What Being a Mom is Really Like

I don’t recognize the kind of motherhood I see in the movies or on magazine covers. Neat. Clean. Perfect -white teeth smiling. I don’t live greeting card or fairy tale motherhood.

Mine is messy. It’s loud with crazy laughter and tearful drama. It’s full of forgetful tooth fairies and kids in need of haircuts.

being a mom

One day it kicks my butt and leaves me wondering what in the world I’m doing wrong. The next I’m reveling in all the right and good I see in my children. And in me.

I’ll let you guess which one today was.

Being a mom is a lot like this:

You take off your cute denim jacket in the middle of dinner and hand it to your child because the restaurant is too cold. You freeze the rest of the meal. You aren’t surprised one bit when she dips your sleeve in Ranch dressing.

When your children play hide and seek in the house, you hide in the bathroom or the closet. Sometimes both, just to throw them off.

You’ve crept into your child’s room to make sure they were still breathing.

You’ve prayed the creaking door on the way out wouldn’t wake them up.

You consider grocery shopping alone a date. With yourself.

You yell at your kids to stop yelling.

You’ve set the clocks forward an hour for an early bedtime.

You dread the end of summer while you simultaneously count down the days.

You’ve had your feelings hurt by a very small person who can’t even tie their shoes or whistle.

The youngest wants to “help” with lunch. You let her, even though you know it means you’ll be adding a mop to the cleanup routine.

You cry on the first day of school. And then you do jazz hands.

You would carry every hurt and pain your child experiences. It hurts even more that you can’t.

You regret not buying stock in Magic Erasers.

You put off replacing your laptop so your child can play a musical instrument.

You have to apologize to someone 3ft tall on a regular basis.

On more than one occasion, you have verbally thanked God for Netflix.

Being a mom is the ultimate collision of imperfection and beauty. And we wouldn’t change it for all the magazine covers in the world.


  1. 3


    setting the clock ahead? priceless! and motherhood is
    sending your child to picture day in an inside out, wrinkled t-shirt.
    knowing without looking that the clothes aren’t really put away
    sending him to high school one day in his own vehicle
    dropping him off for his first high school soccer practice
    taking a day off work to take him to COLLEGE (17 days)
    it’s feeling proud and afraid and deeply so:

  2. 4


    Right on! Honestly, it’s been that kind of summer for me and have felt like I’ve kinda been in a pit. So thankful to know that there is grace, truth and beauty even in the messes of life.

    Thanks for sharing, You are always inspirational!


  3. 7

    Janan says

    Loved this! So much truth in your article. AND I have to admit, I have thought about the time trick but didn’t think it would work. This article gives me renewed hope! 😉
    Thanks for sharing!

  4. 9

    Sharon B says

    Thank you so much for this post. I needed this this morning, especially as I sit here in my room listening to my 2 younger boys fight over what’s happening in a video game. I’m trying to hold on to the awesome feeling I had while talking to my 18 year old this morning. He’s at the airport in Utah, waiting to fly to CA to serve a mission for our church. I keep telling myself that, despite the current fighting, apparently I did something right! Oh, and the Wii may be going in timeout in a few minutes.

  5. 10

    april says

    You might look into ordering generic magic erasers on amazon…its called melamine foam…same thing, way cheaper :-)

  6. 13

    Renee says

    Thank you! Thank you!! I went to bed last night feeling less lonely after reading your post about your day. I think I was eating chocolate at the time and it fit me perfectly! This morning I read this and it is spot on. Thanks especially for: Yelling at my kids to stop yelling. I found myself doing this yesterday and kept thinking WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME??? Here’s to another day of being stretched and blessed by this glorious vocation!

  7. 14

    kelly says

    YES to it all!!!! i feel less like the only mom who feels/acts/thinks this way!!!
    once again Kristen you’ve hit the pro vial nail on the head!!

  8. 15

    sherri says

    so true!!
    Hollywood is a funny thing.
    I used to think motherhood would be like Marie Von Trapp from Sound of Music
    Now I realize I’m more like Lois from Malcolm in the Middle on some days.
    but my kids love me….real mom…more than those fake moms and that makes me happy!

  9. 17


    “You’ve crept into your child’s room to make sure they were still breathing.” – And when they are bedroom door locking teens, you knock on the door to wake them up for the same reason. 😉

  10. 18


    I know just how you feel. I’ve only got one son at home now and he’s 13. Growing up too quickly. Cherish these times though because as you know they will be gone before you know it. Oh how I wish I could do it all over again.

  11. 21


    While I’m not “happy” that other moms go through these things, it certainly is comforting to know I’m not alone. I cannot begin to count how many times a week (or day!?) I yell at my kids to stop yelling!! And then want to kick myself!

  12. 25

    Beverly says

    I love how you said “motherhood is the ultimate collision of imperfection and beauty.” So true. As I watch my kids grow and change my heart rejoices and breaks all at the same time.

  13. 26

    Jessica Reck says

    I consider grocery shopping with my 5 week old, a date. With myself :) And hahaha forgetful tooth fairies….my son probably waited two weeks for his last tooth to be replaced by the tooth fairy! We put it in a jar on the counter and replace it with a silver coin…I kept forgetting every night until he was up the next morning and promised myself to remember that night, only to forget again!

  14. 27

    marie says

    So true! I had one of those ‘bad mom’ days yesterday! But kids are amazing at how willingly they forgive! You remind us there is grace!

  15. 28


    Yes and you hide out in the bathroom ‘JUST’ to have a bit of peace… only to realize your little one is leaning on the door crying as you try to escape. Motherhood is way harder than anyone ever told us.
    Beginning with the first day of nausea to the contractions and the discussion of bottle or not?
    Yeah it is hard.
    You will make it, I promise.
    My children are 35 and 38 and they survived just like I thought they would.
    Enjoy every minute and remember to laugh. If you can keep humor close to you, YOU will survive.

  16. 29

    Carey Richmond says

    I go a step further when praising God for Netflix. For whatever reason those hundreds of episodes of Power Rangers are digital gold! My kids, even the girl, will sit for however long I let them. I do try to limit tv, but on those days that I need to get something done, The Power Rangers franchise is my friend!

  17. 30

    Gay T says

    Awesome post! I especially liked the grocery store line. For me it’s going to Target alone, buying a large Icee that I don’t have to share, and meandering through the clearance end caps/racks without distraction. Heaven.

  18. 31


    I had just finished writing my post on ‘What Fatherhood Seems Like ‘ when I ran across this post of yours! It was so funny to read the similarities of what ‘motherhood seems like too!’ It seems my wife and I are always yelling at our kids to stop yelling (that’s the only way they can hear us)!- @Father4Dummies

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