The Joyful Mundane of the Little Years

I’ve always wanted to be a mom. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve imagined having lots of kids. I even had a stroller w/ twin baby dolls that I got as a gift one year.  I remember pretending to have them run up to me when I *came home from work* saying “Mommy!! You’re home!” 

I’d scoop the dolls up and give them hugs and kisses after being away from them for a full day of pretend work. I loved it. I felt so loved and needed. I couldn’t wait to have my own kids to love me like that someday. (I actually rediscovered this stroller and dolls at my parents’ house recently and now my kiddos have it to play with).

The last 25ish years truly flew by since those days I imagined being a mom. But here I am…a mom, with two kids actually. Two kids ages two and under. My toddler does run to me when I get home from work saying “Mama!!” while my baby gives me the biggest grin and motions her arms up for me to pick her up. It’s the sweetest thing and really does make me feel loved.

Getting to this point in motherhood definitely wasn’t an easy route, but after having our first son, I knew we would eventually have more kids…someday. Or so I thought. 

It was Sunday. Easter Sunday. Just one month after the world had shut down due to COVID. Instead of traveling like we normally do for holidays, we were just at home – my husband, 8 month old, and I. We watched Easter service online and I was planning to make us a nice fried chicken meal but the thought of raw chicken sizzling in oil made me want to vomit. That was alarming since I love me some home cooked food. So, just to be sure, I peed on the stick and golly gee, we got two pink lines, once again. What?? I could not believe it. No joke, my husband was literally googling “chance of false positive pregnancy test”. 

Now if you’re reading this and you’re thinking, “ugh, here’s another story about how this girl just got pregnant so easily and I’m struggling over here” or “I don’t want to hear about this, this isn’t going to be helpful…” I hear you. I see you. Hear me out, please. This isn’t a story to boast or discourage, but hopefully one of hope, solidarity, and ultimately — joy. We too, had a somewhat rocky road to having children. An ectopic pregnancy and months of waiting led us to our first baby boy. We were definitely shocked to find ourselves pregnant once again so quickly. 

Once it settled in that we were indeed pregnant, with a baby girl actually, we started to get excited. We had friends that had kids close together and they ensured us that yes, even though it was hard, it was so much fun and that the two of them would be the best of friends. Okay okay, we can do this.

Fast forward a few months. Our baby girl surprised us by coming a few weeks early. All was good, everyone was healthy – for the most part. 

One of the first pictures we have of these two together. An almost 16 month old and a 3 day old 🙂 

Unfortunately, here we began a scary period of a possible cancer diagnosis, another season of severe postpartum depression and anxiety, and two heart surgeries. (Yea, it was a lot. Stay tuned for future blog posts). 

Turns out, I didn’t have cancer. I got through the depression. I stopped having intrusive/anxious thoughts regarding my kids and my health. I healed physically from the surgeries. I was finally able to care for my two kids on my own, without the help of my mom, mother-in-law, or husband. I wish I could tell you that this all got better overnight, but it definitely wasn’t immediate. Healing took time. Time working through a whole lot of things with a counselor, psychiatrist, and many other medical specialists. 

So, here I am now. Two kids – a newly turned 2 year old and a 10 month old. 

This. Life. Is. Busy. I cannot tell you how many times people have told me, “You better enjoy it now, they’re not always going to be this little.” I just nod and smile and try to hide the spit up on the shoulder of my shirt. 

I know I need to enjoy it, I really do. I know that they will be grown up in the blink of an eye. But how can I enjoy it when I constantly feel touched out and constantly needed? I’ve discovered over the last few years that I need alone time to recharge and you’re hardly alone when you’re a mom. Sometimes you can’t even go to the bathroom alone – you know what I mean, mamas. 

Motherhood is more than a full time job (that doesn’t include you moms who work outside the home along with being a mom). Breaks are far and few in between. I hear it all the time – *self-care* is important, but when am I supposed to do that when my baby is crying for “ah mama” most of the day? I already try to get things done during naptime or after bedtime, so when am I supposed to find time for myself? And what if you’re a single mom with limited help around you? That’s also incredibly difficult.  

I absolutely love and adore these kids of ours. These ages are so much fun and they bring so much joy to my life with their sweet giggles and cozy snuggles. But dang, it’s HARD. No one told that little girl with those baby dolls about the toddler that cries if you don’t let him screw on the lid on his milk cup by himself (I DO IT!). They don’t tell you about the baby who needs to constantly be held to prevent a red-faced snotty-nosed cry fest. Or the toddler who purposely pushes over his baby sister who is newly sitting up by herself. 

