Mother’s day has so much baggage associated with it, amiright? 

I ran a google search for things to thank moms for, and at the top of the list was the old “She gave birth to you.” and “She gave you her eye color.” 


I didn’t do those things for my son. Because, as many of you know, we adopted him. We put in different struggles and crafted different connections – non-biological ones. Despite sharing zero genetic material, there are so many times when I think “he got that from me” or from his dad. (Ironically, he actually does have our eye color!) And he clearly sees us as his parents. He is definitely our son. 

family photo of me, my husband, and my 4-yr-old son

It got me thinking…

Moms, when did you feel like you were a mom? Like – truly – it’s a given, this child is yours and you are theirs, and there’s no question about it.

Because I had this feeling recently. There was no good reason for it, I think it’s just that he’s gotten old enough now that he can express himself clearly and part of that expression reflects back to me that he knows I’m his mom.

I put the question out to my community.

One mom said, Sometimes it still hits me that I’m a mom and that other people see me as a mom, including my daughter. Mothers day makes me angry because of my own relationship with my mom, or lack thereof. I’m not traditional. I think while other people know I’m a mom they give me the side eye a lot.”

And there it is – the judgement. Why do we care so much whether other people see us as a mom? I’m not trying to make light of this fear – I know I struggle with similar issues.

Another mom said, My daughter was 4 when I started fostering her. Everyone kept saying ‘Happy Mother’s Day ‘. I felt like such an imposter. I still catch myself thinking ‘I have a 6 year old who calls me mom, how crazy is that?’ “

Yet another chimed in, “I think the first time I felt like an official mom was the first parent/teacher conference I attended in kindergarten. I always felt like an imposter pretending to be a mom because I was just guessing. I had no idea if I was doing it right. However, parent/teacher conferences meant I was responsible for a human who was out in the world.”

Out in the world…is that what it takes to be legit? 

What it comes down to is that there’s a lot of second guessing – from us and from those around us. Many people judge, and many feel judged. Why do we feel the need to tear ourselves – and each other – down, instead of lifting up? Is it because each journey is so incredibly personal?

One of the most poignant comments was this: “I’ve had other women tell me I did not ever give birth because I had two c sections. There’s just so much gatekeeping and judgement into the quality of our motherhood and birth experience.”

So I ask again…when did you feel like you were a mom? Like – truly – it’s a given, this child is yours and you are theirs, and there’s no question about it.

Or have you gotten there? Does it feel like a joke, or like you’re an imposter? Does it feel like it’s been clear since the moment you laid eyes on each other? Or was it clear long before?

Do you feel like other people question your authenticity as a mom? Do you worry that your credentials aren’t up to snuff? Did you feel like you had to do a lot of reading or research to justify your instincts…

Please share your experience. And, in the meantime…

Here 15 things to appreciate in mothers:

  1. They keep going even on little sleep.
  2. They laugh in times when they feel like crying.
  3. They make the world better with a simple smile.
  4. They see the beauty in their child’s creativity
  5. They want to make a difference
  6. They sacrifice their own needs
  7. They’ll listen to the whole story, even if it takes forever and starts multiple times.
  8. They drive here and there and everywhere and back to here and there and everywhere again.
  9. They invent amazing meals from limited ingredients.
  10. They understand the art of playing games at the right pace so that everyone has fun.
  11. They have the ability to translate toddler language.
  12. They can find the one clean pair of socks in the house.
  13. Can make broken things work again.
  14. They know the exact variations on voices that make stories come alive.
  15. They believe in their kids and their dreams.


Also check out this list of amazing moms from the history books

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