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A switch goes off when you become pregnant. Mama Bear mode goes into full effect, and you search endlessly for the right information, products and people to create the perfect environment to welcome that perfect baby of yours into.

But as we all logically know, what’s perfect for you is not perfect for everyone. Not even that bestie you thought you had every single thing in common with until she decided to have a home birth and you decided to have an epidural.

It begins that early, the mommy judging you’ve heard such nightmare stories about. And it sucks. It sucks being judged. And it sucks when you realize that you’re the one judging. Even if you fully intend on entering motherhood as the most open-minded mama that ever walked this earth (and you probably are), at one point or another, there’s a good chance you’ll be in a situation where you find that heat in your chest rise, and you feel an invisible defensive shield surround you...prompted by nothing else, but the simple sound of another mother’s words that are different than yours.

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Because here’s the thing: motherhood is personal. All of it. Every decision, every feeding, every embrace…even every poop for crying out loud. And it should be. So “not taking it personally” doesn’t apply here. Motherhood is the most personal thing you'll ever do.

But it's also the most personal thing that mother you're thinking of judging will ever do. And I bet she’s doing her thing out of the same heart-bursting love that’s motivating you to do yours.

You may not agree with the way one mom nurses her child in public or the way another naps her child on-the-go, but our different parenting styles are what make us all individuals and what makes our world a more colorful place.

And we need each other. How wonderful would it be if by talking to a mom you thought was “wrong” in her parenting decision you realized, “hey, that just might work for me.” Being open to other perspectives is what got you so far in life pre-baby, isn’t it? Why stop now?

Especially when you know that only another mother that can empathize with those tiny moments of misery like a sleepless night of teething. And only another mother can share the moments of pure joy like successfully weaning off of a binky.

So take it personally. Be confident in your parenting because you know what is best for your family. But trust that the mom sitting next to you also knows what is best for hers. Fight that moment of judgement, and turn it into a moment of celebration. A celebration of you being so damn open-minded that you don’t have to hang out with mothers that do it the same as you. Celebrate that mama for trying to do the best for her family. Then celebrate you again for always taking motherhood personally.

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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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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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