I love hindsight.

We all know that the experience of pregnancy, childbirth and the beginnings of raising a new little person comes with a huuuge learning curve. When our first child was born, I was both madly in love with her and insecure about my abilities as a mother. There was a lot of trial and error but our sweet girl survived and is now pushing 14.

Looking back I can see my parenting style has changed over time. I’m a more relaxed, laid-back mom now than I was a decade ago. I think I’m actually enjoying our now two-and-a-half-year-old more than I enjoyed her five older siblings. And I think life would have been easier back then had I known . . . 

  1. I didn’t need to sweat the small stuff. The store run got missed and it’s scrambled eggs for dinner? Sounds tasty. Things got crazy and bathtime got missed (again)? Oh well! Dirty kids have better immune systems, right? Hakuna Matata! I wish I would have relaxed my inner control freak earlier on. These are not things to stress over.
  2. I wish I would have relaxed my housekeeping standards a little too—without guilt. This is easier said than done. But with littles around it’s time to let down a bit and realize the day will come in the future when you can again eat off your floor (if you really want to). These days, I wouldn’t recommend it around here. And that’s OK. Keeping up the facade of a spotless house at the expense of rest, patience and understanding toward my kids? Not worth it. A happy home is more important than a spotless one. Cut yourself a bit of slack, mama, and know that it’s OK, for now. Get help if you can. Do only the bare minimum if that’s all you can handle at the moment, and keep your sanity and joy. Our expectations need to be flexible and forgiving with little people in the house.
  3. I wish I would have allowed myself more time to enjoy low-key, do-nothing, fun times with our littles. This might seem obvious, but if you’re like me and have felt the pressure to always be “doing” in order to be “productive” (read: valuable”), just stop. Life is not a race to see who can get the most done. Happy, relaxed, bonding leisure time with our families is precious.
  4. I wish I would have been more open about my struggles, especially with my husband. The “I can handle it alone” mentally was a mistake that too often resulted in me being a crabby mother and frustrated wife. He likely would have been willing to help more if he’d known how much I needed it. But for that I would have had to have the courage to talk about it and ask for help.
  5. Simplify meals! I spent too long cooking complicated meals early in our married life, partly because I really enjoy cooking, and partly, I think, to impress my husband and extended foodie family with my super amazing culinary powers. That was a mistake. Get a basic repertoire of simple, healthy, quick recipes down, and don’t complicate things until the kids’ palates are developed enough to appreciate something other than pasta and cheese. Just the fact of not having to stress over what’s for dinner is huge. Do your best and be happy. There’s nothing to prove.
  6. I wish I’d known that even though I would get lost in the whirlwind of motherhood, I’d find myself again. It’s OK to get completely lost and caught up in the overwhelming beauty of that new life. Whether it’s from passionate love or sheer exhaustion, it’s OK to lose yourself in motherhood. The time will come when you search for, and find yourself again. The time to remember who you were before the transformation of motherhood and to resurrect some of the old passions, or pursue new ones. The short years with littles are a season. They are temporary. And beautiful.

For all the mistakes of the early years, there are a few things I have no regrets about. I’m glad—so glad—I ignored those who accused me of “spoiling” my baby by holding and loving on her too much. Those “well-meaning” comments came far too often, and as a new and insecure mom I questioned my instincts. But I’m so glad I snuggled away and developed a strong bond with my girl. Our hearts are made to ache at our babies’ cries. Trust your gut and love away, mama.

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

Zrinka Peters

Zrinka lives on 35 acres in MN with her husband, six kids and an ever-changing number of furry and feathered creatures. She loves book clubs, flowerbeds, and successful gluten-free baking. One of her greatest hopes is to lead her children to love deeply. She sometimes catches a few minutes to write in between snacks, laundry, and kid catastrophes. She hopes to make her little corner of the world a better place one word at a time.

Her Future Will Not Be My Broken Past

In: Living, Motherhood
Mother and daughter hold hands by water, silhouette photo

Forty years ago, you were an innocent child. You were brought into this world for a purpose. Your innocence is robbed before kindergarten by a trusted relative. You are broken and bruised by those entrusted to protect you. You are extremely emotional in your childhood, but no one listens to understand. As you grow into your teenage years, emotions are bottled up out of fear. You lean into promiscuous behavior because that is the only way you know how to get men to love you. Because of abuse that no one took you out of, you stay around those who...

Keep Reading

You Came between Us

In: Marriage, Motherhood
Toddler between mom and dad under sheet

Right in the middle of our deepest love, you came—just between us. A silent, unseen surprise. A mysterious miracle of incarnated love and joy. From that sacred moment that we couldn’t imagine being any sweeter, came you. Sometime in the middle of all the daily goodbye hugs, my stomach began to grow and you came between us. This beautiful bundle of life blossoming right inside of me. And we were in awe of every single tiny formation of you. In awe of who you were, excited by who you’d be, in awe that you were ours. You came between us...

