Being your mama is exhausting, right from the start. Your demands quickly outweigh my own. With my emotions already scattered, my heart also becomes conflicted. There are two halves of a mama’s heart, and they are at odds. Swinging from one extreme to another with no warning at all. One minute laughing and the next crying. Feeling excitement and sorrow all at once.

One side relishes the milestones. It cheers and claps each time you do something new. It shares your excitement as you grow. It delights and celebrates with you. 

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This side loves as your words soon become short sentences. Your first steps become running after your sister. This side is proud of you and all you do. It anticipates the next milestone and takes joy in watching you grow. 

The other side mourns. It cries and feels the harsh passing of time.

This side isn’t ready for you to pull away. For you to grow up. It longs to hold on to the moments as they pass too quickly by.

This side aches. 

It isn’t ready for you to stop nursing. For you to speak in fully complete sentences. For the big kid bed. For you to stop cuddling. There’s something extra special about cuddling with you. Your skin is still silky smooth. You stroke my skin with your hand and pet my legs with your feet. The feet that will all too soon be bigger than mine are still smooth and kissable. 

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All too soon, you pull away. Needing more room for your growing little form and suddenly my side is cold. Soon, you will want to sleep on your own. Soon, this season of cuddles will be over.

I want you to sleep on your own. I crave the freedom it’ll provide me.

Yet, when you pull away, you take a piece of my heart with you. The piece that is conflicted. The piece that misses you.

You used to need the skin contact to sleep, but now I find myself scooching closer to you to get it back. You are too far away. I know you are getting bigger, but my body is used to your warmth. Your cuddles. Your unwavering love and need for mommy. I’m not ready for it to end.

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A mama’s heart is torn in two as her children grow. It soars and hurts. It tries to patch itself back together, but it will never again be the same. Maybe it isn’t meant to be. The patchwork shows just what it means to be your mama, and that is a journey I wouldn’t part with for anything. Even extra cuddles.

Kristen Winiarski 

Kristen N. Winiarski spends much of her days battling her kids' hangry moods with bacon and Cookie Monster impressions. She also encourages dance parties as P.E. whenever possible. Published by Motherfigure, Her View From Home, Filter Free Parents and Allegory Magazine, Kristen started writing at just 10 years old. She excels in writing about motherhood, classic movies and also writes fiction. You can find her at https://knwiniarski.com and www.facebook.com/knwiniarski.