Motherhood is Enough

Motherhood is Enough

Call me way behind in mom movie watching but I just watched Mom’s Night Out for the first time today.

I know. How did I NOT see this movie?

Such a fun, real, somewhat quirky movie… and with an incredible message.

I think I needed to see it. Today. Not a few years ago… but today.

Jeremy and I were enjoying a rare afternoon together and he put this movie on for us.

And it hit home in my heart…

There might not be any littles running around my house coloring on the walls or spilling things in the toilet or loosing sippy cups among the millions of toys laying across the floor but I’m a mom facing a whole new season.

I’m a prior busy, homeschooling, babysitting, kids program planning, kids church working, class teaching, class taking, mommy blog writing, traveling, scheduling, American housewife who has been seemingly misplaced in the desert of Africa with a traveling husband, no car, kids gone for the majority of the day at school and somehow pioneering her way through cooking and housekeeping 101 in a wild, dusty, hot place.

I wake up and fight back the desert sands from overtaking my house rather than heading out for a busy day.

I hang laundry on the line outside rather than taking my girls to the library to hunt down the latest science study.

I struggle through conversations in other languages with adults rather than children.

I make my own gluten free bread and pizza crust while wearing flip flops so my mixer doesn’t shock me rather than driving through Starbucks on my way to Costco to buy my favorite gluten free products from the freezer section.

I remain at home out of necessity, often just to hold down the fort and wait for whoever could come by that day rather than running errands and going to the grocery store.

I cook rice only to find bugs in it.

I keep flour in my freezer to keep bugs out of it.

I use my crock pot only to find that the outlet converter melted through sometime mid-cooking. And that I can’t do anymore laundry until I get a new converter because my crock pot shares a converter with my washing machine. Both from England. In West Africa.

I not only do our budget for the month in dollars but it all must be changed into cfa to make sense in this country.

I navigate new friendships while hoping to maintain old ones.

I wonder how any of this fits in to the missionary picture I’d drawn in my head.

My life is drastically different than it was 19 months ago when I left US soil.

And the mom in the movie said what I’ve been saying to myself for the past few months while adjusting to this very weird and not-like-me season of motherhood.

“I have this beautiful life… so why do I feel this way?” – Sarah Drew

Her sweet, heartfelt, very sad and quite emotional, crazy outbursts are me.

I’m going crazy. Like her.

Somewhere in the midst of homeschooling and full time church ministry and traveling to raise support and learning French, I forgot what it was like to just be home.

To work at home.

To support my kids and my husband while staying at home.

To be home.

To clean and cook and do laundry and be home. daily. To have a pot boiling to make a new batch of chicken stock with gluten free bread rising on the counter and cookies cooling and dry laundry waiting to come indoors. To sneak in a cup of afternoon tea just before starting a batch of corn and a batch of flour tortillas… from scratch. To buy eggs at the gate only to have Zander tip them over while I walk back to the house… to go buy another plate of eggs and begin the clean up process before Zander eats the raw eggs. To bleach wash all my produce and keep the water filter going. To be home. To be here when numerous people each day stop in for helping with this or that, fixing this or that, selling this or that… someone needs to be here. And right now, it is me.

And like the mom in the movie, I love this! I look around at my life and I feel incredibly blessed to be here. To be home, supporting my family. To have the ability to learn new cooking skills and enjoy morning coffee dates with a friend and chat with my vegetable lady at the gate and not be in a rush to go anywhere. To not have the crazy busy pressure of life that I had before. To just be. here. at home.

Yet, also like the mom in the movie, I’ve been going crazy and honestly not feeling as happy as I really should be.

Some moments, my joy is stolen by this very unfun sickness… the MS symptoms that greatly magnify the heat, the struggle and the stress of life here. A sickness that keeps me home even more than I normally would be here. The desperation of not having available medical care and the constant weighing of symptoms and their severity.

Some moments, I feel the frustration of having just one vehicle. Still in the beginning stages of figuring out public transportation in our new neighborhood… which seems to be a bit trickier than in other parts of Senegal.

Some moments, I feel the sadness of unfulfilled dreams, goals and hopes. And, at the same time, feel the juxtaposition of actually living those things… in different ways than I imagined.

Some moments, I feel the loneliness of missing home. And the long days ahead, passing them in exactly the same way. And to know that home is changing and moving along without us. And I’m changing right along with it.

Learning to be a very different me. And having God dig up all kinds of things in my heart with such patience and love. My year of mending taking place in a way I never saw coming… being home. Being forced to take a deep look at me without busyness or any agenda at all. Just growing as God highlights new parts of my heart. And mending them.

Mom's Night Out - being a mom

Like the mom in the movie, I feel the crazy of it. I sense the intense crazy and the longing for peace in the crazy. I’m figuring out how to be ok in this season. To find joy in this season. To let God do His thing in this season.

But, again… like the mom in the movie… I’m realizing anew that this season is short. This season is good. My kids are growing up. And the need to be home when they get home from a long day at school will soon be gone. The need to drive carpool and thus fill up our truck where there isn’t even room for me to ride along… the carpool years will end.

