To mommies everywhere

Oops, you have a little schmutz on your shoulder. There. Probably just spit up, it’s okay. Do I have some too? Oh. That’s not spit up, that’s a mixture of cookie crumbs and snot. Now we’re good, sorry about that.

Dear ones,

Let’s talk.

You’ve read the lists of all the stuff you’re supposed to BeSureToDo. You’ve heard all the no-nos.

You’re watched other moms, maybe your own mom, maybe your peers, and you’ve promised yourself you would never do it like that. Ever.

But sometimes

You do.

Sometimes all your ideals fly out the window because it’s two a.m. and your baby will not settle, and you’ve already been out of bed six times, trying to shush her before she wakes her brother, but now it’s too late because he’s fussing too. And his bed is wet. So now you have wet sheets and a crying baby, who will be screaming by the time you get the bed changed.

Sometimes all your ideals fly out the window because that teenager is pushing on you again. You don’t know how she can hit all the right things to say that just get your goat, but she does. And then you trip over the books she left stacked on the stairway in the dark, or the laundry hamper she didn’t get to. Didn’t you teach her anything?!

Sometimes all your ideals fly out the window because your kid is the terror of the town. He knocks over the other kids’ block towers or he just got a DUI or he fathered an illegitimate child or he won’t pick up his room or he won’t get potty trained no matter what you try.

You had no idea this would be so. hard.

You will think about what motherhood looked like from a distance: how you imagined it. The wonder, the snuggles, the sweet smells, the bonding. How you’d always be gentle and understanding and THERE. How you’d be loved and appreciated. How you’d bake cookies and they’d smile. How they’d all turn out well and bring the grandchildren home on holidays and everybody would be happy.

Honey, I just want to tell you something right now.

How this family turns out doesn’t all depend on you.

Mothers are a crucial way that God shapes the lives of children, but there will always be therapists later in life.

(Please tell me that struck you funny; if not, would you get off the internet and pick up the phone to call a friend? Please? Because you need her urgently.)

There are daddies. There are grandpas and grandmas. There is time, and there is hope. There are godly school teachers. There are good men and women who take troubled teens under their wings. There is a community of other believers around you. And if all else fails, if your child is left destitute of all support and godly help, there is the Son of God.

He bled so that sins can be forgiven; so that no matter what challenges your child faces, there will be grace and help and hope. He lives so that there will always be a Friend, an Intercessor, an Advocate. He holds the universe, he holds your child, and it doesn’t all depend on you.

You can’t guarantee anything. You can’t save your child; he’s going to have to turn toward Jesus himself.

But you also can’t mess things up so badly that Jesus panics. Trust him. Breathe. Don’t forget to enjoy yourself, and to be proud of your kiddos, as often as you possibly can. I need friends to tell me this from time to time, and that is why I’m telling you:

It’s going to be okay.

– Shari

PS. Thanks again for all your kind words and stories. Special welcome to the first-time commenters.

PS2. And in case this was not absolutely clear throughout this series, I REALLY LOVE MY SON. <3

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Mom Coblentz
5 years ago

But you also can’t mess things up so badly that Jesus panics.

Thank you!!

Shannon Shantz
5 years ago

Love this. ❤️Love your sense of humour too. ? And never once did I doubt your love for your son. You have been so honest, and we need more people like you.

5 years ago

I laughed(glad I did because sometimes I wonder about my sanity). Thank you I needed this!

Kim G
5 years ago

Oh, yes, yes, yes!!!
I would love to share this with a mommy’s group that I am in
Bless you, Shari!

5 years ago

I was giggling before I read the next line. And also, ” you also can’t mess things up so badly that Jesus panics” brings tears of gratitude to my eyes. I’m only a year into this mommy life and feel like there have already been enough mistakes to ruin this child. Thank you Jesus for grace!

5 years ago

Appreciate your insights, humor, and honesty. This mothering thing is Quite The Deal.

5 years ago

This has been such a good series of posts!
Thank you

5 years ago

I am a first-time mommy who is making the unsettling discovery that perfectionism and mommy-ism do not mesh so well. My prayer to God this morning included a heartfelt “thank-you” that it’s not all about me; it’s about Him!! Praise God! and thank YOU. 🙂

L. Baer
5 years ago

Aww, Shari I hate to see this series come to a close. You’ve been brave and gracious and God-honoring. Your family is blessed to have you. I wish you grace!!!

5 years ago

Dearest Shari: Thank you so very much for sharing! I weep as I read these posts. Mothering my 11 treasured children has been my life and love for over 30 years, but the last 10 years have brought heaps of heartache – one son who raped 4 of his sisters and we are reaping the pain of that as they get old enough to speak and process and the wounds and broken behavior is a daily grief, I needed to be reminded again today that it’s not all on me! I believe that and I have found Jesus in ever deeper ways through this dark valley, but I just needed to hear it again – Jesus is the Redeemer. He not only heals, He uses precisely this broken place as a platform for His power and grace….and He is seeking my children with even more love than I have for them….. Bless you, dear for being honest and transparent!

Regina S
5 years ago

Thank you Shari and hugs for reader Patti!

A sister
5 years ago
Reply to  Regina S

Patti, I’m SO sorry with you. I care about you and want to pray for you and your family. God can bring redemption and healing into your home. I know He can. He WANTS to! (He has been already right?) He cares!! But you are right about it not being all on you. Take courage, sister!

5 years ago

Our oldest taught us real quickly that children were given for our sanctification. Not exactly like yours but yes, very difficult and very talented. Helped the cooks during Teacher’s Week at FB when he was 14 yrs old, independent of his family and he was guessed to be 20. Was videographer AND song leader at his friend’s wedding at age 19. Sometimes we think he’s crazy. Keeps you on your knees…or running out the back door (before you lose your sanity)! Love your honesty and your son’s willing heart to allow you to be honest. Shows me there’s a good relationship there.

5 years ago

Thank you! I needed to hear this today!

Natalia Showalter
5 years ago

Thank you, thank you, thank you! You are a gem. Putting all this into beautiful, honest words.

5 years ago

Thank you thank you for this series! I needed it desperately. Blessings to you!

5 years ago

THANK YOU!! Yes I laughed and then laughed again at your next sentence

Aimee Stauffer
5 years ago

Shari, you truly are a blessing! . . . And a friend across the miles . . . Thanks again for being courageous and opening up your heart and sharing the encouragement that we all need and that you so long to hear as well!

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