So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

It was an act of sibling rivalry that set the early morning hour into motion.

My voice, still waking from a night of intermittent rest, turned into an ogre of epic proportions.

I had already cleaned up two spills, fed breakfast to a very hungry child, and tried to coerce a very picky child to eat just a bite of something.

In between the food wars, I carried both children at some point on my hip and wiped away tearful expressions of feelings from both kids as I entered into the next phase of playing referee.

The progress of teaching the word kindness to both kids the day before seemed like a failed attempt and very distant memory.

Knowing the remainder of the morning would also hold tantrums, requests for screen time, and a dose of medicine for a lingering cough made my morning miserable.

A few days ago, a friend reminded me I was living the dream.

“You are a mother! You are doing what you wanted to do.”


What a sobering realization and a quick reality check of did I really want this?

For the majority of my life, I had the picture in my head that adulthood would also coincide with parenthood.

I was always the person who said, “I want to grow up and be a mom.”

I had a professional career straight out of college that had exciting day-to-day moments. Life was fun and carefree, sleep was easy to come by, I was not ever asked to dig cracker crumbs out of tightly-woven carpet at 6:30 a.m.

I did not know about making up songs to get another human being to eat one green bean or consequently, getting that same human being to poop to the same tune, just different lyrics.

I would wake up to a fairly routine day . . . see the same people, do the same things, day in and day out all the while having an inner goal to myself that one day . . . one day, I would have kids. I would likely stay at home with them, and it would be glorious.

Fast forward . . . I am here.

I am at my goal. My dream.

This is the life I imagined.

I am not sure I ever pictured the many sleepless nights of a baby crying out at 2:30, 3:30, and sometimes 4:30 a.m., or the fact that one of my children despises all food unless it is covered in ketchup or is a nugget of any form.

Or how one of my kids does not like the local storytime at the library . . . the one fun and safe-for-kids outing we can take each week.

There is also the reality that regardless of what time we put our children to sleep, they ALWAYS wake up EVERY morning at 6:30 a.m.

I didn’t picture the bickering, the “don’t fight with your sister” phrase I say easily 500 times a second, the constant laundry pile of stained clothes from the spaghetti dinner that got EVERYWHERE, or that six centimeter LEGO cube that is always stuck in my foot.

But I could never have imagined the silly songs we sing in the car on the way to church because we do most of our lives singing, the praises made because someone pooped in the potty, the “Mom, look!” at just about anything, or the sleepy requests at nap time for our favorite story that has to be read 10 times in a row until everyone decides to close their eyes.

There are a million, sometimes billion, emotions that pass through the day of a mother. Sometimes they are filled with frustration, anger, doubt, and fear. Sometimes, it feels like the tiny humans filling our homes have it out for us, and we will most assuredly die by 11 a.m. because no, a Popsicle is not a food group.

But motherhood is also beautiful.

It is also a million tiny moments of finding balance, soothing wounds, drying tears, clapping hands, reading books, playing doctor, dancing in the living room, or sliding down the slide at the playground “one last time.”

We have ogre moments and we have redeeming moments.

We have moments we need grace, and moments we feel strengthened to keep going, and all of these moments make us Mom.

When the hour hits when sanity seems like a distant friend and a request for “Jesus Loves Me” is made, the creaking of the rocking chair goes up and down, and the peaceful moment hovers overhead like sunshine on a cloudy day. It is at this moment, I can’t help but look down at the four, tiny feet cradled around my lap, and it hits me. . . this is the goal.

This is what I imagined.

This is not perfection, but this is a beautiful life.

This is the ebb and flow of motherhood.

You may also like: 

I Hope I Loved You Enough Today

Dear Son, When You No Longer Want Kisses From Mama

To the 30-something Moms

Emily Reed

Emily Reed is a stay-at-home mom to two small children. After previously working in the newspaper industry, she now freelances for several publications.

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

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

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

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


Proven techniques to build REAL connections