If you’re visiting from Glennon’s place over at Momastery today – welcome. I’m a mom of three kids and me and my good man make our home under the cherry blossoms just outside of Washington, D.C. But my heart is buried under a Jacaranda tree in Pretoria, South Africa. I write here about life lived in between – countries, kids and the daily, holy chaos of raising them.

I think that trying to survive motherhood while under the impression that other mothers somehow have it all together is dreadfully discouraging. So on this blog I do my best not to dress up motherhood. I try to tell it straight. Like how my daughter has cracked my heart right open. Or how every tired mom might need to recite this reminder before breakfast. And that you’re mighty because you mother. Especially on the days you don’t feel like it. And if you subscribe by email for my updates – see the box there in the margin? –  I’ll happily send you a copy of my {free} eBook The Cheerleader for Tired Moms.

For those of you who are new around here, if there’s one thing I’d like to let you in on, it’s this:

I was the girl who swore she’d never end up anyone’s cliche — barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. Which is interesting since we currently have three kids, a hamster and a back yard where toys go to die.

For the dog days of motherhood

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For the dog days of motherhood when you want your money back via lisajobaker

I grew up in South Africa, where the streets turn Jacaranda purple in October and we take our tea hot with milk and sugar, and I hadn’t turned 18 yet when I swore I didn’t plan to be anyone’s mother.

It was after my mom had been in hospital for about nine months and the pastor’s son was over and caught me trying to figure out how to cook dinner for my kid brothers. I was barefoot. And in the kitchen.

I remember how the late afternoon sunshine was coming in at the window and I had my mom’s wooden cutting board out – the one with the pot burns blackened into its surface. We’d been living on takeout, dad was burned out from the hourly evening commutes to the hospital, and that night I was chopping onions to get a real meal started instead.

But William laughed at me and I promised myself I’d grow up to do something big and brave and important.

For a while I did.

After my mom died. After I went to college. After I graduated law school. After I told the boy I was in love with that I needed him to marry me and not my ability to have kids. And he did. There was a while when I felt significant in all the ways that I thought were the opposite of helping someone finish his homework or someone else root through the piles of laundry for clean undies.

I was a legal specialist in Ukraine and we fought human trafficking with gritted teeth and bared hearts and our guts tied up in knots. It was awful and incredible and necessary and there are things I will always wish I could un-see.

That’s the part I need you to know because it’s what makes being a mother to three kids so surprising to me.

I turned 30 in Ukraine. And by the time I turned 31 we would be back living in South Africa after a decade away. And I would give birth to our first born three days later.

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Here’s what I learned in between.

Here’s what I want you to hear. Especially you, if you’re wondering how life turned out like this, if you feel lost in your own story and looking for a way out.

If you’re up to your eyeballs in kids and under the weather and desperate for the laundry to cut you some slack.

If you’re gasping for breath and wrestling worries and bills and sweating the end of year report cards.

If you can’t bear to come up with one more way to cook chicken.

……then click over here won’t you? To keep reading with me.

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