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No-win situation. That’s not exactly on the recruitment poster for motherhood. Motherhood was supposed to be full of happy moments, teaching and nurturing your kids to be the best versions of themselves they could be. Motherhood was supposed to be full of celebration moments and highlights of laughter and fun as a family. Motherhood was supposed to be something you took more pride in than anything else.

Instead, motherhood has been a wild ride full of frustration, joy, exhaustion, cringing, celebrating, wanting to hide under a rock, and so much more. You knew there would be ups and downs, you just expected more ups than downs.

Sure, you’d heard how hard motherhood was, but your kids would be different. You’d love them more, pay more attention to them, nurture them, and pour your very soul into them. They would respond well and would love you, love each other, and love God and others too.

Then the kids came.

And motherhood was anything but what you thought. Sure, you poured yourself into your kids, but there was less of you to pour into your kids than you expected. You were exhausted physically, mentally, emotionally, spirituality . . . in every way fathomable, you were drained.

But still, you refused to give up on your kids. Even on empty, you poured yourself into your babies and emptied yourself even more for their sake.

And the thanks you got? Screams, tantrums, hugs, kisses, hair pulled, spit on, laughter, kicked, bit, smacked, and cuddled, to name a few.

Nobody told you about this part of motherhood.

This isn’t how it was supposed to be. This isn’t how you were supposed to be as a mother. This isn’t how you were supposed to feel about your kids. You were supposed to enjoy every moment of your kiddo’s childhood, not spend so many days wishing they would hurry up and grow past their current stage so you can enjoy some easier times ahead, only to have new stresses and worries hit you when those next stages arrive.

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Nobody told you that you’d have days when your son just wanted some one-on-one time but was so desperate for attention that when you finally got his sister down, he would default to negative attention-seeking behavior to get the attention you’re trying to give him, forcing you to spend your precious one-on-one time disciplining your son, feeling guilty, overwhelmed, frustrated, angry, then guilty again. Only to have the cycle repeat itself 10 minutes later.

The no-win situation.

Nobody told you that motherhood is a never-ending cycle of trying to be your best for your kids, being exhausted, second-guessing every parenting decision you’ve ever made, second-guessing if you really even like your kids, second-guessing if marrying your husband was even a good idea, then chasing it all down with another round of guilt.

But also, nobody told you that you are uniquely placed in the lives of your kiddos for a reason, that God specifically chose you to be their mama. That you are strong enough, good enough, loving enough.

That your kids don’t expect you to be perfect. They don’t expect you to have it together all the time. That, sometimes, they have more fun laughing at the silly mistakes and accidents than if everything goes according to plan all the time.

That one day you’ll look back with regret, not because of specific choices you made (well, let’s be real, you’ll probably do that too).

But because those days are gone.

The days of cuddling your kids to sleep every night. Being the only one who can console and calm your kids when they’re hurt or scared. Knowing every intimate detail of your kids’ lives. Watching them blossom and grow and learn and discover and develop before your very eyes.

RELATED: Don’t tell me I’m Going to Miss This. I Already Know.

You won’t forget the hardships. One day, you’ll be tempted to bring out the book of every battle your kids put you through so they know just how difficult they were and just how much you’ve sacrificed for them.

But then you’ll see their faces, you’ll see the fruit of all the years of worry, sleepless nights, and pouring your very soul into your precious, infuriating, adorable, insufferable children, and some of the sacrifices you made along the way will be worth it.

You’ll watch them grow, get married, and have kids of their own.

And when they’re going through what you went through, you’ll still be there for them. Every step of the way. Because no matter what, no matter how young or old they are, whether they live near or far, you’ll never stop loving them more than life itself, worrying about them, praying for them, obsessing over every detail of their lives, wondering if you raised world changers or criminal masterminds. The love and care will always be there.

Because you’re a mama. The strongest force in the world is the love and care of a mama. I get a front-row seat to that every day, and I couldn’t be more proud of the mama you are.

So hang in there mama! I know I don’t always say it, but I do see what you’re going through, and you’re not alone. I may not be as good at putting it into words as you or processing it as you, but I do see you and hear you. There are going to be hard times ahead, there are going to be fun times ahead. And I can’t think of anyone in the world I’d rather face those times with than you, because you’re a mama, and in case I don’t say it enough, I’m proud of you, and I love you!

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

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Drew Forsman

Drew grew up in Houston, Texas before discovering a love for small rural communities. He is now a pastor in one of these rural areas with his wife and two kids; an energetic toddler boy and a new baby girl who already has her Daddy around her newborn finger! He survives primarily on coffee, Chik-Fil-A, and random baseball facts.

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