Keep Reading

God Redeemed the Broken Parts of My Infertility Story

In: Faith, Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Two young children walking on a path near a pond, color photo

It was a Wednesday morning when I sat around a table with a group of mamas I had just recently met. My youngest daughter slept her morning nap in a carrier across my chest. Those of us in the group who held floppy babies swayed back and forth. The others had children in childcare or enrolled in preschool down the road. We were there to chat, learn, grow, and laugh. We were all mamas. But we were not all the same. I didn’t know one of the mom’s names, but I knew I wanted to get to know her because she...

Keep Reading

I’m a Mom Who Reads and is Raising Readers

In: Living, Motherhood
Mom with infant daughter on bed, reading a book, color photo

Since childhood, I’ve been lost in a world of books. My first true memory of falling in love with a book was when my mom read aloud Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. With each voice she used, I fell deep into the world of imagination, and I’ve never seemed to come up for air. My reading journey has ebbed and flowed as my life has gone through different seasons, but I’ve always seemed to carry a book with me wherever I went. When I entered motherhood and gave my whole life over to my kids, I needed something that...

Keep Reading

I Had to Learn to Say “I’m Sorry” to My Kids

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Mom hugs tween daughter

My two oldest kiddos are at the front end of their teen years. I remember that time in my own life. I was loud, somewhat dramatic, I let my hormones control me, and I never—ever—apologized. This last part was because no one ever really taught me the value of apology or relationship repair. Now, I could do some parent blaming here but let’s be real, if you were a kid whose formative years were scattered between the late ’80s and early ’90s, did you get apologies from your parents? If so, count that blessing! Most parents were still living with...

Keep Reading

I Look Forward to the End of a Work Day for a Whole New Reason Now

In: Motherhood
Dad hugs toddler at home

Those minutes matter. Whether it’s 5 or 15, every single second of them counts. Unless you’ve been there, it’s impossible to explain. I’m not sure there are any words that could really create the right picture. But believe me when I say those minutes count. I’m talking about those final minutes leading up to that door opening and some form of relief being on the other side. Those minutes you never thought would come. Those minutes mean you made it through another day, and there is (possibly) some relief in sight. This is a new experience I wasn’t quite ready...

Keep Reading

I Didn’t Know How Much I Needed Other Mothers

In: Friendship, Living, Motherhood
Two mom friends smiling at each other

I read somewhere the other day that when a child is born, a parent is too. In my first few months being a mother, I’m learning just how odd that sentiment is. In an instant, I became someone new. Not only that, but I became part of a group I didn’t realize existed. That sounds wrong. Of course, mothers existed. But this community of mothers? I had no idea. It took us a long time to get where we are today. Throughout our journey with infertility, I knew in my heart I was meant to be a mother. I knew that...

Keep Reading

I Wasn’t Sure You’d Be Here To Hold

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother with newborn baby on her chest in hospital bed

I stood naked in my parents’ bathroom. Even with the tub filling, I could hear my family chattering behind the door. I longed to be with them, not hiding alone with my seven-month round belly, sleep-deprived, and covered in pox-like marks. For three weeks, I’d tried Benadryl, lotions, and other suggested remedies to cure the strange rash spreading over my body. No luck. By Christmas Day, my life had been reduced to survival. Day and night, I tried to resist itching, but gave in, especially in my sleep. At 1 a.m., 2 a.m., 3 a.m., the feeling of fire ants...

Keep Reading

5 Things Your Child’s Kindergarten Teacher Wants You To Know

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child raising hand in kindergarten class

I am a teacher. I have committed my life to teaching children. Of course, before I began this career, I had visions of standing in front of a group of eager-eyed children and elaborating on history, science, and math lessons. I couldn’t wait to see the “lightbulb” moments when students finally understood a reading passage or wrote their first paper. And then I had my first day. Children are not cut out of a textbook (shocking, I know) but as a young 23-year-old, it knocked me right off my feet. I was thrown into the lion’s den, better known as...

Keep Reading

God Has You

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman hugging herself while looking to the side

Holding tight to the cold, sterile rail of the narrow, rollaway ER bed, I hovered helplessly over my oldest daughter. My anxious eyes bounced from her now steadying breaths to the varying lines and tones of the monitor overhead. Audible reminders of her life that may have just been spared. For 14 years, we’d been told anaphylaxis was possible if she ingested peanuts. But it wasn’t until this recent late autumn evening we would experience the fear and frenzy of our apparent new reality. My frantic heart hadn’t stopped racing from the very moment she struggled to catch a breath....

Keep Reading