Yesterday I told my husband sometimes I regret having kids.

So just in case you were feeling bad about your mama self today, like you’re in the running to win the “Worst Mom in the History of Forever” award, you can go ahead and let yourself off the hook. I’ve already claimed the award and am working on my acceptance speech.

Because seriously, what kind of mom says she regrets her own children? Well, I’ll tell you.

A tired mom.

A mom who has been awake at odd hours, every single night for years and who drags herself out of bed every single morning, praying for the patience to deal with the kids.

A mom who has been pulled in a million different directions and feels like she’s failing in every one of them.

A mom who has cleaned the same rooms, washed the same clothes and picked up the same toys over and over and over and over again.

A mom who lies in bed at night, filled with dread because she has to get up and do it all again tomorrow.

A mom who knows she needs to take care of herself and make time for herself, but feels guilty asking for help.

A mom who is burnt out.

My frustration had been building all day and it was in the heat of the moment that I spouted off the words to my husband. I instantly regretted saying them, not because I didn’t mean them, but because that’s not the kind of thing a good mom is supposed to say. No, a good mom keeps those kinds of things to herself. And then drives herself completely insane trying to act like she’s got it all together.

Newsflash: Because I’m a mom too, I know you don’t have it all together.

I know you constantly question yourself and your decisions, that there are many times you feel like giving up and you lie in bed at night wondering if you are enough.

And you know what? That’s okay.

It’s okay to feel like you have no idea what you’re doing because none of us do. We’re all just taking it day by day and doing the best we can. And I’d like to know who set this standard of perfection we’re all trying to live up to anyway? Where is this “perfect mom” we’re all secretly measuring ourselves against?

Seriously, can we just give ourselves a break sometimes?

My oldest son can be completely crazy. He talks back and doesn’t listen and can be downright mean. Most days (okay, every day) I’m convinced when it comes to him, I’m completely screwing up. But you know what? I’ve never raised a toddler before. I’m new to this stage, as I will be for every stage he goes through the rest of his life. And that’s where I need you, mama. I need you to tell me how you managed to make it through the toddler years or how you’re surviving those years at this very moment. I need you to encourage me and tell me it won’t always be this way, or that it will. That it will get better, or it won’t. But what I don’t need is for you to put up a front and pretend you made it through those years completely unscathed, and then look down on me because I’m barely surviving.

I need your empathy, not your criticism.

So if you want to sit down with me and chat about the time your kid was a complete jerk, I’ll buy the coffee. I’ll even throw in a story or two of my own, so you know you’re not alone. No judgment and no “mom shaming” here. Because, you know, I am the one who said I sometimes regret having kids.

After mulling over my words and the situation, I think what I was somehow trying to convey to my husband was this:

Being a mom is hard.

Because once you become a mother, every single minute of every single day requires you to die to yourself. We can handle the small, little sacrifices we’re forced to make here and there, but sacrificing our needs, feelings, wants and dreams day after day?

That’s the most challenging part of it all.

As it turns out, it’s not my kids I regret, but my inability to give up control. After six years, I still haven’t been able to reconcile the fact that I went from controlling almost everything to controlling nothing. Absolutely nothing. I’m the one who makes life so much harder than it has to be, all because I simply can. not. let. go.

Six years ago, I would’ve given anything to be where I am now. I made more bargains, deals, and pleas with God in the years we struggled with infertility than I have in my entire life. I will never forget the sheer joy we felt when we found out we were actually going to be parents. Now here I am, a mama to two strong, healthy little boys, forgetting most days to see them as the miracles they truly are.

But I have my days. Days when I sit back and look at them in amazement and I can’t believe they’re really mine. That I get to be the one to raise them, the one to laugh with them and the one to love them.

And my perspective changes.

Because kids may make life hard, but they also make it rewarding. When my son wraps his little arms around my neck and gives me kisses, it makes me forget the tantrum in the grocery store. And when he looks at me out of the blue and tells me he loves me, it makes all the challenges of the day seem a little less important. It’s all about the reward.

Because the reward is what makes everything worth it.

And the reward is something I won’t ever regret.

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

Lindsay Stauffer

Lindsay is married to the most supportive husband in the world and momma to two adorable rascals, who have turned her into a caffeine addict. She writes about marriage and motherhood on her Facebook page, Life Off The Record.

