When Life Doesn’t Feel Like Happily Ever After

I’ll be honest. I spent the better part of a year thinking that I could do it all.

When I quit my job after the birth of my third child, I approached my new role as a stay at home mom as though it would be a blissful time of gingerbread cookie making and planting garden seeds in rows.

I thought that we’d fingerpaint and make papier mache crafts and that occasionally a friend would stop by for a bit of gossip and coffee.

In my mind I’d balance the laundry folding and the bathroom scrubbing and the household errands with grace.

We’d walk to school, a gaggle of classmates tagging behind.

The reality was less Eloise Wilkin and more Stephen King.

I was depressed. Overwhelmed. Paralyzed by my own failures. There was nothing graceful about it.

And then, seven weeks after my daughter was born I had surgery when an IUD perforated my uterus (which was every bit as horrific as it sounds). My husband was working an hour and a half from home and my life was not the fairy tale I’d been promised.

Looking back, I see the problem. It was believing the promise, which- by the way- had only been told to me by my own imagination. My little girl dreams. My nights of whispering my life story to my college roommate.

Instead of clinging to You Can Do It All, why didn’t I believe this: that the fairy tale is really just about having choices? Options.

I don’t want to do it all anymore. I can’t. Accepting that has brought me to a place that’s better than Happily Ever After, because it’s based in reality. The road that brought me here was paved with the choices I made, the battles I fought, the tough truths I had to learn for myself.

You can’t experience grace in a life you weren’t meant to live. And there is so much beauty, so much grace, so many MOMents that make up this story I’m part of.

And what about you? Are you still waiting for Happily Ever After?


I’m sharing 31 MOMents in 31 days.Each Wednesday I’m encouraging you to link up your own MOMent on My 3 Little Birds. For the month of October I’ll do a giveaway for each of my favorite MOMents.

Will you join me?

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  1. Sharon says:

    You shouldn’t be so hard on yourself. You read my post “Keeping Up Appearances”, right? We may bring these high expectations on ourselves but it is fueled by what we perceive others are accomplishing!
    Sharon recently posted..I Found My Literary "Chair"My Profile

    • ML@My3LittleBirds says:

      Thankfully Sharon I’ve moved past being hard on myself. Life is so much better when we accept ourselves, huh?

  2. Sharon says:

    Was it Popeye that said, “I am, what I am!”
    Sharon recently posted..I Found My Literary "Chair"My Profile

  3. Sharon says:

    I just wanted to tell you that I awarded you with the Versatile Blogger Award!

    Sharon recently posted..I Found My Literary "Chair"My Profile

  4. I have too given up on doing it all. My kids will remember the fun more than they’ll remember a pristine home, so when faced with the option of a project or a chore, I’ve learned to pick the project. Even when all I want is a dang clean house!
    Dwija {House Unseen} recently posted..7 Quick Takes Friday: The Holy Spirit & raspberry cordialMy Profile

  5. Am I? No. I learned my lesson just as you did.

    This is a really great line: “You can’t experience grace in a life you weren’t meant to live.”
    Robin @ Farewell, Stranger recently posted..The Story of the Magic ShirtMy Profile

  6. Kimberly says:

    So much of being a mommy has been the Lord having to help me relax. I came into it so ready to conquer, to succeed, to get everything just right. I loved your line about how it was less Eloise Wilkin and more Stephen King. Yes, mam, indeed.

    How much sweeter being a mommy gets every day as I let Him help me let go of unrealistic expectations…for myself and for my daughters. How thankful I am for the joy He has brought back in to being a mommy. :)
    Kimberly recently posted..Day Eight: Roots and WingsMy Profile

  7. aquariann says:

    Wonderful realization! The ending of Ever After always makes me smile: “By then, the truth of their romance had been reduced to a simple fairy tale. And, while Cinderella and her prince did live happily ever after, the point, gentlemen, is that they lived.”
    aquariann recently posted..Giveaway Linky of TreasureMy Profile

  8. this is so important to me. I have been thinking of these “things” lately as well. As much as these high expectations came from my fantasy of what being a mother would be, I also think that there are no shortages of affirmations of that unrealistic ideal around us. It keeps us confused and forever chasing something that doesn’t exist. this is something I feel deeply about though– moms are rarely supported for what we do, often told we should be doing more–or all. It is the true gift of happiness to want the life you have. And it does come after some hard-earned lessons for most of us, but we are lucky when we get it.
    I love this post and I thank you!
    wendy @ mama one to three recently posted..Wordless Wednesday: Favorite Things (That Are Not My Kids)My Profile

  9. Anastasia says:

    I am so paranoid about my IUD puncturing my uterus. Ever little pain in my stomach has me worried.
    Anastasia recently posted..Dog Eared and Broken SpinesMy Profile

  10. angela says:

    Yes, I know that feeling (not the perforated uterus, ouch poor thing!) but thinking I would be able to do every little thing I imagined. I am still learning the give and take, what I should feel guilty about and what I should let go. Don’t be so hard on yourself (and I’ll try to do the same.)

  11. Your description of what it would be like to be a stay-at-home mom was perfect…but so far from the truth! I’m so glad you’ve moved past it and aren’t so hard on yourself :)
    And that does sound horrific! Poor thing.
    Runnermom-jen recently posted..FamilyMy Profile

  12. John R says:

    Thats quite a sad story, Glad you’re finally happy now though. For me, I want to do everything I can before I’m 30, I’m currently 21 now and it seems when you settle down and have a family that your opputunites start to get limited as you have responsibilities.
    John R recently posted..Brazzers PasswordMy Profile

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