So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

Every day it feels like I’m moving through a mess. I can’t even make it through the front door without tripping over boots, coats and school bags. It doesn’t get much better as you walk through my house or the rest of my life for that matter. Like the kitchen table for example. Here is one I think all families can relate to.

My kitchen table, a perfect fit for four chairs, is always a mess and by mess I mean sticky from the grape jelly, spilled hot chocolate, and glue. I mean cluttered with art supplies because my boys are going through a crazy arts and crafts phase. I mean toys. I mean dirty dishes because obviously, and yet I’ve already done the dishes once today. I mean whatever gadget my husband is soldering at the moment. I mean socks, underwear and shoes because where does everything in the free world get tossed . . . 

I mean life—and such a beautiful mess it is. I won’t kill myself trying to keep it clean.

Moms, if we allowed ourselves to see the mess for what it really is, never ever would we consider it or ourselves a mess. We wouldn’t feel the need to make excuses or apologies when unexpected company drops by. I’m not sorry for the mess and NO I’m not lazy or lousy housekeeper. There are four people living here who love spending time together, why would I spend every spare minute scrambling to hide such beautiful evidence of a happy family?

Yes the floors get swept, the dishes get done, the bathroom gets scrubbed and you can bet the kids pitch in and do their share. However, our favorite board games are always sitting out, and lately Legos strewn about (because family time). The couch cushions are on the floor (because they make the perfect pirate’s ship) and pillows are scattered like rocks (because the floor is lava and if you touch it you die).

My desk is piled with work (because God is always providing). My to-do list is never-ending, and often what I hope to achieve this week ends up on next week’s list (because life just doesn’t fit into an assigned window of time). My calendar looks worse than my to-do list (because the kids have a growing interest in things and in order to figure out their talents, likes and how to be contributing members of society there is no avoiding it).

All this can quickly weigh a mom down into believing she is a hot mess. The guilt of running late, missing appointments, and the pile of boots at the front door turns into this giant mess, and instead of seeing it for what it is, we assume we are failing, falling flat on our faces. This is the moment we need to take a deep breath. This is the moment we need to bite our tongues. This is the moment we need to take a step back and change our perspective on things.

This isn’t mess. This is the reality of a thriving and functioning family. This mess of toys, piles of laundry and the kids doing a cannonballs off the couch into the middle of it all is a blessing. We need to stop letting our blessings become our frustrations. We need to stop feeling guilty because we are incapable of organizing, scrubbing, and perfecting every part of life. We need to let the mess go and opt for playing with the kids, spending time with a friend, dating our husbands, freely giving of ourselves, and making that much-needed “me” time.

In the end, our kids won’t remember the mess, but they will remember the time we took to play with them. Our real friends won’t comment on the mess, but instead give a hand with the dishes while visiting. Our husbands (if they even notice the mess) will only remember how we showed our love to them. We won’t be remembered for how organized the pantry was, but for our hospitality and giving spirits. And our “me” time will fill our cups, making everything else possible.

So why, moms, are we letting perfect steal our joy? Why is it so hard to put the dishrag down and accept that this isn’t a mess, but life at its finest? We moms are not a hot mess. Our homes and hectic schedules aren’t mess. Don’t forget, we were “fearfully and wonderfully” made not to be maids enslaved to what society deems to be a mess, but to live a fulfilling life God hand-selected for us.

That is not a mess—that is a gift and it includes the crumbs!

Jen Miller

My name is Jennifer Miller, but I prefer simply Jen. I live in Hawley, MN. It is a small town built along the railroad tracks and surrounded by fields. I married my high school sweetheart in 2005 and we have two little boys, Jack (5) and Grey (3). Motherhood took me by surprise just before my 30th birthday and since then I have been stay at home mom and have loved every minute of the craziness. I am a staff writer for the Hawley Herald and do most the work from home. Being an introvert it took me out of my comfort zone, but so worth it because I love writing. It is something I do every day and it allows me to be home with my boys.

Here’s to the Strong Ones Living with Type 1 Diabetes

In: Living
Pregnant mom on beach, black-and-white photo

This is a shout-out to all the sweet girls. The ones hustling so hard to live like normal. The ones with type 1 diabetes. Some of you have been living with diabetes as long as you have been breathing. Some of you are newly diagnosed and need to know someone who has been managing diabetes for years. I have been living with type 1 diabetes for 17 years, and I see you. Whether you have been diagnosed for 17 hours or 17 years, chances are I’ve felt what you feel too.  I’m here to tell you that type 1 diabetes...

Keep Reading

No Screens Before 7: How Our Family Broke Free of the Screentime Habit

In: Living, Motherhood
Kids using smartphones

“We still have three more minutes!” my 7-year-old says, bouncing with Christmas-like anticipation and excitement. “Well,” I say, looking from him to his 9-year-old sister, “what could you do for three minutes?” “Leg wrestle!” they exclaim and run to the carpeted living room. This life-filled exchange was not happening in my home just a couple of months ago.  In spite of my best efforts, screen time had taken over. Both the kids and I would slip into this zombie-like, space-time vortex. I would look up and know it wasn’t healthy, but it was just so easy to just keep on...

