I remember when my fourth child was born. A big beautiful baby boy. That’s a lot of b’s. After he was born, a lot of people congratulated me on (finally) managing to have a boy after 3 girls. But I wasn’t hoping for a boy. And I wasn’t hoping for a girl either. I was excited about welcoming a new person to our family, and if it was another girl, I would have been just as thrilled!

I couldn’t wait for my three girls to meet their brother. Here they are watching TV on my hospital bed.

motherhood sacrifices

I remember coming home from hospital to my brood of children under 6 years of age. And Motherhood hit me with full force. Motherhood. It’s filled with so much joy. Incredible really. But there is also a lot of sacrifice involved. And I can tell you, I felt it especially when my children were little. Right from when you carry your first child within you, your body doesn’t belong to you anymore. And it doesn’t stop when the child is born. So much of what is “yours” ceases to be anymore. In a way you, your body, and your life is dictated by your role as Mother.

What you eat can affect pregnancy and breastfeeding.

When you eat depends on when you have a spare moment (and sometimes you hide in the pantry to eat a piece of chocolate so you don’t need explain to a 2-year-old, why they can’t have some).

What you wear depends on how much vomit and snot you are prepared to have on a particular outfit.

When you dress you need to allow for breastfeeding and looking after little children. This means dresses are sometimes out…and dangly earrings, and long hair left out, and necklaces, and rings, and a lot of other things.

When you sleep, and how long for, depends how sick your children are, when they are teething and a myriad of other reasons.

What you do and where you go depends on how settled your child is and a million other variables.

The home needs to be child proof, and is rarely tidy when you have a toddler tearing around pulling everything out.

You can’t go anywhere without a huge bag filled with mumsy things.

You can almost never sit down for a more than a few minutes, even when you’re trying to have coffee with a friend.

You’re constantly (absolutely constantly) responsible for keeping another person alive.

Sometimes you feel like a machine, always providing for the needs of other and cease to exist as an individual person.

It’s like you need to consult 100 variables before you make any decision! And that can be extremely draining. This may not be true for everyone, but it was for me. I’m not trying to paint a negative picture of motherhood. Being a mum is an incredible privilege. And if anyone asked me whether I would recommend becoming a parent I would say, without hesitation, “YES!” Best thing that happened to me. However, the sacrifices involved in parenting, at any stage, are real.

My baby boy is now almost 4 and my eldest will soon be 10. I’ve entered a new phase of parenting, filled with school issues, attitudes and extracurricular activities. I can tell you, all the sacrifices when children are little — all the wearing nights and long days; all the giving of yourself, and your body — it’s all worth it! And it’s ALL IMORTANT!

You see, while being a mum is always going to involve sacrifice (because that’s part of the beauty of it), it does change. You will get (most of) your body back. You will be able to go away for a weekend (childless) with your spouse. You will be able to sit for more than 2 minutes at a time while the kids play. You will find yourself again. It does happen.

If you’re in the midst of raising little kids, feeling weary, and my story rings true to you, I’m telling you from the other side: What you are doing is vital, even when no one notices. It’s an investment, so keep on keeping on and keep on loving the moment. While it may not be clear now, you’ll look back and see all the moments for what they are: pieces of a beautiful masterpiece.

Anything worth something involves sacrifice. And it terms of worth, Motherhood is absolute gold. Believe it!


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Kelly loves life at both ends of the spectrum: wearing high heel shoes one day and hiking boots the next; sipping tea out of a pretty cup and slurping hot coffee from a camping mug; challenging herself physically and stopping for quiet unhurried moments to feel the wind on her face. Kelly and her husband Matthew seek to live a fun and adventurous life with their four children and pet bird.

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  1. Chic says

    I wouldnt change a thing when it comes to having my kids, Im a stronger, more loving devoted person with a strong desire to protect these little people that came from my own tummy. But Finally Im glad someone has told it like it really is everyday. To me every other mother always looked like they were coping and it was a breeze for them…. What was I doing so wrong to be exhausted all the time, not dolled up to go the shops any more, not have the energy to go play at the park ect….. Its good to know behind close doors…. what I was feeling and going through was actually the norm!
    In a world full of judgy people though it can really make you second guess every move you make whilst trying to do the most DIFFICULT job on earth.
    Add ever increasing PND to that and its a double workload emotionally, mentally and physically :-)

  2. says

    Hi Kelly,
    I have a very similar story. I have 3 girls 4,6 & 8 and my little boy who is 21 months. Life is very busy at the moment with them still all being relatively young and especially this week when we’ve all been sick I realise how much we sacrifice but I wouldn’t want it any other way.

