Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

My husband and I are big on learning new things. He’s a teacher and I’m a librarian, so we naturally gravitate toward the acquiring and sharing of ideas and information. We’ve spent the last year or so learning a lot about the power of positive thinking, of having a vision and a purpose, and of intentionally setting the tone for our lives. We’ve read some great books like “Abundance Unleashed” by Christian Mickelsen and “Poverty, Riches, and Wealth” by Kris Vallotton that have inspired us to aim high and step into our best selves as we set out to create our best lives together. But today, I need to take a little break from the positivity of my best self and tell you what’s really going on.

Today, I need you to know that I’m just trying to get through the day.

You see, I have a 5-day old newborn at home, a second child I hoped and prayed for over the course of several years. It’s a blessing beyond belief, but, as I’m sure you know, having a newborn is no walk in the park, especially when you are still recovering from delivery yourself. To put it bluntly, my nether regions are a bloody, war-torn mess. The furniture is covered in waterproof pads in case someone has an accident. Will it be me or the baby? Who knows? Either way, it isn’t pretty, because sometimes motherhood is mesh panties and hospital grade maxi pads.

Don’t even get me started on my appearance. Let’s just say it’s lucky for everyone involved that I have a winning personality. I have managed to shower each day since leaving the hospital, but my feet are so puffy, they look like they belong to a woodland ogre, and suds have not touched my hair for what seems like four score and seven years. Sometimes motherhood is swollen Shrek feet and dry shampoo.

Breastfeeding isn’t going that well this time around either. Apparently, my right nipple is as flat as a pancake, if pancakes cracked and bled and made you cry out in excruciating pain every couple of hours. We’re working to find a way to successfully continue breastfeeding, but right now, we’re using pumped milk and supplementing with formula in the meantime. Sometimes motherhood is nipple shields and things not going according to plan.

I also have a 5-year-old kindergartener. I’d love it if she ate a well-balanced dinner tonight—perhaps some lean protein with a heaping serving of green veggies on the side, capped off by a nutritious bowl of bright, ripe strawberries for dessert. But sometimes motherhood is ordering apple slices in the Happy Meal and hoping for the best.

Yes, sometimes motherhood is sunshine-filled trips to Disney, sweetly whispered I love yous, and warm bedtime snuggles. But it’s also mesh panties and McDonald’s. 

It’s crying in your car, in the bathroom, in the pediatrician’s office. It’s not knowing what to do next, but putting one foot in front of the other anyway—hoping you’ll look back on this in a year and laugh but wondering how you’ll ever get to that point.

Until then, mamas, I’m adding a milkshake for myself to that McDonald’s order and sipping it contentedly on my freshly covered couch, resting in the knowledge that I can always go back to being my best self tomorrow . . . 

You may also like:

Dear New Mom, You’re Killing It

To the Mom in the Trenches: Your Time is Coming

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 now!

Order Now

Leah Baacke

Leah is a mom, librarian, and blogger living and writing in the Tampa Bay, FL, area. Visit her blog, The Open Book Mama, for her hilarious musings on motherhood, reading recommendations for you and your kids, and more!

You Made Me Love Christmas

In: Motherhood
Family in pajamas near Christmas tree, color photo

Hi kids, this is a thank you note of sorts . . . I’m about to tell you something strange. Something you may not “get” yet, but I hope you do eventually. I used to dread Christmas. I know, isn’t that weird? Most kids and a lot of adults have countdowns and decorations and music, but I had a countdown in my mind of when it would be over. To me, it wasn’t a happy time. From the age of about eight (right about where you all are now) Christmas, for me, became like a job of sorts. Long before...

Keep Reading

She is an Anonymom

In: Living, Motherhood
Mother standing at sink holding a baby on her hip

She stands alone in the church kitchen, frantically scrubbing pots and pans while the grieving huddle around the fellowship hall, and she slips out the back door before anyone comes in. She is an anonymom. She gets out of her car and picks up the trash thrown into the ditch alongside the country road. She is an anonymom. She sits on the park bench, watching her children play. In the meantime, she continually scans the whole playground, keeping track of everyone’s littles, because that is what moms do. She is an anonymom. RELATED: Can We Restore “the Village” Our Parents...

Keep Reading

I Come Alive at Christmas

In: Motherhood
Kitchen decorated for Christmas

It’s time again. Time for the lights and the trees and candy canes and tiny porcelain village homes. It’s time to shake off all that this year has thrown at me and come alive again. My favorite time of year is here and it’s time to make some magic. My mom started the magic of Christmas for me when I was little, and I was infatuated with the joy that it brought to so many people. Loved ones come together and everything sparkles and people who don’t normally come to church are willing to join us in the pews. Everything...

