There are days, as a mother, where you just need to stop and have a good cry. I remember the early days of being a brand new mom. The nights blurred into days, and somehow, my first born son survived my exhaustion, my confusion, my sadness, and my feelings of failing him.

He grew to be a very cute and funny toddler. And one day, we brought home his baby brother, and suddenly, I had two kids needing me, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Sure, I had a fiancé (now husband), but, the mom does more. Usually, that is. Back then, the boys’ took many naps, and always with their daddy. I remember feeling so jealous and angry at their dad.

I didn’t get to rest.

I didn’t take naps.

I did laundry. I washed millions of baby bottles and nipples and pacifiers, folded impossibly tiny onesies, socks, pants, cute little shirts and diaper covers. I washed dishes. I cooked meals. I made mashed up baby foods that always ended up on my shirt more than the baby’s shirt.

I cried a lot back then. I still do.

I went to work, too. I fed, changed, clothed and bundled both of my little boys into a car that was on the verge of always breaking down. I raced the other moms to daycare. I raced the other adults to work. I raced them all back to my babies at the end of the work day.

And I have done that for almost 11 years in a row.

Yes, their dad picked them up from day care, now and then.

And now, I look at my little boys, who are not so little. My first born is nearly as tall as I am. My little one has long, gangly legs. He’s so tall. They are both so tall. They are both so smart and funny.

And now, I’m still folding their laundry. Realizing the tiny hangers for their tiny shirts have been replaced by the Target plastic big boy hangers. Their clothes fit on the big hangers. Their socks are nearly as large as their dad’s socks. Their pants are replaced every six months because of growth spurts that don’t always happen with the change of the season, but during the middle of one season, so I have to buy school uniforms at weird times of the year.

Now they are big. Sure, they can do their own laundry. They can fold their clothes (not neatly). The toys have been replaced with electronic video games and sports equipment.

I no longer step on Lego’s, but now trip on shoes the size of surfboards, golf clubs left haphazardly in the kitchen, and find socks, shirts and pants all over the den.

I look at how much they’ve grown and at how inadequate I still feel as a mom.

They are living proof I must be doing something right.

But, just in case I’m not, I promised them I would help them pay for therapy when they are adults.

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Deb Burke

I grew up in the picturesque town of Madison, Wisconsin. That's the only normal thing about me. I also grew up in a family shoe repair business and soon learned that child labor laws don't apply to family businesses. I left Madison to finish college in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Here I became a spelunker, a cyclist, a mountain trail runner, an avid hot air balloon watcher (much to the dismay of the drivers behind me) and quite the connoisseur of green chili cheese burgers. Eventually, I fell in love, had 2 children, bought a house, and then got married (in that order). Life is certainly crazy keeping up with my two boys!