So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

She dumped the Aveda dry shampoo into her greasy hair, added some mascara to yesterday’s, and rubbed the eye cream into the dark circles letting everyone know she was tired.

Just as she finished rubbing it into her skin, one of her two one-year-olds threw his dad’s book into the toilet with a splash. She stomped her foot and yelled at him for being in her bathroom when she asked him nicely to play in his room for five minutes.

She carried him down the carpeted hall, set him in his room next to his busy brother and closed their door to a crack. Half-way jogging down the hall, she landed back in her bathroom and stared at herself in the mirror.

This isn’t the mama I wanted to be. This isn’t how I wanted to mama.

I stare back into her eyes, the one in the mirror—me—which are deep blue and so tired. Her toddlers are going through a sleep regression again. How many of those do they go through anyway?

The thing about her—about the one staring at the mirror—is that she wanted to be a mama so desperately. Deep in her bones, she ached and longed and waited to become a mama. And when she finally did, she became a mother to two not even five months apart. Miracles—she is raising miracles.

Hard seasons come and go and shift and change.

She is in a hard season, and it is not because of her littles. It feels as though the weight of their whole world rests on her shoulders, as she works full time as a stay-at-home mom. It is her job to pay the bills, and feed her babies, while her husband cannot work. In this season she must work harder than she ever has and it is beginning to wear her thin.

More than usual, she has snapped and yelled at the two who made her mama. Who knew the pressure of solely providing was so heavy?

Staring back into those tired eyes with poorly covered up bags, she envisions what grace might look like for her. She wonders if the grace she so deeply wants others to experience was also available to her. Of course, she knew it was—but the real trick was learning to grab hold of it. The real challenge was to not punish herself for being imperfect, for being human.

This isn’t how I wanted to mama.

The thought terrorizes her. It grips her and tells her of all her flaws and weaknesses, reminding her how much she is failing. She looks at other mamas on Instagram, mamas with actual twins, even, and sees them flourishing. Smiling. Laughing. The temptation to compare her whole life to other mamas’ tiny frames is detrimental to her joy, a thief. It belittles and degrades who she is, this comparison.

She never feels like enough, this one. But you know what she is beginning to uncover? She doesn’t have to be enough. She doesn’t have to be it all. The bills have always gotten paid, her babies have always eaten, and in being okay with being not enough she is more than enough.

When she realizes it’s okay to not be perfect, to not do it all, to invest in the current moment being presented to her—that is when she becomes far more than enough.

Grabbing hold of grace for ourselves is one of the trickiest yet simplest of acts. But it’s the choice that will save us, day after day, moment after moment.

There is grace for you. mama.

There is grace to sit in, to walk in, to relish in. It is worth noticing and embracing. Grab hold of the grace to be exactly where you are today.

Natalie Brenner

Natalie Brenner is wife to Loren and mom to two under two, living in Portland, Oregon. She is the best-selling author of This Undeserved Life. She likes her wine red, ice cream served by the pint, and conversations vulnerable. Natalie believes in the impossible and hopes to create safe spaces for every fractured soul. She's addicted to honesty. You can love Jesus or not, go to church or not: she'd love to have coffee with you. Natalie is a bookworm, a speaker, and a wanna-be runner. Connect with her at NatalieBrennerWrites.com and join her email list. 

My Little Girl Has Big, Brave Dreams

In: Kids, Motherhood
School paper with little girl's handwriting, color photo

My 6-year-old daughter wants to be a soldier.   When we heard from the ultrasound tech that we were having another girl, that was not exactly the career path that popped into our heads.   There’s something absolutely terrifying knowing your child wants to do something big like this. I’m sure I’d be petrified if I had a son with the same ambition, but there’s something extra scary about it being your little girl. There’s something weighty about raising a daughter who wants to be a soldier. But honestly, it’s not a surprise at all. RELATED: God Has Filled Your...

Keep Reading

As My Children Grow, I Miss It All—Even the Sick Days

In: Kids, Motherhood
Toddler on mom's shoulder

I whisk my daughter through the doors of urgent care and cradle her head as I stand behind three other mamas clinging to their babies. We’re each rocking in different ways but moving nonetheless. The silent, comforting rhythm of motherhood. I see sad, sick eyes from the babies with their heads nestled into the necks of their mama. I’m tired from the sleepless night, and I shift from foot to foot. There is hushing and humming and back-patting. A pacifier drops to the floor. All of a sudden my daughter feels heavy. A vague sinking feeling comes over me, like...

