So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

We live in a world where producing offspring is expected once you reach a certain age. Where marriage is quickly followed by questions of when’s the baby coming? Where struggles with infertility, pregnancy loss, hardship, and (gasp) the desire to live child-free are considered scandalous, disappointing, and a shame to the family’s heritage. 

So, when the time comes and the first baby announcement is whispered (shouted) through the family phone lines and hours are put into crafting the perfect social media announcement post, the world seems right. The first pregnancy is celebrated with lavish showers, hospital visits, “oohs” and “ahhs.” Bows and booties, knitted blankets, and tiny hats with pom-poms are mailed, hand-delivered, and passed along to the new parents. 

RELATED: Giving Birth is Scary—And I Would Do it Over and Over Again

Then, as the dust settles and hearts grow a little bit more, a second child is welcomed. Closer to the standard 2.5 child quotaall is well. Bonus points if you end up with one boy and one girl. Better stop there. 

But seeing how it’s impossible to stop right at 2.5once that line from two to three is crossed, it seems you’ve gone too far. 

RELATED: We Had a Lot of Kids (on Purpose)

Somehow, after three children, the universal response to your exciting, heart-bursting news of an upcoming family addition becomes, “You know what causes that, right?” 

Strangers comment when they hear you talk about your large family, when they see you struggle with a rounded belly at the grocery store, or as you unload kiddos at the doctor’s office. 

Coworkers express their jealousy over your workplace accommodations and upcoming vacation (also known as a maternity leave where you recover from creating a human being, no big deal). 

RELATED: Dear Working Mom, I See You

Well-meaning family members share their concerns over how stressed you already are, how tight finances seem to be, how your car won’t fit that many car seats.  

Maternity nurses, as you are in active labor, suggest giving your uterus a breakhasn’t it already worked so hard? Don’t you think this is enough? 

Yes, I know what causes that, and I chose to expand my heart and my home, and welcomed all the tiny humans. 

I didn’t have multiple children for negative attention, to be labeled as “a breeder,” attacked on Facebook, judged in the checkout lane, or held back in my professional career. I want to fill my home with the pitter-patter of little feet, gentle hands and soft kisses, and a full-blown support network of sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mother and father. I want to have full schedules, full hands, and full laundry basketsbecause those come along with full hearts, full lives, and full purpose. 

RELATED: 7 Reasons Having a Big Family Rocks

Children, adopted or fostered, first or sixth in birth order, are the future. They should be respected and loved. Their parents, young or old, rich or poor, working or staying at home, should be free of judgment, poorly worded comments, and shame. 

The “extra mouth to feed” could be the doctor who heals you, the farmer who feeds you, the teacher who changes you.  

The “tax write off” will fill our family’s hearts, warm our bones, and heal our souls. 

 The “oops” could smile and ask “Are you alright?” on your worst day. 

So, as I announce our fourth, fifth, or twentieth child, if you don’t have congratulations at the tip of your tongue, go ahead and practice it now. 

Here’s the thing. I know what causes that. And it’s love. Love for my children, love for my husband, and love for the life we can provide our growing family.

Katelyn Stoll

Katelyn Stoll is a mother to three young boys and lives on a farm in rural NY. She navigates the rough waters of postpartum mood disorders using humor, support from her family, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate. 

Don’t Let Anyone Rush You, Mama

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother with two kids at home relaxing

From the moment our children are born, other people make it challenging to stay in the present moment—they start asking questions that look forward instead of at the now we are in. Can you believe how big she’s getting, where did your newborn go? Oh my goodness, he’ll be walking any day now! Are you thinking about preschool? What will you do when they’re both in school? What will you do when your baby goes to college? While these questions may come with good intentions, they’re not helpful at all. We moms need to be allowed to be fully in...

Keep Reading

Dear Child, God Sees All of You—And So Do I

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Mom and young son painting together

Math has always come easily to him. Even from the beginning stages when we counted wooden blocks on the living room floor, the numbers just came to him. “How many blocks are there?” I asked him, pointing to the scattered row of blocks. I expected him to count them. He was only three or four years old. “Six,” he answered promptly. “Yes . . . but how did you know that?” I asked hesitantly. He had not taken the time necessary to have counted them. “Three and three are six,” he replied. And on it went. The math came easily,...

Keep Reading

Kids Crave Your Time, Not Fancy Things

In: Kids, Motherhood
Dad and daughter with basketball smiling

I have four kids, and like most parents, I’m doing my best to give them a happy childhood, but we’re not really an activity family. Don’t get me wrong, we love a good day trip to the local water park or a night out at the movies, but with several different ages and a tight budget, activities or outings are rare for us. Sometimes I end up feeling bad about it, like our kids are missing out, but then I take a deep breath and realize that some of the best moments come from the simplest of things. Lucky for...

