Pre-Order So God Made a Mother

About a decade ago, my three young daughters and I rode up a hotel elevator with a couple who appeared to be in their fifties.

They gushed at the girls who were in their fancy dinner dresses, and then turned their heads to me and said, “Oh, you have no idea the storm that is coming at you. Three teenagers at once! And all girls! We barely survived our two who just left for college . . .”

They went on and on for about 17 floors, until we finally escaped. Once back in our room, I seethed. I mean, like I didn’t already know that we had to pay for three proms, three college educations, and three weddings, but how bad could it really be to raise teens? So awful that you stop strangers to share your sob stories and talk about how tiring it all is?

I found it hard to believe.

And now as I sit in the middle of raising three teenagers, I understand these parents who stopped me so many years ago. I feel them. Because even when you’re raising good kids, which I think I am, it is still so exhausting for so many reasons.

It’s the worry that you carry around with you at all times—about their choices and their friends and managing their emotions. It’s about walking a bridge made of fragile trust, hoping they are where they say they are, doing what they are supposed to be doing. And always praying they don’t use that phone, which is incessantly glued to their hands, for something dumb.

It’s the mounting pressure of academics in high school, and even middle school. It’s having strong students and wondering if they are working too hard. It’s watching your struggling student get frustrated at every turn. It’s worrying about SAT scores and building a college application and should they take one more AP class? It’s trying to figure out how to send your child to her dream school without racking up debt that lasts for two lifetimes.

It’s the fear of the unknown at every turn, the belief your kid is learning responsibility but that danger lurks in every corner. It’s date-rape drugs and school shooters and a friend driving them home that texts and drives. It’s bullying and sexual assault and a private text message or photo getting sent around school. 

It’s the constant stress of getting your kids to all the places they need to be at all hours of the day and night—and carrying the mental load of remembering all the things. It’s 6 a.m. practices and 2 a.m. pick ups from school trips. It’s parent meetings and fundraisers and tutoring. It’s dances and parties and youth group. It’s wanting them to experience all they can while trying to fit in quality time in every spare moment. It’s trying to chase your dreams while helping your teen chase theirs.

It’s the never-ending weight of wondering if you are screwing this whole parenting thing up. It’s the fights about messy bedrooms and the nitpicking about bowls left in the sink. It’s about questioning every decision and determining that sometimes you honestly are the only parent saying no—and learning to be OK with it.

It’s about wanting to make your teen’s lunch one morning and getting frustrated that they don’t put the lid back on the peanut butter when they do it themselves. It’s about the excruciating pain when they pull away from your touch and the surge of relief when they walk though your door at the end of each day. It’s about the exhausting attempts to communicate with your child knowing that most times the only way to get your teen to talk is by keeping your mouth shut.

I know I’m raising great kids. They work hard, are (mostly) kind, and know right from wrong. But when you are raising teenagers with surging hormones and developing brains and impulse controls that move faster than a speeding bullet, it comes with a lot of stress.

I don’t know a parent of teens who does not worry, who is not tired, who doesn’t feel exhausted by it all.

Parenting is a marathon, but that last few miles before your kids go out on their own? Well, that’s a sprint uphill in pouring rain—even when you know you’re raising good kids.

And maybe we’re exhausted because that’s the way we know we’re doing it right, which is only to say we’re doing the best we can with what we’ve got.

You may also like:

Dear Daughter As You Move On To Middle School

To the Tired Mom in the Middle of the Night

The Kids May Be Grown, But Mom Is Still Their Home

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 new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Whitney Fleming

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

Why Is It So Hard To Admit Our Own Postpartum Struggles?

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother holding newborn close up

I recently attended physical therapy in an attempt to put my parts back together after having my second child. My physical therapist was also a young mom so we began talking about the various stages our children have passed through. At one point, she asked me if I had experienced any postpartum depression or anxiety. Without hesitation, I said no and then quickly backtracked and said, “Well, some difficult thoughts so yeah, I guess that would be postpartum anxiety.” After fumbling through my explanation, I immediately felt slightly ashamed for dismissing the notion so quickly and also a sudden urge...

Keep Reading

There’s No Such Thing As a Good or Bad Body

In: Living, Motherhood
Little girl sticking her tongue out with her brother and parents, color photo

Maybe it was the ’80s or just my situation, but growing up, I noticed a lot of body talk among adults. Mostly by the women, but sometimes by the men.  My gorgeous grandma always dressed up and was always on a diet. I remember a babysitter who was supermodel gorgeous not eating this or that because she didn’t want to get “fat.” Once, during my freshman year of college, my grandpa commented that I “had gained some weight.” As an adult, a compliment I often heard if my weight fluctuated slightly was, “You look great, you’re so thin.”  Or the...

