Pre-Order So God Made a Mother

I plunk down into my restaurant chair, four busy children under 10 scuttling around me. The baby squalling because he needed to be nursed . . . again. I was on round seven of “Would you rather be . . .” with the oldest. A frog. I guess I’d rather be a frog than a toad. Choruses of, “Mom? Mom?” peppered the restaurant as I try to hush the exuberant and loud voices flying around me.

“Shhh . . . inside voices. Do you see all of the people around us, boys? Let’s speak quietly so everyone can enjoy their meal.”

Picking up yet another thrown-down toy from my baby, who now refused to sit in the sticky high chair a mere foot from me, I quietly close my eyes and exhale, wondering at my idea to eat out.

I really thought this would be easier.

While my husband colors with the two middle boys, I quickly choose to be permanently blue over permanently purple in response to another question, and I hand my baby a few Cheerios that will hopefully remain on the table. I grow sick of hearing my own voice admonishing my children to speak quietly.

And we haven’t even ordered our drinks yet.

“Mom, I gotta go potty,” I turn toward my 5-year-old and scoop him up, causing the baby to squeal as I leave the table. My husband hurries to distract him, digging out a fresh toy from the bulging diaper bag. My 7-year-old son darts toward us, running in front of a server carrying a large tray.

Surely hot dogs at home would have afforded me more peace than this meal.

RELATED: To the Woman Who is So Hard On Herself

The drinks having finally arrived, for a moment the table grows relatively peaceful.

“I was watching your family from over there in the corner.”

I look up and see an older man with white shaggy hair. My heart starts to beat a hundred miles a minute. Oh no, now we have people coming to tell us to quiet down.

The man, standing in a non-threatening position, stands next to my boys. Noticing his smile, my own face questions his decision to approach our noisy table.

Bending over, he hands each boy a dollar.

“I see you have been doing a great job behaving for dinner at this restaurant. Keep it up. You are wonderful boys.” Smiling, he nods his head at the boys, yet his eyes remain fixed on mine. He then seems to just kind of disappear, leaving three delighted boys and one bewildered mom.

There are those who can see past the noise, past the disruption, and through all of the squalor to find the real heart of the matter, seeing the true person within.

The Dollar Angel was one of the first people to model this to me.

What if I did the same? What if I were to look past the noise, the endless questions, the requests to visit the potty yet again? What will I find? What will I notice?

Will I notice the oldest and the way he engages me in conversation? Can I trust in the delight of him at this tender age wanting to know his mom’s opinion? I hear it won’t last. Can I treasure it now?

Will I notice how my middle two happily color with their dad, casually picking up the toys thrown on the floor by the baby? Do I see through the noise to excited faces, trusting eyes turned up on their father?

Will I notice a precious baby who finally consented to sit in the high chair, who smells like baby shampoo and who will only be this young on this day in his lifetime?

RELATED: They Tell You To Hold the Baby, But No One Warns You How Fast He Grows

Everyone momentarily quiet, I glance around the restaurant noticing that we do not stick out anymore. We are not that table that everyone stares at, quietly shaking their heads.

We are a delightful and loving family out creating memories.

I see approving smiles, encouraging smiles, smiles that say, “Yep, Momma, I’ve been there, too.”

A sudden loud shriek breaks my heavenly moment.

“Mom,” he wails, “I can’t wait any longer–I gotta go.”

And we’re back off! Grabbing his hand, we scramble toward the bathroom for the third time in 20 minutes.

But this time my attitude is different. Gratitude has changed what I notice around me. I notice peace. I notice joy. I notice what is right in front of me. Thankfulness now clambers around me. I choose to listen.

RELATED: I Hope I Loved You Enough Today

Thank you, Dollar Angel.

Your mere dollar modeled for me how to look for the good amidst the noise and struggles of raising young children.

Your dollar calmed. Your dollar reassured. Your dollar uplifted. Your dollar inspired.

You offered a young mom a priceless dollar of perspective.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Aleisha Cate

Hi, my name is Aleisha Cate. I am a wife to my wonderful husband and mom to four awesome boys. I love encouraging women that God never wastes a hurt in our lives. You can find me on my website at

Dear Daughter, It’s Okay If You Hate Me Right Now

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Teen girl looking up at mother

Dear daughter: I’ve heard it from you a thousand times when you don’t get your way. You yell it when your force of will doesn’t bend mine, thinking it will convince me to give in. But I’m here to tell you once and for all: I don’t care if you hate me right now. Last night you hated me because I made you take a bath before bed. This morning, it was because I made you wear pants. I’m the worst mom ever because I told you to eat a vegetable, and the whole day is ruined because I won’t...

