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The (Not So) Pretty Pictures

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This post is for the moms who are having a hard time juggling it all- we're not perfect, we're exhausted, and we aren't alone! The GIFS at the end are HILARIOUS!
Picture of my kids and one of our bathtime “disagreements”. Please do not remove watermark… I just have to share an ACUTAL representation of my life!

 

As a blogger, I read a lot of blogs, and am on Facebook a lot to promote my work. I love to see how other moms are spending their days as a way to find people facing the same things I do from day to day. But there is one big thing a lot of people don’t talk about.

They talk about their perfect decor, the fabulous developmental activities for kids, how perfect their hair looks, or how beautiful their cookies are. They show smiling faces, never have clutter in the background, and are seemingly perfect at… EVERYTHING.

Oh, and their kids are angels, they sit down for dinner, are doing long division in preschool and wear perfectly pressed outfits because they are the BEST. MOTHERS. EVER.

I’m not.

If I’ve ever given you that impression, I am very sorry.

The truth is, I love my family, I love that I can be home with my kids and help them grow, because I am truly blessed to be in a position to do so when not every mom can- and I don’t really know that being a stay at home mom is really meeting my best potential or that frankly, I am any good at it. I have often thought that the thing I yearned for (having children), dreamed about, and frankly always wanted (even more than being married), I am absolutely not built for. I manage, my kids are happy, healthy, thriving and I couldn’t possibly love them more or want to be around them more- but I don’t think it comes naturally for me.

I yell, I cry, I lose my temper, I sit them in front of the tv more than I should, I don’t feel like I absorb any information I read about child development in a way that I could put into practical use, I struggle with finding a parenting/discipline style that works well for my kids, and I am even worse as a homemaker, and frankly… I just care way too much about my damn self.

For me, at-home motherhood is a weird cycle.

I love my kids more than anything in the world. I stop breathing just at the thought of something happening to them. The (very few) times I am away from them, I miss them like crazy. I want to know what they are doing. I want to know they are ok. I know that my son is really hard to understand but I know his “language” and worry he’s unable to communicate without me. I know my daughter is a complete mommy’s girl and I worry she is sad not being by my side. I know they are fine (especially since their only babysitters are ever my parents or my inlaws, who my kids love so much they often cry for them and want to be with them nonstop). But **I** am attached to them.

I would never, ever chose anything than to be with them. Not that going back to work isn’t a valid option for many women (and one I dream about more than I care to admit)- I just can’t do it. I had actually planned on returning to work my entire pregnancy. I never, ever thought I would be a stay at home mom. I always thought I would continue to work in politics, and make my way to working in the white house someday.

Except, two weeks before I was supposed to go back to work from maternity leave, I couldn’t.

I couldn’t leave my baby boy with anyone else. Not only did I think he would be missing the love and support from his mom, but I felt I’d be missing a huge part of my heart. Add another baby to the mix and I feel the same way 100 times over.

And I still feel that way- even as he is in preschool (which he love, love, loves and his teachers are the sweetest, most loving women I’ve met…) I miss him and wish I was with him.

BUT

(and it’s a big but…)

I also really struggle with being a stay at home mom. I am sure 90% of moms don’t feel like a great mother 100% of the time (or heck, even 50% of the time) but I do wish we’d talk more about it.

It has nothing to do with our kids- whom we love unfailingly- but more with balancing our own expectations and remembering most of what we see from other moms is the “pretty” picture they want us to see. Not the piles of laundry in the corner, timeouts after timeouts, toy avalanches, and to-do lists that go completely ignored for months and years on end so that our kids constantly feel loved and cared for. Yea- my “real picture” is kind of a sh*tstorm.

 

My blog has helped because it has allowed me to combine my hobby interests (which every mom needs to have and set aside time for) with my interest in contributing to our family’s finances as well as build my own business. People often ask me how I do it all, and I tell them I don’t. Really- I don’t.

There are piles of laundry sitting to be done. My loft/craft room is horrifying. It literally gives my husband and I nightmares. We’re slowly decorating our home (only, you know, after 4 1/2 years of living in it) but it feels like everything takes forever (because when you get pregnant basically on your honeymoon and your hubby JUST moved in, it kind of kills your energy).

Seriously people- we JUST go our downstairs to a point of not looking like a frat house. Our upstairs is about 70% de-frat-ized. But I keep up with my blog because it is keeping me sane and actually nourishing the part of me that has been left in the cold- the part that wants to contribute, work at something that I can see tangible results from, and build a business.

