So God Made a Teacher Collection (Sale!) ➔

“I love my child, but when he throws a tantrum in public, I want to get on the floor and scream with him.”

“I love my child, but she’s up every two hours at night right now, and I’m just so tired.”

“I love my child, but I could really use some alone time.”

“I love my child, but . . . ”

Why is it that any time we want to talk about the less-than-amazing aspects of parenthood, we feel compelled to add those seemingly innocuous five words in front?

As if there’s any real doubt that we love our children. As if our fitness to be mothers would otherwise be held under a microscope and scrutinized. As if we have to stamp a big, fat disclaimer onto any feelings about parenting that aren’t overwhelmingly sweet and positive.

I can’t help but think we broach our frustrations this way so frequently because we’re afraid of judgment. We’re afraid that someone, somewhere, is going to call us out and expose us for the ungrateful, sniveling whiners we must be: “Why are you complaining? You’re lucky to be a mom at all.”

That’s what we hear, even if it isn’t explicitly stated—you’re lucky to have something that so many want, but can’t have. Check your privilege. Besides, motherhood means sacrifice, right? You signed up for this.

“I love my child, but . . . ” is a nod to the guilt lurking there beneath the surface. A subtle acknowledgement of its presence—its power—like a hovering specter waiting to sneak in when we least expect it and steal our joy. They may be only five words, but strung together, they speak volumes. Those five words plead, “Please don’t think I’m selfish, ungrateful, or entitled. I know how good I have it. I probably shouldn’t even be saying this.”

But here’s the thing, mama:

Gratitude and frustration are not mutually exclusive.

Gratitude and exhaustion are not mutually exclusive.

Gratitude and the need for space are not mutually exclusive.

You can be eternally grateful for the miracle of motherhood while simultaneously wanting to lock yourself in the bedroom and scream into a pillow on occasion.

You don’t need to make your perfectly legitimate frustrations, disappointments, and concerns conditional upon the fact that you preface them with “I love my child, but . . . ”

You don’t need to prove anything to anyone. You don’t need to justify or defend your feelings. Yes, you love your child dearly. Yes, you are lucky to be a mom. But your job is never-ending. Your job is exhausting. As wonderful and rewarding and fulfilling as your job can be, it is the hardest one in the world.

So I’m giving you permission to let go of the guilt.

How about this—I’ll start.

I’ll start by being the first to drop that five-word phrase from my vocabulary, forever.

I hope you’ll join me.

Because it does more harm than good.

Because it hurts all moms.

And because I do love my child, but I’m also human. I’m not perfect. And I would challenge you to find anyone who is.

Emily Solberg

Emily Solberg is a soldier, military spouse, mom of two, and fierce advocate of women supporting women. The goal of her writing is to help others feel less alone in their parenting journeys, and she isn’t afraid to share the hard parts of her own. You can find more from her over on Facebook and Instagram at Shower Arguments with Emily Solberg.

My Mom Delivers a Favorite Dish to My Family Every Month and it’s the Best Gift Ever

In: Living, Motherhood
Grandma with grandkids and food

For Christmas, Mom and Dad gave each of my sisters and me a note with a pan of frozen lasagna. The note read: During the year of 2022 you will receive a Mama’s Recipe (cook’s choice) delivered to your door one time monthly by Papa’s Food Truck.” (The “food truck” is just my mom and dad delivering food to my sisters and me—not an actual business.) Part of the gift includes the container the food comes in. The list for each month is below. You’ll also find recipes (where available) and links to the containers.  PS: If you click and...

Keep Reading

I Love Having a Friend With a New Baby

In: Baby, Friendship, Motherhood
Woman snuggling newborn baby

To my sweet friend with a newborn, Thank you. This stage you’re in is the sweetest, most innocent, and challenging time. The exhaustion and love are overwhelming I know—I feel like I was just there yesterday with my own kids. Only, it wasn’t yesterday. Even though I can close my eyes and remember those precious moments with my own newborns, it feels so far in the past. I love the age my kids are now, but I’m telling you, there’s something magical about those first few weeks of life. When your baby scrunches their body into a ball when you...

Keep Reading

Childhood Is Messy with Imagination and I Want to Remember It All

In: Kids, Motherhood
Toys on bedroom floor

Sometimes I take random photos on my phone of my son’s bedroom or what he has built with his LEGOs. I do this because I know how quickly things change while he is this young. What he builds with LEGOs is always evolving, becoming more intricate and sophisticated. When I look around his room and see everything that is there, it’s like a snapshot of the season we are in. And all I want to do is capture each season. Capture what life looks like for us, for him. I envision showing him these photos when he is grown, maybe...

