Cultivating a Realistic Vision of Motherhood - Sarah Mae
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Cultivating a Realistic Vision of Motherhood


You will never arrive at becoming the ideal mother of your dreams.


your vision of an ideal mother is sinful…as in, she sins. She messes up. She is fully and completely sin-filled. And yet, so very loved.

Before I became a mother, I had motherhood figured out. I knew exactly what kind of mother I would be, and I knew what I wanted. I had visions for the future that involved pumpkin picking and giggles and bouncing pigtails. Tucking God’s Word diligently into their little hearts daily, studying scripture together, singing and always obedience. I knew I would read to my children for hours on end, and in my daydreams, we were all happy and peaceful. I dreamed of these things because I wanted them. I still do. I just left out one very important part of my dream.


I didn’t consider sin. I didn’t consider my fallen body that is so often tired. I didn’t consider my emotions, my dark days, or my selfish ones. I didn’t consider their dark days or selfish ones. The only thoughts I had about their bad moments had to do with disobedience, and I would swiftly deal with any disobedience. I read books on disciplining and training children. I would be ready for that. But everyday sin? Tiredness? Darkness? The Mundane of it all? The needs, the asks, the energy, the day-in and day-out of it all…I didn’t consider it, because I just didn’t think of it.

And no one told me.

No one told me that there would be days I’d want to hide all day. No one told me I would be so tired some days that all I could do was cry. No one told me that formula’s don’t work very often. No one told me that my selfishness wouldn’t disappear the moment I had children. No one told me I would get depressed sometimes, or feel achingly lonely, or be too tired for sex, or that some days I would feel like I was drowning.

I believe my purpose in life is to be a loving, nurturing, freedom-giving, grace-filled, truth-teaching, mother. I have other purposes, but this, for me, is the big one. So don’t think for one second that I don’t love my children, or that I’m not grateful for them, or that I would ever wish do anything but what I’m doing being with them day-in and day-out. They’re stuck with me; they’re my crew.

But there is a reality that is not beautiful.

Having children means daily being in the mess of sin and immaturity. It is exhausting, painfully stretching, and eye-opening to just how selfish we really are.

It’s all just hard.

But it’s good.

It is so good, because if you dive into that mess with your babes, you have the opportunity to be like Jesus. You can come to the weak and helpless and sinful and hurting and lost and you can love and comfort and nurture and lift up. You can be a freedom-giver.

You’ve just got to come up with another meaning for ideal, and another meaning for beautiful.

Ideal must mean, “Lord, what do you say? Teach me to mother my children within who you made me to be. Help me to hear the Holy Spirit and walk by faith in my mothering.”

Beautiful must mean, “Lord, help me to remember that I am only beautiful because of you, and my children can be beautiful because of you. You take my ugly heart, and my brokenness, and you give me your beautiful self living in me. Never let me forget, and help me to instill this truth into my children daily.”

If you can grasp onto the freedom of Biblical ideals and beauty, if you can accept the reality of sin, you will be able to persevere with confidence and strength in God. It will never be easy, but it will be worth it.

Keep on,


P.S. The giggles, the unique weaving of a soul, the little toes, the cuddles, the jokes, the quirks, the friendship, the fun…it’s sacred, it’s breathtaking, it’s awesome. I love being a mother.

Related Resource:

Desperate – Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe

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  • Melissa

    sarah! i love this! some days are hard and i feel guilty. i feel guilty that it isn’t all butterfly kisses and giggles all day every day. thank you for a fresh perspective on reality. let us press on together, encouraging one another as we go:)

  • Chaya

    Thank you for the encouragement. I am dealing with this reality this rainy Monday morning. I try so hard to achieve my ideals and am constantly frustrated by the sin and hardness of daily life.

    • Chaya

      Which is as it should be, I know. Leads me to Jesus. But it’s still hard to embrace “messy.” Nice to have someone else relate the same experience. Looking forward to reading Desperate.

  • Angela Meyer

    God bless you in your ministry to encourage other mothers! God knows our frame and there is MUCH grace for young (and us older) mothers. When we are exhausted and weak, when we mess up – He is right there with us and carrying us through.
    Angela D. Meyer

  • Sarah H.

    This is so true, and something I wish all new moms could read. I often say that I have learned more about God’s love for me through mothering than any other thing I have been through in my life. So much is messy, and full of sin, yet grace and love abound. In my life with my children and with my relationship to God. So thankful. And thankful for women like you who share their hearts honestly and encourage us all and remind us we aren’t alone in this journey.

  • LaVonne

    Wow! Thank you for your honesty and for the needed dose of encouragement! I have really appreciated reading your blog.

  • Angie Koch

    My first words to an adult this morning were, “I can’t do this.” The response came back at me: “You already are, and you will keep on doing it, because you can.”
    This is beautiful, and exactly what was needed in my momma heart today.
    blessings to you.

  • Liz

    Oh, how much I needed this today. Right in this very moment. Thank you! For your honesty, commpassion and mostly for pointing to the ONE who can do it all.

  • K Liccketto

    Your honesty is refreshing and encouraging! Motherhood is by far the most difficult and time-consuming job i have ever done.

  • sonyamac

    Hey Girlie, I super don’t have the cash to grab the book YET but last week I started working four hours a week with a younger Mother because of your WHAT IF … now for my new friend and her young {6 mo & 22 mo} family WHAT IF no longer exist. Thank YOU!

  • Margaret Feinberg

    Gorgeous writing. Thank you for the honesty and vulnerability, Sarah. Hoping your book sells like gangbusters.

  • Jennifer G

    I love that you closed this post by saying “I love being a mother”. Many days, I survive by clinging to that desperate phrase, saying it aloud to myself over and over again as a reminder, “I love being a mom, I love being a mom, I love being a mom…”

  • Jackie Klumper

    You are changing my life. One blog post and one chapter of your book at a time. Thank you.

  • Melody

    Thanks for the balanced look at motherhood. I’m not a mom, but I hope to be and lately all the blog posts I read about “real” anything (marriage, childbirth, motherhood, etc.) makes it sound like those things are going to utterly destroy my life and should be avoided at all costs.

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