The moms I know are very different.

They are moms who breastfeed and moms who bottle-feed, who pump and use formula.

They are moms who rock their babies and wear their babies and stroll their babies.

Moms who are team Daniel Tiger and moms who are screen-free.

They are moms who have had home births and hospital births and natural births and VBACs and C-sections and epidurals. And stitches. So many stitches.

They are moms who like quiet and moms who embrace the loud.

Moms who go with the flow and moms who want a schedule.

They are moms who are party planners and moms who hire the party planners.

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Moms whose yards grow gardens and moms whose yards won’t grow anything at all.

They are professors and nurses and teachers and artists and writers.

They are moms who go to an office and moms who are at home.

They are moms who have kids on earth and moms who have kids in Heaven.

Moms who are joyful and thriving and heartbroken and surviving.

They are moms who sometimes hide in the bathroom and moms who sometimes hide in the closet (but we all have our go-to spot, don’t we?).

They are moms who live next door and moms who live oceans away.

I know these moms.

And they are so many different things.

And yet, there are threads that bind us all together. Beautiful, golden, unbreakable threads of the things we all are.

We are all moms who make mistakes.

We are all moms who try.

We all work. And work very hard.

We all are juggling so many things (and usually with just one hand because we’re holding a baby with the other).

We all love. And love fiercely.

We are all doing our best and somedays it’s easier than others.

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We are all women who will do anything for our kids. For our families. For our friends.

The moms I know are all women I admire.

They inspire me. They encourage me.

I am thankful I know so many kinds of moms. I am thankful there’s not just one way to do this crazy, amazing, demanding, fulfilling thing called motherhood. I am thankful for their examples, their shoulders, their surprise coffee deliveries, their stories, their tears. Their words of truth spoken at the exact moment I need to hear them.

Their strength.

Their grace.

Thank you, dear friends. I am so lucky to know you all.

Kim Howard

Kim Howard is a mom to three kids. She has a Ph.D. in Curriculum Studies and is a former teacher. Check out her debut picture book, Grace and Box, and learn more about her at www.kimhowardbooks.com.