A picture of an open bible, coffee and a pen for underlining. Text that says,Just spending the morning with my Jesus.

Artistically staged pictures of people enjoying their quiet time used to trigger an intense emotional reaction in me that, as a pastor’s wife, I feel horrified to admit. When I would see these posts, I would become irate… And I mean the kind of anger that makes you want to punch a wall. Just writing this, I can even still feel my heart rate accelerating and the tears beginning to form. I remember it like it was yesterday, even though it was almost ten years ago.

For Pete’s sake, I am a pastor’s wife. I love Jesus. Before I had children, I would sit with my Bible and my cup of coffee and enjoy spending my mornings reading God’s Word and preparing my heart for the day. Morning quiet times were a practice that I loved and would encourage others to have as well.

But, these moments happened for me in a world before Instagram. I did not yet know that I could artfully document my quiet times on Social Media. I’m sure if I did, I would have been the queen of coffee/bible/artsy photos. Luckily, for me, I had no idea what anyone else was doing. Those were simpler times… sigh

Social media and children

At the time, my friends made motherhood look incredible. They seemed to adore the baby phase. Pictures on social media made these families look so put together, snuggling their precious littles in their adorable little outfits. Everyone’s lives looked like postcards. One friend had to wake her toddler up at 10:00 am every day because he was such a good sleeper. I couldn’t wait to have a baby and be a mom. It was all I wanted in life at this point, and I just knew that I would be great at it.

Enter… MY children

When we finally grew our family, my reality looked nothing like that of my friends. This baby of mine would wake up at 5 am. He was an okay sleeper, but I didn’t sleep for months. No, years! My oldest is very scheduled by nature. He fell into a pretty good eat, wake, and sleep schedule early on. He did what the books said would happen. But, he was always an early riser. It took me forever to get him to sleep until 7:00.

Just as I got used to my son’s routine, I found out I was pregnant with the second. The pregnancy was a blessing because we got pregnant much faster with the second than we did with the first. As a result, their ages were closer together than we had anticipated.

The second child was the opposite of the first. He’s 12 and still hasn’t found his sleep rhythm. All the tricks that worked with the first one did NOT work on him! I thought I had figured things out, but quickly realized that no formula works for all kids.

Quiet time with hipster coffee is never happening

I had my boys 20 months apart, and they were not low maintenance kids. Before my youngest learned to walk, he would climb out of his crib. His creative mind caused him to line up chairs, boxes, and anything else he could find to make stairs to allow him to climb onto the kitchen counter. My days were spent trying to keep my kids from disaster, and those days began very early in the morning. It was exhausting.

Adult conversations were few and far between, and I was an absolute wreck. Do you know what I REALLY needed in my life? A freaking quiet time with Jesus! (Am I allowed saying that? I don’t have a better way to describe my emotions at that point)

This was life at our house... one picture has the youngest crawling into the drawer of the oven, and the other picture shows the oldest walking with a bucket on his head.
I’ve got one kid getting into the oven and the other with a bucket on his head… I’m tired!

Sleep deprivation is NO JOKE!

Now, I know that I wasn’t alone, and I found some comfort from a few friends who had a similar experience. But this kind of experience was not what was posted all over the internet at the time. It was a lonely time; only I was never alone! I experienced a roller coaster of emotions. “Mom guilt” had already begun to set in because I didn’t love every moment of this phase of motherhood. I was exhausted!

Strangers would walk by and tell me to savor every moment because they grow up so fast. Faking a smile, I would say, “I know, they need to slow down,” but to me, it felt like time was not moving at all, and I wanted it to hurry up. It didn’t feel acceptable to be honest about those feelings. Not even to strangers. I sucked at the infant and toddler phase and wished we could hurry up and get on with the next stage. Then instantly, I felt guilty about feeling that way.

I desperately needed alone time

Before having children, I was accustomed to sitting down every day to study my bible. I felt like I had to continue that practice as a new mom to be a good Christian. It sounds so dumb to me as I write that now, but I had convinced myself that this was the measure of a committed follower of Christ.

