I was ready for sleepless nights. I was ready for chaos and nonstop talking and peeing with an audience. I’ve been around kids since I was one myself, so there wasn’t very much that surprised me when I started birthing my own. Honestly, though, the things I was warned about were not the hardest parts.

All of those seasons come to an end. No, I don’t love that my 18-month-old changes her own diaper. I don’t love that my 4-year-old sneaks into bed every night and kicks us for hours on end. I don’t love that they are tiny tornados with limited capacity to clean up after themselves. Parenting is gross and hard and messy and wild. I know, though, that there is an end to this. They learn to sleep in their beds and use a toilet and eat like civilized creatures. 

What seems to continue in perpetuity is the exposed, raw, aching part of me that never stops feeling things. All of the things.

Emotions I didn’t even know existed and haven’t been able to find words for. Good things, bad things, confusing things. Every. Single. Thing. 

RELATED: A Mother’s Mind Never Rests, Because We Carry The Mental Load

Today I sent my kids to school, together, for the first time. They are young. They will only be gone half days, a couple of days a week. And still, after we dropped them off, I couldn’t stop feeling.

I was proud of my son for walking his sister to her classroom on her first day. Guilty that I was not staying with her. Excited for a few precious hours to myself. Anxious that my daughter wouldn’t be able to deal with the separation. Paralyzed by the idea of making schooling decisions for the next 16 years. Sad that they are growing faster than I want them to. Thrilled that they are becoming little humans I’m proud of. 

The thing is, this emotional roller coaster will not stop when the kids hit a certain stage. It just looks different as the years pass.

Maybe someday the sleep deprivation subsides, and we’re more equipped to handle certain things. Maybe we figure out better ways to cope. Or maybe we’re just rock stars who use this constant turmoil to grow.

I’m not sure what the answer is.

As I sit here in my quiet house and my husband asks me what I’m going to do with my time this morning, I tell him I’m going to “get stuff done.” And I will. I will put toys away and wash clothes and write. I will also sit with their photos and wait for pickup time, when they’ll yell, “Mommy!” and crash into me and let me squeeze them. 

RELATED: Do My Big Kids Know How Much I Miss Them?

This season will end. The potty training and messes and exhaustion will end. But so will the tiny hands in mine. Soon, their faces won’t light up when they see me in a sea of parents collecting their kids from the car line.

And that will bring with it another flood of emotions that I will struggle to put words to. 

I will learn to feel the feelings instead of fighting themthe good ones and the bad ones. The bad days make us grateful for the good ones. The hard seasons prepare us to let go when we need to, releasing our tiny humans into the world, one step at a time.

I’ll never be ready, and I will learn to be OK with that.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Allie Gravitt

Allie Gravitt is a poet and author based in Marietta, Georgia. She spends her days mostly in her head, trying to keep a bunch of tiny humans and animals alive. You can find her on TikTok and Instagram.

My Kids Are Growing Up, But I’m Still a New Mom

In: Motherhood
My Kids Are Growing Up, But I'm Still a New Mom www.herviewfromhome.com

There is a special place in my heart for new moms. I’m jealous of the warm snuggles and the peace of a sleeping baby. And that smell. Oh, I miss that baby smell. But, I know that being a new mom isn’t just snuggles, sleeping babies, and sweet smells. There’s the realization that your body is no longer your own. There are sleepless nights and days. There are the not-so-pleasant smells of spit up and dirty diapers. And there is laundry. Everywhere. (Who knew one tiny little human could create so much filth?) There are days without a shower. There’s the attempt...

Keep Reading

Motherhood is Not Perfect, But it Sure is Beautiful

In: Motherhood
Mother and child at home

It was an act of sibling rivalry that set the early morning hour into motion. My voice, still waking from a night of intermittent rest, turned into an ogre of epic proportions. I had already cleaned up two spills, fed breakfast to a very hungry child, and tried to coerce a very picky child to eat just a bite of something. In between the food wars, I carried both children at some point on my hip and wiped away tearful expressions of feelings from both kids as I entered into the next phase of playing referee. The progress of teaching...

Keep Reading

I’m An Emotional Pack Mule Carrying An Impossible Mental Load

In: Motherhood
mom tired with family

“Are you under any stress?”  My doctor, bless her heart, had the audacity in 2020 to ask me if I was under any stress that might be contributing to my reason for visiting her.  “Well,” I started from under my mask, “allow me to unpack this . . . “I’m carrying the emotional weight of my three kids. They can’t see their friends. They haven’t seen them in months. They are feeling the strain of not being able to just go and play like kids should be able to. They are doing school online, which is just assumed they can...

Keep Reading