No one tells you that your husband will be a high school coach which leaves you solo parenting for 3 nights in a row and all day on Saturday. And who knew you’d be spending $100 every time you go to Costco, merely to restock on diapers (in two sizes) and wipes.

And they definitely don’t tell you how messy motherhood can be. The crumbs on the floor, the spilled coffee (you guessed it, by the toddler), the piles of dirty AND clean laundry that you can never get caught up on, the sink full of bottles and sippy cups. The spit-up and vomit and poop (you know it’s true). The random rocks and dirt you find everywhere (seriously, so many rocks). 

I didn’t know that it would be this way. Everyone tells you that being a mom is absolutely wonderful and amazing and it’s the best years of your life so you better enjoy it. Don’t get me wrong, it is. But it’s also really hard. And it’s hard in every season. Whether you have two young kiddos like I do, you just lost your baby to a miscarriage, you have 3-4+ kiddos of various ages,  you have a teenager or two, or you just sent your last baby off to college, we all have challenges in motherhood. 

Challenges in motherhood are difficult no matter what they look like and no matter the stage we are in. Try not to get caught up in the cute outfits, smiling faces, and pumpkin patch pictures you see on Instagram. Beneath those cutesy pictures is a mom who argued with her toddler for 20 minutes on whether he could wear his rain boots with no socks even though it isn’t raining (I’ve stopped fighting him on this one, by the way). 

I’m learning to say “yes” more in this motherhood journey, including to these boots.

I was recently listening to a podcast by some of my favorite moms – Laura Wifler and Emily Jensen from the ministry called Risen Motherhood. One thing they said really caught my attention and has stuck with me. Laura says, “When you are scrubbing dishes, you are living out the redemption story: how Christ’s work on the cross has made you clean as you make these dishes clean.” 

It may sound far-fetched, but it’s so true. We may not be necessarily thinking about doing God’s work everytime we wipe up spilled milk, yes I know. Laura in this podcast also says, God gives us the task to care for His creation – He told us that all the way back in Genesis. Okay, so we’re not taking care of big ole creatures and beautiful gardens, but these dirty dishes, laundry, and little humans are a job in itself. 

And that’s just it. He calls us to take care of our kids and our homes in whatever season we are in. It may seem like mundane work – and it is – but it is so much more than that. We can have joy in all of this seemingly monotonous work because God has created us and put us in this season of motherhood for specific reasons. He is the ultimate organizer of His creation and our lives and He calls us to do the same with our lives, our work, and our families. (Laura Wifler & Emily Jensen, Risen Motherhood Podcast, Episode 7, 2017). 

Woh. Despite all the crumbs, dirt, rocks, spit-up, and poop you encounter in motherhood, Jesus has faced even worse in our sins. And he took all that muck to the cross. To DIE for us and to SAVE us. So as we’re cleaning up yet another mess or picking up toys for the umpeenth time, we can think of Christ and how he graciously washes our slates clean day after day so that we can LIVE in His love. Especially as mothers. What a gift He’s given us to live out his perfect love in our daily lives with our husbands, kids, friends, coworkers, and everyone we come into contact with. 

Never realized I’d be paying attention to what carts have two seats in the front instead of just one (Costco and Aldi for the win!)

Practical Tips to *Thriving* (not just surviving) Motherhood

(I fully understand that I’m a mere 2 years in, so I have a lot of learning to do. But these are some things I’ve found to be helpful in the first few years of motherhood)

  • Community: 
    • Surround yourself with other moms to support you, pray for you, and encourage you. It is helpful if these moms are going through the same season of motherhood as you, but it’s also beneficial to have mom friends who’ve already gone through the seasons you’re about to go through or will eventually go through. From dropping a nap, to sickness and cold remedies, constipation, and starting school, walking through motherhood with other moms alongside you can be so uplifting. And call your own mom. She raised you and you turned out to be pretty great. 🙂 
  • Self-Care 
    • Take. Those. Breaks. It’s so important to take time to be YOU. Not just Judah and Ava’s mom. Find things that bring you joy outside of being a mom and prioritize time to do them. Ask your husband to spend a few hours with the kids, hire a babysitter, ask a friend to watch them for a bit. Whatever you have to do. Don’t forget that you are you before you are this child’s mother. You will be a better wife, mom, and human if you fill your own cup before you try to fill others’. 
  • Marriage
    • Spend time with just your husband, no kids. Go on dates, if you can. Prioritize your marriage so that you can demonstrate to your kids what a healthy relationship between a man and a woman looks like. Talk about parenting tactics, goals, and make sure you’re on the same page. You’re a team when it comes to raising your kids.
  • Prioritize your relationship with God
    • Be in the Word. Read scripture. Pray with your kids. Talk with God. God knows your heart and He desires to lead you along this journey of motherhood. I’m 100% guilty for getting frustrated with the mundane tasks of daily life. However, when we take a moment in the morning to set our eyes upon the Lord, everyone’s day goes a little better. 

