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After 21 years of motherhood, here's what I know

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Some would think that I have a lot of experience as a mother.
I’ve birthed 4 babies.
I’ve had triplets.
I’ve had a chronically ill child.
I’ve lost a child.
I’ve adopted.
I’ve been a foster mom.

I’ve pretty much done it all . . . experiencing every joy, every heartache, every failure and every success of motherhood.

I’ve had good days and bad days.

I’ve fumbled through some days . . . with kids fighting, a messy house, burning dinner and feeling like I’ve done everything wrong.

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And I’ve had Super Mom days where the house is clean, the kids behave and I’ve felt like I’ve done everything right.

I’ve laughed so hard in the fun times, making great memories. And I’ve cried so often . . . in the car, in the shower, in the closet - worried and scared and heartbroken.

I have yelled and nagged on my worst days. And encouraged, praised and listened on my best days.

I have failed so many times. And stayed up late worrying about my kids. Wondering if I am doing anything right as a mom?

And after being a mother for 21 years, here’s what I know . . .

Absolutely nothing.

I am still learning every day how to mother these children of mine that are so very different. What works for one child does not always work for another.

I’m still making mistakes. I still fail daily.

I still have no idea what I am doing. I’m still winging it, stumbling through each day on love and a prayer.

But there are a few things, I’ve come to realize over the years during this motherhood journey. Things I have finally figured out. Things I know now, that I didn’t know then . . .

I do know that love matters. It is the most important job of a mom . . . to love your kids. Fiercely. Boldly & Unconditionally. Always and forever. No matter what. Just as they are.

I do know we need to cling to our faith. We need to pray without ceasing. Cry out to God on those hard days. Pray for grace and forgiveness. Pray your kids are happy and safe. Pray away all of the worries and fears . . . for you are never alone. God is always right there, holding you through it all.

I do know we need to keep trying. Keep showing up for our kids. Keep believing in them. Keep hugging them. Keep telling them you are proud of them.

I do know motherhood is always hard . . . it is overwhelming, stressful, lonely, challenging, chaotic, consuming, exhausting and heartbreaking at times. It takes a lot of grit. You will always have struggles, bad days and worries in every stage, at every age. But motherhood is also beautiful, hopeful, fun, joyous, fulfilling, magical, amazing and rewarding. And you will have days when your heart swells with so much pride for these amazing kids who call you mom. Motherhood . . . it is never an easy job, but it is always worth it.

I do know there are no perfect mothers or perfect kids– no matter how wonderful they look on social media.

I do know we need less judgement and more support of each other. Every child, every mother and every situation is unique. We never have a right to judge another mom, but we always have the power to help and be kind.

I do know that motherhood is bittersweet . . . the years are short. You will always wish you had more time. Our kids grow up and it makes us proud and breaks our heart all at the same time.

I do know that you will not enjoy every moment of motherhood and that’s okay. There will be tantrums and puke and messes and stresses. There will be arguments and failing grades and bad choices. But there will also be moments that will take your breath away. Moments that are so special, so joyful and so beautiful it will bring tears to your eyes. You will treasure the good days and tuck those memories away in your heart forever. And those will be the days you always remember.

I do know that motherhood never ends . . . you will always be their mom. Their home. Their safe space. Their calm. Their support. You are the one who accepts and loves them unconditionally. And this will never change – no matter how big they get or how far away they move from home.

And I do know . . . you will survive. You are stronger than you think. There is always hope. By the grace of God, you will make it through. And you will be a better person because of it. You will be the best version of YOU because of the love you have for your kids.

And every day, I know that I am overwhelmingly grateful for this gift of motherhood. It is beautiful and messy, but always the greatest honor to raise our sweet babies. These children are our heart. They are extraordinary. They are priceless. They are ours. They are worth it. And I fall to my knees and thank God every day for trusting me with these beautiful lives and giving me the blessing of watching them grow. How truly amazing it is . . . to be a Mom!

Heather Duckworth Love, Faith & Chaos

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