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I don’t know you.

Like, personally. I mean...I may know some of you who read this (hi, Mom!), but most I won’t.


But in a way, I sort of do know you.

I know you because we’re in this mom life together. This wonderful, crazy, tiring, beautiful, awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping (sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a you-just-drew-on-what?! way) life.

This mom life belongs to all of us.

Once you cross that threshold of attaching your heart to your babys heart, youre in this sisterhood of motherhood. You may not necessarily feel it right away, but you will. Itll click. Youll feel the love and support of another mother, or a group of mothers in your neighborhood, across the country, or on the Internet—in some way, shape or form—and youll realize this secret society has actually been there all along.

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Mom life connects us to our grandmas. We relate to our aunts. We empathize with our mothers in a whole new way. And we understand the stranger wrangling toddlers in the grocery store with whom who we lock knowing eyes—and share a supportive smile.

We share some of the same struggles.

We fret about choosing the right daycare or babysitting situation. We stress about whether going back to work really does make sense for you and your partner—emotionally and financially—when you realize how much childcare costs.

We worry about our sweet babies not taking the bottle while we’re out and question if we’re selfish because we “needed” to go to dinner with our spouse. (It’s not selfish, we promise. You deserve it.)

We wonder if we’re doing it right. (It = everything.) What do other moms feed their kids for dinner? How often do other parents bathe their kiddos? How often do other moms shower/wash their hair/shave/wear makeup? Do other mothers worry whether or not their child is developmentally on track? Wow! Look at all that milk she just pumped on her ten.minute.break.! Or, do other parents forget to clip their kiddos nails all the time?

We cry in our car after a woman in line at the grocery store asks how far along we are and we bashfully reply, “My three month old is home with my mother” and quickly pay, thank the cashier, then run out of there all with a bright red face and a crushed spirit.

We get worked up when we disagree with our spouse over the proper way to have handled that tantrum. There are times when we feel like we’re so right and we know what we’re talking about, and other times when we feel like we have literally no idea what’s happening or what needs to be done.

We empathize.

And when our struggles are not exactly the same, we empathize.

Moms are empathetic creatures. We know this stuff is hard. Period. We are all trying our best.

We cheer those parents on walking into their little one’s IEP meeting.

We hug our mama friend who’s heart is torn up about supplementing with formula because her baby isn’t getting enough milk and they’re trying to figure it out.

We listen when our friend feels like she’s drowning. She’s overwhelmed. The feelings are too big. There’s too much to worry about. We are there to be her sounding board.

We text our sister reassuring texts because she’s pregnant for the first time and this is, quite frankly, a whole new unfamiliar world for her. “Yes that’s normal.” “I felt that way, too.” “You’ve got this, girlfriend.”

We hold the door for the new mama juggling the stroller, her diaper bag and about a million other things. We tell her what a good job she’s doing, getting out and about. We may not be in that exact stage anymore, but boy do we remember how tough that was. And we’re genuinely impressed with her put-together-ness.

We have similar hopes.

We hope for a beautiful, successful future for our children.

We hope for a clean planet and clean bills of health. ?

We hope they find their path and a solid direction in life.

We hope they learn from their mistakes.

We hope they’re kind to other people and help those in need. ?

We hope that our mistakes don’t scar them for life.

We hope that treating our kids to fast food once in a while doesn’t totally damage their gut. ?

We hope that they’re passionate about something and pursue the heck out of their wildest dreams.

We hope they still call and visit when they’re grown, and maybe live close by. ?

We hope they laugh a lot, fall in love, keep good friends close to their hearts.

We hope that they eventually sleep through the night, in their own beds, no accidents, without a pacifier...at least by the time they’re 18...?

But we mostly hope that we’re doing a good enough job. Because we’re trying really hard, with everything we have—body, mind and soul. We may not always get it right, but dang, we’re trying.

(Spoiler alert: you’re doing a really great job, and I hope you truly believe that.)


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When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.

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The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.



As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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I was blissfully asleep on the couch while my little one was occupied elsewhere with toys, books and my partner. She got bored with what they were doing, escaped from his watch and, sensing my absence, set about looking for me. Finding me on the couch, nose-level, she peeled back my one available eyelid, singing, "Mama? Mama? ...You there? Wake UP!"

Sound familiar? Nothing limits sleep more than parenthood. And nothing is more sought after as a parent than a nap, if not a good night's rest.

But Mother Nature practically guarantees that you are likely to be woken up by a toddler—they're hardwired to find you (and get your attention) when you're "away."

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