So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

Sometimes I yearn for her in the strangest of ways, teased but never fulfilled. A brief glimpse of her retreating shadow. I reach for her but again she escapes me. I chase her down, wanting nothing more than to return to what was but now is gone.

I’m longing for the woman I was before becoming a mother, but she doesn’t exist anymore. 

There are certain rituals of hers that are no longer mine to maintain. The spontaneity, the laziness, the selfishness . . . all ensnared in a whirring of freedom no longer attainable. The way a Saturday morning would arrive gently and with it a cup of coffee that stayed warm from first to last sip. Trips to run an errand were without a plan or packed bag. Clothes shopping was less about concealing and more about flaunting. Conversations were deep and distraction-free with rarely a mention of bodily fluids. 

On especially nostalgic days, I try to replicate some of those rituals. The end result is sometimes satisfying, often drastically different from how its remembered, and always a cause for reflection. I begin to wonder if perhaps the ritual was always a shallow, fleeting joy rather than the elevated pedestal upon which it has been placed in my memory. 

RELATED: Motherhood Has Changed Me So Very Much

It’s driving 45 minutes to another town so I can peruse the aisles of Trader Joe’s without a grocery listonly the baby doesn’t use bottles and we can’t be apart for more than two hours, so he’s strapped to my chest.

It’s deliberately etching time in my day for yogabut instead of going to a boutique studio I’m in my sweatpants following an online instructor while my toddler uses me as a jungle gym.

It’s asking my husband to run an errand with our toddler so I can tap into some much-needed writing timeonly to hear the cries of our baby minutes later, his monitor roaring over my writing playlist from years past (that’s literally happening right now). 

Like reigniting a flame with an old love, my longing is accompanied by disappointment and, fortunately, a renewed appreciation for the present.

I’m pulled back into the bigger picture and the new, richer rituals of my life.

It’s the overwhelming pride of watching my child be kind to someone who’s hurting, without prompting.

It’s early mornings, in the quiet stillness of the nursery, nursing my baby while his free hand reaches gingerly for my face.

It’s finding community in ways I never knew existed, all unified by the shedding of our former selves. 

RELATED: Someday I’ll Be Me Again, But For Now I’m OK With Being Mostly Mommy

Part of me will always miss who I used to be. But I know, deep down, the best parts of her are still there, just beneath the surface. The rest of her, I’m ready to release. There’s no use in anchoring to the weight of her dragging me down. 

Previously published on the author’s blog

Brianna Baranowski

Brianna Baranowski is a California girl loving the Iowa way of life! She is wife to Ryan, mama to two little guys, and an ELL teacher. Brianna loves catching a gorgeous sunrise, holding a warm cup of coffee with both hands, and enjoying silly moments with her family.

You Are So Much More than the Doubts in Your Head

In: Living, Motherhood
Little girl looking out window, color photo

Keep pushing. Push through every doubt the enemy instills in your mind.  Push through the depression. Push through the worrisome moments. Push through that anxiety that won’t let you win.  You’ve got to keep going. Keep moving forward.  You are a great mother. You are a great wife. You are a great employee and an even better friend.  RELATED: Struggling With Mental Health Makes You a Bad Mom—And Other Lies I’ve Believed Don’t get stuck in the same spot that depression has led you and those thoughts that say you aren’t good enough or worthy enough.  You are.  God says...

Keep Reading

Motherhood Is Hard Because You’re Doing It Right

In: Motherhood
mother holding young child

Before having children, I had a very romanticized idea of motherhood. Sure, I knew it would be hard. But I visualized the beautiful moments ahead: cuddling in bed with my baby in the mornings, sharing favorite books at bedtime, exploring the seashore, and jumping in puddles. I thought I would feel competent and purposeful, and yes, love every moment. What a reality check I was in for.  As a stay-at-home mom to a 3-year-old and a baby, those amazing moments felt few and far between. I felt utterly dragged down by the monotony of it all—not by the moments with...

Keep Reading

Just the Three of Us

In: Motherhood
Mother and father holding hands with daughter as they walk, color photo

On the eve of my daughter’s seventh birthday, I leaned against her doorway watching her sleep so peacefully. I roamed around my home admiring her baby photos and our little family. I blinked and my baby is growing up, and yet, the five years it took to have her felt like a decade. I remind my little girl she is a miracle when she requests a sibling. How do I explain that my body has officially retired when I couldn’t accept it myself? I was first diagnosed with endometriosis at the age of 19 and was informed I had a...

Keep Reading

Jesus Meets Me in Motherhood With His No Matter What Love

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother embracing daughter in sunlit room

My toddler was that kid on the playground—the one who would push and bite, erupting into a tantrum and needing to be carried home screaming. As I would carry my child to the car, the other moms looked at me with sympathy, confusion, fear, and . . . judgment.  Parents of challenging kids know this look well. We see judgment everywhere we go. I knew others were judging me, and I knew our challenges were beyond the normal bell curve, but as an overwhelmed young mom, I did all I knew to do: I blamed myself.  At my lowest, I...

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

I Will Live For You

In: Living, Motherhood
Mother and child silhouette

“I would die for my child, ”a well-known, often said sacrificial statement. I didn’t really know how my fierce love for my child would manifest until the first time she was extremely upset, and I didn’t know why.  Readers, I would have cut off a finger to console my baby.  I would die to protect her.  Both are strong, love-filled sentiments. And both, God willing, are unnecessary.  But there’s a daunting task that is absolutely necessary. At times it needs to be a conscious decision. Sometimes it’ll require taking care of yourself so you can better care for your child....

Keep Reading

A Mom Never Stops Wondering if She Did Enough

In: Grown Children, Motherhood, Teen
Mom and teen son

Two days before my first child left for college, I swallowed tears passing the chocolate milk in the grocery store. I did not need to buy it. Every time I saw someone that summer, they would ask, “Are you ready”? Is he ready?” And the answers were always no and yes. I did not want to let go. I wanted to relive and hold on (one more Cubs game, one more of your favorite dinners) and teach any last-minute things I had forgotten over 18 years (laundry sorting? self-check-in at O’Hare?). But those were the small things. In my heart,...

Keep Reading

What I Wish Someone Would’ve Told Me About Gender Disappointment

In: Baby, Motherhood
Pregnant couple holding boy or girl sign

I was in the corner of my closet hiding behind my wedding dress and every formal I’ve ever owned. It was dark, stuffy, and felt like a good place to hide. I’d just found out I was having a boy, and I was devastated in ways I didn’t think possible and was trying to hide what I was feeling from the world around me.  What kind of mother isn’t completely enamored with her baby-to-be? Did this make me a monster? I should have been happy. After all, I was having a healthy baby. That’s like winning the lottery. Instead, I...

Keep Reading

The Conversation We’re Forgetting To Have About Birth

In: Baby, Marriage, Motherhood
Woman having a baby man holding her hand

My husband lay sleeping, his head resting on a fluffy, down-stuffed pillow in our hotel room. His bag was packed neatly, ESPN was playing quietly in the background, and he had unopened snacks at his disposal on the end table. Our hotel phone rang, and my husband groggily answered, ”Yes? Oh, sorry. Yeah, we’ll keep it down. Sorry.” He hung up and found me miserable and shaky in the shower, the thin shower curtain clinging to my legs.  “Steph, we got a noise complaint. You have to keep it down!” he whispered. This is not how I expected labor to...

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Proven techniques to build REAL connections