My Role as a Mom

I started writing this post about a week ago.  I'm not sure why this has been on my mind so much lately or why this particular post was so hard for me to write.  From the time Ella was born I have fought attacks against my self worth.  How, as a stay at home mother, can I be fulfilled?  How can I watch my husband work so hard and me not contribute financially to our family?  I worked for hard for my degrees and for what??  Every time I feel as if I am finally content and happy at home I begin to long for work outside the home.  Why oh why do I struggle so much with this?  Does anyone else deal with these thoughts?

The post below is me talking through the realization that I will probably never work outside the home again.  At least not for a long, long time.  Accepting this is just a part of the healing process that goes along with Lucy's cancer.  As I've said before her cancer has such an all encompassing effect on our family and our future.  Somedays it's hard to even pretend to understand the whole picture.

I struggle with contentment.  I pray for it daily.  I fail daily and then pray again:

When I began writing on this blog over 5 years ago, there were about 10 people who read it. My sweet family and a few close friends were "very" interested in what my adorable little girls were doing.  After Lucy became sick I was amazed at how, almost over night, the number of people who were following Lucy's story seemed to multiply at an hourly rate.

Quite honestly, I was so engrossed in the minute by minute battle that Lucy was fighting that I really didn't realize just how many people were reading this.  Boy was I humbled when I figured it out!  I honestly believe with all my heart that God sent you all to this page to become prayer warriors for Lucy and our family.  I also believe with all my being that your prayers, and God's healing hand, were what saved Lucy's life.

I have prayed from the beginning of Lucy's fight that God would be glorified through this evil cancer.  I resolved myself to this at an early point and I think that allowed me to shed a burden of fear and anger so that I could stay renewed in my faith in God.  I have been blessed in so many ways hearing stories from so many people (most I've never met) who have drawn closer in their relationship with Christ through Lucy's struggles.  What a miracle in itself!

The only drawback of my life being an open book is that sometimes I feel as if I am living under a microscope.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining.  Actually, I really don't mind and it doesn't bother me.  I carefully share the things that I want known on this blog and I proudly live my life the way I feel convicted.  The biggest downfall of living your life through the pages of a computer is that your life becomes easily criticized.

All that being said, I want you to look at this picture of Lucy.

While this picture literally makes me sick to my stomach, it also serves as a daily reminder that I worship and mighty, powerful, omnipotent God.   The little girl above was just days past death.  In fact, I honestly believe that she was dead in so many ways and YOUR prayers were heard.  And when she was brought back from the very brink of death, I vowed to never lose sight of what my job is.  I am her mother.  I am the one who nurtured and protected her for 9 months in my womb and I will do everything in my power  to protect her until she goes on to be with Jesus.  

I will do EVERYTHING I can to provide for her.  There are a lot of things I share on this blog and there are a lot of things that are just too personal for our family to share.  There are daily battles we fight and we know that there are a life time of struggles ahead of us.  Lucy has to be in a special school.  We pay for year round physical therapy.  Lucy needs specific extracurricular activities to challenge her mind and body.  

My husband is such a man of God and I am blessed to have him in my life.  He believes that our family is served best when I am home with my children.  In all honesty, I can't work outside the home because of the obligations I have to Lucy, much less my other two children.  I choose to believe that God gave me this blog as a way of sharing about Him and also providing a little extra income for my family.  It was a very hard decision to make when I signed on for advertising and sponsored posts.  I prayed about it and stewed over it for many weeks.  It was a decision that I did not take lightly.  

As a Mom of a child with special needs I have learned that my "job" is different that anything I ever dreamed it would be.  Any mom that cares for a special needs child wakes up to a monumental task every day.  Throw in a couple of extra children and the stakes are raised even higher.  There is always so much riding on daily decision concerning education, healthcare and socialization.  Before Lucy's illness I prided myself in my educational and professional endeavors.  I was driven by taking on the next project or working towards another degree.  My how things have changed.  

Having a child with special needs isn't easy.  It is a job that I was specially chosen for.  I consider it an honor and many times a blessing.  But the reality is that it is very demanding and very tiring.  But I won't quit.  I will do EVERYTHING in this world to give Lucy the absolute best opportunities and advantages to help her succeed in life.  I owe her nothing less.  I owe God nothing less.  

