On Being a Mother

On being a mother

Oprah featured moms on her show a couple weeks ago. The two “experts” who “wrote the book” were bubbly, sharp, blond business-type women who wore chic outfits that had never seen spit up or spaghetti sauce stains. They rallied the audience into a frenzy of confessions about motherhood which variously decried the hardships of this “first order of creation” occupations.

“I hate the fluids of babies: pee, spit up, spilt milk, snot.”

“I cried the day I drove to the car dealership to buy a mini-van.”

“There were days I wanted to ‘send them back to the hell from whence they came’.”

On and on the tales of woe pored from the mouths of devoted parents. Video clips of small kids on bikes, disastrous laundry rooms, “stuffed to the gills” cars with seats and sippy cups floated by, making one wonder why anyone would sign up for the task of mothering, let alone sustain it for decades. Moms confessed things, too, like the one who said she didn’t want to wake the sleeping baby by stopping the car for a potty break, but she needed to pee so badly, she took a Pampers diaper, stuck it between her legs and let it “go” as she drove. Yeah, I thought that was way more information than I needed to know about her, too.

There was a surprising lack of joy
represented in the discussion of mothering.

Mostly being a mom was held up as the hardest job on earth, the most demanding, the most self-sacrificing, the most misunderstood and overlooked work on the planet. A kind of shared martyrdom, underdog status united everyone and Oprah, never having mothered anyone, had to declare that indeed, they were right. Mothering equalled sainthood (which we all know implies burning at the stake and smiling through it!).

With my kids in the room, listening to the pain of childbirth and engorged breasts, the relentlessness of little voices, the demandingness of the small child’s need for food, sleep and comfort, the annihilation of a woman’s identity and sense of self, I couldn’t take it any more.

After all, far from being the hardest job in the world,
mothering has been the happiest, most satisfying,
life-giving, joyful, rewarding, fulfilling and
(dare I admit it?) easiest job I’ve ever had.

Oh sure, the hours suck, there are anguishes deeper than the ocean, there are seasons (years!) of such utter exhaustion you can’t imagine ever being rested again… but all those discomforts are easily and unequivocally overturned by my children, themselves.

I punched pause on the DVR to set the record straight:

“Being your mother has been the single greatest joy and privilege of my life: not a burden, not a perennial unrelenting source of emotional and physical agony, not the ‘hardest job in the world’, not the knee-capping blow to my ‘adult individuality’ nor has it been the thankless, under-appreciated, most overlooked profession these mothers would have you believe. In fact, my sense of personhood, identity and self-knowledge have grown more through mothering than any business I’ve started, any degree I’ve earned, any relationship I’ve pursued. I thank YOU for being the best people to ever happen to me.”

Then I spewed in bullet style the privileges and unique joys that came with mothering them (all five of them, each one popping into my life like a fresh daisy, every two years for 10 years).


Being your mom means I got to have someone to cuddle non-stop for 12 years while sleeping with at least one of you at a time, nursing you, carrying you, holding you, helping you in and out of car seats, backpacking you.

Sleeping together:

There is nothing more divine than a baby who falls asleep on your chest while you fall asleep and the whole world stops while mother and tiny child become fused as one content, quiet, shared being. No meditation, yoga, prayer circle, private retreat has ever come close to providing me with the depth of peace, pleasure and abiding hope that sleeping with a baby has given me.


Board games and hopscotch, dress-ups, face paint, finger paint, walks in the woods, trips to the zoo, picking up bugs, rolling down hills, blowing bubbles, eating too many cookies, watching Arthur on PBS, rewatching Disney movies, cards, chasing a dog in the backyard, trampoline jumping, creek splashing, snowman building, skiing, middle of the night slumber parties, bike rides, soccer in the backyard, soccer on the official fields, ultimate frisbee… What adult gets to do any of this on his or her 9-5 job? Talk about luxury!


Oh it starts off good – why do bubbles float? How did I get red hair? Why doesn’t Santa Claus visit Moroccans, too? But boy does it keep getting better! I’ve learned about human rights, veganism, Role Playing Games, Shakespeare, Klingon, fashion, exercise, lacrosse, birds, fantasy novels, conspiracy theories, atheism, feminism, linguistics, alternative monetary systems for world peace (serious!) and more by talking to my kids.

Mothering is the job that means:

  • taking the dog and kids for a walk in the woods is on task.
  • teatimes and picnics are considered achievements worth trumpeting to friends and family
  • even on bad days, someone tells you “Hey, I love you Mom” and then hugs you so tightly, you believe it.

There is no comparison to the jobs I’ve had in business and writing. Sure, affirmation and personal achievement are nice… but they are nothing like the bond that comes from the devotion of loving people who live every day looking for you to see them for who they are. I’ve found that the easiest thing in the world is to love my kids. All it takes is entering into their lives on their terms and giving all I’ve got. I get it all back and more.

