I see that declaration, or others like it, a LOT on the blogosphere. There's a movement against "belittling" our Selves as mothers by allowing our children, or our having them, to define us. There's a movement against that movement, arguing that being a mother is the greatest honor in the world, and there's nothing wrong with considering your greatest role to be, well, your Greatest Role.
"OWN IT!" they say.
"Be MORE!" the others say.
"Whatever," I say. (That's pretty much always what I say.)
Does motherhood define ME? No. Well, yes. Kind of. (Maybe?)
Here's the thing. My kid is turning seven today. SEVEN. Holy buckets of dinosaur tears. If I've learned anything about birthdays in the last seven years it's that yours is not about you. It's about your mother. You get all the presents, you get to pick the restaurant, you get to have your way in all the sibling battles, and you get first dibs on the cup with the straw lid because the cup with the straw lid is EVERYTHING. But your mom? Your mom gets alllllllllll the feels. Your birthday MATTERS to your mom. When you wake up the next morning, your life will go on just the same. But your mom, she'll feel different. She might even be different. Her baby is older. And her baby is a big, BIG part of who she is.
Does motherhood define me? I don't know. "Ali Fallis" is not in the dictionary, you guys. I've looked. I don't know what defines me. But I'll tell you what I do know. Giving birth to this kid seven years ago changed everything about me. EVERYTHING. Not every change happened right away, but somewhere along this road called motherhood, I became a completely different person. I look back on memories before he was born and the differences in my heart and mind are GLARINGLY obvious. I see the entire world differently now. Every person, every interaction, every good and evil thing. I believe in a completely different God than I (sort of) believed in before. I carry with me completely new convictions, a completely new set of standards for myself and for the world.
I am more than "just" a mother. I am a wife, daughter, sister, friend, neighbor, doula, writer, singer, teacher, cook, camper, traveller, volunteer, sweaty gym rat, craft beer connoisseur (yep, I eat gluten-free but don't drink that way - judge away!), and I even have backyard chickens.
And I do all of those things - every single one of them - differently as a mother. BETTER. Not better than you, not better than someone else who is or isn't also a mother, but better than I did them before. Being a mother has changed who I am down to the very core, and I am grateful.
So. Does that mean motherhood defines me?
I am who I am and my baby is seven. SEVEN. And he thinks it is ALL about him!
And you know? It really is.
My dearest doula babies of 2015, a word to you, about your mothers:
This year, I met each of your mothers, with tiny little Yous inside their wombs. I got to know them throughout their pregnancies, and they were wonderful just the way they were. I really, really liked those women. Turns out, though, that there was even more to each of them than I ever could have guessed.
Babies, your moms are (and this may be a word you haven't heard yet, so... forgive me) completely BADASS. On your birthdays, things got real. Each of them, at some point, was scared. Like really, really, REALLY scared. Having a baby is a pretty big deal; did you know? They loved you with their whole hearts before they even met you, and a love that big makes everything just a little bit scary. But they overcame.
None of your births were the same. The fourteen days that I spent with each of your moms were as special, unique, and beautifully individual as the fourteen of you. Eleven of you were born vaginally (four after previous cesarean!), three of you by cesarean section. Thirteen of you were born in hospitals, one in a birthing center. Seven boys, seven girls. Seven of your moms birthed without any pain medication. Seven of your moms chose epidurals, or other tools, to help them get their job done. Every journey took twists and turns, and every mom had to make choices. BIG choices. And they made them, sweet babies, with courage, and with conviction, and with YOU and your safety in mind. They were for you every step of the way. They were so, so very brave, and at some point, every one of them started to feel... different. They knew something was changing; they were becoming something new. They were becoming mothers.
I liked your moms before, but oh man, are they ever amazing now!
Nora, your mom is so brave, and so strong. There is NO BETTER mom for you.
Reese, your mom is so brave, and so strong. There is NO BETTER mom for you.
Karsyn, your mom is so brave, and so strong. There is NO BETTER mom for you.
Lucas, your mom is so brave, and so strong. There is NO BETTER mom for you.
Lucy, your mom is so brave, and so strong. There is NO BETTER mom for you.
Declynn, your mom is so brave, and so strong. There is NO BETTER mom for you.
Nora, your mom is so brave, and so strong. There is NO BETTER mom for you.
