How motherhood is like surfing

Getting out past the waves is a feat within itself.

How motherhood is like surfing

By Stephanie of Mama & Baby Love

Motherhood is a lot like surfing.

Both are really, really hard—and you get your butt kicked all the time!

When you are learning to surf you have to figure out the balance, not of standing up, but of simply not falling off the board when you are laying down. Then you practice paddling around and build up your arm muscles enough so that you can paddle to the outside (that’s surfer slang for where the waves are not crashing yet) without drowning. To get to the outside, you have to move in direct opposition to the energy of the water coming to shore, which means you are fighting wave after wave and paddling and trying not fall off.


Getting out past the waves is a feat within itself. It will nearly kill you. But when you do, you can look back at the beach and say, ‘Wow! Look how far I’ve come!’

At this point, you sit up on your board and take in the scenery. Let the peace of the moment sink in—although its not totally peaceful because you can’t push the thought out of your mind that there is possibly a shark inches away from your leg, mistaking you for a sea turtle. You can use this time to gather your energy again before you take it to the next level and try to catch a wave.

In the distance, you see one coming. Your heart starts pounding. You get back on your belly and try your best to get ready so you are in the exact right position for the momentum of the wave. The wave gets closer and you paddle and kick with all your might, but sometimes it is just not enough and the wave passes you by.

You see another one and get ready again. Again, you exert every ounce of energy you have from the depths of your soul, but again—it is not quite enough. The wave passes you right on by, never giving you a second glance, moving forward towards the shore as if you weren’t even there.

One more wave is coming in this set. You curse under your breath and think to yourself, I will not be passed up! And hallelujah! You are up! Wobbly as hell, goofy and ridiculous looking, but you are up—you caught a wave! You feel the power of the ocean working with the power of your being, and for one brief moment your light is shining so bright. You feel like you can do anything and that all is right with the world.

And just like that, it’s over.

The wave was short and sweet. And just as you hop off your board thinking you are the biggest, toughest mama in all the world—the next wave crashes on you. You take a turn in the washing machine of the ocean. Not knowing where up or down is, where your board is or if it will bonk you on your head at any moment. Not knowing how much longer you will have to hold your breath. You are terrified. Then finally you make your way to the top and gasp for air.

What happens next depends on your personality.

Some paddle back out and do it all over again. Some, like me, paddle back to shore and take a break having had enough struggle and triumph for one afternoon.

Then I sit on the beach looking at the waves, being still and processing my experience. And then, when I am ready, I go back out and do it all over again.

To me—motherhood, life, and personal development—are all like that. You try your best, give it your all (mostly getting beat up and making mega mistakes along the way) but also getting to catch those glorious moments of success and clarity every now and then.

When you decide to work on yourself—to dive into the ocean of personal development and waves of motherhood—it can get ugly for a bit. It can feel exactly like those waves crashing on top of you and the only intent of the wave is to make sure you stay down.

Working through the hard times and experiencing the chaos, is a part of the process of transformation that you cannot escape. But I can promise you this—hard times don’t last forever.

All the hard work you put into your own personal development and healing will be rewarded.

Lots of love to you on this beautiful but oh-so-hard motherhood journey. Remember, having the support of someone who can throw you a flotation device when you need it and guide you back to shore, makes all the difference in the world.

A version of this article was originally published on Mama & Baby Love.

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.

Our Partners

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.


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