To the mama who wonders if she'll ever figure out this whole 'motherhood' thing

Because motherhood is a lot of things. It's messy. It's exhausting. It's joyful. It's rewarding. And it's unpredictable.

To the mama who wonders if she'll ever figure out this whole 'motherhood' thing

Remember those early baby days? When nothing made sense and your perpetual exhaustion brought you to your knees? And you wondered when, for the love of God, it would get easier? When would you finally figure it all out and really get the hang of it?

Because within a couple years, that screaming newborn who wouldn't nurse and who pooped up her back every single Sunday at church turned into a very strong-willed toddler. And nights were still a battle. And church was still a challenge. You still didn't feel like you had the hang of it.

But once she's out of the toddler years, then, you told yourself, then it will get easier, right? I'll know what I'm doing then, right?


Eventually, she turned three, then four. Then a sassy five. And after a few more years, a tween and then a teenager. And in the meantime, you may have added some siblings into the mix, so even when she was in the sweet spot — around age six when she still wanted to be around Mommy — you had a new baby or toddler. Or both.

Maybe that's when it was supposed to get easier? Because by then you were supposed to know what you were doing, right? So why was it still so hard?

When do we get to sit back, take a break, and sigh with relief that the hard part is over?

Well, now that I'm 10 years in, I can tell you it's not in the first decade. And since I haven't navigated the teen years yet, I'm pretty sure it's not before year 20.

Maybe we will finally know what we are doing when we are grandmas? But then aren't we just floundering in our new role? Like—how much should we say? How much help is too much help? How do we make sure we don't overstep?

So I guess I'll break it to you: Turns out, we don't ever actually get the hang of it. It never gets easier, per se. Sure, my kids are done with diapers, but now they're facing school bullies and friendship struggles and pressures to fit in.

And that little babe you rocked all night long, desperately praying he'd stop crying? You thought that was hard until you watched him walk into kindergarten, carrying your whole heart in that Pokemon backpack. And you stared at the clock, not sure how eight hours could last so long until you could hold him in your arms again and make sure he had a good day and wasn't scared and got to the bathroom in time.

But kindergarten is only the beginning. From now on, with each passing day, he'll break away a little bit more, forcing more distance between you two, adding gray hairs of worry onto your head, as he learns how to be in this world without you by his side.

Someday that kindergartener will be 10, on the cusp of tween years, already angling for his own phone, and you'll lay awake night terrified of social media and cyberbullying and how scary the world is.

But you'll make it. You'll figure it out—together.

And then suddenly he's 18, driving out the driveway, heading back to college, after breaking the news that he got a sweet internship and won't be home this summer.

And you may long for those tiring nights when he fit in your arms and nuzzled your neck.

Mamas, it never gets easier. We never get the hang of it. At every turn, there are new challenges. Learning how to be a mom to toddlers. Learning how to be a mom to tweens. Learning how to let go of that 6-foot-tall boy and say "see you in a few months."

And the other wild part about motherhood is that no two kids are the same. I have three, and my youngest makes me feel like a new parent daily.

He throws me curveballs that the other two never imagined. Like when he threw his shoe at my face at Target in a raging tantrum, he stopped me in my tracks. I was dumbfounded. I felt like a new mom all over again. I'm a good mom. I have my kids in check. All I need to do is give "the look" or the stern whisper-shout, and they behave. So what on earth was happening here?

Newsflash—"the look" only works with the first two. My third? Oh boy, is he a new ball of wax.

So "the hang of it"? Nope. Still don't have it. Even though I'm on kid #3.

But do you know what I've realized? We don't have to be sad about this. We just need to embrace it. We need to stop waiting for our "aha!" moments of motherhood, and just have confidence in our abilities to simply do our best, every day. Maybe having "the hang of it" means taking steps forward—sometimes timidly, sometimes with force, but we keep going, continuing to learn as we go.

Because tomorrow our kids will challenge us. They may throw us something new—like a shoe in the face—or maybe make a poor choice and get in trouble at school. We may get a phone call we never thought we'd get because our kids would never… until they did.

And although we probably never get our "expert" status badge, we can take comfort in this—our kids know we love them. They know we're there, even when they make mistakes. (And when we do as well.)

Because motherhood is a lot of things. It's messy. It's exhausting. It's joyful. It's rewarding. And it's unpredictable.

But it will never be easy.

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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.


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!


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.


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. 🙌


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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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