Shop the fall collection ➔

Dear Mom,

I never realized how much you loved us until I had children of my own.

I never knew how much you sacrificed. I saw pictures of you when you were young, beautiful, and carefree. You were always beautiful, but my description of you would never be that. I’d have described you as a safe place and a warm hug, always there. 

RELATED: Dear Mama, You Are Their Safe Space

You didn’t work when we were growing up, you stayed at home. Sometimes you talked about how you used to be a teacher, and I never realized what a sacrifice it was that you gave up your career for us. I didn’t think about how you went to college, grad school, and student taught. How you worked hard to get to where you were. I always thought you stopped teaching because you wanted to, but now I know it also didn’t make sense for you to continue working. The cost of daycare or a nanny for three children would have exceeded your salary, and you were forced to stop. Though you loved being home with us, a part of you probably missed having a career.

I remember when you tried to go back. When you taught at night and also worked as a substitute teacher. But it didn’t work out because all those hours at work took away from everything you did at home and the juggling act was too hard to maintain. 

You didn’t have any help, so you did it all.

I never realized how important those trips you took with Dad were. Sometimes you went away for a weekend and I never understood it. I just remember missing you and crying a lot when you left, probably making you question if it was a good idea to leave us. I didn’t realize you needed a tiny break from being a mom. I never knew you probably didn’t feel like a woman, that you lost yourself in motherhood. I know now you were nurturing your relationship. Healthy marriages take work, even though you made it look easy.

Oh, Mom, I never knew how much you felt my pains. You never let on. When I didn’t make the school play or cheerleading. When I had fights with friends, and when I didn’t like certain teachers. You always hugged me and supported me, but I never could have understood how much it hurt you, too. You’d tell me everything was going to be fine, that certain people didn’t matter, that my talents lay elsewhere. I didn’t ever see the part of you that probably felt the disappointment, too. I never knew you were hoping you said the right thing to make me feel better, you just did. Every time.

RELATED: To My Mom, I Get It Now

I didn’t know you had your own disappointments and struggles. You always seemed fine. But as a mom now, I’m still a person with my own insecurities and issues. I have my own friendships to work on and I care about balancing things in life. I get irritable or tired or bored. You made it look effortless. Like you were living some easy life. You hid it all, you didn’t burden us.

And I never knew how much you loved us, how deep it went. You said it, we said it. We were always affectionate. You cried at our graduations. I didn’t know how significant all that must have felt for you. Now that I have my own children and I see their lives flying by, I know you must have felt scared, excited, elated, and a little sad to let go. It’s hard to release your babies into the world, yet you did it three times. 

I hope one day my children know about me, Mom.

You did it all right.

It may not have felt like it at the time, but you were perfect.

Caroline Murray

Caroline is a freelance writer, mama to two young children and one sweet baby.  She loves everything country and tries not to take anything too seriously.  You can see more of her at www.the-othermom.com.

Setting Boundaries with Toxic Family Is Hard but Worth It

In: Motherhood
Family walking in water

Breaking generational chains is one of the most amazing, beautiful, and beneficial things I’ve done for my family. My children are happy and healthy and know they are loved unconditionally. I continue to heal my inner child and find my worth. I feel so much relief knowing my children won’t go through the trauma and pain my husband and I did.  But breaking those chains, establishing boundaries, going no contact with abusive family members, explaining to my children that they can’t see our relatives who they love so dearly because they were hurting us. That is hard. That is painful....

Keep Reading

As a Mom, I’m Always On

In: Motherhood
Mother and two kids at home

Yesterday, my kids made to-do lists as I do, they pretended to be Mom in their play, and they wanted to look up a bazillion and one things on my phone. These little humans are watching me. They are taking in all my actions, one by one. And it’s exhausting. From 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. (or later), I have to be “on.” I am expected to watch what I say (no cussing), be careful what I watch (no inappropriate memes or shows), stay off my phone as much as possible, and, of course, enjoy every moment and be present...

Keep Reading

Dear School Bus Driver, My Whole World Is In Your Care

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy standing on school bus stairs, color photo

To the bus driver I do not know, You don’t understand how hard it is to let go of my child’s hand in the morning and hand him over to you. You don’t know how long it took me to make this decision . . . to let him ride the bus.  Some may say it’s brave or courageous to trust another with your child’s life. I sometimes think it can be daring but also really unwise.  RELATED: Every Time I Leave My Child With Autism in the Care of Someone Else, I Worry In today’s world, we must worry...

