New parents…you can’t possibly know.

I just found this picture behind another photo in a frame and I’ve unearthed a memory. I see young me about 3 weeks into my mom journey and I couldn’t possibly have known.

In fact I’m glad I didn’t.

I was working so hard and was so consumed with figuring out this tiny creature. I’m smiling and behind that smile I remember being so worried about how I’d feed her during church that day. It seemed impossible. Maybe because of those crazy bib overalls. I’m not a planner.

And there was always so much to think about…

Was she eating enough?

Why didn’t she sleep?

What was I supposed to do with her when she was awake? She would just look at me…like now what?

Was she happy?

Seriously, shouldn’t she sleep more?

The first day we brought her home no joke we couldn’t even figure out what to do with her when we ate. So we put her in the center of the table and just looked at her over supper.

We couldn’t possibly have known.

There was so much more ahead of us.

We couldn’t have known how it would be to eventually leave her with someone else while we went back out into the world. How we would have fun with part of ourselves while the other part counted the minutes until we were with her again. We were forever changed.

Or how amazing it would be to hear her first word. How we would keep a running list and gloat over it as if no child had learned to speak before.

Or how hard it would be to send her off to her first day of school….how I would watch the clock and worry over if she’d made friends or had enough to eat or had maybe been a little sassy.

Or how I would wake up over and over worrying when she was on her first sleepover (OK all sleepovers to this day, I like my people in their own beds) wondering if she was cold or homesick or safe.

Or how we would watch in amazement as she walked onto the stage for the first time, taking her talents from our living room into the actual world…how she had become this whole separate person.

Or how we’d send her to middle school and then high school as she grew as tall as us and began this whole life we were only watching, suddenly on the sidelines cheering her on but no longer playing in the game.

Or how we’d bury the pit in our stomachs and hand over the car keys. And that we’d survive a crash (or two).

Or how we’d start to prepare our hearts for her leaving us to go into the world, even as that does not seem like it will really happen.

Because we can’t know how that will feel.

Just like we couldn’t possibly have known the love we had for this tiny baby would do nothing but grow right along with her.

All we could handle was wrapping our minds around this gift and keeping her alive.

And that’s pretty much still true today.

But I’ve learned it’s what is right in front of you that matters. We can’t possibly know what is coming next. And worrying about it or trying to predict it can steal the joy of what is right in front of us.

I look at young me and in addition to wanting to tell her to lose those horrible bib overalls, I want to tell her it’s OK.

Your baby will eat. You’ll not only figure out how to feed her in church but also pretty much anywhere.

You’ll even survive her future attempts to go vegan. It will be a whole thing.

And someday all she’ll do is sleep…you’ll actually have to pry her from her bed.

And this journey you’re on will be so much fun. There will be bumps but you’ll all be OK.

Because you already know the secret. It’s the only thing you really need to know.

You know how to love this baby…this child…this crazy teenager.

You know love. And because of that so does she.

You’ve got this mama…even when you feel like you don’t. Because you have love and that love will see you through all of it.

This article originally appeared on Amy’s Facebook page: Hiding in the Closet with Coffee

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Amy Betters-Midtvedt

Amy Betters-Midtvedt is a writer, educator, mom of 5 crazy kids, wife to a patient husband, and lover of Jesus. She writes along with her friend and former teaching partner Erin over at Hiding in the Closet With Coffee. Our mission is to help parents find sanity and joy, and we know sometimes joy is found hiding out in the closet with coffee, or hiding out on Facebook — come and join us both! You can read more about us here. You can also find us hiding out over at InstagramPinterest, and Twitter.

I Had to Learn to Say “I’m Sorry” to My Kids

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Mom hugs tween daughter

My two oldest kiddos are at the front end of their teen years. I remember that time in my own life. I was loud, somewhat dramatic, I let my hormones control me, and I never—ever—apologized. This last part was because no one ever really taught me the value of apology or relationship repair. Now, I could do some parent blaming here but let’s be real, if you were a kid whose formative years were scattered between the late ’80s and early ’90s, did you get apologies from your parents? If so, count that blessing! Most parents were still living with...

Keep Reading

5 Things Your Child’s Kindergarten Teacher Wants You To Know

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child raising hand in kindergarten class

I am a teacher. I have committed my life to teaching children. Of course, before I began this career, I had visions of standing in front of a group of eager-eyed children and elaborating on history, science, and math lessons. I couldn’t wait to see the “lightbulb” moments when students finally understood a reading passage or wrote their first paper. And then I had my first day. Children are not cut out of a textbook (shocking, I know) but as a young 23-year-old, it knocked me right off my feet. I was thrown into the lion’s den, better known as...

