I have wanted to be a mom since I got my first baby doll, and then again when my little brother was born. I dreamed of rocking babies, holding tiny hands, and teaching my little one all about the world. Now it’s my reality.

I’m living my dream of being a mom. It’s something I’ve always wanted—but some days it feels like a nightmare I can’t wake up from.

There’s no personal space. I can’t remember a time in the recent weeks when I have gone to the bathroom without a small audience. I could stay in pajamas all day, and no one would be the wiser. Very rarely do I do things I want to do, like drink my coffee while it’s warm. We can craft, color, and clean all day long, yet somehow I find I have nothing to show for my day. There are still toy spoons all over the floor. The baby has left her mark by leaving half-eaten puff snacks wherever she played, erasing the evidence of the vacuuming I already did twice this morning.

There are days when my toddler pushes all of my buttons. I find myself counting to 10 and deep breathing and silently wondering how much longer I can handle this. I often find myself wondering why I wanted this dream so badly. Why did I think it would be so fun and glorious? I question if maybe my dreams changed, or I just wasn’t meant to fulfill them.

There are days I swear my kids just might actually break me. I lose my temper and use my outside voice inside more often than I’m proud to admit. I have apologized to my toddler on a pretty regular basis, and the mama guilt sure knows how to pack its punch.

My little one is always quick to hug it out with me and tell me “It’s OK” and “I love you, Mama”. He looks up at me with those big brown eyes of his that are filled with so much wonder and kindness. He looks at me like I am his world, because I am.

For these two tiny people who cling to me throughout the day and break my slumber throughout the night, I am their everything. I am the person with them all day long showing them how to use a fork, say “please” and “thank you” and figure out this big, bright world. I kiss their owies and provide them with all of the hugs and cuddles they could ever need. I get to watch them grow every day. Sure, I might get the majority of the dirty diapers and tantrums, but I also get the majority of the milestones, story times, and play time. In my opinion, that’s a trade I’ll take any day.

I dreamed of this day, and now that it has come I see that it isn’t always going to be a dream. Some days, I feel trapped in the housework and never-ending questions from my toddler. I feel trapped in the never-ending cycles of breastfeeding, laundry, and dish washing. Some days, I just want to scream in a pillow and bury my sorrows in all of the chocolate ice cream. Some days, it feels much more like a nightmare I can’t wake up from.

Though I may not be able to remember the last car ride I was on that didn’t involve listening to Baby Shark at least 12 times, I get to laugh as my toddler shouts, “Beep beep, out of the way!” at passing vehicles from the backseat.

I dreamed of motherhood, and though things don’t always look the way I dreamed they would I know I am lucky I get to be a mama every day.

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Megan Vollmer

Megan Vollmer is a wife and mother of two. She writes about motherhood, marriage, and faith. She thrives on faith, sarcasm, and coffee. She has been published on Today Parenting Team, BabyGaga, Her View from Home, and in Chicken Soup for the Soul.