To the mother with only one child

So I spent a good 3-4  hours pouring my heart into this piece (which is the kind of thing you get when I try to write after that evening sun goes down).  I put the finishing touches on it, formatted it, and rewarded myself by going on Facebook.  Where every mother I know was passing around this great and funny and honest piece from one Glennon Melton, which has very.  VERY.  similar themes to the post I just wrote, even down to the moral of the story.  Except that her essay has a happy ending, and mine is all, “Hey, moms, let’s talk about our kids, and DEATH.”

Le sigh.  You’ll just have to take my word for it that I didn’t read or even hear about her piece before I wrote mine.  I’m super tired, a little writer’s blocky, and yeah, pretty gloomy, but I am NOT a porn star.  I mean a plagiarist.  Whatever.


  1. I thought the two posts were quite different. *shrug* But glad to have read both, so thanks for sharing the link to Melton’s.

    Yours reminded me of the time that my father attended one of my college functions, and got to talking with the father of one of the school’s big Catholic families. Dad was incredulous that the man had 7 or 8 or 9 children and was still alive and sane.

    “How do you ever manage?” Dad asked. “I was tearing my hair out with three.”

    “Actually,” the other father replied, “three is the worst. Up to that point, you still have the illusion of control.”

  2. Simcha-wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. I enjoyed both posts and though the themes may have been similar, thought they were different, too. Thanks for posting it anyway. I really enjoyed it!

  3. Those who read your pieces know you are too much the independent, even divergent (that’s good) thinker, to ever steal material. Besides, this sort of thing happens in Science all the time — parallel discovery. So why not in this case?

    You have a distinct voice, one with ridiculous amounts of wisdom, humor and all that good stuff. Be not afraid.

  4. They’re quite different. I read her piece, too, and it reminded me of something a very kind older woman once said to me. I was lucky in that my children were usually pretty easy, well-behaved babies and toddlers. One day, though, both the 4yo and the 1yo had simultaneous meltdowns in the grocery store. A woman smiled at me and said “the years go by really fast, but some of the days? REAALLLY slow”. I could tell by her face and her tone that she knew that I was not a bad mother and that my kids were not ordinarily little demons, and I was really grateful to her. The rest of that day went better than it should have because this person took 30 seconds to let me know that she’d been there and that this too would pass.

    • Claire, I often swear to myself that if I live through the little kid years I will spend my “older lady” years saying nice things to moms with little children. Those ladies (and a handful of men) have just saved me sometimes.

      I will especially do it at church. Church is where I –for whatever reason, probably mostly invented by me– I feel the most judged and frustrated with my kids. One little old lady saying a nice thing about my children makes it all go away.

      I hate admitting to being that affected by the (real or imagined) judgement of strangers….but. There it is. With the kids, it’s just like that for me.

  5. Well, they seemed completely different articles to me. And as the mother of an only child, I really want to thank you for what you wrote. I envy you having many children. At the same time I fear having many … and yet I think that’s perhaps because I’m imagining mothering many would be like mothering one, only magnified. And I suspect its not at all.

  6. Please don’t remind me I have to let my children go!! I am blissfully ignoring that right now!!! 😦 Other than that (lol) I enjoyed your article, as I always do. 🙂

  7. I read both and I didn’t even think of hers, which I read last week! Thanks for pouring that out. I’m totally, completely in the stage one you describe.

  8. I think the two make great companion pieces. Motherhood IS hard, no two ways about it. And I would say that it is so at all ages, and stages — it’s just different as our children grow & change and as we grow & change. Thank you for the affirmation.

  9. I read both of these pieces within the same day and they both were incredibly uplifting and targeting my emotions in totally different ways.

    Your post left me in tears and your writing confirmed that it’s not just me who struggles with one child. So often when I voice a frustration or stress some mommy always says “Wait until your child starts ___ or ___” and it’s so incredibly discouraging to have my feelings dismissed, and this article doesn’t do that. It confirms that it’s hard all around- even with just one.

    Thank you!

  10. I read them both, and the thought never crossed my mind that you “copied her.” I loved both pieces, but yours….yours touched me so deep. You read my mind- wrote my story down. I only have 2 kids, so not that part…but the part about having 1… you put into words what I have been trying to do for so long.
    Every bit worth your 4 hours. Thank you.

  11. The same conversation is going around on FB about the two articles. But people like yours a lot better since the other one kind of stinks of “mommy wars.” (What they’re saying.)

    For myself, of course I love a good reflection on the difference between Chronos and Kairos, I didn’t enjoy her article because it felt really negative, like she was still annoyed. Oh well. I’m glad both articles are reaching people in their own ways.

  12. I liked both and didn’t think they were too similar. But yours was not one to read at 37 weeks pregnant: waaaaahhhh, I keep wanting this baby to leave me – but then baby will *leave* me, waaaahhh!

  13. Oh, how I LOVED this! Both that you wrote the article (which was truly brilliant) and that you had nagging self-doubt. 😉

    When I read your article, I thought… “I’ve said this 1,000 times, but SHOOT!, she said it so much BETTER.” I keep telling new mamas that ANY number of kids is a lot of kids… but you nailed the reasons why and you spoke to the shift of the new mama who has to release her hold on herself vs. the mama who’s found freedom in that place.

    Thank you for making your brilliance brighter by being human out loud, as well.

  14. I’ve read both and I have to agree with everyone above….both are fabulous articles that really touched me in different ways. I think both deal with the struggle of motherhood, just differing parts of it. They are not the same.