Through the practice of morning quiet time, I had grown so much in my faith, patience, and love for others. Encouraging others to “get in the Word” was one of my goals in life because I had seen first hand the impact it can have. Jesus changed me as a person, and much of that happened as I spent time with Him reading my bible. But I had no idea what a privilege it was to have time set aside every morning for this.

I just couldn’t make quiet time work

No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t figure out how to make it work. The advice I received from numerous sources was to get up an hour before my kids. Every time I did, one of the kids would wake up an hour early too. So now I’ve lost an hour of sleep, and I still didn’t get any alone time. It made me angry! All I wanted was 30 minutes to sit by myself at Starbucks and read my bible! Is that too much to ask?

We had just moved three states away from family, so I didn’t have grandparents or siblings nearby to give me a break. Loren was working extra hours during this time because we were planting a church. He offered to take time off to give me a break, but that made me feel guilty too. I felt like this was my job. I don’t want him to have to do my job and his. I started to feel like I was crazy.

For the record, it was not only my job. I could not have been more wrong about that one. Loren and I are a team when it comes to parenting. But, I didn’t have any of that figured out yet. I just kept questioning myself. As a stay at home mom, I felt the full burden of responsibility.

Why don’t I love this time with my kids?

Why am I so angry at my husband for no reason?

Why can’t I make time for God?

I felt like a failure as a mother, a wife, and a Christian.

Now back to the quiet time photo

When I would see the bible and coffee pictures all over Facebook and Instagram, it felt like they were posting them AT ME! It hit every insecurity I was feeling at the time. The image would pop up, and I would read, “Look, Carrie. I am a better Christian than you.” The intent of the one posting was not to say this, but this was how I read it.

I am a freaking pastor’s wife! Before I got married, I was an infant-toddler teacher. Watching babies was literally what I did for a living. I was a professional mom (at least that was my naive perception at the time). This motherhood thing should have been a breeze. Instead, I was failing at everything. Looking back, I can now see that I was homesick and depressed. That phase sucked! The staged quiet time picture was a reminder of the life I gave up when I became a mother. Only, it felt like I was the only one who couldn’t figure out how to do it all.

The reason I write

One of the main reasons I write is because I want people to know that things like this do not make you a failure. Loving every moment of motherhood is not what makes me a good mom. And I was no less a Christian during that phase because I didn’t sit down with my Bible and have a “quiet time”; in fact, I think I am probably stronger now because of it. At that point of desperation, I experienced God in a whole new way as he carried me through. My thinking had to be adjusted to remember that God doesn’t change when my circumstances do.

And guess what?!

I freaking love being a mom, and I can now have a quiet time in the morning if I choose to. That stage that felt like forever when I was in it, now feels like it was ages ago. Every once in a while, I think about how soft my kids were as babies, and I remember that sweet baby smell. Mostly, I remember I was exhausted, and there was a lot of poop and tears, both theirs and mine. I am happy that part of the journey is over, and I do not feel a bit of guilt about that!

Luckily I have come to a place in my life where these pictures no longer hurt me. I’m able to celebrate with my friends who choose to share how they are blessed by their time in God’s Word without feeling like it is an attack on me. Even if I haven’t read my Bible all week, those pictures don’t make me feel bad about it. Because it was never actually about the image, it was always about my insecurities. The more insecure I am feeling, the more I make things all about me. And that right there is MY problem and nobody else’s. So feel free to post coffee and bible pictures to your heart’s content. You can even count on me for a like and a share.

This always makes me laugh

I did find this article from the Babylon Bee that gave me a good laugh. Christian Fake news is my favorite. Report: Christians Who Regularly Share Photos Of Bible, Coffee Significantly Godlier I think they may have had similar feelings about those pictures.

If you can relate to this post, I’d love for you to share in the comments. I enjoy hearing other people’s stories.

You can also visit my about me page to read more about why I started this blog.

