So God Made a Mother is Here! 🎉

My baby is turning nine tomorrow. A little boy who’s getting definition in his arms and who cares about his clothes. He’s a boy who plays video games after school and football in the fall. He brushes his own teeth, washes his own hair in the shower, and reads books with more chapters than mine. He wears deodorant and puts on cologne. He has attitude and strong opinions and he sometimes argues with me with such strong logic I question my decisions. “Little boy” doesn’t even seem right. Little man? Pre-pre-teen? What’s the right word for that age when they stop needing you for most things? When you start to become a spectator?

Knowing it’s your only one makes it harder. It’s always hard to watch your baby grow but to know you won’t ever be a mom to an 8-year-old again is just a surreal and hollow feeling. I have a pretty aggressive form of crohns disease and having another baby isn’t something I can do. And it sucks. Because it means never going through pregnancy again or buying maternity clothes, and it means that snugging another newborn that’s the sweet combinations of me and the man I love won’t ever happen. No more first steps or first days of school. No more Curious George or Backyardigans. I feel a little twinge of guilt every time I donate an article of clothing because I didn’t give him a sibling to pass it down to.

So I watch him grow. I listen to old videos so I can hear his little voice, something I didn’t realize had changed so much. I watch him develop a personality and start to figure out who he is. He is a boy who is kind. From the tip of his head to the bottoms of his feet, he is kind. And it scares me. Everyone wants to raise a kind child; it might be the most important thing you can teach. I’m afraid because unfortunately this world is not kind and I dread the day my baby comes home from school with tears in his eyes because he had to realize just how unkind it’s capable of being. The hardest part of raising a child is that we can’t protect them from the hardest parts of life. Being made fun of, having his heart broken, losing his grandma. That’s just life and it happens to little boys whether their moms want it to or not.

So every night after he’s asleep I stand in his doorway, sometimes with tears in my eyes, and I think “Did I do everything I could to be a good mom today?” Sometimes I think I came close, sometimes I know I fell incredibly short. Whether it was because I lost my temper, I swore while driving, I fed him chicken nuggets for dinner (so NOT the organic kind) or because I simply didn’t dedicate enough time that day. I think we all do that every night, run through our list of shortcomings that day and make mental lists of how we can be better tomorrow. No mom stands in her kid’s doorway and thinks, “Yes. Today I did everything right.”

But today, my last day with an eight-year-old, I’m going to drop the guilt and quiet my fears and allow myself a moment to be in this moment. Where he is as small as he will ever be. Where he still thinks his mom can fix any problem he has. Where he still can’t see my flaws and the flaws of the world. So just for now, be eight little boy. Because with tomorrow brings one more year to grow.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

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

Order Now

Amber Shoemaker

Amber is a full time mom, partner, daughter and sister. You can find her home with her boys or waiting for a doctor somewhere. She likes to read, write, and travel whenever she can.

Dear Teachers, Thank You Will Never Be Enough

In: Kids, Living
Kids hugging teacher

Growing up a teacher’s daughter has given me a lifetime of appreciation for educators. Of course, it’s true; I may be biased. I’ve been fortunate to have learned and been guided by many outstanding teachers, including my mother and grandmother, who passed those legacy skills onto my daughter, who strongly feels teaching is her calling. But if you’ve had your eyes and ears open in recent years, you, too, probably feel deep gratitude for the angels among us who work in the school system. So, as the school year ends, and on behalf of parents, grandparents, and anyone who loves...

Keep Reading

Before You, Boy, I Never Knew

In: Kids, Motherhood
Three boys playing in creek, color photo

Before you, boy, I never knew that little boys could get so dirty. Play so rough. Climb so high. Assess your risks. Make me hold my breath. Messes everywhere.   Before you, boy, I never knew how much my lap will make room for you. My arms will stretch to swallow you up in endless hugs and just hold you close. And love you to the moon and back. And back again. Snuggling and snuggling.  RELATED: I Met a Boy and He Changed Everything Before you, boy, I never knew that there would be so much wrestling. And superheroes, and far-off...