Keep Reading

You’re Learning Life by Watching Me

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child touching mother's face as they lie on a bed

Every morning my daughter and I go outside for some fresh air. She feeds her chickens and plays and explores and walks around with her dog while I follow her around and have a cup of coffee.  This morning, my girl grabbed one of her coffee cups from her toy kitchen and brought it outside with her while she walked with her dog and pretended to take sips out of it.  Guys. I stood there watching her with her toy coffee cup, walking around with her animals, and I cried giant baby tears.  RELATED: I Wasn’t Counting On You Growing...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Love Means Slowing Down

In: Friendship, Kids
Two boys on bicycles riding to park, shown from behind

Think of something faster than a 7-year-old boy on a two-wheel bike. Maybe a race car at the drop of the checkered flag? Perhaps a rocket ship blasting into space? Or how quickly a toddler mom books it out of the house after being told she can have a hands-free hour ALONE in Target. Yes, all of these things are seriously speedy, but I have still never seen anything quite as quick as a boy on a bike on a sunny day with endless open track ahead of him. Until today. Today, my 6-year-old son wanted to ride bikes with...

Keep Reading

I Am a Wrestling Mom

In: Kids, Motherhood
Three young boys with wrestling medals, color photo

As the sun is rising on a frigid winter morning, a brave and determined group of athletes are weighing in at a high school gym. They are physically and mentally preparing for a long day spent at a tournament where they will spend only minutes wrestling, despite the hours they sit and wait all day. Their sport uses offense, defense, and mental strength unlike any other sport. My sons and nephew are wrestlers. They are part of a special team of athletes who work together but compete as individuals.           Their youth team is run by all volunteer coaches with...

Keep Reading

3 Ways to Help Your Firstborn Embrace Becoming a Big Brother

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood, Toddler
Pregnant woman holding toddler son, color photo

My oldest son turned four right after his first brother was born. Four years of alone time with his parents. Four years of extra mommy time during the week. Four years of having toys to himself, extra attention from family members, and more. I didn’t plan a four-year age gap; it took our family a lot longer and a lot more help than we expected to have our second son, but age gaps aren’t everything. When my second son was finally on the way, I heard a lot of opinions about how our oldest son would feel once he finally...

Keep Reading

Dear Busy Sports Mom: It’s Worth It

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Mom watching soccer game, photo from behind

My daughter stands on the front porch every morning and waves goodbye to me as I pull out of the driveway to go to work.  She is 11, and recently eye-rolling, long sighs, and tears have become more commonplace in our daily interactions. But, there is also this: “Bye! Have a good day!” she calls to me in the quiet of early morning, neighbors not yet awake in their still dark houses. “You are AMAZING! You got this!” she continues in her little adult voice, sounding more like a soccer mom than a fifth grader.   Her hair is still a...

Keep Reading

Goodbye to the Baby Hangers

In: Kids, Motherhood
Shirt hanging from small hanger, color photo

You bought them when you first found out you were pregnant. It may have been one of the first items, actually, to hold all of the precious new clothes. The smallest ones in your household. Do you remember that first newborn onesie you bought? It was one of your favorites. You couldn’t fathom you would soon hold something so small that would fit into that onesie. You washed all of the new clothing in preparation and hung them up in your baby’s closet. You know the item. A miniature version of the ones in your closet. Baby hangers. “Do we...

Keep Reading

Take the Trip, You Won’t Regret It

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood

Two years ago, in the middle of a snowy, windy, Colorado March, my husband and I made the spontaneous decision to road trip to Arizona with our three very young kids.  Even though I was excited, the nerves were so very real. Over the next couple of weeks, I literally lost sleep worrying about the logistics of our trip. My late-night mindless scrolling was replaced by searches like “traveling with toddlers” and “keeping kids entertained on road trips”. We already had our hands full chasing kids at home in a familiar setting. Were we crazy to think we could just...

Keep Reading

They’ll Remember the Love Most of All

In: Kids, Motherhood
Woman with kids from above, pregnant mother with kids hands on belly

You lie in bed at the end of a long day, the events of the day flashing back through your mind. You do this a lot—recap your day as a mama. How did you do? Did you maintain your patience? Did you play enough? Did you limit screen time? Did you yell less today than you did yesterday? You saw a really neat toddler activity in the group you’re a part of on Facebook . . . you should have done that with the kids. They would have loved it. There wasn’t enough time though, and you didn’t have all...

Keep Reading

He’s Slowly Walking Away with Footprints As Big As Mine

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Teen boy walking along beach shore

The true measure of a mother’s love is her willingness to wake up before the sun on vacation. On a recent trip to the shore, my youngest son begged to walk the beach at dawn to look for shells. So, I set my alarm, tumbled out of a warm, king-sized bed with extra squishy pillows, glared at my dead-to-the-world husband, and gently woke my 11-year-old. Without so much as a drop of coffee, we headed out into the morning, the sun still below the ocean horizon. With each step, I shed my zombie-like state and took in the quiet, salt-kissed...

Keep Reading