Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

There are certain stages of parenthood that are just dang hard.

The newborn phase: sleep deprivation. Raging hormones. Stitches. Recovery. Endless feedings. Crying. So. Much. Crying.

That phase was HARD.

There were moments I wondered what I had gotten myself into as tears streamed down my face. But I also had an endless supply of information at my fingertips and advice from doctors and other mamas. I knew I would eventually figure it all out, and that one day, I would sleep for more than an hour at a time.

RELATED: The Nights Are So Long

The toddler/preschool phase: potty training. Hauling your screaming child out of stores while they kick you like a ninja. Whining. So. Much. Whining. A bajillion questions. Growing independence.

That phase was HARD.

Yet, I knew what was coming. Who hasn’t heard of the terrible twos? Who hasn’t seen the lists on social media of the funny reasons your toddler has cried that day? It’s a humbling experience to go from, “My child will NEVER do that,” to, “My child has already done that once today and will probably do it again before bedtime.” But it’s not really a surprise when it happens.

The tween/teen phase: I can’t yet speak from personal experience about this one, but it has basically become a cultural norm to talk about how hard it is to live with tweens and teenagers—what with all the hormones and attitudes, and trying to keep up with their hectic schedules and busy social lives. So I’m just making an educated guess on this one!

RELATED: Dear Teen: I’ll Never Stop Asking For One More Moment With You

But this elementary stage? I never expected it to be this hard.

I never knew how much I would worry about my child’s safety.

I never knew how helpless I would feel when my child’s hurt was no longer fixed with a cuddle or a colorful Band-Aid.

No one prepared me for how to handle that first concerned phone call from a teacher.

No one told me how it would feel the first time my child seemed embarrassed by my sheer presence at his school. (I knew it would happen eventuallybut ouch.)

No one told me how my heart would sink when my child was exposed to something at school way before either of us were ready.

I never knew how hard it would be to send my child out into the world each day with a million what ifs racing through my mind.

RELATED: I Wasn’t Ready For This

I never knew how I would struggle with when to step in and when to let the chips fall where they may.

This elementary stage?

It’s HARD. In a completely new way I wasn’t really prepared for.

If you know a mom of an elementary student, don’t assume she has reached an easy season of parenting.

Sure, she is no longer in the throes of extreme sleep deprivation. She hasn’t recently hauled a screaming toddler out of a restaurant or handed her teenager the keys to the car for the first time.

But give her a hug, anyway.

Chances are, she could probably use it.

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

Mary Ann Blair

Mary Ann Blair is a stay-at-home mom living in the Pacific Northwest with her two little gentlemen and hubs. She loves connecting with other parents who like to keep it real! Her work has been published on Her View From Home, Motherly, A Fine Parent, Perfection Pending, That’s Inappropriate, Pregnant Chicken, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Red Tricycle and in Chicken Soup For the Soul. She can be found at maryannblair.com or on Facebook at Mary Ann Blair, Writer.

Being a Hands-on Dad Matters

In: Kids, Living
Dad playing with little girl on floor

I am a hands-on dad. I take pride in spending time with my kids. Last week I took my toddler to the park. He’s two and has recently outgrown peek-a-boo, but nothing gets him laughing like him seeing me pop into the slide to scare him as he goes down. He grew to like this so much that he actually would not go down the slide unless he saw me in his range of vision going down. When it’s time to walk in the parking lot he knows to hold my hand, and he grabs my hand instinctively when he needs help...

Keep Reading

5 Kids in the Bible Who Will Inspire Yours

In: Faith, Kids
Little girl reading from Bible

Gathering my kids for morning Bible study has become our family’s cornerstone, a time not just for spiritual growth but for real, hearty conversations about life, courage, and making a difference. It’s not perfect, but it’s ours. My oldest, who’s 11, is at that age where he’s just beginning to understand the weight of his actions and decisions. He’s eager, yet unsure, about his ability to influence his world. It’s a big deal for him, and frankly, for me too. I want him to know, deeply know, that his choices matter, that he can be a force for good, just...