Keep Reading

You Don’t Have to Lose Yourself to Be a Good Mom

In: Living, Motherhood
Woman brushing wet hair

There is nothing wrong with losing yourself in motherhood. Diving in head first, serving your kids and spouse endlessly, never asking for a break, being proud for providing an amazing childhood for your kids, and allowing mom to become your entire identity. But what if you don’t want that?  When did this become the standard of motherhood we are all expected to achieve? Why does society say the best mom is the one that’s 110% physically and emotionally available for her kids all the time and never does anything for herself? Why are you less of a mom if you...

Keep Reading

Witch, Please! Hocus Pocus 2 Release Date Means the Sanderson Sisters Countdown Is ON

In: Living
Bette Middler in Hocus Pocus 2 on Disney+

“Lock up your children!” screeches Winifred Sanderson (played by Bette Midler) in the teaser trailer for Disney’s long-awaited Hocus Pocus 2 movie. But I say, “Mark your calendars!” Disney revealed the release date for this much-anticipated sequel and I’m happy to report that the Sanderson sisters will be flying above Salem and to your Disney+ stream on September 30th! The countdown is ON! Check out the trailer and get excited! But first, a confession:  I have to be honest, I was 16 when the original Hocus Pocus came out, but for some reason I never saw it until I was...

Keep Reading

Good Dads Make Great Grandpas

In: Grown Children, Living
Grandpa walking with two grandsons, color photo

This is not only written for my dad, but for all the dads out there who aren’t the typical, everyday dads. The hands-on dad, the dad who goes on bike rides, the dad who watches his grandbabies. The dad who creates a legacy whether he realizes it or not. The world needs more of you.  It’s not every day you get a dad who enters a diaper changing contest and comes in second place. Yes, that happened to my dad. He would take me up to the local mall to walk around and one of the stores was holding a...

Keep Reading

Dear Friend, I Don’t Want To Lose You

In: Friendship
Two women smiling, color photo

I’m sorry I don’t text you like I should. I’m sorry I don’t call you like I should. I’m sorry I don’t check in to see how you are. I’m sorry this friendship can feel one-sided at times. I’m sorry I’m so distant. The truth is I’m struggling. I’m struggling with life. I’m struggling with finances. I’m struggling with trying to please everyone and do everything. RELATED: Check on Your “Strong” Friend, She’s Faking it The problem is I try to please everyone—everyone who doesn’t matter. My problem is I’ve gotten so content with our friendship that I know you’ll...

Keep Reading

I Want You To Miss Your Childhood One Day Too

In: Kids, Living
Kids jumping off dock into lake

What I miss the most about childhood is owning my whole heart. Before I gave pieces of it away to others who weren’t always careful with it. And some, who never gave the pieces back. I miss my knowing. My absolute faith that my mother’s arms could fix just about everything and what her arms couldn’t, her cookies could. When my biggest grievance was not getting my way. I miss feeling whole, unblemished. Before words cut me. Before people had taken up space in my mind, created permanent movies that were ugly and still play on repeat at times. Before...

Keep Reading

I Traded My Body for This Full Life

In: Living, Motherhood
Happy family smiling

It was supposed to be the happiest time of my life. I was cradling my firstborn child—my rainbow baby—tenderly in my arms as she contentedly nursed. I looked down at this beautiful miracle, unable to mirror her blissful content. Six weeks after the birth, I was still feeling like garbage. Being a first-time mom, I figured the fatigue was par for the course. My other symptoms, however, were suspect. Will I see my daughter grow up? were my thoughts as the streams of grief flowed, pooling on her swaddle. At my medical check-up, I brought my concerns to my doctor...

Keep Reading

The Truth is I’m Drowning

In: Living
Woman with hand on face sad

I find myself sinking. Really disappearing. Everyone around me sees me. They see my smile, my involvement, my willingness to please and participate. No one notices how easily I shift between despair and real tears and conforming to what the situation requires of me. Sometimes this shift happens within the matter of minutes.  Not waving, but drowning. I’m on a weight loss journey. The scale told me I am down just over four pounds. And I feel really good about that. I know I have another 15 to 20 to go, but I am four down. I made a promise...

Keep Reading

Older Kids with Special Needs Can Get Overlooked, and it’s Lonely

In: Living, Motherhood
Two hands held together next to a wheelchair, black-and-white photo

Middle school is tough. I have three girls—two of them now teenagers—so I know firsthand how tween insecurities can quickly spiral into friend drama and subtle bullying. I’ve watched my girls get left out and left behind, and we’ve had lots and lots of talks about what it means to be a good friend. And as much as I want to tell you it doesn’t hit differently with my third daughter, I can’t. Because it does. When your tween daughter is in a wheelchair and has endured—and is still enduring—health and physical challenges that would destroy an adult, a mama’s...

Keep Reading

5 Secrets to the

BEST Summer Ever!

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Creating simple summer memories

with your kids that will  last a lifetime