If I had known

If I had known…

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mother-child

If I had known what sleep deprivation really felt like before I had kids…

If I had known the full measure of bodily fluids I’d have to clean up throughout my children’s childhoods…

If I had known how much the sound of “Mama? Mama? Mama?” could grate on my last nerve after hearing it for more than a decade…

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If I had known that sometimes I’d take an extra long time on the toilet, just to have a few minutes to myself…

If I had known that those few stolen toilet moments would almost always be interrupted by tiny fists knocking on the door anyway…

If I had known how often I would have to repeat the same directions and corrections over and over and over and over…

If I had known that every “expert” remedy for whining, crying, moping, disobedience, disrespect, and laziness would be completely ineffectual half the time…

If I had known that loving your children doesn’t mean liking them all the time…

If I had known that I would sometimes cry in the shower because there was no other place to vent alone…

If I had known that I’d be so “touched out” by the end of some days that the thought of getting busy with my husband would repulse me…

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If I had known that I would never be able to truly, fully concentrate on anything ever again…

If I had known that it doesn’t get easier as they get older, just hard in different ways…

If I had known I would feel terrified almost every day that I am failing at motherhood in some way…

If I had known how truly unrelenting parenting was going to be…

I would have had my children anyway.

Because if I hadn’t…

I wouldn’t know how miraculous it feels to have a human being grow from a tiny speck to an entire person inside your own body.

I wouldn’t know that the smell of a newborn’s head is the best evidence that there’s a heaven.

I wouldn’t know the magic of having a baby fall asleep in your arms and never wanting to put them down.

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I wouldn’t know the unmatchable thrill of watching your child walk, use the potty, ride a bike, or read a whole book for the first time.

I wouldn’t know how the sound of your child’s laughter can lighten even the heaviest of days.

I wouldn’t know how an innocent, wide-eyed stare can melt you right through the floor.

I wouldn’t know how awesome it is to witness the daily, gradual unfolding of a person you helped bring into the world.

I wouldn’t know the pride of seeing your children navigate difficult situations using the tools and qualities you’ve helped instill in them.

I wouldn’t know how much pure, unbridled joy there could be in seeing your children triumph.

I wouldn’t know how much unexpected, humbling grace there could be in the constant struggle of trying to be a better parent.

I wouldn’t know how the act of parenting your own kids can help heal your own childhood hurts.

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I wouldn’t know how losing myself in motherhood would result in finding a deeper, stronger, realer version of myself.

I wouldn’t know the warm, sweet fullness of being loved as only a mother can be loved.

I wouldn’t know the raw, fierce power of loving as only a mother can love.

And I wouldn’t know that the pain and pitfalls of the path are ultimately outweighed by beauty, joy, and wonder of the journey.

If I had known what motherhood really was like, I’d have done it all over again.

(I’d just have slept more when I had the chance.)

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