Long before two pink lines ever showed up on a home pregnancy test, I had already spent hours upon hours dreaming about what kind of mom I would be. And once that positive test finally did arrive, it was even easier to envision what life would be like once that sweet babe arrived.

But as I quickly discovered, all my best-laid plans went right out the window as soon as they placed that crying baby on my chest.

The dream: Breast is best! I will breastfeed exclusively for at least a year.

The reality: I was supplementing with formula within a few days of having my first child, had supply issues with both kids, and spent way too much time those first years feeling like a failure.

The dream: I will find 100 percent complete fulfillment in motherhood. I have waited, and prayed, and hoped, and dreamed, and finally, it is my turn to be a mother. And it is going to be wonderful . . . every last second of it!

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The reality: There are many days when motherhood is completely depleting, exhausting, and I feel as though I am barely making it through. I count down the minutes until bedtime and wonder what life on a deserted island would be like.

The dream: I will buy a jogging stroller, become a jogger, and lose all the baby weight. Easy peasy!

The reality: I never have been, nor will I probably ever be, a jogger. And five years after my last pregnancy, I’m still packing around extra pounds.

The dream: Since I will probably be staying-at-home, I will have loads of extra time to puree the vegetables I will grow in my own garden. I will have my freezer stocked with cubes of homemade baby food.

The reality: I should have bought stock in Gerber when my kids were babies. The only things I kept an abundant supply of in my freezer were frozen meals that only required me to preheat the oven. Loads of extra time? Ha!

The dream: I will never be one of those moms who yell. I will have all the patience in the world.

The reality: There are some days when on a scale of 1 to 10, my patience is -50. I lose my crap. I yell. I feel terrible after and vow to never yell again. Guess how well that works out?

The dream: I will have several children. The more the merrier, I say!

The reality: Being a mom is ridiculously hard. Some days I feel like I can barely handle two kids. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have any more.

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The dream: I will never be one of those moms who has kids and then puts their friendships on a back burner. Having a baby won’t change any of my relationships.

The reality: Eight years into motherhood, I still struggle with staying in touch with friends, whom I love dearly. Parenting is time-consuming, and it is hard to balance it all.

The dream: My kids will have well-balanced diets with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. They will only have candy on special occasions, and I will watch their daily sugar intake like a hawk.

The reality: There are some days my kids have well-balanced diets. And there are other days when I am extremely thankful for their gummy multi-vitamin. Mac and Cheese and frozen chicken nuggets are welcome in this house. My kids love candy (and probably eat too much of it) and they only mildly tolerate vegetables.

The picture of the mom I wanted to be has faded over the years as the reality of the mom I actually am has taken her place.

But here is the miracle in all of the mess . . . 

God knew what kind of mom I would be.

He knew I would screw up. Like a lot. He knew I would not be able to live up to my self-imposed ideals of what motherhood should look like. He knew I would suffer from guilt and question my parenting decisions. He knew I would give my kids way too much candy, and he knew they probably wouldn’t eat enough vegetables. He knew I wouldn’t be a perfect parent. And yet, He gave me these two precious humans anyway.

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Because He knew other things about me . . . 

He knew I would l love them with all my heart.

He knew I would put my family first.

He knew I would try my very best.

He knew I would ask for forgiveness.

He knew I would give it my all.

And He knew He would be there for me every step of the way.

And those are the things that matter in the end.

So mama, if you feel like you are failing your kids, or if you wish you hadn’t yelled so much today, or if your kids just got done eating Twizzlers for breakfast . . . if you are drowning under the weight of trying to be the perfect mom, please remember . . .

God knew we would never be perfect or even close to it.

And He gave us these sweet babies anyway.

Because He knew, above everything else, we were meant to be moms.

Mary Ann Blair

Mary Ann Blair is a stay-at-home mom living in the Pacific Northwest with her two little gentlemen and hubs. She loves connecting with other parents who like to keep it real! Her work has been published on Her View From Home, Motherly, A Fine Parent, Perfection Pending, That’s Inappropriate, Pregnant Chicken, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Red Tricycle and in Chicken Soup For the Soul. She can be found at maryannblair.com or on Facebook at Mary Ann Blair, Writer.