Being a mom is hard. Add on being a mom in a society that tells you you’re supposed to enjoy every single second of motherhood—and that you must be doing something wrong if you’re not. I can’t begin to recall how many times someone has told me to treasure these moments while they last.

Because they won’t be this little forever. Because they grow up so fast. Because before you know it, they won’t be your babies anymore.

And while all of that is certainly true, it doesn’t make this season of motherhood any less hard. 

Related: Letting go of perfection has helped me be a better mother

But every moment is not filled with joy.

This season—when my baby is little and I’m still finding my way while trying not to take these moments for granted.

This season—when motherhood is graceful, messy, overwhelming, exciting, humbling, chaotic and inspiring all within the same breath. 

This season—when I have no idea who I am outside of being a mother and I am learning to love this new version of myself.

This season—when motherhood isn’t what I envisioned it to be, but is everything that I quite possibly didn’t even know I needed. 

This season—when motherhood is soft and beautiful, yet equally hard.

Related: Motherhood is filling your cup—and draining it at the same time

Telling me to enjoy every moment does nothing to help me. Because sometimes, I don’t enjoy every moment of raising a little one. Sometimes, it’s quite possibly hard to—when I’m overwhelmed with sleepless nights, mom guilt, constant mess and so much more.

I am told to enjoy all of it, anyways—but every moment is not filled with joy. Some days are pure exhaustion. Diffusing a toddler tantrum. Losing my patience. Rushing my kid out of the door. Trying to get him down to sleep. Worrying about his safety. Being consumed with anxiety and angst. Losing battles. Falling short. Sacrificing more and more of myself just to enjoy all of these little moments before they slip away.

But the truth about motherhood is, one day, these moments will slip away. And I’ll look back on them remembering that I certainly did not enjoy every second. But what I will remember is that I made it through them, and that some of them made me weaker than I have ever been. But through that weakness, I found the softness of vulnerability. And that vulnerability gave me the strength that I needed. It broke me open—wide open—and gave me room to grow in wisdom and make a home out of unfamiliar places.

We fail to remember that it is the rain that brings our bloom

And I am a better mother because of it

That is all the simple reminder that any mother needs—that no matter how easy or hard these moments are, each of them is what makes motherhood. That even though being a mama is a cherished journey, there is room to acknowledge that it comes with its challenges too.

The definition of motherhood is “the state of being a mother.” And sometimes the state of being a mama is soft, freeing and leaves you in awe. But sometimes the state of being a mom is struggling to make it through, crumbling under pressure and crawling on your knees just to find your way.

Related: Mom Guilt is a symptom of a much deeper problem

And either of those are OK—no matter what state you find yourself in at the moment.

So can we agree that not every moment of raising a little one is enjoyable? Can we be honest (with ourselves and with others) that sometimes, it’s hard being a mom? Can we hold room for the grit and not just the glory? Can we get to know the beauty of the valleys—honoring the unknowns, the pauses, the foreign spaces?  

Related: My baby, you make me a better person

We give much praise to the days filled with sun, but we fail to remember that it is the rain that brings our bloom. That we grow through trials and tribulations and learn through mistakes.

Realizing that motherhood—in all of its beauty—is not one ounce of perfection is what will create the freedom for us to exist in every moment—whether we enjoy them or not.

Motherhood is hard. Being a mother is not easy. Every moment isn’t filled with laughter. Sometimes our tears hold the most weight. But it is all of these moments that make us mothers. And that is what we need to hear. Not to enjoy every moment—but that every moment counts.