the mom days when the tears fall

On Tuesday I cried for I don’t know what reason why.

Well, I busted the keyboard on the netbook computer that I saved up to buy my kids for Christmas. I mean, it’s a thing, yes, but I had saved and saved and saved and this was a huge thing for me to get for them and in one swoop I broke the “p” key.

Insert crying. Over an object with the word Asus on the back and sticky keys on the front.

And yet, yet at the heart it was not tears over the object. It was a deeper percolating to the surface bubbling over type of trying to keep it together and having that moment when it boiled over.


It’s not the spilled milk we cry about or the broken “p” on a keyboard or the fact that the cereal spilled all over the floor or the crayon melted in the dryer or that we’re late picking up our kids. It’s not that you can’t find the homework sheet or that your to-do list from last week is still looming and it’s Thursday or that you’re simply super tired because you were up with your five year old who had bad dreams.

It’s just part of being a human.

I cried because I honestly, in that moment, felt like I just couldn’t get ahead. Well, that and sometimes life, or motherhood, has that feeling of pressure like my tea pot and it builds up and up and up until it whistles so loudly that it cannot be contained.

And on that Tuesday  it wasn’t even really about the getting ahead. It was more tears falling from my cheeks because all of this mothering and working and giving and late nights felt lost. Like I was working working working and giving giving giving and yet I still found myself treading water and wanting to hear how much what I was doing mattered but was instead met with deafening silence (minus the two stir crazy and inside bound kids because it is too cold here in Minnesota who were fighting over the tablet and Minecraft turns) and broken things and a never ending to-do list that seemed to multiply exponentially faster than I could check anything off.

So on that afternoon I found myself alone sitting in the kitchen with the January sun shining through the windows giving an illusion of warmth greater than the -10 outside while tears filled those weary eyes.

I’m tired. I’m sorry. I’ll do better. I should have known to not do that. I don’t measure up. What were you thinking? How come you can’t finish that? I screwed up.


That was the constant barrage of thoughts racing through my brain telling me to stare in the face at every single thing that I thought I messed up. I didn’t get enough work done. I busted the keyboard. I let my emotions run with me and then ended up with a messy tear stained worn out mothering face.

But that’s real.

It’s real to have nights where the kids don’t go to bed. I don’t care what other people tell you and if their kids never leave their rooms or any of that. The truth is that sometimes kids don’t go to bed and you will find yourself standing outside a room negotiating with a five year old and wanting to simply throw your hands in the air in frustration. Over bedtime. Which, when I was a child told my parents I would never love, but now can hardly wait for the moment when my pony-tail -less head hits my pillow.

But again, it’s not the bedtime that pushes us to our limits. Or that pesky “p” key. It’s the fact that sometimes life, even in the wonderful moments, can be wearing. It is wearing to deal with constant cold and to have to find gloves in the morning and to seek out hats and to say come on come on let’s get going so that you’re not late. It’s wearing to do the same thing over and over rinse and repeat rinse and repeat and to have moments where we feel like it’s not really making a difference. It’s in those times that the perspective is clouded with emotion and we forget the awesome beauty in what we’re doing.

At the heart of it I believe we all want to know that we matter.

We all want to wake up in the morning and know that when we deal with the same cycle of motherhood and life and work again and again and again that at the heart all the monotony and trials and joys of the every day will make a difference and matters.


That’s why tears fall sometimes.

Even though at the heart we all know, you know, I know, that this motherhood journey is a crazy awesome giving of self and raising of a child, there are moments where honestly we forget and let the exasperation of the moment settle in. There is no shame in having moments where the tears fall and talking about it. It doesn’t mean that you’re weak or that I am weak – it just means that at the heart we’re real and can admit that sometimes finding joy or happiness is more work. And it doesn’t mean that we’re not good moms either. Honestly, let’s talk about that. If we expect that we have to keep it together perfectly all the time and that every moment needs to be savored and don’t give ourselves grace then we become like that tea pot building up with pressure and expectations.

Grace, moms, grace.

For you. 

For all of us real moms who have moments where we cry over spilled milk and broken “p” keys and wish for more sleep. It doesn’t take away the beauty and impact we’re having, but honestly, in those moments where we’re pushed against the wall – those are the moments where we learn about our strength and how much we do matter.

Do you know why you matter?

Not for being perfect or never making a mistake or for keeping the house immaculate or volunteering like crazy or for having kids that never misbehave or for looking like you’re 30 when you’re 40. No. You matter because you love those kids in your home. You matter because you are important. Yes, you. You the person, the mom with dreams and hopes and fears and times she falls.

I am not ashamed to admit I sat in my kitchen and cried. Crying allowed my soul to breathe just a bit and allowed the expectations that I box myself into so tightly to loosen.

I do my best. I worry about money, being a good mom, and making a difference. And I’m not perfect.


You do your best too. That’s what I love about this page – it’s about talking about the hard stuff but never ever sitting there and deciding it is what it is. It is in dialoguing about it and not judging each other and then gathering up all of that resolve and pushing each other forward one step after another after another believing that we all make a difference.

When you walk by the mirror in your home today I want you to stop and look at you.