Calvin, your mom is so brave, and so strong. There is NO BETTER mom for you.
Kane, your mom is so brave, and so strong. There is NO BETTER mom for you.
Gwyneth, your mom is so brave, and so strong. There is NO BETTER mom for you.
Leo, your mom is so brave, and so strong. There is NO BETTER mom for you.
Ethan, your mom is so brave, and so strong. There is NO BETTER mom for you.
Augustus, your mom is so brave, and so strong. There is NO BETTER mom for you.
Norah, your mom is so brave, and so strong. There is NO BETTER mom for you.
Life's Light babies of 2015: You, your moms, and your precious families have touched my heart so deeply. Thank you for trusting me, for inspiring me, for adding light to my life. YOU are why I doula.
Know what delights the heck out of me? Surprising people. As a doula, this is something I do a LOT.
When asked about "what I do," I've learned how to phrase my response to either eliminate or elevate the shock-value, depending on the audience. Sometimes freaking people out is fun. Mostly though, against all my sarcastic insticts, I try to stick to gentle, truthful, educational answers about doulas.
Here's the REAL, surprising truth:
Doulas are not just for hippies.
Let me elaborate, so that all you "mainstreamers" might actually believe me. This isn't a marketing trick. I'm not trying to pull you in, sign you up, and then turn you to THE CRUNCHY SIDE. As a doula, I have one goal, and one goal only:
I have no agenda for you. As a doula, I am not "crunchy." I am not soggy, or chewy, or whatever other food-based adjective mothers have come up with to label and divide themselves. And I don't care what YOU are, either.
Sure, I'll support the mom you're picturing when you hear the word "doula" - the one who makes her own kombucha, sells amber necklaces, never turns off her diffuser, and wants to birth her baby in a tub of water on the sunporch. I admit it! Yes! I'm proud to say I'm the perfect doula for her.
I'm also the perfect doula for her SISTER. (And you know these sisters... they're total opposites!) This mom wants to birth in a hospital. Her bags are all packed, the to-do list is done, the newborn care class her nail lady recommended, complete. She might want to go med-free, but if she calls for the epidural, man, you'd better not stand in her way! And believe you me, I WON'T! I've got her back 100%. I'm her doula, and she's gonna rock it.
A doula offers SUPPORT. That is her whole, entire job. And I'm here to tell you, EVERY mom is the kind of mom who needs support. Every. Single. One.
Have you hired your doula yet?
'Twas the night before labor and all through the house,
not a creature was stirring (my husband was out).
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care.
I was "due" Christmas Day, and I'd just left them there.
The dog-child was nestled all snug in her bed,
blissfully clueless to what was ahead.
And I with my yoga pants, Pillow-Throne like a Queen,
had just settled down for night sweats and creepy dreams.
When down in the kitchen there arose such a clatter,
I waddled downstairs to see what was the matter. (And to pee.)
My husband had entered, and gave me a wink.
I gagged when he kissed me (Ugh, what was that STINK?)!
But then I felt better and asked what he ate...
and got really mad when he said it was cake.
"I LOVE CAKE!" I shouted! "Would it kill you to share?!
I'm PREGNANT, remember? As if YOU care!"
When what to my super-mad eyes should appear,
but a doggie bag! CAKE! And he brought me root beer!
"Oh babe, you're the best!" I said, starting to sob.
Then I ate up that cake like it was my job.
I knew sleep would evade me, so I got the idea
That my house should be streamlined, like the catalog from IKEA!
I mopped and I scrubbed, I moved this, I moved that,
Then I practiced (again) wearing a stuffed bear in a wrap.
I nibbled leftover Thai food, and a pineapple core.
These "natural induction" tricks were becoming a chore.
My hubby begged me, "take a break from it all!"
So I sat, sipped my root beer, and bounced on my ball.
More rapid than eagles the reflux it came,
and I belched and ate Tums and I called him by name:
"Now Ethan! Now Jacob! Don't make mommy shout!
Whatever your name is, we're DONE here! GET OUT!"
As dry heaves that follow every good cry,
my sweet husband grabbed me, wiped a tear from my eye.
"He's coming," he promised. "No one's pregnant forever!"
I knew he was right, but growled, "Never say never!"
And then, like a tinkling, I felt down below...
It's wet! It's my water! THUNDER CATS ARE GO!!!!
