The Day I Lost It

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All of us has at least one moment.

The one we’re not particularly keen about.

From time to time, we’ve all been the yelly mom, the bossy mom, the despondent mom, the burnt out mom. But there was a day last week when I became the mom who felt like a failure. In every way.

The details don’t matter much. But I found myself, standing in my living room, with a baby on my hip and tears bubbling up. I let the teenager know to hold down the fort for 20 minutes because I had an errand to run. I buckled Gianna in her carseat, grabbed my keys and pulled out of the driveway.

And then I lost it.

Like full-on ugly cry.

Sorry, my sweet neighbors, for filling the streets with tears. Also, thank God for aviator sunglasses. They hide many a mascara-stained face.

You see, this Lent has broken open my heart in ways that I did not think possible. When our dear friends lost their sons last fall, something in me changed. It wasn’t just the deaths that rocked me (because they most certainly did), but I started asking myself “why this?”, “why now?” and inevitably, “what do you want me to do?”

The hours I have spent at Mass, even with a busy toddler, have been my saving grace. The prayers I have prayed. The tears I have cried. I think when something punches you in the gut, you only have two choices: get closer to God of further away from Him. I chose the former, but it has been full of some hard moments of honesty.

It’s also done one, amazing, beautiful thing.

It’s brought me even closer to Scott. And, amidst all these crazy teenage parenting moments, I am so very grateful for that gift. It could only come from God. We’re a team, Scott and I. We forged the early days of babies together, the NICU together, marriage counseling together and parenting teenagers together. And, God-willing, we’ll do old age together.

God always sends the grace. He does.

I look back on my life just six months ago. I was hobbling around on crutches, sending kids off to school, largely unaware of how much growing up I had to do. Yet, here I am. I’m meeting my deficiencies with a surprising amount of self-awareness. Yikes. It is not pretty sometimes. Please, God, help my kids to see me as a fallible, loving, God-fearing mom who would do anything for them. Help them know I am not perfect, that I’m willing to ask for forgiveness and I am a work in progress. Aren’t we all?

There will be more days of tears, sadness and frustration. But there will also be days – many of them – of joy, elation and peace. Here’s to motherhood. The good, the hard and the beautiful.


  1. Ashley Anderson on February 26, 2016 at 7:37 am

    Hugs, Kathryn. And fist bumps too.

    I told my mom something on the phone yesterday that’s not fun to share… that motherhood isn’t what I thought it would be. Namely, it’s not really all that fun sometimes. Gosh, it is. It really is. I love my kids and they are so many things that brighten my days and make me come alive with joy. But. But! There’s that other part of parenting that has me ripped open and so heartbroken, has me waking up in the middle of the night in tears, or wordlessly exiting Sam’s Club with a toddler who just lost his ever loving mind. Thank goodness for my Catholic faith. Motherhood and marriage have seasons and days that are just so blasted hard I truly don’t know how I’m going to make it through. And that’s when God taps me and reminds me that 1. It’s not all on my shoulders (that it’s really really not) & 2. It’s not about me. My goodness if I would have had these kids for fun. LOL. Vocation! Total vocation. Doing what we do to get closer to Christ!

    • Kathryn on February 26, 2016 at 7:57 am

      We always used to tell our high school kids when we were youth ministers: there’s no easy vocation. Ain’t that the truth!

  2. Jane on February 26, 2016 at 7:43 am

    I read something this week that resonated with me and made me think of you as I read this beautiful post. “We may impress people through our strengths but we connect with people through our weaknesses.” -Craig Groeschel

    Motherhood has a way of bringing us to our knees both literally and figuratively.

    God Bless You!

    • Kathryn on February 26, 2016 at 7:56 am

      Wow. I absolutely love that quote, Jane. What a gift to share it here. Thank you!

    • Bonnie on February 26, 2016 at 9:54 am

      That quote is beautiful. Thank you for sharing it, Jane.

      And thank you, Kathryn, for sharing your heart, too. I so often think of that moment in the parking lot with you and Susan where I told you my lowest point as a mom. That moment changed my life and my family’s. We are purified through fire and it burns.

      • Kathryn on February 27, 2016 at 8:41 pm

        I can’t tell you how many times I’ve replayed that afternoon in my head, and in my heart. Our weaknesses do bring us closer and I feel forever grateful I was able to spend that weekend with you. I love you, Bonnie!

  3. Erika on February 26, 2016 at 8:35 am

    I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciate the open, frank, sometimes scary honesty in your posts these days. I’m 28 weeks with my first and it is so easy to get caught up in the picturesque fantasy of what motherhood “should” look like while people, my husband and me included, get excited over us starting a family. These are subtle reality checks and good reminders that while many motherhood can and may be sunshine and roses, that it’s good to be prepared for the hard days too, and to not be surprised when they come, but rather able to handle them with more grace and patience. Thanks for touching on the not so pretty stuff.

    • Kathryn on February 27, 2016 at 8:44 pm

      May your journey into motherhood be filled with some beautiful moments. There will be hard ones, but lean into those good days. They carry you through. It’s the best YES we ever said!

  4. Cajuntexasmom on February 26, 2016 at 8:36 am

    I had a moment like this, several months back. I dropped my two eldest off at school on my day off, then decided to bring the two youngest to Mass on my won. Because, you know, opportunity for Jesus. Before Mass even STARTED, I left in tears because the 5 year old was hell-bent on causing as much destruction as possible. As I sat in my minivan and sobbed, I realized that this is motherhood. It’s trying, failing often, then getting back on the horse and trying again. The devil does such a good job of convincing us we’re the only ones that struggle. So grateful for peeps like you that keep it real, Kathryn ❤

    • Kathryn on February 27, 2016 at 8:43 pm

      Oh man, does he ever. Thank the Lord for the good of the internet. This community is so awesome.

  5. Mary @ Better Than Eden on February 26, 2016 at 10:00 am

    I’ve had lots of those moments, too. Thank you for the reminder about His grace because I need it desperately.

  6. Eleonor on March 9, 2016 at 12:30 am

    Soldier on, sister! My worst day up to this moment was so bad that the memory still makes me cringe and want to hide forever under my bed. Given that this is not an option, there is no choice to carry on. A bit meeker, a bit more humble and a bit closer to God.

    You’re doing a great job!

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