Can we just take a moment to celebrate what you. just. DID!?

You have raised your little one to her first birthday. You've reached a point where (we hope) you've found your new mama footing; you've embraced this new identity. And you're showing your little one just how special life together really can be.

That is soooo worth celebrating, mama!

Remember when you took your little one home from the hospital and wondered how you could keep this helpless newborn alive? YOU DID IT.

Remember when you struggled to feed your newborn during the countless late-night and early-morning feeding marathons? YOU SURVIVED IT.


Remember when you couldn't remember the last time you slept without being awoken, when you were so tired you didn't know how you could carry on? YOU POWERED THROUGH IT.

Remember when your pants didn't fit and you struggled to find peace with your new postpartum body? YOU FOUND IT.

Remember when you couldn't remember the last time you'd had a night alone with your partner? YOU'RE MAKING TIME—AND LOVE.

Remember when finding your footing at work or in life as a stay-at-home mom felt overwhelming? YOU FIGURED IT OUT.

Remember when you felt so much love for your baby that you felt like you could burst? YOU STAYED INTACT. (Hah!)

Remember when you were afraid of every little bite of food your baby would take—checking for allergic reactions or choking or big messes? YOU HANDLED IT.

Remember when you were constantly worried about whether your baby was crawling or walking or running or talking on time until you realized that your little one is on their own schedule and you're going to do everything you can to help them thrive—no matter what? YOU'RE ON IT.

Remember when you wondered if you'd ever make it to this point? YOU DID IT.

We know we're all still works in progress, but when you've come so far—and grown so much—this year, and well we think that is incredible, and so worth celebrating.

Happy birthday little one. And happy birthday to mama, too.

Motherhood is a practice in learning, growing and loving more than you ever thought possible. Even as a "veteran" mama of four young sons and one newly adopted teenager, Jalyssa Richardson enthusiastically adapts to whatever any given day has in store—a skill she says she's refined through the years.

Here's what just one day in her life looks like:

Jalyssa says she learned to embrace agility throughout her motherhood journey. Here's more from this incredible mama of five boys.

What is the most challenging part of your day as a mom of five?

Time management! I want to meet each of the boys' individual needs—plus show up for myself—but I often feel like someone gets overlooked.

What's the best part of being a mom of five?

The little moments of love. The hugs, the kisses, the cuddles, the smiles... they all serve as little reminders that I am blessed and I'm doing okay.

Are there misconceptions about raising boys?

There are so many misconceptions about raising boys. I think the biggest one is that boys don't have many emotions and they're just so active all the time. My boys display many emotions and they also love to be sweet and cuddly a lot of the time.

What do you think would surprise people the most about being a mom of five?

How much I enjoy it. I never knew I wanted to be a mom until I was pregnant with my first. My desire only grew and the numbers did! I am surprised with every single baby as my capacity to love and nurture grows. It's incredible.

How do you create balance and make time for yourself?

Balance for me looks like intentional planning and scheduling because I never want my boys to feel like they aren't my first priority, but it is extremely difficult. What I try to do is not fit it all into one day. I have work days because motherhood is my first priority. I fit in segments of self-care after the kids' bedtime so I don't grow weary.

What's the biggest lesson you have learned from motherhood?

I have learned that sacrifice is actually beautiful. I was terrified of the selflessness motherhood would require, but I've grown so much through the sacrifice. There is nothing better than living for something bigger than myself.

When did you first feel like a mom? How has your motherhood evolved?

I first felt like a mom when I was pregnant with my first son and I intentionally chose to change my eating habits so my body could be strong and healthy for him. I didn't have to think twice—I just did what I thought would be best for him. That decision being so effortless made me realize I was made for motherhood.

My perspective has changed with each baby as I've realized motherhood doesn't have to be one-size-fits-all. With my first son, I was a by-the-book mama and it was so stressful. With each baby, I have felt more freedom and it has made motherhood so much more beautiful. I have evolved into the mother that they need, I am perfect for these boys.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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When the pandemic hit back in March, photographer and grad student Lydia Royce pulled her son out of day care and lost childcare for her infant son while she and her spouse, a chef, worked. Like so many working parents know, doing double duty is so hard. Royce was exhausted. She lost 10 pounds and was unable to take care of herself. So after seven weeks of burning the candle at both ends, Royce took her son back to day care.

But then, her 7-month-old son developed COVID-19. That's not something any parent wants to hear, but as day cares and schools across the United States reopen Royce wants other parents to hear her story.


"If a mom reads [this] article, I hope she takes some solace in the fact that day care transmission is still extremely rare, and the chances of a child getting [seriously] sick if they do catch it is also extremely rare," she tells Motherly.

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