This thing is monstrous. It’s huge. It is taking over our kitchen. 

It’s … pizza dough.

I threw it together in the mixer before heading out for school pick-ups, and now (less than two hours later) it is double in size. And still growing.

If you’ve ever worked with pizza dough, or any dough, you know that giving it time to rise and grow is key. You can bake it without that margin, but it just won’t be the same. Give it its proper time and a pinch of patience, and it will taste and feel better.

I thought of this today after a conversation with a friend at church. We were talking about the things occupying our time these days, and she told me she had been feeling a calling to spend more time at home caring for our family. This, she told me, was really a stretch for her. It didn’t come naturally.

Well, this just blew my mind. Not because the idea of homemaking being difficult for someone is hard to imagine, but because it was hard to imagine it being her struggle. She creates meals that are Instagram-worthy, this while juggling allergy needs in her household. She runs a small business, cares for her three kids, and seems to cultivate relationships with an ease I can only dream of. So the fact that doing the “around the house stuff” was a struggle for her was a major revelation.

She went on to tell me that there had been times early in her marriage and parenting that planning and cooking meals had been daunting enough to cause her to panic right in the middle of grocery shopping. But she had kept pushing forward. With time, things got easier. Then, when allergies were introduced into the mix, she was tested again. Could she put food on the table that pleased everyone while catering to those new needs? She could. Not only could she, but she could do it in a way that made her feel more capable in the kitchen than she ever had before.

This dear friend discovered something that I think all of us mamas would do well to remember. That leaving room for growth -for expansion- is a powerful thing in our lives. There are so many times in the motherhood journey when we are asked to do something that feels way out of our comfort zone. Growing in our role can feel painful and time consuming. It would be so much easier if we came to the game with everything we needed. No need to rise to the occasion, no need to grow.

But growth is a powerful thing. When we accept that some things take time and effort to develop, when we adopt patience into our daily practice, and when we show ourselves grace as we grow, we leave room for our lives to become a thing more beautiful than we could have ever imagined.

In my friend’s case, this meant braving the grocery store again and again. Getting behind that stove and trying. And trying. And trying. Now, she’s gotten to the point where I take my cues from the pictures of her meals on social media. She is that good. For you, it might mean pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to attend a moms’ group. Or to form a devotional plan for your family. Maybe you don’t believe you are capable of reacting with calm during stressful situations. Or of staying home to mother. Or of taking the job that just fell into your lap. Growth opportunities can be scary and uncomfortable. But accepting these challenges often unlocks potential in ourselves that we never knew we had.

So be encouraged, ladies. You may feel like a little ball of dough on the counter, just barely adequate, far from the idealized version of yourself. That’s OK. Because that feeling is nothing that a little time and patience and courage can’t cure. Take a step of faith today and trust that you will see growth. You are capable of so much more than you can imagine.

Nicole M. Burrell is a freelance writer living and working in New Jersey. She is the mom of two kids who fill her days with joy and a healthy dose of hijinks. She has been a contributor to Reader’s Digest, The Art of Simple, and Her View From Home. She also writes for her own site, You can follow her work on Instagram @bynicolemburrell and Twitter @nicolemburrell.