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 and join her email list.