You’re doing an amazing job, mama. Keep it up 🙂

Helpful Links

RM Ep. 07: Dirt, Dishes, & Diapers: Coping with the Never Ending Mess

The Shirt That Just Didn’t Quite Fit

Put it on my tab.

“You want to join?”

My husband was attempting to pay for our first round of golf at the ‘country club’ located 4 miles from our new home. The gal behind the counter/bar in the club house was trying to convince us that a membership to the club was the most fiscally responsible thing to do. The amount we would pay for one round for each of us would more than cover a month of membership fees. Our entire family of five could enjoy unlimited golf for less a month than the two rounds we were about to play. But…. I’m in sales – I know how this works and I wasn’t about to jump into a long term commitment. We are in the most expensive years of parenting – called the college and wedding years- and I keep a pretty tight lock on our budget. A Country Club membership sounded excessive. My immediate response was a firm, “No thanks.”

My husband wasn’t so easily convinced that this was a bad idea. He loves to golf.

Loves it.

He will go play a quick round as a form of stress relief. A walk on the golf course does wonders for his attitude. I, on the other hand, need to be pretty happy and relaxed before heading out to play. If I am stressed or pre-occupied, attempting to hit a little white ball is that last thing I need to do. We stood at the counter – he formulating his sales pitch and me running some numbers to prove him wrong. In the end it actually did make sense to make the jump into Country Club life. Membership would also give us unlimited access to a pool – a nice perk during our hot Missouri summers. The extra special touch is that our names have now been engraved on a brass name plate on display for all to see on the club house wall.

After almost 5 years of enjoying our membership privileges this past summer we were granted an upgrade. I guess we have proven our trustworthiness because we have now been given access to ……

A Tab.

You know, the thing that allows you the privilege of enjoying some type of food or drink without actually paying for it at the time you consume it? You order and simply say….. ‘Put it on my tab.’ You can sit around with friends after 9 holes, enjoy a cold one and say – next round is on me! Yep – just put it on my tab. It feels free, and fun and important. It shows you can be trusted. It announces to the world that you are part of the community…

and isn’t that what we all want?

To know that we belong?

I’ve been told that I will never get over the feeling of being ‘new’ in my small town. I have friends that were born, raised and now are raising their own children who are also raising their own children here. All in the same place. It’s something I will never understand. It does not mean it is wrong. It just means its not my experience. They know they belong because this is all they know. They have a lineage that goes back generations. Their good old days happened right here – not some far away place with even farther away memories. The difference between their life experience and mine feels vast.


Until I start asking questions.

And I start listening.

It turns out that no matter what path of life you have meandered, you can still….

Find your forever soul mate that becomes your spouse.

Enjoy great success in your professional life.

Fill photo books with countless happy memories.

Fill hearts with deep hurts from loss and regret.

Endure both financial windfalls and financial ruin.

Receive a cancer diagnosis.

Lose a child.

Get voted High School homecoming Queen.

Save up and buy your first car, your first home.

Struggle with the choices of your children.

Feel the void that comes when all that the world promises to offer keeps falling short.

When it comes down to it, we are all really more alike that different – in the most humbling way.

We all, no matter where we’ve lived or where we havn’t lived, all have a need to be filled. A need for completion. A need to feel loved. A need for peace. A need for forgiveness. A need for redemption. A need to belong.

I’ve just started a 10 week journey with a group of friends through the book of John. It’s one of the four gospels – or accounts of the life of Jesus. If you are not familiar with his life and mission – some time in this book is a great place to start. If you are familiar – this is a great place to re-visit. In just the first 34 verses of chapter one I have been reminded of the gift that he was and is to me and all that chose to follow him. I’m reminded that from the creation of the world he was. I’m reminded that when man blew it, the plan was for Jesus to come and clean up our mess. I’m reminded that Jesus was a light in our darkest places and that he did his most profound work outside of church walls.

At a wedding.

With a parent whose child was dying.

In a crowd of hungry people.

He touched people whom others shunned.

He dined with the scum, the forgotten, the sinners.

When entrance into eternity held a price tag large for us to pay,

Jesus came to pick up the tab.





My tab.

your tab.

He walks into the clubhouses of our lives and covers it all. No matter what we add to our bill, through poor choices, past regrets – he promises to cover it all. He wants you to know that you can belong.

That you can be loved.

That you can be redeemed.

He’s got you covered – for eternity.

It’s on…..


