Image:  @jatecson

Image: @jatecson

It’s pretty hard to describe the epic and transformational love mothers feel for their children. I have a dog (his name is Miagi, FYI) and I love him more than I’ve ever loved another breathing thing. As much as I adore my fur baby, I know that when I do have a child that love will carry a weight that I’ve yet to experience. It’s that type of unconditional connection that makes mothers (my own included) more complex, a bit more nuanced, and flat-out real.

When it comes to motherhood, there really is no one size fits all mentality. Those who choose to become mothers, just like those who opt not to, are learning their strengths and weaknesses, navigating life, and just trying to figure it out on their own terms. The only difference is there’s a little person depending on them to make it in this world, and that is a key difference that makes me tip my hat to mothers everywhere.

As we ready ourselves to celebrate Mother’s Day, we thought it imperative to highlight a few women who are running households, raising kids, and chasing their dreams (in fly kicks, btw) full time. From new moms reeling from the huge shift in perspective to seasoned mommy vets with their fair share of experience, the scope of the maternal experience is impossibly vast. Even more so, as women, it’s especially important to ask these moms what their biggest challenges are. Motherhood, in all of it’s wonder and glory, isn’t a walk in the park. The moment we give women permission to be human in the midst of one of humanities realest superpowers is the moment that we, the childless included, learn from them, grow with them, and give them back a little bit of the unconditional empathy they so freely give on a daily basis.

8 amazing women from across the country (and even one in Denmark) got real about their personal experience as members of the mommy club; the good, the challenging, and the love in between.

P.S. Make sure you thank your mom.

 Photo:   @cassidyw83

Photo: @cassidyw83

The most challenging part of motherhood is finding balance to maintain one on one time with each child. They all have different personalities and like to do different things.

The most rewarding part of motherhood is having a front row seat to each child’s accomplishments. As they grow and develop, I get to learn about myself as well.
— Cassidy, Houston, TX; Mother of 3
 Image:  @carinerun

Image: @carinerun

The hardest part about motherhood for me is having to work 24/7 and being away from kids. When my older son Nathaniel was younger I was a single mom so I spent a lot of time away from him because I had to work and provide for us. Now that he’s older I can hardly get him to stay in the house to spend time with me. Haha! That brings me to another thing that’s hard for me now that Nathaniel is in his teens. Watching him make mistakes as a young adult and having to let him learn for himself without having any bias. When it comes to my little guy, Jackson, the hardest part right now is being away from him while I work and missing some magical moments as he grows up to discover himself and his own personality..

The most rewarding feeling is watching my kids smile. Having them smile knowing I’m always going to be there for them no matter what. With Nathaniel it’s the fact that he knows I’ll always have his back and be there for him when hard times come. And for Jackson, seeing my little guy learn to laugh, love, and show compassion for other people. He’s small but he’s got a huge heart at just 2.5 years old. And there’s always that feeling I get when my kids say “Mommy” or “Mom.” It’s an everlasting feeling of love and comfort when I hear it come out their mouths.
— Maria, Chicago, IL; Mother of 2 boys
 Image:  @FitXBrit

Image: @FitXBrit

This hardest part is that we have perfect pictures in our heads of how things are going to be, the ‘Mommy and Me’ classes we will attend, the potty training that will happen by 18 months, the three languages you will teach them to speak by two – you get the drift. It all sounds good, but it can really be exhausting and if you are not careful, you can really allow society’s expectations (and the expectations you put on yourself) to defeat you and take away the joy of parenting without even realizing it. When you are scrolling through social media and see that perfectly placed mommy and me shot, understand that that was one of over 100+ shots just to get that one capture. Rarely do we, as parents, in a power of influence get real and share the good with the bad, create a space where we open up and share our struggles to build a platform of growth and learning.

What is the most rewarding? Knowing that this tiny human is totally dependent on you and that you have the ability to shape the way that they look and experience life is the most powerful feeling I have ever felt in my life. Watching her say her prayers on her own at meal time, getting in that last good night hug and cuddle session, her excitement when she sees me after a long day at school, those are the moments that literally make my day. I live for them. It doesn’t take much to make a child but, to fully commit yourself to the act of raising a child is an experience that not everyone can handle, and that’s understandable, but the the a feeling of joy like no other.
— Brittany, Dallas, TX; Mommy to Peyton
 Image:   @nyaomiking

Image: @nyaomiking

For me the hardest part of Motherhood is giving myself permission to do something for myself. I work two jobs and when I take a chance to have me time I feel guilty as if I am not giving my son enough time spent with me because of all my long hours.

The most rewarding part of motherhood for me is seeing my son smile and hear him tell me he loves me. iI reassures me that I am doing something right as his mother.
— Nyaomi, California, Mommy to Robert
 Image:  @ravenchiara
The hardest thing for me has been finding balance. As a new mom of a 2 month old, it’s been very easy to forget about and/or neglect just about every other person & thing in my life– friends, career, boyfriend, even myself at times.

The most rewarding thing... isn’t a tangible thing but just a deep, overwhelming sense of joy and purpose. It has been the most incredible experience of my entire life and it’s only just beginning.

— Raven, New York, Mommy to Kingston
 Image:   @sahmlifestyle
The hardest part of motherhood is the constant fear. Not knowing if I’m making the best decisions for my daughter or how my decisions will affect her scares me to no end. The fear for her future in this country that is still full of prejudice, bullying, and inequalities and that I can’t protect her from them forever is tough.

The most rewarding part of motherhood is simple, my daughter’s happiness. Seeing Zoey happy makes me happy and I have NEVER been happier than I am since becoming her mother. Knowing that I am helping to put that smile on her face is all I need. I would say the growth that comes with motherhood has been very rewarding as well. I am a better person because of her.
— Nichole, Houston, TX; Mommy to Zoey
The hardest part about Motherhood is balancing your time being the best mother, a true friend, a good girlfriend, an amazing employee and also finding time for yourself. [The best?] Unconditional love – both ways.
— Anett, Denmark; Mommy to Mille
 Image:  @tristenpaige
The hardest thing about motherhood is realizing that you can’t protect your child from everything. The most rewarding part is knowing that you can journey with them through anything! Motherhood will always be my favorite hood!
— Tristen, Dallas, TX; Mommy to Leila

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