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In case you didn’t know, you are the best mama in the whole world

But it's not for the reasons you might think.

In case you didn’t know, you are the best mama in the whole world

I head to the coffee bean hopper and turn on the grinder, filling my steel pot with water and fetch a brown, square filter for my Chemex. As I slowly pour the steaming water over the fresh grounds, I review my steps for the day, sorting through the tasks and plans, praying for clarity and patience to mother my children with compassion and intention.

It's easy to let the glory of motherhood fade in the heat of the moment.

But at this moment peacefully sipping coffee, I am exactly the mom I want to be: the mom who loves unconditionally and never runs out of good ideas. The mom who perfectly disciplines and calmly leads her children with wisdom and panache.

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Not the mom I frequently am, crying in the shower while her kids pull her underwear out of her dresser drawer again and eat all the yogurt covered raisins and gummy snacks because I don't have the energy to protest anymore.

I can't help but wonder if I am actually getting "it" right. This whole parenting thing. I feel like I should have figured out the "perfect" parenting equation by now.

I hear the kids waking up, so I pull out the peanut butter and strawberry jam to make sandwiches for our outing to the children's museum. I don't get dressed until minutes before we leave the house because the number of stains my clothes have after dealing with my kids would make it too embarrassing for me to handle in public.

I feel like I'm constantly missing the mark, like it's always just outside of my reach; that somehow all the other moms on Instagram, with time for manicures and kids donned in matching and spotless outfits, got a manual at birth or went to the right parenting conference that gave them failproof child training programs that magically circumvented screaming and tantrums and throwing mac and cheese across the table.

Maybe I'm trying too hard, or maybe I'm not trying hard enough? Does every mom feel like she is failing her kids?

If I really think about it, each day that passes is most likely awesome from my kids' perspectives. Their expectations are pretty simple. They want to be delighted in, to have their little love tanks filled to capacity with my laughter and approval. Imagine the person whose opinion you cared most about in the whole entire world, leaning down to draw you close and tell you they think you are awesome?

Our kids need our smiles to know they are essential in our lives.

A few weeks ago, (okay let's be honest, pretty much every day of my life), I was craving brownies and convinced my 3-year-old daughter to help me stir the thick, chocolatey batter. We giggled and gushed about how thankful we are for chocolate, filling the 8x8 ceramic dish with our gooey mess. (I may get a lot of things wrong, but my children will not leave my house without serious brownie making skills.)

As we were waiting for the timer to give us the green light, my daughter leaned over to me and said, "Mommy, you are the best mommy in the whole world ever, did you know that?"

I met her blue eyes, brimming with sincerity, and planted a kiss on her sweet cheek. "I love you so much" I whispered in her ear.

I remembered this exchange as I made the trek to the bedroom to fetch my twin boys from their Pack 'n Plays. Another busy day loomed before us. I picked them up, burying my face in their wiggly necks while singing a good morning song.

I have realized I can only be who I am, and this is actually exactly what my children need: me showing up in the fullness of who I am, to invite them into the fullness of their own unique identities. No one else could do it better.

The difficult work of raising up the next generation is worth every second of sacrifice I'm making.

Yes, there will be battles, yes there will be messes and frustrations, but if I open my eyes a little wider, I can see there is a beautiful story being written in the chaos, and I play an incredibly important role.

There is a treasure to be found in the never-ending routines, a gold mine being stored up in the heart of the future. My normal is different than everyone else's, and that's what makes the global collective of motherhood so breathtaking. Mothers cannot—and should not—be compared.

And just in case you didn't know, you are the best mom in the whole world. Ever.

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By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.

$159.99

Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!

$29.99

Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.

$29.99

Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌

$9.99

Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.

$14.99

Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.

$24.99

Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.

$8.99

Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.

$7.99


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. 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

$35

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Life

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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