I’m remembering that I’m a mom. And that is an incredibly valid, incredibly important part of my life.

Motherhood is Enough

I’m not any more or less valuable in my days at home than I was in my days of busyness and travel.

Where I feel like I’m going backwards while constantly trying to peddle forwards… I need to just stop. breathe. unplug. and give myself the freedom to enjoy the gift of THIS season that God has given me.

The question of “What are YOU doing right now, Jenilee?” should not stress me out. It should not cause a gut reaction of frustration that I can’t give this incredibly long list of amazing activities.

I can simply say, “I’m a mom.”

That in being a mom, which really isn’t at all simple, I’m enabling my husband to do what God has called him to do and giving my girls a safe place to land when they come home. And that is all that is required of me right now.

I can simply know that Jesus loves me. Because I’m ME, and not because I’m busy doing this or that or hitting some standard of productivity that I created in my head.

Healing. Enjoying. Resting. Growing. Without performing or impressing or living up to the pressure to constantly DO something.

Being the foundation that my family needs and it is enough.

Taking the backseat and beautifully thriving.

I can embrace the slower pace and learn a great many things.

I can embrace the simple truth of God’s amazing love. {and laugh that Trace Adkins says pinterest in this clip}

"I have this beautiful life... so why do I feel this way?" - Sarah Drew

Because I’m pretty sure my expectations were slightly ambitious for myself this first term. I mean I knew it would be slower with many days at home, but I didn’t really understand what it would feel like to walk and live this. So remembering the truth of my sweet Savior’s love just because I’m His daughter and I’m taking care of His children, my children is amazing.

An amazing truth that I’d forgotten in the midst of transition, busyness, and crazy emotions.

When it all quiets down, knowing that at the end of the day, God loves me. the mom. This stay-at-home mom.

That is a valuable truth to grab, hold on tight and not let go.

This season won’t last and the busyness will come again. Which is even more reason to for now, trust His heart and know that motherhood is enough.

It is beautiful and it is enough.

Have you seen Mom’s Night Out?


  1. Gosh, life is so filled with so many changes and things we never would’ve thought of… We recently moved from Los Angeles, to London, UK. And I feel extra vulnerable learning so many new things, and we live in central London so we rely on walking and public transportation..which is a whole new way from practically living in our car in LA, haha! My daughters also started school here in London, and my youngest will go in the fall… So not only the move, but the transition of all my kids being in school is huge. Its such a weird feeling, I’m looking forward to having more quiet time, and time to actually get stuff done, ha! But also, who knows what the Lord has in store… Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Oh we love London! We got to visit last summer and it was amazing. So much transition for your family! I totally get the extra vulnerable part… I’m right there too. Thanks for commenting with your story!

  2. Hey, girlfriend! The Lord just plopped that movie into a bookstore here for me, too! What are the chances?! As we move…again…plan a trip to another African country, change roles and ministries, I am realizing again what it takes to be a mom in a place like this. It’s hard to fight against the dust and dirt, here!!! Praying for some relief of your symptoms, too.

    1. Let me know what you think of the movie… It is quirky and silly and corny at some moments but the lesson is clear and beautiful and important! Praying for your transitions and changes!

  3. I am crying reading this. I can hear and understand so much of what you’re saying, I have been in those season of being at home out of necessity too, when I basically couldn’t take my screaming adopted daughters anywhere! I know it is different, but I can understand. The simplicity of it sounds beautiful.

    But why I’m crying, is because I was just telling my mom today, mom, I think you need to find some other missionary ladies you can connect with, because you would be such a good mentor and peer for others, and I know how it would bless you and them. My mom and dad are missionary in Fiji, they have also been in Zimbabwe, she also has MS, she also struggles to find the balance between symptoms and medical care, we have walked this journey intimately together. It is so crazy like our God for me to randomly run across you on Instagram, to click on your blog (I seriously never do that with people), to be taking with my mom today, and then find you!

    Would you be willing to email me? I would love so very much to connect you and my mom, and hear how I can pray for you specifically.

    1. Oh, I’d love to connect with your mom! Sounds like God is setting something up! 🙂 love that… and thanks for clicking over and sharing your heart. What a blessing!

  4. I haven’t seen that movie, but I can relate to what you are feeling. When we first arrived in Congo, there was a minor civil war across the river. Our hospital was getting wounded and refugees, and our house was the natural gathering place to talk through things. I was glad to be included, but started to feel pointless. There I was, still unable to go to the market by myself, feed my family, and do the basics of life. Our school books were still on their way, so we weren’t even doing much of school. Everyone else was out saving lives (or at least meeting real, tangible needs), and I felt like I was doing nothing.

    I had to remember that being a mother was just as important in my new setting than in my old setting. I needed to do what God brought in front of me, and trust that the season would pass. And it did. I found my niche, and was busy and productive. But I never forgot that lesson. 🙂

    1. it is a valuable lesson for a valuable season! And I’m finding myself relearning it in a missionary mom context. Thanks for sharing your story and encouragement!

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