The words we moms tell ourselves.

Brace yourselves, because I might sound like an Adele song in a few minutes time.

Actually, I’m not even worried about that…because maybe it’s a good thing?

I have exactly two existential crises every day. 

One at about 2 pm, and then one again around my children’s bedtime. 

Around 2 in the afternoon, I realize that my children are going to be home from school shortly.

So I ask myself if I would rather spend the last hour of my day with just a little bit less chaos than normal, thoroughly cleaning every part of my house that I can manage? This way, I don’t have to try to do it while my children lurk behind me, leaving their veggie straw crumbs and smudgey fingerprints all over everything they touch.

Or, do I want to sit on the couch, with a pile of carbohydrates in front of me, watch an episode of something mildly entertaining on Netflix, and actually chill??

It’s the greatest toss up a parent faces: rest or productivity? Both answers are correct. But both answers are also wrong. There’s regret either way, so choose wisely. Who made this game anyway?!

My crisis at nighttime, though, is different. 

I usually fall just shy of lovingly and ceremoniously putting my children to bed. I opt instead for the, “the only reason to be downstairs is an absolute emergency,” speech before I blow a kiss, flick off the bedroom light and close the door.

I turn left after hitting the bottom step, and I see a house in front of me that has somehow imploded in the last three hours despite the large part of the day I spent tidying it. This is around when I have to try not to lose it.

I find the gritty crumbs, and the crumpled pairs of socks left on the floor next to the sneakers that didn’t quite make it back into the shoe basket.

The training in life skills that we are giving our children hasn’t quite reached a level of osmosis yet, the concepts not fully etched into their daily consciousness.  Some do, like the please’s and thank you’s, and those sweet, gentle kisses on my cheek for no reason at all.

Enough to melt the heart of stone.

The rest, though? Not always so much.

Which is why I sometimes step on Legos, and identifiable sticky substances on my way to the kitchen to scrape off flecks of food stuck to the surface of my stove, and to finish cleaning up from dinner.

As a person coping with anxiety right now, the familiar hot flashes start to creep up, the tightness in my chest that I was sure wasn’t there five minutes ago begins to coil itself into a new, but all too familiar hissing knot. 

I wonder why I even bother.

I wonder how I can help my children better understand the lessons we are trying to teach them when so much of their young minds are filled with the knowledge of Pokemon, and the wingspans of the largest bats in the world. Yes, this is a thing we discuss at length around here.

I wonder what other people without small children are doing.

I wonder what I’m even doing.

The freedom to just sit and simply unwind before bed is a luxury I haven’t had in years. Much like privacy in the bathroom. Or the satisfaction of having empty laundry baskets once a batch of clean clothes are put away.

Worst is how the prevailing feeling that I have accomplished something each day is one that I haven’t felt the satisfaction of in quite a while. That novelty that my tasks at hand are finished, or can at least be set aside for the next nine hours to make way for rest. 

I fall into this pit so many times.

The pen of my mind begins its dark, recognizable scrawl as I pick off food stuck to the prongs of each fork in the sink, etching unkind words into my confidence the way a hot prong seers flesh.

I’m not good enough or diligent enough or productive enough or thin enough or joyful enough. I mark myself with each flick of my pen. I name myself with each shortcoming.

And this, friends, is precisely why I occasionally need the positive voices in my subconscious to sound like something like Adele; I need a chorus of confidence and truth to rain down on me when I try to remind myself of how great I am at what I do.

It felt awkward to write that sentence, to think of proclaiming that I actually believe that I am a good mother. How graceless or arrogant it seems when actually, it is a statement that can only be uttered because of profound grace.

These words I whisper to myself, in my own voice, is the poison in my well. Poison I would never want my children to taste or drink. Words I would go to war with to save my children from, and yet I spill them out carelessly all over myself, and then I blame myself for that, too?

Do I let myself feel the rhythm and hum of those words that proclaim me as more than a failure? Do I know that I need the loudest and strongest singular voice to drown out the dozens of pointed accusations hurled my way when I’m alone and lost in my own mind?

I need to follow that voice out of the hazy mist, back to some place where things are upright, where the only meter stick we measure ourselves by is one of love, forgiveness and hope.

The beat that calls us is how we know that we still feel. 

Sometimes, it is that still, unwavering voice that says no, none of this is true. Other times, it is the most soulful vibrato that you could imagine; it is one who roars back. I never know why sometimes it is one or the other, why sometimes it is steady, why sometimes it is thundering.

They alternate almost instinctively and yet cohesively.

I try to let those words wash over me, through me, to save me from myself.

To know that I am okay.


And with each listen,

I try again to believe them,

And mark myself anew. 


I was afraid of being a “b****”

Written just last fall, but with the current news cycles running 24/7, this has never been more relevant.

This Heart...

I don’t do a lot of edgy topics on my blog. Poopy diapers and breastfeeding I can do flawlessly.

But feminism? Nah. Never done that.

So, these people came to my door the other day.

Well, actually, it was just one person initially. He was a traveling salesman, and he was selling meat. All different kinds. Steak, seafood, chicken, pork. All the meats. 

He asked me if I would be interested in anything he was selling.

Our area hasn’t had the best luck with traveling salespeople selling meats. The one major company around here has had numerous complaints about their meats being rotten or freezer burnt when they were thawed. They have numerous complaints at the Better Business Bureau. They drive around in a van that barely even advertises who they are. They are shady.

