The Mother Love


This week was something, I’ll tell you. I mean, I’m “supposed to” get my blog posts up in a timely manner – first thing every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning these days. But here we are at 6:15 on a Friday night and I’m just now sitting down to write. The baby crashed a bit earlier than usual (it was clearly a long week for him as well) and Jeremy is in the next room folding laundry before he runs out to pick up some take-out.

Throughout the week I compose blog posts of all the things I want to tell you – the real deal, the little victories, and the every day struggles. But each day seems to slip through my fingers and I’m beginning to see what everyone is talking about when they say it goes by so fast. And in each palm I’m weighing my priorities to see which gets my attention on any given day (or in any given moment, really): Fox, Jeremy, new business, friends, food, hygiene, fitness, blogging, emailing, client meetings, coaching, meditation, sexy times … oh, and sleep. At this point I have so many posts pinging in my head I’m not even sure where to begin. So I’ll just start with where I’m at.

If I’m to be completely honest this mom gig is way more challenging than I anticipated and in unexpected ways. For example, I had no idea that the flood of hormones caused by breastfeeding would leave me feeling scattered, unfocused, and unable to remember my words – basically I’m operating like a stoned person. Or I had no idea that the stress of not getting enough sleep would leave me craving sugar which isn’t doing my still recovering body any favors. For some reason I didn’t consider in advance that committing to breastfeeding would also mean compromising my closet to only clothes that can sustain leaks and give Fox easy accessibility to the boob. And every day I’m trying to balance who I am with who I was with who I want to be – adding “good mom” to my list of titles leaves me wondering how I’m also going to manage “adventurer”, “world traveler”, and “badass business woman” too.

But if I’m being completely honest I also have to tell you that I’m so in love it hurts. I’m surprised at how much I love being a mom … and I think I’m pretty good at it. I feel so lucky that Fox chose us. Watching Jeremy kiss Fox’s neck until he erupts in a fit of giggles is probably my favorite thing in the whole world right now. And I’m sure hormones are at play here but I feel physically addicted to my baby – I start to crave him when we’re apart for too long. Having Fox (and perhaps a few episodes of Cosmos) has made me painfully aware of how fragile life is, and how lucky we are to be living in our skin. It’s made me realize that life truly is too short to waste it on the kinds of unproductive emotions that seem to come with the post-partum package including guilt, embarrassment, and overwhelm just to name a few. It’s become clear that life is too short to be living in anything less than love… The mother love.

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P.S. At about 6 weeks postpartum I recognized that I was struggling and I needed help to nip some shit in the bud. That’s where my momma coach, Rebecca Egbert, comes in. You might remember how Rebecca helped me through my daycare dilemma. These days Rebecca holds me accountable to being the kind of mom and person I want to be. She gives me physiological insights (I swear pregnancy, breastfeeding, and postpartum recovery make me feel like a clueless teenager going through puberty again) that make me feel a little less crazy in my body. We talk about the important stuff that easily gets overlooked – things like sleep, healing foods, and how to stop peeing myself when doing jumping jacks. And we talk just enough about balancing business as a working mom that I can legitimately write-off a good chunk of her fee. But Rebecca also gives me some spiritual soul food that not only opens my heart (daily practices in gratitude) but keeps me grounded and rooted (meditation is where it’s at). The work we do together keeps me operating at my best so when things get hard I can show up as the warrior mama I want to be.

If you’re a mom (or are pregnant… or even thinking about making babies) you should be following Rebecca: – the blog and newsletter are golden – where Rebecca preaches #themotherlove on the daily

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So now it’s your turn. What’s unexpectedly hard about being a mom? What’s unexpectedly awesome? Share with me in the comments. 

Photo by Ely Fair Photography at the Collected Thread Love Mom Well event.

  1. Thanks for sharing this journey. Awesome.

  2. Naomi

    What is unexpectedly hard? Oh so much! Right now, it’s the part where you have an adult child (19 yrs old) where the struggle to still parent vs let go vs encourage vs be apathetic vs …. oh it’s exhausting. Unexpectedly awesome? My almost 11 year old boy still kissing me IN public … AT school. Around his friends. There is SO much that unexpectedly awesome.

  3. Gennie

    I’m pretty sure you stole all those words right out of my head. As I’m reading your post, I’m also nursing my three week old with tears in my eyes…I’d like to say they are tears of a mothers joyous love but they mostly stem from the pain and soreness of breastfeeding an aggressive sucker. Everything is a challenge. Motherhood so far has been emotional, painful, difficult and yet the most beautiful experience of my life. I’m overwhelmed with love. My love for her is greater than the challenges.

  4. Sarah

    Kathleen, I’m a long-time reader and first-time commenter, and just wanted to tell you (finally!) how much I sincerely appreciate and love your blog/work. I’m 8.5 months pregnant and a working soon-to-be-mama too, so hearing about your experiences and efforts to balance life’s many facets has been comforting and encouraging as I approach the Big Day. Hooray for you! And thank you. 🙂

  5. Val

    One word: everything. At 4 weeks in, everything is equally the hardest and the most amazing thing I’ve ever done. Having Eleanor has taught me that I am sooo not in charge and that nothing happens exactly (or even close to) as planned. I fight this truth daily but she’s not going to let me miss this lesson and I am so grateful for this tiny teacher.

    When I was pregnant I was still practicing yoga daily. The nugget growing inside me dictated how far/hard/long I would push myself in my practice. I always said that my baby is my guru- I just didn’t know how true that really is.

    Much love to you and your little man.

