Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

If you’re raising littles or younger kids, last night’s This Is Us may have circulated agonizing fear through your mom heart. Some of you no doubt scurried down a rabbit hole of self-evaluation, ruminating over all the things you’ve already done to screw things up.

I get it. Every mom dreads the thought of raising kids who need therapy to heal from all their mistakes, failures, shortcomings. I also get it because I’m the actual mom who has kids who have already had therapy to heal from all my mistakes, failures, shortcomings. So, when I say last night’s episode touched on every conceivable nerve of my motherly being, I’m not exaggerating.

Why am I willing to admit this to the world? Well, if you’ve read any of my writing in the past, you know I’m not one to shy away from vulnerability because one of my mantra’s is #authenticityheals. And this concept defines the entire undercurrent last night between the Big 3, Rebecca, and even the ‘others’—Toby, Beth, and Miguel.

One of the perks of reaching the mom-of-adult-children stage is seeing the fruits of our labor begin to ripen. Of course, we hope the produce is sweet, unblemished, healthy. But, chances are some rotten fruit is going to be part of the harvest. Our fallen nature guarantees we won’t get everything right.

If you’re anything like me, you spend an obscene amount of time second-guessing and criticizing your decisions, actions, and overall mom competency. Sadly, insecurity runs deep in a mom’s world, and the fragile nature from which we try to do everything with perfection creates a heap of dissatisfaction within.

Fortunately, as our kids age, we come to realize the inner-directed blame game was mostly a ruse, and our kids turn out way better than we gave ourselves credit for while bringing them up. I can say this because overall my kids are successful, secure, loving, confident, healthy adults, despite my failures. This because the hubs and I loved them hard.

Which is why the focus of what happened between the Big 3 and Rebecca last night shouldn’t be on the mess of the therapy session, or even on the mess of what caused the dysfunction between them in the first place. The hallmark of the episode was how the show ended: three siblings coming back together even though a painful emotional dump by Kevin resulted in a string of accusations, insults, assumptions, judgements between them.

Only one word explains the quick turnaround: love

Although dysfunction indeed existed during their formative years, the scene with all three sitting on the bench by the lake was the truer testament of their upbringing. Love had to be the dominant force in their childhood, otherwise pushing past their egos, swallowing their pride, apologizing, and choosing forgiveness wouldn’t have been the outcome.

When you raise multiple kids, you can count on tension, hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and jealousy. Different personalities—often birth order alone—guarantees varying life views, behavior styles, perceptions. The Big 3, despite being the same age, experienced all of this and more with the challenges surrounding the adoption of Randall.

Considering these dynamics, the positive takeaway from the therapy session is that communication happened at all. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to be vulnerable and speak from the heart. Fear of judgment and non-acceptance only two reasons many of us hold back more times than we share. To me, the fact Kevin, Kate, and Randall dared to risk was yet another affirmation of a strong, secure, loving upbringing. I’m blessed to have children who choose this form of vulnerable communication with me and each other.

Perfection should never be the goal in mothering. Doing our best should be the gold standard. And our best may not always be what a specific child needs at any given moment. But it’s all we have to offer. Rebecca’s experience and conversation with Kevin at the end grips the heart because it’s obvious she tried to do her best.

Between the bad cop role, of which I am too familiar, and taking the brunt of emotional fallout, motherhood is often a thankless job. Raising multiple kids means there’s a 100% chance we’ll fall out of step with one kid or another at some point because our heart tends to magnetize to the child we see in need of something extra. Which means the other kid(s) may feel overlooked, left out, invisible during these moments.

But, as Randall pointed out, the key is to remember we all see life through different lenses, none of which are right or wrong. Some lenses can appear blurry to one family member while being in perfect focus to another. The real blessing is in accepting both views.

Will the Pearson family need to have more uncomfortable and painful conversations to find authentic healing? Absolutely. Life is a journey. Humans are complicated. We will never get everything right. But one thing we can’t get wrong, unless we go out of our way to do so, is to love. In the end, love is the bedrock we must provide our kids to ensure they have something to stand on in their darkest hours.

Love is the great healer. And I believe God’s greatest gift to humanity. May we all be givers of this gift.


So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Shelby Spear

A self-described sappy soul whisperer, sarcasm aficionado, and love enthusiast, Shelby is a mom of 3 Millennials writing about motherhood and life from her empty nest. She is the co-author of the book, How Are You Feeling, Momma? (You don't need to say, "I'm fine.") , and you can find her stories in print at Guideposts, around the web at sites like Her View From Home, For Every Mom, Parenting Teens & Tweens and on her blog shelbyspear.com.

5 Kids in the Bible Who Will Inspire Yours

In: Faith, Kids
Little girl reading from Bible

Gathering my kids for morning Bible study has become our family’s cornerstone, a time not just for spiritual growth but for real, hearty conversations about life, courage, and making a difference. It’s not perfect, but it’s ours. My oldest, who’s 11, is at that age where he’s just beginning to understand the weight of his actions and decisions. He’s eager, yet unsure, about his ability to influence his world. It’s a big deal for him, and frankly, for me too. I want him to know, deeply know, that his choices matter, that he can be a force for good, just...

