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THIS... is real life.

This is what motherhood looks like when NOBODY is watching.


When nobody is there to judge her for her clothes, or her hair, or her makeup, or her decor-ed out/ Pinterest looking house, or ensuring her darling kids are just "SO well-behaved."

This is after a full day of work, daycare pick-up, two tantrums in 20 minutes.

This is after cooking supper, *trying to* clean the house, giving baths, holding one and soothing the other.

This is exhaustion.

This is overwhelmed.

This is the feeling of defeat.

This is loving my babies so dang much, with every fiber in me.

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This is trying so hard with every bone in my body to do my very best day in and day out, to give my babies all they need - even when I am melting inside.

This is what it looks like for a mom to NEED just TWO minutes of silence, away from the world, to take a deep breath, regain strength and continue on the mile-long list of things she has yet to do before laying her head on her pillow tonight.

THIS is behind the highlight reel of Instagram. Beyond the beautiful, styled photos.

To all the mamas out there, I know you read it nonstop and take it with a grain of salt. But please believe me when I say—you are not alone. You never will be.

There's a world of mamas out there, INCREDIBLE mamas, who also are having THESE moments. And even when we are engulfed in these soul-sucking moments, we still breathe, rise, and greet our babies with love and reassurance.

If you've stuck with me to read all of this, I just want to tell you that you can get through whatever it is that feels tough and numbing. Close your eyes and say something positive that you did today. Encourage yourself. Get back up, mama.

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    Motherhood is a practice in learning, growing and loving more than you ever thought possible. Even as a "veteran" mama of four young sons and one newly adopted teenager, Jalyssa Richardson enthusiastically adapts to whatever any given day has in store—a skill she says she's refined through the years.

    Here's what just one day in her life looks like:


    Jalyssa says she learned to embrace agility throughout her motherhood journey. Here's more from this incredible mama of five boys.

    What is the most challenging part of your day as a mom of five?

    Time management! I want to meet each of the boys' individual needs—plus show up for myself—but I often feel like someone gets overlooked.

    What's the best part of being a mom of five?

    The little moments of love. The hugs, the kisses, the cuddles, the smiles... they all serve as little reminders that I am blessed and I'm doing okay.

    Are there misconceptions about raising boys?

    There are so many misconceptions about raising boys. I think the biggest one is that boys don't have many emotions and they're just so active all the time. My boys display many emotions and they also love to be sweet and cuddly a lot of the time.

    What do you think would surprise people the most about being a mom of five?

    How much I enjoy it. I never knew I wanted to be a mom until I was pregnant with my first. My desire only grew and the numbers did! I am surprised with every single baby as my capacity to love and nurture grows. It's incredible.

    How do you create balance and make time for yourself?

    Balance for me looks like intentional planning and scheduling because I never want my boys to feel like they aren't my first priority, but it is extremely difficult. What I try to do is not fit it all into one day. I have work days because motherhood is my first priority. I fit in segments of self-care after the kids' bedtime so I don't grow weary.

    What's the biggest lesson you have learned from motherhood?

    I have learned that sacrifice is actually beautiful. I was terrified of the selflessness motherhood would require, but I've grown so much through the sacrifice. There is nothing better than living for something bigger than myself.

    When did you first feel like a mom? How has your motherhood evolved?

    I first felt like a mom when I was pregnant with my first son and I intentionally chose to change my eating habits so my body could be strong and healthy for him. I didn't have to think twice—I just did what I thought would be best for him. That decision being so effortless made me realize I was made for motherhood.

    My perspective has changed with each baby as I've realized motherhood doesn't have to be one-size-fits-all. With my first son, I was a by-the-book mama and it was so stressful. With each baby, I have felt more freedom and it has made motherhood so much more beautiful. I have evolved into the mother that they need, I am perfect for these boys.

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

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    Naya Rivera/Instagram

    As mamas we want our babies to be safe, and that's what makes what happened to Glee actress Naya Rivera and her 4-year-old son Josey so heartbreaking. Late Wednesday night news broke that Rivera was missing and presumed drowned after her 4-year-old son, Josey, was found floating alone on a rented boat on Lake Piru in Ventura County, California.

    According to the Los Angeles Times, Ventura County Sheriff's Department Capt. Eric Buschow said the mother and her preschooler were swimming near the boat Wednesday afternoon. Josey got back into the rented boat after the swim but his mother did not. The preschooler was later found by other boaters, sleeping alone in the boat. Rescuers were able to figure out who he was because Rivera's wallet and identification were on the boat.

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    Our hearts are breaking for Josey and his dad right now. So much is unknown about what happened on Lake Piru but one thing is crystal clear: Naya Rivera has always loved her son with all her heart.

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