Gifts for Dad ➔

My girlfriend called as I was swigging down a cup of reheated coffee while chasing around my toddlers and picking dried oatmeal flakes off my yoga pants.

She never calls in the morning but wanted to share her news.

“I got the job!” her excitement radiated through my iPhone.

It was a position she’d been working hard to snag. I was thrilled for her and honored she thought to call me moments after verbally accepting the offer for her dream job.

“DETAILS!!” I shouted over my three Disney princess-wannabes who were running around half-naked in diapers and big girl panties across the living room.

The position came with a hefty salary, she said. It would allow her sweet family to relocate and move into a real-life Barbie Dream House — one they’d been eyeing for over a month. She was offered reimbursement toward her Master’s degree, and her kiddos would get to attend a private school within walking distance from her office. It would be the perfect midweek pick-me-up to have lunch with her kids at school, she said.

I was happy for her. I genuinely was. I love when good things happen to good people, and she’s certainly a good person.

But after I hung up the phone and corralled my toddlers, I sighed.

Why can’t my life be perfect?

I could feel the envy start flowing through my veins.

I was knee-deep in dirty diapers and sippy cups. My hair was dry-shampooed yesterday. And I had oatmeal all over my pants.

My thoughts began spinning into a cycle of comparison.

From the outside looking in, my friend’s life was perfect. 

Things always seemed to effortlessly fall into place for her.

I wish I didn’t have to deplete my savings account for a chance at becoming pregnant. In fact, I wish I’d never had to stare at a negative pregnancy test or be diagnosed with infertility in the first place…I wish I didn’t have a credit card bill…I wish I could be reimbursed for continuing my education…I wish I could pay off my student loans…I wish I wasn’t tens of thousands of dollars in debt from the adoption process…I wish I had a new refrigerator…I wish our minivan didn’t need $1,500 worth of repairs…

I became busy counting and wishing for her blessings instead of being grateful for my very own. 

Comparison. It’s a dangerous place for the mind to wander, and it can be a hard thought process to escape. 

I sighed at what my life had become — in that moment, I felt similar to the crusty, dried oatmeal flakes still stuck on my pants from breakfast with my daughters.

But then, as if on cue, my two-year-old ran over to me and wrapped her little arms around my neck.

 

“Mommy?” she said. “You’re the BEST.”

I squeezed her tightly.

You see, these everyday moments are what life is all about.

It’s not about the fancy cars or dream house or credit card or student loan debt we’re swimming in. It’s not about comparing bank accounts or the sacrifices and hardships we’ve encountered that others haven’t. 

It’s about finding joy in our journey.

And while my family’s path has been similar to a roller coaster filled with unexpected twists and turns, it is still fun. It’s certainly never boring. How can it be with three girls, ages three and under and a baby boy on the way?

Sure, there are days it feels like the ride will never end and the best we can do is buckle up, hold on tight and scream at the world together.

But then there are moments like this morning where I’m reminded with a gentle hug from a toddler that it’s not about the ride itself or the smooth sailing others seem to have. Rather, it’s about who you’re riding alongside and the joy they bring to your life.

And frankly, no one can compare to my crew.

Shelley Skuster

Shelley is the writer behind http://www.shelleyskuster.com/. She's a former award-winning news reporter who -- after years of infertility, two adoptions and a pregnancy -- decided to leave TV news to stay at home and focus on raising her three daughters -- ages three and under.

To the Moms and Dads Who Suffer Loss: You Are Not Alone

In: Child Loss, Grief, Infertility, Motherhood
To the Moms and Dads Who Suffer Loss: You Are Not Alone www.herviewfromhome.com

You are walking the hardest path anyone will ever walk—living this life without your children. Your losses have come in many shapes and sizes. You’ve lost tiny heartbeats early in the womb. You’ve screamed and sobbed through labor to deliver a silent but perfect little bundle. You’ve held a fragile infant for hours, days, weeks, or months, only to give him back to Heaven. You’ve watched your little one grow into a curious toddler and then held her a final time as disease or an accident took her away. You’ve lived a full childhood with your baby and even watched...

Keep Reading

I Had Someone Else’s Baby: 5 Truths About Surrogacy

In: Infertility, Journal
I Had Someone Else's Baby: 5 Truths About Surrogacy www.herviewfromhome.com

“I could never carry a baby for nine months and then just give it away.” That’s what I have heard over and over again from the time I first expressed interest in becoming a gestational surrogate, and continue to hear today when I share that I am one month postpartum from delivering a baby via surrogacy. I am a 26-year-old married woman, mother of two beautiful children, and follower of Jesus. I carried a child in my body for 40 weeks one day, and I gave him back to his parents with nothing but absolutely joy in my heart. There...