Most people who see me in real life know that I tend to be a hot mess. Aside from struggling to find a good solution to some horrible pain from recently discovered (but long suffered) Rheumatoid/Spondylitic Arthritis, I just have a hard time holding my family together well. We stay home a lot, we always seem to be running late, we cancel on things often, and get sick just about every other day. It takes me about 4 1/2 hours to do something that should take five minutes. Everytime I sit down to post/paint/glue/cook/type- there’s a poopy diaper. There’s a fight over a toy neither kid actually wants but only wants because the other has it. There’s a need to sit on my lap, pounding on the keyboard as I type. There is a kid forcing my laptop shut… nonstop. And there is not enough medicine or booze in the world or hours to sleep at night to stop the headache of it all.

It’s getting better as my kids get older, but man- it is tough, and I want everyone to know I am flouncing. Because I am pretty sure there are a ton of other mothers out there who feel like they are the only ones feeling this way….. but…. WE AREN’T. Say that again with me, we aren’t alone.

Being a mom is awesome. It’s also incredibly difficult (whether you stay at home, work away from home, or work at home. They are all hard, all amazing, and all exhausting). And I hope it’s ok that I shared my frustrations with you, and that you share some of yours so we can all commiserate together!

My hubby and I have had some long talks, and given how horrible my health is lately, its probably time to get someone a few hours a week to help while I work from home to try to find some kind of balance. We’ve come to really rely on the income my blog and web design has provided to save and get out of debt, and it seems like a perfect mix since I WANT to be with my kids, but I simply cannot do it all.

 

And since that was kind of heavy, I wanted to add a little GIF mashup of just exactly how I feel as a mom most of the time:  

 

How I feel I am doing as a mother, 78% of the time:

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The other 22% of the time:  (when the kids actually make it to the potty, go to bed before 9:30, sit through church or let me take an actual shower and by some miracle I have clean non-yoga pants like clothing on)
colbert-report
Hearing moms gloat on and on about how MENSA-like their kids are/ how they only eat organic/ how they read above their age level/ how being a mom is the OMGBest thing ever (it is, but come on- it can be HARD!)/ having to watch Daniel Tiger for the fifty-thousandth time/ fighting over not wearing jammies all day, or heaven forbid the wrong type or color of pants)

epic-eye-roll
How I sound when my husband gets home:

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The fact that 1 and 3 year olds cannot comprehend this enrages me:

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In short, being a mom is a lot like this:

 

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66 thoughts on “The (Not So) Pretty Pictures”

  1. YES. I read so many blog posts about women who are struggling with this. I’m in the thick of it too, and now watching my infant niece several days a week, exhausted, house a disaster. BUT! I get to watch my nineteen year old daughter on stage or the younger kids (7&9) set a personal best time during a swim meet and I remember it is ALL WORTH IT. Hang tight, fight the good fight and remember that your kids don’t care about dishes being done, laundry that gets worn before it gets folded or a sandwich made from homemade bread, freshly ground peanut butter and artisinal jam.

  2. There is no way to do it all, fake the small stuff. I’ve been know to run the dish washer twice because I was to tired to rinse plates or chocolate milk in the bottom of cups from 10 hours earlier. Sometimes clothes got washed twice because they had been left in the washer a couple of days, and the dryer is an iron — right?! Because no matter how loud the dryer buzzes it can not be loud enough to be heard over screaming children. I was a working mom for years stayed home for four with my youngest, just in time to become a single mom for eight years. During those eight years I raised three boys 10, 8 & 5 plus a Scottish terrier. I worked full time and had a second job every other weekend, I would get home in time to throw a waiting kid or two in the car to make it just in time for practice of one sport or the other, we often ate late and in the car, home work was done on the way to school more than once, and once a month I was at the ER with one of them – not really once a month but it felt like is sometimes. There where times when someone was waiting on me with a coach more than once because no one had practiced on the same fields or even the same side of town. There where days when I wasn’t sure what the hell I was doing but knew I had no choice but to keep putting one foot in front of the other. My Mom time was every other weekend when the boys were at their fathers, even with a second job I had me time, after two weeks of laundry and bed sheets where washed, I’d fill the dogs bowl with plenty of water and food give him extra treats and go to a friend’s, ride horses, out with friends or to the lake. I learnt how to change my own oil (all over again) to save money, I had to learn how to fix things around the house (with advise from my dad or my uncle’s). I yelled and screamed and fought with my boys. I was the loudest cheerleader they had, usually to their embarrassment, I was their worst enemy and best friend. Only by the grace of God ‘they’ survivied my trip through motherhood. It wasn’t always pretty or fun but it was always rewarding. Today I have three grown men, one a former Aireman, one a single father and one in college. Now days I get to spoil my grandson an I often hear his father or a uncle say, ‘we would have been in trouble for that’, truer words where never spoken. Lol … Now days I get to stay at home putting my remodeling skills to work on the farm I share with the man that stepped into my life when I was a teenager and again eight years ago, who loves my boys almost as much as I do; and I his girls, son in-laws and grandkids. So when you are ready to pull out your hair or maybe thinking your ready for a rubber room, just know motherhood is not for sissies, what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger and one day they will move out!!! Good Luck ladies!