"Call the doula!" I shouted! "Tonight is the night!"
And he stared back at me like a deer in headlights.
I called her myself and was happy I did.
Her calm voice helped me feel much less scared, more excited!
"Could still be a while," she said. "Relax. Soak it in.
Enjoy your last moments before it begins."
So we packed up our things, got our ducks in a row,
Snuggled up on the couch to catch up on our shows.
As I sat on a towel ('cause you know, I was leaking)
I heard a soft sound, like a little mouse squeaking.
His eyes, how they twinkled! My husband was crying!
(I'd say this surprised me... But I would be lying.)
He kissed me deeply (NOW he's ready for action?!?)
Hellooooooo oxytocin! Now THAT'S a contraction!
A squeeze of my hand and a kiss on my head,
soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
I spoke not a word, fixed my make-up and hair
(Gotta prep for the pictures now, while I still care!)
Then just for a moment, with tears in my eyes,
I looked in the mirror and felt a surprise.
I was happy, SO happy, to be here at the beginning.
My heart was so full and my mind was just spinning.
I looked at myself and said "YES. Finally."
To my big belly, "THANK YOU, for coming to me!"
I knew it would get harder, and crazier yet,
so I wanted to say it before I'd forget.
"It's been worth it, SO worth it, to change our family."
Happy New Year to all! Happy "FINALLY!" to ME!
To every mother birthing this holiday season (or anytime, ever. to all of you.) ~
A Merry, Peaceful, Joyous "FINALLY!" to YOU.
Ali Fallis, Kansas City Birth Doula
So I did something pretty cool this weekend: I hosted my first "Mother Blessing" ceremony. They go by many names, these ceremonies, but that's what we chose to call ours. It was just a short and sweet little ceremony, tacked onto the end of this mom's baby shower. After all the "regular" baby shower stuff was done, I asked the guests to come outside and make a circle. Pretty much everyone was confused, so I gave a little shpeal that went something like this:
I'm sure you've all heard the phrase, "It takes a village to raise a child," and I know you all must agree with that, as you've joined together today to celebrate and help provide for this new baby! Another saying you might have heard is, "When a child is born, so also is the mother. The woman exisited before, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new." And so I ask you: If a mother is just as new as her baby... Where is her village?
It's here. WE are this new mother's village, and we are here today to celebrate, honor and support her, as she prepares for the greatest journey of her life.
Then I went on to talk a little bit more about the logistics of the ceremony, and what exactly we'd be doing. One thing that kept coming up as I researched Mother Blessing Cermonies was to have each of the participants wash the mother's feet. I absolutely LOVE the symbolism of washing feet, but the idea just didn't sit right with me for this particular ceremony. Feet don't represent much to me when I think of my life as a mother. As mother's we use our hands. And so, I decided we should wash this mother's hands instead.
First, I read this aloud*:
[Mother's name]: sister, daughter, friend,
You are about to give birth not only to your baby but to an absolutely new part of yourself: mother.
We extend our hands out to you, as strong, loving, patient and wise women,
to hold you and to bless you as you become a mother.
As a mother, your hands will never stop serving.
They will cook, and clean, and turn pages in a thousand story books.
They’ll tie shoes and hold handle bars, wipe bottoms and noses and bloody knees.
They’ll give high-fives and rub in sunscreen and fight a thousand thumb wars.
They will clap at pee-wee basketball games and in rhythm with the Wiggles.
Your hands will be twinkling stars and itsy bitsy spiders, and the safe place to spit out the yucky bites.
More than any of that, your hands will provide comfort.
They will rock, rub, soothe, and magically heal.
They will tickle, and hug, and dry tears.
Your hands will be the hands to hold in the grocery store check-out, at the top of the slide, and on the
first day of school.
Your hands will be busy, and tired, and worn…and always sticky.
We wash your hands now in honor of them, as they take on a whole new purpose in your life.
In doing so, we, your village, offer our hands to both you and your baby.
May you feel held and supported by them as you labor to bring your baby into the world.
May you reach out for them in those first, hard, beautiful weeks of motherhood.
May you hold them in love and friendship and joy as we continue to walk this journey of life as women, and mothers, together.
*I wrote most of this reading myself. I did take a few lines from another mother's poem, which I found on a site that was written to help people plan these ceremonies. Since that was its purpose, I hope it's ok that I'm using them. Of course I can't find that same site again, or I'd link it here. If you recognize these words, please send me the link so I can give credit where it's due!
