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Motherhood is: Feeling sad that your child needs you less, but so happy to watch them soar

Yes, you are growing so fast―but, really, I wouldn't want it any other way. Because seeing you become the person you are is magical.

Motherhood is: Feeling sad that your child needs you less, but so happy to watch them soar

I remember exactly how I felt when I found out I was pregnant for the first time. It was a whirlwind of emotions from excitement to anticipation, but also a lot of wondering if I was going to be a good parent. After all, as a first time mom, I had no idea what it even meant to parent.

I read all the books and did all the research I could fit between naps as my belly grew bigger and bigger. I had everything prepared―your room, your coming home outfit, the playlist I wanted to listen to as I brought you earth side. I got this, I thought, and then you proved me wrong.

You were born three weeks early via C-section. We didn't even have our hospital bag or car seat with us because it all happened so quickly.

You were already teaching me the first lesson of being a mom: From now on, we were doing things your way, not mine.

I remember the first time you looked at me and said "mama," connecting that word to my face.

I remember when I offered you food and you had enough so you shook your head "no," already so confident in your own opinions.

I remember when you let go of my hand and took your first steps alone, tears running down my face because you were growing so fast.

I remember when you didn't look like just my cute baby anymore―you were suddenly a little person developing a bit more with every day that went by.

There are days that I wish you could stay little for a bit longer. That you could fit in the crook of my arm while I sing you a song to calm you down after the dog knocked you over. I feel a little sad when I pack favorite outfits that don't come close to fitting you anymore. I find myself staring at the photos on my phone of when you were a tiny peanut, so new to this world.

Yes, you are growing so fast―but, really, I wouldn't want it any other way. Because seeing you become the person you are is magical.




I know what your favorite color is because you love to dress yourself all in green. You spend hours in your room reading books and transporting yourself into different adventures inside your creative mind. You know the lyrics to songs I'm clueless about and you roll your eyes at me when I mess them up, already letting me know I'm embarrassing you.

I love the confidence you have when you run up the steps of your school with your giant backpack carrying all your projects, and you wave goodbye at me excited to learn more about the world. When you learned how to ride a bike and started going on adventures with your dad (while I cheered on the sidelines―and made sure you were both wearing helmets). When we took you to your first movie--to watch your eyes widen at the magic you saw on the screen—and to introduce you to some of my own childhood favorites like Dumbo.




Watching your personality soar makes me look forward to what's going to come next. I cannot wait to be there for you when you fall in love for the first time, or when you need to stay up late studying for that important test. I cannot wait to see the person you'll become―I know you'll be nothing short of wonderful.

So I remind myself along the way that, slowly but with quickening speed, you are needing me less and less―and that's okay. It only means you're growing more and more into yourself. And all the hard work we put in, all the sleepless nights we spent next to you and all the support we gave you, is giving you the confidence you need to let go of our hands and fly.

I'm in awe of who you already are, and I can't wait to keep watching you grow. But let's not fast-forward time just yet. Instead, let's enjoy today. Because today is what matters right now.

We have an entire lifetime to watch you soar.


Here are 4 ways I'm encouraging my child to chase her dreams now:

1. When it's movie night time, we let her choose what we are watching.

That way we can be more involved in her interests and be able to chat about what we take away from the movie after. It also gives her confidence in knowing that she has a voice that can be heard. One of our favorite choices? The new live-action Dumbo, because it not only opens conversations about being inclusive and putting family first, but it also encourages her to soar to new heights no matter what obstacles he encounters.

2. We encourage her to do new things.

Like that time that we signed her up for soccer after school. Initially she was terrified of having to make new friends and the possibility of not being good at the sport. Being outside of her comfort zone made her more confident on herself and she enjoys those hours running after a ball so much that now every time we suggest new activities she's excited with the possibility of new adventures and discoveries. When she's afraid, we share examples from characters we love. "Remember how Dumbo first flew? He was scared in the beginning but did it!" You can too!

3. We talk about our feelings a lot.

Both hers and ours. We want her to know that our family is a safe place to be honest and heard. We want her to be comfortable around us to express herself openly so we can all grow together.

4. We visit museums all the time.

It probably helps a lot that her dad is in the art world, so we have a walking encyclopedia of knowledge with us whenever we go to one. We've already noticed how our daughter is inspired by what we see, and how her little sponge brain is absorbing all the knowledge we put in front of her.

Bring home the new Disney live-action Dumbo adventure to share these special moments with your families.

This article was sponsored by Disney. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

A very important letter for new mamas

Listen, mom-guilt is a dirty liar. Yes, it's your job to fill your little human's needs, but you matter too. Don't forget to take care of yourself. Hang out with friends, take a drive blaring 90's hip hop or shower without interruptions—trust me, you'll be a better person (and mom) because of it.

Dear new mom,

You will shave again someday. Today is not that day.

Set expectations low, my friend, and set your partner's lower—at least where body hair and overall hygiene are concerned.

That conversation could go something like this: “From now on let's not consider shaving a “standard," but more like a gift that happens on birthdays and the first day of summer."

Voila, you are a gift-giving genius. You know what else is a gift? Shaving the inch and a half of skin that is between your skinny jeans and your boots. You're welcome world.

You will not be perfect at parenting.

Boom.

I have yet to meet a perfect mother, but when I do, she's going to be a tiger who is insanely good at making up songs. (Daniel Tiger's mom, we salute you.)

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Life

I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

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Life

It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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News