Pre-Order So God Made a Mother

“What do you do?” the nurse asked, as she attached the blood pressure cuff to my arm. It was a question I had been asked hundreds of times since deciding to become a stay-at-home parent. And like many times before, I found myself answering in the same way.

“Oh, I’m just a mom.” 

Just a mom?” she said, smiling at me in a knowing way as if she had leaped into my brain and could tangibly see all the insecurities her question had stirred up. “You aren’t giving yourself enough credit.” 

 “You are probably right,” I replied, as I silently reprimanded myself for using that phrase yet again. Why was it so hard to drop the “just” part of my answer?

When I tell people I’m a full-time stay-at-home-mom, I usually get one of two responses: either, “I don’t know how you do it. I could not be with my kids all day, every day. I would go crazy;” or, “That is the best job you could ever have. Good for you. Your kids are so lucky.” I don’t recall a single time when someone has said, “Golly, why don’t you get a real job?” Truth be told, I have received a huge amount of support in my decision to stay at home full-time. Yet, I find myself throwing in the word “just” when someone asks what I do, as if my choice to stay at home full-time is somehow less worthy than someone else’s choice to work. I certainly don’t feel that way about other moms who choose to stay home.

Maybe it’s because every now and then, I wonder if I made the right decision. When my patience is shot, and I feel like my kids are better off spending time with anyone other than me, it doesn’t feel like they are all that lucky. When I have cleaned up mess after mess, refereed yet another fight, or wiped a butt for the twentieth time that day, it doesn’t really feel like the best job I could ever have. And there are days when I feel like I AM going to go crazy.

I admire all those amazing mamas working outside the home. Not only do I admire them, I envy them. I envy all the stimulating adult conversations I envision them having. I envy the contributions they are making to society, and sometimes I envy the titles after their names. In my “just a mom” mindset, I wonder if I’m doing enough to contribute to the world. And when my mom hat is in tatters from being worn from sunup to sundown (and beyond) day after day after day, it can be hard to see myself as anything beyond those three letters.

I know I’m not the only mom who has struggled with her identity. Whether you work outside the home or work inside the home, I think it is common for mothers to lose sight of their former selves once that precious baby enters the picture. In the busyness of caring for everyone else, it is all too easy to forget about who you once were and to push aside who you still want to become.

I have a picture hanging in our office that my friend took in college. One sunny afternoon, we decided to go downtown and jam. In this picture, I am sitting on a curb playing my guitar. I felt like a rock star, even though I know for a fact I didn’t sound like one. I’m sure we thought we were much cooler than we actually were, but I treasure that picture. Yes, I am a mom, and I’m extremely proud and blessed by that title. Despite the fact that I struggle from time to time,  staying at home with my kids has been a gift. But that picture of me plucking my guitar reminds me that I am also SO much more than “just” a mom. I am a musician, an artist, a creator, a Christian, a country girl, an explorer, an entrepreneur, a volunteer, and a writer, among other things. These roles were part of my identity long before I ever became a mom and I want to give them the respect they deserve.

So here is to picking guitar strings, instead of just picking up toys. Here is to carving out time to write something meaningful, instead of just writing another to-do list. Here is to singing at the top of my lungs to Aerosmith instead of the Frozen soundtrack. And here is to remembering that whether I am a stay-at-home mom or a working mom, what I write in the white space inside the “occupation” box will never truly represent all that I am or all that I do. I have never been, nor will I ever be, just one thing. And that is why I am determined to kick that word “just” right to the curb.

Originally published on Today Parents

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 for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Mary Ann Blair

Mary Ann Blair is a stay-at-home mom living in the Pacific Northwest with her two little gentlemen and hubs. She loves connecting with other parents who like to keep it real! Her work has been published on Her View From Home, Motherly, A Fine Parent, Perfection Pending, That’s Inappropriate, Pregnant Chicken, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Red Tricycle and in Chicken Soup For the Soul. She can be found at or on Facebook at Mary Ann Blair, Writer.

A Permission Slip for Creativity

In: Living, Motherhood
Create Anyway book in the middle of kids playing with building blocks on floor

The following is an excerpt from Create Anyway by Ashlee Gadd, available today wherever books are sold! In those first few weeks at home with a milk-drunk newborn in my arms, I Googled every little thing, hopping in and out of online parenting forums, desperate for an instruction manual. Is it normal for a baby to poop six times in one day? Does breastfeeding ever get easier? Underneath my nitty-gritty questions loomed the ultimate insecurity every first-time mom battles: Am I doing this whole motherhood thing right? Just a few months prior, I had quit my pencil-skirt-and-high-heels- wearing marketing job...

