This is to the Perfect Mothers


This is to the mothers who judge me.

The mothers who – after a long day of being perfect – settle down into their unstained couch and pick up their phone and turn to Facebook for their allotted 15 minutes of screen time.

The mothers who briefly stop gazing at the crisp vacuum lines in their carpet, just long enough to be horrified by another post where I share my reality.

The mothers who fight back the urge to act on their righteous indignation and comment on how awful it is that my child has recently consumed a piece of cheese that may or may not have been on the floor for an unknown length of time.

This is to you.

I see you. And if ever there is a Mrs. Mom of the Universe contest, I’ll be sure to promptly phone the government to personally nominate you as the winner.

Until then, let’s just assume that title belongs to Mary (Mother of Jesus) and continue on.

As you sit there, reading this post – likely dusting off your typing fingers to work up a response or sending up a quick prayer for my children – I need you to know a few things.

First and foremost, I am a good mother. I’ve come to the conclusion that bad mothers and wives aren’t really worried about whether or not they’re bad. They don’t struggle through some parts of motherhood, because they aren’t there being mothers.

I worry about my child, I pray for him every single day, I take him to church on Sundays, and I love the stuffin’ out of him. I spend hours on the floor playing with toys and mooing like a cow. I’ve read the same books probably seventy-four times a piece by now. I also sometimes let my kid cry when I’m busy and can’t let the chicken burn just because he wants to be held, I have been known to let him watch baby shark so I can take a shower without playing peek-a-boo and getting the floor soaking wet, and I’ll fess up to immediately saying “Your turn” when my husband gets home. I may not be perfect like you, but I am a good mother.

Second point that I hope you can understand: you aren’t required by law to love every second of motherhood. I know you’re gasping in disbelief right now, and it hurts your sensibilities as the perfect mother that you are – bear with me for a moment. I absolutely adore my child. I was blessed with a beautiful, miraculous gift from God. I enjoy my time with him. He is smart and clever and wildly entertaining.

But sometimes being a mom is not fun. Not even “not fun,” sometimes it downright sucks. Sometimes it’s four in the morning and I just desperately want to sleep, and he believes that it would be the perfect time to figure out how much force it takes to pry open my eyelids with one finger. Sometimes he gets sick and messes his britches fifteen times in one day, and I don’t have the wherewithal to sing “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” while plugging my nose. Some days, many days, the joy that is Post-partum anxiety plops down on my couch and just won’t move. It’s not always rainbows and bacon. That is okay. It is so okay, it shouldn’t even have to be said. It should just be universally acknowledged that it’s OKAY.

It feels like with that admission, people react as though you said you begin every day by telling your toddler that he has about 6,000 days before he needs to put in an application at the local McDonalds and get the heck out. I am desperate for these days to last forever. I wouldn’t trade my crazy life for anything, but I can love motherhood without loving every second of it.

Lastly, and most importantly, my motherhood is not dependent on your approval. My children are clean, happy, and healthy. They are well-fed, with the exception of possibly some less than stellar cheese. My title doesn’t get stripped just because you believe you could do it better.

Feel how you want to feel about my choices, continue to judge me, talk about how you “would never” and “how could she” to your hearts content. Whisper, gossip, and voice your concern. But know this:

If all you get out of my openness is a concern for whether I co-sleep or don’t, vaccinate or don’t, plan to homeschool or not, feed my kid processed or organic, breastfeed or bottle-feed, enforce no screen time or have a baby-shark marathon, or any endless number of variables in the way I choose to mother my children – I’m not for you. But if you hung in this long and you still want to judge me. Don’t judge, sis. Just pray. And when you’re done praying, go read 1 Thessalonians 4:11. It’s a good one.

I don’t like the idea of being judged, it’s hard to stomach. But I put myself out there anyway because I feel called to be open with who I am. I don’t always do it prettily, or perfectly. Maybe I don’t always say the right things in the right way, but I put it out there anyway.