  3. I found your blog through a pin someone shared on Pinterest and I just have to ask. . . .Where’ve you been all my life? 😉 I too am a mother who loves her kids but doesn’t love Motherhood. This post spoke to me in ways that made me want to cry because, FINALLY, somebody gets it! I’m not alone in this insane journey. I recently started my own blog to express my thoughts on what it’s like to be a Mommy who doesn’t always want to be one. . . .I’ve seen so many news reports of Mom’s trying to or actually killing themselves and their children and I just want to scream! We aren’t capable of being perfect and putting that much pressure on yourself just isn’t worth it. I want other Mom’s to know that there are others out there who struggle and that it’s okay. I think my favorite part of this post was when you said “I think the thing I yearned most for, I am not built for”. I understand that sentiment 100% and have said as much to my friends and family. It is so nice to find someone else who understands where I’m at and is willing to say so!

  4. How absolutely refreshing! I guess i read this blog post at the exact right time in my life. Honestly, especially after the ongoing Mother’s Day posts on Facebook this past weekend. Yes I love my son, more than anything else in the world, but I admit that being a parent wasn’t anything like what I thought it would be. It’s so much harder, less rewarding and utterly exhausting than I ever imagined and my son is 9 years old now. I thought it would be easier as he got older, but you only give up diapers and whining in exchange for “arguing and knowing everything” and fighting over getting homework done, etc.

    And most of the time I feel like an utter failure, especially when I have to say, “your shoes and backpack do NOT belong in the foyer floor” every. single. day. We should probably form a support group of Mother’s who don’t think life is all perfect and give each other a chance to be completely honest about it’s challenges so that we can support and learn from each other. I have that plethora of friends who seem to have PERFECT children and PERFECT homes and PERFECT lives as well. I don’t even pretend mine is perfect, I know I’d be lying.

    I wouldn’t choose any other kid or any other life, I love my son, but it’s not candy-coated and diamond encrusted. 🙂 Thanks for being honest and please don’t feel alone out there.

  5. Made my day! Thanks for the laugh! We are 10 yrs into our home and still don’t have all the remodeling done. But I love all the time I get to invest in my girl. Thanks for keeping it real!

  6. This is sooo true. It made me laugh out loud several times. I had to stop reading it twice to play referee. I have chronic migraines and somedays wonder if the piles of laundry will actually start to come up the stairs to take over. However, the kids would probably start a fight with them too. Thank you for this article.

  7. Just stumbled across this post, and, though I’m usually a lurker on blogs, I just had to post to say Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this!!

  8. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this with the world to read. Reading the things I do on FB and on pinterest I feel like I am the only mom out there who doesn’t have it all together. I am a mother of two teenaged boys. One is 16 going on 45 and the other is 14 going on 21. There are days where I can release a BIG sigh of contentment because all is well in our house. Then there are other days…well, what can I say about those? I lose my temper at times and then realize this is not how I want my boys to remember me by. We do try to live the life motto “never go to bed angry”. This does help. I make sure to tell them sorry for my actions/words. I tell them I love them often. I ask them to show me grace as I make mistakes because after all, we are only human. To sum it all up, I am blessed. I am a Mother. I wear this badge with honor and I wouldn’t want it any other way 🙂 It does help to know I am not the only one in this strange, twilight-like zone, spectrum of my life.

  9. THANK YOU for being so honest. I had a son – now 22 and 12 months later had twin daughters – now 21. I beat myself up emotionally -still do- for thinking that I didn’t give my kids all that I could have. I felt I couldn’t give enough one on one time to each of them. I felt I cheated my first born out of his quality time because the girls came unexpectedly too soon. There was never enough hours in a day to play and share and teach. I thanked god every day for my mom and dad and grandma that spent countless hours loving and teaching my kids when I was too tired or upset . My husband worked odd hours so I could stay at home until they were in kindergarten. I wouldn’t have changed that for anything. It was the toughest job I’ve ever had! Good or bad it was the best too!!
    I love my kids more than life! I knew I wasn’t a June Cleaver , but I still feel like I fell short on being a good mom. I had those days I wanted to throw in the towel. I yelled and cried. I felt bad afterwards. I apologized to my kids and husband for not being a good mom. AND I held it all in because I didn’t want outsiders to know how I felt. All the other moms seemed to know what they were doing, and I hated that!!
    Many parents want to be “Best Friends” with their kids and provide them with anything they want. That is the worst thing you can do.. they need guidance and discipline. Being friends comes with them being adults when they can understand and appreciate how we raised them.
    Looking back , to give a pat on the back to all of you mother’s that think you are crazy and doubt your parenting skills and self worth… You ARE doing a great job.! you are giving of yourself to love unconditionally to someone who thinks you are the world!!! Don’t doubt what you can’t do. Trust that what you Are doing is the best you can do and it’s worth it!!!
    I know despite the chaos, we made it thru. My kids are loving beautiful caring adults.