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  1. I have been following your blog (from northern Ontario, Canada) for almost two years. I have cried with you, cheered for you and, of course, prayed continuously. I have never commented and never read the comments others post. Well, I did once and was horrified by the criticism I read at the time. I'm assuming that someone has commented on your advertising posts. Your post tonight really hurt my heart. You shouldn't have to explain your decision to anyone. Over the last couple of weeks I have noticed the posts and have cheered for you. I pray that your readers are able to share your story without judgement and criticism. I remain a cheerleader for your family and thank you for opening your lives to such scrutiny so that we may share in your family's journey.

  2. I was sitting here trying to come up with words and then this comment popped up and was PERFECTLY stated, so I deleted mine ;)
    Kate, you don't owe anyone an explanation. You just keep right on doing what is best for your family. May God continue to bless each of you...and may the naysayers see their way to another blog!

  3. As the aunt of a child who suffered with cancer for 4 years I know something of what you have been through and are going through. It touches not only the child who is ill but the siblings who are well. As parents you are living in 2 worlds and trying to nurture children in each one. In reading your story I continue with each and every post to admire you, your husband and your family for your support of one another and of Lucy.

  4. Hi, Kate. It's so hard to respond to a post like this with all of the emotion and passion I feel for mothering...Nothing is more valuable as a mom than raising and nurturing your children in Jesus Christ. You are laying a foundation for three people for the rest of their lives. Three people who will start three new families and family lines of precious people. You are irreplaceable to your children, healthy or sick.

    I don't have that itch to get out of the house. I have a college degree from a prestigious university, but nothing compares to me. If I want to answer in practical terms when my son asks me about the money I spend since I didn't "earn" it, I think about all the money saved because of me. I homeschool, so we don't pay for private school, and I'm not commuting, paying for day care, buying fancy suits or lunches out, etc. Plus, like your husband, mine believes it's better for our family for me to take care of our kids.

    We pray for Lucy. I'm so glad she is doing well!

  5. Michelle from AustraliaSeptember 27, 2013 at 2:15 AM

    I am in the same position. I am a CPA. I did my Accounting degree. I did my CPA qualification. I graduated with Honours :) My husband and I started our family over 10 years ago. And over the next 2 years it became apparent that our Beautiful Daughter had multiple disabilities. She is one of two in the world with her condition. It became apparent to me this year that I will not be able to return to paid employment in the foreseeable future. That is just the way it is. And I have started a small part time business from home. it's a lot of work for a small business but it is the difference between existing and LIVING. We all do what we can for our kids in whatever shape or form they come in. You write beautifully. God is indeed Glorified through Lucy's story. Keep up the great job you are doing Kate. God Bless you all.

  6. You are an awesome mom! Praying for you every single night.

  7. I agree! I, too, have never commented or read other comments, but I find it unfathomable that others could criticize. I read your posts with gratitude to you and your family for opening your life to others, allowing us to understand the secondary effects of childhood cancer, not only to the child but the entire family. The fact that you weave God's grace through your writings and find opportunity to give thanks to Him provides an inspirational bonus. When I read your ad posts, I thought, "You go, girl!" God bless you, your family, and of course, sweet Lucy.

  8. I, too, was typing a note, Kate when I saw Cold Canuck Mama's reply and it is exactly what I was thinking. I am sorry you feel judged or that you would ever have to explain yourself or decisions you've made for your family. Thank you for sharing your life - I so enjoy your posts and following your family's journey.

    Separately, I feel like I know you - Strange to say maybe, but I remember when Lucy was so very ill - my family was on vacation and I kept checking your blog for updates - My husband asking me what I was doing "Who's Lucy?" he asked. I remember crying reading those posts. Sometimes I still cry reading your posts, but mostly they are tears of joy for how far your Lucy and family has come.

    Hugs to you, Kate
    Your virtual friend!

  9. I, like many, have followed you for years now. I never thought I'd be dealing with cancer until my father was diagnosed with stomach cancer and I've been involved in his care. Reading this blog set me up for what to expect and gave me a little bit of a dose for what I'd be dealing with and for that I'm thankful. I second the post below...I have cried and cheered with you........one thing I'm certain is that you don't owe any of us any explanation. You only need to answer to God. Many may have opinions and criticisms but none of us have walked in your shoes to validate those thoughts. Godspeed to you and your family.