I do it because I feel like I need to be here for the mothers who need companionship not criticism.

The mothers who need to know that they aren’t terrible for sometimes thinking their kid is annoying. The mothers who feel inadequate because all they have to compare their motherhood to is a photoshopped picture in Parenthood magazine. The mothers who think that real life – real, raw, not always pretty life – means that they are failing.

You are not a failure. You are a mother who is doing a great job of giving it her best.

God knew what he was doing when he gave you your children.

He assigned you this laundry mountain to show other mothers that it can be moved.

So go move it.

Later, though.

It can wait until after you catch up on the Bachelor.

This Is My Highlight Reel

Everything you’ve seen of me (unless you’re family), everything I’ve posted up until now; those are the pretty, functional, shareable moments.

But I made a decision that, when I decided to start sharing the things I struggle with, I would be honest. Even if it’s ugly.

I want to do this because I’m sick of feeding into the “my life is always perfect” standard guide for what we put on social media.

So here it is, the “behind the scenes” of my highlight reel.

I might as well start with the one that is hardest for me to share.

I’m not skinny anymore. It’s easy to feel like everyone is in shape but you. Everyone shares when they lose the weight, but unless they’re a bodybuilder, they’re not sharing when they put it back on. Not many people are super excited to share a backwards transformation. Well here’s mine.

Before I married my husband, I worked so hard to get in shape. Now, here I am, two years and a baby later, and all-capital-letters STRUGGLING to lose the last twenty pounds. Everyone told me that after having the baby, the weight would melt off. Mine started melting and got stuck at my hips.

Here it is in all its glory. The reverse transformation.

Sometimes I burn dinner. Every time I’ve ever shared a picture of the dinner I made my husband, it was picture perfect.

I didn’t share the time I burnt chicken so bad that we had to open three windows, turn on all the fans, and almost go to the doctor for a prescription inhaler.

I didn’t share the time that I made him a healthy fruit pizza that he gagged on and said “please don’t ever make this again.”

And I definitely am not cropping, filtering, and posting a picture of the frozen pizza I made him because I don’t have time to cook an actual lunch today.

My marriage isn’t perfect. I’m a huge fan of public love; of sharing all the ways your partner is amazing to you and how life is all gravy and taters. I am guilty of posting that fairly often. Because I love that man. Honest, I do. But that’s not entirely real life.

But that’s what you post, because it’s not acceptable to share the gory details of the hard parts; The hours spent talking, arguing, and trying to figure out how to do marriage better. The fights where you have to finally agree to compromise, because you just can’t understand where the other person is coming from. How every morning you wake up and choose to do better. How your vows don’t come true by saying them at the altar but by practicing them in the home. And its not easy all the time for anyone.

My house is rarely spotless. Has anyone ever furiously tidied their house before someone has come over and then when they arrived said “Oh, excuse the mess I need to clean.” Because, guilty.

If you came to my house right now, you’d find a bunch of toys on the floor of the living room, a pile of laundry in the bedroom, and a couple of dishes in the sink. Even though I make it a habit of cleaning each room every single day, it still looks like we live here. Which isn’t weird or bad, and doesn’t make me a subpar wife, because we do actually LIVE HERE.

I’m not a superstar at motherhood. I have no clue what I’m doing most of the time. I’m running on instincts and coffee.

I mess up a lot. Sometimes my son eats chicken and veggies for dinner, and other times he has a quesadilla because I am out of groceries and don’t have the energy to tackle a Walmart run. Sometimes he’s happy all day long, and sometimes he cries and I can’t fix it, so I just cry too. Sometimes the bedtime routine is a bath, a book, and bed, and sometimes it’s the couch and tv until he falls asleep.

My highlight reel is exactly that; a highlight reel.

If you’ve ever compared your life to mine, you deserve to know that it’s not always green grass and sunflowers. Sometimes it’s mud patches and cow pies.