Keep Reading

Brothers Fight Hard and Love Harder

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two boys play outside, one lifting the other on his back

The last few years have been a whirlwind. My head has sometimes been left spinning; we have moved continents with three boys, three and under at the time. Set up home and remained sufficiently organized despite the complete chaos to ensure everyone was where they were meant to be on most days. Living in a primarily hockey town, the winters are filled with coffee catch-ups at the arena, so it was no surprise when my youngest declared his intention to play hockey like his school friends. Fully aware that he had never held a hockey stick or slapped a puck,...

Keep Reading

Stop Putting an Expiration Date on Making Memories

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and son in small train ride

We get 12 times to play Santa (if we’re lucky). This phrase stopped my scroll on a Sunday evening. I had an idea of the direction this post was going but I continued on reading. 12 spring breaks 12 easter baskets 20 tooth fairy visits 13 first days of school 1 first date 1-2 proms 1-2 times of seeing them in their graduation cap and gown 18 summers under the same roof And so on and so on. It was essentially another post listing the number of all the monumental moments that we, Lord willing, will get to experience with our...

Keep Reading

Connecting with My Teen Son Will Always Be Worth the Wait

In: Motherhood, Teen
Teen boy standing near lamppost, color photo

So much of parenting teens is just waiting around, whether it’s in the car picking them up, reading in waiting rooms now that they are old enough to visit the dentist alone, and quite honestly, a lot of sitting around at home while they cocoon in their rooms or spend hours FaceTiming friends. Sure, you have your own life. You work, run a household, have your own friends, and plan solo adventures to show your teen that you’re not just waiting around for them all the time. That you are cool with them not needing you so much. But deep...

Keep Reading

This Is Why Moms Ask for Experience Gifts

In: Faith, Living, Motherhood
Mother and young daughter under Christmas lights wearing red sweaters

When a mama asks for experience gifts for her kids for Christmas, please don’t take it as she’s ungrateful or a Scrooge. She appreciates the love her children get, she really does. But she’s tired. She’s tired of the endless number of toys that sit in the bottom of a toy bin and never see the light of day. She’s tired of tripping over the hundreds of LEGOs and reminding her son to pick them up so the baby doesn’t find them and choke. She’s tired of having four Elsa dolls (we have baby Elsa, Barbie Elsa, a mini Elsa,...

Keep Reading

6 Things You Can Do Now to Help Kids Remember Their Grandparents

In: Grief, Living, Loss, Motherhood
Grandfather dances with granddaughter in kitchen

A month ago, my mom unexpectedly passed away. She was a vibrant 62-year-old grandma to my 4-year-old son who regularly exercised and ate healthy. Sure, she had some health scares—breast cancer and two previous brain aneurysms that had been operated on successfully—but we never expected her to never come home after her second surgery on a brain aneurysm. It has been devastating, to say the least, and as I comb through pictures and videos, I have gathered some tips for other parents of young kids to do right now in case the unexpected happens, and you’re left scrambling to never...

Keep Reading

To the Parents Who Coach: Thank You

In: Living, Motherhood
Mother with young son in soccer uniform, color photo

I always planned on being an involved parent, whatever that would mean. Never an athlete, always athletic, I joined the swim team in high school, taught swim lessons for spending money as a college freshman, played intramural soccer at 10 p.m. on weeknights on a college team with a ridiculous name. Later, mama to only one baby, finding extra dollars wherever I could, I coached track. And then, my own babies really started to play sports. I promised myself I would volunteer as possible, but something always stood in the way, and all I could manage was to get my...

Keep Reading

I’m Leaning into Kintsugi Parenting

In: Motherhood
Mom hugs little girl with pigtails

My 5-year-old daughter whimpers in the darkness. “I am putting the baby down,” I whisper, the rocking chair creaking. “You need to go with Dad.” Even in the dark, I can make out the stubborn, I’m-not-going-anywhere look. Call it defiance. Call it deep attachment to me. All I know is that to be so openly disobeyed makes me run a gauntlet of emotions. First, I feel irked that she’ll wake up the baby, but that’s the surface-level stuff. What really gets to me is the fear—am I doing a bad job because my kid won’t readily “obey”? Have I failed...

Keep Reading