So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

I’m not the mom I thought I would be.

I always thought I’d be the mom who showed her girls they could have it all. I never thought I’d be the woman who left her job at the PR agency to help run the PTA. I never thought I’d be OK with my husband being the primary breadwinner. I never thought I’d be the mom who ran the household because her husband was conquering the business world, offering to help the women who work full-time.

I thought our family would always have dinner together and spend quality time on Sundays and tell each other everything. I never thought I would be a soccer mom driving my kids all over the countryside, eating meals out of plastic containers. I never thought I would be the parent who volunteered to chaperone 100 eighth graders on an orchestra field trip for a weekend. I never thought my kid would shut down and freeze me out so coldly that I cried myself to sleep one night.

I thought that parenting would come easily to me, that wanting to have a good relationship with my children meant I would have one. I never thought I’d be the mom who needed to talk to a therapist because I faced depression. I never thought I would be the mom who fought with her kid so much that she was ashamed. I never thought I would be the mom who worried about things like test scores, and what teams my kids made, and where they might attend college—even though they were only in sixth grade.

I wanted an open relationship with my daughters, but I thought that meant they would always come to me with questions. I never thought I would be the mom who would tell her tween daughters what “69” was (in detail) because boys were chanting about it in gym class. I never thought I’d be the mom who would sit with her kids and watch Eminem’s “8 Mile”. I never thought I would be the mom who shared with her daughters that there were times I drank too much and drove my car home, or that I tried things that put me in danger, or that there were men in my life who tried to force themselves on me.

I thought I’d be the mom with all the answers. I never thought I’d have to explain to my kids what to do in an active shooting situation, or how to cover their drinks at a party, or the warning signs that a friend could be considering suicide. I didn’t know that a 4×6 phone would dominate their time and impact their moods and have the greatest influence on their behavior. I never thought they would come to me with issues I couldn’t even fathom at their age.

I am both a traditional homemaker and a radical feminist. I am both a model of long-term achievement coupled with a million daily failures. I am exactly who I want to be and yet still wonder what I want to do when I grow up. I have everything I ever dreamed about yet never knew I wanted.

I’m not the mom I thought I would be, the one I envisioned in my head so many years ago when I dreamt of having children. The picture-perfect images are gone, the preconceived notions have flown out the window. I realized that parenting is a long game, like chess, yet so many of us are playing checkers.

I parent so differently than my own mother, yet yearn for an equally close relationship with my daughters. I want my kids to reach for the stars but am OK with them seeking out an ordinary life. I am a traditional mother who parents non-traditionally.

I’m not the mom I thought I would be.

I’m so much better.

Originally published on Playdates on Fridays by Whitney Fleming

Whitney Fleming

Whitney is a mom of three teen daughters, a freelance writer, and co-partner of the site You can find her on Facebook at WhitneyFlemingWrites.

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

Dear Preschool Teachers, I’m Going to Miss You So Much

In: Child, Motherhood
preschool teacher sitting with kids on her lap

Dear preschool teachers, There’s just no other way to say this— I’m going to miss you so much. You are the first adults outside of our family to spend your days with my children, and watching your relationships grow and develop this year has been the most bittersweet privilege. I’m going to miss the bright smiles that light up your faces every time my kids come bounding toward you on good days, and how tenderly you hold their little hands and guide them away from me on the tough ones. RELATED: Dear Preschool Graduate, I’m So Proud of You I’m...

Keep Reading

There Are a Million Reasons Being a Mom Is Hard

In: Motherhood
Overwhelmed mom with child at home

Being a mom is hard.   The endless messes to clean up. The sleepless nights and sticky fingers touching everywhere. The meal prep, the nap schedule, the tantrums, the kitchen sink overflowing with dishes . . . oh, the dishes.   And then as they get older, there’s managing all the activities and the carpooling. The homework you can’t figure out. (Are you smarter than a 5th grader? The answer is no, no I’m not.)   The endless to-do list and the pressure to always put someone else’s needs before your own.  No doubt, it’s hard being a mom. But that is the obvious stuff....

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids


Proven techniques to build REAL connections