Yes, there have been nights where I cried myself to sleep over a non-stop crying toddler or a teenager’s emotional pain. There are times when I feel out of control and invisible and fearful for my child’s future or welfare. But the rewards of mothering so far outweigh any of its challenges, I can’t relate to the repeated refrains of “how hard I have it” simply because I chose to have five kids. Instead, I just feel perennially lucky that my lifestyle has included such richness, tenderness and connection to immortality through my children.

I think it’s time we blew the whistle.
Mothering isn’t a job. It’s a privilege.

Be Good to You: Self Care Practices for the Homeschooling Parent

77 Responses to “On Being a Mother”

  1. Pam Barnhill says:

    Wonderful. Wonderful. Wonderful. Thank you for setting the record straight.

  2. GinnyRae says:

    Amen and Thank you!! 🙂 I needed to hear those words… today!!!

  3. Claire says:

    Thank you so much.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    That was just what I needed.

  4. Rachel says:

    Bravo. You nailed it! 🙂

  5. Carolfoasia says:

    ROCK ON JULIE! Motherhood is the BEST job I have ever had! Oprah needs us to set the record straight. Thanks for leading the charge.

    I LOVE my job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Diana says:

    The newness of everything. the first snowfall, Christmas, even stopping by a roadside motel is something new and exciting. My children bring fun and excitement back into my life.

  7. Rita says:

    Well said, Julie. Incessant whining of all forms drives me crazy, but especially about the one aspect of life that is supposed to have grown me up the most. I shudder to think what kind of selfish person I would have become were it not for my kids. Exhaustion alone, keeps me humble.

    “Woe is me”– my cup is too full!

  8. Deborah says:

    You are so right. I cannot imagine anything that would ever be as amazing as being a mom — or a dad. We are so fortunate to have our children.

    Thanks for writing so beautifully about it.

  9. Ginny says:

    Thank you for reminding us of the privilege mothering is. As an adoptive mom I am keenly aware of the blessings I have been given three times, yet sometimes I forget and wallow in the mud with others. I’m so glad you reminded us of the joy in mothering!

  10. Cindyinadks says:

    I should have known you could WRITE the antidote to that awful Oprah show better than anyone else.
    I wish YOU could go on Oprah along with some of us who love our jobs and our kids. Investing ourselves in our kids DOES yield such a rewarding return.
    For further encouragement, there is a great article from Mom-of-10 in Good Housekeeping this month. Her “ways” are so simple and loving.

  11. Paula says:

    Well said Julie!!!! I LOVE being a mom. I almost feel guilty on those first warm days, you know the ones that come right after the harsh winter, when the boys and I get to be outside all day and my husband has to head off to work. I get to be the one to enjoy all of the fun stuff like that. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

  12. Kim says:

    Wow! Well put and great timing. I just spent nearly a week from my kids and missed them terribly. These words are perfect to keep my eyes on the blessing I have to be their mom.

  13. You sing it, girlfriend! As I curled up with my youngest today at 11:30, listening to him read aloud, I thought how lucky I am to have this “job,” — which is really just LIFE.

    I get to teach my kids all day. Sometimes I am extremely weary, but the joy of my 14 year old who is taller than I am, asking to be cuddled is worth it all. And when my 17 year old daughter sidles up to me to be prayed for and hugged, it’s soooo precious. And even my ever-self-sufficuent 12 year old will greet me with a morning hug.

    What job could ever carry such perks? Those women on Oprah and Oprah herself make me really sad.

  14. Julie Bogart says:

    I love all your comments! I was thinking today at our homeschool co-op how when you have babies, you move from obscurity to rock star status everywhere you go. I remember the curious gazes, the constant flow of admiration for my kids’ curly hair, the praise and validation for doing such an important job (raising kids and homeschooling them too!). Despite the assumption that mothers don’t get enough appreciation, I’ve found that now that my kids are older and not with me, I become invisible in public. With children alongside me, I enjoyed praise, support, enthusiasm and kindness from perfect strangers every single day.

    My job now, in my late forties, is to shower those young moms with the same admiration and sweetness shown to me back in my thirties.

    Congrats to all of you!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Oh Julie! I am so glad you wrote this. I happened to see that Oprah, and my sixteen-year-old in the next room heard my groans and protests. I felt very sorry for these women who seem to be so caught up in the material world that they aren’t able to experience the beautiful depths of motherhood. The lives they described were so filled with driving, appointments, fast-food meals and trying to keep up with some modern ideal of motherhood that I can hardly recognize it as motherhood. I wanted to take Oprah aside and tell her how creative, fulfilling and *gorgeous* mothering can be….as you described so well in your post.

