It means smiling at the number rising on a scale for months.
It means filling out endless paperwork, praying for open doors, and flying to faraway places to bring your baby home.
It means drinking chocolate milkshakes mixed with castor oil because everyone swears it will put you into labor.
It means looking away as you pass by the mirror on your way to the shower in between feedings. Sometimes it means not showering at all.
It means laundry- lots and lots of laundry.
It means slobber on your clothes and spit-up in your hair.
It means hiding the book that you read 267 times last week, because if they don't see it, they won't ask for it; and if they don't ask for it, you won't have to read it; and if you don't have to read it, you will be able to be Nice Mommy instead of The Mommy No One Wants to Meet.
It means planning them birthday parties when you are pretty sure they don't know you were ever even born, much less the date of your birth.
It means choosing to play Yahtzee (again) instead of painting your toenails.
It means staring at the ceiling on a romantic getaway and wishing your kids were under the same roof- except not really.
It means buying organic milk for them, and a venti latte for you.
It means wearing NFL-licensed clothing for a team you never knew existed prior to this flag football season.
It means longing for them to grow out of their immaturity and dreading the day they grow out of your lap.
It means handing out hot cocoa to quiet children in their beds, just because you can.
It means every apology matters and every choice to forgive has no strings attached.
It means having more kisses than you could ever give, more advice than they will ever want to hear, and greater love than you knew was possible.
It means saving money you would rather spend, and spending money you would rather save.
It means trips to the ER with deep, whispered prayers behind a comforting, smiling face.
It means buying sensible clothing, durable furniture, and
It means being behind in the dishes and the laundry and your reading lists and your favorite shows, because you are trying keep up with the lives of too many people doing too many things.
It means collapsing on the sofa next to your husband and crying because the children you love were mean to you today.
It means realizing you will never be able to do it all, and focusing on what is most meaningful.
It means dying to some of your fancy, girlish dreams and loving the way your imperfect life makes you more accessible to your children.
It means leading them by the hand into new worlds that you will never be able to fully understand, and letting them become more and do more than you could ever be or do yourself.
It means saying goodbye with a smile, and carefully wrapping your sadness up in the hope of reunion.
Yes, being a mama means many, many things. But most of all, it means you will never be the same again...
...and you wouldn't have it any other way.