The Ridiculous Lie I Believed About Motherhood

While my children were growing up, I believed a lie.

I thought if I could be a Perfect Mother, I could raise Perfect Children.

Have you ever heard of such nonsense?

On my first day at home with baby Jamie (our first child), my mother stopped by.

Jamie started screaming. I couldn’t do anything to make her happy.

She’s less than a week old and I’m already failing!

Crazy, I know.

I thought it was my job to make sure she never cried.

Or got sick. Or dirty. Or hurt. Or sad. Or lonely.

Or misbehaved when she got older.

While we ate supper, I laid her on the sofa. Somehow she wiggled toward the back of the sofa.

What kind of Perfect Mother does things like this?

Before Mother left, we snapped a few happy pictures.


I’m smiling (a Perfect Mother always smiles) but on the inside,

I was a Nervous Nellie.

Two and a half years later Katie was born, 30 years ago today, April 30th. 🙂

Happy birthday, Katie!

What pressure! Now I had two little girls to make Perfect.

I tried so hard to be a Perfect Mother.

Which was exhausting.

Cheery notes in lunchboxes, ribbons in hair, matching outfits, plus I never screamed (on the outside).

Then something happened that began to change me.

Our third child Robbie was born with anencephaly.

He lived twenty minutes.

Life and death can rearrange our thinking. Shift priorities.

We had another son two years later.

Slowly but surely, (and definitely while raising teenagers!) I discovered how wrong I was.

It was never my job to be a Perfect Mother.

And something else.

The root of my desire for perfection was control.

I wasn’t in control then.

I’m not in control now.

God is.

He’s my Perfect Father. And my children’s Perfect Father too.

Did you believe any crazy lies about motherhood?

Wishing you a happy and relaxed Mother’s Day.




Three Perks of Being Free from Party Panic

For years, I thought having the gift of hospitality meant throwing the perfect party. I got all serious and grim-faced. Stressin’ and obsessin’. Dusting. Cleaning. Straightening. Scrubbing. I wore myself out striving for perfection. But no more!

During my SURRENDER YEAR, I broke free (in lots of ways!) and discovered three secrets to throwing a great party.

My husband and I decided to celebrate Mother’s Day differently this year. We had our parents over for breakfast Saturday morning instead of eating out for lunch on Sunday. When you’re free of Party Panic, you can break traditions. 🙂

Did everything go perfectly? No. Would the old Julie have stressed over the flaws? Absolutely.

I used our wedding china and my grandmother’s stemware and green Depression glass serving pieces. I don’t have silver and Mother offered to bring hers.

While I was setting the table, she called. “Oops, we’re on the way and I forgot the silver.”

Ordinarily, I’d have panicked.

Fine china with everyday forks and spoons!

And I didn’t have enough of my grandmother’s green glasses, so I had to use a couple of yellow ones.

And I left the strawberries on the counter for two days and they got moldy.

And I burned the bottoms of the biscuits.

And I forgot to wipe the pollen off  the doo-dads outside on the front porch.

But you know what? None of my imperfections mattered because…

…being free of Party Panic meant I could…

1. Forget about myself.

2. Have fun at my own parties.

3. Love others from my heart.

The root of my Party Panic and Perfectionism was PRIDE.

What a waste of time and energy!

There won’t be a perfect party until we get to Heaven.



Remembering Mama

That’s my grandmother Goge holding me. My mother’s mother.  I  remember looking at the magical doll birthday cake and thinking, Wow, Goge thinks I’m pretty special.

She loved my mother the same way.

Yesterday I said, “Mother, what did Goge do to make your childhood so wonderful?”

Goge worked fulltime. Her husband, Mother’s daddy, died when my mom was two.

Here’s what Mother said…so sweet!

I felt intense unconditional love from my mother.

She never stopped smiling at me. 

Every time we saw each other, she looked like she was glad to see me. 

She acted like I was so much fun to be with.

She only had to work half a day on Wednesdays. After work, she put on her shorts and we ran to Sleepy Hollow–a secret place in the woods full of moss and tall trees. All my girlfriends thought it was wonderful. I didn’t know just how wonderful it was until I was grown.

We had one bedroom in our rented apartment. Mother and I slept in the same bed until I was 11 or 12. She bought me a used five dollar roll-away bed, and let me decorate my corner of our bedroom however I wanted to. I ripped out pictures of movie stars from magazines and taped them to the wall.

Sometimes I met her for lunch on the square. We couldn’t cross the street until the light changed so we waved real big at each other while we waited. She always came to my side of the street and hugged me.

When I was 16 she threw  me a “Prom Party.” We set up card tables in the front yard and decorated them with Dorothy Perkins roses that bloomed behind our apartment. We served pink, yellow, green, and white mints, cheese straws, and pink punch with a floating ice ring. I wore a dress our neighbor made–white dotted swiss with lots of crenolines. 

The day my black cocker spaniel named Laddie died, Mother cried with me while we held him.

That’s the only time I ever saw my mother cry.

We don’t forget that kind of love, do we?

Love well. It lasts a lifetime. click to tweet

Do you have a special mother, grandmother, aunt, sister, friend memory to share? Do tell!