Ever since we brought our new daughter home, her older brothers have been the first to tell me when she is crying, whimpering or smelling a little suspicious. “Somebody needs you,” they say.

I have no idea how this little saying started, but at first, it sort of annoyed me. I could be enjoying a quick shower, “Mommy, somebody needs you. The baby is crying.” Or, sitting down for a second, quite aware that the baby was beginning to stir from a nap, “Mama, somebody needs you!” Okay—I get it already!

And not to mention, the newborn’s needs pale in comparison to the needs of two little boys.

Somebody always needs a snack, a band-aid, a different sock, ice cubes in their water, a new Paw Patrol, a stream of snot wiped, a hug, a story, a kiss.

Some days never seem to end, and the constancy of being needed can really take its toll. Then, it all started to hit me, they need me, not anybody else. Not a single other person in the whole world—they need their mommy.

The sooner I can accept that being ‘Mommy’ means that I never go off the clock, the sooner I can find peace in this crazy stage of life. That mommy is my duty, privilege, and honor. I am ready to be there when somebody needs me, all day and all night.

Being Mommy means I put the baby back down after her 4 a.m. feeding and when the 3-year-old has a nightmare.

Being Mommy means surviving on coffee and toddler leftovers.

Being Mommy means my husband and I haven’t had a real conversation in weeks.

Being Mommy means I put their needs before my own, without a thought.

Being Mommy means that my body is full of aches and my heart is full of love.

I am sure there will come a day when no one needs me.

My babies will all be long gone and consumed with their own lives.

My arms will no longer be their home.

My kisses no longer their cure.

There will be no more tiny boots to wipe the slush from or seat belts to be buckled. I will have read my last bedtime story, seven times in a row. I will no longer need to enforce time-outs.

There will be no more bags to pack and unpack or snack cups to fill. I am sure my heart will yearn to hear those tiny voices calling out to me, “Mommy, somebody needs you!”

So for now, I find beauty in the peaceful 4 a.m. feedings in our cozy little nursery. We are perched above the naked oak trees in our own lavender nest. We watch the silent snowfall and a bunny scampering across its perfect white canvas.

It’s just me and my little baby, the neighborhood is dark and still. We alone are up to watch the pale moon rise and the shadows dance along the nursery wall. She and I are the only ones to hear the barn owl hooting in the distance. We snuggle together under a blanket and I rock her back to sleep.

It’s 4 am and I am exhausted and frustrated, but it’s okay, she needs me. Just me. And maybe, I need her too. Because she makes me Mommy.

Someday she will sleep through the night. Someday I will sit, my arms empty, dreaming of those quiet nights in the nursery. When she needed me and we were the only two people in the world.

Can I enjoy being needed?

Sometimes, sure, but often it is exhausting. It isn’t meant to be enjoyed every moment. It is a duty. God made me their mom. It is a position I yearned for, long before I would ever understand it.

These years of being needed are exhausting, yet fleeting. I have to stop dreaming of “One day” when things will be easier. Because the truth is, it may get easier, but it will never be better than today.

Today, when I am covered in toddler snot and spit-up.

Today, when I savor those chubby little arms around my neck.

Today is perfect.

One day” I will get pedicures and showers alone.

One day” I will get myself back.

But, today I give myself away, and I am tired and dirty and loved so much, and I gotta go. Somebody needs me.

This post originally appeared on Your Best Nest.