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You’re A Good Mama

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The Nurtured Mommy

By: Denise E. Bailey   |   February 1, 2024

Everything She Does is Magic By: Kerri Rosenthal 

It is February, which means love is in the air whether you are celebrating the love of yourself, your partner, your child(ren), and/or your family. I have written two articles for the Crier on this topic over the years; the first about interracial marriage titled The Bubble and last about how to Love Yourself (which is so much harder than it sounds). But this year my heart felt a deep need to write about loving other mamas in our lives by loving ourselves. The different phases of motherhood can be both exhilarating and overwhelming at the same time. They are filled with awe and wonder in addition to exhaustion and doubt and everything in between. When I first became a mama, it was pretty euphoric. After almost seven years of trying to start a family . . . we finally became parents to this amazing little soul.

We had one embryo left and never thought twice about trying again. We were so grateful for the family we had and truly welcomed the thought of adding another daughter to our lives. In the fall of 2017 we left our home as a family of three and came back as a family of 5. Yep, the last embryo split into two identical girls. Here we were with three healthy and amazing daughters . . . and I was drowning in grief, guilt, exhaustion, and overwhelm. We lost my mother-in-law and father the same month our twins were born. We moved out of Marin to be closer to family and my husband left behind his law career and stepped into the world of finance. I used to think these were the reasons why, but six years later I am starting to sort through this fog and come face to face with the thoughts and feelings that consumed me.


The media, my upbringing, and my own lack of understanding created an unconscious definition of what equates to a good mom. I was able to live up to my standard as a mama of one, but continuously failed as a mama of three. Baths didn’t happen every night, nursing twins exclusively was impossible for me, predictable routines were insanely hard to maintain, and running a family business while mothering full-time often left me no time to rest. No matter what I did, I continuously failed…myself. And I found myself spinning in confusion, comparison, and overwhelm. I believed because I wanted this my whole life that I’d just be good at it. I never gave myself the grace to learn, try, fail, and try again. I believed that because I was failing at times, I was a failure as a mama and that I was failing all three of them (especially our oldest).


Over the holidays we were at a family dinner when my brother told me from across the table that I was a good mommy. I don’t know why, but I burst into uncontrollable tears. I tried to crack a joke about how the tears would mess up my gobs of mascara but I couldn’t stop them from flowing. Why after knowing better did I not feel this statement was true? Why could I not accept this to be true? What was I still holding in there? What do I need to release? I promise I am leaning into this discomfort and exploring my answers.


So, now I challenge you to sit down with a pen and paper and take a few minutes to see what comes up when I tell you that you are a good mother. Children were raised in villages (and still are in many parts of the world), but we often tackle this tremendous role by ourselves. Why? Is it our ego that stands in the way of sharing how we are really doing and/or asking for help? Is it because it is a cultural norm?  Is it our own traumas playing out to be better than and/or beat the other mama or sadly even our own?


There is no rank for how long you were in labor or how many kids you have or how long you tried to become a mother. Our journey is ours and it’s all we know. So the next time a mama tells you their horrific birthing story, stay quiet and listen. Let her know she’s amazing. Let her feel seen and heard. And when a mama talks about how horrible canola is for children because of a recent study she read, take a deep breath and release the guilt from using it last week in a Trader Joe’s boxed banana bread mix. You are enough.


The only way we can love others is to love ourselves. Start practicing loving the other mothers you come across in your community. You don’t have to be their best friend, and/or friend even, you just have to show them empathy (even if from afar). I believe this will help us navigate these phases with more ease while showing our children how to treat and interact with other women. Imagine a world where our own daughters don’t have to go through these silent struggles alone. Where they are still enough even when they fail and struggle because we have shown them that perfectionism is an illusion and impossible.


Journal Prompts:

  • What comes up when you explore the reality that you are a good mama? Why?
  • What do you need to forgive yourself for? Your own mother? The mothers around you?
  • If you were talking to your daughter and she just had your grand-child, what would you want her to know (you might forget by then so keep this somewhere safe)? Write her letters in the raw and authentic moments of your journey.


*Art titled: Everything She Does is Magic By: Kerri Rosenthal and can be purchased HERE

Denise is a coffee lover, over-sharer, and truth seeker who is dedicated to vulnerably discussing the not so pretty parts of this amazing role. She is inspired by her three daughters to help women manage their expectations, let go of perfectionism, and lean into their enoughness. Denise is working on becoming a published author while simultaneously trying to figure out how to truly nurture herself in the midst of motherhood and beyond.
Read more on her Instagram @thenurturedmommy
More from this issue:

All You Need is Self-Love Read >> 

For the Love of Science Read >> 

Keeping the Flame Alive Read >> 

The Gift of Love is in the Air - Literally! CO2 Levels in the Bedroom Read >> 

The Redwoods: A Community of Seniors Read >> 

You’re A Good Mama Read >>