Parent’s Accomplishments and Failures: Why We Should Celebrate Both

Growing up, and even now, I knew how lucky I was to have my mother. She always put me and my brother first. Her patience was vast, but it was not limitless.

Sometimes when I have a “bad parent day” and I snap, yell, show my teeth and scream into a pillow, I think about my mother. Her ocean of patience. How she would help me solve all of  my little-kid problems. She was gentle, thoughtful, and loving.

Instead of this comforting me, or pushing me to do better, I feel worst about my own parenting failures. When I think of my mother’s near saint-hood I begin to wonder why I didn’t inherit those motherly genes. But the other day, I flashed on a vivid memory:

My mother slamming the front door hard enough to make the windows shutter. Her stomping down our front porch to go to the laundry room. (Our laundry room had a separate, outdoor entrance.) Throughout her mad march, she would swear and mumble things like, “Ungrateful, spoiled, frustrating.”. I would scream through my window as she walked by, “I can hear you!” She didn’t care and she didn’t stop, she just kept right on with her mumbling madness. The laundry room was on the other side of my room and I could hear her swear and pound on the washer and dryer with her fists, until eventually she would begin to sob.

I realized upon reflection that I relate to her most through her imperfections.

Her outbursts that at the time offended my seven-year-old-self, actually brings great comfort now that I too understand the stress of parenthood.

After her laundry room breakdowns, she would always come back inside and apologize. She would explain why she was mad and frustrated and we would talk about our fight.

Our reconciliations were perhaps the greatest lessons she could bestow upon me as a child. I appreciate them more as a stressed-out adult.

None of us are perfect and we all lose our minds at times. To pretend that we don’t would be a disservice to our own children. The most important lesson she taught me was to own up to my mistakes and show myself grace when I fall.

Her parenting techniques have stuck with me and are reflected in the care of my own children. I hope my children see the patience in me that my own mother wore like a shawl around her strong shoulders, but when I slip, as she did too, I hope I recover with grace and love.

Rachel McKee


Mac and Cheese Meltdown

Mac and Cheese Meltdown

Staring at the pot,

willing it to boil.

Give me a bubble, a sizzle,

just cook.

He’s flailing on the floor,

screaming, “I want It now!”

He makes a dash,

I lunge.

Those skinny legs are fast.

He beats me to the box, noodles rain down.

Boiling water.

Turning off the stove,

I sink to the floor.

I curl up among the hard, yellow shells, and close my eyes.

His wails turn into the cry of a seagull.

Lying on the beach, I’m younger.

My name isn’t “Mama”.

My breath aligns with the tide.

Push, pull.

In, out.

I allow myself this moment,

to escape.

I open my eyes.

He is watching cartoons,

The Mac & Cheese forgotten.

-Rachel McKee

Night Baby

Close your eyes little one.

Shut out the world for tonight.

Tomorrow you can roar at the sunrise,

shake the trees.

Wail long and loud.

Kick those chubby legs.

Stretch your graceful, dimpled hands.

Reach high little beauty.

As for tonight, my love, sleep, just sleep.



When I Grow Up

When I was five years old, I told people I was going to be a veterinarian, nurse, teacher, marine biologist, etc…

Little did I know that when I grew up I’d still be juggling career ideas. In fact, most people I know are still asking themselves “What will I be when I grow up?”….

I daydream a lot about what I’ll do/be when the little ones go off to school. Even what I could do while continuing to be a stay-at-home mother.

Here is my list:

Freelance writer (tried it but haven’t made any money).

High school English teacher.

Real Estate Agent.

Psychologist  (or family counseling).

I imagine myself in all of these roles, but I quickly talk myself out of all of them. For every career, I have five reasons not to pursue it. 

My heart swells over my dream of parenthood coming to fruition. Watching my babies grow and learn is incredibly fulfilling, but in the back of my mind I know that I can do more. I want more. I just can’t decide what that personal “more” is.

What are some of your “grown up” dreams?



Introducing, Baby Hayden!

Hi everyone, 

We have our baby girl. I’m so thrilled she is on this side now and I can look at her beautiful face.

We are all smitten (including big brother Leif).

Ofcourse my hormones are raging so I’m super emotional. You can expect a lot of gushy poems in the near future. 

(I was an emotional wreck when she held my finger for the first time while nursing.)

We still don’t have our new office set up. Miles is almost done building the desk. I promise I will be back soon. 

I miss you all.



One Outside, One Within

Fluttering feet and mushy kisses. Kicks and jabs.

Creaking rocker, sleepy snuggles – quiet in the womb.

Aching back, cramping legs, eyes that carry bags. 

Guilt for the one outside, anxious for the one inside. How will I, one woman, one body, one heart, one mother be enough? 

My heart is full of love even as my patience runs thin, for the one outside and the one within.