Keep Reading

A Mother’s Love is the Best Medicine

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child lying on couch under blankets, color photo

When my kids are sick, I watch them sleep and see every age they have ever been at once. The sleepless nights with a fussy toddler, the too-hot cheeks of a baby against my own skin, the clean-up duty with my husband at 3 a.m., every restless moment floods my thoughts. I can almost feel the rocking—so much rocking—and hear myself singing the same lullaby until my voice became nothing but a whisper. I can still smell the pink antibiotics in a tiny syringe. Although my babies are now six and nine years old, the minute that fever spikes, they...

Keep Reading

Right Now I’m a Mom Who’s Not Ready to Let Go

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter hugging, color photo

We’re doing it. We’re applying, touring, and submitting pre-school applications. It feels a lot like my college application days, and there’s this image in my mind of how fast that day will come with my sweet girl once she enters the school doors. It’s a bizarre place to be because if I’m honest, I know it’s time to let her go, but my heart is screaming, “I’m not ready yet!” She’s four now though. Four years have flown by, and I don’t know how it happened. She can put her own clothes on and take herself to the bathroom. She...

Keep Reading

Each Child You Raise is Unique

In: Kids, Motherhood
Three little boys under a blanket, black-and-white photo

The hardest part about raising children? Well, there’s a lot, but to me, one major thing is that they are all completely different than one another. Nothing is the same. Like anything. Ever. Your first comes and you basically grow up with them, you learn through your mistakes as well as your triumphs. They go to all the parties with you, restaurants, sporting events, traveling—they just fit into your life. You learn the dos and don’ts, but your life doesn’t change as much as you thought. You start to think Wow! This was easy, let’s have another. RELATED: Isn’t Parenting...

Keep Reading

Our Kids Need Us as Much as We Need Them

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy sitting on bench with dog nearby, color photo

During a moment of sadness last week, my lively and joyful toddler voluntarily sat with me on the couch, holding hands and snuggling for a good hour. This brought comfort and happiness to the situation. At that moment, I realized sometimes our kids need us, sometimes we need them, and sometimes we need each other at the same time. Kids need us. From the moment they enter the world, infants express their needs through tiny (or loud) cries. Toddlers need lots of cuddling as their brains try to comprehend black, white, and all the colors of the expanding world around...

Keep Reading

Your Kids Don’t Need More Things, They Need More You

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Mother and young girl smiling together at home

He reached for my hand and then looked up. His sweet smile and lingering gaze flooded my weary heart with much-needed peace. “Thank you for taking me to the library, Mommy! It’s like we’re on a date! I like it when it’s just the two of us.” We entered the library, hand in hand, and headed toward the LEGO table. As I began gathering books nearby, I was surprised to feel my son’s arms around me. He gave me a quick squeeze and a kiss with an “I love you, Mommy” before returning to his LEGO—three separate times. My typically...

Keep Reading

This Time In the Passenger Seat is Precious

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen
Teen driver with parent in passenger seat

When you’re parenting preteens and teens, it sometimes feels like you are an unpaid Uber driver. It can be a thankless job. During busy seasons, I spend 80 percent of my evenings driving, parking, dropping off, picking up, sitting in traffic, running errands, waiting in drive-thru lines. I say things like buckle your seat belt, turn that music down a little bit, take your trash inside, stop yelling—we are in the car, keep your hands to yourself, don’t make me turn this car around, get your feet off the back of the seat, this car is not a trash can,...

Keep Reading

So God Made My Daughter a Wrestler

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young female wrestler wearing mouth guard and wrestling singlet

God made my girl a wrestler. Gosh, those are words I would never have thought I would say or be so insanely proud to share with you. But I am. I know with 100 percent certainty and overwhelming pride that God made my girl a wrestler. But it’s been a journey. Probably one that started in the spring of 2010 when I was pregnant with my first baby and having the 20-week anatomy ultrasound. I remember hearing the word “girl” and squealing. I was over the moon excited—all I could think about were hair bows and cute outfits. And so...

Keep Reading

A Big Family Can Mean Big Feelings

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Family with many kids holding hands on beach

I’m a mother of six. Some are biological, and some are adopted. I homeschool most of them. I’m a “trauma momma” with my own mental health struggles. My husband and I together are raising children who have their own mental illnesses and special needs. Not all of them, but many of them. I battle thoughts of anxiety and OCD daily. I exercise, eat decently, take meds and supplements, yet I still have to go to battle. The new year has started slow and steady. Our younger kids who are going to public school are doing great in their classes and...

Keep Reading

You May Be a Big Brother, but You’ll Always Be My Baby

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother with young son, color photo

It seems like yesterday we were bringing you home from the hospital. Back then, we were new parents, clueless but full of love—a love that words can hardly explain. I can vividly recall holding you in my arms, rocking you in the cutest nursery, and singing sweet lullabies, just like yesterday. I can picture those times when you were teeny-tiny, doing tummy time, and how proud I was of you for lifting your head. And oh, the happiness on your face when “Baby Shark” played over and over—that song always made you smile! We made sure to capture your growth...

Keep Reading