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

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

To the Extended Family That Shows Up: We Couldn’t Do This Without You

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Family visiting new baby in a hospital room

This picture—my heart all but bursts every time I see it.  It was taken five years ago on the day our daughter was born. In it, my husband is giving her her very first bath while our proud extended family looks on. It was a sweet moment on a hugely special day, but gosh–what was captured in this photo is so much more than that. This photo represents everything I could have ever hoped for my kids: That they would have an extended family who shows up in their lives and loves them so deeply.  That they would have grandparents,...

Keep Reading

You’re Almost Grown, But You’re Always Welcome Back Home

In: Kids, Motherhood
Teen in room studying with computer and smartphone

Dear child, In the days before you could walk or talk, there were times when you would wail—when my rocking and shushing and bouncing were seemingly futile—but it didn’t matter. Each day and night, multiple times, I always picked you up and welcomed you back into my arms. As a toddler and a preschooler, you had some pretty epic meltdowns. There were times when you would thrash and scream, and all I could do was stand by and wait for the storm to blow over. Eventually, you would run to me, and I would welcome you back with a warm embrace....

Keep Reading

No One Warned Me About the Last Baby

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding newborn baby, black-and-white photo

No one warned me about the last baby. When I had my first, my second, and my third, those first years were blurry from sleep deprivation and chaos from juggling multiple itty-bitties. But the last baby? There’s a desperation in that newborn fog to soak it up because there won’t be another. No one warned me about the last baby. Selling the baby swing and donating old toys because we wouldn’t need them crushed me. I cried selling our double jogger and thought my heart would split in two when I dropped off newborn clothes. Throwing out pacifiers and bottles...

Keep Reading

Parents Are Terrible Salespeople for Parenting

In: Kids, Motherhood
Tired mother with coffee cup on table, child sitting next to her

As the years of fertility start to wane, many of my childless peers are confronted with the question, “Should I have kids?” With hesitation, they turn to us parents who, frankly, seem overwhelmingly unhappy. They ask sheepishly, “Is it worth it?” We lift our heads up, bedraggled, bags under our eyes, covered in boogers and sweat and spit up, we mutter, “Of course! It’s so fulfilling!” It’s like asking a hostage if they like their captor. Sure, it’s great. We love them. But our eyes are begging for liberation. Save me, please. I haven’t slept through the night in years....

Keep Reading

Soak in the Moments because Babies Don’t Keep

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Roller coaster photo, color photo

I love marking the moments, the ones that count—making a note and storing them for memory. But I often miss out on them when it comes to our oldest. ⁣ ⁣The day he wanted to be baptized, I was at home with another kiddo who was sick. He called me from church excitedly, emphasizing he was ready and didn’t want to wait. I couldn’t argue with that, so I watched him go underwater through videos my husband and sweet friends in the congregation took. ⁣ ⁣On the day of his fifth-grade graduation, we found ourselves at the pediatrician’s office. Instead...

Keep Reading

Sometimes a Kid Just Needs a Sick Day

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy outside, color photo

My middle son stayed home from school today. He said he was sick. I’m not sure that is the truth. I was lucky enough to have a mom who was an amazing caretaker, especially when you were sick. She pulled out all the stops. A cozy clean space to be, a thermos with ice cold juice by your side, Mrs. Grass’s soup, and Days of Our Lives on the screen while she tidied up the house. It was the best feeling in the world to be home and cozy with my mom when I was sick. It felt cozy and...

Keep Reading

Sometimes We Need Someone to Just Sit With Us in Our Struggle

In: Kids, Motherhood
Sad woman sits on floor, black and white image

Early this morning, I told (yelled is more accurate) my sons to get up with the same furious ferocity I use every morning when I realize they should be ready to go, but are still unconsciously snoozing away. One son lazily said, “I’m up, Mom” (even though he was very much not up). The other son, who typically has no problems getting up, had overslept and immediately freaked out, thinking he would be late to school. He proceeded to have a mini-meltdown from the dark recesses of his bedroom. That overflowed into the hallway where I found him lying face-down,...

Keep Reading

Daughter of Mine, Do Not Let the World Extinguish Your Fire

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and young daughter, color photo

Daughter of mine, I see the fire behind your eyes. Do not let it die. Daughter of mine who runs wildly and loves freely and whose anger is always whipping silently just under the surface like a pilot light, ready to ignite with one tiny spark. Do not let it die. RELATED: There is Wild Beauty in This Spirited Child of Mine Daughter of mine, one day you will become a woman, and the world will try to steal you and mold you and tell you who to become. Do not let it. It will try to fit you in...

Keep Reading