    Oprah has been saying for years (and I always hear pride in her voice that she has figured that out and is so supportive of mothers) that mothering is “the hardest job on earth”. And I both agree with her and with you. It can be hard because of circumstances (the lack of sleep, illness, personalities) or when you are trying to do your best job with the hearts, minds, spirits and bodies of those in your care. But the “hard” portrayed in that show just makes me sad because much of it is so pointless.

    I wish for those women and I wish that Oprah could see the mothering I see in my life and in the warm and lovely arty/crafty/homeschooly blogging world.

  16. I didn’t mean to post as anonymous! : )

  17. Jennifer says:

    I am inspired by what I have read on your blog, but will guiltily admit that I can understand where the women on Oprah are coming from. Being a mom is hard, and, given a chance to rant, it comes easily to some of us to focus on the negative.

    I have struggled to appreciate the blessing my children are. Maybe because of my own upbringing by an overwhelmed single mother who, in her darkest moments, told me how children ruined her life? Maybe because I live in culture which values a paycheck over qualities like patience, wisdom, and joy, which characterize a woman who is mature and secure, no matter her employment status?

    Given the choice, I’d rather read what is written in your blog today than listen to the rants of women who are discussing the most difficult aspects of their lives as mothers. But, I’m still learning how to appreciate my kids, and not be tempted by the “value” of things which can only be seen with eyes that are on the physical world, not the spiritual.

  18. Kathy Ausband says:

    Amen! Motherhood is the best and most rewarding job I have ever had!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Mom Blogs – Blogs for Moms…

  20. Beate says:

    “Mothering isn’t a job. It’s a privilege.”

    Amen, amen, amen!!! (Do ya hear me singing that??) Life infinitely changed during those dawn hours when I birthed our first babe. There was the awe of that sweet baby girl with the rosebud lips and the incredulity of the fact that I managed to bring her into the world! Me – with the body I’d always viewed as somewhat inadequate before =0! Now after 5 wonderful diverse children I’m still completely awed by it all. Thanks for a marvelous post Julie 🙂

  21. Kimberly Fanelli says:

    This is an excellent piece, Julie. I have grown tired of the negative light that is cast upon motherhood. Anymore, It seems to me that It’s almost faux pas to NOT degrade the act of mothering; the moans, the pains, the suffering, the annoyance of children. It’s aggravating…and thankfully so foreign to me. Yes, there are many challenging moments, but I celebrate the gift of being called ‘mom’. Motherhood changed the path of my life to one of great joy. Your article is very refreshing. Thank you for writing it!

  22. Boondock Ma says:

    What a great post! Thank you! I don’t watch Oprah, but sounds like what I hear from folks way too often. Always leaves me shaking my head, thinking there’s someone who needs to remember how it felt the first time they held their baby. Then they need to take the time to enjoy life, through their children’s eyes. Motherhood is a magical journey,and way too brief to not appreciate it fully!

  23. Katrina says:

    Great post, Julie!! I’ve always been saddened by all the mothers around me who dread summer with the kids at home and can’t wait until school starts again. Some parents send their kids to various camps all summer long, so they won’t have to have them around. And the kids know it! They aren’t stupid. So sad!! Thanks for such an encouraging and beautiful post. 🙂

  24. Lizzy says:

    What you’ve written here is beautiful, inspiring, and true. I’ve been home full time with my kids for almost ten years now, and wouldn’t have missed it for anything. My only regret at this point is that I didn’t have more kids.

    But, like so many things, much of mothering depends on what each woman ‘brings to the table.’ You seem to have brought a disposition well-suited for the day-to-dayness of mothering. I think I have, too. But not everyone has that. Add in a difficult marriage, physical distance from extended family, a shortage of positive parenting examples, and some run-of-the-mill immaturity, and being a mom is a pretty tall order.

    I own The Writer’s Jungle and read your blog frequently. Both have been very motivating and helpful to me as I parent and teach my boys. I wonder, Julie, what or who it was that helped you develop your perspective. Was it your own mother? Was mothering a dream you’ve had since you were a little girl? Are you one of those folks who has read ‘all the books’ for inspiration?

    Thanks for this entry. I’m sure I’ll be coming back to it in the future.

  25. Susan says:

    She is a gift from God. I cherish and am grateful for the time Maurina and I have together.