Keep Reading

Dear Daughter, It’s Okay If You Hate Me Right Now

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Teen girl looking up at mother

Dear daughter: I’ve heard it from you a thousand times when you don’t get your way. You yell it when your force of will doesn’t bend mine, thinking it will convince me to give in. But I’m here to tell you once and for all: I don’t care if you hate me right now. Last night you hated me because I made you take a bath before bed. This morning, it was because I made you wear pants. I’m the worst mom ever because I told you to eat a vegetable, and the whole day is ruined because I won’t...

Keep Reading

You’re Learning Life by Watching Me

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child touching mother's face as they lie on a bed

Every morning my daughter and I go outside for some fresh air. She feeds her chickens and plays and explores and walks around with her dog while I follow her around and have a cup of coffee.  This morning, my girl grabbed one of her coffee cups from her toy kitchen and brought it outside with her while she walked with her dog and pretended to take sips out of it.  Guys. I stood there watching her with her toy coffee cup, walking around with her animals, and I cried giant baby tears.  RELATED: I Wasn’t Counting On You Growing...

Keep Reading

The Isolation of Motherhood

In: Friendship, Motherhood
Mom sitting beside stroller, black and white image

During my early years of having children, I can recall feeling like I needed more help with juggling—taking care of my little ones and our home. Although my mother-in-law was only a 10-minute drive away, she was preoccupied looking after my nephew and nieces. Awkwardly, I would only ask if it was really necessary—like a doctor’s appointment or the dentist. Even at church, it was difficult to ask for help—either we didn’t know certain members well enough to entrust our kids to their care or they were friends with children too and that hardly seemed fair to burden them. The...

Keep Reading

What Happens to the Mamas When Their Children Are Grown?

In: Faith, Motherhood
Five children walking hand-in-hand, color photo

A friend came up to me the other day after church and commented, “I’ve never seen you alone. I had to make sure you were okay.” It’s true. I’m never alone. I usually have one or two children hanging onto me and three more milling about with my husband close. But at that moment, my husband had stepped away to collect the younger ones from the children’s service, and my older two had run off with their friends. I was standing alone. And as I stood there, one thought crossed my mind, “This is what it will be like when...

Keep Reading

Hello Midnight

In: Motherhood
Mother in child's room at night

Hello again, Midnight. I wish I could say I was happy to see you. My, what a journey we have had together over the years. I must admit I thought we started out as friends, but as we meet these days, I sense an unkindness about you. Our journey began when I was somewhere around 12. Sure, I had met you in passing on occasion in years prior, but it wasn’t until now that I sought out your companionship. Some middle school girlfriends and I stayed up late, feeling rebellious against bedtime. We were fascinated by the way the world...

Keep Reading

Please Don’t Ask When I’m Having Another Baby

In: Baby, Motherhood
Pregnant woman standing lakeside, color photo

We’ve all been asked it. Maybe once, maybe more times than we can count. Maybe we’ve even asked it ourselves, “When are you trying for baby #2?” It seems harmless, and most of the time it probably is. Pre-baby me never even stopped to consider that it was anything other than a curious, sometimes nosey, question to ask. The mom version of me today feels a completely different way. It’s now deeper and more complicated than it seemed in the past. The mom in me struggles every single time I’m asked this. Struggles to come up with an answer. Struggles...

Keep Reading

I Am a Wrestling Mom

In: Kids, Motherhood
Three young boys with wrestling medals, color photo

As the sun is rising on a frigid winter morning, a brave and determined group of athletes are weighing in at a high school gym. They are physically and mentally preparing for a long day spent at a tournament where they will spend only minutes wrestling, despite the hours they sit and wait all day. Their sport uses offense, defense, and mental strength unlike any other sport. My sons and nephew are wrestlers. They are part of a special team of athletes who work together but compete as individuals.           Their youth team is run by all volunteer coaches with...

Keep Reading

3 Ways to Help Your Firstborn Embrace Becoming a Big Brother

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood, Toddler
Pregnant woman holding toddler son, color photo

My oldest son turned four right after his first brother was born. Four years of alone time with his parents. Four years of extra mommy time during the week. Four years of having toys to himself, extra attention from family members, and more. I didn’t plan a four-year age gap; it took our family a lot longer and a lot more help than we expected to have our second son, but age gaps aren’t everything. When my second son was finally on the way, I heard a lot of opinions about how our oldest son would feel once he finally...

Keep Reading

To the Mom Going through a Divorce

In: Living, Marriage, Motherhood
Woman holding young girl outside, blurred background

To the mom going through a divorce: you can do this. I’ve been where you are, staring at a mountain of changes and challenges that felt insurmountable. The crushing ache of divorce, of family disruption, of building a new life, and helping my son through it all seemed endless and impossible. But eventually, I made it through to the other side, and I want you to know: the pain won’t last forever.  The first year following a divorce is an overwhelming puzzle of putting your life back together. And when there are kids involved, there is so much more to...

Keep Reading