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I thought this was going to be easier.



I thought this was going to be easier. I just didn’t get it. Everyone, including you, told me this was going to be hard. But I had no idea.

I heard women talking about how once they had kids they could barely figure out how to shower, let alone string a sentence together or put on matching socks. I thought surely they were just disorganized. I figured I could handle it. I mean, I’m a successful entrepreneur with excellent organizational skills.

I was so wrong. So very wrong.

Mom, I just didn’t know. I didn’t realize how many diapers you’ve changed, that you’ve had my poop on your hands so many, many times. I didn’t know the juggling act you performed every day: work, kids, family, meals, money, repeat. I was completely unaware of what it took to keep all of us balls in the air. I didn’t even know there were other balls – I felt like I was the only one – that’s what an amazing juggler you are.

I get now how your heart broke in a million pieces when you dropped me at daycare when I was six weeks old. That you made the hard decision to go back to work. And that if you’d decided to stay home that would have been hard, too. I get it now that if you choose to leave your babe and go to work, or leave your work and stay with your babe, or even some combination of the two, it’s hard. Period. I left a daycare tour yesterday and broke down in tears before I even reached my car. Imagining dropping P off there feels like dropping off one of my organs (my heart, specifically) somewhere and then just leaving for the day while strangers take care of it. But a million times worse.

I had no idea how uncomfortable it would be – physically bringing a child into this world, but also emotionally and mentally and spiritually. Deeply uncomfortable on so many levels. I didn’t know how out of control I would feel so much of the time. I get it now why you didn’t have the bandwidth to care much about the house when we were little. I get now that you have to make choices, and sometimes the choice is sanity over decluttering. I honor you for making that choice.

I didn’t get how all-consuming loving a tiny person is. How my heart and my arms ache for her when I’m away. How I sometimes yearn to have my freedom back when I’m with her. How I feel really badly about that. Everyone tells you how hard it is. But you just don’t get it until you do.

I had no idea how much it took to raise tiny humans as close to well as you can muster. And I’m only 8 months in with one of them. I had no idea how little sleep I could function on. I had no idea that so many other people can, too.

I had no idea how precious time alone in a quiet house would be to me someday. Like worth thousands of dollars an hour precious. I had no idea how much life shrinks when you’re tending to the needs of a little human. How the minutiae IS my life. How boring and sacred it could be all at the same time.

And most especially I had no idea how much you loved me until I looked at my own baby girl and felt my heart expand big enough to contain several galaxies, at least. To know that I’m as precious to you as this little baby girl is to me brings me to my knees in awe. We have all been that precious, innocent, purely lovable baby. We are all made of that same stuff.

Thank you for the lullabies and the cuddles, for the sleepless nights and the back rubs.

Thank you for always picking up the phone, no matter how late or early I called.

Thank you for telling whoever needed to be told what was what when I was too young or scared to do it. And for encouraging me to tell them when it was time for me to do it.

Thank you for coming to New York to scoop up the million pieces of my broken heart and for listening to me detail Penelope’s sleep dramas for the last 8 months as though it’s interesting.

Thank you for courageously doing the work you needed to do despite me throwing myself at your feet and begging you to stay home.

Thank you for showing me what it means to be a mother who loves her babies fiercely and who loves herself fiercely.

Thank you for trusting me so I learned I could trust myself.

Thank you for caring as deeply about me as I care about Penelope. I never knew I was cared for like that until I felt it for another.

There are things we cannot get until it’s time to get them. I’m so new at this mothering thing. I know I don’t know much. But I do know that you’ve been doing it for 35 years, and I do know that you’re doing a damn good job. I’m in awe. I do know that billions of women have and are doing it around the planet, and I’m in awe of them, too.

Mom, I just didn’t have any idea before. But now I do.

Thank you for loving me every second of every day of my life even though I didn’t have a clue how much that took. Baby P is sleeping in my arms as I write this. She doesn’t have a clue that being her mother is the biggest gift and biggest challenge of my life. And nor should she.

I will continue to love her with every fiber of my being just as you’ve loved me. And one day she may have some idea of what it takes, or she may not. I get it that that’s not the point.