  26. Carla says:

    I think our culture finds it hard to strike a balance between supporting us by allowing us to vent when we’re having a hard time on one hand while also allowing for all the glories of motherhood as well.
    It seems like we’re expected to take sides: motherhood is difficult or motherhood is perfection. “Overall Motherhood is beautiful, but it has tough moments” just doesn’t play well in the media, yk?
    Some of the things I do love most about mothering have been condemned by the majority as awful, spoiling choices. I actually feel guilty about them, so that the best parts end up getting moved to the stressful column!!
    Being chided for not always feeling chipper about it isn’t ideal either. We need a space in our lives where we can admit when we feel overwhelmed and receive acknowledgment and support, with maybe a little reminder to keep it in perspective as a bump in the road. ;>

  27. Colette says:

    LOL! This made me cry–but I am 3 months pregnant with #5 so getting so emotional can be excused! I worked full time when my first 2 were babies. I have been “retired” for 4 years now and I could never go back to not being a constant in my children’s lives.

    I do believe there is a certain amount of giving-up-yourself that you have to do to be a mother. I may not get to do what I want when I want and some days I feel the need to bash my head against the wall repeatedly (though I don’t usually give in to the temptation) But I am repaid a hundredfold for any little sacrifice made.

    What do I love about being a mother? My kids of course!

  28. Julie Bogart says:

    Lizzy, those are terrific questions. Let me lift them and ruminate a bit and post a response on Wed. We have Tuesday Teatime photos for tomorrow so let’s see what I can share then.

    As far as balance: I agree! Healthy venting is a necessity to any mother. We can’t feel that we must pretend that we are happy all the time or that our kids are perfect bundles of joy. Pain, emotion, fatigue, hardship… not to mention challenges of employment, marriage, health and extended family wreak havoc on us personally which impacts the reserves we have to devote to our kids.

    I have suffered in every one of those departments and have felt the effects of challenge combined with the demands of parenting. Yet on balance, I have to say that the pleasure of being a mother, of knowing and loving and nurturing my children outweighs it all. Strangely, they have been (in my specific case) the relief during some of the most challenging emotional periods of my life. I know that isn’t always true for everyone, but it has been true for me.

    Love all these responses!

  29. Gina says:

    Yes! Being a mother is a privilege, a gift, a challenge and the most loving and unique job in the world! Thank God for this gift.

  30. Katie says:

    I wake up in the morning thinking, “I get to do this again today?” and my oldest is fourteen! I can’t believe I get to read, study, play and learn every single day with people who are as excited about living and experiencing things as my kids.

    I get a impatient, worried, tired, frustrated with them sometimes, it’s true. But when I think about what else I could be doing, I realize there is nothing else I would enjoy as much as spending every day exploring the world with my kids.

  31. Lorene says:

    I looked at the possibility of not getting to be a mom for many, many years!! We miscarried our first child. Our next child took a long time to come along. He was healthy but the birth was “touch and go”. We were very blessed with our next child coming along quickly, healthy, and safely. We have been infertile now for 10 years. I have very, very little patience when listening to moms complain about the job that is the GREATEST joy, honor, blessing, and true gift I have ever received!! Every night I get the joy of saying prayers with our two terrific boys and my wonderful husband. I cannot help but thank the Lord every night for the wonderful joy, honor, and privilege He has given me in getting to be the wife and mother in this family!! It is the BEST!! Thank you for this delightful topic!!

  32. Kay says:

    You certainly hit a nerve…look at all the comments.
    Yes, my kids and their father are the best company I could ever asked for. I love being with them. That was the reason home education became our lifestyle… to maximize our time and learn together.

  33. Angele says:


    Thanks for this post. It’s one of your best.

  34. samantha gordon says:

    Instead of waking in the middle of the night because one of my kids needs me, now I wake with a little feeling of sadness because they are growing up. My youngest is 10 and still crawls into bed, but the other 2 are teens and it’s different. It’s all good, but I didn’t know I would have this feeling of mourning for my small children. I’m soooo glad I we have been at home together to share all those wonderful moments you talked about. Thanks so much for your words of wisdom.

  35. Anonymous says:

    I really loved your post and I emailed it to some of my online friends. One friend in particular wrote back that mothering can be hard and saw both sides of this story. I have spent some time thinking about this. I certainly do agree that mothering is hard AND rewarding. I would not want to criticize someone for needing to vent. For many of us who do not have support from our extended family, who struggle with serious illnesses, and who have financial troubles – this is incredibly hard work. Yes, it is rewarding and I totally agree about all of the privileges mothering brings us. But I would not want to make light of the work and sacrifices we mothers do indeed make. Thanks for the post. I love your writing and your blog.

  36. Cheryl says:

    Great post! Motherhood is a blessing.

  37. Julie Bogart says:

    Thanks Anon. I don’t think I made light of suffering or the hardships of mothering at all. In fact, I totally know them in the most personal of ways. What I reacted to was the presentation of information that felt slanted toward “shared misery” as the chief definition of what it meant to “do the hardest job in the world.” Our kids hear us when we speak like that. What I want them to know is that in spite of the personal sacrifices, the physical and emotional exhaustion, the inconvenience and heartache, THEY are by far worth every lost wink of sleep and broken hearted moment. They’ve enriched me and my life more than they’ve intruded on it.