Keep Reading

Is Anyone Really a Natural When it Comes to Motherhood?

In: Motherhood
Tired mom

Ever since I was little I’ve been drawn to the ideals of motherhood. I would prance around the neighborhood with dolls piled high in my best friend’s stroller. We would set up shop on the lawn with blankets made into makeshift beds and clothes sprawled out everywhere. When I was 12, I took a babysitting course and went around the block knocking on doors and telling the neighbors I was ready for hire. I babysat regularly and was known as a baby whisperer. My life’s goal was to be a mom, and my whole life everyone told me I’d be...

Keep Reading

6 Things the Parent of a Child With Medical Needs Learns

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child holding baby doll

My 9-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes a few months before her 2nd birthday. She uses a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) to watch her blood glucose levels and a pump that administers insulin. Before these amazing pieces of medical technology, we were pricking her fingers up to 10 times a day and giving insulin injections at about the same rate—ouch! There are many parents out there with children with special medical needs. One mom I know has to give her autistic son enemas every day because of digestive issues. Another mom has a child with highly specialized dietary...

Keep Reading

As Another School Year Begins, Remember Mama: You Know Your Child Best

In: Kids, Motherhood
little girl holding a first day of kindergarten sign

Dear mom buying school supplies and feeling overwhelmed, Stop and pray. Ask God to help you envision each child as the young adult they can be. Write out your goals for that child . . . fair warning, there will likely be very little academic success in your goals. You may even have to go back and write those in. Take a deep breath. Keep this list of goals nearby. Go back and read them when the world is telling you your child doesn’t stack up somewhere. They aren’t reading as fast, they’re not “getting” math, their handwriting is wonky,...

Keep Reading

Little Things Can Be Self Care Too

In: Motherhood
Woman reading a book

My third baby has never been a great night-time sleeper. Around eight months old, he decided to add more middle-of-the-night feedings. He went from his usual two nighttime nursing sessions to four, five, or even more. With all the wakeups, I was getting a dismal amount of sleep. My lack of sleep led to low energy, low patience, and an overall low mood. I was constantly tired and grumpy. When playing with my kids, I would feel like I was in a fog. I was not able to enjoy their silliness or creativity but instead became easily annoyed and frustrated....

Keep Reading

I’m Done Feeling Guilty for Struggling with My Mental Health

In: Living, Motherhood
Woman walking down a sunny road

My mental health hasn’t been great for the past week. I couldn’t put my finger on what was going on, I just knew I was struggling. My whole body felt like I was squeezing, holding in the building tension of life, trying not to burst on innocent bystanders in my path. It took me days to finally clue in that it was my anxiety, a handful of little things combining to create a perfect storm. The endless cycle of sickness hitting my family, parenting pressure, and pain from past trauma. In retrospect, I guess it wasn’t little things at all,...

Keep Reading

Dear Overstimulated Mama, You Need Rest

In: Motherhood
Woman resting head on wall

To the overstimulated mama, I know you used to be a person who loved singing and dancing, games and riotous dinner parties with friends and family. You probably had the energy for a fun evening and loved to cuddle with your man. I’m sure your outfits used to bedazzle and your hair and makeup would make you feel like a million bucks. Oh, how times have changed. Now, a Friday night on the couch is the most coveted activity after a week of little hands all over you, pulling, dragging, squeezing. Your kids keep most of the cuddles you used...

Keep Reading

Trying To Conceive Almost Ruined Our Marriage

In: Baby, Marriage, Motherhood
Man and woman back to back on bed

“I know it’s not true, but I feel like you don’t love me anymore.” My husband’s words caused me to freeze in my tracks. I had been on my way out the door, but as soon as those words were uttered, I knew I wasn’t going anywhere. The words hung in the air, and I held my breath, mind racing. What could I possibly say to that? I slowly turned around, silently waiting for my husband to continue. Which he did. “I feel like you don’t want to have sex with me anymore.” I cringed internally. Clearly, I wasn’t the...

Keep Reading

Get our FREE phone wallpaper to encourage you as the new school year begins

It's bittersweet for a mother to watch her child grow—but you both are ready to soar.