So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

I see you, the one holding down the fort.

Your other half is working a long shift at the hospital, on duty as a firefighter or paramedic or police officer, manning an oil rig, flying for an airline, coaching the basketball team, planting and harvesting those fields, teaching a night class, driving a long-haul semi-truck, gone for military training, or deployed. I know you’re holding down the fort.

 You wake up before your little people do. Maybe a tiny human is in your bed this morning and you kiss their sleeping cheeks. You pour yourself a cup (or two) of coffee and get yourself ready for the day. You wake up the kids, help them through breakfast, assist with making lunches and finding backpacks, shoes, hats, and coats. You coordinate school and preschool drop-offs. You pause and breathe as the last child bounces out the car door and yells, “Love you!”

As the sun was rising, you logged a thousand steps. 

Maybe you head to work next where your boss and co-workers are incredibly kind people who–if the school calls and says your kid is sick or if animal control calls and says your dog ran away again or if your spouse calls and says it’s been suddenly decided to relocate your family for his or her job–say it’s alright, we understand. We have your back here at work, and we will figure this out.

RELATED: I’m an Exhausted Working Mom Who’s Ready to Lean Out, Not In

Maybe your work environment is less stellar than that, and the people you see every day simply cannot understand how you strive to balance it all. If it’s possible, go find the kind people I mentioned. They really do exist. 

Maybe you head home instead to have a few hours to yourself during the preschool morning.

Maybe you take a walk or get groceries or volunteer at church. Maybe you stop at the library to pick up the new story hour schedule and enjoy a quick but meaningful conversation with an adult who loves books just as much as you do. Maybe you hope time will slow down a little bit because those mornings, while your youngest is at preschool, go by with lightning speed.

You might pick up the preschooler and play at the park. You might answer a million questions only 3- and 4-year-olds can think of. You might manage lunchtime and nap time and snack time and screen time with the skills of a professional hostage negotiator because a tired and hungry little human can just be volatile. Sometimes it is oh, so worth it to take a nap together. The peace of a well-rested child and a well-rested parent is invaluable.

Or you might clock-out from work and make a quick stop on the way to school, grabbing what you’ll need for supper and maybe some after-school treats. You might spend a few awesome minutes chatting with other parents who are standing in the shade waiting for their kids. They might ask about your other half and offer to help. “Just let me know if you need anything. We will be around all weekend.” You might say the lawnmower is having issues, and it would be great if you could borrow theirs on Saturday while yours is being repaired.

RELATED: I Don’t Hate That My Husband Travels for Work

You round up your kids and head to a park (the one with a decent bathroom because someone always needs to pee after school). You listen to a million stories about their day and laugh at all their knock-knock jokes. 

You manage the hours as the sun goes down. You make dinner and start setting out tomorrow’s breakfast. You remind the kids to feed the pets and empty the dishwasher and take out the trash. You help with flashcards, reading assignments, and math homework. You make sure your little people are bathed and teeth get cleaned. You read many books and say many prayers and give many tickles, kisses, and hugs. You tell your kids you love them and you appreciate them and you’re so blessed to be their parent.

You start the laundry and pay some bills. You pour yourself a glass (or two) of wine and take a few minutes to lock up the house. You pause and breathe. When all is quiet, the dogs follow you to bed.

You have done it. You have made a thousand decisions on your own today as a parent. You have guided the inner workings of your house.

Some days have lots of hiccups. Some days are a complete disaster. Sometimes a grandparent or aunt will swoop in like a fairy godmother and save you when all the wheels have fallen off the carriage. But usually, the days move along seamlessly. At the end of this day, your family is happy and healthy. You have taken care of your children and yourself to the best of your ability.

RELATED: She Puts the House to Bed

Your spouse might be home tomorrow and you can share the responsibilities or it might be months before he or she comes back. So you will continue to log the steps, make the decisions, and be the parent who does it all. I see you, and I know you are holding down the fort.

Alexis Linehan

Alexis is an occupational therapist, the wife of a National Guard helicopter pilot, and the mama to four very energetic small humans. The military life has taken them to different states and through several deployments, but they currently call Nebraska home. Alexis enjoys cantoring at Mass, going on camping adventures with her family, and reading anything (and everything) under the sun. She volunteers for the National Guard Family Readiness and is a contributing writer at The Military Mom Collective. You can follow her on Facebook at This End Up in Life.

Summer Goes by Too Fast

In: Kids
Boy lying on bench at park, color photo

To my oldest, As our summer vacation nears an end and we begin school supply shopping, I think about all the things we didn’t get to do together this summer. I instantly feel mom guilt. All the plans I had made? Only half of them done—if that. RELATED: Remember When Summer Lasted Forever? All the books I was going to read to you at bedtime? Only a couple short ones. All the creative art we would do? Maybe just one time. The fact is, I let time slip away from me. I was too focused and anxiety-ridden about work, my...