This doesn’t even address the fact that they ask if you’d like to walk over…

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What I’m Slowly Learning About Grief

By all serious accounts, I am very much new to the “club” when it comes to grief. 

It’s been just over a month since my life turned upside down.

I lost my grandfather and my father within a week’s time. In both cases, both men had been dealing with serious, long-term illnesses. And yet both of them passing away happened about as quickly, and as unexpectedly, as you could consider it to be, even despite their declining health. 

Once a person who thought she had a grasp on the happenings of life, I realize that I am now being schooled in something entirely new: profound grief.

Being leveled doesn’t even begin to describe any of what’s still happening to me, to my family. As a blogger, I’m doing the one thing that I can to retain my sanity in bits and pieces: I’m writing.

Truly, the outpouring from those around me has been tremendous. When in comes to the abundance of prayers and steadfast loyalty of those around me, I could not be richer. 

Still. When it comes to processing everything that has happened, while facing days ahead filled with constant reminders of what has happened, I feel very much on my own. 

Here are truths I am slowly learning about grief:


You will feel like you weren’t enough

How many conversations or memories have I played back in my head over the last few weeks? The last time we watched Fourth of July fireworks together. The last time we carved pumpkins. The last phone call. The last time I said goodbye, completely unaware that the world was about to cave in.

I couldn’t tell you the number. 

How I wish I could have made those last goodbyes something more. How I wish I could have given one more hug, one more kiss on the forehead. How I wish I could pick up the phone and talk about the weather, the kids or the migrating geese flocking overhead that mark the change of the season. 

I judge myself as a daughter and granddaughter based on the actions of the last few weeks, when the truth is that perfect goodbyes don’t always exist. In our case, we were lucky enough to gather at the bedsides of those men we loved to pray over them, and love them into the next life.

That is more than so many get, I know. 

To dissect the tiniest fragments and pieces of our lives together does us no favors. When I look back over the years though, in both cases, I am fortunate to be able to say that in each moment, I loved them both as best I could. 

The feeling of not being enough is a lie, the inner workings of an enemy bent on our destruction. I wasn’t supposed to be “enough” for them. I could only be their child, their grandchild. For every shortcoming, the love between us, and the love that is still left behind, can be the salve for nearly every bruise if we let it. 


You can’t rewrite what’s happened

There are moments I’m not proud of. There are moments where I failed my dad, and those shortcoming are sometimes an angry slap across my face when I’m laying awake in the middle of the night, wondering what I could have done differently.

“You don’t get to make up most of your story. You get to make peace with it.”

– Ann Voskamp

The last few weeks have served as a stark reminder that I, we, are not in control.

We wonder if maybe by some action of our own we could have changed everything if we had said or done something different; been different. One of the worst things that we can do is believe that we somehow could have changed everything if we had only…

Grief is a nuanced thing. At times, I’m learning, you put yourself on trial. And you are your own worst accuser. Because maybe if you had picked up the phone more, said you were sorry sooner, seen what was coming around the bend, you could have controlled the outcome. Which just isn’t true. 

It’s a road we shouldn’t even tempt ourselves to go down. Easier said than done in some of our darkest moments, but no less true. What’s happened is what’s happened.

What might bring us eventual healing is trying to make peace with it.


There is no such thing as perfect goodbyes, because there is no such thing as perfect people.

We gathered around my dad’s bedside as his life was slipping away, and tears quietly rolled down our cheeks. We played The Beatles for him, held his hands while they were still warm, and watched the lines on the monitor flatten while all of our insides hurt beyond the telling of it. 

We were with him when he transitioned. As much as it hurt, and though it didn’t feel at all like it, those last moments were an extraordinary gift that I will never forget.

Still, afterwards my mind couldn’t help but almost immediately sprint towards all of the unresolved things that still lingered. All of the things that I had had faith would be satisfied before this time came. The things that hurt. I was piling pain upon pain until it almost crushed me. 

I thought we’d all have a chance to individually make peace with everything, and with each other. So much has happened in our lives during the last ten years as he grew sicker and sicker. In that slow unraveling for him, we all lashed out at one another out of fear and pain. Before that even, we had all failed each other magnificently at one point or another.

About two years ago, I wrote my dad a note and left it in his hospital room as I was leaving, after he had drifted off to sleep. In it, I thought I told him everything I had ever wanted to. It seemed premature, but I felt that it was something that needed to be done. Still, just two years later, there are hundreds of words that I wish I could have told him before the end finally came. 

I imagine that’s how the rest of my days will be. We are no longer a phone call or short drive away from each other. And every trivial thing that happens in my day is something that I will always wish I could share with him.

I mostly just wish I could tell him how much I miss him. 

I don’t know if that final goodbye will ever come to feel like the final period at the end of a sentence. I don’t know if the days ever turn from feeling like my mind is an endless, churning river, upturning stones after stones to see what I find. I don’t know if I will ever feel like myself again. Then again, what is normal even after loss?

I just know now that my job is to let it be.


Though the temptation to hang on, want more, do more will always be palpable, I know that for me, for all of us, the two men that we have lost would wish on us a life spent chasing the sun, welcoming the future and all the gifts that it holds. 


Indeed, the future could never hope to be as bright if they weren’t here before to light the way.