Shop the fall collection ➔

Dear Mama,

Raising little ones is hard. Rewarding. Hilarious. And often lonely.

But you’re not alone.

I know that today you’ve acted as accountant, personal shopper, expert in conflict resolution, motivational speaker, events manager, and salesperson.

Tell me you didn’t use expert marketing skills to get those peas into your kid’s mouth!

Despite your many talents, you think your brain is shriveling while you change another diaper or wash another dish. These tasks fill your every moment and provide as much mental challenge as brushing your teeth this morning.

If you managed to brush your teeth this morning.

Someone suggested you play podcasts while you cook. Maybe then you can stimulate grown-up thoughts. But the play button instantaneously sets off your kids’ screaming, whining, or arguing.

Test my theory, if you’re not sure.

I know you plug your toddler’s mouth with a pacifier and enjoy a few hard-earned minutes of quiet. The price for this survival mechanism: avoiding the disapproving looks of strangers and loved ones alike.

How could you risk your child’s orthodontic future?

Mind you, they’re well-meaning strangers and loved ones. Like the sweet grandma at the park yesterday who told you to “cherish every moment”. You had a heart check and wondered do I not appreciate these moments?

Let me ask you: did you cherish the 30 minute battle of wills with your four-year-old that morning? Did you treasure the 10 seconds it took your toddler to create wall art with his own poop?

But before you could respond to Grandma, you had to excuse yourself and stop your toddler from stripping down to his birthday suit on the playground.

Again.

Trust me, I know you cherish your kids. But maybe not every moment of parenting.

And that’s OK.

You feel like an idiot when you can’t participate in a conversation about current events. It’s not that you don’t care if America is made great again or that you’re indifferent about tax reform. Of course you’re concerned about nuclear weapons and North Korea.

But your own little dictator lives in the next room, and his demands are directly tied to the play button on your podcast app. So you may not be sure if love trumps hate, but your little dictator trumped the world news today.

You have an audience every time you pee. If you presume to “go” alone, a chorus of wailing serenades you outside the door.

Only you are capable of dressing dolls, reading books, and wiping noses. You might sneak off to the bathroom while a perfectly willing Daddy is sitting two inches from your daughter on the couch. Is it laughable to imagine she’d ask him to assist her pressing need to fix dolly’s shoes?

I know you do your best to keep track of your kids at all times. Even so, your toddler might have wandered by himself into an elevator yesterday.

Oh, wait—that was my kid.

I know you work all day and have little to show for it when you fall into your bed, exhausted.

You’re too tired for sex but worried what will happen to your marriage if that exhaustion persists very long. You compare yourself to other women . . .women who look younger, more energetic, or in better shape. They don’t seem frazzled or stressed out. They don’t walk around the grocery with their shirts inside-out or food on their pants.

Mostly those women don’t have little kids.

Or they’re some of the few moms who have it figured out. You envy those moms. You know—the ones whose kids aren’t throwing fits on the floor of the grocery aisle?

I know you’re sorting through controversial issues like sleep training and vaccinations. Just like me, you fear choking, night fevers and bullies. When you look into the not-so-distant future, you worry, “How will they handle puberty and adolescence? How do I talk with them about issues like racism and homosexuality?”

A little further down the road, you’re thinking about college tuition and weddings. “How can I support them as they grow up and pursue their dreams?”

You want the very best for your kids, even though you’re pretty sure they’re sapping the life out of you right now.

Hang in there. I know you love them.

But it’s OK if today, you were just trying to survive till bedtime. That doesn’t make you a bad mama. Just a human.

I get it, because we’re in this together.

Sincerely yours,
A fellow mama

You might also like:

Because One Day, She Will Have to Walk Away

Why Tired Mothers Stay Up So Late

To My Last Born Child – This is It

Want more stories of love, family, and faith from the heart of every home, delivered straight to you? Sign up here! 

#tiredmoms #parenting #motherhood

Nicole Baldonado

Nicole Baldonado is a social worker and missionary in L’viv, Ukraine. She and her husband love raising their two kids in an intercultural lifestyle. Nicole writes weekly at jnbmission.com and can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/jnbaldonado or Twitter at NBaldonado.

What a Gift It Is To Watch My Babies Grow Up

In: Motherhood, Teen
Mother in pool with teens in background

A few weeks ago I ran away and I brought my family with me. It’s become my favorite thing to do for my birthday week. Nestled neatly between the end of the school year and the beginning of the longest stretch of summer, for years that week has provided my family and I with the perfect freedom to get away. There are four simple rules for this escape from our normal lives and they are always the same. Our location must: 1. Be located in a climate with palm trees. 2. Require an airplane to get there. 3. Have a...