I want you to stop and instead of seeing every flaw or being reminded of everything that you didn’t do or judge yourself for the puffy eyes because you had a moment of tears I want you to instead smile. Yes, smile. Force it, make it happen, but let yourself smile. Because the person that you are smiling at is an amazing, beautiful, wonderful, imperfect, and yet giving of self person.

Don’t discount you. Or your impact. Or think that tears falling is a sign of weakness.

Sometimes the greatest strength comes from the moments where one stumbles.

Because then we rise up, start again, and press on.

And that? That is what moms do.

That is you.

And you matter.


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12 Responses to “the mom days when the tears fall”

  1. January 15, 2015

    Aprel Phelps Downey Reply

    As I was reading this article it felt like you were talking directly to me and giving me a much needed pep talk to just keep going! Yesterday just felt like even my best wasn’t good enough. Im hopeful today will be better. For now I’m going to treat myself to another cup of coffee. Thank you for being so open and honest about those rough mom days we all experience!

  2. January 15, 2015

    Kelly Reply

    I have tears falling as I type this out….its soooo hard…i feel even harder when they hit the teenager years….3 girls…Lord, HELP me….THIS IS SOOOO HARD.
    Communication should be “easy-peasy” but its NOT!! its a constant thing and I feel like I am constantly going in circles..

  3. January 15, 2015

    Life Breath Present Reply

    We all have those moments and I’m glad you’re sharing your moment. It’s tough, thus motherhood thing. The keeping it together, the demands, the responsibilities, the lack of time just to ourselves for more than a minute. Yet we do it, we push through. Just as you said. And today, I will go to the mirror, I’ll smile, I’ll think positively of myself as a woman and a mom, and I’ll even snap a picture. Because, yes I matter! 🙂

  4. January 15, 2015

    Shelly Cunningham Reply

    Rachel, thank you. I’m at my computer in tears after a night of no sleep (even though my kids are six and three) and a week of feeling worthless. Thank you for reminding me that I matter. And that getting back up is what counts.

  5. January 15, 2015

    Kat Reply

    OOF, this hit right in the gut, exactly where my tears come from. My last cry was because I miss my mom. Yeah, she’s been gone longer than I had her, 30 years this year, and yeah, I’m 44 – who needs a mom anymore? But I did – I do. I felt two sets of little boy arms around me to comfort me and yeah, MOMS MATTER, regardless of how long they’ve been out of your life, that love lives on – even through tears. Thanks for providing this space, for all of us!

  6. January 16, 2015

    Autumn Reply

    Your posts speak to my soul. Directly to my heart and soul. I resonate as I absorb every word you write, like you are writing from the recesses of my mind. But in a far more eloquent fashion than I could ever imagine. YOU MATTER – your writing matters and you help me get through some days of sitting at my desk where the guilt of dropping my little ones off with tears in their eyes as I drive away is threatening to rip my guts out.
    Thank you.

  7. January 17, 2015

    Amanda Reply

    I needed this today. Today when I had to start the morning by calling poison control because my 2 year old ate 26 gummy vitamins. Today when that same 2 year old has been getting into 2 year old mischief all. day. long. Today when the tears fell the second I closed their bedroom door at nap time. Thank you.

  8. January 18, 2015

    Moriah C Reply

    Aprel said it perfectly. This post was for me. Thank you for being real and encouraging. May God grant you grace and more grace as we travel this trying and tiring journey of motherhood together. You’re awesome and beautiful and talented! Don’t you forget that 🙂

  9. January 19, 2015

    Heather Reply

    I so needed this today. I have been feeling like I don’t really matter to my husband’s family and that they just don’t care about me, they only care about themselves. And I so want to let go of the pain and not give them the power to keep hurting me over and over again, but I just don’t know how. I know I need to keep telling myself that I am still worthy of being loved and treated with respect, no matter what they think of me and I don’t need their acceptance of me to be okay. It just hurts so much. Thank you for the affirmation and encouragement.

  10. March 17, 2015

    Jay Reply

    From the perspective of having grown kids, it also helps to remind yourself that there will be a time when you have plenty of money to buy another pesky keyboard, when you do get ahead day by day. In what seems a distant future, your kids will grow into adults that will burst your heart with pride, and you will look back on giving 101% of yourself at the time and think it was well worth it. In the midst of it you get no praise, no daily paycheck, no sleep. So in the middle of it be gentle on yourself, give yourself permission to let the housework go, give yourself nurturing and “mother time”. In the long view your efforts will shine through, have faith. And the kids will be gone, and you will be pleased you fully enjoyed those childhood moments, smiles, cute sayings and doings, and casual cuddles that go along with those stresses and tears.

  11. March 19, 2015

    Sarah Short Circuit Reply

    My thoughts of racing, things are literally falling apart including the car, money is tight, the to do list is growing faster than light, the house looks terrible and I too am starting to bubble over this week. A very timely post to read for me. Thank you.

  12. July 31, 2016

    Tara S Reply

    Savoring all of your posts. Hit a wall in my parenting a few months back, and looking for a way through with a new sense of beginning again. Don’t know exactly how I got so thoroughly exhausted. Waiting for inspiration to come, and some sort of renewal. Don’t know how to get there. Don’t know how to solve this. Don’t know how to reenergize, or if that is even possible. Feeling spent and rundown. Thank you for posting all of these amazing posts. It really helps to know others have a tough time and feel like I do. xo

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