your day as a mama. How did you do? Did you maintain your patience? Did you play enough? Did you limit screen time? Did you yell less today than you did yesterday? You saw a really neat toddler activity in the group you’re a part of on Facebook . . . you should have done that with the kids. They would have loved it. There wasn’t enough time though, and you didn’t have all...

Keep Reading

Dear Son, Raising You Right Is Worth It

In: Kids, Motherhood
little boy walking in sunlit field

You were the baby who slept nights. You were the infant who quietly stacked blocks one on top of the other. You were the toddler who watched other kids go down the slide at the park 20 times before attempting it yourself. You were the preschooler who hunkered down quietly and patiently when meeting your grandmother’s chickens. So I assumed you would be a gentle boy. And you are.   And yet, now that you’re eight, I’m beginning to understand the meaning of the phrase, “Boys will be boys.” I had my first inkling that day when you were five...

Keep Reading

He’s Slowly Walking Away with Footprints As Big As Mine

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Teen boy walking along beach shore

The true measure of a mother’s love is her willingness to wake up before the sun on vacation. On a recent trip to the shore, my youngest son begged to walk the beach at dawn to look for shells. So, I set my alarm, tumbled out of a warm, king-sized bed with extra squishy pillows, glared at my dead-to-the-world husband, and gently woke my 11-year-old. Without so much as a drop of coffee, we headed out into the morning, the sun still below the ocean horizon. With each step, I shed my zombie-like state and took in the quiet, salt-kissed...

Keep Reading