  10. I concur with Cold Canuck Mama! I've seen the negative comments in the past: Jack's seatbeat and etc. I have a 3 year old and no matter how tight you tighten it mine can loosen the strap. So if you don't have anything nice to say "bloggers" than keep your comments to yourself. You are a great mom so don't even let them bother you. YOU ROCK!!!

  11. Kate -

    I knew you in college and saw you just before Lucy was diagnosed. I couldn't believe when I heard about Lucy's diagnosis since I had just seen you. I felt like God was put you in my path that random day so that when I heard about Lucy I would know that I was to pray for her!

    You are a great mom. Your transparency is very eye opening to understand the after effects of cancer. I know I myself had never thought about the life after cancer. Thank you for opening my eyes.

    It is sad how mom's are so critical of other mom's. I was able to go to Dot Mom last weekend in Chattanooga and it was FABULOUS! It was very uplifting and encouraging. I came away with a new goal of ensuring love and joy in my home. One of my favorite points was you can't be a boundary mom and a mean mom. So true! Show joy and love to your children. It's our job! All of that being said, mom's need to encourage each other. Seriously, we are all on the same team just trying to love and protect our children!

  12. Unfortunately, this is the terrible problem that will always exist between mother's. I will never understand someone judging another person and their decisions. You have to make the best decision for your family and that is all that matters. Every single mother has their own struggles and demons to deal with, not one is perfect and not one situation is the same... I pray that one day we can all see each other as mother's just doing the best for our kids. I'm sorry for the bad comments on your blog, just know that God is on your side and your are doing a fabulous job. Your family has been through the unimaginable! Sending much love to your family from just a few miles away (Cordova)!

  13. Kate, I was a full-time mom for years and struggled with all of these things. Then I worked with new mothers and realized not only was I not alone in my struggles, but that EVERY mother I worked with, no matter how dedicated to their children they are, no matter how much they consider mothering their most important role and sacred calling -- was struggling with both self-criticism (mommy guilt) and at least some degree of lack of contentment for being home full-time with children (then feeling guilty about that as well!).

    It is not easy, this mothering gig, and society paints it with a rosy glow -- we are supposed to be instantly fulfilled, all of our dreams and wishes having come true the minute we welcome that first child into the world. And to a degree, we are -- motherhood does fulfill us -- but not ALL of us. We are still women, with creativity, brains, gifts to give the world, needs for at least some adult life that does not revolve around squabbles and spills. This is NORMAL, and shows that you do have needs that need to be met somehow.

    You are clear that your primary role is as a mother -- no one else can do what you do for your children every day. So you accept this, which is healthy, but I want to also offer you that there may be a role for you too outside of your family that meets some of your other needs. For me, it was running a support group for new mothers when my children were very small. Now, I run a home-based counseling business (working by phone and Skype) that I can do while homeschooling my children. For me, and for some others, it is crucial that we do something that is just ours.

    You are creative and intelligent person who is growing every day -- you will have a lot to offer the world no matter what! Ask for guidance to see how you could meet some of your other needs, even in some small way. And you ARE contributing to your family and to the world, with this blog, and your growth is evident as you walk this path. Let the journey surprise you, ask for your guilt to be healed -- you are enough just as you are. I send you big hugs mama.

  14. Totally agree. I sometimes wonder too about the degrees and education we get and then it seems like we go totally different directions than what we were expecting. I believe the Lord is guiding us to put our trust, pride, faith in Him and not ourselves or any of our "stuff". He has such unmeasurable riches for us that we cannot even comprehend....which can seem far away with all you deal with. I pray the Lord draws you close and very clearly tells you He Loves You today! I also cannot imagine being critical of you. It is a privilege and honor to pray for your family - I just read this morning in a devotion that two weapons for believers are praying and preaching NOT whining and complaining (and I would say critical spirits). Enough!