Keep Reading

A Mother’s Love is the Best Medicine

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child lying on couch under blankets, color photo

When my kids are sick, I watch them sleep and see every age they have ever been at once. The sleepless nights with a fussy toddler, the too-hot cheeks of a baby against my own skin, the clean-up duty with my husband at 3 a.m., every restless moment floods my thoughts. I can almost feel the rocking—so much rocking—and hear myself singing the same lullaby until my voice became nothing but a whisper. I can still smell the pink antibiotics in a tiny syringe. Although my babies are now six and nine years old, the minute that fever spikes, they...

Keep Reading

Right Now I’m a Mom Who’s Not Ready to Let Go

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter hugging, color photo

We’re doing it. We’re applying, touring, and submitting pre-school applications. It feels a lot like my college application days, and there’s this image in my mind of how fast that day will come with my sweet girl once she enters the school doors. It’s a bizarre place to be because if I’m honest, I know it’s time to let her go, but my heart is screaming, “I’m not ready yet!” She’s four now though. Four years have flown by, and I don’t know how it happened. She can put her own clothes on and take herself to the bathroom. She...

Keep Reading

Each Child You Raise is Unique

In: Kids, Motherhood
Three little boys under a blanket, black-and-white photo

The hardest part about raising children? Well, there’s a lot, but to me, one major thing is that they are all completely different than one another. Nothing is the same. Like anything. Ever. Your first comes and you basically grow up with them, you learn through your mistakes as well as your triumphs. They go to all the parties with you, restaurants, sporting events, traveling—they just fit into your life. You learn the dos and don’ts, but your life doesn’t change as much as you thought. You start to think Wow! This was easy, let’s have another. RELATED: Isn’t Parenting...

Keep Reading

Our Kids Need Us as Much as We Need Them

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy sitting on bench with dog nearby, color photo

During a moment of sadness last week, my lively and joyful toddler voluntarily sat with me on the couch, holding hands and snuggling for a good hour. This brought comfort and happiness to the situation. At that moment, I realized sometimes our kids need us, sometimes we need them, and sometimes we need each other at the same time. Kids need us. From the moment they enter the world, infants express their needs through tiny (or loud) cries. Toddlers need lots of cuddling as their brains try to comprehend black, white, and all the colors of the expanding world around...

Keep Reading

Your Kids Don’t Need More Things, They Need More You

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Mother and young girl smiling together at home

He reached for my hand and then looked up. His sweet smile and lingering gaze flooded my weary heart with much-needed peace. “Thank you for taking me to the library, Mommy! It’s like we’re on a date! I like it when it’s just the two of us.” We entered the library, hand in hand, and headed toward the LEGO table. As I began gathering books nearby, I was surprised to feel my son’s arms around me. He gave me a quick squeeze and a kiss with an “I love you, Mommy” before returning to his LEGO—three separate times. My typically...

Keep Reading

This Time In the Passenger Seat is Precious

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen
Teen driver with parent in passenger seat

When you’re parenting preteens and teens, it sometimes feels like you are an unpaid Uber driver. It can be a thankless job. During busy seasons, I spend 80 percent of my evenings driving, parking, dropping off, picking up, sitting in traffic, running errands, waiting in drive-thru lines. I say things like buckle your seat belt, turn that music down a little bit, take your trash inside, stop yelling—we are in the car, keep your hands to yourself, don’t make me turn this car around, get your feet off the back of the seat, this car is not a trash can,...

Keep Reading

So God Made My Daughter a Wrestler

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young female wrestler wearing mouth guard and wrestling singlet

God made my girl a wrestler. Gosh, those are words I would never have thought I would say or be so insanely proud to share with you. But I am. I know with 100 percent certainty and overwhelming pride that God made my girl a wrestler. But it’s been a journey. Probably one that started in the spring of 2010 when I was pregnant with my first baby and having the 20-week anatomy ultrasound. I remember hearing the word “girl” and squealing. I was over the moon excited—all I could think about were hair bows and cute outfits. And so...

Keep Reading

A Big Family Can Mean Big Feelings

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Family with many kids holding hands on beach

I’m a mother of six. Some are biological, and some are adopted. I homeschool most of them. I’m a “trauma momma” with my own mental health struggles. My husband and I together are raising children who have their own mental illnesses and special needs. Not all of them, but many of them. I battle thoughts of anxiety and OCD daily. I exercise, eat decently, take meds and supplements, yet I still have to go to battle. The new year has started slow and steady. Our younger kids who are going to public school are doing great in their classes and...

Keep Reading