I had a toddler, a newborn, a new house, and I just quit my job. I was exhausted, I was overwhelmed, and I was lost. No one can prepare you for the darkness that sometimes accompanies the beautiful things.

I don’t remember what we were arguing about, but I remember him saying it, “You are not… you.” At that moment I broke down, and the tears started falling. Then, I tried explaining it to my husband the best I could. I tried telling him about all the little pieces. I was desperately wanting him to understand how significantly life was changing for me, how much it had over the years. I needed him to realize when he tells me he misses me- you know, the “before the craziness me” – that sometimes I miss old me too.

It’s just, along the way we give up some pretty big pieces of who we once were.

I fell in love, and shared my life. I sometimes sacrificed the things I wanted for the things he needed. We meshed our dreams and began building new ones together. I let go of some ideas, like traveling the coast. I held tight to others, like starting a family. You realize it just isn’t about you anymore. It’s where you both want to eat. Where you both want to live. What you both want to accomplish. You give some of your identity away for the first time, and that is a scary thing. There are agreements, and disagreements, and then a middle ground- it’s a compromise. We stood in front of each other and made a commitment. We gave each other something special, a big piece of ourselves.

Then one day you hold 8 lbs of absolute perfection for the very first time, and your heart explodes. As I cradled my child tight, I promised to never let go. To be better, to do better, to live better. Day in and day out you wipe boogers and butts. I had given up that pair of black pumps for yellow sneakers. Hobbies were forfeited to watch them find theirs. Dinner on the table, beds being made. Favorite TV shows were taken over by Mickey Mouse Club House and Paw Patrol. “Happy Hours” are moments of giggles and smiles. Time alone is 5 minutes in the shower before you look over and see a little nose pressed up against the door. Then another blessing comes. Time is split between all these little hearts. Smitten. Consumed. Forever changed. The moment you lock eyes with your child you realize, they are the most important piece of you.

For me, I had also given a piece of myself to a career I missed deeply, an identity I once had and was now gone. It was an additional purpose in my life I let go of. It was for a reason I will never regret, but it was still hard. Then, we uprooted. I know a house doesn’t make a home, but memories make a lifetime, and there were a lot made there. The day we drove away a little piece of me stayed.

In that moment of explanation I had also understood these pieces, they are part of the balance of who we are. I never stopped to think about the ones I needed to hold onto. I never considered how giving this much at once, and over time would impact me. You see, I think as women we continuously give without hesitation. We embrace change. We are resilient. Undoubtedly, we are selfless for the ones we love because we are incredibly strong.

I am always thankful I am not the woman I once was. Honestly though, I would be lying if I said I don’t miss parts of myself I have let go. I’ve become a mesh of motherhood and marriage, of careers and friendships, of family and love. I am ever-changing, always giving, and continually searching to find the balance.

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

Kayla Friehe

Kayla Friehe is a wife and mother of two young boys. She loves wine, chocolate, and binge watching Netflix-- sometimes all at once. In her spare time she enjoys blogging about motherhood and day dreaming of sleep. 

I Had to Learn to Say “I’m Sorry” to My Kids

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Mom hugs tween daughter

My two oldest kiddos are at the front end of their teen years. I remember that time in my own life. I was loud, somewhat dramatic, I let my hormones control me, and I never—ever—apologized. This last part was because no one ever really taught me the value of apology or relationship repair. Now, I could do some parent blaming here but let’s be real, if you were a kid whose formative years were scattered between the late ’80s and early ’90s, did you get apologies from your parents? If so, count that blessing! Most parents were still living with...

Keep Reading

5 Things Your Child’s Kindergarten Teacher Wants You To Know

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child raising hand in kindergarten class

I am a teacher. I have committed my life to teaching children. Of course, before I began this career, I had visions of standing in front of a group of eager-eyed children and elaborating on history, science, and math lessons. I couldn’t wait to see the “lightbulb” moments when students finally understood a reading passage or wrote their first paper. And then I had my first day. Children are not cut out of a textbook (shocking, I know) but as a young 23-year-old, it knocked me right off my feet. I was thrown into the lion’s den, better known as...

