This week’s Mamaheart comes from Kaelah. If you’d like to take part, please drop me an email

What does motherhood mean to you?

Motherhood, to me, means being the one who tells your 5 year old that his shoes are on the wrong feet, the one who teaches him the importance of “yes, ma’am” and “excuse me”, and the one who screams like a wild banshee on the sidelines of his little league game. I could wax poetic about it all day long, but the truth is motherhood is simply a state of being where you can’t even remember what your life was like before your kiddo came along.

How has motherhood changed you?

I became a “mom” the day my step-son (who was 3 years old at the time) called me “mommy” for the first time. We have full custody of him and I have raised him as my own flesh and blood for the past two and a half years. But nothing could have prepared me for the emotional experience I had when he said that word (and then kept saying it… My heart!) Before he came to live with us I feared that I was too emotionally immature and selfish to put another (tiny!) human before myself. I worried that I’d resent the feeling of independence that I had lost, and that I’d be totally unable to cope with the changes considering I had zero time to prepare. At least with a biological child you get roughly 9 months of preparation… We had 24 hours to prepare for a toddler. But something happened… All of a sudden I was more worried about his runny nose and scraped knee than I was meeting my friends for mimosas at brunch. Rather than pine for the last minute road trips we’d take, I looked forward to the family vacations and trips to the zoo. Now that my husband and I are expecting our first biological child together, I’m not nearly as nervous as I was when we brought Toby home. I know that it’ll just come naturally. Toby will be the very best big brother. He has taught me that blood certainly doesn’t make you family. He’s my little prince for sure.

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What is the hardest part of being a mama?

If we’re talking about the “internal” process of being a mom, I’d say it’s finding a balance between structure and patience. Sometimes mom-guilt creeps up on me at night when I’m laying in bed and I think “I shouldn’t have raised my voice” or “He wasn’t hurting anyone by stomping in those mud puddles!” Sometimes I forget that Toby is just a little boy… I look at him and see how much he’s grown in the past 2+ years and it feels like he’s a little man already. It’s tough trying to navigate the roads of motherhood and childhood, that’s for sure.

What is the biggest joy that your children have given you?

The little things that Toby will say are what makes me fall in love with him more and more each day. When he was 3 he told me that I looked “like a princess in your pretty dress, mommy!” – Just out of the blue! On a random, totally not special day. And that meant everything to me. Now he’ll randomly come up to me and give me a hug for no reason and say “I love you, Mom” and my heart melts into a giant puddle. And my favorite – Just the past week or so he’s been “talking” to his little brother (currently in the womb! haha) and he makes sure to tell the baby goodnight and goodbye every time he goes to bed or leaves for school in the morning. It’s simple things like that that really bring the process full circle.

And this little bean I’m currently carrying around – His little kicks when I go to bed at night are everything! No matter what I’m doing when he starts tumbling around, I have to stop and just take in the moment. Pregnancy is such a special and crazy experience. I had no idea what to expect. Now I’m relishing in every single moment because I know it’s fleeting. I want to cherish every moment that I have with this little guy before he comes into the world and then I have to share him! Maybe it’s selfish, but I love having him all to myself for these last few months.


What one piece of advice would you give a first time mama?

I feel like that’s such a hard question to answer. Being a mom is such a relative/subjective experience. There are so many kinds! Step moms, adopted moms, biological moms, hands on moms, from-a-distance moms, etc. I think that no matter what kind of mom you are (or want to be), the important thing to remember is to be gentle with yourself. Motherhood is not something to compete over. It’s not a race or a community challenge. And it’s certainly not a “sport” where anyone is perfect. Mom guilt is a real, tangible emotion and it’s so easy to beat ourselves up for our assumed shortcomings. The world will continue to spin if we raise our voice one too many times, or if our kids eat a PB&J for dinner one night. Kids are resilient creatures on a pretty epic journey, and all we can do is be there for them along the way.

29 thoughts on “Mamaheart

  1. My husband would definitely agree with you – he is 100% Dad to my eldest, although he’s my son, not biologically his. Your little boy looks and sounds gorgeous, I bet he is so excited about becoming a big brother!

  2. A beautiful post and one to show every mum who ever doubts herself as a mother that we come in all shapes and sizes, with different experience and parenting skills. Ultimately I think if you have the needs of a child at the front of your mind, over your own needs, then you are well on your way to being a successful parent!

  3. The only creature I’m a momma to right now are furbabies, but I couldn’t agree more with the fact that family isn’t always by blood.

    One of my best blogging friends is a technically a step-mom, but I swear she is one of the best moms ever to those kiddos! Her love for them (and her worry about making the right decisions for them) is more than some biological mothers do for their own. It’s about the heart, not the DNA.

  4. Totally agree that we should be gentle to ourselves but also to other Mums. Everyone is different and everyone parents differently, which is why the world is such a wonderful place.

  5. aw fabulous post , I am a mum to 7 and although four are not my own , they actually live with me full time and i have brught them up, its not blood that makes a family its the heart x

  6. My eldest son is from a previous relationship and I can’t believe how lucky he is to have his 2 dads. My husband has never treated him any other way than as one of his sons and I adore him for it.
    I’m step mum to 6 adult children so it’s a bit different for me (I’m not much older than the eldest son!) but I love them all and don’t mind at all being grandma at the ripe old age of 37!
    I have to say, I love this part the most out of the whole article….’the important thing to remember is to be gentle with yourself. Motherhood is not something to compete over. It’s not a race or a community challenge. And it’s certainly not a “sport” where anyone is perfect’
    Good luck with the birth :) xx

  7. What a lovely piece of advice that last one is; to be gentle with ourselves! I’m certainly guilty of beating myself up / over analysing things that don’t really matter!

  8. What a great post, I can really relate with trying to find the balance between patience and structure. so many times I think back and say I shouldn’t have done that. x

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