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This mom's drawings show a real glimpse into the life of a SAHM

Becoming a mother has been life-changing. It's been hard, tiring, gratifying, beautiful, challenging, scary and a thousand other things that only a parent would ever understand.

It is these life-changing experiences that have inspired me to draw my everyday life as a stay at home mom. Whether it's the mundane tasks like doing laundry or the exciting moments of James', my baby boy's, first steps, I want to put it down on paper so that I can better cherish these fleeting moments that are often overlooked.

Being a stay-at-home-mom can be incredibly lonely. I like to think that by drawing life's simple moments, I can connect with other mothers and help them feel less alone. By doing this, I feel less alone, too. It's a win-win situation and I have been able to connect with many lovely parents and fellow parent-illustrators through my Instagram account.


1. Newborns are so tiny snuggled up in your arms, then one year later they get so long and big. And yet, they still manage to fit perfectly in your arms.

Kara Western

2. James is my constant reminder to stay present. I have a bad habit of getting caught up on my phone, wasting my time instead of doing something fulfilling. When I'm in my haze, he comes up to me with a toy, eagerly calling me to play with him.

Kara Western

3. What our weekend normally looks like (just kidding, James can't settle for longer than five seconds when we're all together in the bed).

Kara Western

4. I can't be the only 'bad' parent that doesn't watch age appropriate things with their kid. I mean he's only 18 months, he can't possibly understand what that dragon's doing, right?!

Kara Western

5. Our last visit to the pediatrician looked something like this. Actually, all of our visits to the pediatrician looks like this.

Kara Western

6. Coloring with a 2-year-old like, "Please don't touch me with that marker."

Kara Western

7. Always "helping."

Kara Western

8. James and I are learning Italian, and normally we do it during breakfast.

Kara Western

9. Peacefully sleeping with baby when suddenly... bam, rudely awakened.

Kara Western

10. When your toddler is having a really hard time sleeping due to teething, but you don't want to undo months of sleep training.

Kara Western

Originally posted on Kara's Instagram.

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    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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    As a mom of three, I frequently get a question from moms and dads of two children: “Ok, so the jump to three...how bad is it?"

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