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Dear beautiful girl,

I rarely carry you these days.


You run, climb, walk, and jump—you are a whirlwind and a force and so much your own person. But I feel, I carry, the weight of you, especially lately.

The weight of your wide open eyes, our long, weary winter days, our early mornings and your beautiful, stubborn independent resistance.

The weight of the lessons you’ve yet to learn, the bruises that will rise and fade and rise again on your knees, the many times your heart will break and mend, the promise to teach you what is true, what is good, what is right, what is home.

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The most precious burden, my most cherished responsibility, the joy and the gratitude—and still there are days I am simply lost for what to give to you.

Days that feel heaviest. Days where the weight of being your world is as much as I can carry. Days when I need to ask someone else to carry me.

Days when I am desperately carving space for the wandering girl inside me who is always trying to conquer the biggest questions and solve the hardest truths.

How to be the mother you deserve when my soul craves solitude?

How to hold you when I am tired of being touched?

How to be your solid place to land when the ground all around me is shaking?

Do any of us ever stop asking these questions?

It’s a long look into the face in a clear mirror, asking her what remains if you simply aren’t the girl you thought you would be.

To be your mother, as I dissect and unwind and unpack and disassemble the building blocks upon which I have created a space for us, as I look into the eyes of the truest things.

To be your mother, as I am undone and redoing.

To be your mother, as I am rebuilding her, rewriting her, exploring her edges, exploring the space in between.

To be your mother, imperfect. To be your mother, wide open.

I am weary of being right. I am weary of being sure.

What remains if I am simply not the mother I thought I would be?

Beautiful, magical, wonderful girl – I love you, I love you, I love you so.

Here is what I know:

Grace is a door left swinging, the mutinous value pressed into unworthy spaces, the endless echoing wonder of your laugh.

Grace is the given, the holy, the only remaining.

Grace is the eyes that see and the ears that hear, the deep inner knowing, the heartbeat still drumming here under, here always, here now.

Grace is the hand the grasps and the heart that opens, the freedom to hold loosely, the rush of the wind and the sense of belonging.

Grace is you and I learning, and holding, and making each other.

Grace is the unmovable root of the thing, and whoever God is and wherever we’re going, grace is enough. Grace is most certainly, always enough.

I will give you your mother, imperfect, to hold, as I hold you.

We will falter, and laugh.

We will walk boldly, and learn.

We will fold into grace that will carry us.

We will let it sing us through the desert.

We will cling to it all the way home.

Originally published in Girl of Cardigan.

Back when my husband and I were creating our wedding registry, it was a fun, low-pressure opportunity to select some new dishes and linens. After all, I knew a thing or two about stocking my home and making the "wrong decision" with thread count was the only thing that posed any risk to my sleep at night.

Fast-forward a few years to when I created a baby registry before the birth of my first child—and I found the experience to have a much steeper learning curve. Unlike those sheets, it felt like a bad swaddle or bassinet selection would be catastrophic. Unsure of what to expect from motherhood or my baby, I leaned heavily on advice from friends who already ventured into parenthood. (Starting with their reminders to take deep breaths!)

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Now a mom of three little ones under the age of four, I'm happy to be in a position to pass along some baby registry wisdom.

Go shopping with a veteran parent

As first-time parents, my husband and I barely knew the difference between a bouncer and a swing, let alone what specific features we would want. So when a mom friend recommended we head to Walmart to build my registry together—because she found them to carry the trendy brands she loved AND make registering a breeze during her pregnancy—I leapt at the chance.

By walking through the aisles together and actually getting to see the products, I was much more confident in my registry selections. Thanks to that quick, in-store tutorial from my friend, I understood exactly how to match a perfect infant car seat with an extra base and stroller—which is something I would have been clueless about on my own.

Include items at a variety of price points

When it comes down to it, a registry is really a wish list. So, while I had a personal budget for a stroller if it had to come out of my own pocket, this was an opportunity for me to ask for the stroller of my dreams. And, wouldn't you know it? A few family members went in on it together, which made a bigger price tag much more manageable.

At the same time, it's nice to include some of the smaller ticket items that are absolutely essential. I can't even begin to tell you how grateful I was to skip buying my own diapers for those first few weeks. (With super cute patterns, these are also surprisingly fun to give, too!)

Think about the gifts you would like to give

The first time I bought a mom-to-be a gift after my own child was born, I knew immediately what to look for on her registry: a diaper bag backpack, which I had come to have very strong opinions about after battling falling straps with my first diaper bag. This allowed me to feel like I had a personal touch in my gift, even if I brought one pre-selected by her.

I also appreciate it when my friends clearly incorporate their style into their registry choices, like with adorable baby outfits or nursery decor—and there's no sweeter "thank you" than a picture from a friend showing your gift in use.

Ask for things to grow with your child

Even though it's called a baby registry, there's no need to limit yourself to gifts to use before their first birthday. (To this day, I still have people who attended my baby shower to thank for the convertible bed that my oldest child sleeps in!) Knowing that, I would have included more options with long lifespans into my registry—namely, a baby carrier that can be used during the newborn months, baby months and well into the toddler years. A well-designed baby carrier would have saved my back from serious pain because it would have allowed me to comfortably and ergonomically carry my toddler as she made her way into the 25lb+ club. One brand that's designed to grow with your baby and accommodates 7-45 pounds (up to about four years old) and offers both inward and forward-facing positions is Ergobaby. With several different design and style options, you can easily find one that caters to your parenting needs. From an all-in-one carrier, like the Omni 360, that grows with baby from the newborn stages into the toddler years or a newborn-specific carrier, like the Embrace (and don't worry you can later upgrade to a carrier for an older baby, I recommend the 360 Carrier). The best part? All ergonomic designs are supportive and comfortable for both baby and parent, offering extra lumbar support with breathable, lightweight mesh styles. Everyone (even grandparents!) can get a kick out of babywearing, which is a nice and welcomed break for parents. Having one of these on my registry would have certainly made those first few years so much easier.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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


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