  10. I was so sick of all that perfection on Pinterest, which of course is always captured with great photography skills, mind you! So thank you for the reality post. Everyone always forgets to mention when their 4yr old begins the “I don’t love you” phase, which is not awesome but awesomely painful. =)

    1. My kids are now grown but I so clearly remember the ” I don’t love you” phase. And the ” I love Daddy more than you” . These are such painful things to hear but they are not really true as I’m sure you know. As you give them more words and better understanding of their emotions they will hopefully express their anger and frustration better. I am still very close to both my children and they say ” I live you” often to me. Sorry, just a long winded way of saying I read your comment and felt your pain. Hang in there. Sending a big hug to you.

    2. My Mom raised my niece, and she would often tell my mom “I hate you” and my mom in her soft voice would say,”I love you but I do not like you very much right now”.

  11. Oh, I LOVED this! Most days are just days, but some day I feel like I’m failing my kids, and some days I feel like I was a really good mom that day…but most days are folding laundry, snuggling kids, loving it and feeling overwhelmed by it. What an honest, beautiful, and hilarious post on motherhood.

  12. Thank you for this blog, it’s so true all of this!!!! We’re always trying to be super moms, we need to remember that we’re all just human being and it’s normal to make mistakes sometimes!!!!

  13. I can’t even begin to explain how much if this rang true, it’s like you were watching my life and reading my mind and writing down all the things I was thinking but didn’t know how to say out loud. I’m so glad I stumbled apon your post. I now a new fan and I am looking forward to reading more.

  14. Courtney, thank you so much for posting this. I am not a mom (yet!!!) and flip-flop between wanting to be a SAHM or working mom. Either way, I’m sure it will be a easy/tough decision when the time comes. Anyway, I just wanted to say that after spending some time on Pinterest and in the blogging world, this is extremely refreshing! No one shows the imperfect parts of their lives (myself included) very often, and after being bombarded with “perfection 24/7” it’s such a relief to know that there are other women out there (mom’s and future-mom’s) that get overwhelmed, frustrated, and behind on their To Do’s. Again, THANK YOU!

  15. Thank you so so much for your honesty. I really needed to hear this especially this time of year when expectations are so high! Truly, you reminded me in this world of social media and the ability to paint ourselves in whatever light we feel like posting, that what you see is not always “real”…We aren’t alone and we’d be better served being real with each other and being supportive.

  16. Boy have I been there. My kids are now grown, and I can honestly tell you that it gets easier. Staying home while my kids were young was the hardest job I ever did–and I was a Soldier for 4 years! When they are grown, you will yearn for the messes and noise. Cherish each moment.

  17. Thank you for the enlightening post. You discussed feelings of motherhood that others don’t want to divulge. It is hard being a stay at home mom, and I have lost my drive. In 2009, our 4 yr old daughter was diagnosed with. type 1-Insulin Dependent Diabetes. Part of me was lost that year. There was a need for me to be available at all times for her medical needs to be taken care of. At the beginning I finished out my BA in Psychology Counseling, a semester later than I suppose to but things had to be taken care of. As a regular stay at home mom, I lost myself and now with a medical needs child in school I am lost again. It is hard to figure out my next chapter in life. I need to work thru my fight with Fibromyalgia of 10 years to accomplish anything. But darn it I will have too, because that is that us honest mommies do. Thank you for making feel like I wasn’t the only one out there feeling like this.

  18. This post was inspiring! I have recently became a stay at home mom and I have been struggling with my feelings of myself as a mom. I can’t understand how people make it so easy, maybe I wasn’t cut out for this?! Thank you for not making me feel alone!

  19. Loved this article. So real. It’s my life almost word for word
    Have 6 kids ages 20, 17, 14 (boy), 5, 3.5, and 1(boy). I was just diagnosed
    with rheumatoid and try hard to do it all. it really helped reading this article
    a lot.

  20. Thanks for a great post. I found this via Pinterest and I thoroughly enjoyed it. When people tell me that I “have it all together,” I remind them that I am just barely keeping my head above water like all moms! For some reason it is easy to think that every one else is managing better than we are.