I choose to love all of it. The messy, the ugly, the imperfect.

I won’t change it for likes and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Things That Weren’t in the Baby Books

When I found out I was having a child, I headed straight to the library and checked out every book related to birth and child rearing. Since having a child, I have discovered that there is almost no practical information in any of those books. Here are some of the things I wish those books had told me about.

The Registry

Diapers and wipes, folks. Diapers and wipes. Maybe cash (can you register for cash without being tacky?). That Baby-nator 3000 you have on your registry will probably be used twice before he decides he hates it and it will be banished to the spare room to collect dust.

The iCloud Update

Before baby, my phone had about 400 photos on it. 9 Months post-baby it has 7,430. Back those photos up! Enough said.

The Gravitational Pull of Poo

Basically, everything on earth is gravitationally pulled downward, except for baby poop. Baby poop is attracted to the gravitational pull of the moon and always immediately shoots up the baby’s back towards the nape of the neck. Nothing can be done about this. Don’t buy white onesies

The Agility Skill-point Boost

Whether or not you hone your agility skills prior to having a child, you’ll soon be the Steph Curry of Sneaking – the Tiger Woods of Tiptoeing – the Gordon Ramsey of Getting the heck out of the room your kid is sleeping in without making a single peep.

The Dominant Bicep

If you’re right handed and pregnant, get to a gym stat and do some left-arm curls. Everything you do from here on out will involve one arm and one hand. The left one will be busy holding a 90 pound, untamed octopus disguised as a child.

The Catchphrases

As a parent, you’ll have a few key phrases that slip off the tongue without so much as a thought.

You might as well scrap that cute name you’ve been doodling in all your notebooks and legally make your kids name Babyno. “Baby, no.” is one of the top phrases you’ll use once that kid finds his wheels.

I hope you’re a fan of hellos, because the amount of time you’ll spend smiling and saying “Hhiiii” in an odd, high-pitched lilt is unquantifiable.

Some of your new phrases might also include, “Wanna bite?”, “Give Kisses!“, and “Please tell me you made coffee.”

The Back Seat Reach Maneuver

Everyone, do this exercise with me.

Put your arm straight out to the side, now, pivoting at the shoulder, bend it as far back behind you as you can. Curve your arm into an s-shape. Now rotate your hand at the wrist all the way to the left. This is the position in which you will hold a pacifier or toy in your kids face for the duration of many car rides.

Murphy’s Law for Infants

Never. Ever. Use “the baby is fussy” as a fake excuse to cancel plans. Dark clouds roll in, thunder rumbles, and darkness covers the horizon. A wolf howls in the distance. Your child is now in the foulest mood of his life, thus self fulfilling prophecy.

The Unexpected Embarrassment –

Nothing, and I mean NOTHING can prepare you for the moment that your child rips a giant, behemoth of a fart in public and everyone around you assumes it must have been you.

The Unexpected Pain

Do you remember when you would eat laffy taffy as a kid, and how you would bite in and pull back so you could stretch that taffy as thin as possible?

Imagine a kid doing that, except to your nipples . This is breast-feeding when your baby has teeth.

Someone needs to make a Lamaze class specifically geared towards enduring all the bites, slaps, punches, pinches, and hair pulls you’re going to experience over the next few years. There is nothing sweeter than feeding your child, and looking into their big, adorable eyes as they twist the hairs at the nape of your neck and try to violently rip them out.

The Panic

Remember Pac-Man? A ghost, chasing a Pac-Man, who is running around eating dots at a freaky fast pace.

You’re the ghost, your child is Pac-Man. The dots are literally anything he shouldn’t be putting in his mouth. Best of luck.

The Partnership

My husband and I are now involved in a never ending game of hot potato and the baby is the potato.

Having kids can truly make or break a relationship. If you think having a baby will make your relationship instantly stronger, think again.

Sex? Almost completely off the table.

Conversations? All about the baby.