Each mother then took a turn dipping the mother's hands in a basin of water. As they did so, they each recited one line, cleansing the mother of something negative, and offering something positive in its place. For example:
"I wash away fear, and offer you strength."
"I wash away worry, and offer you peace."
"I wash away darkness, and offer you light."
Finally, when mother's hands were "clean" and her village's eyes were wet, we joined each of our hands together with hers, creating a Chain of Support with a spool of thread.
As the thread came to each woman, she said aloud her own name, and the names of the mothers whose strength and wisdom she carries with her. When it was my turn, I said, "I am Ali: mother of [my kids], daughter of Julie, grandaughter of Irene and Betty." As the thread made its way around the circle, the Chain of mothers who've gone before this one grew longer and longer. Her own mother, who has gone on to a life even more abundant than this, was represented in the chain by the color of the thread: yellow, like a sunflower.
When the circle was complete, I cut the thread so that each member of this mom's village may keep a piece of the Chain around her wrist, until the baby arrives safely earthside. Each time we look at it, we will think of her, and send all our love, prayers, wisdom and support her way.
What a truly special event this was for me, as a woman, mother, doula, friend and aunt. (Yep, that baby in-da-belly is my little neice or nephew!)
Congratulations to you ~ beautiful, wonderful, wise and blessed mama, and welcome to your brand new adventure of Self: Motherhood.
As we, your village, agreed in closing prayer,
"May you find everything in your heart,
and your heart,
What makes a good mom-friend? A whole lot of the same stuff that makes a good doula.
It's the ability and willingness to be REAL.
This job is hard, man. And with all that "Mommy Wars" crap that's going on out there nowadays, well, moms are making it even harder - on themselves, and on each other.
I've found that the friends I hold most dear in this stage of my life - the messy, loud, bodily fluid filled stage - are the ones who don't make me feel crazy or unorganized or less than. They make me feel understood and normal and REAL, because wouldn't you know it- their lives are messy and loud too! And the best part? They don't even try to hide it. Which means I don't have to either!
Sometimes I send pictures to them that look like this:
And they send one right back that looks like this:
And sometimes, that simple, "You and me both, sister." is all it takes for me to feel like I'm doing alright. Because my friend? She's AMAZING. If her house looks like mine, if her kid throws fits too, if she sometimes burns the crap out of her family's dinner and lets the laundry pile up until she simply cannot wear her jeans ONE more time... If she can do all those things and still be AMAZING, then maybe I can too. Maybe I'm not so bad at this, afterall. Maybe, I'm just REAL.
So here's what I propose. Let's stop the charade, ladies. I don't want to play "100 Days of Happy" or "100 Days of Bliss" because frankly, though every day with my babies has happy moments (for sure!), there's a whole lot of other "stuff" that goes on behind the scenes. I want to share my happy moments and I want to see yours too, but I also want every mom to know that it's ok if on day 27, all you have to take a picture of is the trail of muddy footprints on your carpet. Some days are like that.
(Even in Australia.)
Follow me on instagram @LifesLightDoulaAli, or on Facebook, and please join me as I celebrate #100DaysofBeingReal.
You are AMAZING, mamas. Even with a sink full of dishes.
I'm often asked how I came to the name "Life's Light" for my doula work. Below, I have copied the words -- which I wrote while pregnant with my daughter -- that inspired this name. Thoughts on miscarriage, healing, and that dreaded "Can I love another baby?" feeling are included. This is personal, emotional stuff. You have been warned.
I cannot even begin to describe how dearly loved and wanted this baby is. It was a long hard year that led to her conception. Most of you know, as we have chosen to be open about our journey, that we lost two babies along the way. When we finally decided we were ready to try again, I was terrified. The thought of losing another child was unbearable. But the drive to fill the void in our home was stronger. Something was missing. We needed to complete our family.
So we pressed on. Months passed, and I became discouraged. What if the "something" that caused me to lose our two angels, was now keeping me from carrying another? My faith was tested. My hope was fading fast.
And then it happened.
We couldn't believe it at first. We were too jaded. Too afraid. But then, the numbers looked good. And a few days later, even better. Then there was a gestational sac. A fetal pole. A visible, flickering heartbeat. Maybe, this time, there was hope.
