The Confessions of a Mom

I’m writing this from our bathroom floor – with back to tub – because my little potty-training beauty won’t stop climbing out of her crib and declaring she needs to go potty.

Her chubby naked legs hang dangling from the seat as she sings about Jesus and poo-poos all in one breath, and her little fingers unravel and crinkle up more squares of toilet paper than I care to count while waiting for that half of a tinkle to trickle into the toilet.

This is the fifth time in the hour since she was supposed to be sleeping.***

confessions of a mom

And you know and I know that my youngest has me trapped. Because someone must have let her in on the secret that mamma doesn’t like having to clean up soaked bedding, or maybe she’s simply realized that this mom is not into having to potty-train right over.

And you and I both know that the one time I don’t let her scale the bars like an ape and go skipping to the bathroom, is most certainly going to end up being the time that the explosion will take place – even if she did just go forty-three seconds ago.

I’ve tried sticker charts (which probably have the best results, but are useless when the chance at a sticker has already been lost). Diapers (with undies underneath so all is hopefully not wasted). Treats. New sleeping arrangements. Rebuking. Consequences. Putting her back in bed over and over and over. All. of. it. – consistently. And so I’ve succumbed to typing from the hallway or the tiles as I constantly go back and forth, praying that she’ll finally wear herself right out.

(She’s still singing on the toilet – in case you were wondering.)

the confession of a mom

It’s just one of those days (again) when it’s glaringly obvious that I don’t have it all together. My flaws scream much louder than my triumphs. It’s this whirlwind of ups and downs, beauty in the ugly, do-overs and struggles, and sitting on the bathroom floor days because I just can’t seem to figure out what else to do.

And I can’t shake the feeling that I’ve let them all down.

I serve them processed (non-organic) chicken nuggets.

I go for days forgetting to help brush their teeth.

My laundry detergent isn’t homemade.

We’ve all mastered trudging down steps and searching through mountains of unfolded laundry (the laundry that went through the washer three times before I remembered to switch it over).

My kitchen right now is still piled with crusted dishes.

I never seem to get socks on just right.

And the shoes lying rag tag all over the floor? I cannot, cannot find a good system.

I respond like I’m listening when really I’m not.

And I plop them in front of a video so I can have a few moments of quiet.

My kids hear daily the threat about their toys and their clothes found just shy of the basket, and how they will be gathered and sold if they’re not picked up.

I don’t pray with them as much as I should.

I am quick to anger and way too impatient.

I crush little spirits instead of pouring out grace.

I am the mom who tries to mend all the broken pieces together, but can barely sew on a button.

confession of a mommy

And this is real.

And this is normal.

And my kids? (Like my little girl who’s now stretching up on her tip-toes in the room where she’s supposed to be sleeping, and rattling to open the door knob once again…)They’re normal too.

But I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – there are no perfect mammas, only mammas being perfected.

This is real.

Real motherhood.

Sometimes grand, but often messy.

Full of moms who are too tired to plan a date night, and who wear that messy bun proud. Moms who try their hardest to cut slices of cake exactly evenly, and are starving for just ten minutes of uninterrupted time in His Word. Moms who are overwhelmed to tears by joys or sorrows or both, and have kids who argue with ragamuffin holes in their jeans, and can never find matching shoes when they’re already going to be late for church. Moms who find art made with dry-erase markers up and down the newly painted walls. Moms going through blessings or heartaches or just plain monotonous days of happy, sad, whining, giggling, demands, and struggles.

Feeling lost in this rinse and repeat cycle.

confession of a mom

And it’s easy when you’re recalling all your short-comings while sitting next to the tub instead of soaking in it to feel that this badge you wear of being “just a mom” is far from stellar.

Just a mom.

Just a life giver.

Just a laborer of love.

Just a miracle displayer.

Just a warrior for hearts, and souls, and minds and lives.

Just a boo-boo kisser.  Humble bottom wiper. Food maker. 24/7 keeper of hearts and homes. Accomplished forgiver. Image bearer. Soul shaper. Kingdom worker.

And we may crack. And we may out-right fail. And our hearts may very well get ripped in two. But we will get back up again in the morning (or when that little one comes knocking in the middle of the night).

Because it’s more than we realize – this giving of self. This going to battle for hearts over and over and over.

And it’s more than enough – these pieces of grace barely stitched together.

And it’s ravishing – the beautifully imperfect mother getting up again and again and again, allowing God to work mightily through her.

(Oh, and I’m going to go make sure this little one is truly tucked in bed one more time.)

confessions of a mommy

***It’s over a week later when I’m finishing this post, and we’ve moved sweet Ariya to a “big girl bed.” She still comes peeking her head out through the door with every excuse for why she’s not in bed… but at least we’re no longer scaling the rails. :) This is real.


  1. Oh sweet Jessica what a blessing this post is for me. I am up late (it’s nearly 1 am here) because I am trying a new yeast roll recipe and I really should have thought this all the way through before starting. Lol. Anyway, back to you blessing me. I know you are real and that no body has it all together but let me just say tht it is so nice to hear you say it. I can so relate to many of the things in this post. I am smiling at the fact that someone else has to re-wash clothes and has a sink full of dishes and so on. Just being real. Thank you so much for your openness and honesty. And I hope baby girl is doing well with her potty training and big girl bed sleeping. Love you sweet friend.

    • Oh Jen, your beautiful encouragement never ceases to bless my heart! And I hope that those yeast rolls were worth the missed hours of sleep. ;)
      Love, Jessica

  2. I love this post. I needed this post. I am so constantly struggling with what my expectations are for me and what is reality. Wonderful encouragement!

