Pre-Order So God Made a Mother

“I hate you! I wish you were never my Mommy!”

These words echoed in my ears as I recalled what my six-year-old daughter, Grace, had said to me just hours earlier. And over what? She ripped me wide open because I told her to stop watching a cartoon and clean her room.

“But the show only has ten more minutes left! Can’t I just finish it first?”

I said NO as one can probably guess. Her room looked like an E-5 tornado had hit it. Plus, I had already asked her to clean it three times before it got to this point. It was just dangerous to walk through it now!

My heart hurt when I made her turn off the tube because of the destructive blows her mouth was expelling in my direction. Do six year olds actually say I hate you these days? I felt like I was given a shot of pure adrenaline mixed with numbing reality and spiteful vengeance. Like my mom knew what she was talking about when she said, “One day, you’ll understand.”

I really didn’t expect this to happen so soon.

There’s a unique connection between myself and Grace that I don’t have with my other three children. She was my preemie. Born at 33 weeks to a very nervous mama, she came into the world and directly into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for six days. I couldn’t nurse this precious beauty the whole time she was in there so the hospital staff supplemented with formula. When I brought her home, it took a long time for her to take to breastfeeding because she had gotten used to drinking from a bottle. It was an emotionally draining time.

So I held her close. Oh, I held all my babies close but this time it was different. I felt powerless because I couldn’t fix her.

I sank into postpartum depression. I got good at smiling during the day to those in my world but when the doors were closed and it was just me and Grace, I cried. I was very grateful that I was able to bring my baby girl home as I know that many mothers do not get this chance. I was humbled that I was divinely picked to nourish her little 4 ½ pound body to a healthy weight.

But I was scared. The weight of my responsibility as a parent had never hit me harder than at the moments Grace and I were alone together. Some days, I just couldn’t handle it. The result? Paralyzing anxiety.

So on this dramatic day years later when Grace lashed out at me with anger in her eyes, it took a toll on this mama’s heart. Doesn’t she know how important she is to me? That I bawled my eyes out from helplessness when she was born into this world so tiny? My worst fear was within arm’s reach and yet she came home.

She came home. Only to scream ugly comments to me that poke at the very identity of who I am. She said she wished I was never her mother. Doesn’t she know? I ache every single day because I AM her mother. The truth that she is a gift that I barely received is something I carry with me everywhere I go. It is a part of who I am.

I didn’t yell back at Grace that day. I wanted to. Her tone could have easily set me off and made me remind her of what I’ve been through on her behalf. But I couldn’t allow myself to go there. Not again.

Been there, done that. Giving into fear and helplessness didn’t get me anywhere when she was an infant and it sure wouldn’t get me anywhere now that she was a sassy first grader.

I am her mom. And I wear this title proudly. What Grace sees in me will shape who she becomes. How I respond to her moments of weakness and frustration will show her how to be when the wind gets knocked out of her one day as she mothers her own children. Sure, I might cry in my closet when her words sting but I won’t be a victim to powerlessness ever again.

I can’t be. Her life truly does depend on it.

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

Harmony Vuycankiat

Harmony is a proud Air Force wife and blessed mother of 4 children. Her heart’s cry is to love without limits and live without regrets. She plans to use her criminal justice degree to tangibly help marginalized women and children all over the world. Writing, singing, and running are her methods of soul therapy and Starbucks coffee is her happy juice. The quote that she lives by is, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I’ve used everything you gave me.’ ” (Erma Bombeck)

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

Dear Son, Raising You Right Is Worth It

In: Kids, Motherhood
little boy walking in sunlit field

You were the baby who slept nights. You were the infant who quietly stacked blocks one on top of the other. You were the toddler who watched other kids go down the slide at the park 20 times before attempting it yourself. You were the preschooler who hunkered down quietly and patiently when meeting your grandmother’s chickens. So I assumed you would be a gentle boy. And you are.   And yet, now that you’re eight, I’m beginning to understand the meaning of the phrase, “Boys will be boys.” I had my first inkling that day when you were five...

Keep Reading