  3. Toni says

    Thanks for posting my babes are 1 and 3 right now and there are days I feel frozen in time with the thought ‘this is it; this is my life.’ it can be hard to balance looking forward to the next stage too much and then missing out on all of the things that are special about the stage they are in right now. Perspective is always key I think.

  4. ang says

    Thank you for this post. It is perfect timing for a tired Mum that feels like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Especially when the kids are sick.

  5. Marsha says

    Thanks for this. it is vital to talk about the hard parts of mothering. Because huggies ads lie. Because when you have a newborn, when you’re a first-time mum, when your whole world has been turned upside down, you’re not supposed to say that things aren’t fabulous. You have to pretend that everything is wonderful, because otherwise that’s being “negative”. And we can’t have that. So let’s pretend that everything is perfect, and even though we don’t sleep for years, let’s just pretend that we’re used to it now. Even though we’re not.

  6. Lucy says

    Thank you so much… I really really needed to hear this. I have a boisterous, hyperactive, lovely but challenging 2-year old boy, and a 9-week old baby boy, who has been ill since the day he was born (he had heart surgery at 10 days). I have just been diagnosed with PND and all anybody ever says to me is “Oh, you think it’s hard now? Just you wait!”
    Why do women do this to each other? It’s like telling newly pregnant mums birth horror stories… Why?

  7. Jess says

    Thank you for making me feel not so guilty about how I feel- currently pregnant with number four (all under 6). It’s ok to need some space xo

  8. Karen says

    A great read! This mirrors my life quite closely, except i had 4 girls before i got my beuautiful boy! I even had another mother with 2 boys say to me “Well, NOW you’ll know what it’s like to be a mother..!” ???? I love being a mum, and i wholeheartedly agree with you about sacrifice. Mother Teresa said that love is sacrifice. Through our great sacrifices we show our love xx

  9. Asya says

    Oh wow, I really needed to read this. Thank you!!
    Mom of Boy 7, Boy 4 and Girl 16 mo in the mindst of the pity-party :))))

  10. Hayley A says

    Wow I think I needed this read also! Almost ready to drop with #3 and have two active boys at home 3yo and 20months. Feeling like I’m alwys complaining how hard things are right now and trying so hard not to miss the beautiful moments hidden amongst the negotiations and chores! Thank you

  11. Jo says

    Love this! My 4th is due in 3 months, a girl after 3 boys!! So similar to your story as I will also be a mummy to 4 kids under 6, aaaargh! Very exciting but rather daunting…
    I too tell friends that when you become a mother you basically give up the life you had and begin a new one… Some of them get a little offended at that comment but I believe it to be true if you want to be a ‘good’ mum!
    Lovely to hear your story, there are others like me! And it will get easier- I hope..
    Jo x

  12. Therese says

    Thank you for this Kelly, have just finished reading it with tears in my eyes. Will be sticking this on the fridge!! So good to know and I love the notion that we are all creating our own ‘beautiful masterpiece’

  13. Kate says

    Thanks for your encouragement. I have three beautiful girls – 4, 2, 1 and 6 weeks pregnant with baby number 4. With all my heart I hope for a happy, healthy, baby. Good to be reminded of the joy in amongst the morning sickness and other adventures. Thanks for sharing your heart. xo

  14. Nicole says

    Thank you! I NEEDED to read this after my terrible run this month. I too have four under six, three girls and a baby boy. It has been a very trying few weeks in our house with medical issues for several members in the family and general parenting all crashing down on me at once. Great to hear that the hard work is worth it! ??????

  15. says

    Thank you Kelly, I loved this! I’m a mum to a 2 and almost 5 year old, and also work/study pretty much full time. It’s no secret that I find this incredibly challenging! I’ve been a bit despondent recently, but your post, which was so honest and yet encouraging, has made my week. (It made me cry a bit too). x

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