Keep Reading

Where the Fear Lives

In: Infertility, Journal
Where the Fear Lives www.herviewfromhome.com

You’re tucked in and prayers are said. Last sips of water, last hugs, last kissing hands, and I have to pull away and close the door because I don’t want to leave. You say your room can be scary, you say you sleep better with mommy, but what I don’t whisper is, my room is really where the fear lives. “Mommy pleeeease can we sleep in your bed?” You whine. My head bows and shakes with a small smile on my lips. There is no conviction in my denial of your request. Which one of you is speaking isn’t significant. The...

Keep Reading

Infertility Has Refined My Marriage In Ways I Never Expected

In: Infertility, Relationships
Infertility Has Refined My Marriage In Ways I Never Expected www.herviewfromhome.com

Infertility gives marriage a brand new meaning, one most couples don’t anticipate ever having to deal with. It’s not part of the vision or dream of starting a family. It’s never in the plans. Infertility is just, well, not fun. It takes you and your marriage places you never thought it would go . . . To places filled with guilt, shame and envy. Guilt for feeling like the one who is broken. Shame for feeling like your body is incapable of doing what it is supposed to do. And envy of those it comes easily to. To a place of...

Keep Reading

I May Not Have My Own Kids, But I’m Still a Mom

In: Infertility, Motherhood
I May Not Have My Own Kids, But I'm Still a Mom www.herviewfromhome.com

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve wanted to be a mom. When I close my eyes, I can picture those early memories—me toting around my little Bitty Baby in a carrier while my mom pushed my little brother in the stroller. It is so ingrained in who I am as a person, that whether or not I would have kids was never a question, just how many and when.  But that all changed a few years ago when the doctors made it clear in no uncertain terms that it wasn’t in the picture for me, and a dream...

Keep Reading

5 Things I Wish People Knew About Infertility

In: Infertility
5 Things I Wish People Knew About Infertility www.herviewfromhome.com

It a day you never forget. The moment you learn you’re pregnant is an exciting time for most couples. But what happens when life doesn’t go as planned? I always assumed I would have the picture-perfect family. I imagined two children, a loving husband and a house with a white picket fence. But when my husband and I started trying, pregnancy wasn’t a reality. Month after month, the tears would form as I watched the “negative” boldly appear on the pregnancy test. As each year passed by, the frustration grew. Infertility throws couples through a roller coaster of emotions and...

Keep Reading

Infertility Wrecked Me and Made Me Stronger

In: Faith, Infertility, Motherhood
Infertility Wrecked Me and Made Me Stronger www.hervewfromhome.com

When one of our national treasures, DIY sweethearts Chip and Joanna Gaines, announced they were expecting their fifth child, the world rejoiced. Fans burst into chatter imagining what that child’s shiplapped nursery would look like and immediately began scanning the aisles at Target for a new Hearth & Cradle collection. Not everyone shared that excitement—not necessarily because they dislike the couple (how could you not adore their endearing banter?), but because the news hurt. For a woman who is struggling with infertility, a pregnancy announcement has the equivalent effect of a kick in a man’s groin. It knocks the wind out...

Keep Reading

You Have the Right to Mourn Your Miscarriage

In: Grief, Infertility, Miscarriage
You Have the Right to Mourn Your Miscarriage www.herviewfromhome.com

I found out I was pregnant on October 8th, 2014. It was the one year anniversary of my stepdad’s death. I took the little blue plus symbol as a divine sign; a “Hello” and “I’m still here,” from him. This pregnancy would be blessed. It was serendipitous, meant to be. I went to work that day, but my mind was elsewhere. Every chance I got, I found myself googling things like, “Is a faint positive pregnancy test really positive?” and “When will my due date be?” I was in awe that I had a life growing inside of me. I...

Keep Reading

The Pain of Multiple Losses

In: Child Loss, Grief, Infertility, Miscarriage
The Pain of Multiple Losses www.herviewfromhome.com

Pregnancy loss–there is nothing more horrifying, nothing more devastating than seeing the beginnings of life come to an end so quickly.  A life that did not get a chance to live.  They say at least I can fall pregnant. I would rather not experience pregnancy at all than being tormented with three miscarriages. I would rather go through life accepting that having one child is meant to be, than being toyed with glimmers of hope of another baby–only to have that fantasy smashed into a million pieces. As I scramble to pick up the pieces and attempt to connect each...

Keep Reading

Do I Dare Ask For More?

In: Infertility, Motherhood
Do I Dare Ask For More? www.herviewfromhome.com

Waking up to my sweet, smiling boy I realize it wasn’t a dream. This is my reality. My child is warm and giggly and oh so affectionate. So why isn’t this enough? As my husband pours Jack’s morning cereal and I load his Toy Story toothbrush with toothpaste, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed with guilt. Looking around our home I feel so much love. I feel the warmth of the heat under my bare feet that we’re fortunate enough to have on this cold winter morning, I hear Jack’s voice floating from the kitchen where he’s eating his breakfast...

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Proven techniques to build REAL connections