  21. Wow!!!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!!! I wish I could give you a big hug right now. You are the first mother EVER that has said real things like this. This is just what I needed today. My mothering isn’t like any one else I know. I have been told I am a “hands off mother.” This was an extremely hurtful remark hence my remembering it years later. I want my children to learn to be self-reliant: go to sleep by themselves, find a toy to play with by themselves, get their own apple out of the fridge, etc. And I’m a rarity around here! I am so thankful that other mom’s can admit how hard it is. I really feel like a failure a lot because I don’t plan activities every day or teach my 3 year-old to read or remember to check my Kindergartener’s folder after school or I yell at the kids when I get frustrated. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

    1. I am a hands-off mother too- it bothers me sometimes about myself, that I don’t enjoy getting down on the floor and playing barbies for hrs w my girls, etc. It feels like I have to be hands off because I’m so needed the other 75% of the time that I just need to breathe. My mom will sigh sometimes and lament about her lacking as a mother when we were young, and this makes me feel better, since I don’t feel like I had a bad childhood. Nobody is perfect. Nobody. And this is why we have to forgive our parents, forgive ourselves, forgive our children.

  22. I read tons of blog posts, but have never left a comment before. I read this post and realized that I had to respond. I have a 9month old girl, who is my world, but I NEVER expected it to be as tough as it is taking care of her everyday. We are moving 3 hours away from all of our family 2 days after Christmas this year, and I have to quit my job and become a stay at home mom. Part of me is incredibly excited to have this time with her, but then when I think about the fact that I am going t be with her 24/7 from now on… I think I’m going to drown. I just wanted you to know that I found your post incredibly encouraging. I know this will be a wonderful experience that I will treasure. You sound like a great mom who is REAL, and I truly appreciate your honesty.

  23. Wow! You definitely described my life…my kids are 4, 7, and 11 and I keep thinking it is going to get better, but then it just gets busier…It is what I wanted, but wowzers, sometimes I have to talk myself down from one “ledge” or another.

  24. I just read this and let me say you must be in my head. I am a working mom of 2 boys. One is 11 yrs old and the other is almost 4. The 4 yr old goes to work with me (family owned business). He is my first. I feel like a total failure most of the time. My husband works long hours so I am with the boys the most. I am either playing referee, trying yo get toys picked up, the usual mom stuff. I too have been diagnosed with both RA and spondilytis. That alone will wear us out. It is SO nice to know I AM NOT ALONE!!! Thank you for your blog

  25. love this! I have four kids ages four and under and I totally get what you are saying. I love my kids to the moon and back but some days it is just crazy hectic. I swear my kids can smell when we are going away on vacation or when I need them to be neat and clean for something because it never fails that that is the time they are complete brats….I love that there are other moms out there whose houses have laundry piles and dusty floors and food on the floor from the night before (or sometimes even longer). Some days my greatest accomplishment is the fact that my kids are fed and are dressed. But most of all my kids know they are loved and cherished and I think that’s the most important thing of all:)

  26. Oh my god, so true! And the honest response from everybody here warms my heart! We are all just human, imperfect, struggle, and you know what? It’s okay! I can only recommend Brene Brown, who writes about shame, vulnerability and imperfection. Her wisdom is life transforming for me! And it takes so much pressure off me! You know what, I have come to a point were I’m sick of feeling down because I can’t life up to some obscene societal standart. I just want live my truth and love and nurture my family and be okay with who I am, mistakes and all!
    But seriously, check out Brene Brown, you can also google her TED talks. I got an download from soundstrue.com and listen to her all the time while putting away laundry, driving or just relaxing. http://brenebrown.com

  27. Hi! It was a relief to read this post. My 2 years old daughter has been giving me a hard time. Unfortunately I can’t be a stay at home mom and when I leave her at daycare I feel I’m not really being her mom. It’s like I’m being a part-time mom. So weird. When I’m alone with her there’s usually no problem but when dad is in sight she totally rejects me. I’m usually the parent who says no. I guess being a mom is not all about hugs and kisses. It is also about learning to be rejected and being able to love them despite the constant tantrums… Some say this is just a phase. Hope they’re right. I miss the hugs and kisses.

    1. Oh Maria, I want to send you a big hug! My husband struggles with this a lot. My kids have both gone through stages where they avoid him.. its just easier because they don’t always see him during the day. I know how much it hurts, but I read somewhere that it is an important stage developmentally. Apparently its the kids way of seeing that you will still always be there and loving them even if they ignore you (I am totally paraphrasing- it was a while ago since I read the article. If I find it I will email it to you!!!). Loving our kids is the hardest and best thing in the world.

