Exhausting.  Exhilarating. Frustrating.  Fulfilling.  Hard. Awesome. I could go on and on, but in short, motherhood is challenging.  Challenges are how we grow and push ourselves to be better people, so motherhood is challenging in the best possible way.

I am almost 2 years into this whole motherhood thing.  I barely remember what life was like before. I think there might have been more sleep,  I have a vague memory of not being so tired all the time.  I know there was more time to myself, I went to the bathroom alone, watched whatever TV I wanted whenever I wanted, went to happy hour, and had leisurely Sunday mornings. Oh, and my home was clean!  Now, I rarely get a moment to myself, and when I do I don’t know what to do with it and by the time I figure it out I’ve lost the moment.  I have a regular bathroom audience, we talk a lot about the potty and toilet paper, and I’ll stop there for everyone’s sake.  I monitor when the TV is on, and for how long, and dear lord Netflix please add some new Sesame Street episodes! (On a side note, Netflix’s Puffin Rock is somewhat soothing in the background.)  Sundays, really everyday, start super early feeling like a sprint race I haven’t trained for.  And just don’t look at the floor, or the couch or the counter, basically just close your eyes when you come in my home.

To say motherhood isn’t easy is an understatement.  It is hard work requiring a lot of self sacrifice.  It is not a job to be undertaken lightly.  There really is no way to actually prepare for the changes to your life that it will bring.

But when I look at my life today I see so many more wonderful things in it than there were two years ago.  Instead of lying in my bed reading my own book, I’m squeezing into my daughter’s toddler bed reading “In the Night Kitchen.”  I’m watching her grow and learn at an amazing rate, and all of that potty talk is leading to a big milestone.  I see her dance to music and watch her light up when we let her watch a favorite show, and feel the love when she wants me to sit with her and share it.  And those early mornings, now they start with a little face next my bed and a little voice saying “mommy” as her little hands are clutching her lovey and blankie.  My weekend mornings no longer involve lounging on the couch, but they have coloring, and music, and walks to the park and playground.

My life is unrecognizable.  It’s full of big brown eyes staring at me with all the trust in the world, sticky hands pulling mine to follow, and soft curls bouncing down the hallway.  Just as there is no way to prepare for the changes motherhood will bring, there is no way to prepare for the enormous amount of love you will feel.  It’s such an intense amount of love that it can literally hurt and make you feel as if your heart will burst if you don’t grab this little person and hug and kiss her right now.

Becoming a mother has fundamentally changed who I am.  There’s no use in even trying to pretend that I’m the same as I was before.  This may not be true for all moms, but it’s true for me.  My little girl has shown me a new side of myself.  Because of her I have discovered new interests and passions I am pursuing.  I have also rediscovered old passions and interests I had let slide (I’m a sewing queen lately!).

Motherhood has helped me reconnect with my own mother in new ways.  Our relationship has grown in new and exciting ways as we now have some shared experiences to laugh about.  It has also shown me my husband in a new and beautiful light.  There is no better way to fall in love with someone all over again, and yet for the first time too in a way, than to see that person become a parent to the child you brought into your family together.

Motherhood is many things.  There is no single word that can fully capture all of difficulties and all of the awesomeness that it is.  So I guess I’ll just stop trying to describe motherhood, instead I will describe myself.  I am a mother, and I love it.