Keep Reading

Going on Family Vacation with Young Kids is Work That’s Worth It

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mom with two young kids on airplane

Our routine will be a mess. Our toddler won’t sleep in a new environment. Our baby needs all of the gear. The flight could be a disaster. I went through a mental checklist of reasons why this kind of family vacation would be hard. It was a pretty convincing list if I’m being honest. I considered throwing a pity party dedicated to the concerns I shoulder as a mother. A few days later I felt a wave of conviction wash over me. I was dreading a trip that was meant to be a blessing to our family. Any kind of...

Keep Reading

I Want To Raise Good Sisters

In: Kids, Motherhood
Four girls sitting on a rock in the forest, color photo

My current dilemma: how to teach four little girls how to be good sisters when I have no idea what I’m doing? I was an only child growing up, and a tomboy at that. It was a lonely, quiet childhood. I remember wishing for a sister, but knowing that with my single mom, it wasn’t going to happen. So, the sister thing is a big mystery to me. I’ve noticed (admittedly with some envy) adult sisters together and their inside jokes, shared history, and language known only to each other. I’ve read about sisters in books. The relationships between the four...

Keep Reading

I Don’t Just Love You, I Like You

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young boy standing at bridge, color photo

My growing child, my heart often aches when I look at how big you have gotten. You aren’t a baby anymore, you’re a whole kid. You are your own person, with your own thoughts and feelings. You have your own friendships, and interests.  Parts of me realize you don’t need me the same, but deep down I know you need me all the same. And I’m realizing, that in all of these changes, my love for you is also a like.  RELATED: Being Your Mom is the Greatest Honor of My Life Because now we can connect in a whole...

Keep Reading

Having the Tools To Parent a Child with Sensory Processing Disorder Changes Everything

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child playing with water in tube

My heart leaped into my mouth as Soccer Mom, with her matching foldable chairs and ice-cold Gatorade, glared at me. I wanted to explain how hard I tried to be a good mom, to raise a kind human, but I swallowed the words so I could vomit them at my 5-year-old son on the ride home.   Didn’t he know that pushing another child was unacceptable? Hadn’t I taught him to use gentle hands?   RELATED: To the Special Needs Mom Who Sits Alone Despite implementing the parenting books that promised me a new kid by the week’s end, I often wondered...

Keep Reading

Dear Kindergartner, I’ll Always Remember You This Way

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and child touch foreheads

The first magical flickers of your strong heartbeat on a black and white screen— the reassuring evidence I needed to know you were gaining strength for this world. My belly grew, and I proudly went shopping for maternity clothes to cover it. I felt the first dances of your little feet, and it reminded me of butterflies taking flight— the movement of a true miracle. I’ll always remember you this way. The sounds of your first cries—music ringing in my ears. You were real, Earth-side, and wanting only to be loved. The softness of your skin, the way you smelled,...

Keep Reading

There’s No Instruction Manual for These Middle Years

In: Kids
Little girl smiling on porch

As a preschool teacher and a mom, I’ve always felt pretty confident in my parenting from ages birth to 5 years old.  I by no means am perfect, and I silently rejoiced the day my kids could pour their own cereal and turn on Netflix for themselves while I caught some extra sleep. Even though that’s probably not a proud mama moment to celebrate, it’s just the reality of parenting.  We both celebrate and mourn independence as our children need us less. And let’s be honest, oftentimes independence makes our daily lives easier. Yet it is bittersweet.  It feels like...

Keep Reading

I’m Halfway Through Raising Little Kids

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two girls smiling outside

Today I stayed in my car a few minutes more than usual as my kids hopped out onto the hot driveway and ran inside. The cold air conditioning felt amazing after a long day at the local water park; so did the silence. Then it felt odd, so I turned on the radio. The song that started playing hit my soul: “Woah, we’re halfway there/Woah, livin’ on a prayer.” I’m always living on a prayer, but I also noticed we are halfway there. RELATED: Growing Up, You First Then Me Halfway through the year, more than halfway through summer, and...

Keep Reading

Kindergarten is the Start of Letting You Go

In: Kids, Motherhood

We’re physically ready for kindergarten. We’ve got the backpack, the school supplies, the school clothes, and the new shoes. We’ve talked about it all summer. We’ve practiced the skills he will need, and how to open everything inside of a cold lunch box. We’ve talked positively about it and imagined all the friends he will meet and the places he will go, and how kind and caring the teacher will be. We’re physically ready for kindergarten. But here’s a little secret . . . My heart? My heart can’t fully be ready for him to go to kindergarten. I know...

Keep Reading

The Truth about Puddle Jumpers and Toddler Drowning, From a Grieving Mom

In: Kids
Little boy in Puddle Jumper on waterslide

The very last video I have of my 3-year-old son, Levi, is of him bobbing up and down in a Puddle Jumper.  His little legs kicking underwater, his eyes the spitting image of his daddy, and his older sisters, his happy grin, and his little voice saying “Cheese!” This time-stamped video, counting down the precious minutes we had left until he would end up in this very same pool, less than two hours later.  But this time, it was without the Puddle Jumper. I understand the sense of panic building inside you to avoid my story or read it just...

Keep Reading