I’m not always a happy mom.

I know, I know your jaw just dropped right? I have three beautiful young children and a wonderful husband who is a hands-on father and doting partner.

But . . . 

I’m not always a happy mom.

Motherhood requires a lot of me. It requires that I keep helping even when I am being yelled at. It requires that I keep being patient even when I’ve had enough. It requires that I keep my eyes open for hours even when I’m completely exhausted.

But if you checked out my family photos you would see a bubbly, happy-looking family of five with the biggest smiles.

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You wouldn’t see the argument my husband and I had before taking the photo (because we absolutely do not enjoy trying to get a nice photo while everyone is freaking out). 

You wouldn’t see the battle our two oldest ones had over who gets to stand next to mom.

You wouldn’t see our littlest plop on the floor face first, kicking his feet and screaming at the top of his lungs because he wants to play on the stairs instead of sitting still for a family photo. 

I’m not always a happy mom because motherhood has a way of making me come face to face with my flaws and forcing me to deal with them because if I don’t deal with them, my family suffers. 

I’m not always a happy mom because motherhood requires me to keep on giving of myself to everyone else . . . until I go to bed.

I’m not always a happy mom because once everyone’s in bed, I desperately need a few quiet moments, but inevitably I stay up way too late and the next morning I’m exhausted.

I’m not always a happy mom because when I start comparing myself to other moms, I figure they are all doing a way better job. 

I’m not always a happy mom because motherhood requires me to try to be happy even when I’m just not feeling it. Even when I’m worried about something else, stressed about something else, or hurt by something else, motherhood requires me to show up with a smile. 

I’m also learning that Motherhood requires moderation so my kids do not grow up with a false sense of reality. If there’s is one thing I know for sure it’s that my children are learning from me that life is a mix of happy and hard days. I know for a fact they are learning how to say “I’m sorry” because I say it to them anytime I feel it needs to be said.

My kids don’t have a perfect mom, they don’t have a mom with a painted-on smile, but they do have a mom who lives sincerely in the beautiful realm of moderation. 

RELATED: God Doesn’t Ask Me To Be a Perfect Mom; He Asks Me To Point My Kids to a Perfect Savior

They do have a mom who’s teaching them about both the happy and the hard days and how to deal with them. They do have a mom who tells them it’s OK to take some quiet time and reminds them to take a deep breath when they’re upset or frustrated, just like she does.

They do have a mom with a lot of emotions who’s doing her best to teach them how to manage their own.

They do have a mom who reminds them it’s OK to feel sad or even angry sometimes, but that they can’t stay stuck there.

Being a mom has taught me so much about moderation in every area of my life. Being a mom has taught me that there is no room for perfectionism and that my desire to people-please needs to take a back seat. 

So on a daily basis, I remind myself and my kids that it’s OK to feel all the feelings, you just can’t stay stuck there.  

Kali Dawson

Kali is a School Teacher, Pilates Instructor, Mama of two young children and a beautiful 2020 Baby. She is Married to her real-life Superhero. When she's not holding small hands or looking for raised hands you will find her writing fervently about faith and family. To read more, you can find her on Facebook at: Faith, Family, Freelance.