Hi everyone. Did I mention that pregnancy has been making me feel ALL the feels lately? 

I hope you enjoyed my impromptu poem I just ticked-out on my phone.




I have been focusing on my YA novel and the characters are starting to feel authentic, so that’s very encouraging. I’m trying to get the first draft written without beating it up too much with my grammar hammer.

I have been using Twitter more and I’m having fun meeting other writers there (hence the hashtag name for this post). I have also been learning Photoshop (see cover image above).

The cover image is a quote from my YA novel. I’ve been wanting to create images with text for a long time so for the last few weeks I have been experimenting with Photoshop and I’m learning a lot. I have experienced a lot of trial and error, but that’s all part of it right?

So if you are wondering what little ol’ me has been up to, well that’s about it. Other than throwing first birthdays, chasing a one year old, wrangling a dog, appeasing a cat, and attending a wedding.

Have a fantastic week!




One Year

You kicked and squirmed, I shifted uncomfortably and smiled at my big belly.

I sweat, I cried, I pushed, you pulled.

I squeezed my eyes and clenched my teeth, you saw the light for the first time.

We saw each other and we cried.

I pulled you close and you held on tight.

I talked, you nuzzleddrinking your fill.

You cried the first night, I was weak, Daddy’s arms were strong.

I learned, you taught, we got to know each other.

You needed me, I needed sleep, we were tired.

You laughed, and I understood pure joy.

You rolled over and turned my world upside down.

On all fours you moved away from me, and I scrambled to catch up.

In a high-pitch voice you said “Mama” and I came running.

You looked for “Dada” to come home, and I was just as eager.

You pulled yourself up, and I caught you when you fell (almost always).

You went to sleep a baby and woke up a toddler.

You are one. You are smart. You are sweet. You are brave, and we love you.








Happy Father’s Day

There literally isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t thank God for my husband. His gentle touch calms our family, his patience and forgiveness humbles me. He is our hero.  The look of adoration on my son’s face when he sees Miles confirms that I picked the best man to father our son. I will forever be grateful that our paths crossed and we walk the road of parenthood together.

Thank you Miles for being the incredible example our son deserves. Thank you to all of the fathers and father-figures in the worldthis day is for you.





I haven’t talked about my YA novel in a  LONG time. Mostly because I have prioritized other writing opportunities, and lets face it, writing time is precious and rare. A lot of my writing has been personal essays about motherhood because that has been the consumption of my life. It’s easy for me to write about funny, special, horrible moments about motherhood because they happen ALL OF THE TIME and I can complete a short essay while my son is sleeping.

While I want to continue writing about motherhood, I have also made my YA novel a priority again. With all of these writing goals and raising a son I have had to learn some time management and prioritization.


This is how I attempt to manage writing and motherhood:


This is what my average day looks like:


Wake up at 7am and build my social media platform i.e. IlluminatedLiteration (blog), Twitter: @Illuminate_Lit, Pinterest,  Facebook, and LinkedIn. I try to make my rounds as quickly as possible before my son wakes up around 7:30-8:00am.


Then I take care of my son (and clean house) until he goes to sleep around 11-11:30am.


Naps are PRIME writing time. I get two solid hours of uninterrupted writing when he takes a nap. I try to do a lot of my blog posts while he is napping, I also try to catch up on a lot of my blogs that I follow.


I’m on parent duty with my husband from 1:30pm- 9pm.

9pm-You can’t keep your eyes open any longer

So guess when most of my writing time happens… late evening and into the night. Sometimes I crawl into bed around midnight or later if I’m on a roll.

Don’t forget to make time to do your research.

If you want to be a successful writer you have to read A LOT. There are some evenings when I skip writing because my brain just can’t even because I know reading your target genre is crucial for a good artistic outcome. Sometimes, if I really need to multi-task I watch a movie adaptation (*gasp*!) and take care of my son. Honestly, the point of writing non-fiction is to tell a story, and watching the movie adaptation of a novel still teaches you structure.

Get Social

This is honestly my favorite part of writingmeeting other writers and professionals in the industry. Unfortunately, this is the step most writers struggle with because at the end of the day, they have to spend a ton of time on their own craft and when you are a mother you have other priorities that you need you RIGHT NOW! I try my best to read other blogger’s work and respond to comments between feedings and when my son is playing and really any time I can grasp a smidgen of time to interact with other writers.

Embrace Chaos And Accept That You Can’t Do It All

I have so many blog posts, stories, words, ideas floating around in my head. I also have a pair of hazel eyes that look to me for nutrition, exercise, learning, and loving. We CAN’T do it all, we can only do our best. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to do all of the things we want to do. I know that this blog post could have been 10x better if I had more time, but my son is going to wake up in 30 minutes and I really should eat SOMETHING today.