    As the mother of one child (who is nearly 6yo now), I completely and totally relate to what you’re saying here. And I can also relate to what Glennon posted. I had a hard time “enjoying every moment” because of all the reasons you stated above. Loss of self. Struggle to find your way in new life with child. Spitups. Blowouts. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. (Which does not include a shower for you.) Who enjoys all that?

    Claire’s quote from that older woman is awesome: “The years go by really fast, but some of the days? REAALLLY slow.”

    Oh how true!

    Thanks for posting it, Simcha. It really hit home for me. 🙂

  15. Amazing that something so thoughtfully written to be uplifting, non-judgmental, and self-deprecating could be interpreted as condescending and under-sighted. What is so impressive about your mission is that you are willing to lay your softly beating heart out there to be either understood or trampled. For the moms who need to hear the truth you have to say, I thank you and your thick skin.

  16. LOVED your piece. Found it from a wonderful friend on Facebook. As a young mom with a big family I’m always glad to hear the perspective of other moms with a bunch of kids. I LOVED it and shared it again. It is exactly how I feel about my family – and my firstborn. Love it!! Thanks so much for writing it. And your blog – it’s adorable.

  17. P.S. yes, I read that other piece last week – it was very good too. I don’t think they are too similar, and I like yours better. I actually read all the way through it.

  18. I read both articles . . . and I thought they were both thoughtful and so meaningful to a young mom (of one!) like me who worries a lot about the person I’m raising, the person I’m becoming, and trying to enjoy it despite the hard moments. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful piece and helping me to put things in perspective!

  19. I read Glennon’s piece and thought it was wonderful and inspired, but I have to say, yours is perhaps one of the best things I have ever read on motherhood. I cannot tell you enough how much it meant to me. I have a 3 year and 18 month old and have a little baby coming next week. I have been filled with dread, and, as you wrote about, a sense of heaviness. This is the only thing anyone has said or written that has truly given me a sense that this time is temporary, and even wonderful in its own way. I just feel so thankful. Thank you so much. Cried like a crazy lady.

  20. For some reason, I can’t post my comment about your essay, “To the Mother of One Child,” to so I’ll put it here. And immediately after I hit “post comment,” I’ll bookmark your blog and check it out:

    You, Simcha, are a first class writer. Many, many thanks for having the courage to name our darkest thoughts, to make these thoughts bearable by placing them in context of the epic and divine, to tell us we need never add shame to the burdens we already carry.

  21. I wrote a comment starting with “I am offended” then today realized I shoulda posted it here. Over there it might be taken wrong. And offensively. 😦 I have to stop thinking that the internet is an audience and get back to my chores.

  22. I read both articles and I didn’t think for one moment that you “plagiarized” or that they are really even the same. And I while I enjoyed both articles – that one was funny – your heartfelt piece was beautiful and honest in a way that I think other articles have never been. Thank you for it.

  23. I read the other post from the link above. Eh. I’m sure it is considered a good post, but it lacked something. Yours, on the other hand, had me in very grateful tears. Grateful that I am a 40 something first time mom to a 15 month old. Grateful that it is hard. Grateful that I’m not alone. Grateful for your understanding encouragement. And I’m usually not that grateful :-/ Thank you.

  24. Hi there,

    I also read both, but considered it divine intervention to have come across both in one week…a week where I really needed both messages. Glennon’s was something I passed to my husband to explain how I was feeling and why I wasn’t jumping for joy every day. Yours made me teary-eyed, grateful, relieved that you understand. It really touched me and I am so thankful.

  25. This piece and the other one where all over my facebook wall. That’s what prompted me to check out your blog. Considering that my friends are overwhelmingly either Protestant or secular, are evenly split between SAHM and moms who work outside the home for pay, I thought you struck on a very universal truth that need to be shared. (Also is there such a thing as mother who doesn’t do at least some unpaid work outside the home? All mothers I know volunteer for scouts, a their child’s school, a their church, or some other outside the home place.)

  26. Yours is a beautiful piece — really! And the true beauty is whether you have one, or three, or six, or nine kids, you can relate. Once you’ve mothered, you know. The best compliment anyone has paid me is that they could see themselves in my writing even though my circumstances were so different from their own. You did that in this piece. You captured something universal.

    Well done! And thank you.

  27. This is making the round among some pretty fire-breathing atheists in my FB circle too. How extremely cool ~ true feminism, when we’re lifted by honesty, rather than an idealized or competitive view of ours/theirs.

  28. Your post is tearing it up at the register! Over 220,000 reads! The next most popular? 7,500! I too read them both (yours first), within a day of each other, and didn’t even make the connection. But that’s probably because I’m a guy and guys aren’t observant.

  29. I LOVED your article and was so very grateful for it. I am the mother of only two children and it has been hard but even harder because of having people condescendingly tell me how easy I have it.. I’ve liked everything I have ever read by you and so I guess I would have to say you are my favorite blogger. So down to earth and non-judgmental. Thanks!

  30. Oh my word! While I appreciate your self-reflection, your piece and Melton’s are completely different. Thank you for your work and sharing God’s beauty. YOU are so good. 🙂

  31. I really needed to read your article! It helped uplift me after a perticularly hard day, with only one child;) The whole family, even our dog, is sick and a simple trip to the store to buy another humidifier turned into a disaster of mass proportions. I liked the other article but loved yours, it really spoke to me. Thanks!

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