    That’s my main point.

    I do think it is important to tell the truth about our pain and to support one another. For sure.

  38. Weary says:

    Wow! I feel judged and “less-than” just reading your article and the posts of all the super-moms that followed. I love my children – each a miracle and a gift. I would give life and limb for them at any moment, but I do not want to be with them. Not all the time. There must be something wrong with me that no other mother feels this way. I find I need frequent breaks if I’m going to survive; joy in mothering is not something I can even understand. Fleeting moments, sure, but sustained? Absolutely not. I’d love to transition from dreading time with my kids to actually enjoying it.

  39. Julie Bogart says:

    “each a miracle and a gift” – that’s the beginning. Frequent breaks are okay too! Of course there are mothers who feel like you do (they get a lot of press- sort of my point). I hope that you can find through your searching and due to your love of your kids, a way through to the joy that mothering can be.

    That it feels like dread? I’m so sorry. Maybe some time we can talk about where the dread comes from! It would be worth exploring since that feeling is one I hate to live with. (I’ve had it in other areas of my life and get how debilitating it is.)


  40. Jan says:

    I haven’t watched Oprah in a long time; her reality is so far removed from mine it’s not worth my precious time. That said, however, I have been in the reality that those women on her show probably live in. Demanding & high profile career, catty & chatty girlfriends, spiffy clothes, shoe shopping binges, manicured nails, hair & teeth. They certainly aren’t blessings, but at that time in my life, they MADE UP a huge part of my life and helped define it as a result of my upbringing and our culture in general. Children have replaced those material goods, but I admit, I’m still a far way off from sharing and living the attitude that is expressed by Julie and the Bravewriter lifestyle. Maybe it’s temperment, maybe it’s my upbringing, maybe it’s all the crises we’ve experienced in the last decade, but I’m currently a work in progress (aren’t we all) and at least now my sites have been set on something better (again, thanks to Bravewriter and, more importantly, my faith). Perhaps those women on the show haven’t been around enough mothers who are willing to share openly the joys of mothering. If they’re still moving around in the same circles, then I doubt it. The friends I had 15 years ago are no longer an active part of our lives, and when we do connect, there is a disconnect. And we all know how misery loves company. Oprah, who claims to be such a good interviewer, apparently let her guests, audience, and some viewers, go on an extended nationally televised pity party. I’ve been there, still go there at times, but I know there is a better way. There but for the grace of God go I, and all of us. I’m sure these women will look back one day and shrink in horror at what came from their mouths. Let’s all hope so, for their sakes, but more importantly, for the sake of their children who are now being shaped and formed and influenced by their mothers in a powerful yet subtle way. Thank you, Julie, for your inspiration, and let’s pray that these women get some in their lives. Perhaps you can send Oprah your post and maybe she’ll give you some “equal time!”

  41. Anonymous says:

    Julie (and Weary),

    I don’t think you have made light of the hardships of mothering. But there will be some mothers who will criticize moms who vent about how hard the work is. Moms do sometimes need breaks from their kids and cannot get them. I am having a hard time explaining myself. My main point: Not everyone’s experience with mothering is the same for various reason. I don’t think people should feel guilty if they find mothering to be sometimes a bit “soul-sucking” if I might throw in a HP term. I do love my kids but the job of mothering them takes a lot out of me…. I think part of the problem lies with our culture and our values.

  42. Anonymous says:


    We have all been there at some point. Everything, and I mean everything, has positives and negatives. Sun? On a beautiful spring day, it’s wonderful, but by the last day of August, with 10+ days of 90 degree weather, it can be wearisome. A favorite bath robe? Comforting and comfortable, it can also be the thing that causes us to feel less than beautiful.

    I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that you need frequent breaks. No mom is a super-mom; some are just able to find things that bring them joy in those breaks. When you find what brings you joy and passion aside from mothering, you’ll find that will translate to mothering in little increments too.

    And BTW, I bet your kids think you’re an amazing, loving mom that sustains THEM!

  43. Brianna says:

    Not every garden is a bed of roses, and motherhood is filled with thorns and weeds, most definitely.

    Thank you, Julie, for focusing on the beauty of motherhood.

    All of us, though, need to remember that those women who can’t (either economically or mentally) be the type of mother you are, are less of a mother. Each of us has to make our own way, meeting the needs of ourselves and our children.

    Bravo to you who are stay at homes and have the sanity for it. Bravo to those of you work full time and still make home-cooked meals seven days of the week. And Bravo to us who ask the child, “Please, be okay with Mickey D’s tonight. I don’t have the energy even for Bisquick pancakes.”

    If we love the children, and can see highlights from them in our lives, we are mothers to be cherished.