Date Night? You have to schedule them now.

In all seriousness, set aside some time to go out, talk about adult stuffs, and find someone you love to snuggle the baby so you can snuggle each other for a while!

The strength isn’t created by the baby, strength is built because of the joint effort it takes to keep the baby alive and happy.

The Catchy Songs

I say I hate Baby Shark. Honestly, I just say it to fit in. I love Baby Shark. God bless the soul who created it and shared it with the universe. It soothes my baby’s soul and brings peace to my home.

Every generation has and will have their own version of Baby Shark. I’m just glad mine didn’t get stuck with Johnny, Johnny, Yes, Papa.

The Emotions

Am I crying because I haven’t had decent sleep in two years, because I’m emotionally overloaded, or because this babies chubby, wubby adorable face is so stinking perfect?! Your guess is as good as mine.

How not overrated it is

Before having kids, I’d see videos of kids doing cute stuff and “awh,” like, keep scrolling.

But now, baby videos are so much cuter because I can imagine how I’d feel if my kid did those cute things.

And when it IS my kid doing cute things? Can anyone say “face with heart shaped eyes??” 😍😍😍

Watching your baby do seemingly simple things is literally so fulfilling.

I’m convinced that the maternal instinct includes an innate need to constantly say “look at my baybay!”

Also, if that doesn’t convince you that having a kid is awesome, you basically have a free pass to watch Disney movies in theaters without looking like a creep. Sign me up!

The Love

Dude. This kid. Wow. When he was born I felt like the Grinch on Christmas. My heart grew three sizes that day and almost exploded. This tiny meatball that I grew myself is now an almost walking kind of talking human and I kind of can’t handle it! I can’t even keep a fern alive, and here is my kid – crawling, laughing, literally being the worlds cutest baby – and I’m doing this!

Nothing could have ever prepared me for the amount of adoration I have for this tiny monster. The cuteness is soul crushing.

All of the books I read, the videos I watched, the classes I took – none of them mattered in the grand scheme of things. When it comes down to it, we all have it within us to be a kick-butt mom.

All it takes is one look at your very own little human, and suddenly you’re equipped with every skill necessary to do the job and do it well. And even if you feel like you’re failing, I can guarantee you one thing. To your baby, you’re the most kick-butt mom in the world.

(Bonus, sneak peek of my little dude’s 9 month photos!)

I Hope You Take Up So Much Space.

Maybe I’m in my mama feels, you guys, but this boy, sleeping like this… my heart is overflowing. 😭💕

When I saw him – taking up his entire half of my bed straight out of the middle – my first thought was “He is so big, he takes up so much space.” But immediately after, I thought, “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

In five years, this babe of mine will be an adorable, messy boy starting his first day of school. He will venture out into the world alone for the first time and begin sharing and growing his personality. When he does, I hope he is a big boy and his personality takes up so much space!

(To all you mamas who are doing this for the first, second, twelfth time, I feel you for the first time and I’m praying for your babies as if they were my own).

In ten years, he will be a silly, stinky, wild child who will likely be just like his father. He will spend all his time fishing, and hunting, and being outdoors where God speaks to his soul. When he does, I hope he is a brave boy, and I hope his love of life takes up so much space.

In fifteen years, he will be a goofy, awkward, mess of hormones. He will probably want to get his first job, drive a truck, slay every buck he sees, and be on a football team. When he does, I hope he’s becoming a good man, and I hope his drive to succeed takes up so much space.

And in twenty five years, he will be a tall, strong, hairy, deep voiced man who only sometimes reminds me of the baby I took home. When he is, I pray that he is a good man; a strong man; a man who is not afraid to have a faith in God that takes up so much space.

The thought of my little baby turning into a tumbling toddler, into a determined teenager, and into a strong, self sufficient man simultaneously breaks my heart and fills it.

I thank God for these precious moments, when he reminds me to slow down and soak it all in. I’m so blessed to be his mama.