Mom life. It’s beautiful and stressful and chaotic and adventurous. With the stress, though, comes the nagging questions.
“What will my children be like? When will I get to meet them? Will they be ready to meet me too? Will they know how much I’ve longed for them? Is motherhood really in the cards for me?”
I still remember losing sleep over these aching questions in my heart as I lay in bed through the quiet hours of the night several years back. That was long before a tiny toddler lay beside me, snuggled up close and safe. Before I entered into this new life where, “mom” would become my new identity. Before I entered into this new life, painted by days that would appear dull to some when, in reality, they would end up being precisely the life I’ve always dreamed of.
The Early Years
I spent most of my twenties doing things on my own agenda: chasing dreams like building my once-budding teaching career, moving a thousand miles away (and back again, multiple times), and traveling to make memories with friends wherever, whenever. I loved those adventure-filled years and am forever grateful for them . . . but I always dreamed of more.
And now, at the still-young but more-experienced age of 31, I’m living the life I once dreamed of, longed for, and prayed for. Mom life. Twenty-four-seven, 365 days a year, my family-is-my-life mom life. Sure, it might look dull to some, but to me? It’s the life I’ve always dreamed of. Yes, it might look boring or even unimportant to people looking in from outside my family’s chaotic little abode. But I assure you, there’s so much more to the simple, everyday moments of this mom life than could ever meet the outsider’s eye.
These Mom Life Moments are the Ones I’ve Always Dreamed Of
If you were to click on my Instagram story in the evenings (posted after bedtime, of course), you might be greeted by a grinning toddler covered in a mashup of macaroni and cheese, blueberries, and whatever leftover protein found its way onto her hot pink suction plate for the evening.
These days, you won’t see me out at a fancy restaurant, dressed to the nines for date night with my husband, or sipping exquisite cocktails over off-the-clock conversation with friends. You’ll find me at the kitchen table, squealing with excitement as my 16-month-old figures out how to use her toddler spoon all on her own. Beaming with joy as that toddler spoon is swapped for clapping tiny hands and baby tooth grins, proudly declaring, “mmm” again and again.
You’ll find me gazing at my growing girl in awe, wondering how we went from seven tiny pounds to 20-something in just over a year. Wondering how we went from nursing and bottles to cups with straws and eager demands of “more, more, more” of the food off my plate. You’ll find me thanking God for the ability to provide for and nourish a tiny human, yielding not just happy bellies and messy, food-splattered floors but so much more. A happy child, giggling from ear to ear as she tosses our family dog another half-eaten piece of bread.
This is my new definition of “happy hour,” and I wouldn’t trade it for the fanciest mixed drink in the world. These moments might look dull to some, but to me, they are everything. This is the life I’ve always dreamed of.
Happiness is in the Little Moments
After the kitchen floor is swept clean and the high chair is wiped, you’ll find me hurrying to pick up one pile of toys before the next is dispersed. You’ll find me looking around the messy living room while simultaneously ensuring my daughter doesn’t help herself back into the cereal cupboard for a game of entire-box-of-Cheerios-pickup, wondering why I spent two minutes bothering.
You’ll find me reminding myself that these are the moments I dreamed of. I then pause to live in them as I sit on the floor sprinkled with crumbs and toys in pajama pants, graciously accepting every big hug and tiny kiss my loving toddler has to offer. And you’ll find me dancing the night away (or at least the next half hour of it, because, well, that 7:oo pm bedtime calls and mom life doesn’t come with the ability to ignore it) to toddler tunes on repeat.
Because the truth of mom life is this: those little moments mean so much more.
What People See vs. What the Little Moments Mean to Moms
Home-cooked meals mean growing, healthy kids. Straw cups, suction plates, and toddler spoons mean learning lifelong eating habits, one simple step at a time. Cleaning up food-splattered kitchen floors means making room for more mealtimes full of memories in the making. A messy house means a family that plays together.
Cheerios scattered on the floor mean sensory fulfillment for a curious toddler. Low-key evenings in mean holding space for a child to play and explore. Sharing in big hugs and tiny kisses means a young heart that is developing with security and love that will one day be carried into the world that awaits outside of my arms. Living room dance parties mean movement and joy. Toddler tunes on repeat mean language acquisition in the most critical years for it. Bedtime by 7:00 pm means rest for growing humans and a chance for mom and child to refresh for the next day’s adventures.
And that’s only an ounce of what someone on the outside sees of the daily ins and outs of a mom life like mine versus what it actually means to a mom like me.
I Couldn’t Ask for More
There’s no doubt about it, life changes when one becomes a mom.
Priorities change. Daily to-do lists turn into never-ending household task lists. Nights out with friends are traded for morning play dates or the occasional text check-in. Dinnertime becomes defined by messy meals at the kitchen table, kids’ menu selections somewhere family-friendly, or another stop at the local ice cream shop, followed by slow neighborhood walks and bath time before winding down for another early night in.
And for some, quiet nights in – the ones spent wondering when life will become what you’ve always dreamed of – fade to a distant memory as total contentment somehow washes over every sleep-deprived, small-moment-embracing bone in your body.
My mom life might look dull to some, but it’s absolutely, positively, 100%, wholeheartedly the life I’ve always dreamed of. And you won’t ever find me taking one fleeting, simple, chaotic, blessed moment of this mom life of mine for granted.