To God be the glory.

“Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:30-31

Sunset at the Country Club: Membership has its privileges

Come As You Are

Emily Schatz

I’m standing in our new kitchen, drinking a cup of coffee, and typing on our island counter as I look around at the sea of boxes. The office in the basement isn’t set up yet. Our bedroom is a mess. The number of boxes needed to be unpacked seems to grow by the day. It’s a little overwhelming, while at the same time exciting. We bought our first house. In this housing market, it was only by God’s hand that our offer was accepted. Every time I look around, I am grateful to God that He has given us this space for us to call home.

As soon as the ink dried on, what seems like, the thousands of papers you sign to buy a house, I was ready to walk in and start making it our home. Visions of dinner parties, wine nights, children running around the backyard as Phil and I sit out on our back patio filled my mind for weeks while we waited for our closing date. The reality is a little less glitz and glamour. Every unpacked box we sift through and unpack we find ourselves asking, “Do we really have this much stuff?”

boxes and boxes and boxes

We had new couches delivered the day before we moved in. I can’t tell you how exciting that was for me. I think that’s when you become an adult – when you’re excited about big furniture purchases. Again, I imagined hosting friends, having long conversations hanging out in our living room. Truly, if I could host people at our place every day I probably would because I love the feel of the living room.

But, there’s a difference between hosting a party and hosting your best friends, right? When we host a party we clean the house, we sweep the pile of clothes or laundry basket into the closet and shut the door. We tend to make all our furniture neat with pillows placed in exactly the right spots. We have food platters, cheese and sausage boards, and drinks nicely displayed on the counters waiting for people to come. More than likely we are dressed in our better clothing. We want the appearance of being organized, tidy, and fun.

When I host my best friends it’s completely different. They don’t need an invitation. My best friends can come over whenever and don’t even need to knock on our door. They come right in. They see the mess of toys on the floor from our kids. They see the piles of laundry that need to be done, or are done, but haven’t been folded yet. They can grab food and drink out of the refrigerator and do not need me to set it out for them. When we host best friends, there’s no need to put on anything for special for them because they know us deeply and love us in all the mess of life. Both literal mess and figurative mess.

The same is true with God. Our lives are messy because we are sinful people.

Have you ever heard someone say that they can’t go to church because they’ve done too many bad things for God to forgive them? Have you heard someone say that God is mad at them?

Have you heard someone say they feel as though they’re not put together enough to come to church?

I have heard it many times from many people, It breaks my heart in two each time. I want to shout from the rooftops, “There is nothing too big for God to forgive and help you through!”
And yet, even as a life-long Christian, there are times when I feel like I need to put on a mask to walk in the door at church. There are times when I water things down for God because I feel as though he will be ashamed of how I acted. Those are the days when I place a strained smile on my face and walk through the doors. Those are the days I push everything I’m struggling with aside as I talk with a friend from church and answer, “I’m good” when they ask me how I am.

Have you been there too?

Maybe you’ve been fighting with your family on the way to church and then walk into the building with everyone thinking that you all have it together. Maybe you’ve been away from the church for a long time because you felt the sin you’ve been struggling with over and over needs to be gone before you can go back.

Friends, the church is not for perfect people.
It’s for the broken.
It’s for the lost.
It’s for the heartbroken and needy.
It’s for the lonely.

The church is the family on earth God has given us to rally each other, love each other, hold each other up.

The church is a place to come as you are because we’ve all got sin. We’ve all got baggage.
And Jesus invites us to come, confess, be forgiven, and be given his grace and mercy. Matthew 11:28-30 says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Jesus wants your piles of mess. Just as you would let your best friend come into your house and see the dirt, laundry, dishes, boxes…Jesus knows and sees all your mess too. And he invites you to come and rest with him. He wants those long conversations. He wants you to rest in His Word and in His promises. He’s done all the work already on the cross and in his resurrection.

The church, at it’s best, is the place you come to and know you don’t have to sweep your mess into the drawers and closet. No. It’s the place where we come to be given the gifts of God and to be supported by our family. That support might look like a meal for someone who is sick. That support might mean helping hold someone accountable. That support might look like babysitting for an overwhelmed mom in need of a break. That support could be listening to someone who needs to share how they really are doing and not just answer with another, “I’m good. You?”

The church is so very beautiful when done this way. The gifts we are given in baptism and communion. The grace we are given in confession and absolution. The support we given in the fellowship of people. It’s all meant to show the glory and love of God. There is no good enough to be there. There is no need to wait until you’ve got it all together.

If you haven’t been back to church in while. I invite you to go back. To return to the love of the Father’s house.

You’ll be welcomed just as you are.