“I finally feel like I have my feet underneath me.”

It’s a term I’ve used frequently over the last six months as I feel like I’ve turned a corner in motherhood.

While I knew having three kids in four years meant we would have times where we would struggle, I never could have imagined the fog of exhaustion in which I would live . . . and the complete loss of sense of self.

But my now 6-, 4-, and 2-year-old kids are all at ages where they are playing well together. We are a daytime diaper-free house. Everyone can communicate using full sentences. Two out of three can get in the car and buckle on their own. They can all sit at the dinner table and eat the same thing vs. having at least one in a high chair with a different menu. 

These are all little milestones that most moms will tell you aren’t really that small. 

I’m not jumping off the couch to make sure a new crawler isn’t heading up the stairs. I’m not having to hand-feed a baby in a high chair. I can complete a thought in my head, and hear that inner voice that had been silenced by so much chaos for so long.

And while these little milestone bridges we have crossed have played a big part in me getting my feet underneath me, I’ve realized it’s actually the times that my feet AREN’T firm to the ground that have helped me find myself above the fog and within my true self.

It’s the times I’ve let go of standing firm in responsibility and to-do lists, and have instead set my sights on the carefree-ness, freedom, and fun that make me feel like flying.

It’s the times my feet are lifting my toddler up into an airplane position and seeing her own carefree-flying joy staring down at me . . . instead of keeping my feet planted in front of a sink of dishes despite her begging me to play.

It’s the times my feet are resting on bunk bed at night while I lie there and listen to the random thoughts that hit my son’s adorable brain at the end of the day . . . instead of having my soles underneath me as I scale down the steps because I’m too impatient to give him another five minutes.

It’s the times my feet are jump-twirling through the air as my daughter and I pretend to be ballerinas in the kitchen . . . instead of planting them in front of a washing machine as I play the keep-up game with my household chores.

It’s the times my feet launch off the pavement as I jump on my husband’s back for a piggyback ride while we are out on a date night . . . instead of having them walk behind him as I get distracted by my inability to keep my phone in my pocket and be in the moment.

Because maybe the goal of my motherhood journey isn’t to get my feet underneath me, after all.

Maybe it’s finally learning how to allow myself to fly.

Fly from pressure. Fly from the perception that being kid-like is irresponsible. Fly from the demands of life. Fly from the way society tells us that having it all together is where success is.

And fly into those little moments that make my soul happy . . . and make this life worth living.

Brea Schmidt

Brea Schmidt is a writer, speaker and photographer who aims to generate authentic conversation about motherhood and daily life on her blog, The Thinking Branch. Through her work, she aims to empower people to overcome their fears and insecurities and live their truth. She and her husband raise their three children in Pittsburgh, PA.