Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

I won’t be at the gym in the morning, my daughter is sick and throwing up. Be sure to keep an eye on Little Man.

My friend’s text came in at 10:56 p.m.—well past my bedtime. Nevertheless, it was there waiting for me at 12:30 a.m. when I awoke to my son’s terrified screams coming from the room next to mine. Sure enough, I went in to find my boy covered in his own vomit, tears from both pain and confusion streaming down his flushed cheeks.

His sickness came in waves. Eight waves to be exact.

Just like that, I knew my plans for the next day were going to change. A simple stomach bug was enough to knock us off the radar for at least the next 24 hours. And any hope of going back to sleep? Yeah, that had flown out the window along with my itinerary.

Three bed sheets, two pairs of pajamas, and one rug tumbled around the washer in the wee hours of the morning. I listened to the soft swish of the machine as I lay on the small patch of vomit-free carpet next to my son’s bed with nothing but a stuffed moose for a pillow and a bath towel for a blanket. His tiny hand was tucked tightly into mine as I reassured him that I would be right there for the rest of the night.

At that moment flashed a memory so faint it could have almost been mistaken for a dream. My mom had done this very same thing with me when I was little. A midnight sickness, a scared child, and a comforting mama. Could there be a more purposeful combination?

In my sleep deprived, retch-covered state I had almost begun to resent this motherhood business. I had plans that were being interrupted, a life that needed to keep going. But there was a universal truth there hidden in the darkness that I had nearly missed had it not been for the recollection of my own mom keeping vigil by my bedside.

The truth is these are the nights we pay our dues simply for the privilege of being their mothers.

It may not feel worthwhile when you are changing yet another nighttime blowout at 3 a.m.

It may not feel worthwhile when you have a colicky baby screaming in one ear and a cranky three-year-old crying down the hall.

It may not feel worthwhile when your husband gets to stay asleep while you get up to nurse the baby every two hours.

And I certainly know it may not feel worthwhile when you are covered in another person’s vomit sleeping on the cold, hard floor.

However, I truly believe, with the exception of our salvation, nothing worth having is ever free. We must pay our dues.

Remember, that 3 a.m. diaper change means you are blessed enough to have fresh diapers for your baby and clean clothes to put them in.

Remember, your colicky baby will soon turn into that three-year-old down the hall, who will undoubtedly be growing up so fast you’ll beg them to stay a while longer.

Remember, with each nursing session you are providing a life-sustaining miracle that your husband will never have the ability to understand. Try to be nice to him, I’m sure he is paying some pretty hefty dues of his own.

And, last of all, remember every time you find yourself laying in puke on your kid’s bedroom floor, there is a mom in a hospital room who would do anything to be in your place.

These are the nights that make or break us as parents. Where our love for our children is just enough to sustain us until that first drop of coffee breathes new life into our tired souls. My wish for you is that you try to see each gummy smile, hysterical giggle, and slobbery kiss as your reward for those wearisome nights.

And, tonight, should you find yourself up once again burning the midnight oil, I sincerely hope you know that your work is just waiting to be rewarded in the fresh light of day. Right now, you are merely paying your dues.

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 now!

Order Now

Kayla Runkel

Kayla is a former marketer turned stay-at-home-mom to two sweet boys. You can follow her blog, The Rustic Hideaway, or her writing page, K.C. Runkel. When she is not writing, Kayla loves teaching fitness classes, reading books, and spending time with her husband and sons exploring her favorite place in the world, Wyoming. Or as she simply calls it: home.

Brothers Fight Hard and Love Harder

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two boys play outside, one lifting the other on his back

The last few years have been a whirlwind. My head has sometimes been left spinning; we have moved continents with three boys, three and under at the time. Set up home and remained sufficiently organized despite the complete chaos to ensure everyone was where they were meant to be on most days. Living in a primarily hockey town, the winters are filled with coffee catch-ups at the arena, so it was no surprise when my youngest declared his intention to play hockey like his school friends. Fully aware that he had never held a hockey stick or slapped a puck,...

Keep Reading

Stop Putting an Expiration Date on Making Memories

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and son in small train ride

We get 12 times to play Santa (if we’re lucky). This phrase stopped my scroll on a Sunday evening. I had an idea of the direction this post was going but I continued on reading. 12 spring breaks 12 easter baskets 20 tooth fairy visits 13 first days of school 1 first date 1-2 proms 1-2 times of seeing them in their graduation cap and gown 18 summers under the same roof And so on and so on. It was essentially another post listing the number of all the monumental moments that we, Lord willing, will get to experience with our...

