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My darling,

Right now, our love is little.

Our love has made it six years and survived four moves and here we are knee-deep into parenthood with a feisty toddler and a teething baby.

Our love is only little right now because we don't have the time or energy for big love right now. The excitement and the adventures that fueled our dating years has now morphed and grown into a deeper understanding of what it means to be entirely known by another soul. And it's the little love that has helped us get there.

Throughout some of the most transformative years of my life—when I became a mother, when I took the first steps of self-discovery and learned how to love myself throughout my body stretching with each pregnancy, when I matured from girl to woman—somehow, we have found ways to connect and to love each other more and more throughout all of life's ups and downs.

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Right now, our lives are lived in a routine.

Your alarm goes off before the sun rises and you're showered and dressed in a half hour. That kiss before you walk out the door is quick, and sometimes it's the only bit of closeness we'll feel until the next morning.

I scramble around the house feeding tiny mouths and dressing tiny humans and sometimes that quick late-morning phone call just to say "hello," can be the difference between a good day and a bad day.

Our love is little right now but it's not weak.

Our love is in those moments where we dance around the kitchen and sway our hips back and forth. It's that love note left in your lunchbox and it's that short back rub in bed before we fall asleep.

Our love is little right now, but it's oftentimes the little things that are actually the big things in life. It is never being too old to hold hands. It is never going to sleep angry. It is standing together and facing the world. It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.

And I know that loving me must feel like a marathon at times. As a woman who struggles with mild depression and anxiety, my highs and lows can be unpredictable and my temper difficult.

I imagine you feel taxed and heavy sometimes. I know I require a lot and I know that isn't always easy. But it's that hug you give me, feeling your strong embrace after a long day that restores me. You are my harbor, the port in the storm, for even my worst temperament. The way you love me—just as I am—makes me believe that I have the greatest treasure of all.

Our love is little right now, and on the surface, it may look ordinary to others. But it's anything but. It's well-worn, but not worn-out. It's idle, but not insignificant. We're learning how to balance our relationship, our personal independence, and our children—every single day.

We're learning from the trenches the true meaning of give and take, of what it means to parent young children together. Like what kind of morals and values we want to instill in them, what kind of family we want to raise.

Our love may be little right now, but it actually is big. Huge. It's creating humans together big, it's running a home and schedule together big, it's finding time for romance whenever we can big, it's raising a family together big, it's pushing through the hard times big.

It's figuring all of this out together BIG.

Marriage can be hard and marriage with children can be even harder. Our love looks different than it once did—but we're thriving in big ways and little ways—together, every day.

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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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