“It is just a season.” A season of realizing the deepest love you’ve ever known, a season of self-sacrifice, self-reliance, sleeplessness, world turned upside down happiness. A big change, but a season, nonetheless.

A season because one day these little messy faced, constantly needing help children will be adults, navigating life on their own. And even on the toughest of mom days, I know I will one day be standing here on the other side, wishing someone was still here to call me 15 million times for one more hug or snuggle before bed. I’ll be the one dreaming I would hear a sweet cry from the other room and be the only one who is needed in the dead of night.

The season of raising littles is intense, challenging and all-consuming.

But more than anything I have found it to be self-reflective in a challenging but fruitful way. It has been like an unexpected deadline that causes me to finally look at the girl in the mirror and boldly question, “Who am I?” “What am I made of?” And “Do I like what I see?” I have learned more about myself in these last four years than I ever have in all my 32 years of living.

Mothering is a never ending mirror that challenges my actions, my words, my attitudes, my choices and my beliefs.

And within each day of motherhood lies a challenge that has the potential to shape me into a better version of myself.

Let me explain.

To raise grateful children, I must live in gratitude and contentment with what I have.

To raise children who are patient, I must exude patience myself, even when it takes my daughter 7,000 minutes to get into her car seat since she can do it her “self.”

To demonstrate humility, I must show them what it means to put others needs before my own. Luckily, this one comes by default as a mom. There is literally nothing more humbling than not being able to pee on your own time clock.

To create empathy, I must try to see things from their point of view, no matter how futile or irrational their feelings may seem in the moment.

To raise children who are brave, I must boldly face fears of my own.

To encourage kindness and gentleness, I must use my hands softly and speak sweetly, even when I’d rather yell.

To help them understand it’s okay to make mistakes, I must reject my perfectionism every day.

To raise children who are respectful, I must role model what respect is to them through my own speech, not just tell them they need to embody this foreign word.

To give my children a sense of peace and calm, I must daily choose peace and joy amidst the chaos.

Don’t get me wrong, I certainly don’t get it right all the time, or even very often. Because all of these virtues were literally just concepts to me before I became a mom. But even when I get it wrong, it doesn’t stop me from reflecting on my day and praying I get it right tomorrow.

Thank the Lord there is always tomorrow.

Originally posted on Helping Hands Occupational Therapy.