Keep Reading

When Your Kids Ask, “Where Is God?”

In: Faith, Kids
Child looking at sunset

How do I know if the voice I’m hearing is God’s voice? When I was in high school, I found myself asking this question. My dad was a pastor, and I was feeling called to ministry. I didn’t know if I was just hearing my dad’s wish or the call of God. I was worried I was confusing the two. It turns out, I did know. I knew because I was raised to recognize the presence of God all around me. Once I knew what God’s presence felt like, I also knew what God’s voice sounded like. There is a...

Keep Reading

Go Easy On the Parents Who Refuse to Skip Naps

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two little boys and their sister walking down a gravel road, color photo

Greetings from a mom who is done with napping children. It’s great to have the flexibility during the day for longer activities, meeting friends for playdates, or day trips to faraway places. It’s a new life . . . the life without naps. The freedom to make plans and keep them. But not that long ago, I was something very different than the flexible, plan-keeping, up-for-it woman I am today. I used to be the mom who refused to skip my child’s nap. Yep, that one. Here’s the thing, for a lot of parents, It’s so much more than just a...

Keep Reading

My Heart Isn’t Ready for You to Stop Believing in Santa

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy standing in front of lit christmas tree

“My friend doesn’t believe in Santa anymore, Mom,” my son said out of the blue the other day. We were driving in the car, and when I met his gaze in the rear-view mirror his eyes searched mine. Immediately, my heart sank.  This sweet boy, he’s our first. Thoughtful and smart and eight years old. A quick Google search tells me that’s the average age kids stop believing in Santa, but as his mom, I’m not ready for that—not even a little bit.  I can still hear his barely 2-year-old voice going on about reindeer as we lay together on...

Keep Reading

Motherhood is a Million Little Letting Gos and Fresh Hellos

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother sitting with child on her lap by the setting sun and water

I missed my grocery-shopping buddy the other day. Mondays are usually the days my littlest and I knock out our grocery list. In the past, we’ve dropped the kids at school and then headed to the store. I grab a latte, and she chooses a hot chocolate. But that day, they were all in school. That day, she sat in her kindergarten class, and I went to the grocery store. Alone. A new rhythm. A changed routine. A different season. I listened to a podcast on the drive. My podcast. Then I grabbed a drink. Just one. I got the...

Keep Reading

Dear Kids, This Is My Wish for You

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother hugs three kids

To my kids, The world you’re stepping into is unlike anything I experienced at your age. It’s fast-paced, interconnected, and sometimes overwhelming. But within this chaos lie countless opportunities for growth and joy. My wish for you is that you find the perfect balance between embracing the modern world and staying true to yourselves. Change is one thing you can always count on. Embrace it because it’s often the motivation for growth. Embracing change doesn’t mean letting go of who you are; rather, it’s about evolving into the best version of yourself. Remember, you don’t need to have all the...

Keep Reading

Dear Daughter, Stay Wild

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter on beach, color photo

I can’t really put my finger on it. Or manage to find all the words. But there’s just something about that girl. Maybe it’s the way her hair sits tangled. Curled up at the end. The way she moves. Dances. As if everyone was watching. Or no one at all. RELATED: There is Wild Beauty in This Spirited Child of Mine It could be the way she smiles. With her heart. The way only she can. The way she cares, loves. For everyone. For herself. You see, she is beautiful in the way only wild things are. The way they...

Keep Reading

You’re Becoming a Big Sister, But You’ll Always Be My Baby

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Pregnant woman with young daughter, color photo

The anticipation of welcoming a new baby into the world is an exciting and joyous time for our family. From the moment we found out we were expecting to just about every day since, the love and excitement only continue to grow. However, amidst all the preparations for the new addition, I cannot help but have mixed emotions as I look back at old videos and pictures of my firstborn, my first princess, my Phoebe—for she will always hold a special place in my heart. As the anticipation grows, my heart swells with a mix of emotions knowing we are...

Keep Reading

Cowgirls Don’t Cry Unless the Horse They Loved Is Gone

In: Grief, Kids, Loss
Little girls Toy Story Jessie costume, color photo

The knee of my pants is wet and dirty. My yellow ring lays by the sink—it’s been my favorite ring for months. I bought it to match Bigfoot’s halter and the sunflowers by his pasture. Bigfoot is my daughter’s pony, and I loved him the most. The afternoon is so sunny. His hooves make the same calming rhythm I’ve come to love as I walk him out back. A strong wind blows through the barn. A stall labeled “Bigfoot,” adorned with a sunflower, hangs open and I feel sick. I kneel down by his side as he munches the grass....

Keep Reading