    • Oh how true that is for me too, Dusty. My own (unrealistic) expectations battling with what God is doing through my reality.
      Praying you have a blessed day with those precious little ones!

  3. Can I just thank you for admitting that you forget to have your kids brush their teeth?! It’s moments like these that I am so thankful for social media where mommas can band together and realize that we are NOT alone, that there are other mommas JUST LIKE US trying to do the best we can. {{hugs}} and prayers through that potty training. We are *almost* done here. Please!!

    • Oh how true, Aurie. That no matter how it feels we are NOT alone. There are plenty of other mommas who forget to brush their kids teeth too. :)
      I think we’ve got potty training down now… now it’s *just* the “staying in bed” battle to figure out.
      Hugs, Jessica

  4. Oh sweet Jessica and all of you young moms, All of this is so very normal….aren’t we so very thankful that we have God’s grace. We will never do it perfectly. I am a grandma now and I still get exasperated with these little ones pulling me in all directions. But I look in the eyes of your children, Jessica, and I see joy. And singing about Jesus on the potty? Certainly you are doing many things just right and are learning from the mistakes that you make. And reaching out and being honest and helping so many other moms that aren’t feeling up to the enormous weight of raising these precious little ones. Not feeling as though they can do it, but gathering their strength from the Lord and carrying on. Two of my children (and their spouses) don’t walk with the Lord, but I know that they were brought up in Him and I have great hope that they will come back to Him….we are planting seeds and they will take root. I love all of you young moms…..having a 3 year old living with us makes me feel very young some days and very old others. Blessings and hugs to you all.

    • What a beautiful blessing your words are to me, Jane! And to other young moms. Thank you for encouraging my heart.
      Praying for that precious family of yours.
      Love, Jessica

  5. Thank you for sharing this! I am right there with you!

  6. I really needed this message. Thank you for sharing!

  7. I absolutely love honesty. I’ve just been rolling a theory about raising children around in my head these past few days and this just echoes it. That theory is: it’s not so much what we do as parents that will make or break our kids, it’s WHO WE ARE. Or rather, who we are trying to BECOME. I’m coming to believe this more and more. I’ll pray for you. Will you pray for me? Thanks. Miss seeing you and your precious family at our church. :)

    • Oh Jenny, I miss you! I think it so true that who we are makes such a difference in the lives of our kids, and maybe more than that – who we are in Christ. What HE allows us to do and be right now. Praying for you, dear friend.

  8. Britt Watts says:

    Posts like these are always such a blessing to me. I’m right there with you on the teethbrushing thing and I think I can add many other shortcomings to the list I’m afraid! I was hoping potty training got easier with each kid (kidding myself right?) – only been through it once so far but I think that has the power to knock a mama off her feet and feel more discouraged than anything else. Until they “get it” it’s really the longest days/nights EVER. Good luck!!

    • Oh Britt, that wasn’t even a tenth of my list. ;0 So thankful for God’s grace, and the way that He works through my weaknesses.
      And I think Ariya’s got the hang of potty-training. She was SO ready (although I was not), and after a morning full of puddles, caught on really quickly. I was so thankful she wasn’t my first, otherwise I never would have been prepared for numbers 3, 4, and 5. :) Now we have the whole “staying in bed” battle in full swing.
      Hope you have a wonderful day!

  9. This blessed me more than you know. I am so there with you. I wake every day praying for the strength to make it through the day with patience and grace instead of frustration and harshness and I fail again and again. Thank you

    • Reaching over with hugs and prayers, Rachel. You’ve blessed with your honesty, and the sweet reminder that we are not alone.
      Praying for you today.

  10. Oh my!! I could have written this post myself! Every detail! I am potty training my little guy and during nap time, he keeps showing up at the top of the stairs claiming to have to go. So away we go. He pooped SIX TIMES IN A ROW. Who does that!?!?! Thank you so much for letting me know I am not the only mom who has all of these struggles and short comings. I hope God pours out on you the same encouragement that you are pouring out on others.

    • Amanda- I couldn’t help but smile. :) Apparently our little ones are on the same page with record breaking pooping! Thank you for pouring out encouragement on my heart. ~Jessica

  11. What a timely post. Just yesterday I posted a pic on Facebook of my dirty
    Kitchen piled high with dishes- why? Because I believe that too often we post
    The cute, clean and fun pics of life that are not reality. So many other mammas
    Posted back that they needed to see my sink full of dirty dishes, and here I was
    Ashamed and holding my breath as I clicked “send”. There is a lot of truth that the truth
    Will set you free. Not only for me- but so many other moms who needed
    To see the normal. I ditto all of this to you- what a brave soul you are!!! Shining
    Light on the true reality of your days is setting a whole lot of mommas free
    As they realize that they no longer need to feel like they have to “hide” reality
    Or feel guilty. Thank you for the encouragement and for helping me a little more
    Normal!!!! Blessings!!

    • Oh, sweet Sarah, so blessed by your words. How true that others often see the “cropped and edited” versions of ourselves. So glad our Savior came for the real me and you and all those other mamas with dishes piled high. Have a wonderful weekend!

  12. YES to bottom wipers!!! :)
    Great, great, GREAT POST!!
    I love you!

  13. Reading this a week late, but your words are perfect for today – I so needed to hear this! Love and miss you!

  14. Standing in my dirty kitchen with tears rolling down my cheeks. This was exactly the message of grace my soul needed to hear this (sick kids, early wake-up, husband’s in Rwanda, rough start) morning. Thank you!

    • Oh Jacki, praying for you today. Hoping today has been a better day, and trusting that God is giving you the strength and grace you need for another day.
      Hugs! ~Jessica