motherhood, messing up, & grace

Mar 3, 2014

I like to keep it real here. So, that's why I'm going to tell you that yesterday was a rough day for me.

The weather was, and still is, lousy- cold, rainy, and with ice in the forecast. We didn't have extra money this paycheck to have fun in Nashville so we decided we'd stay home and be productive, instead. We cleaned the house up, stayed in our pajamas all day, and asked each other "What do you feel like doing?" so many times it was maddening.

I'll be honest. I haven't had too many rough days as a mom. Aside from some sleepless nights, it has honestly been pure joy to be Noah's mama. Of course, I'll always feel the pure joy part, simply because of how much I love him. I've not really had a day where I was overwhelmed and needed a mommy time-out. I've known it would come, and is normal, but I had yet to feel that. Yesterday was the first day I needed to say, "I need a break".

We were all bored and restless. A lot of feelings and emotions just rushed right in to take occupancy for the day and I was feeling pretty low. Noah is teething his two bottom molars right now and has been for weeks. They haven't broken through the gums yet and the poor little guy is in pain a lot of the time. He needed his mommy and daddy wouldn't do. 

If I sat at the kitchen table to check my e-mail, Noah was right there wanting up in my lap and to bang on the keyboard. If I went into the kitchen to make a meal, he followed, almost pulling down my pajama bottoms, crying and wanting to be held or fed. If I sat down to read a magazine, he wanted to be in my lap flipping the pages too fast. If I went to the bathroom, he cried until I came back. If I sat down with him in my lap, he was saying "De..De..", his words for nursing.

My baby's needs come first over anything else I'm doing. When he's trying to communicate with me, I stop what I'm doing, get down on the floor at his level, and try to help him work out what it is that he's struggling with. We believe in self-directed play and teaching him to entertain himself some, but if he needs me, I'm there. If he needs to nurse, we do, right there. If he needs to just sit with me a few minutes and calm down with a little song, we sing. If he needs a snack, we find something to eat. If he needs to be refreshed with hugs, love, and security, I'm there. I truly believe that there is nothing I'm doing at this point that is so important that my baby should be looking up at me and seeing me put that thing before him. It breaks my heart to think of him needing me while I'm busy staring at my phone, reading a blog, or obsessing over housework. I refuse to be that mother.

But you know what? I totally failed at all of that for a little yesterday. 

I was frustrated with Michael for not trying to distract Noah so I could just sit at the computer and do some blog stuff. I talked to Noah in a frustrated tone, and I know he picked up on it. I said too many words harshly and out of frustration. I couldn't make a move without being cried for, and I wanted to just scream at one point. I was touched out, I was cranky, I was feeling stuck inside, and I was losing patience. 

My last straw was while sitting at the computer while Noah pulled on my leg, cried loudly, and grabbed blindly for my pen on the table. I picked him up into my lap, stood up, and slammed the laptop shut. It wasn't that loud, but it was enough for him to look up at me with that look. That break your heart in two, confused, and a little afraid look. 

And I wanted to crumble to the ground and cry. I had let my frustration build up throughout the day and I had just made my little boy flinch from my anger. Anger over what? That he needed me and I was inconvenienced?  Didn't I just communicate that what I was doing was more important than he is? 

My heart immediately was broken, rebuked, and softened. The rest of the evening, I reacted how I wish I always could. I went down to him, enveloped him in my arms, and communicated without words that he and his needs were important to me. I whispered "mommy's sorry, buddy". My blog could wait, reading a magazine could wait, dinner didn't need to be made in such a hurry.

I hope the Lord is always that quick to wake me up. I hope that on the days when I'm frustrated, or dealing with whatever emotions that I'm struggling with, that I can still respond in kindness to my children. I'll fail, I know, probably in worse ways than this, but I hope that as my children are older and able to understand more, that I'm able to ask them for their grace and forgiveness when I need it. I want them to understand Grace because mommy both gave it and wasn't afraid to ask for and receive it.


  1. beautiful. His grace is so sweet and I love that he puts people (even little people :) in our lives to show us His grace.

  2. I love this post. Thank you for being so honest. There are many times that I react like that with Reid and hate to admit that to anyone, but it happens. It's hard for me to take my frustration out in the correct way sometimes. When I'm in the moment, it's hard to remember that Reid can't fathom that there is anything else going on in my life other than him.

  3. oh friend, how i hear ya. i loved your honesty and loved your words. so timely and so real. one of the things about motherhood i find that it's so humbling. these little people that are so quick to give you grace when we fall. yesterday was like that for us as well. nowhere to go, weather was just ugly and by the time 1:00 pm came around everyone was so restless. thank you for keeping it real kelsea. :)

  4. We all have those days and it's totally ok to need a break. I think we are all built differently so our break points are different. At the same time I think it's ok for your kid to see that side of you on occasion. We aren't perfect and that's ok. I think you nailed it with your opening quote about grace. :)

  5. We ALL have those days. I read a quote today that said parenting is the only job that gets harder the longer you're at it. You will have MORE of those days, trust in that, but you seem level-headed and intune to your feelings. Sometimes what helps is a walk, just getting out of the situation for a minute or two, taking a deep breath...

  6. I think your apology will mean so much to him as he grows up. You don't need to be a perfect mom, you just need to be a loving, forgiving, grace filled mama!

  7. And, HIS grace will always be sufficient for you and it's not the last time you feel frustrated and a bit out of control. But, it's okay and you are still a great Mom and Noah is a lucky little boy.

  8. I'm not a mom but I think that all moms have days like these. Just find comfort in the fact that you are human and you are not alone. Always love your honesty!

  9. Yes to echo what others have said: oh mama, we have ALL been there! I wish I could say I had the perfect recipe for how to avoid those moments but quite frankly I don't think anyone has the answer other than to be patient with yourself. And trust that it does get easier! Thankfully the teething stage doesn't last forever haha.

  10. I hate that I can relate to this post, a little too often. It's mostly on the long days when my husband is away, but I still always feel horrible. I think that just by realizing that we're vulnerable and have our breaking points help make us better parents. Thanks for sharing your honesty!