Keep Reading

Dear Kindergarten Graduate—Wherever Life Takes You, I’ll Always Be Your Safe Place To Land

In: Kids, Motherhood

I cried on your first day of kindergarten. Did you know that? I held it together through the getting ready and the goodbyes—but once I had waved one last time and was pulling out of the parking lot, the lump in my throat poured out as hot tears down my cheeks.  How could you be starting kindergarten? You, my precious firstborn baby. We had some growing pains as we adjusted to a new routine. The school days were so long. I spent my days missing you and you spent yours missing me. We were apart from each other more than...

Keep Reading

The Secret to Slowing Down Time Is to Notice the Moments You’re Living In

In: Kids, Motherhood

Dear current self, You’ve heard a lot of mothers admonish you to slow down and enjoy every moment with your children. They’ve warned you with phrases like “before you know it,”  “in the blink of an eye,” and other cliché’s that haven’t really hit you, but they will. Soon, they will. I am writing you now because I’ve seen you trying to wrap your mind around the how-to—as if holding time in your hand is a skill anyone has successfully mastered. I’ll save you the suspense. It can’t be done. It is inevitable. Your kids are going to grow up....

Keep Reading

You Don’t Have to Celebrate a Holiday Just Because It’s On the Calendar

In: Kids, Living

I switched on the computer, adjusted my chair, then quickly swiveled back around again toward my husband, “Are you sure? You don’t mind?” “Me?” he made a swift waving motion as if swatting a fly. “Psht. Yeah, I’m fine with it. You?” He lifted his head and locked our eyes a little more securely, “Are you sure?” “Yes,” I said firmly, without hesitation. “OK, good,” my man turned back to his phone, “Love you.” “Good,” I confirmed. A rush of relief swept through me as muscles I didn’t even know were tense suddenly relaxed. A bubbling surge of energy had...

Keep Reading

I’m Raising Wild Boys

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young boy and toddler smiling at each other, color photo

Yesterday my boys (two and eight) were playing outside in our cul-de-sac—running, yelling, tackling each other . . . all the normal stuff. One of the neighbor moms was out as well, looking on as her son joined the fray.  “I need to send him over to your house for a week or two,” she joked, “so he can get more in touch with his boyness.”  “No, you don’t want to do that. My boys are wild things,” I quickly replied. And I wasn’t joking. My sons are rough, tough, primal beings.  Moments before this conversation, my oldest was ramming...

Keep Reading

A Big Move Brings Big Emotions For Little Kids—Here’s How to Help Them Cope

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood

It doesn’t matter how outgoing or funny or charismatic your kids might be, the possibility of uprooting their little lives and relocating to a new city is terrifying for any parent. Add a global pandemic into the mix, and it’s an idea that feels almost insurmountable.  But when my husband got a job offer we couldn’t refuse, we packed up the car and drove our two kids (eight and four) west from Pennsylvania to the great state of Arizona. The decision weighed heavily on me, and I wasn’t prepared for the avalanche of mom guilt that followed. But as I’ve...

Keep Reading

My Kids May Never Be Professional Athletes, But They’ll Be Strong, Confident Adults Because of Youth Sports

In: Kids, Motherhood
Tween boy playing hockey, color photo

I have pivoted 180 degrees over the last few years on one major bone of contention in our household of four, which includes two sporty kids who love ice hockey and baseball: the rationale behind our, in my opinion, excessive expenditure of resources on our sons’ youth sports careers, and whether this makes any sense.  Neither of them is NHL or MLB bound. Or at least the chances, statistically, are extremely minuscule. And yet, we have directed an inordinate amount of our life savings as well as our precious time to not only club sports, but also private lessons, to...

Keep Reading

Food Allergies Won’t Stop Her—How My Daughter Is Teaching Me to Be Brave

In: Kids, Motherhood

Dear daughter, I know sometimes you wonder if you’ll ever do normal things without me hovering over you. Double and triple-checking your snack labels and drilling you about whether your allergy meds are packed and ready. It’s a lot for you to carry, physically and emotionally. But you’re so strong, sweet girl. Flexible, too. You can do this because you were built for it. And someday, someday, you’ll see it: that this story is yours because you carry it with grace. You don’t complain much, and when you do, you follow it up with a wise comment, saying this sort...

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Proven techniques to build REAL connections