If we’re being honest..it’s hard to know where to start. Most days the to-do list that swirls in my head prevents me from having a clear starting point, but here – as I try to figure out where to begin this blog –  the challenge becomes sifting through the mass quantity of material to choose from.

We’ll start at the beginning,I suppose. Well, not  all the way back to my beginning, but the beginning of my motherhood and my subsequent search to conquer being a good Mom — while being MORE than just Mom. The first born (and only) son joined our world in 1999, only 14 months into my marriage to a wonderful man and pretty incredible Dad. We expanded our crew in 2002 and again in 2003 with our girls. Originally thinking we wanted 4 children, once we became out-manned we took pause. Moving from man-to-man defense to zone required us to call an audible and cut the team roster short. (Yes, I’m an avid football fan – it’s a Southern girl thing and one of the “MORE”s in my mind.) Anyway, that rounds out team M – for now. With no plans for expansion. *Footnote: I’m ever so mindful that I’m not really the owner of this team, more so just the manager.  God is the owner, and he has the final word as to what this team looks like.*

So, now. On to how this blog came about. I’m not good at hiding my struggles. Nor do I really want to be. If you ask me how I’m doing, you’re going to get an honest answer. I’ve always felt like we do ourselves (and each other) an injustice when we try to smile and nod –  pretending things are just peachy, when in fact, we feel like screaming.  Motherhood is not a “Leave It to Beaver” episode with Mom-June Cleaver all happy-smiley all the time. If we’re being honest.. all Moms struggle.  It doesn’t matter what your particular “motherhood” circumstances look like:  1 kid or 10 kids. Working outside of the home or stay-at-home. Married or single. With a house keeper or a house full of dust. It doesn’t matter what your situation; if you’re a mom and you’re being honest, you struggle. With different things, maybe, but struggle, still.

For me, the biggest struggle of *my* particular motherhood has been finding that balance between defining my life by doing my best for my kids vs.  my kids being my entire life. I have believed from the beginning of this journey that having a life outside of being “just Mom” would actually make me a BETTER Mom. In theory the idea has always been in my mind, but in practice? Not so much.

Just ask my kids’ wonderful-and-pretty-incredible  Dad. He’ll tell you quickly that there have been many times that I overly obsessed about my children: their well-being, their health, their safety, their future, their behavior.. all great things to be concerned about – in MODERATION. Moderation, however has not always been part of my motherhood.

At some point in my motherhood I realized that my motherhood theory wasn’t really being put into action, so I put my mind to the task of overcoming my natural inclination to sacrifice my entire being to my motherhood. Some of you out there will disagree with me, I know. And that is perfectly fine.. even good. But as for me, I knew it to be best if I forced myself to go beyond my motherhood and make sure that there was also a ME!  Along the way I’m finding that I’ve been able to do things that I had not ever dreamed of doing  – and that I’m able to juggle more than I had thought possible.  (Finished a triathlon, a half marathon, learned to surf, learning to play tennis, finding fun creative outlets, making time for my  husband, making GUILT-FREE time for the things I enjoy, and maintaining the friendships that are important to me).  I hope and pray that this makes my motherhood a better one for my kids, myself and my husband.. and I know that I have to “Mind-Over-Motherhood” it, to make that happen.

** This blog is dedicated to my “There’s Been Some Damage” girls. They understand what this means, and I will likely do a blog on it at some point, but for now this is the important part:  I have a handful of mom-friends who go waaaay back. I have leaned on them so very much through the years. Along the way a few of us started emailing each other crazy stories of things we would experience as moms. You know, the stuff you wouldn’t have ever imagined yourself experiencing, much less telling other people about? Yet I needed to tell it. Honestly. And it felt good to hammer out the long “venting” emails and  push send. It felt even better to get a response from my friends that helped me  (1) realize that I wasn’t alone in my motherhood struggles and (2) laugh at it all.  They encouraged me to keep writing and finally now, I’m taking it beyond the email inbox.

So, here we go… blogging my “MORE”s.