on being a mama when love feels heavy

The woman that we invited into our world said that in our girls’ eyes, I am the heavy one and Daddy is the good one.

To our girl, to the one that I carried as she grew and she kicked, the one whose owies I kiss away when she feels brave, the one whose bangs I brush out of her eyes… to that girl, I am heavy.

That Daddy is around more now than he has been before, and in her eyes, that places Daddy in the realm of novel and fun… and me in the role of corrector.  In the role of not fun.

But what I heard, what my heart absorbed, is that to my girl, I am heavy.

She said there is a source to all of this, a root to the difficulty and the defiant, a root to the regression and the glimpses of anger, but we’re still digging to find the source of that well.  It runs deep through her core, this well, dug day after day of the boxes and the transition and the goodbyes and the new homes.  Unable to find language for what she is thinking and what she is feeling, instead it is directed at me.  Much of the Let me go! is aimed in my direction.  Much of the cries are Not you! Daddy! Oh, what that does to a Mama’s heart.

I love you so, my girl.  Don’t you know we are in this together?  Haven’t you grasped that with your hands as we made mud castles together?  Didn’t I prove that to you as you sobbed into my shoulder, my arms around your waist hugging you tight?

We are in this together, my love.  You are mine and I am yours and our stories are one.  My exhalations are tied to your very breath.

parenting when love feels heavy

These bonds of ours are stronger than anything we are going to face.  There are no deal-breakers in this family.  Do you know that yet?  You test and you push.  You flail and you defy.  But these ties that bind are stronger.

For these ties that bind link me to you.  From the moment you were first formed, we became linked for better and for worse, as long as we both shall live, and forever after that.  You, my girl, are darling.  You, my girl, are precious.  You, my girl, are brave.

I am FOR you.  I am WITH you.  We are in this together.

We say a chant as often as we can, inspired by my sister and a difficult journey with their boy.  In those times when we feel vulnerable, powerless, consumed, we say this.  In those times when we just need a good reminder, we say this.  When we need to feel empowered, we say this.

The hand motions that go with it are oh-so-important.  You love doing this:

I am strong {flex those muscles}

parenting when love feels heavy

I am powerful {one arm raised in strength}

parenting when love feels heavy

I am loved {bring arms into heart or for a hug}

parenting when love feels heavy

And we are strong.  We are powerful.  We are loved.  We are going to fight for you every inch along the way.  Because that’s what our family does.  We will not lose what is precious in the name of what is good.

And you, my girl, are precious.

Together, our family is learning what it looks like to be interrupted.  What it means to do the right and good and best thing for your family… as a family.  To believe and know and sense that there is more to this life… and to then act on that.

But my girl, I know that that is a lot to ask of you.  I can hardly find the language to process, much less you.

And so, my love, know that I am with you and I am for you.  Always.

We will repeat our chant every second we get.

I will continue to love you, my girl.  Constantly.  Even when you push, I will love you.  And if there are times that you need space, I will love you.  {But I will still sneak kisses.}

When you have so much built up in you that you just can’t get out… let’s go do play-doh together.  A fantastic method to create; a fantastic method to expel big feelings.

If you feel a little tightly wound, I will hand you a pillow.  Squeeze it with all of your might, let it all out.  I don’t mind a bit.  I think it’s good for you to have a physical release.

In those moments when you just can’t connect to the day and feel a little out of control, I will grab your shoulders, look in your eyes, and we will take our deep breaths together.  We call it our magic breath.  One… two… three… raise your little shoulders and your whole entire body as we breathe in… and breathe out.  Together.  We’ve been taking our magic breaths a lot lately… but they seem to help center you.

We will weather this storm.  Because I can’t promise you that it will get easier… but we will get stronger.  I can promise you that on the other end, your adventurous spirit will be shining through.  Our family won’t silence the feelings or the questions, but instead will step into them, even when they’re messy and even when they’re uncomfortable.  Because emotions are welcome in our home.  We don’t tiptoe around sad feelings or angry feelings or big feelings.  We feel all things.  We deal with all things.

And really, I think that we’re feeling all of the things together.  At the same time.

And it can be a bit much.  It can feel a bit heavy.

But I need you to know that I love you, my girl.

parenting when love feels heavy

You will always sense my thereness.  For we are in this together.

My girl, I watch you wander and fly, the kite in my world.  And I am the anchor in yours.  Soar, my girl.  But know that I am right there with you, connecting your restless heart to the ground.

Is love heavy?  Yes, sometimes it is.  Is being a mama heavy?  Yes, sometimes, yes.  But in those moments, especially in those moments, continue to love.  For love can outweigh the heaviest heavy.  Love can outshine the darkest dark.

Yes, Love conquers all.



  1. says

    It is so hard to let them fly and be their anchor. Doing what is best seems to change with every breath. My girls are now 6 and 8 and it is a fun time! Being a Mama is amazing isn’t it? :)

  2. says

    Stopping by from coffee for your heart. Thanks for sharing these words about your daughter. Mine is four. She has so many challenges but we try, too, to let her know how loved she is and that we’re in this together – on the good days where we get through relatively unscathed, and on the bad days where no matter how hard she tries, it’s just too tough for her to do the right thing.

  3. says

    wow.i think “heavy” is a great synonym for motherhood. you hit the nail on the head. that weight on your shoulders despite how much you love it is always there. that weight of protection, provision, well being, and happiness is always there…it becomes so much of who you are that its hard to separate yourself from it and not take it (kid rejection or hurt) personally … i think thats why often times mamas take or feel rejection more sensitively and easily than dads (maybe not always) but a lot because we pour so much of our every waking thought into them. I hope you have some light moments today! also all the heavy you are carrying around is producing muscle…why else do women so quickly rush in and save others days? or help shoulder others loads and turn into nurturing grandparents, friends, and world changers? because they’ve been flexing those back bones of committed love muscles for oh so long…and often times we need that load to press on

    • says

      Oh my. Somer. Thank you for this- I feel a heart connection with you because your words were just so very sweet and encouraging. You absolutely brought tears to my eyes in the point that this heavy that I (we) carry is producing this beautiful muscle to love well and be world changers. I’m standing on that! So, so beautiful.

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