  28. Courtney! You have so nailed it. I think we all feel so much like you do! I also have arthritis very badly and I know how much harder that makes parenthood! Augh. And they just keep getting heavier!!! Don’t they know?!? Then they squirm and want to ring the doorbell while you try to unlock the front door! Hopefully, they will thank us one day for all of our sacrifice and strife. If not, oh well…they are always worth it!
    Thanks for writing this blog and letting us relate to the most normal mom at the park(cause you know some of those moms are nuts).
    😉

  29. Your blog is wonderful and strangely mirrors my own life!
    I am no longer a stay at home mum as my daughter started school this year, and I needed my sanity,
    So went back to work, but I absolutely love your brutal honesty.
    Being a mum is a wonderful job, but it is damn hard work and I am thrilled its not just me who feels like this!! I feel a sense of achievement from the small things now, getting my little girl to school on time, washing my hair more than once a week, having no pots in the sink. You get the picture I’m sure.
    Thank you for speaking out on how motherhood really is and taking the pressure off women to be “perfect mum”!
    You’re an inspiration!

    P.s; I also avoid housework, anyone that says they like it is a liar!!

  30. In a time when most mother’s don’t want to admit their “shortcomings” you have all been willing to step forward and say, “I am not.” My children are grown, but I was a stay-at-home mom until the youngest was in second grade. I suffered from severe depression issues and many days sat in the rocking chair and cross-stitched because it was a connection to myself that I had not let go. After getting all of this under control, I sat with both of my children and asked them if there were times they wished they could go back and redo with me and both looked at me, laughed and told me that based on what they heard from their friends’ mothers they wouldn’t change a thing. Memories can be very forgiving.

    My best advice is only cook simple meals, put the wash in at bedtime and in the dryer while breakfast is going, at every opportunity you can–read to your kids, listen to their words–really listen, give your husband time with them so you can have time to go out and window shop or have your hair cut or just sit in a coffee shop for an hour, find a few minutes to write everyday about something funny or unbelievable that happened (I wrote in the bathroom!). I was very fortunate to have a husband that my mother refers to as “the Saint”, but just as easily could have had one who never helped, always complained, and made me feel worse about myself than I already did.

    Forget all these things that some folks seem to think are important–lots of activities for your kids (encourage them to use their imaginations and entertain themselves), over-the-top birthdays or any other holiday (keep it simple), keeping kids always happy (bwahahahaha!). The time will come when your nest will be empty, your sassy-mouthed children will indeed grow up and become human, and you will wish you could do it all over again. Best advice I ever got was “just love them to pieces and teach them to do the same.”

    It’s nice to be able to see that I was never alone and that others felt as overwhelmed by life as I did. I will be watching your blog and the comments more in the future and remembering to say prayers for mothers everywhere who feel the pressure of society, family, or just themselves.

  31. love this post so much Courtney! such an encouragement. the trenches of young mothering are NO JOKE. thank you for making all of us feel less alone in them. xo

  32. Haha I loved the mashup! I have been feeling like this lately, mostly because my daughter has two modes–hyper and screaming. And it just frazzles me. I love them all but seriously what is WITH the screaming?? I had this horrible dream last night that I got really angry and violent with my son and when I woke up I was like ‘I am a horrible mother!’ and then I remembered that we have actually been getting along really well the last few days. Apparently I have some subconscious rage issues, ha! I think it’s easier to complain about motherhood because it really is so stressful and hard, but yet if you ever talk about it all you will appear to be is a whiner. And I think that’s why so many people internetize their life as being perfect and pleasant. I think we all just need more sleep.

  33. My youngest child is 19 years old. I am 43 years old and I can encourage you that even “back then” when my children were little we sacrificed a lot so I could be home with our children. NOBODY except for God loves your children more than you. They are such a gift from above. I know it seems tough. I have been there. It does not get better when they get older but it is different 🙂 We will always be a mom!! No matter how old our children get.

    I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease when my son was 4 and it was horrible but I did the best I could. I have been in remission now for years and have downgraded my pills from 12 to 1. Hallelujah! It was quite the process but going gluten-free has helped very much. Also eating less sugar 🙂 Which to me was harder than eating gluten-free. Why is there so much sugar in everything? Giving up a lot if not most processed food has helped my disease. Just a few pointers for you or your readers with auto-immune diseases.

    If I had one piece of advice it would be to take your eyes off your circumstances and keep focused on the blessings God has given you and your family. There are so many I am sure.

    Have a beautiful day!

    1. Thanks Janet! I am once again trying to go with natural foods. I am starting gluten free, and mostly non-processed and will work to no sugar very soon! It is SO hard. Right now Kefir and organic, very minimally processed yogurt and limited fruits are my only sugars- but they are my crutch for sure! I’m also trying to be patient because I was JUST diagnosed, and I need to remember that finding a good mix of medication can take a while. I am being more diligent about taking vitamins, trying to move more, and sleep better (which is a big challenge for me). It takes time- which is hard with kids- but I am hoping the changes help soon!

      1. You are right Courtney it does take time and patience is important in dealing with your health especially when you are not feeling well. You will get there! Go at your own pace. If I mess up one day I know new mercies are there the next morning and I just give myself grace.