Keep Reading

There’s So Much I Didn’t Know About Having a Daughter

In: Motherhood
Mother and daughter hug

I started my motherhood journey as a boy mom. I knew the names of all the construction trucks, I could build a LEGO set in record time, and nothing said about a penis could ever shock me. I could play in the dirt, tie on a Superman cape, and have a lightsaber fight all before naptime. But when I was expecting again, I saw that sweet little face on the ultrasound, and I knew—even before the ultrasound tech made the announcement—that my days as solely a boy mom were about to come to an end. I was so excited to...

Keep Reading

Exclusively Pumping Makes You One Strong Mother

In: Motherhood
Breast pump with bottles, black-and-white photo

Dear exclusively pumping mama,  Oh, how I see you, sweet mama. (I’ve been you—twice now, as a matter of fact.)  I see you frustrated with your body and feeling like it’s failed you because you’re not able to nurse your baby. Maybe your baby is in the NICU and you feel robbed of this experience. Or maybe, due to other circumstances, you haven’t been able to make it work.  RELATED: I Exclusively Pumped for a Year—And My Baby and I Thrived I see you tirelessly getting up before the baby does in the middle of the night so you can...

Keep Reading

Yes, We Wanted a Big Family

In: Kids, Motherhood
Big family silhouette

Baby number WHAT?!?! Okay, okay, I know having FIVE children in the modern world is a bit of an anomaly, but the responses we have gotten from sharing our joyful (to us!) news has been a bit over-the-top. You see, my husband and I always dreamt of a big family, verbally expressing four to five children as our ultimate number. After having three, I must say I had to do some convincing to keep going, as my husband felt our hands were pretty full. I do agree our hands were pretty full, but I still felt our hearts could handle...

Keep Reading

How Much Longer Will I Watch Them Play?

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Two boys at indoor playground, color photo

As I sit here watching my two boys running around on the bright-colored foam mats, sliding down the bright red and green slides that end up in a ball pit full of giggles, I can’t help but wonder how much longer I will enjoy this sight. They’re both growing up so fast—T-shirts with their favorite characters have been replaced by plain colors.  Curtains with Paw Patrol now invite an “Eww, cringe!” reaction. Slowly their boy bedroom decor has been updated to reflect the cool gamers they so want to be. RELATED: He’s a Boy For Just a Little While Longer No...

Keep Reading

The Quiet Work You’re Doing Matters, Mama

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother and two girls playing on bed

Mid-morning light spills through the kitchen window as I stand at the sink washing dishes.  “Mom, Caleb just punched me!” 3-year-old Aiden calls from the living room. “He took the remote right out of my hands!” Caleb contends. “I saw the whole thing happen,” their big sister interjects. “It was totally Caleb’s fault.  He started the whole thing.” “Mind your own business!” Caleb barks as he charges toward his sister with his fist in the air. It takes every ounce of restraint I can muster, but I manage not to get sucked into the yelling match happening in front of...

Keep Reading

I Don’t Belong In the Baby Section Anymore

In: Motherhood

I don’t belong here anymore. The thought crept into my mind today as I stood in the baby section. I was there to grab a gift for an expecting friend, but as I looked around at the old familiar shelves, I was hit with a wave of emotion.  Because it’s true—I don’t belong here anymore. There was a time when this aisle was my most frequented on trips to Target. As a pregnant twentysomething with a growing belly, I would hold up outfit after outfit and wonder what our baby would look like. Who would he or she be? As...

Keep Reading

To the Parents Raising My Child’s Future Spouse

In: Faith, Motherhood
Little boy lying on car seat with puppy, color photo

Oh, hey there friend, you don’t know me yet or maybe you do, but at least for now neither of us know that our children will one day commit their lives to each other and by doing so forever knit our families together. One day, we will all sit in the front aisles of a church filled with scores of people who have influenced our babies, but none like us. No one else in that church will know the intentionality, love, and grace of God that it took to reach that day, but we will. The work you are doing...

Keep Reading

Loving Mom (Thanks, Amazon)

In: Grief, Living, Motherhood
Woman and mother smiling, color photo

I was online, searching old Amazon orders for a part we’d bought for our 1998 Buick Regal. The car was Mom’s. She’d given it up at 86 after I said her grandsons would be grateful to use it. She’d laughed with delight as Gabe, newly licensed, pulled away from her place in her Buick, heading home to California. It was a good car, but the original parts were wearing out. That’s why I scrolled through my orders, to see which window pulley assembly we’d purchased last time. As I scrolled, I was struck by all the gifts I’d ordered for...

Keep Reading