To the Mama Who Is Having a Terrible Day With the Kids

Dear Mama:

Today was a hard day. I woke up to one of my little men kicking the wall between his bed and our room. I pray a little breath prayer, “Lord, help me today. Surely, I will need you.”

I hear my husband walk down the hall, showered, dressed and post workout. Jerk. Kidding. Maybe.

I take my morning breath and greasy-haired self out of bed. Feet on the floor, P, feet on the floor.I hear Bret arguing with a kid to throw his paci. This is our morning mantra with him, as he firmly shakes his head and firmer still, “nope!” They are duking it out when I walk into his brother’s room.

Instantly, my still asleep brain registers that the smell, is in fact, not my morning breath. Seriously??? AGAIN???

A little backstory. The boys are potty trained. Which to those who have mothered, nannied or babysat a potty trained toddler, know that potty trained does not necessarily mean neverhaveaccidentseveragain or nevertakeadoodie on my striped rug, that my mommy loves.

It most certainly, does not mean that.

Much less every other morning for like two weeks. Truly. It’s comical and shocking and gross and infuriating all rolled into one. He doesn’t just pop a squat on the floor. He tries to clean it up. He covers it in clean nighttime pullups…often times ten of them. Or an entire box of kleenex. Sometimes I just find a little surprise under a pile of paper. Like the street vendor game with an object under three little cups. You have to watch closely and guess which one has the little nut under it. In my case, there is no prize for guessing correctly.

And just to paint a clear picture for you, his well-intentioned efforts do not clean anything up. In fact, all it does it smoosh more doodie into the striped rug that I love. THIS IS WHY I DON’T HAVE A DOG PEOPLE!!!

Ok, back to the nasal assault of human feces (I know, gross, but it’s only fair you have a full appreciation). He is sitting on his cute whale sheets, swinging his legs and says, “I went poopoo.” S&%t, indeed.

Then I realize he has no pants on. And no underwear. Though my brain is working excruciatingly faster now, it takes a second to compute that due to all of the kleenex on the floor, and the fact he can’t really ahem, clean himself well yet, he is grinding more filth into those cute sheets with every leg swing.

“Nooooooooooooooooo!” screeches out before I can even stop it. Bret comes flying in with the other hangry child, and his brother bursts into tears.

Well done, mommy. Well done.

An hour and a half later, we are downstairs on the couch pushing start on the second episode of Umi Zoomi (certainly not my choice). And the guilt sets in. It just snuggles up real close and plays with my hair. Blew it again, huh? Shocker. Lost your temper again, huh? Doing that a lot lately, aren’t you? Cartoons? Again? It’s not even 10:00, you couldn’t even make it til mid morning. Jude will now never talk beyond what he can say now. (Not supposed to watch tv til like 20, the pediatrics people say) and Elliot will, of course, be addicted to video games or porn because of this moment. (makes sense, right?)

Why can’t you be fun and play with them, savor the moments and all that? They are only little once, blah blah blah. What happened to being creative with them? But I guess that’s ok. You’re not really that kind of mom. Hot dogs again? Sick. Guess you don’t care about their fertility, or something like that.

And the list goes on. All day. And I sit. And wallow in it. I actually have a lot to say about said wallowing. And you will hear about it, I’m sure. But today. Today was a hard day. And tonight, as I gladly relented to my son’s pleas to snuggle with him, and as he and I confess our shortcomings from the day to one another, I feel that burning in my throat. As I lay there and “pet him” (his words for scratching his back), I’m just so mad at myself for letting those dumb lies win again. And again. And again. But then that face-crack cry of clarity.


Long deep breath. Face cracks again, tears flow hard. I have an actual Savior of my soul. Once for all, forever. More so, it feels, for me this night. That soul Savior who works on me, and in me, and with me. Every. Single. Day. Holy cow, I forget He is in the trenches with me. Or maybe the truth is I don’t really believe it. Sit on that for a minute.

On those days where survival is all I can muster. The ones where the only way my hair doesn’t get wet, is because my Father is letting me stand on his back in the deep end. Grace.

When the weeks go by and He lets the distance between us stand there silently, waiting patiently to see my face. Grace.

So when I let the boys watch too much Team Umi Zoomi, or eat hot dogs sequential meals in a row, He tells me it’s ok. Because grace. Grace laughs at cartoons and excess sodium. Nitrates are nothing when faced with a God who parts seas, and causes oceans to roar and swell.

To the mom who loses the battle with her patience over and over and over again.
To the college student who made a poor choice, again, last night.
To the single woman who struggles again today, with bitterness or jealousy or insecurity.
To the wife who didn’t even try and fight her selfishness or greed or comparison.
On and on and on.

So. We. Do. Not. Lose. Heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Our salvation is for eternity. But it’s also for the everyday. So put your feet on the floor.

Today was a hard day. “Lord, help me today. Surely I will need you.”


This article originally appeared at

Paige Jenson
Paige is an imperfect mom to boys, a recovering Dr. Pepper addict, and a follower of Jesus. She lives in Kansas City and you can still hear a hint of Texas in her voice. Paige also loves to feed huge crowds and make cool stuff. She writes her musings about living a frank life in a world where it’s hard to be honest at

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