Keep Reading

Goodbye to Girlhood Innocence

In: Motherhood
Little girl walking down road

She loved pickles and pudding and rocks that glittered. And forts that touched the ceiling. She mastered shadow puppets on night walls and Carol Burnett’s Tarzan yell in lieu of bedtime stories. In her innocent mind, the bogey man hid in the closet because he was scared of her. Thus she coaxed him out nightly with “shh . . . it’s okay, you’re alright.” She mailed letters to the mailman with sticky hearts on both sides and Cheerios in the envelope. RELATED: I Wish I Could Freeze This Moment of Innocence She regularly asked our 96-year-old neighbor Mr. Grayson if...

Keep Reading

Every Time I Blinked, They Grew—and It Was So Beautiful

In: Kids, Motherhood
Boys kissing mother black and white photo

I thought we were prepared, but we weren’t. Not even close. Not in the tiniest, least little bit. When we hugged our precious, oldest boy and left him to start college just a few hours away, we didn’t know what was coming. The waves of emotion, of loss, of pride, of accomplishment. They say not to blink because your kids will grow up. But despite how much we may not want to, it’s involuntary. We have to blink. They don’t talk about this part. No one tells you what to do when you open your eyes again. RELATED: I Blinked and...

Keep Reading

I Am An Autism Mom

In: Motherhood
Autism heart puzzle piece symbol in hands

I have always known what kind of mom I wanted to be. The mom who has the best after-school snacks. The mom who’s always ready with a warm hug and a kind word. The mom who makes jokes that get the kids to roll their eyes but laugh hysterically when they repeat them to their friends. I wanted to be a super involved mom—there for every activity, every field trip, every adventure. We all have our motherhood labels, usually defined by our children’s current hobbies or seasons of life. A kindergarten mom. A PTA mom. A scouting mom. A soccer/lacrosse/baseball/hockey...

Keep Reading

The Boss Around Here Is Tough

In: Motherhood
Tired mom with baby drinking coffee

I’ve recently changed careers. I was so used to working a regular 8-5 job over the last 13+ years. Sure, there were some late nights, plenty of obstacles, and a multitude of frustrations, but this career change has been life-changing, to say the least. We’ve all worked with difficult people before. I should be used to this, but this new boss I have has been nothing short of tyrannical.  Before I’ve even had my morning coffee I’m at his beck and call. You never know when he’s going to need something, and I have to be ready at all times....

Keep Reading

To the Homeschool Mom Trying Her Best

In: Motherhood
Homeschool family

Homeschool mothers are their own worst critics. The subject doesn’t often come up, but occasionally someone will discover I was homeschooled. My mother taught my siblings and me at home from third grade until I graduated high school. Most people don’t really care about my education before college, but homeschool mothers pepper me with questions. What curriculum did you use? What was your schedule like? Did you have issues getting into college? What did you love about it? What would you have changed? I know why they ask. They have a list of all the things they have heard about...

Keep Reading

What a Gift It Is To Watch My Babies Grow Up

In: Motherhood, Teen
Mother in pool with teens in background

A few weeks ago I ran away and I brought my family with me. It’s become my favorite thing to do for my birthday week. Nestled neatly between the end of the school year and the beginning of the longest stretch of summer, for years that week has provided my family and I with the perfect freedom to get away. There are four simple rules for this escape from our normal lives and they are always the same. Our location must: 1. Be located in a climate with palm trees. 2. Require an airplane to get there. 3. Have a...

Keep Reading

I Love it When You Smile at Me

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little girl in wheel chair with classmates, color photo

I gained a bit of insight today. We were walking past the checkout at the store this afternoon when we came upon a mom and her children, waiting in the checkout line.   RELATED: A Simple Invitation Means the World To a Special Needs Parent My daughter Chloe rolled by them in her wheelchair. I watched, as I often do, as the children noticed her. One girl about Chloe’s age smiled at her as we walked by. As soon as we had passed them, Chloe turned to me and said . . . “She’s the first person to smile at me!”  Let me say I...

Keep Reading