    V and E

  6. I just wanted to say that as I follow you on Instagram, every time I see a fox-printed or themed item in real life, I think of you and Fox. I think your baby might be internet famous.

  7. Angie

    I never expected I would be affected by a little post-partum depression. I felt hopeless and like I was in over my head. And I felt so guilty for bringing my precious newborn into this world to suffer. But then again every time I nursed him or smelled him or kissed his head I felt like the happiest woman on earth!

    No one tells you what an emotional roller coaster it all is but I’m so in love and I wouldn’t change it for anything! Keep posting those adorable pics of baby Fox! I’m baby obsessed

  8. Kathy

    One thing I wish people would talk more about is how much a baby will test the relationship you have with your partner, My husband and I were together for eight years before our now two year old came along and we were (and still are) rock solid but, whoa…the physical and emotional fatigue, the endless compromises, the new responsibilities and demands have certainly challenged us in ways we never imagined. It’s all part of the growing pains of becoming parents together but, it’s certainly not something I was prepared for.

  9. Mo

    I’m not a mom and not sure I want to be one, but hearing you talk about your love for Fox gives me a new perspective on the whole “mom” thing.

    The idea of having a kid (or kids) is somewhat terrifying to me–from pregnancy to birth to raising a successful human–but your words are a great reminder of how much joy, strength, love, and knowledge is found in the unknown, even if it’s scary. Thank you, always, for your refreshing perspective and honesty.

  10. Jen

    First of all, I am so thankful to the universe that I found your blog. I found you back in the fall when I Googled “creative coaching,” but got hooked when I found out you were a few months further along in your pregnancy than I was. Last night I was re-reading your “Witching Hour” post, along with all of the comments, while my nearly-three-week-old screamed her head off. Every time you write something about motherhood, I am so relieved and happy to read it.

    As far as things that are unexpectedly hard about being a mom, wow, I’m not sure I can answer that clearly yet, because right now I would just say EVERYTHING. I had no idea I’d be this tired. I had no idea how much I would miss just sitting on the couch with my husband watching Mad Men. I had no idea how my body would feel after pushing a baby out.

    Unexpectedly awesome…just looking at my baby. I could stare at her for hours. The way my own mother is with my baby is also unexpectedly awesome-this is her only grandchild and she is absolutely amazing with her and I am in awe of how calm and collected she is with a fussing, crying baby, and how much better she makes me feel about myself.

    Keep up the posts, I so enjoy them.

  11. nicole

    For me the leaking stuff kind of settled down around 6 months … hopefully it will for you too! What’s unexpectedly awesome is how much fun I’m having. I just didn’t really expect it. Totally makes up for the 8 months of not having a ton of sleep. What is not-awesome is not having much time for myself … maybe once a week I get in a long run if my husband is not out of town and that’s pretty much it. So that’s hard. I think when I’m not bf-ing anymore I will have more flexibility and honestly it’s worth it to me and I’m glad I’m doing it so I don’t really lament the lack of me-time too much. But balance: yes. I am working towards it, maximizing her nap times to get some writing done or squeezing in some cooking/recipe development time while she hangs out with me in the kitchen. And once she goes to bed — well, I can read or do some of my own work if I have the energy. Those smiles, man, they make you forget the fatigue for sure.

  12. Sarah

    My baby is 9.5 months and I agree with the “rollercoaster” sentiment above. My marriage was so solid and then when baby came we found ourselves being ugly with each other for the first time. Once her major fussiness was over at 4 months, things started to get kinda fun and her easy going nature kicked in. Around 6 months, the monotony of the routine, especially the pumping, hauling milk, prepping bottles, bedtime routine started to wear us both down. Then at 8 months, more change! Independence! Grabbing stuff! Bite mommy – laugh about it! She’s just started to crawl, which I’m so happy for her, because she was so frustrated when she couldn’t. Now it looks like weaning may start long before I was ready to stop breastfeeding, which is too sad for me to contemplate right now. Unforseen circumstances and the employment of major teeth for gripping has done a lot of damage to my breasts. Even the lactation consultant was at a loss of what to do. Another huge shocker was that my carefully hoarded 300 ounces of frozen milk ALL WENT BAD. I didn’t know that was possible, but it seems if you have a lot of active lipase, the taste goes off whilst it’s frozen. If I had just scalded the milk, I would still have that back up plan, but now it’s lost. Frankly, I’ve given up the hobbies and dreams for a bit in order to be here now for her. They’ll be back and will help fill in that space where my precious baby used to be. My happiest discovery was reading about Maria Montessori, her teachings and methods – it turned my perspective of babies upside down and made caring for her a lot more fun and intellectual. And then there’s sleep. Oh, sleep. I finally had to go to a doctor to get help with that one. Two minor car accidents (both my fault) and one really nasty infection made me realize that I can’t just power through after 10 months of terrible sleep. She’s still the best, the best, the best. I wouldn’t ever go back.

  13. Matilda

    So just HOW do you do jumping jacks without peeing? I still can’t quite manage this (OK, so it’s been at least 6 months since I tried) and my youngest is 2y4mo.

    I have 3 children (7.5y, 5y, and aforementioned youngest) and the hardest thing is balancing everyone’s needs, my own and my husband’s in particular. Sleep is the thing that suffers most. The best is seeing the way they look at me and thinking, wow, no one will ever love me that way ever again, especially the youngest. He’s particularly clingy these days, but he’ll never need me in the same way again and never hug me with every fiber of his being like he hugs me now. The eldest still likes to cuddle, but he’s HUGE! I love the conversations we have now–there’s such a pleasure in finding out what kind of people they’re becoming.

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