I Changed Motherhood With Three Words

I am not a glass half full type of person. I want to be, really I do. The truth is that I have always been a worrier and I find many aspects of motherhood mentally and emotionally draining. Some mornings I wake up already exhausted by the thought of the mundane tasks ahead.

I have to get up and get everyone ready for school. I have to go to Target to find a birthday gift for a kid I don’t even know. I have to think of a healthy dinner my entire family will enjoy. I have to check homework, make snacks, drag everybody to dance class, robotics, and tae kwon do. I’ll have to play 5 rounds of Candyland and read Amelia Bedelia until I’m near tears.

Maybe it is that I am getting older and seeing so many mothers with challenges, or maybe I knew I needed a desperate change in my thought process, but I have changed my thinking from I have to into I get to. These three simple words have changed everything for me.

Now when I think about my daily tasks I approach them with the realization that getting to is a gift.

When I start stringing together all of the silly things my husband does that drive me crazy, I think of the woman that I assisted at a local food pantry who had recently moved out of a domestic abuse shelter. I’m reminded that I should never take for granted having a partner who supports me and a home where I get to feel safe.

I think of the boy in my son’s third-grade class who stole his classmate’s snacks all year. I wonder if his mama woke up with a knot in her stomach because she knew she would not get to pack him one. How could I have forgotten that getting to provide food for my children is not an annoyance but a luxury not everyone has?

As I find out that my friend with two small children who has battled cancer for years is now on hospice care, I am grounded in the reality that I get to.

Today I get to be a mother.

I get to wrap my arms around my littles and watch them grow. I get to provide them with everything they need and some of what they want. I get to teach them the hard lessons of life and I get to watch them fail. I get to practice patience and I get to make mistakes. Today will not be perfect, today I will not love all things, but I am humbled by the simple fact that today I have been given another chance to get to.

Jessica is a DONA International trained postpartum doula and owner of Fourth Trimester Madison, www.fourthtrimestermadison.com. She has been married for over 10 years to someone who makes her laugh every day and reminds her not to take herself too seriously. Together they have three children- Logan (2006), Liam (2008) and Kate (2011). She grew up in northern Wisconsin but has called the Madison area home since college. She can be found reading cookbooks but not cooking, saying yes to more volunteer work than she has time for (and loving it), on a Netflix binge, or with her nose in a book.


  1. I read your blog and thought – I think all those things (tasks) every day with the same exhaustion and add to your list; a full time job, having had to drop my little ones off at daycare (only to let all THOSE women do what I only wish I could do with my kids all day while at work), being the Man and Woman of the house with both roles of jobs to do (being a single Mom/parent), and not having a spouse to help with some mundane tasks and a sense of humor and a hug to help me get by.

    I understand how you have to turn your thinking around, as I have had to remind myself when I am so overwhelmed with the details of raising my boys, that I GET TO do things with them that other mothers might not – the homeless mothers, the terminally ill, etc.

    You are so right – remember that we GET TO participate in witnessing our children turn into young adults and we got to see it all happen. What a privilege!


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