Pin it for later


  1. Christie Dunn Reply

    Carrie – I just love you. It is so refreshing to hear you talk about the same thoughts I have had for years !! I have always looked at those cute quiet time pictures with the coffee and bible and wondered – why can’t I have those moments ? And who are those people out there actually having those picture perfect quiet times ?? I have felt the same guilt during my last 10 years of motherhood- I have given all my extra time and energies to be there for my kiddos and I wish had more quiet times with me and the Bible. I am getting better and I am so grateful for my car worship and prayer sessions daily in my car. I also am trying not to beat myself up for not being the picture perfect Instagram mom – and realize I am serving God as I serve my kids and husband- we are loving and serving our family and I think God is pleased with that , I hope ! Anyways I love you and thanks for sharing your thoughts and life experiences- ❤️❤️❤️

    • Carrie Reply

      Christie! Worship music and Tim Keller in the car was my time with Jesus for years! You, my dear, are a beautiful person. I have some friends that are legitimately Instagram moms… and I am so impressed with them. But, that is not the standard for which I am striving. I want my kids and my husband to know that they are loved and valued. I want to have fun together as a family. I want my boys to grow up to be the people God has created them to be. I want relationships. Those don’t always look Instagram perfect! I adore your family and the faith and strength you have shown through some ridiculously hard times. You are an excellent example to us all. I love you, friend!

  2. Oh, Bear!
    I know your mother would have SO identified with you! You were the perfect baby–the one every mother ordered. You slept, woke, cooed, napped, ate, and SLEPT! The first time we went to see your mom at home after you were born, she was dressed in a cute IRONED dress. Her hair and makeup were PERFECT. And I HATED her! (Oh, and she was already back into her pre-pregnancy clothes!)

    Kim NEVER slept. Her doctor said he could prescribe sleeping pills–for ME, not for her. (She still doesn’t sleep.) And like you, we moved cross-country when she was eighteen months old. No family support. No help. In a strange place where we knew no one, and Larry was working six ten-hour days a week.

    Then, along came Shaun! He was very like Kim: a non-sleeper and stubborn and curious and determined. The first time we went to see your mom at home after he was born, she greeted us at the door in an old T-shirt and your dad’s jeans. They were the only clean thing she could find to put on. The sofa was piled with clothes. They had been washed but never sorted or put away. Shaun was screaming. She looked frazzled–her hair a mess, no makeup, dark circles under her eyes. Of course, you were playing happily on the floor. I hugged her and said, “Oh, Sheila, I have never loved you more. I can identify with this situation.” I asked what we could do to help. I think Larry picked up Shaun and got him to quiet down. I started folding clothes. Then we sent her to the shower.

    You have always made being a mother LOOK easy. I’m glad to know you are human, like the rest of us. And I love you even more for it!

    Sent with lots of hugs, Auntie Lorna

    • Carrie Reply

      I recollect you sharing that story with me and I remember thinking, “Wait… how come I got Shaun as a kid? I was the perfect child!” I wish I was able to share these stories with my mom. I think it would have bonded us. Also, Shauns and Kimmies of the world give us the best stories! I love you, Auntie!

      • You have several great ones, yourself! I remember Eli and the sandwich cut in to triangles! Kimmie handled that one brilliantly! I also loved seeing the kids playing laser tag last Christmas. You have great kids! I always said, “How come I got Kim? Larry and I were the GOOD kids!” But I wouldn’t trade her for anything! We have great kids in our family–all of you!

  3. You dear lady are a breath of fresh air. If only I’d known while I was just a row or two away.

    • Carrie Reply

      You are so sweet. I regret not getting to know you more when I had the chance.

  4. This is so great! All of it!!! For the record… I totally post coffee and bible quiet time photos… but I’ve waited a LOOOONNNGGG time to do so!!! Kids are now 20 and 16! Finally! ?

    • Carrie Reply

      For the record… I love your coffee and bible quiet time photos, NOW! lol

  5. A mama of littles Reply

    This is beauty. Raw, unfiltered beauty. I so appreciate your honesty. It’s vastly important for mothers of young children to see and understand. And having been (and now am again) that far from home without anyone to help with the kids, it is encouraging to not be alone. Isolation is hard. Mothering young children is hard. And believing the enemy’s lies is hard. Truth brings such healing. ❤️

    • Carrie Reply

      Thank you for your sweet comment. Parenting is SO HARD! It took me years to be able to understand and vocalize all that I was feeling. We desperately need to know that we are not alone. Being away from family escalated it in some ways, but I believe that God used that time to bond my little family together in a way that couldn’t have happened if I could run home. Luckily, His plan is better than ours.