The point is the loving, not the getting something back for it. But it never hurts to say thank you.

So today and every day heretofore I honor and thank you, Mom, for mothering me and for loving me in a way I didn’t even know existed before I became a mother.

I get it now.

Your Baby Girl.

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  • This is beautiful & yes it is the toughest job on earth. Happy Mother’s Day!

  • Michele

    Kate, Very beautifully written – you had me crying! Motherhood ( and Grandmotherhood) is the most wonderful job in the world! Your daughter, and my son, are blessed to have you in their life and we are also blessed to have you as our daughter-in-law. Love you! Enjoy your First Mother’s Day and give P oodles of hugs from us (and hug yourself also)!
    Love, Michele

  • Lori Northrup

    absolutely magnificent, Kate!

  • Kate,
    So well said and I appreciate your openness and authenticity in sharing your life experiences so it can possibly help someone else.
    Thanks for opening your heart.

  • Kate, thank you for these words. I’m mom to a 20-month old, and you nailed it. I had no idea. I too thought that other moms must be disorganized. I just didn’t get it. It’s the most difficult, most heart-wrenching, most beautiful, most gratifying, most guilt-inducing, most joyful gift. Happy Mother’s to you, Mama.

  • Bonnie

    I am the mother of 5 grown children and this is the first time I have seen in one article all of the emotions that motherhood produces! You are very articulate. Most of us feel all of them, but aren’t able to describe them as well as you did. Great job, I am sure your mother is very proud of you. Keep on doing the work you do, you are very good at it!!

  • Wow! Tears to my eyes! I am a new mom-my son is a year so I totally relate! Happy first Mothers Day Kate! Beautiful expression, keep this forever!!

  • Whew. Yep, it’s big. You are such a gift to this world, Kate. To your baby, to your mama, and to all of us. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for being you. Xoxo


  • Danielle

    I so absolutely and completely wish I had written this myself. It covers everything I have felt and feel so very vividly and honestly. I want to thank you for recognizing everything your mother did, everything mothers do and everything wonderful you are doing yourself. Your mother did a wonderful job and I just feel you are going to be a wonderful mother as well. Happy Mother’s Day.

  • Liz Gavin

    Read this while sitting at the nurses station on the labor and delivery unit in the hospital today. It rainy in New York and surely this lull of only a few women in labor wont last.We are expecting identical twin girls in a few hours. Working here I witness birth but don’t always get to hear from the women I’ve cared for about how they feel several months later, how their lives have transformed from becoming mothers. It is wonderful to read this today, So much gratitude in it. Thank you for sharing. My favorite line was ” How boring and sacred it could be all at the same time.” I feel you. So many things can be true at the same time and this is a perfect example. Thanks for taking the time to share. Happy Mothers Day Kate!!

  • This was beautiful, Kate. I had the opportunity to see you and your mom together at the Reveal retreat last year and it was evident in watching your interaction how much you both love and respect each other. Beautiful. xo

  • Kathy

    Well Im in tears, thank you Kate for sharing this beautiful acknowledgement of motherly love and life, there’s nothing like it. Enjoy ☺

  • Rebecca

    “There hath no temptation taken hold of you but such as is common to man. But God is faithful; He will not suffer you to be tempted beyond that which ye are able to bear, but with the temptation will also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

  • Thank you Kate for this post and for summoning up exactly how it feels to be a parent. I’m a first home mum to a 17 month old little boy and it is wonderfully rewarding yet unbelievably tough all at the same time. You are absolutely right that you cannot begin to imagine what it’s like until you do it! I so know what you mean when you say that sometimes you crave your freedom yet you can’t bear to be away from them all at the same time! It’s an emotional roller coaster but a journey that brings so much love and so many special times. Thanks for sharing this x

  • So beautiful. So honest. And so spot on. I NEVER fully appreciated my mother until my first Mother’s Day as a mom.

    My daughter was 6 weeks old and I took my mom out to lunch and complained and cried the entire time about how hard the last 6 weeks of my life had been. She nodded and listened and insisted it was all normal and that it will get better (OMG I needed to hear that). Now three years and two kids later and many many sleepless nights and calls to mom I’m still just as grateful for her.

