Motherhood is: Never seeing your friends but feeling closer than ever

These friendships are built on a level of trust and vulnerability that I didn't even know I could give or receive until motherhood exposed the rawest moments of my life.

Motherhood is: Never seeing your friends but feeling closer than ever

Nothing forces you to prioritize what is important quite like motherhood. In an instant, time is more precious and the stakes much greater. Life is much fuller and the days are too. We have more to love and less to give to others. Priorities change, and as families grow, some friendships fade.

But the friendships that don't just stay, but grow, in motherhood are something really special. These friendships—with moms and non-mothers alike—aren't maintained with happy hours and coffee dates and training for 10Ks like they were during life before kids. In fact, they aren't built on face-to-face get-togethers at all because we all know finding time for happy hour with a toddler and a full-time job is about as rare as completing a load of laundry with every little baby sock that went in (although both have a tendency to happen sometimes!).

Rather, these friendships are built on a level of trust and vulnerability that I didn't even know I could give or receive until motherhood exposed the rawest moments of my life.

I may never see my friends, but I feel closer than ever to the women in my life. Our relationships often live within the confines of text messages, FaceTime sessions, Instagram memes, and perhaps the occasional coffee date, but the depth of relationship is much richer than it ever was before.

It's late-night texts about the struggle of breastfeeding laced with humor and support (and the occasional Nordstrom's shopping list) to keep you going.

It's the mid-week check-ins to see how your daughter's appointment went. It's remembering that behind your strong face is a mama who worries endlessly.

It's the celebration, not comparison, of your child's accomplishments and milestones. It's the genuine love and interest in your child outside of their own.

It's the admittance that life isn't perfect and the vulnerability to ask for help and advice.

It's the ability to vent without judgment about the struggles of marriage, parenting, and work in this new stage of life with someone else who can relate to the highs and lows.

It's the truth that yes, sometimes you pee your pants when you run too and that you really don't care about the last 10 pounds of baby weight.

It's exposing your fears, despite how crazy and unrealistic they may seem.

It's revealing your dreams and speaking them aloud so someone else can hear them.

It's a safe place to put the emotions and feelings you aren't quite ready to handle.

It's the motivation to get out of bed some mornings or to make it through one more business trip.

It's the ability to remind someone what they already know they are capable of.

It's telling you unprompted that your little human is perfect in every way.

It's the daily reminder that you are doing a good job.

It's the constant presence of support, friendship and sisterhood to remind you that you aren't alone.

As my friends and I fumble through calendars and sleep schedules to actually see each other face-to-face, I like to joke that we should just get something on the books 18 years from now.

And while I do genuinely hope my life as an empty-nester is again filled with weekend trips with my girlfriends and activities I took for granted before kids, right now this is the type of friendship I need in my life. But even if it is just once a month, one quarter, or even once a year, nothing replaces the value of a big hug and glass of wine with a treasured friend.

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One of the main reasons we launched the Motherly Shop is to help take some of that stress away. We've tracked down the best brands and products developed by people (and in many cases, women!) that truly work to serve the needs of real mamas, especially throughout the overwhelming transition into motherhood.

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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


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The 6 biggest lies I believed before having kids

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves.

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves. Some of these ideas might have been based on our own ideas of how we would absolutely do things differently than everyone else. Others, we believed what everyone else told us would happen would apply to our littles, too. But, that's not always the case, mama.

Below are six of the biggest lies I believed before having kids—and the reality of what actually happened for me.

1. Put your baby down drowsy, but awake

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