Hey there mama,

I see you. I see that we share the same look in our eyes. That look of wonder and adoration and gratefulness, and also of absolute bone-crushing exhaustion and fear.

It's a funny thing, really, to feel so many opposing things at once. To wait with anticipation in hearing that little voice in the morning, eager to walk into their dimly lit room and see their round face, bright-eyed and beautiful, while at the same time dreading the many small battles the morning will bring.

You know why we feel this way? It's because we're in the thick of it, friend. Our little humans require all of us, and then some. And oftentimes, it can feel like there's no more to give.

I see that you've mastered that super skill we're granted once we become parents: the skill of pretending. We become great pretenders. We pretend that it's always okay, that we're always fine, that it doesn't feel like our lives are a whirlwind of chaos.

We pretend that days don't feel like an endless cycle of cooking, cleaning and laundry. We pretend that we're not existing in a constant state of exhaustion so pervasive that no amount of coffee could fix it. We pretend that the moments are all beautiful, filled with giggles and sunshine and Instagram filters.

We pretend that we're okay with having no time, not one moment, to ourselves. We pretend that we're not falling apart, terrified that we won't make it through another day. We pretend that we can handle another ear infection or stomach bug or tantrum, with grace, without feeling like screaming, too.

We pretend. We cry. Then we pretend again.

I feel you, mama. And you don't have to pretend. Not with me. This stage of motherhood is overwhelming and chaotic and wild. It takes every ounce of you and then more. Even when you feel you have no more to give.

But look at you.

Despite feeling completely empty some days, you somehow find that little bit more. You push through, day by day, sometimes minute by minute. We all do, and we all will.

Because we're mothers—we're the strongest people around.

Whether we are swimming or wading or trudging through these trying times (and even though it can feel like we're drowning), we are all going to make it through the thick of it.

I'm still here with you, mama. Surrounded by moments when things feel all too intense. Whether we have one or two or five littles, we're all in the same place. Our children require all that we are and all that we have which can leave us feeling depleted and confused. Because we know there's beauty in the disarray, but sometimes that beauty can be so hard to find.

But you and I both know it will get better.

We know that one day they will need less and we will have more. Slowly, what can feel like an all-consuming chaos will become less-consuming. The haze of sleepless nights will dissipate and as it clears you will see that on the days when you felt like you accomplished nothing, you truly did so much, just by getting through, just by giving what you could.

That's all you can do, mama.

And that's the real beauty in this adventure. It is challenging and frustrating and exhilarating and so, so, extraordinary. And it is forgiving. So hang in there. Just one more minute. Just one more day.

There's a break on the horizon, and you're going to get there.

In the time being, find little moments to center yourself, to remember yourself. A 20 minute walk outside after dinner, alone. Thirty minutes of guilty-pleasure TV at the end of the day. Find a small way to escape, even if it means making your before-bed shower five minutes longer.

Anything that will give you a moment of mental quiet will suffice. Sooner that you know, these moments will become longer and more pronounced, and this time, as trying as it is, will be a memory, locked away, the chaos drowned out by the beauty of it all seeping to the surface.

So soak in what you can and always remember to be gentle with yourself—always.

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