    Happy Mother’s Day, Kate! You’re an amazing example of authenticity and light to mother’s everywhere! Xoxo!

  • This is it.
    I love you,

  • Dahana

    So moved! So true! Beautifully said Kate. Through the tears of one mother to another, I say “good job!” No mother could ask for a more wonderful tribute.
    And your Mom so deserves it, as do you. I am so moved and admiring of all you do and who you are. Your P is one blessed baby girl.
    Happy Mothers Day, Kate.

  • Pauline (Sam) Hunneman

    Brava. To both you and your mom.

  • Joyce

    That’s so lovely, I sure your mum is so proud of you.

  • Nicole

    Kate, This was so beautifully written; it brought me to tears. I don’t have my own children, but as an auntie, zia, stepmom; I’m in awe of those who do it and do it well. This reminded me of how blessed I am to have a mom who always picks up the phone. Always. Much love to you and your family. xo -NLM

  • Judy

    Happy Mother’s Day Kate. That was beautifully written and it touched my heart. I am celebrating 27 years as a mother. I have been blessed to watch my two little girls grow up to be women who are strong and walking their own path. Enjoy this beautiful journey. There will never be a dull moment.

  • OMG. This is SO beautiful Kate. Thank you so much for this letter that inspired me to right my very own to my mother. My mom had 6 childrens, I’m the oldest. I feel so blessed to have 5 sisters and brothers, they are my world. Much love to you and your family, Gabrielle

  • Kate, how well expressed. Many if not all women share your concerns. Please be aware of social supports that could help you and your lovely child have a better life. In France,
    mothers, all mothers get three days of help from the state. The helper does whatever it takes to make your life easier.
    Research has shown that money, time and attention at this point in a child’s life is crucial to her well being later on in life. We could put all the money that goes into higher education into the child at this point in her life and the long term effect would be amazing. Please make sure you and all readers of this blog are advocating for generous funding for new mothers and their babies. It pays off big time for a better society. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Keep at it, girl.

  • Kate, this is gorgeous! I love your heart. Happy Mother’s Day.


  • Karen

    My babies are all grown up now but, I’ve never seen anything that so perfectly nails what it’s like to be a mom as this post does. Of course, the details are different for every Mother and Daughter but, the sentiment’s the same: “I didn’t get it before, but now. do. Thanks, Mom.”
    Thanks, Kate for such a beautiful post.

  • Sheila

    I am sobbing. Thank you for putting into words the way you do, so raw and open and filled with heart. You are a beautiful person with a gift for expressing yourself in a way everyone can relate. I love you. Happy Mother’s Day, Kate!!

  • Rossana

    Oh, I feel very related to this. It took me 8 years to decide to have a second child… I used to think: How on earth can someone deal with more than one? But let me tell u, dear Kate, when P reaches 15 u will look back to these days and think with nostalgia: life was so easy then… I remember when my worries were about poo and teeth…

    Appreciate every second of this girl and get ready for the time when she’ll feel embarrassed of being your daughter, that’s a tough one, haha. Happy Mother’s Day!

  • Susan Coady-Butler

    Kate, that was so sweetly and beautifully written. You spoke for so many of us. And I can add to your appreciation of your Mother. She shared her love for you and your sister with us, her patients, all the while loving us and giving the best of herself to us all. Your Mother taught me about being loved and I still feel the glow of that in my life today. Happy Mother’s Day with love. Susan CB

  • Wendy

    Your words brought tears to my eyes~! Very well said and yes, dropping my daughter off at daycare was extremely difficult and I still feel some guilt over it 20 years later–may your choices in motherhood bring you joy and comfort knowing that we mothers try to do the very best we can to fulfill the hardest job of our lives! Thanks for sharing!