        By the way gluten likes to hide in all different things so I would check your vitamins and medications too 🙂

  34. I have one kid and a tiny apartment, but I still don’t keep up with it. I know that most people would look at my home and say, “She has one kid AND she’s a SAHM! How is she not able to keep up with it?” People never know the whole story, though. Thanks for making me feel a little bit better tonight about ignoring the dishes! I’ll go now and try to get five hours of sleep with raging heartburn so I can get my daughter up in the morning for school. *Sigh…

    1. Karen, I feel like my husband thinks the same thing when he gets home. She’s here all day, why isnt it clean?? Then I make sure he has the kids for a day or two by himself. I notice the looks lessen when he remembers what life with them is like!

      1. A couple of years ago, I had a baby daycare so I could stay with my kids at home and work to, I did this for 5 years. My husban is a workaholic, so I was alone to do everything in the house, the only thing he did around the house was change the garbages, so after 5 years of hard work and trying to keep the house clean and take car of my kids alone, I gave him an ultimatum, either I quit working for a while or he’d split the housework with me…..he didn’t have to think a lot about this one, he told me to quit my job…that’s what I did… But then, couple of times a week, he’d say to me that I was lucky to stay at home, not working, that it was like if I were always on vacation, so one time, I couldn’t deal with his sarcasm anymore so I told him to stay at home alone for a weekend with the kids and I left with my sister for a two days vacation….witch I felt bad but wanted him to realize that it was no vacation for me!!! Since that weekend, he never called me lazzy again, and even told my three childs to help me around the house!!! What I find hard these days, is that when I tell someone that I only work outside the house 8-10 hours a week, they look at me like if I’m not normal, the generation we live in is so hard on stay at home moms….

  35. Amen!! Very well said!! Motherhood is HARD and is the Steepest Learning Curve of our lives! With 2 little boys, I deal w/ more body fluids at home then I do at work as a Nurse!! Agggghhhh! As for the perfectly kept house: kids will never brag to their friends about what an amazing house you keep, but they WILL brag to their friends about how much fun they have with you! They will cherish the memories and traditions you create w/ them, not cherish the perfectly folded linen closet that would bring Martha Stewart to tears 😉 As mothers we need to give ourselves a huge break and find happiness truly in the little things and not feel like that is settling. Thank you for letting your guard down and letting us all in. You truly are an inspiration and influence more people than you will ever know!! Taradara is one of my BFF’s and we try to keep each other sane everyday! Hang in there, it’s all worth it!!

  36. Thank you for your blog! I am not a mother, but have a sister that I see fighting this battle. I have asked her to read your blog so that she knows she is not alone in her feelings of being a stay at home mom. Seeing other “perfect” moms is something impossible to live up to and I hope she reads your blog and realizes she is doing the best she can and I have her to thank for two adorable, happy, nieces! Thanks so much!!

  37. I love this so much. I could have written this myself today. Especially since I just had baby #3, it seemed to magnify my imperfections around the house and in my parenting. But all in all. my kids are clean, well-fed, and happy. At this moment, that’s all I can ask for. As they get older, I will strive to master stay-at-home-motherhood further. But at this time, I am trying to enjoy this time that they are so little, since it is so fleeting.

  38. AGREED! I just hope I haven’t screwed my kids up too terribly. haha As mom’s we need to be there for each other rather than competing with one another. It is hard wether you work or not. Each has it goods and bads. As they get older I have noticed it’s less physical work and more mental work. HOWEVER you can train them so in a few years, they will watch cartoons and let you sleep in (sshhh don’t tell anyone the t.v babysits them weekend mornings). I wrote a post about this very subject last week. http://domesticengineersunion.com/dirty-secret/. Raising kids is tuff business!

  39. Just wanted to say – thank you for being real! Seriously! I love it and I totally needed it this week. I love my kids but some days I just want to stub my toe on a door jam in hopes that that will make me feel better about my parenting. 🙂

  40. Wow. All I can say is Wow. I feel like a crappy mother 99% of the time. I feel like I’m always trying to hit these “marks” that I set out for myself. I rarely do and when I do I’ve killed myself so much in the process that after a moment of pride, I crash. I look at other mothers and they seem to have it so together. They do it so fluidly. They are a calm lake while I’m an ocean in the middle of a hurricane (3 boys ages 4 and under probably have something to do with that!). I feel like I’m always getting that look of “poor her, but, she sure does try” instead of “wow, how does she do it?” that I’m more aspiring to.

    I know I put a lot of pressure on myself. I know my kids are healthy, happy, kind, loving, with a roof over their heads, full bellies and as many happy memories as I can create. But, most days, that just doesn’t feel like…..enough.