The next few weeks passed in a blur of tears. Tears of joy, of hope, of heartache and fear. One long month later, it was finally time to pull out the doppler. I held my breath, and closed my eyes. Then I heard it. That tiny heart was still beating!
And it still beats today. Now four and a half months along, I have been feeling movement from the life inside me for few weeks. We've seen her beating heart, her breathing lungs, her tiny hands and feet through ultrasound; we've confirmed she is a girl. I'm not sure exactly which milestone did it for me, but I believe it now. She's coming. We're really having another baby.
My heart is filled with so much joy, I think it could burst! And yet, now that I have accepted this news as reality, I am consumed by a whole new set of fears. Am I really ready for this? Is our son? How will I split my time and attention evenly between my two children? What if I can't? Will he resent his baby sister? Will he resent me? Life as he knows it will soon be over. I know it is for the best - that a sibling can be one of the best gifts a parent can give to a child - but will he see it that way? And scariest of all... is there really enough love to go around? I know I love this baby now, and my love for her will only grow. But will it be enough? Can I ever really love another child the way I love my precious boy?
And the tears begin to fall... again.
"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine..."
That's my son. That's our song. I sang it to him when I was pregnant. I would sit in the rocking chair in his nursery, rubbing my belly, dreaming of the baby that was to be. And I'd sing. "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine..." After he was born, it soothed him. When he cried, I'd sing our song and it soothed us both. We'd lock eyes, breathe deep, and all other sounds would cease to exist. "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine..." He lit up my world. He lights it every day. "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine..."
Last Wednesday, as I lay in bed, I thought about My Sunshine. My son. I thought about my new baby girl, who we had just seen that afternoon on ultrasound. I loved her so much. But it didn't feel like enough. I didn't know how to let another sunshine into my heart. In what world can there be two suns?? It just didn't make sense. I couldn't do it. I laid there, and I tried. I tried with all my might, but I just couldn't love her the way I love my son. It just wasn't the same. It isn't the same. My love for her, and my love for him, will never be the same.
Because she isn't my sunshine. She's my moonlight.
She's the light in my darkness. The hope in my night. She came to me when I thought I couldn't carry on any longer. When I'd lost my way, her light shone bright. She saved me. She's not my sunshine; no. But that's ok. She is still the light of my life. And so is he. He is my sunshine, and she is my moonlight. I love them differently, but I need them the same. There will be challenges, yes. I will make mistakes, I am sure. But what I know now is that I can do it. I can love them both, as much as they need. And probably more.
Yes, there is room enough in my world - and in my heart - for both the sun and the moon.
You light my world, little babies. You are my life's light.
In my last post, I discussed WHY you need a Birth Plan, no matter what "kind" of mama you are. Hopefully, that second ever doula-blog post of mine was so profound, it changed your mind completely about the idea! :P Now you're thinking (in addition to, "Wow, doulas rock! This is my favorite blog of all time!"), "Alright, fine, I need a Birth Plan. But what do I even put on it? What should it look like??" Lucky for you, here comes Part Two.
First of all, remember what we decided last time. This is not - dun dun dunnnnn - THE. PLAN. This is simply,
"The Official List of Thoughtfully Considered Birth Preferences for a Mother and Partner Who Want Nothing but the Best for Their Baby."
We're not on a power trip here. This is simply about doing your research and making your own choices.
Now, there is no right or wrong way to format your "Official List of Thoughtfully Considered Birth Preferences for a Mother and Partner Who Want Nothing but the Best for Their Baby." Bullet points and short, direct statements are usually easiest for hospital staff to follow. If you prefer to write in paragraph form that is fine, but be sure to underline or bold the really important terms. Your doctor may read the whole thing ahead of time, but hospital staff will likely just skim it if they find it too wordy.
Now you think, "Easy enough. Now what do I put on the thing?"
This again is up to you, with no right or wrong answer. You can be as specific as you like, or include only the top five or ten things that are REALLY important to you. Below is a list of suggested topics. It is not necessary to include all of these things if they are simply not important to you, or if you would prefer to strictly follow your doctor’s advice on certain things, and therefore feel no need to specify a preference. I encourage you as you create your Birth Plan, to find research regarding evidence based practice in each of these areas, cast others’ opinions aside, and make these decisions based solely on what feels right for your baby’s birth.