  • Charles Fillmore, founder of Unity, said that “it is important to recognize that the WORD is the instrument of the power faculty of the mind. Spiritual power is exercised not by money, physical power, etc., but rather by the WORD. History bears out this truth in that the most influential people of all times were those who shared ideas by the WORD, spoken or written.” I felt your Spiritual power as I read your beautiful ideas bringing tears to my eyes. As a 77 year- young Mom and Gramma, I thank you for my new appreciation for my Mom, Myself as a Mom and my daughter as a Mom. Wow, Kate!
    I’m off to have brunch with my nearly 102 year-young Mom-in-Love and I’m taking this with me for her to read. It will give her a new appreciation, too, and lift her spirits.
    Many blessings to you, Dear One.

  • Dear Kate,
    And yes, a mile in those moccasins turns into a lifetime.

    Your momma must be submerged in Gratitude today from this letter.
    I am grateful too.
    And I understand why tears came into my voice in your women’s circle prior to your marriage ceremony.
    Here’s to the perpetual love of Motherhood. B xox

  • Kate – So beautiful, so true. Thank you. I didn’t get it either, before I had kids. The hardest and best thing that has ever happened to me. A very Happy Mother’s Day to you, your mom, and all of the moms out there.

  • Kate:
    Thank you, from a single-mother-by-choice, who had a 8.4 pound baby girl on Friday at 5:05pm, and went back to work on Monday morning at 8:00am (from home.) The downs, and downs, and ups, and sideways momentum couldn’t keep me distracted from the truth of the matter. “Who she is in my life, IS my life.” Thanks for the constant reminder of what we are – amazingincrediblesuccessfulbadasswomen!
    Cheers on Mother’s Day!

  • Cherlyn

    Oh Kate,

    What a blessing to read& be reminded to pause & breathe…

    As I wait to meet my Mom so we may attend Mass together, I am touched reading your letter to your “mommy”.

    You are so right: “We have all been that precious, innocent, purely lovable baby. We are all made of that same stuff.”

    Though I am about the age of your mother, reading your words allowed me to remember those moments of my youth when my mother so often rescued, pushed, prodded, cuddled & simply loved me with her quiet presence.

    Your words moved me to write her a love letter as well. Thank you for your open heart sharing.

    God bless you & your family??

  • Penny Kirk

    So beautiful Kate!
    Sleeping, Stirring, Awakening, Awake! What it takes for us to awake and how glorious the journey is!

  • Susan

    Beautiful xx
    Thank you <3

  • Vikki

    That was beautiful Kate. My babies are grown but I so remember what you are going through! You are full of love and that will always guide you in raising your children. Plus you have a great example to follow! You have learned so much from your mom without even realizing. Happy Mother’s Day!

  • Cindy

    Oh my, this is so lovely!

  • Kate, Beautifully written and I had to laugh too. Welcome to parenthood, welcome to motherhood!! I’ve been a mother for 24 years now and it never ends, especially when dealing with your child’s life challenges: illnesses, surgeries, food allergies, job searching. You ache for your child when they hurt; emotionally, physically, spiritually.

    Be patient and compassionate with yourself. You do the best you can do at the time with what you know, at the time. Never forget that. And, when you know better, hopefully…you’ll do better, or at least try to do better.

    My mom is on the Other Side now and she lost her mother before she had children. She often said, “I wish your grandmother could’ve been around when you were kids. She would have loved to sew for you.”

    I’m so glad little P has her loving, wise grandmother around as well as such an honest, compassionate mother to care for her so deeply! Happy Mother’s Day to both you and your mom. :)

  • My words exactly (well, almost). My daughter is 43 and I’m 73 and my goodness, the love and commitment doesn’t change! (I love your mother too)

  • Missy

    This is beautiful. You may want to consider researching Waldorf Schools and daycares. I believe there is some lovely options in Maine, maybe there is one close to your home. I believe that you would resonate greatly with the Waldorf principle and you would feel at ease leaving your child in their care. There is also a Waldorf inspired Online store in Maine that carries eco friendly and beautiful children’s toys, art supplies and much more. Its called BellaLuna toys. One of my favs!

    To you, to all mothers and to myself :) Happy Mothers Day! We deserve it!! It IS HARD! and its beautiful.

