So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

When I left the hospital, mother’s guilt came with me.

Smuggled in the diaper bag.
Crouching beneath the car seat.
Burrowing near my swollen breast.

Like a tricky shapeshifter, mother’s guilt manifested as empty milk cartons, dirty kitchens, burnt pancakes, undecorated Christmas trees.

Thriving on mundane events.
Daycare drop-offs, quiet Sundays, summer mornings.

Mother’s guilt seized the opportunity to destroy calm, wreck content, slaughter bliss.

Always present, mother’s guilt followed, like a midday shadow, and sometimes attacked like a starving bear, hungrily consuming.

And I, defenseless, sobbed in the preschool parking lot.
Trembled in the grocery store.

Mother’s guilt is popular, parading with an entourage of friends:
Blame, Regret, Fatigue, Comparison, Resentment.
Inviting her disciples to get comfortable.
Extending their visit indefinitely.

Sometimes at night, I drive across town to my mom’s house.
I comb flakes of mother’s guilt out of her hair.
Wipe guilt stains from her shirt.
Pluck loose threads of guilt from her sweater.
I brush guilt crumbs from her chin.

And let her know she did just fine.

Then, I drive home.

Hoping that one day,
My daughter will do the same for me.

This post originally appeared on Mothers Always Write

You may also like:

You Don’t Have to Feel Guilty, Mama

A Mother’s Mind Never Rests, Because We Carry The Mental Load

To My Mom: I Get It Now

McKenzie Wood

McKenzie Wood is an assistant professor at a college in western Idaho. She enjoys all things outdoors, being a connoisseur of herbal tea, and arguing with her brothers in-law. She lives in Boise with her husband and two children

As an Anxious Mom, I Remind Myself You Were God’s Child First

In: Faith, Motherhood
Little boy sleeping

I remember bringing that squishy baby home from the hospital. His 9-pound birth weight didn’t label him as scrawny by any means, but he was so small to us. I cringed the first time I laid him in the bassinet beside my bed. I wouldn’t be able to keep an eye on him all night long like the nurses in the hospital nursery. I couldn’t make sure he was breathing every second of my coveted slumber. To calm my worries, we turned on our bathroom light and left the door wide open. The extra light wouldn’t disturb our angel from...

Keep Reading

Home is Holy Ground

In: Faith, Motherhood
Kids and mom at home

Some days, I wake up and walk around my house feeling my chest rise looking at the chaotic mess I didn’t get done the day before.  Trampling over toys, incomplete laundry, and dishes that seem to load up by the end of the day. I pause, I stare, and I wonder which of the objects in each room I should tackle first. I take a deep breath and notice my heart and my mind are overwhelmed with a running checklist. Why can’t everything just get done all at one time? You can talk to a dozen mothers and I am...

Keep Reading

I Want My Kids To Know God’s Always There

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman holding cross in the palm of her hand, color photo

A few months ago, my friend lost his dad. And it impacted our community profoundly. Because he loved SO BIG. Everywhere he went, he couldn’t help but talk to and engage with people—sharing a joke to make them smile or offering a compliment to build them up. He was a connector. And in all the connecting he did, he was quick to remind everyone he encountered that our hearts are ever connected to a God who loves us. It had become his thing to pass out little wooden crosses to those he happily chatted up as he went about each...

Keep Reading

As My Children Grow, I Miss It All—Even the Sick Days

In: Kids, Motherhood
Toddler on mom's shoulder

I whisk my daughter through the doors of urgent care and cradle her head as I stand behind three other mamas clinging to their babies. We’re each rocking in different ways but moving nonetheless. The silent, comforting rhythm of motherhood. I see sad, sick eyes from the babies with their heads nestled into the necks of their mama. I’m tired from the sleepless night, and I shift from foot to foot. There is hushing and humming and back-patting. A pacifier drops to the floor. All of a sudden my daughter feels heavy. A vague sinking feeling comes over me, like...

Keep Reading

Life with Autism Is Full of Ticking Time Bombs

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother, father, teen daughter, color photo

Many of us who live with autism are familiar with the comings and goings of the ticking time bomb—one that disappears for periods of time, so much so that we might forget about it. Then, suddenly, this bomb drops at our doorstep in the form of a returning or new obstacle, so intense that it causes us to pause our lives, alter our plans, maybe even change our current paths. For our family, the new challenge has been sudden, piercing, sporadic screams. Not constant, not even often, thankfully, but jolting nonetheless. So here we were, in the midst of our...

Keep Reading

In Motherhood, Grace Makes up the Difference

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother holding young child

Today, I have been the mean mom, the tired mom, the overwhelmed mom, the anxious mom, the impatient mom, and the want to turn in my mom card mom. Mostly, I’ve felt like the I have no clue what I’m doing mom. I have raised my voice 47 times, told children to “suck it up, buttercup” 36 times, and have intervened in approximately 83 sibling disagreements. I have rolled my eyes 59 times, sighed 148 times, and visibly showed other signs of impatience, well, way too many times. RELATED: I’m a Good Mom, You Just Caught Me in a Bad...

Keep Reading

Dear Mom, Your Best Is Enough

In: Motherhood
Mom and young boy with backpack

I am my own worst enemy—I forget to let myself off, give myself time, free myself of guilt.  I am a stay-at-home mom, but I am not a superhero.  For the most part, I absolutely love, treasure, and soak up every happy, special, tough, gritty moment of motherhood. I am forever grateful for this journey. But I also feel extremely guilty any time the load builds a little too high. I forget that I too am allowed emotions, time off, and forgiveness.  As a rule, I don’t snap. I am a patient parent. I discuss and I cuddle and I reason...

Keep Reading

I Know My Friends Aren’t Bothered by My Messy House, but I Am

In: Friendship, Living, Motherhood
Sad woman by laundry pile

My house screams at me. It screams to clear off the kitchen counters, to put away the clean clothes, to organize the shoe collection in our entry, to gather up the scattered toys, to sweep the crumbs up, to place the throw pillows back on the couch, to clean off the table—you get the idea. Everything in my sight speaks volumes to the state it does not want to be in, for the chaos it is imposing.  Keeping home is a labor of love and never of balance for me. Everything that is cleaned, made, or organized will always get...

Keep Reading

To the Emotional Mom of a High School Senior, Enjoy It

In: Grown Children, Motherhood, Teen
Teen girl in graduation gown, color photo

Dear moms of high school seniors, I see your posts on social media, and I sense your excitement, mixed with anxiety and a bit of sadness (if we are being completely honest). I notice your photos of all the lasts, and I celebrate your child’s accomplishments with you. I see you, and I know you because I have been you, twice now.  I feel the almost palpable sinking feeling that hits in the pit of your stomach when you think about them moving on to the next stage. How is it possible they have grown from such a tiny, helpless...

Keep Reading

I’ll Never Be Ready for My Son To Let Go of Me

In: Motherhood, Tween
Tween boy and mom

The arts-and-crafts tote overflowed with cylinders of petrified Play-Doh, crispy-bristled paintbrushes, and Elmer’s glue bottles with clogged applicator tips. Underneath it sat a stack of spiral notebooks with homework from previous years: simple fractions, facts about fossils and chlorophyll, vocabulary words neatly written on blue lines. Star Wars characters were sporadically doodled in the margins.  None of its contents had been touched in years. Yet, the very second I tipped it upside down into the garbage dumpster—unwittingly blasting a flume of silver glitter into the garage ceiling—I felt deep, aching sadness and enormous regret.  When did fuzzy pipe-cleaners become nostalgia-worthy?...

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Proven techniques to build REAL connections