Keep Reading

To the Extended Family That Shows Up: We Couldn’t Do This Without You

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Family visiting new baby in a hospital room

This picture—my heart all but bursts every time I see it.  It was taken five years ago on the day our daughter was born. In it, my husband is giving her her very first bath while our proud extended family looks on. It was a sweet moment on a hugely special day, but gosh–what was captured in this photo is so much more than that. This photo represents everything I could have ever hoped for my kids: That they would have an extended family who shows up in their lives and loves them so deeply.  That they would have grandparents,...

Keep Reading

You’re Almost Grown, But You’re Always Welcome Back Home

In: Kids, Motherhood
Teen in room studying with computer and smartphone

Dear child, In the days before you could walk or talk, there were times when you would wail—when my rocking and shushing and bouncing were seemingly futile—but it didn’t matter. Each day and night, multiple times, I always picked you up and welcomed you back into my arms. As a toddler and a preschooler, you had some pretty epic meltdowns. There were times when you would thrash and scream, and all I could do was stand by and wait for the storm to blow over. Eventually, you would run to me, and I would welcome you back with a warm embrace....

Keep Reading

No One Warned Me About the Last Baby

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding newborn baby, black-and-white photo

No one warned me about the last baby. When I had my first, my second, and my third, those first years were blurry from sleep deprivation and chaos from juggling multiple itty-bitties. But the last baby? There’s a desperation in that newborn fog to soak it up because there won’t be another. No one warned me about the last baby. Selling the baby swing and donating old toys because we wouldn’t need them crushed me. I cried selling our double jogger and thought my heart would split in two when I dropped off newborn clothes. Throwing out pacifiers and bottles...

Keep Reading

Parents Are Terrible Salespeople for Parenting

In: Kids, Motherhood
Tired mother with coffee cup on table, child sitting next to her

As the years of fertility start to wane, many of my childless peers are confronted with the question, “Should I have kids?” With hesitation, they turn to us parents who, frankly, seem overwhelmingly unhappy. They ask sheepishly, “Is it worth it?” We lift our heads up, bedraggled, bags under our eyes, covered in boogers and sweat and spit up, we mutter, “Of course! It’s so fulfilling!” It’s like asking a hostage if they like their captor. Sure, it’s great. We love them. But our eyes are begging for liberation. Save me, please. I haven’t slept through the night in years....

Keep Reading

Soak in the Moments because Babies Don’t Keep

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Roller coaster photo, color photo

I love marking the moments, the ones that count—making a note and storing them for memory. But I often miss out on them when it comes to our oldest. ⁣ ⁣The day he wanted to be baptized, I was at home with another kiddo who was sick. He called me from church excitedly, emphasizing he was ready and didn’t want to wait. I couldn’t argue with that, so I watched him go underwater through videos my husband and sweet friends in the congregation took. ⁣ ⁣On the day of his fifth-grade graduation, we found ourselves at the pediatrician’s office. Instead...

Keep Reading

Sometimes a Kid Just Needs a Sick Day

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy outside, color photo

My middle son stayed home from school today. He said he was sick. I’m not sure that is the truth. I was lucky enough to have a mom who was an amazing caretaker, especially when you were sick. She pulled out all the stops. A cozy clean space to be, a thermos with ice cold juice by your side, Mrs. Grass’s soup, and Days of Our Lives on the screen while she tidied up the house. It was the best feeling in the world to be home and cozy with my mom when I was sick. It felt cozy and...

Keep Reading

Sometimes We Need Someone to Just Sit With Us in Our Struggle

In: Kids, Motherhood
Sad woman sits on floor, black and white image

Early this morning, I told (yelled is more accurate) my sons to get up with the same furious ferocity I use every morning when I realize they should be ready to go, but are still unconsciously snoozing away. One son lazily said, “I’m up, Mom” (even though he was very much not up). The other son, who typically has no problems getting up, had overslept and immediately freaked out, thinking he would be late to school. He proceeded to have a mini-meltdown from the dark recesses of his bedroom. That overflowed into the hallway where I found him lying face-down,...

Keep Reading

Daughter of Mine, Do Not Let the World Extinguish Your Fire

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and young daughter, color photo

Daughter of mine, I see the fire behind your eyes. Do not let it die. Daughter of mine who runs wildly and loves freely and whose anger is always whipping silently just under the surface like a pilot light, ready to ignite with one tiny spark. Do not let it die. RELATED: There is Wild Beauty in This Spirited Child of Mine Daughter of mine, one day you will become a woman, and the world will try to steal you and mold you and tell you who to become. Do not let it. It will try to fit you in...

Keep Reading