Once upon a time, there was a handsome and ambitious boy who asked a grateful and ambitious girl to marry him, to travel the world, to dream up business ideas. They would live in New York City or Washington, DC, in a cool, modern condo and they would put off having kids for a long, long time.
As in, to probably not have kids. Or maybe just one. But not for a long, long, long time.
And so it went. Until fifteen months into that yuppie narrative of a marriage, until that handsome boy and that grateful girl’s first baby made her entrance into the world, into the arms of her very surprised parents.
That baby was followed a few years later by another baby. And then another. And then another. All the way up to a total number of eight.
Marriage. Parenting. Mortgages, careers, friendships, school, bills, work, hobbies. There are our plans. And then there is the way things play out. I’m often asked if my husband Michael and I had always wanted a large family and I often answer with a laugh. When I married Michael, I figured I would be lucky if I got a kitten out of the guy. We were going to busy changing the world, him in politics, me in broadcast television; diapers and teething and college savings accounts weren’t going to dovetail cleanly into that lofty goal. But we find ourselves, well over a quarter century past our wedding, with an octagon of offspring.
We are the better for it. Much better than our best-laid ambitions, ten-year plans, and naïve assumptions about timing.
The parenting journey for Michael and I has been a process of unlearning the priorities of our driven generation and learning to listen afresh to the cadence of a new and ancient song. God holds our times in His hands. As that smart guy Solomon said in Proverbs 16:9, we make our plans, but God is the one who directs, establishes, orders the steps. And for us, God has taught us so much about Himself, has revealed so much about trust and surrender and joy and bigger vision through making us parents. He’s continually teaching us about soft hearts and firm resolve, practiced patience and flexible frontiers, a steady chipping away of self with a fuller expression of the calling on our lives.
That handsome boy is now a father of eight, a reluctant owner of two yappy, annoying dogs, and a business partner. That grateful girl is now in ministry, is an author and speaker, and drives the rattiest 15 passenger van you’ve ever seen. That imagined ultimate 80’s condo is now a cram-packed track house in Austin, Texas, with grimy floors, cluttered counters, and boisterous laughter. You’ll find me juggling homeschool and work, carpools and chaos, with sprinkles of sleeplessness on top. Our tribe consists of Madison (25), McKenna (21), Justus (19), Maesyn (17), Jairus (14), Journey (12), and twins Merci and Jake (age 8). It’s one of my great joys to share, encourage, equip, and shoulder this mom career thing with other women, to talk about what’s worked and what I got wrong…sometimes really wrong. The Lord composed a line in my heart a while ago: it’s not just about who you birth, it’s about who you raise. I’m grateful and excited to raise this next generation alongside the AllMomDoes team and you, the reader. Blessings to you as you wipe those noses, shovel that laundry, laugh, fight, learn, struggle, and grow. Let’s take this mom adventure together!