  44. Brianna says:

    Damn my lack of editing!

    All of us, though, need to remember that those women who can’t (either economically or mentally) be the type of mother you are, are NOT less of a mother. Each of us has to make our own way, meeting the needs of ourselves and our children.

  45. […] One mother’s take on a weary look at motherhood. […]

  46. Diana says:

    Julie, great post. I feel sorry for those Oprah guests….yes, we do need time to vent, and there are also moms out there who are dealing with depression, that makes the picture more complicated and hard–but those things aside, I, too, don’t look at my vocation as a “hard job”. I am doubly blessed, I am a mom who has special needs kids who are very medically fragile ( we are on our second child who has a trach and feeding tube)so I look at mothering very differently. I am NOT a saint, I need time away occasionally, I whine and cry, and stomp my foot…sometimes I am the least mature out of the group as I stand pouting that life “ain’t fair”. BUT….I can’t think of anything I have done in life so far in these 42 years that is any more important than being the mom to five kids. I have gotten to partake in Creation…wow..that alone should knock our socks off every time!! Having had a bunch of littles, and a kid with a trach and multiple medical needs….it has molded me into the person I am. I am a blessed woman. I see my kiddos struggle so hard to do normal things like breath and eat….and suddenly poopy diapers and laundry seem like small peanuts. I am not disparaging anyone who struggles with laundry and diapers, ( I still grumble) but I have a perspective now that I would never trade…..lots and lots of “things” we get crazy over are actually quite small in the big scheme of things…and mothering has lead me to a place of peace. Deep peace– knowing what I do counts…a lot. AND..There is JOY there, right there amongst doctors and surgeries, and scary stuff….joy wins, because love wins!!!

  47. Diana says:

    Also….I second what Brianna says, Motherhood is beautiful, but just like the thousands of beautiful flowers in the world, we all do it differently, and we all grow our families differently….I am glad to give a little shout out about how mothering feels to me, thanks, Julie for the opportunity.

  48. Rose says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this excellent post. Excellent on many fronts. As an infertile woman who prayed for years to be blessed with children, the adoption of my three kids has proven to be the most rewarding and most challenging journey in my life. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

    Thank you for this affirmation of motherhood.

  49. Shari says:

    Being a “Mom” is what I was born to do. Taking a non traditional path, I’m a foster parent of 2 and adoptive mom of 4. The best part of my day is helping my kids sweat through homework and problems to stand at the end in triumph beside them! Given the chance to go back and have a life without little people would be akin to going to hell. I can’t even fathom it. What would I do with all of that time? LOL

  50. Mandy says:

    Yes, thank you! We are encompassed by main stream media promoted selfishness. I’ve discontinued usage and this is only one reason why. I want to hear other rooted Christian moms embrace and appreciate the challenges and sacrifices of being a mom. Mothering helps to humble my pride and encourages my growth towards God. WHAT A BLESSING! Because of my kids and the more challenges they send my way, I need to die to self and embrace God and Jesus’ strength ever so more.
    The best part of being a mom for me is seeing their love of God and them being able to express that through prayers, singing praises, interest in church/bible/saints and their loving embrace!!
    True heroes are not those most versed to match societal mainstream ideals but those that step out of mainstream and touch you and me by communicating values and love!! Thank you moms for your stance and loving embrace of motherhood! No one said it was supposed to be easy (because obviously it’s not ;)…but society says everything supposed to be easy 😉
    Blessed Mother, help us to embrace our calling as you oh so did and witness to others the love for the blessings we’ve been entrusted.
    Thank you and happy mother’s day to all!

  51. Julie Bogart says:

    Thanks Mandy for your passion, but just wanted to clarify that this site is not specifically Christian and we welcome all mothers of all lifestyles and faiths.

  52. Weary says:

    Wow again! I totally expected to be shot down, but you guys have treated me with grace and understanding. I didn’t see the Oprah show you referenced (when do you have time to watch Oprah? 🙂 And I live in a community that seems, at least from the outside, to have it together. I don’t (obviously) I just picked up Parenting with Love and Logic today. Maybe it will help.

  53. Julie Bogart says:

    Good for you Weary. It does no good to shoot down people who are hurting. Better to pour a glass of wine and suggest bad reality TV.

    I have a new post tomorrow that might be helpful to you too. Keep reaching out. Things get easier over time, too, usually. 🙂

  54. Gayla says:

    Beautifully put. My girls are going to read this blog before the week is over. They have seen my fits of frustration, and they have seen my overwhelming gratitude of getting to be their mom. I want them to know this viewpoint is not exclusive to their mom, so when they are (hopefully) in my situation, they will know they are not alone.

  55. Lucy says:

    Looking forward to your new post. I am always looking for inspiration from those who have “been there”.

