This month has been, in a word, amazing. I turned 30 on the first and it has been a whirlwind since.

In the past 27 days, I have been indoor skydiving, ran a Tough Mudder with 10 of my close friends, ran my PR for a half marathon at 2:14:04, went on a cruise with my husband and his family with just my oldest child, ran a 20 mile training run with my running partner extraordinaire, flew to New Orleans, attended my first NFL (Packers of course) game and am currently gearing up for a 22 mile and final long run for my second full marathon in November.

This month has been about as full as any month I have ever experienced. It seems as soon as I finish one adventure, another one is needing preparation.

It has also been a month of changes for my kiddos. They are very used to a set schedule with very little deviation. They are also very used to having Mommy 100% of the time. With all the travel and crazy plans, they have been champs going to and from new places, with various people that I will henceforth refer to as my “Angels on Earth”.

I am so very blessed to have so many people that not only have made my birthday month special, but have done so by service to my children. I cannot imagine what my life would be like without these Angels. I have not once been concerned about my children’s well-being or care. I have missed them immensely but I have been so comfortable in knowing that where they are is perfectly safe. That is not something that a mom of four can say easily. My children are so blessed to have many Aunts and Uncles- some by blood and some by choice- that pour into their lives.

I have also fought my own insecurities through this month- the desire to feel guilt at experiencing time away from my kiddos.
I am a Mom. 110% of the time, my babies are on my mind. In a typical month, 110% of the time, they are also in my care. I would rather do nothing else with my life than raise them. They are my highest calling and my chosen privilege. I delight in being their mother. I relish being called Mommy. Motherhood was the desire of my heart before I can even remember.

Motherhood is also hard. It’s lonely and challenging and confusing and draining and humbling and constant. Oh so constant. It has a way of stripping away your selfishness that is both glorious and horrifying. I never realized how self-centered I was until motherhood displayed my inward desires in not-so-flattering ways.

But back to amazing. It has been an amazing month of getting to be me in ways I haven’t been able to be “me” in years. I don’t normally get to browse the Internet or read a book or eat a meal without wiping someone’s face or getting a drink or cleaning up a spilled glass. I don’t normally get to hold my husbands hand and walk down the street or laugh until my sides hurt with friends that mean the world to me without having to correct the manners of a not-so-polite child. I don’t normally get to have uninterrupted conversations or enjoy a cup of coffee and sit for 30 minutes alone because with four small ones, there’s always something to be done or wiped or kissed or cleaned.

These are all things I enjoy and took for granted before motherhood. So the challenge has been letting myself relish these moments and not worry about what my kids are doing or thinking. The challenge is letting myself be me so that their mommy can be a better mommy when she gets home.

I used to think that being a mom only counted when I was present. I used to think that if I wasn’t there constantly, then I was robbing my children of something. That the lack of my presence was somehow less than what mothering should be.

I’m slowly realizing that motherhood is much more than that- and that can sometimes mean less. Sometimes motherhood is enjoying a night to yourself while your children play board games with the most amazing friend and babysitter. Sometimes motherhood is letting them watch a movie so you can lay in bed and nurse an injury- or just enjoy a few seconds of quiet. Sometimes motherhood is having your friend watch your baby because they want to experience the joy of having a child around. Sometimes motherhood is allowing your child to spend a week out of school so she can play with her Aunts.

Sometimes motherhood is not being present.

Sometimes it’s teaching your children that before they were here, mommy did other things besides make dinner, fold laundry and find that one shoe that somehow ALWAYS manages to get lost. Sometimes motherhood is allowing yourself to be selfish every once in a while.

My children will always be the second most important thing to me. But eventually, they grow up. They will move on. They will have dreams and desires and lives of their own. My daughters will one day have husbands and children of their own. I want them to see in me the example that I gave them the best of me. But I also want them to have the example that I still am me. I don’t want them to think they can’t enjoy time for themselves. I don’t want to perpetuate an unrealistic view of motherhood. I don’t want them to measure their worth by the time that they do or do not spend with their children. I want them to confidently choose to allow themselves time to be just them.

Because in the end, I believe my children won’t remember the time I abandoned them to go have fun without them. I believe they will remember the awesome week that they got to spend the night with a friend, or the time they got to swim in an apartment pool, or the time that they made forts in the living room with someone who loved them. And I choose to let myself be ok that not all those fun memories will be with Mommy and Daddy.

Because sometimes Mommy and Daddy need a break. And sometimes my kiddos need someone besides Mommy to love them. And sometimes…. that’s ok.