the harvest years of motherhood

The last several months I’ve had to work incredibly hard.


Harder than I’ve ever worked – it’s those days of bone tired, mind weary, keep on pushing, and hustling tired. I’ll wake up before the day breaks the horizon and fall asleep just hours before the alarm is set to ring again.  It’s a alarm clock ring that my nine year old will hear in his room and will shout not that noise not that and I’ll think in my head I’m just so tired  and I can’t do this. It’s day in and day out and day in and out again and again.

So I’ll swing my legs over my bed and throw on a sweatshirt and stumble down my stairs until I get to the kitchen and I’ll dump water into the red Keurig of mine and press brew as my brain and body try to wake. The cries of mom and I don’t want to go to school and what’s for breakfast and I can’t find my math and where are my gloves? come quicker than the coffee brews. I’ll look at the faces of those kids I love and I’ll smile at them but, inside, inside I’ll hurt a bit.

Some mornings I feel like I’ve let them down.

I see them and think of everything that I didn’t get done with them again. I’ll remember the books that I wished to have read and see the Sequence Junior game just sitting in the corner waiting to be played and I’ll think about how I still haven’t gotten the Christmas decorations out and how I wished we had made cookies. I’ll look at the Lunchables I threw in the lunch boxes and wish that I had time to pack more (or money) and I’ll think about all the times where I didn’t send a note or volunteer to be the class reader or chaperone.

It wasn’t out of lack of love.

I’ve just been in a harvest season of motherhood.

You know, the harvest.


My grandfather was a farmer in Southern Minnesota. He was a wonderful man – he spoke German to me and called me his city girl because I lived up in Minneapolis. He loved me. And his family. And I have this memory of him from when I was about seven. We slept over at his farmhouse – me on a bed upstairs in the home with gigantic floor vents and not much heat but a whole bunch of love – during the harvest time.

And my grandpa wasn’t around.

He was working.

It was the harvest.

Harder than he has to do many of the other times of the year. Day and night and day and night. Working.

Because he loved his family.

And the harvest is what put food on the table. It was what he needed to do to show his family how much he loved. And it goes beyond even showing – it was what he was supposed to do.

So that is where I am now. In the harvest season of life. It’s a time of work and pushing and working more. I feel like I drop the ball with my kids sometimes – I’ll see all that I think I should be doing to be a good mom and I’ll miss seeing all the things that I am doing. I’ll miss the honor of working hard for them so that they have the things that they need and food on the table.

I know that there are many of you in those seasons of life as well.

Seasons of work and giving and staying at home and working away from home and sometimes it feels like you’re not doing all the things that a good mom does.


A good mom takes care of her kids.


Loving our kids sometimes means that we have to do the hard things for them.

I do my best.

Remember the power in doing your best.

Remember the beauty in doing your best.

I know that the harvest seasons of life are difficult, challenging, hard, giving, crazy times.

Love your kids. Work hard for your kids.

Do your best. Even if it means no Pinterest inspired birthday parties or homemade cookies or that you could only read two books instead of four. No guilt, sweet mother. Just be proud.

Be proud of all you do. Yes, that. That is what I want you to remember.

Be proud of you.

Do you look in the mirror and ever think about that about you?

Or do you look and simply see all the things that you wish you would have done? Today….today I want you to be proud. To see everything that you accomplish. To not cut yourself down for the harvest moments in life. To remember that often it’s the littlest things that make the biggest difference. To know that you matter. You make a difference.


Carry on brave awesome hardworking loving mom.


You’ve got awesome to do.


14 Responses to “the harvest years of motherhood”

  1. December 4, 2014

    Danielle Reply

    Thank you so much for this reminder… I don’t think I have ever looked in the mirror and been proud… I need to stop being so hard on myself and look for the joy each day in my little ones and the life I have in Christ! Thank you!

    • December 4, 2014

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      Yes! Sometimes I think it is so easy to not see all that we do and the lives that we impact.


  2. December 4, 2014

    darcell b Reply

    a beautiful post. i find such strength in your writings. i teared up when I read this shouting at the page you are a good mom you are. I know that tired feeling.

  3. December 4, 2014

    Elizabeth Reply

    I swear Rachel has a spy watching my life with my six crazy, beautiful kids so she can post just the right words at the right time. Thank you for reminding me over and over to see the good and the joy above all else.

  4. December 4, 2014

    Liz R. Reply

    I needed this today. I am a sick mama right now and so all I was able to do today was keep everyone alive and sustained and rest wherever possible. I felt guilty for not doing any cleaning or taking my toddler outside when the baby was sleeping. But I did my best today and that’s what counts. 🙂

    • December 4, 2014

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      I hope you feel better soon. And yes, yes, yes…your best in the moment matters.


  5. December 4, 2014

    Laura @ Mothering Spirit Reply

    In tears as I read this. It’s like you wrote this straight to my heart tonight. Today was actually a huge day for me to be proud of me, for a dream I worked my tail off to bring to life. And it got celebrated today by a group of people I care deeply about. But then I came home to one kid throwing up and all of them needing my attention at once, and here I am at 8:30 at night, finally “starting” to work for the day? This is an incredibly stressful season in our house, but maybe if I see it as harvest, then my attitude can shift. Thank you for this gift.

  6. December 7, 2014

    Deanne Reply

    Just what I needed to hear today. Thank you!

  7. December 9, 2014

    Jess Reply

    Hi Rachel,
    Thank you for writing and sharing this. It made me cry. I am right in the middle of this right now, a motherhood “harvest” raising my 4 kids plus a niece, working full time, and constantly feeling like I am not the mother that I am supposed to be, that I am not “good enough.”
    Thank you for bravely giving all of us a voice.

  8. May 20, 2015

    kate Reply

    What to do when your 26 year old feels that she can’t get married because the past you created for her when you thought you were giving your best was not good in her eyes, she remembers pain, abandonment, a single mother who was not there for her when she needed.

    • May 20, 2015

      Robin Reply

      Dear Kate,
      I read your post and just had to respond…… My heart goes out to you and I wish I could give you a hug! I am not sure why your daughter thinks that she can’t get married because of you being an awesome single mom…… Our children sometimes still have tunnel vision with certain aspects of their lives and it is usually because they are looking for a scapegoat to blame so that they don’t have to accept responsibility for their own actions or feelings. I am praying for you both and I hope she realizes soon that life is what you make of it, not what others make for us….. GOD BLESS!

  9. July 20, 2016

    Lise Reply

    i love this post. I feel inadequate as a mom most of the time and have never felt proud of what I do, just guilty about what I don’t get done. I will try to be proud of what I do sometimes. I spend so much time working and fixing things that are breaking down and making sure the bills get paid, trying to avoid dropping any balls, and then taking my kids to practice, watching them, cooking food specific to allergies, all these things, but where is the carefree laughter, where is the joy? I am plowing on and sometimes fun comes alongside but sometimes it doesn’t. I feel guilty for not being that fun mom. Sometimes I feel like I have forgotten how to laugh, when I used to laugh and smile much of the day.

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