    Your blog made me want to cry. I’m. Not. Alone. I’m not the only one that doesn’t relish every moment of stay at home motherhood. I’m not the only one who gets frustrated, lonely, tired (cough, exhausted is a better word). I’m not the only one with a house that isn’t perfect and decorated, laundry piled up to an embarrassing extent and just generally feeling their way though this whole thing. (For the record, side note, I completely relate to being pregnant a heartbeat after the wedding. We got pregnant 4 months after the wedding and had our 1st 2 weeks before our 1st anniversary).

    My best friend pinned your blog and after reading 2 paragraphs I’m hooked. You’re so REAL- not fake real (look at my “dirty” house, oh darn this is so hard while I overachieve everything real, legit real).

    Sorry for my babble! So excited to find your blog!

  41. Thank you! I actually cried reading this because I put so much pressure on myself to live up to expectations of “perfect” motherhood….. Especially stay at home motherhood. It is great, but it is the hardest thing ever! Kudos to all those perfect mothers….. But do they really exist? I think not….but thank you for this….. I definitely needed this today!

  42. Courtney–as a soon-to-be mom this post was fantastic. Its eye opening to know that I soon will not be alone. That life is not perfect. That it’s ok to feel like you’re failing. Thank you for sharing your real unaltered thoughts 😉

  43. OMG, I love you! This is exactly what I needed to hear and exactly how I feel. Thank you!!!! You’re not alone and neither am I! 🙂 Mwah!

  44. Thank you so much for this! I love it and it’s so true for me. Sometimes i feel like i am alone but now i know i am not alone! I have two amazingly wonderful children. My daughter is 10 and she is just the best (most of the time) her attitude and mouth are the only things we really need to work on. My son is almost 3 and he is a HANDFUL! I never wanted to be a stay at home mom. In fact after i had my daughter i had no issues going back to work and school. My husband and i made it work very easily (or so it seems now looking back). The whole time i was pregnant with my son i was set on going back to work after my maternity leave, had all the plans made and ready to go. I even went through a whole day as a test to see how things would pan out and that’s about when i realized i couldn’t go back to work. I loved my job but I couldn’t leave my children. I had severe anxiety about it, partly because we depended on my income just as much as my husbands to get by and also because i felt like I’d miss everything and they would spend more time with a sitter than their parents and that they would miss me terribly. We sat down and talked it through and knowing it would be a struggle financially we knew it was our only option with my new mommy anxiety. Now nearly 3 years later, we’ve been through lots of troubles and laughs and i wouldn’t trade it for anything. I AM NOT THE PREFECT MOTHER OR WIFE and that’s ok with me (it’s taken me a while to come to being ok with it considering i was a little ocd not all that long ago). Now that I’ve been a stay at home mother for 3 years i can honestly say we made the right choice because i am so thankful that I’ve gotten to see my children grow and learn more now than i got to with my daughter (because i was working and going to school all the time). Sometimes i feel so overwhelmed and ready to give up but i know that’s not an option. when you feel like you are always looking at piles of laundry, dishes, and toys everywhere it can be hard to keep going and stay motivated to get it done. That’s what my biggest problem is right now, i lack motivation to get it done.
    Anyway, thank you for writing this, it has really helped me feel less alone and more confident. I’m sorry to hear you are having health issues, i will say a prayer for you and your family.
    Side note: Something that i try to remind myself of… A clean perfect house is hard for kids to be kids in. They need more mommy/play time than they need a perfect looking house. 🙂

  45. I love reading your blog! You are so *real* compared to a lot of others. I love how you combine honesty with humor and make us all realize we are not alone and that we can identify with what you are going through–especially the watching Daniel the Tiger over and over, never-ending to-do lists, taking time for ourselves! I work full time and have a 3 1/2 year old–life is crazy but I don’t want to imagine a life without my child! I struggle with trying not to compare myself/my kid/my lifestyle/etc. with other moms I see, but have to keep telling myself that it is not healthy to judge or compare and to just do my best and that I know my little girl loves me more than anything in the world, so I must be doing something right! Thank you for this post today!

  46. LOL…I especially love the Saturday gif. Seriously?? My boys will not wake up on their on before 6:30 Mon-Fri. But Saturday,they are peppy and loud at 5:30. My husband work long hours and I call him at least 15 times threatening to lock the boys outside forever! Glad its not only me 🙂

  47. Thank you. I needed this today. I empathisize with you. I don’t know what else to say except THANK YOU, and you are very very right. I am not alone. You are not alone. We are not alone.

  48. This was a really great post! I often feel like this about all of the picture perfect houses and home tours I see in blog land. lol I can really identify with what you said. Some days I feel like I’m about to lose my mind. I stay at home also and would not change that for anything but it can be really HARD some days. Glad to hear I’m not alone. 🙂 Hope you feel better soon. I didn’t know you had some physical obstacles – will be praying for ya. XOXO

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