  • Liz

    My daughter is 21 and my son is 18. My mother raised twins me being one of them as a single parent. I too thought i knew it all. I would be so much better as a mother. I would make the right choices where i was sure my mother didn’t. Then this arrogant daughter, me, had a baby girl. My eyebrows lifted, hmmm! Really, this is too hard i thought! I have a husband and then i was pregnant with number 2. I was utterly shocked and in awe of my mother. One morning i woke up sobbing i dreamt my mother had died. I wrote her a long letter of how i loved and appreciated her. 3 months later she did die and i found the letter i wrote in her safety deposit box marked Bliss!

  • Kathleen I

    Beautiful, Kate! Kudos to your mom for the woman she brought up so well…..P will totally benefit from what you’ve been given, what you’ve been shown…..It is heartening for me to know that!

  • Simply beautiful :-)

  • Caroline

    Thank you Kate for your courage and authenticity . I needed this, more than I knew. Happy Mother’s Day.

  • Rosemary

    Very moving post . Thank you . I am so excited that you are a Mum ( I am British! Mum not mom !) I have been waiting to see how your work changes now you are a Mother . I follow a lot of your peers online and value their advice but as many of them are not Mothers (let alone lone parents )in the self help world I feel This a HUGE area that is unaddressed and is the major Elephant in the bedroom that no one is talking about when it comes to building a business! Xx

  • I read this yesterday and again today out-loud to my mom. I cried both times! Beautifully said Kate. Hope you had an amazing Mother’s Day <3

  • So beautifully said , and so so true, Happy Mother’s Day to you !

  • Thank you Kate. I am in tears as I write this. So beautiful and true. My son is 8 months old, like your daughter. Everything you said, yes. I am trying to tease out the threads of who I am and who he is, and the parts we do together and the parts that belong to each of us separately.

  • Barbara Dean

    Happy Mother’s Day to one amazing Mama! Yes…you never truly appreciate your Mom until you are one! You picked a great Mom! Your daughter feels the same way about you!

  • Dearest Kate, thank you, what a place you’ve arrived at… the soul of motherhood. Whilst I’m not a Mother, you remind others that their authentic feelings are valid and can be raised without judgement. Blessings…

  • Paola

    Thank you Kate for so beautifully articulating how I have often felt over the past 7 years. Motherhood is the greatest blessing and I’m convinced one of its purpose is to teach us so much about the true meaning of Love and to help us learn about present present, and living in the present moment. When I think I can’t handle it, I remind myself often of this quotation in the Baha’i Writings which gives me strength every day: “Where there is love, nothing is too much trouble, and there is always time”- Abdul-Baha.
    God bless you and your wonderful mother. You too are doing a great job!

  • Tears streaming down my face as my baby girl (3 months old) lies sleeping in my arms as I read this. Too true. You nailed it. The greatest reward but biggest challenge. Keep being a super mom – you are awesome!!!

  • Liza Lake

    Wow! Congratulations Kate on this amazing new chapter of life. My girls are 5 and 8 and this post touched me to tears and so beautifully expressed what I – and I assume most mothers – feel. Thank you and many blessings?.

  • Kathie

    I do believe that is the greatest “card” ever written for a Mother, and spoken out of true love. Sooooo very moving. The tears in my heart know of all that you speak of. Such an honor, bestowed upon all of us that are Mothers’, taught lessons throughout our lives,………through the greates teacher of all, our own Mothers. Thank God we have the commen sense to wake up, acknowledge, pay tribute forward to the generations we birth, yet to that also to the true love of our hearts……..our mothers!

  • Dear Kate,

    You just single handedly captured the experience of motherhood. As I read this my head nodded with you. I let out “mmmm hmmms!” and felt like giving you a high five and then doing a shot of something. Haha. Then you wrote about how you dropped your daughter. And cue the flood gates of emotions.

    Thank you for being so honest and open. Thank you for capturing the emotions and experiences that we hold within us but sometimes are not able to express, and thank you for being you.

    Hugs and Skittles,

  • wow .. awesome powerful post .. thank you for sharing your’s and your mum’s wisdom! wonderful x

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