Fear and Love in Motherhood (Or, How Donnie Darko Almost Schooled My Ass)

So recently I told my husband the best blog post idea I’ve ever had.
I felt like a f*ckin’ sage.
I felt like I was about to change people’s worldviews.
Like anything could happen.
Like I could be featured on the cover of the New York Times:

“Young Ohio Mom Solves Woes of Adulthood”

And I told my grand idea to my husband
while sitting on our lumpy red ikea couch,
and you know what he said?

“Oh yeah, that was in Donnie Darko.

It was the idea
that one character had
who was an inspirational con artist.

…But it’s much better the way you said it.”…

*hangs head in shame and subsequent laughter*
(but mostly shame)
…I guess I’ve got some more growing to do.

But hey, I’ll share my million-dollar-donnie-darko idea anyways,
because it’s helped me be a better Mom.
So what the hell:

The thing that launched all of this was “Call the Midwife”
(Interesting that this blog post is so short and already references tv TWICE… a lesser woman might feel insecure about her level of tv-binge-watching right now…
…just gonna let that joke sit there)

Well! it all started with Call the Midwife.
Or more specifically,
a quote by Sister Julienne:

“I have come to the conclusion that there are only two reasons for ever doing anything. One is love, the other is fear.”

What a beautiful thought.
A true thought.
Not the most original thought.
But it blew my 28-year-old mind.
I love that it applies on all scales of our big world
war | capitalism.
But also,
Friendship | parenting.

So anyways, I’ve found this quote lurking in my brain during frustrating moments with my daughter.
I’ve been trying to check myself when
I have the D R E A D feeling.
Because oftentimes my negative reactions boil down to either:


So an example is, this morning we were about to wake up early. And at the literal SECOND that I turned to my husband, whispering “Hey, I’m gonna get up,”

She moaned.
From her room.
As if she heard me.

This happens constantly with our daughter. It’s uncanny.
And while I would LOVE to be the kind of mother who finds it fascinating and delightful,
Like I have a cosmic connection with my sweet baby,
…my usual reaction is…
Like, my whole body is disappointed.
Like, I can feel the disappointment all the way down in my toenails.
Suddenly, my day is doomed before it even started.

whoa whoa whoa.
I’m a human, so it’s perfectly natural to react this way. As a first-time-Mom, ’ve been conditioned by this tiny human to have no alone time. The disappointment is R E A L sometimes. BUT,

*this morning* (!!!)

when she uncannily raised her little voice at that pivotal moment,
I saw a FLASH of Sister Julienne’s habit.
And thought… fear and love… hmm..
“if I’m reacting on fear right now, what am I so afraid of?”

And it hit me: I’m afraid that I won’t get to journal. That I won’t get to use the bathroom. That I won’t get to frantically spray dry shampoo way-too-close to my head. That I’ll be captive to her whims all morning while desperately grabbing for my coffee and feeling generally miserable.

Oh, and I’m afraid that this is how it’s going to be for the rest of my life.

I don’t need to worry about any of that!
Because I’ll get to do all those things LATER, at some point in the day, IF…


I make time to take care of myself!

And suddenly, my annoyance at my daughter dripped away, and I could see the moment
(for the first time)
as SWEET! Sweet that she knows, on some weird psychic level that we’re up.
And guess what happened?

…she went back to sleep!
Miracle of miracles!
So I found myself sitting in the cozy chair, listening to the birds sing, coffee steaming on the windowsill, the smell of palo santo wafting through the sleepy house, dressed and ready for the day.

It was everything I wanted in a morning. And so there was no need to feel fear towards my daughter. To inflict that cloak of negativity on our home.

And even if she had woken early,
There’s always another morning on the horizon.


Get out of the habit of acting on fear.
You’re making time for yourself now.
and wait for your moment to rise.

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  • Last comment tonight😳🤐. You introduced me for the first time to the acronym SAHM. I love it and have always worn it proudly and with confidence. I guess it’s probably a generational thing since I’m old enough to be your mom. A true confession — I’ve always struggled with women who don’t want to stay home and take care of their babies (although I intellectually know many can’t afford the choice). As my girls have gotten older I have checked myself on this because who knows what their options and choices will be and I certainly don’t want them to feel like I won’t approve of their choices. And that’s the thing about “feminism” (or whatever word is appropriate these days-my mother would have said women’s lib) –we should all have the choice and not be judged. LOVE YOUR BLOG!! You are so wise for your age. xoxoxo

    • Yes, I totally understand where you’re coming from. About 6 years ago, I got an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education, but then only taught in a Preschool Daycare program for a year before deciding, 1) It was too stressful for me. and 2) I wanted to save my positive energy for my own future children, and now I’m so so happy I did!! I try to remind myself it’s a privilege that I get to stay home with her, and think back to all the children in my class who weren’t able to be home full time. My heart goes out to kids in daycare. And to their parents!

      I think it’s great that you try to be mindful of what expectations you engrain in your daughters, so they’ll feel proud of whatever motherhood decisions they need to make down the road. You sound like a really sweet SAHM 🙂

  • Love this! I totally know that feeling when you hear them moan and you like you said your whole body reacts negatively because you just want a little time! Thanks for sharing.