Keep Reading

It Hurts Seeing My Kid as a B-List Friend

In: Friendship, Kids, Teen
Teen girl sitting alone on a dock

Kids everywhere are celebrating, or will be celebrating soon. They will be playing outside, enjoying warm summer days, bike rides with friends, and maybe even sleepovers. It’s summer—it’s fun, right? Sure, it is. And sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes it isn’t fun for the kids you least expect it from. We have that issue, and I knew it was building for the past few weeks with our teenage daughter. She was moody (moodier than normal). Short tempered. Obviously frustrated, but not ready to talk about it. But it was when she came home on the last day of school, in tears,...

Keep Reading

Dear Hunter’s Mom, What I Really Want to Say

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding toddler boy, color photo

Hi, I’m Krystal. I’ve wanted to say that every Tuesday and Thursday when I see you in the preschool hallway. I don’t know why I never say it. It might be because I’m afraid to. Maybe you just want to get the drop-off over with and get out of there. I get it. Hunter is crying . . . hard. People are looking . . . they always look. Your face is flushed, your jacket twisted. You are caught between trying to do what you are supposed to do and what you want to do. I can tell. I know...

Keep Reading

5 Money Tips to Set Your Kids Up for a Strong Financial Future

In: Grown Children, Kids, Motherhood, Teen
Father putting quarters in child's hand

As parents, we want to see our children become independent, but the transition to financial independence has unique challenges. I get it. I have three children of my own, and each of them deals with money differently. The transition can be especially difficult if you are a family that doesn’t talk openly about money. Regardless of whether money has been an open topic in the past, as your high school graduate moves on to the next chapter in their life, it’s important to help them start thinking about their financial future. College tuition, rent, and other expenses can be overwhelming...

Keep Reading

Don’t Tell an Anxious Child to Calm Down—Help Them Do It

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Child sitting against a wall with head in hands

She comes to me with teary eyes, a shaky voice, and stomping feet, “This is dumb! Everything is terrible! I’m never going to school again!” My 13-year-old daughter is prone to drama. It doesn’t take much for her to fly off the handle these days. One minute she’s happily crafting at the table and the next moment her mood has made such a drastic change I have whiplash from it. My first response is to say the easiest—and least helpful—words, “Just calm down.” But I know from my own experience that those words have never helped anyone just calm down....

Keep Reading

I’m Raising a Child Who Only Goes Full Speed

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little girl in yellow dress and sunglasses, color photo

If you’ve ever spent more than five minutes with my daughter, you will quickly see that she is always at a 10. Calm is not in her vocabulary or her existence in any form. From the moment her eyes open, she is on the move. Mentally, physically, all of it. Bedtime is when she shares her deepest thoughts and asks the kinds of questions no parent wants to deal with at the end of the day. And then, after what feels like hours of questions and songs, she’s on the fast track to dreamland and not even an earthquake could...

Keep Reading

I’m Still a Boy Mom Even Though I Had Girl

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mom with son and daughter laughing outside

I am a boy mom. I’ve lovingly held that title since 2014 when my first son joined our family. My second and third children were also boys, which secured my moniker. Boys are great! The rough and rowdy energy to play in the dirt, climb trees, and make engine noises for every moving thing fits my personality. I love being a boy mom!  For six and a half years, I was only a boy mom. But when other parents talked about ponies and princesses, I didn’t feel left out. Trucks and dirt filled my heart so there was no room...

Keep Reading

Admitting Your Child Needs More Help than You Can Give Is Brave

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Young woman looking out rainy window

It had been nearly a year, and despite my best efforts and constant prayers, the tumultuous relationship with my daughter continued to be on a downward spiral.  I never knew what side of her I would get, some days she was the little girl I had always known, but most days she was a stranger. There were days at a time she refused to get out of bed, filled with little energy she was irritable, angry, and hostile. Followed by days at a time when she wouldn’t sleep, conversations with her were jumbled, and she spoke too quickly to keep up. She...

Keep Reading

Dear Kindergartner, This Is Just the Beginning

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little girl with backpack, color photo

To my future kindergartner, I can’t seem to wrap my head around the fact that I really just wrote those words. It’s hard to grasp that your last day of walking out our door and into your little Pre-K class is coming faster than we think. But it’s almost here and there are a few things I need you to know even if you don’t fully understand them. Things that go further than ABCs and snack time. Know that you are brave. You are probably one of the bravest humans I have ever met. Your fearlessness is often the leading...

Keep Reading