  15. I have also never commented on any posts but read your blog and love it. I completely agree with this reader's post and I encourage you to continue doing the advertising. I think it's great! You have been through hell and back and are such a strong woman. Don't let the criticism get to you (although I know that's hard to do). You can't please everybody and never will. But you can continue to be an amazing mother to your family. And keep up the great work on this blog - you inspire many people.

  16. I saw the comment earlier in the week and was horrified that someone would kick you like that, after all you've been through. I also have been reading for a long while now and love to come on here and see what your family has been up to. It reminds me of the good and the unexpected that God can bless us with and the ways he can show Himself in our lives.

    I also have a college degree I'm not using because I am mothering two littles, one with a lifelong, serious illness. Like you, I wear a slew of hats everyday, every hour, mostly many at once. This is not the job I prepared for, but it is the one God prepared my heart for. Anyone couldn't have been my child's mother, just like anyone could not have Lucy's mother. And that is not to say that I'm perfect. Everyday His grace is perfect. I just accept His challenge, his gift to my life and I do my very best. Some days your blog encourages me that way.

    I also homeschool, mostly because of my child's unique needs, and no, it was not what I had in mind to be doing. Homeschooling adds another layer of guilt/questioning to the pile. I read a great post the other day from a homeschool parent that said she always gets the response "I couldn't do that" from other parents. Her response was along the lines that they could, actually, if they thought it was what their child really needed. Because what parent, when up against a wall or backed into a corner doesn't do what their child really needs?

    Your unique mothering style and skills, your degree of love and affection, your determination, are exactly what Lucy, and Ella and Jack need. There is no substitute for you. You are priceless.

  17. PS- Congrats on the 40 under 40! I'm so happy for you that they recognize the ways you have made so many other people's lives better!

  18. Kate, i am a local lady who lives in the south end of your county. Both of our children are grown and one lives out of state with our firstborn grandchild. I do not have a college degree but my husband and I chose for me to stay home all those years ago and raise our children. Nothing compares to all the money in the world of raising them and watching them grow and change in every season of their life and of yours. I have faced the critics over the years. Comments when my children were in school of "she doesn't HAVE to work" were made. There were many sacrifices to be made and I have to say contentment is one thing i had to learn early on. Never let anyone belittle you for your choice to fulfill the wonderful and rewarding calling of motherhood. It is sometimes (most days and especially for you with a special needs child) the hardest job you will ever work. You are an inspiration and I have been reading your blog ever since I heard of Lucy's diagnosis. I have cried and rejoiced. God is indeed good and your family is a blessing to our county. Keep on doing what God has called you to do and don't pay attention to the naysayers. They have not walked in your shoes and sometimes folks are just envious because you have chosen to do it God's way; others are afraid to step out in faith and allow God to work. Keep on trusting and living and letting your light shine. God bless you and yours!!!!!!

  19. desperateforavacationSeptember 27, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    saw you guys last night on Channel 3.

    Thank you for being open and honest!

  20. desperateforavacationSeptember 27, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    And my family had learned first hand this month on how cancer touches the whole family. My nephew has cancer he is 32 what was and should have been easily treatable testicukar cancer has spread throughout his body. We rejoiced in the news yesterday that he has the type of cancer that will respond well to chemo.

    My sister and I were trying to think of things to help raise money just to cover his monthly expenses. He was told he may not work for a year. We ask for prayers!!!!!

    So Kate, you are doing right. I am proud of you. Keep on keeping on!

    Becky in Brighton!

  21. I thought you might like this link. This is the hospital my son had his heart surgeries at. http://uofmhealthblogs.org/childrens/block-out-cancer/finding-new-solutions-improve-patient-care/8566/

  22. I too am a Canuck Mom...from Edmonton, Alberta....anf you said everything that i was thinking but couldn't put into words, i have been following you for over 2 years ... I ADMIRE your strength...!

  23. I have another perceptive. Did you ever think that your ability to write and express emotions that so many of us can relate to, is God-given.?

    Kate, when you started having advertisement on your blog, I thought the blog had such a strong readership and ,of course, adverstisers are going to want to use your blog.

    Your blog has a strong readership because you can articulate in words so profoundly and with such vulnerablility your emotions and experiences of being a mom. Not just a mom who has gone through hell with her beloved child but a mom, a plain, ordinary mom, who experiences all the up and downs of motherhood. Your love of Jesus is inspiring and your questioning has been real and authentic.

