Mama, it doesn’t get better than this

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mom with baby daughter in her arms

When motherhood was hard, I would mentally escape. For years, when tantrums overtook my afternoon, I’d count the hours until bedtime.

I’d spend mornings plotting what I’d do if I could just have my freedom back for a few days.

I spent weeks imagining that life would get lighter, less burdensome—someday, somehow.

I spent weekends wishing that my husband wouldn’t have to go to work on Monday, that I wouldn’t be left alone to do the hard work of taking care of all the things, all the time.

I ached for a better time, a future time, because it all felt like too much.

And then one day, I stopped.

I was holding my third baby in my arms and scrolling on my phone while nursing. We spent many hours that way. She trying to feed and me pretending to be anywhere but there.

Finally, finally, finally—after years of wishing my house could be cleaner, my kids could sleep later, my workload could get easier, my bank account could be heftier, or that my belly could be flatter—these true words etched themselves in my brain as I breastfed my third baby: “THIS. This here right now. It doesn’t get better than this.”

Suddenly I knew that there was nothing on my phone that was more beautiful, more entertaining, or more miraculous than the little person laying on my lap.

So I stopped all the future-dreaming and decided to stop wishing my babies’ childhoods away.

Because I have three beautiful babies. And though the struggle is real, every single day, it’s also such a beautiful gift—once I chose to see it that way. (It’s all about perspective, isn’t it?)

When I’m awoken at 3 a.m. by the cries of “MAMA!” because my little girl had a bad dream and the only thing that can make her feel better is being embraced in my arms, it can be exhausting. And when that little miss pops back up at 6 a.m. ready to go for the day, I’m aching to stay in bed.

But getting to comfort and guide her is the privilege of motherhood and I feel so grateful every single day that she’s mine. Even at 3 a.m., it doesn’t get better than this.

When my son is throwing a fit because I put his socks on “wrong,” or freaks out after I put away his empty breakfast bowl, or refuses to sit in the right car seat, I’ll be honest, it can be really annoying.

But now I also know that these moments of struggle are my chance to help him learn emotional regulation, to experience the security of boundaries, and to know he is loved no matter what. It doesn’t get better than this.

When we are paying to repair the fence that broke in the snowstorm, and fix the drafty door frame, and replace the lightbulbs that have gone out again, it can feel like adulthood is nothing but a bunch of bills to pay.

But now I also know that being able to to create a safe and secure home for my children is a gift. For these solid walls, warm beds, and bright lights, I am grateful. It doesn’t get better than this.

Feeding my kids can feel like a never-ending chore. It feels like as soon as I finished a breastfeeding session for my baby, a new one needs to begin. The moment I finished cleaning up breakfast, it was time to make lunch. And don’t get me started on the picky eating.

But having enough food to eat is a privilege and I have learned to not see mealtime as a battle, but instead as a classroom for modeling, exploration and empathy. Feeding my kids is not longer a chore. It doesn’t get better than this.

The pick up/drop off shuttle. I hear it just goes on for. ever. (Like, decades). And every day, by the time I’ve rearranged my kids’ car seats, buckled them in, and convinced everyone to please stop crying, it feels like we’re always running late—wherever we’re heading.

But when we arrive somewhere safely, or when another school day ends with my babies buckled back in with me, heading back home, my heart is full. It doesn’t get better than this.

Not a single day is perfect. It will never be. So I’m soaking it up. I’m breathing them in. I’m embracing the heartache and the struggle (and the snuggle). These are the days I’ll hold on to. These are the days, decades from now, that I’ll remember. These are the days I no longer want to wish away. These are the days, mama.

It doesn’t get better than this.

Liz is an award-winning journalist and editor, and the co-founder of Motherly. A former Washington Post editor, she thrives on all things digital community + social media strategy. Liz resides outside NYC with her husband, two sons, one daughter and one amazing au pair.



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