Keep Reading

To the Extended Family That Shows Up: We Couldn’t Do This Without You

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Family visiting new baby in a hospital room

This picture—my heart all but bursts every time I see it.  It was taken five years ago on the day our daughter was born. In it, my husband is giving her her very first bath while our proud extended family looks on. It was a sweet moment on a hugely special day, but gosh–what was captured in this photo is so much more than that. This photo represents everything I could have ever hoped for my kids: That they would have an extended family who shows up in their lives and loves them so deeply.  That they would have grandparents,...

Keep Reading

You’re Almost Grown, But You’re Always Welcome Back Home

In: Kids, Motherhood
Teen in room studying with computer and smartphone

Dear child, In the days before you could walk or talk, there were times when you would wail—when my rocking and shushing and bouncing were seemingly futile—but it didn’t matter. Each day and night, multiple times, I always picked you up and welcomed you back into my arms. As a toddler and a preschooler, you had some pretty epic meltdowns. There were times when you would thrash and scream, and all I could do was stand by and wait for the storm to blow over. Eventually, you would run to me, and I would welcome you back with a warm embrace....

Keep Reading

No One Warned Me About the Last Baby

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding newborn baby, black-and-white photo

No one warned me about the last baby. When I had my first, my second, and my third, those first years were blurry from sleep deprivation and chaos from juggling multiple itty-bitties. But the last baby? There’s a desperation in that newborn fog to soak it up because there won’t be another. No one warned me about the last baby. Selling the baby swing and donating old toys because we wouldn’t need them crushed me. I cried selling our double jogger and thought my heart would split in two when I dropped off newborn clothes. Throwing out pacifiers and bottles...

Keep Reading

Parents Are Terrible Salespeople for Parenting

In: Kids, Motherhood
Tired mother with coffee cup on table, child sitting next to her

As the years of fertility start to wane, many of my childless peers are confronted with the question, “Should I have kids?” With hesitation, they turn to us parents who, frankly, seem overwhelmingly unhappy. They ask sheepishly, “Is it worth it?” We lift our heads up, bedraggled, bags under our eyes, covered in boogers and sweat and spit up, we mutter, “Of course! It’s so fulfilling!” It’s like asking a hostage if they like their captor. Sure, it’s great. We love them. But our eyes are begging for liberation. Save me, please. I haven’t slept through the night in years....

Keep Reading

Soak in the Moments because Babies Don’t Keep

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Roller coaster photo, color photo

I love marking the moments, the ones that count—making a note and storing them for memory. But I often miss out on them when it comes to our oldest. ⁣ ⁣The day he wanted to be baptized, I was at home with another kiddo who was sick. He called me from church excitedly, emphasizing he was ready and didn’t want to wait. I couldn’t argue with that, so I watched him go underwater through videos my husband and sweet friends in the congregation took. ⁣ ⁣On the day of his fifth-grade graduation, we found ourselves at the pediatrician’s office. Instead...

Keep Reading

Sometimes a Kid Just Needs a Sick Day

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy outside, color photo

My middle son stayed home from school today. He said he was sick. I’m not sure that is the truth. I was lucky enough to have a mom who was an amazing caretaker, especially when you were sick. She pulled out all the stops. A cozy clean space to be, a thermos with ice cold juice by your side, Mrs. Grass’s soup, and Days of Our Lives on the screen while she tidied up the house. It was the best feeling in the world to be home and cozy with my mom when I was sick. It felt cozy and...

Keep Reading

Sometimes We Need Someone to Just Sit With Us in Our Struggle

In: Kids, Motherhood
Sad woman sits on floor, black and white image

Early this morning, I told (yelled is more accurate) my sons to get up with the same furious ferocity I use every morning when I realize they should be ready to go, but are still unconsciously snoozing away. One son lazily said, “I’m up, Mom” (even though he was very much not up). The other son, who typically has no problems getting up, had overslept and immediately freaked out, thinking he would be late to school. He proceeded to have a mini-meltdown from the dark recesses of his bedroom. That overflowed into the hallway where I found him lying face-down,...

Keep Reading

Daughter of Mine, Do Not Let the World Extinguish Your Fire

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and young daughter, color photo

Daughter of mine, I see the fire behind your eyes. Do not let it die. Daughter of mine who runs wildly and loves freely and whose anger is always whipping silently just under the surface like a pilot light, ready to ignite with one tiny spark. Do not let it die. RELATED: There is Wild Beauty in This Spirited Child of Mine Daughter of mine, one day you will become a woman, and the world will try to steal you and mold you and tell you who to become. Do not let it. It will try to fit you in...

Keep Reading