    To put it simply, you're a good writer, Kate. Jesus wants us to use the gifts he give us. So instead of thinking that somehow you're doing something wrong, think you're following God's will.

  24. Kate, this is your blog and you don't have to justify anything you do with it. If you are able to support your family through writing some of these posts than I say, "Good for you!" The only thing I don't like about them is that they are rarely open for Canadian residents to enter so I don't get a chance to win anything :)

    But I don't read your blog for the chance to win things. I read to keep praying for all of you, celebrating the victories and supporting you through the trials. That is the most important thing.

  25. Hang in there, Kate! I started following shortly after Lucy's diagnosis and a few months later when I was pregnant with our first child my husband received a cancer diagnosis and my admiration and respect for you skyrocketed. I could barely read your posts at the time but prayed and thought if your family as I researched And learned more about his diagnosis and options. Our little family is healthy now and I love reading the stories of all three of your children.

  26. Thank you for being bold and brave. Jesus sacrificed so that we could learn the lessons. You are sacrificing so much and we are learning so much. Don't let the hater's hate bring you down. They are angry because they are scared. For whatever reason they are scared and your story makes them, makes us all, vulnerable. Please, Kate. Don't give up. Teach through your story. You are a Mighty Warrior. A Mighty Warrior indeed.

  27. It says so much about you that you struggled so much with a decision that so many other bloggers make without hesitation. We read because we have come to adore your family, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with helping to provide for your family using whatever opportunities God has given you.

  28. I've read your blog since Lucy was diagnosed. My life is very similar to yours in that I have 2 daughters and a sweet baby boy. My children are all the same ages as your children. I also have a college degree and I'm a stay at home mom. I like to think of myself as a "domestic engineer". Our lives differ in that I can't imagine the daily struggles you face with sweet Lucy. I completely admire the way you handle juggling the responsibilities you are dealt every day. We all have days when we fall apart but most of us don't allow the world a view into that craziness. You should never be criticized but APPLAUDED for not being afraid to show the world your imperfections. When I read your blog, it makes me smile to know that I'm not the only one who has the feelings of insecurity as a mother and wife. Lets face it, we all do the very best that we know and the very best that we can. Sometimes it's enough, sometimes it's not. The most important thing is that we know we've given it all we have. No one should stand in judgement of you. I'm sure they wouldn't want their lives judged. All this is to say BRAVO Kate!!! You're doing an amazing job as a wife, mother and nurse!! Hold your head high and don't let anyone's judgement get you down. There is only one judge in this life and I'm sure He is very pleased with your loyalty and service. Thank you for sharing your life with us!!

  29. Kate, I have been following you for 2 years as well, and but have not commented on any of your posts, but feel the need to do so now. How dare anyone criticize you, it breaks my heart to hear that people can be so cruel and heartless.

    You and your family are such beautiful people, and your faith through all of this is such a testimony to our God! I talk of Lucy and your family often, and what a true inspiration you have become, not only to me but to so many! Your role as a mom is so very important, and you are doing an amazing job. Just seeing what you are doing with the Go Lucy Go Foundation is yet another testament of the goodness in your heart.

  30. I'm with Cold Canuck Mama, Kate!!! I've been actively reading the blog since Lucy's diagnosis and you have inspired me like nobody had. If you want to advertise dog food, Im sure myself and many other followers will still open our book mark to your page and still read. Thanks for sharing your journey with us all. God bless

  31. My continued prayers for Lucy and your family. I commend you on writing this post. First, you don't need to explain yourself to ANYONE. God knows and he's the only one you answer to. (Please don't think I'm condeming your decision. I think it's a wonderful solution to your struggle.) Second, SOOOO many mamas go through this and wrestle with that "I REALLY want to use my degree in the way I intended it and do the work I love". It's normal. It's also normal to not have those feelings. You're an AMAZING mother! And the pps are right, your ability to write is God-given. I admire your honesty, your strength, and your resolve to acknowledge that you're not perfect (no one is!) on a daily basis. You are most correct, God blesses special people with special children. It's a privilege and one you have been blessed and trusted with. Keep up the amazing work!

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