Keep Reading

Life with Autism Is Full of Ticking Time Bombs

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother, father, teen daughter, color photo

Many of us who live with autism are familiar with the comings and goings of the ticking time bomb—one that disappears for periods of time, so much so that we might forget about it. Then, suddenly, this bomb drops at our doorstep in the form of a returning or new obstacle, so intense that it causes us to pause our lives, alter our plans, maybe even change our current paths. For our family, the new challenge has been sudden, piercing, sporadic screams. Not constant, not even often, thankfully, but jolting nonetheless. So here we were, in the midst of our...

Keep Reading

Youth Sports Build Strong Kids

In: Kids
Young girl with gymnastics medal, color photo

My kids are heavily involved in sports. My son plays for an elite basketball team and my daughter competes on an Xcel gymnastics team. It takes up a lot of our time and a lot of our money. Even though prioritizing youth sports seems to be an American norm, we still sometimes receive criticism and judgment as to why we would spend so much of our time and resources on it. (“Don’t you know the chances of your child going pro is less than 1%?”) As I sat at my daughter’s gymnastics meet, listening to the parents cheer so excitedly...

Keep Reading

Don’t Let Anyone Rush You, Mama

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother with two kids at home relaxing

From the moment our children are born, other people make it challenging to stay in the present moment—they start asking questions that look forward instead of at the now we are in. Can you believe how big she’s getting, where did your newborn go? Oh my goodness, he’ll be walking any day now! Are you thinking about preschool? What will you do when they’re both in school? What will you do when your baby goes to college? While these questions may come with good intentions, they’re not helpful at all. We moms need to be allowed to be fully in...

Keep Reading

Dear Child, God Sees All of You—And So Do I

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Mom and young son painting together

Math has always come easily to him. Even from the beginning stages when we counted wooden blocks on the living room floor, the numbers just came to him. “How many blocks are there?” I asked him, pointing to the scattered row of blocks. I expected him to count them. He was only three or four years old. “Six,” he answered promptly. “Yes . . . but how did you know that?” I asked hesitantly. He had not taken the time necessary to have counted them. “Three and three are six,” he replied. And on it went. The math came easily,...

Keep Reading

Kids Crave Your Time, Not Fancy Things

In: Kids, Motherhood
Dad and daughter with basketball smiling

I have four kids, and like most parents, I’m doing my best to give them a happy childhood, but we’re not really an activity family. Don’t get me wrong, we love a good day trip to the local water park or a night out at the movies, but with several different ages and a tight budget, activities or outings are rare for us. Sometimes I end up feeling bad about it, like our kids are missing out, but then I take a deep breath and realize that some of the best moments come from the simplest of things. Lucky for...

Keep Reading

Dear Kindergarten Graduate—Wherever Life Takes You, I’ll Always Be Your Safe Place To Land

In: Kids, Motherhood

I cried on your first day of kindergarten. Did you know that? I held it together through the getting ready and the goodbyes—but once I had waved one last time and was pulling out of the parking lot, the lump in my throat poured out as hot tears down my cheeks.  How could you be starting kindergarten? You, my precious firstborn baby. We had some growing pains as we adjusted to a new routine. The school days were so long. I spent my days missing you and you spent yours missing me. We were apart from each other more than...

Keep Reading

The Secret to Slowing Down Time Is to Notice the Moments You’re Living In

In: Kids, Motherhood

Dear current self, You’ve heard a lot of mothers admonish you to slow down and enjoy every moment with your children. They’ve warned you with phrases like “before you know it,”  “in the blink of an eye,” and other cliché’s that haven’t really hit you, but they will. Soon, they will. I am writing you now because I’ve seen you trying to wrap your mind around the how-to—as if holding time in your hand is a skill anyone has successfully mastered. I’ll save you the suspense. It can’t be done. It is inevitable. Your kids are going to grow up....

Keep Reading

You Don’t Have to Celebrate a Holiday Just Because It’s On the Calendar

In: Kids, Living

I switched on the computer, adjusted my chair, then quickly swiveled back around again toward my husband, “Are you sure? You don’t mind?” “Me?” he made a swift waving motion as if swatting a fly. “Psht. Yeah, I’m fine with it. You?” He lifted his head and locked our eyes a little more securely, “Are you sure?” “Yes,” I said firmly, without hesitation. “OK, good,” my man turned back to his phone, “Love you.” “Good,” I confirmed. A rush of relief swept through me as muscles I didn’t even know were tense suddenly relaxed. A bubbling surge of energy had...

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Proven techniques to build REAL connections