  56. Anne T. says:

    Thanks for this post Julie, a stunning rebuttal of the anti-woman, anti-child attitudes that surround us. Motherhood is difficult sometimes, but there are many joys.

    If I was not a mother, I would not be rushing to the basement to check on our week-old chicks as they settle down to sleep for the night. They are there because my very patient daughter has asked for chickens every spring for the past 8 years and this year we said “yes”. I thank her and tell her I would not have experienced this without her.

    If I were not a mother I would not have had a poetry writing session at noon today with two twelve year olds, laughing and pawing through our magnetic poetry words and coming up with lines like “I am chocolate milk-less” and “I worship a goddess in a gorgeous sky blue gown, a lazy puppy sleeping in her shadow.”

    I would not have slowed down enough to hour long walks up one block with a three year old stopping to peer at every ant-hill, tree root, and sparkly rock.

    Thanks again. I am tired, there is a long ‘To do’ list running through my head, but once again you have reaffirmed that we are doing the right thing here, that being there to nurture our children is the most important job on earth.

    Anne T.
    Portland OR

  57. Laura Scharfenkamp says:

    Yes! We have been entrusted with the care of actual human beings- unique and beautiful works of art. They are amazing, and we get to discover their wonders! We can participate in shaping their character and teaching them to love.

    The best part of the deal is if we keep our eyes off ourselves, we can see them. We can appreciate whoever God made them to be. It IS glorious to take time out for a game of monkey-in-the-middle, or chalk drawing, bug catching or bike riding. If we can see the richness of these moments, not only will these moments not be stolen from us, the future in them is built.

    My husband and I were just at my neice Isabelle’s 5th birthday party. She is a shiny little star, all bright and full of funny verbal surprises. What a blessing! My husband and I had huge fun with about 8 kids playing monkey-in-the middle with maybe 10 balls in the gym. I was saddened that the adults just seemed to want to make a speedy exit. They missed out.

    I know life hurts. We’ve been through brain surgery, a devastating fire, a swindling contractor, chronic illness of two of our kids and myself. My husband is an automotive engineer, so we have that stress. It hurts and I am truly tired, and again sick. In fact, my eldest daughter ended up missing her Bravewriter class because I couldn’t keep on her tail about it on top of her other work. But she’s ok, and we may try again. But I’ve been down the martyrdom road, and Jesus did it best. I know I can never know the pain or struggles of another woman. And I do not deny their immensity.

    Why let anything that we don’t have to lose get stolen from us- especially the joy and priviledge of raising kids made in the very image of the Creator. As my husband said “They are our treasures!”
    Laura Scharfenkamp

  58. Sharon says:

    More fodder for the agenda of breaking down the only strong fabric of society where the moral compass is developed, experienced and shared: The Family – especially one anchored to the Rock of Ages.

    Yet God has designed us – even those who choose to deny Him and His purposes – to know Him better through the gift of marriage and children.

    May we all continue to pursue His plan as we fulfill our God given purpose of mothering our special gifts, our children, so that they in turn will continue to serve Him in their own families.

  59. patti says:

    Can Motherhood not be both: the hardest job AND a privilege?
    Why the need to polarize the two?

    I did find Mother very challenging at first and at the same time
    the deepest joy I thought possible.
    Writing though, did save my nut
    so much so
    I wrote the book
    Motherhood As A Spiritual Practice

    Have enjoyed your Bravewriter’s
    been on your list for years[?] now
    My daughter loves reading and writing
    Bibliophile like her parents
    my first comment here
    thanks for your work

  60. Katy Jones says:

    A friend sent me to this fabulous entry on your fabulous blog. Thank you SO much for putting into words what many of us Moms are thinking but don’t always take the time to share.

    I’ve come to the conclusion after being in “charge” of Boy Scouts, PTA and band booster fundraisers, Little League, Little Dribblers, etc., that some people (including Moms) actually enjoy complaining. But if one continuously complains about the blessings in life, she soon can’t recognize joy if it slaps her in the face.

    Joyful Moms of the world, unite!

  61. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!!!

  62. Scarlett says:

    Has anyone sent this to Oprah?

  63. Julie Bogart says:

    I sent a link to her email address at the suggestion of a friend. But feel free to submit again. 😉

  64. nancy says:

    This is the reason I do not watch Oprah anymore…she has her own agenda. Althought she complains of celebrity worship in our society, she continues to host celebrities as people to look emulate.

    However, Oprah does much good in our world – I just feel there are other ways to get information and entertainment.

  65. I am so glad to read this. I watched that Oprah just two days ago and I was also disturbed by it. I am in the throes of hard motherhood with 4 children under 6, so I related very much to the exhaustion and the frustrations. As I speak there is something incredibly sticky on my tab key – I know not what. But there was no discussion on the show about the JOYS of motherhood.

