I do a lot of deep sighing throughout the day.

I'd like to tell you it's because I am practicing some deep mindful reflection and breathing, but more often than not it's more of an, Okay mama, three hours 'til bedtime, you've got this breathing.

Three little kids, a husband, a full time job, a house, a dog, and 1,000 other random things that require my attention—it's a lot. A lot of chaos, a lot of mess, and lot of exhaustion.

But there is so much beauty in that chaos—so much. And when I really stop and think about what it means, it takes my breath away.

I am thankful for a hamper full of little pants, jeans with grass stains on them, because it means my kids are playing out in nature.

I am thankful for a sink full of dirty dishes because it means we have food to eat.

I am thankful for the back-and-forth-and-back-again driving I do, because it means that my kids get to go to school and receive an education.

I am thankful for coffee. So very, very thankful ☕️.

I am thankful for the never-ending stream of "Why? Why? Why?" because it means my children are passionately curious about the world.

I am thankful for doctor appointments, because it means we have access to medical care.

I am thankful for a whole house to clean because it means I have a home.

I am thankful that I have to invent thousands of ways to say, "Wow that's amazing!" when my kids show me stuff because it means they want me involved in their lives.

I am thankful that my kids think cereal for dinner is, "So silly, mommy!" instead of, "Come on that's pretty lazy, mom."

I am thankful that my husband doesn't notice when I get my hair done because he thinks I'm pretty anyway.

I am thankful for feeling so gross when I have a cold because it means that when I don't have a cold, I feel really good and healthy.

I am thankful for deadlines and meetings and work-induced stress, because it means I have a job I love that's really important to me.

I am thankful for warm sweaters on cold days .

I am thankful for the constant clutter because it means that we have more than we need, and not less than.

I am thankful for never feeling like I have enough time in the day because it means my life is full.

I am thankful for missing my friends because it means I have relationships worth feeling sad over.

I am thankful for Target. Because Target.

I am thankful for the times my daughter talks back to me because it means she feels confident enough to stand up for herself.

I am thankful for the times my middle guy demands I kiss him 174 times before I walk out the door even when—especially when—I am already late, because it means... well, it means everything.

I am thankful for the times my youngest guy burrows his head in my neck and won't let me put him down because it means he feels safe with me.

I am thankful that my husband gets upset when we don't spend enough time together because it means I have a partner who loves me ❤️.

I am thankful for the outrage that I witness about the current state of the world because it means I live in a community that still cares.

I am thankful for when my dad calls me three times in one weekend to remind me to get my flu shot because it means I have parents who still want to take care of me.

I am thankful for my dog because he's just really stinking cute.

I am thankful for the constant self-battle to stop spending so much time on my phone because it means I have access to information and technology.

I am thankful when my kids are way more excited to see Daddy than me because it means I picked the best father in the world for them.

I am thankful for red wine and fireplaces and cheese.

I am thankful for the absolute exhaustion I feel at the end of the day because it means I LIVED my life.

I am thankful for the tiny hands and loud voices that wake me up way too early every morning because my goodness I can't imagine my life without them.

I am thankful that I'm learning to find the beauty in the chaos. Because there is a lot of chaos—but there is also so much beauty.

I am thankful to have had another year to spend with my family. A year full of tantrums, and picky eating, and messes, and "I don't want to wear this itchy sweater"s, and "Moooo-oooom, I need more toilet paper"s...

Because it means that I am the luckiest mom in the whole world. Sigh.

There's the magazine cover photo of the new celebrity mom glowing as she looks down at the beautiful, sleeping baby in her arms—and then there's real life.

In real life, postpartum mothers are just as likely to be wearing diapers as their babies are, and bumps need months to deflate.

That's why we're so grateful for the way celebrities are ditching damaging narratives about postpartum perfection and embracing the messy authenticity of new motherhood. Thanks to these modern mamas, the rest of us are seeing our own experiences reflected in pop culture, and that lets us know we're not alone.

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