Common Categories for Written Birth Plans
Main Goals/Areas of Importance
Preferences for Baby
Again, this list is just intended to get your wheels turning and get your Birth Plan started. As you begin to research some of the birthing options listed here, you will likely find many more things that you would like to include. I would encourage you to do so. Each of us is unique as a woman and mother. Our babies are each unique and wonderful, and no two births are the same. Having a Birth Plan does not mean that your labor will go "perfectly." In fact, I can almost guarantee that there will be a few snags. But hey, that's parenthood! For the rest of your baby's life you will be researching, questioning, unlearning and relearning everything you ever thought you knew, just so that you can do the very best thing for your very best baby.
Make a Birth Plan.
You and that baby are worth it.
Birth Plans get a bad rap, if you ask me. Many people hear the term and cringe or roll their eyes. The argument against Birth Plans isn’t a bad one, I suppose:
“Birth never goes according to plan anyway!”
I can’t say that isn’t true. Childbirth has natural patterns, certainly, but each baby born is unique and so shall be his entrance. Writing a Birth Plan shouldn’t be a mother’s way of saying,
“This IS how my birth will be!” or
“Everything MUST go this way!” or
"My birth, MY BIRTH! RARR! Stomp, stomp!!"
(Though I can't say I'd discourage any mother from RARRing or stomping as she sees fit!)
If you're not a RARRer or a stomper though, that doesn't mean that Birth Plans aren't for moms like you. Birth Plans aren't for a certain kind of mom. In fact, writing a Birth Plan isn't really for the sake of having Birth Plan at all! Rather, putting together a Birth Plan is about the process of thoughtfully considering all the “what-if”s.
Let me say that again. Writing a Birth Plan isn't about having a Birth Plan. It's about the process. The thinking. The thinking ahead, thinking clearly, thinking rationally... thinking with facts at your fingertips.
There will be a lot of decisions made on the day of your baby’s birth, and for much of it, you will not be thinking as clearly as you are right now. In many ways, you will not even be the same person! Your birthing hormones will be flooding your body and your mind, and you will likely not want to be bothered with a bunch of mumbo-jumbo concerning membrane rupture, delayed cord clamping, or the risks vs. benefits of an epidural. And who could blame you? The heat of the moment is never the best time to make important decisions. So let’s get over that “oh, she’s one of those moms with a Birth Plan” mentality already and call this what it is:
"The Official List of Thoughtfully Considered Birth Preferences for a Mother and Partner Who Want Nothing but the Best for Their Baby"
Too long? Fine. We’ll work on the title.
Think about it.
[Stay tuned for "Birth Plans, Part 2: HOW?" coming soon!]
Alright, my doula sisters talked me into it. I'm taking a stab at this blogging thing. I'm a newbie, so bear (bare?) with me.
In this space I'll be writing about birth of course, and pregnancy, postpartum, parenting, playing, loving life and losing your mind... all things motherhood. Some things will be more directly related than others, but the idea is that you'll find it all relevent. Or at least enjoyable. I'll shoot for that.
So for my very first blog post, Life's Light mamas, I'm going to share something I wrote a few weeks ago, for you, on those "Bad Mom" days. It seemed well received on facebook, so hopefully you'll enjoy it here as well. From my heart to yours.
Here's what I've decided about MOTHERHOOD:
Profound, I know. There's really no other way to say it. Being a mother is the coolest, scariest, most fun and exciting, most stressful and heartbreaking, weirdest, awesomest, HARDEST thing I have ever done in my life. And though I've still got a lot of life yet to live, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that will continue to be My Truth until I take my final breath.
But here's what else I know:
My two kids are AWESOME. They're going to grow up and do great things, and all of you people reading this are lucky to have human beings like mine roaming this earth along side you. They're awesome, and I did that. I made them. Me!
There's not one tiny speck of doubt in my mind (and trust me, there's plenty of room for it); my kids are going to grow up and be absolutely INCREDIBLE people. They just are. And as their mother, I know that will be equal parts because of me, and in spite of me, and I'm ok with that. I will take that knowledge and use it to remind myself when I've had a "Bad Mom" day, that no, I'm actually not a bad mom. Because, look at them!
And so are yours.
And so are YOU.
Keep on keepin on, mamas. You are doing a GREAT job.