Pre-Order So God Made a Mother

My two-year-old didn’t inherit any of my genes. Zip. Zero. Zilch. I’m dark haired with brown eyes, very selective with my words, and always think before I act. I enjoy blending in, and have spent my entire life following the rules. My daughter is light haired with crystal blue eyes, and acts before she thinks. She’s adventurous, and is usually the kid doing things differently than everyone else. My child and I are different. Like, polar opposite different.

We started attending weekly parent-child activities together when she was about four months old. Before she could even sit up on her own, I was helping her to follow the class structure and obey instructions to a T. I applauded her for being just like me, a model student.

Then, she learned to crawl. And I realized that she was only following along up to that point because she couldn’t crawl away to explore yet. I would demonstrate over-the-top interest in everything that the teacher did, attempting to lead by example. But my daughter didn’t seem as impressed with structure as I was.

Two years later, while other children at her gym dutifully walk across the balance beam, my daughter wants to crawl up under the beam to “fix” the screws and other parts she finds. When they’re throwing and catching balls, she’s helping her ball to climb over mats and “swing” from the bars, and enthusiastically clapping and cheering, “Yay, ball!” as the ball completes each trick.

At first, it frustrated me. I found myself saying things like, “No, do it this way. Copy me.” I always assumed my own way was best. But slowly, reluctantly, I’ve changed my mind. As she does things differently than I would have, I’ve realized that more often than not, her way is just as effective as mine. We may be different, but we both get the job done.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t want her to be just like me. I want her to be just like her.

Sure, I would love it if she shared my childhood passions for reading and writing. I would stock her bookshelves with The Boxcar Children and Nancy Drew, and let her read some of the “novels” I wrote in fourth grade. Oh, the bonding!

But I don’t want to push those things, or even allow her to think that I’d like for her to like those things. I want to learn what naturally piques her interest.

I’ll always remember the time my mom tried to learn how to play my brother’s favorite video game. She has no coordination in real life, so it wasn’t surprising that she was a terrible gamer. But she tried, and my brother loved it. They laughed together as her character died over and over again, usually due to (a) accidentally blowing herself up or (b) getting disoriented and running straight into the enemies.

I hope my daughter doesn’t like video games. Because I, too, lack coordination.

I really hope she doesn’t like soccer. Long outdoor games in the south Texas heat? No, thank you. But if she does like soccer, I’ll buy one of those huge umbrellas, the camping chair with the best reviews on Amazon, and six different misters to hit me from every possible angle.

I’ll happily learn whatever my daughter loves. Because whoever she is, even if she’s very unlike me, I want to be her biggest supporter. When she “fixes” the beam at the gym, I ask her what she’s doing and act very interested. I cheer on her ball as he commits yet another amazing feat on the uneven bars.

I certainly don’t allow her to disrupt her class. But when she does do things differently, I’ve started asking questions, and trying to see the world through her eyes. And most of the time, I find myself amused and genuinely delighted with her unique perspective. She keeps me young and energetic and optimistic. She opens my eyes to see and appreciate even the smallest of joys.

I’ve become braver and bolder thanks to her. Since her birth, I’ve found myself asking questions like, “Who says I have to do it like that? Why not try this instead? What have I got to lose?” I’ve started to loosen my grip on perfectionism. I’m less afraid of failure, and more afraid of missing out on life and love.

My child and I are different people, but it doesn’t frustrate me anymore. I believe that God has given each of us a unique personality and gifts, and I want my daughter to grow into who she is, not who I am. I’ve decided not to lobby for my own interests, but to discover and support her interests. And in the process, I’m becoming a better person.

If I force her to adopt my own way of doing things, I’m doing both of us a disservice. Instead, I’m choosing to discover who she was created to be. I’m unwrapping the gift of her unique personality just a little more each day. And each day it’s bringing joy, light, and wonder into my own life. I’m raising my polar opposite, and my world is better for it.

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

Deb Preston

Deb Preston is an author, editor, amateur gardener, and professional cheese lover. Originally from Iowa, she now lives just outside of San Antonio, Texas with her husband, daughter, and unnecessarily loud beagle. You can find her writing on her website (,, or in any of her books. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

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

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

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

Are You Watching?

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood
Little girl playing goalie at soccer practice, color photo

I brought a book to my 7-year-old daughter’s soccer practice. To be honest, I was looking forward to one hour of time when I didn’t have to do anything but sit. No one would be asking me questions, and no one would need anything from me. I wasn’t in charge. So, I set up my lawn chair, got cozy, and opened the book. But then I happened to glance up as it was her turn to run a drill. The coach was passing each kid the ball for them to kick into the goal. She stepped forward, kicked, and made...

Keep Reading