  6. Momming is such a hard job! It’s so easy to feel like you’re losing your identity, want self time, and feel like you’re failing. Mom guilt is real. It’s so important for these stories to be shared, so we all know we’re not alone!

    • Carrie Reply

      Thanks for commenting. While reading your blog, I saw that you are a teacher. I can’t imagine the stress you must be under right now. I couldn’t get my teaching schedule under 60 hours. For two years, I taught 2nd grade, and then I taught 3rd grade. My kids pretty much only saw me in the summer for the past three years. I decided to take this year off and work in the office instead. It’s been great for my mental health. Teaching is SO HARD! Good for you for doing that AND starting a blog.

  7. Ashley Ross Reply

    I’m loving this as in a few months we will have a little bit of our own! Being realistic of goals and expectations is so good for me to see… I love the raw and real ness of everything u mentioned. It is nice going into a season knowing you aren’t alone!!! Miss dear friend!!! ❤️❤️❤️

    • Carrie Reply

      I’m so excited for you and Brian. Parenting is hard, but so worth it. And, you may be one of the ones who thrive in the baby and toddler phase. Either way, I’m here for you, friend… to rejoice with you or cry with you or both. I miss you!

  8. Pingback: Five Life Lessons Learned in 2020 | Messy Joyful Journey

  9. I used to hide in my minivan in the garage for quiet time if it was a bad day with the kids. They were old enough to be in the house – not babies – either sleeping or occupied with a video or whatever. The minivan hideout was how my husband and mom knew it was an overwhelming day. I’ve encouraged friends on these types of days to use the minivan to read for even 15 minutes. As moms, we need to find ways to make ourselves feel better. It’s the hardest job in the world and 24/7. There are no off-hours and it’s draining. The mom guilt from the beginning lessens over time but never quite goes away. It’s hard to think we’re to blame for each decision that goes awry or not as you envisioned.

    I enjoy the artfully arranged social media posts, however, there are days when I want to toss out my phone to avoid them too. Enjoy your writing!

    • Yes! Every mom needs a minivan hideout. I often sat on the bathroom floor that sounds so gross now, but it was the only place I could think of. The minivan would have been a much better idea. I adore my children, but the job is non stop. Sometimes you need a 15-minute breather. Parenting is so very hard.

  10. With the pandemic a lot of my quiet time has been taken away. I have an amazing husband who does part of the nighttime routine for our daughter and tells me to use that time for myself instead of dishes or housework.

  11. I too love posting pictures of my quiet coffee time! I have been working from home since the pandemic and although it has been a blessing, it has also allowed me to resonate a lot with the things you thought when being a SAHM. This is my first time visiting your blog, but I guarantee I’ll be back after this read 🙂

  12. People laugh because I am a photographer who gave up on taking pictures of my own kids haha. I am with you!!

    • Parenting is HARD! I adore my kids, but some things aren’t worth the fight. lol

  13. I LOVE this post!!! And there’s so much I can learn from it as well. Being a new mom, my life feels so chaotic and time feels like it’s just zooming before my eyes. I need to learn to have those quiet times and pick up the Bible before my phone. Thank you for sharing!

  14. Totally agree we enjoy going out with the kids and definitely make sure when they are with us that we look for a family friendly establishment

  15. I love this. I can relate to so much of it. Feeling like everyone else has it together while I am struggling, needing just a moment to myself. Being a SAHM has challenged me in so many ways, but I love that I’ve been able to stay home with my kids (except maybe potty training…I still think I’d rather work outside the home than deal with that all day! LOL)

    • Haha! I agree. I was so blessed to have the time home with my kids that I did, but it was so hard!

  16. It’s funny, bc I think everyone has those same thoughts! Being a mom is hard, and having you stuff together is really hard work. Over the years, I have found that all moms are a mess, but some moms need to make it look like they have it all together to make themselves feel good. And that’s cool if that’s what they need. For me, the house is a mess, the chaos is abundant but I can find a few moments to relax and drink my coffee… but personally I enjoy drinking my coffee when the kids are having a great (often messy) time. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Pingback: How to Prioritize Your Marriage With Young Kids | Messy Joyful Journey

Write A Comment