On the days I struggle most with my little ones

I remind myself: I will miss this.

On the days I struggle most with my little ones

There are days when everyone needs and wants to be held and there isn’t a second I can find to myself. One of the children in the group is either unhappy, throwing a tantrum, crying or shrieking, and I think, ‘Please go play. Mommy needs a break. Just two minutes to myself. I can’t hold you right now. My arms are about to break.’

I know I will want each moment back that I took for granted—and be begging for the opportunity to chase one of my children down, to have them let me hold them at all.

The incessant one mores—when I’m asked to color one more picture, read one more book or play one more game, after the previous hours of devoting every last breath of energy left in my body—find me answering at times with a slouch and a sigh.


Yet, I know there will come a time when I’d give anything to be able to sit down and not only do these one more time, but a thousand more times.

There are mornings, afternoons and evenings when I feel like a slave in my own kitchen. When it feels like it’s more of a war zone. I don’t get to sit down, as someone always needs another refill, a second helping—or naturally, there is a mess that needs immediate attention.

And yes, one day, I will look around my kitchen and wish for it to be filled with little people who need me to wait on them hand and foot...all too soon, it will be empty, quiet and lifeless.

There are moments I feel like I can’t change one more diaper, help one more time on the potty, wipe one more messy mouth or clean up one more disaster. As soon as I get one of these tasks accomplished, the next is already awaiting me.

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But I know that ultimately, my need to be needed is far greater than anything else. I will not only miss this, but yearn for it one day.

There are nights when the babies just won’t go down for bed...or for that matter, stay asleep. The times they prolong the inevitable at tuck ins and ask for one more kiss, one more hug, one more drink of water or have just one more thing to tell you, but...for the fifteenth time.

There will come a time I would give anything to have made sure I took each one of those extra hugs and kisses and realize that I’m pacing the halls with an emptiness that can’t be replaced.

The hundreds of times I’m asked daily, “Mommy look! Mommy just watch me! Mommy....Mommy? Come here! Mommy can you help me with this?” There are times I think I could crumble and often, at my breaking point, I wonder, ‘How is it possible for one human being to meet all of these tiny people’s needs all at once, every single day, all day and all night long?’ I feel so defeated at times simply because there aren’t five of me to go around.

One day, I will be praying to have those requests and sweet demands back.

There are never-ending pleas where I’m asked to watch the same show or movie over and over or listen to the same songs again and again. At times, my head aches and spins from it, and I’m certain it will burst if it sees or hears something one more time. I realize at times my much needed social, adult vices are no longer met—they’re simply a thing of the past.

But yes, at some point, I will laugh to myself and want it back.

There are ever-too-early awakenings when I’d give anything to have my kids sleep in and not have each day begin at 65 mph by 5:30 a.m. Most days, when I’m trying to get my eyes to open and remind my legs to put themselves one in front of the other, I’m not sure which direction I’m heading or what needs done first. I’m just doing my head count to make sure everyone is accounted for and made it through another night.

But this, too, will be an exhausting time that I will look back on and smile and think, ‘They were my reason to carry on and pull myself out of bed every day.’ I will find a point when I need to have these mornings again.

There are daily games where I have someone playing peek-a-boo during my two-minute shower or have thumping feet and squeals running through our halls to the point it sounds like someone is being seriously hurt and our house will surely come crashing down.

One day, the peace and silence will be deafening. I will miss this.

There is running from one event and appointment to the next. The constant in and out of the car seats to keep up with our schedule. And while we’re traveling, the unremitting battles in the backseat that are sometimes enough to make it impossible to even attempt to drive safely. All so often I think to myself that I must be one of the most courageous people on this earth to put these tiny people in the car and take all of them out in public alone.

One day, I will turn around and find complete emptiness behind me, with no one asking or needing me to take them anywhere or pick them up. I surely will want it all back.

The daily cleaning the toothpaste out of the sink, switching the shoes that are on the wrong feet, fixing the shirts that are misbuttoned, keeping up with the never ending loads of laundry, tripping over and picking up the sea of toys that lay scattered through the house or once again scrubbing the crayon that has found its way onto our wall.

Yes, all of this, every single last thing, I will want it all back.

That’s the crazy thing about motherhood—the most tiring and sometimes most dreadful duties are actually where we can find the biggest blessings hidden.

The days of Help, “Mommy...Mommy, please...Just one more!” I need to at times beg myself to embrace this, all of this...the struggles, the exhaustion, the wearing of the 50 hats to just survive one day with my little ones because one day, this will all begin to slow down and eventually come to a complete stop. There is no pause button. There is no rewind button. And unfortunately, there is no do-over button.

In our moments of exhaustion and despair wishing, ‘Oh when they’re old enough for this. We just have to push it out a little longer to make it through this stage.

There will come a time I will be sick thinking that I could have wished any amount of time away and would walk to the ends of the earth to be back here—right here, right now.

I’m given one shot with my children. They are given one childhood with me.

The amazing, yet scary part of all of this, I’m the author of this part of their lives. I determine how their chapters are being written out. Every day, I will go down in flames trying to give them one hell of a story to reread and look back on one day and think, ‘I remember being happy. When I think of my childhood, I simply remember happiness.

And if we’re really lucky enough, they will know in their hearts that their mother, well, she was a huge contributor to that happiness.

As I have my failed attempts and times I only wish I could take back, I simply must try to learn from my mistakes, hoping by God that it bettered me as a parent, move on and try to make the next chapter a little better than the last one was.

Thank God every day we’re given a brand new page to write on. Make today a good one.

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These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.

Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin

Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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

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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


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Errands and showers are not self-care for moms

Thinking they are is what's burning moms out.

A friend and I bump into each other at Target nearly every time we go. We don't pre-plan this; we must just be on the same paper towel use cycle or something. Really, I think there was a stretch where I saw her at Target five times in a row.

We've turned it into a bit of a running joke. "Yeah," I say sarcastically, "We needed paper towels so you know, I had to come to Target… for two hours of alone time."

She'll laugh and reply, "Oh yes, we were out of… um… paper clips. So here I am, shopping without the kids. Heaven!"

Now don't get me wrong. I adore my trips to Target (and based on the fullness of my cart when I leave, I am pretty sure Target adores my trips there, too).

But my little running joke with my friend is actually a big problem. Because why is the absence of paper towels the thing that prompts me to get a break? And why on earth is buying paper towels considered a break for moms?

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