    I think the greatest thing about motherhood, in a global sense, is how I have grown. Being a mother reveals my sin to me on a constant basis. I am made fully aware of my selfishness daily. I am forced to die to myself in a thousand ways. And because I WANT to be less selfish, I consider this a gift, not a curse.

    Sometimes I do get whiny about it – surely just as whiny as the women on Oprah. But all it takes is one snotty kiss from a 2 year old or hearing one of my children exclaim “Mommy, you’re the BEST and I’ll never stop loving you” to remind me why I am the most blessed woman on earth.

  66. Nancy says:

    Being a mother is the most blessed thing I could EVER attain. Thank you for your thoughtful description of the “hardest job you’ll ever love.” I am a homeschooler and mother to 7 children (and 4 others with Jesus). I just graduated my oldest from high school yesterday! There are MANY long nights rocking babies and listening to the woes of teens, but it is SO worth it. At almost 41, I feel blessed to be holding babies, wiping noses, preparing meals, patching boo boos, cheering on my baseball players, driving teens, and having coffee with my young adults. Psalm 127 says children are a heritage from the Lord. They sure are that!!

  67. Helen says:

    It’s nice to know that I am one of many women who have not lost the focus of family life. Yes, this job of mothering does not bring public recognition, but how long does that last anyway? Now, that I am past the sleeping baby, tea party stages and into the university preparation stage, I will say that not one moment of the time I spent with my children was wasted. I am blessed with intelligent, interesting young adults, with whom it is fun exciting and interesting to spend time with. Yes, I miss the quiet times, but now we share books, music, vacations and (and for this I thank the Lord daily) they really want their parents to be part of their lives. Keep at it through the tough times, they don’t end they are part of every stage of life. The good things just breed more good things that keep getting better.

  68. babz says:

    recently my thirty one year old son said to me, “you always seem to know the exact right thing to say to me , to make it all clearer.”my thirty six year old daughter calls me at work,to leave the message, “wanted to tell you i love you .”and we see each other daily , in person , as we share our house.i am grateful for all the things granted to me , and i am grateful for the continuing job of mothering.

  69. […] honor of Mothers Day, here is a beautiful post on motherhood. “Being your mother has been the single greatest joy and privilege of my life: not […]

  70. Cheryl says:

    What a lovely post. That Oprah show has always bothered me. Yes, there are days when it sucks 80% of the time but those are the days where I am gifted the opportunity to practice patience and hone my skills. I am going to pass this one on.

  71. Liz says:

    Thank you so much for writing this piece. I know that motherhood can sometimes be the stuff of jokes (and laughing aboutleaking breasts, diaper explosions, temper tantrums, and jelly donuts on the new carpet is a far better approach than ranting about them), but in the end it is also about joy. As my daughter approaches the birth of her first child, our first grandchild, I try as much as possible to convey the joy that’s ahead. Your piece and some of the comments also stirred up happy memories for me of things like hatching eggs for a homeschool project, and my babies sleeping on my chest. Motherhood has its share of aggravations of course, but many of them simply become funny stories to tell on your kids years later. The joys of a baby pulling of your breast and giving you a milky smile can be treasured at the time and in memory as well.

    I often said that I learned as much during homeschooling as my kids did and that I felt guilty sometimes for having so much time to sit and learn about stuff I was interested in while my poor husband had to spend his day in an office. What other job allows such variety, such scope for the imagination, such opportunity for physical affection. I’ve been a teacher, I’ve worked in an office, I’ve done sales, and I’ve never had a job that stretched me as much or given as much back as being a mother has.

    I must admit I am looking forward to grandparenting with an incredible eagerness because it looks like a place where you get many of the benefits, but skip most of the tough stuff. But grandmas don’t get to nurse babies or sleep with them. That’s for one season of life only. It’s too bad that some people try to rush through that season without really appreciating the joys it brings. This isn’t just looking through rose colored glasses of memory. I remember waking up with the family sleeping in a sort of H pattern (son across the middle of the bed, daughter next to mom, daddy hanging off the other edge of the bed,0 and thinking that as uncomfortable as it was in a way that it was the best of times. We had our bad moments too, but if I had it to do all over again, I’d do it all over again, only I’d have more kids.

  72. mares vs agbeko tickets…

    […]On Being a Mother « A Brave Writer’s Life in Brief[…]…

  73. Terrible Twos…

    […]On Being a Mother « A Brave Writer’s Life in Brief[…]…

  74. bumbo says:


    […]On Being a Mother « A Brave Writer’s Life in Brief[…]…

  75. […] Julie Bogart wrote her blog post On Being a Mother, she said she received more emails and comments to that post than she ever had before. She […]