Keep Reading

I Love it When You Smile at Me

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little girl in wheel chair with classmates, color photo

I gained a bit of insight today. We were walking past the checkout at the store this afternoon when we came upon a mom and her children, waiting in the checkout line.   RELATED: A Simple Invitation Means the World To a Special Needs Parent My daughter Chloe rolled by them in her wheelchair. I watched, as I often do, as the children noticed her. One girl about Chloe’s age smiled at her as we walked by. As soon as we had passed them, Chloe turned to me and said . . . “She’s the first person to smile at me!”  Let me say I...

Keep Reading

My Daughter is Almost the Age I Was When My Grandfather First Molested Me

In: Living, Motherhood
Back of little girl's head with braid and ribbon

Trigger Warning: Child Abuse My daughter is swinging, head tilted up to the sky, pondering the shape of the cloud—is it a puppy or a tiger? Or maybe a dragon? She picks a flowering weed from the yard and brings it to me, so proud of her gift for Mama. She sits down and draws one of her imaginary kitty superheroes and the tale of how it saves the day—her lips pursed, then open, then pursed again—concentrating as though it’s the most important story she’ll write in her life. I pull her close, breathe in all of her joy and...

Keep Reading

No One Will Ever Call Me Mom

In: Baby, Motherhood
Negative result digital pregnancy test

This is going to be a tough one. Another seemingly innocuous situation that should be easy, but for me is anything but. It comes in different forms—a conversation, a moment in a TV show, a scene in a book—but it always has the same effect. Some reference to motherhood makes me flinch.  Today, it’s in an English lesson I’m teaching online to a 7-year-old boy in China. I’m supposed to be teaching him to say, “This is my mom.” Slide after slide in the lesson shows a happy mom cuddled next to her child. Mom and daughter hugging. A toddler...

Keep Reading

To the Nurses Who Loved My Baby In the NICU

In: Baby, Motherhood
Woman smiling at newborn in hospital chair

I wish I could remember your face. Your name. Something. But I only had eyes for the tiny baby in front of me. My whole world was about to change and I think you understood that more than I did. He was so tiny. Impossibly small. I had never held a baby so little. He made up for his teeny size with an impressive mop of jet black hair that stood straight up on top of his head. He also had hair all over his body and you reassured me this was normal for a preemie. There was so much...

Keep Reading

I Wipe the Slides

In: Kids, Motherhood
boy on slide

I want you to have the most fun possible at your tiny playground stars program, so I wipe the slides. I don’t want you to have a meltdown if your clothes get wet while I’m gone, so I wipe the slides. I want to have three precious hours of only managing your little sister, so I wipe the slides. RELATED: I’d Rather Serve My Kids Than Have Them be “Self-Sufficient” I don’t want you to feel embarrassed by a big reaction to wet clothes when I’m not there to help you, so I wipe the slides. I want you to...

Keep Reading

My Last Baby Changed Me

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother and baby touching foreheads

I was already a mom of two teenagers. I thought I’d move to a city and join corporate America in a few years. But my last baby changed me. There would be no law school or big city living. Now, I write about life in my little country home. And I don’t see that changing. I thought I’d be that old lady with 10 cats. I already had three I snuggled and loved on. I never cared about the litter box, the clawed couches, or the meowing. But now I find myself disliking pets. I hope that might change. But...

Keep Reading

God Gave Grandmas and Grandpas Time

In: Grown Children, Motherhood
Grandma with granddaughter pointing outside

My daughter, Becca, was laughing as I answered her call. “Mom, we were at the park and Brady just walked up to a man he thought sure was Dad and called him Grandpa.” My first question was if the man looked at all like my husband.  She said, “He had a blue shirt on that looked like one Dad wears, but when Brady looked up at him, he had a baseball cap on and Dad doesn’t wear those. And he had tall crew socks on, and Dad definitely doesn’t wear those.” Then I asked what the man said to Brady,...

Keep Reading

Sometimes I Feel Like a Monster, Not a Mother

In: Motherhood
Woman banging fist on door frame

Whenever someone asks if I plan on a third child, I always give a safe answer: I can’t imagine going through all that again! If it’s someone in the education field I go with a different version: If we stick with two, we can pay for college! If I’ve had a few drinks and the person has a sense of humor: Only if you’ll pay for a divorce lawyer! All of those answers are kernels of the truth, but none of them are the real reason  I diligently pop my birth control pill every night at 9 p.m., which is the...

Keep Reading

Faith is a Verb, So We Go to Church

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman and teen daughter in church pew

Every Sunday morning we rush out the door bribing, coaxing, and threatening our kids to just “Get into the van!” Luckily, we live remotely rural so we don’t have neighbors to witness our often un-Christlike eye rolls and harsh sighs as we buckle each other up. We’ve always lived within a five-minute drive to a chapel, and yet we are usually there not two minutes before the service starts. Once sitting in our seats, we’re on high alert for noise control and sibling altercations for the next hour of what is supposed to be a peaceful, sacred, spirit-filled service. Which...

Keep Reading