Happiness · Readers' Favorites

Will the Real Mom Please Stand Up?

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“What is REAL?” the Velveteen Rabbit asked the Skin Horse one day. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

“Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’

― Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

Motherhood has awakened a Realness in me I did not know existed. An overwhelming love–almost more than I can bear.  My existence has taken on a completely different meaning.

I am truly living.

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‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit. 

‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’ 

― Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

Motherhood is painful. It involves hurt I never understood before.

My life is consumed with love for these tiny beings, and all which concerns them takes center stage on my heartstrings.

Deep.

Intense.

Overwhelming.

I do not care. I would take a million more pains to simply feel their loving touch once more.

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‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” 

Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

I sag where I once stood tight. My hair tends to come out in clumps. Bags and creases are already on their way to taking form.

I am much more soft.

I am much more tired.

It does not matter, for the first time in my life, I am REAL.

I am the Real mother of the two greatest miracles. They think I am beautiful; who can tell me differently?

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 To all the Real mothers out there:

With each patch lost, with each new loosened area of skin, with each touch, you are loved–truly loved–and you are Real. Embrace the end of sharp edges and carefully kept figures. Nothing compares to the worn rabbit.

She is the one truly living.

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64 thoughts on “Will the Real Mom Please Stand Up?

  1. I remember getting ready for something in my room, fussing over how I looked … frustrated that my dress didn’t fit the same way as before, that makeup couldn’t hide the dark circles under my eyes, that the mirror accurately reflected how “real” I looked. And when I walked out of my room, my 5-year-old looked up at me and said, “Mommy, you’re pretty.”

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    1. I do not ever remember reading it until my daughter was born. Now, I keep it up high so it does not find itself destroyed–it is such a precious story!

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  2. What an awesome idea for a post! I’ve read a lot of “love yourself” posts, but none of them had me nodding “yes” along as I read. I also feel like I’m only now truly living and you’ve put my bags, wrinkles, sagginess, and gray in context.

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    1. Thank you Soph!! Yes, so true!! Each day I think we become more and more Real. This is why those with grown children seem to be so full of wisdom. They have reached the ultimate realness, and experienced the deepest of pains–even seeing their children finally leave them.

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  3. This is so, so beautiful and I have tears in my eyes reading this. Thank you for sharing. I definitely feel so much more real now that I have my beautiful little girl.

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    1. Oh, it means so much to me to know it touched you this way! They really do create a Real individual–a woman who lives and breathes for something so much bigger than herself.

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  4. One of my favorite motherhood quotes is by Jodi Picolt and it says, “Sometimes when you pick up your child you can feel the map of your own bones beneath your hands, or smell the scent of your skin in the nape of his neck. This is the most extraordinary thing about,motherhood-finding a piece of yourself separate and apart that all the same you could not live without.”
    Another favorite is “Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did – that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that – a parent’s heart bared, beating forever outside its chest.”
    Motherhood absolutely leaves you open and raw, vulnerable to every emotion at all times… it can be painful because you feel everything at a depth you never knew existed. Its absolutely gut wrenching at times, but also absolutely beautiful!

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  5. Girl…you are amazing. As a mother of now grown sons, trust me when I say you will always feel this way. I never understood true “unconditional” love until I had my sons. You realize what life is…what living is…and even as they get older, you still hurt when they hurt and yes, even that “mama bear” syndrome occasionally rears its head when they are mistreated!! A mother’s heart truly never goes away…I have a tendency to “mother” all those in my life. It is the hardest, yet best job I have ever experienced! The beauty of age is that although I think my “velveteen rabbit” status may be a tad more loose than before, I am more real now than ever before. I love this book and you my friend have allowed me to love it even more. Enjoy those babies…and don’t blink.

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    1. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this!! Such a beautiful picture of the seasoned mother, the empty nester still madly in love with her now grown babies. You are very worn, very patched, and yet you are the most beautiful of all. I LOVE hearing from the wisdom of older moms–thank you for this insight!

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  6. Oh, Sasha….this gave me goosebumps! What a perfect coupling and with one of the best children’s stories of all time (not to mention one of my favourites!) Oh, I can’t even find a comment with enough panache to tell you how deep in my core this struck me.

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  7. Beautifully written. I can totally relate even though I am a new mom – of an 8 month old. Reading this, made me feel connected to all the moms out there. Thanks, what a great post!

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    1. Thank you!! I am so happy to hear this! You are at a rough stage–the baby year seems to break you in completely, right off the bat. Welcome to the worn rabbit club! It really is the greatest and most Real adventure ever! 🙂

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    1. The comparison is just so perfect to a mother’s own desires and being! With all your softness comes an intimately deep love–one worth it all! 🙂

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    1. Thank you so much Rebekah!! Motherhood seems to find the most intrinsic beauty–real and raw beauty, which proceeds from within. Keep finding yourself touched and worn more and more each day beautiful momma! 🙂

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  8. How amazingly beautifully put. And so true, I have always felt that the person I was before becoming a mother was like a wooden marionette waiting for the stings to be cut… but your description hits the nail on the head (repeatedly!)

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    1. Oh, I love your analogy–how true it is!! It is like our lives were spent in preparation for this miraculous time! Thank you for your kind words!!

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  9. This is just beautiful and your writing is gorgeous. I too love how you intertwined the book. I will really try to remember this in moments when I’m down on myself or feeling rubbish and frumpy. Being a Mother is most definitely a beautiful thing to be 🙂

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    1. Thank you for your kind words; they really mean so very much to me! Yes, always remember how beautiful you truly are–worn, torn, or frumpy–you are the most beautiful of all, for you are loved!

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  10. Beautiful! Now I’m teary-eyed at 8:50 in the morning. Haha…thanks for that. I’m trying (and failing a lot of days) to accept how beautiful and wonderful my kids tell me I am. I tend to point out the reasons I am not….and that sparkle in their eyes fades. By then…it is too late. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder….and my kids adore me. I’m inspired to see me through their eyes because I have a feeling it is a lot closer to how God sees me through His. 🙂 I feel a blog post coming on…..”When Weeds Become Beautiful” 🙂 Thanks!!

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    1. Vanesa, I was so blessed to find your comment this morning! You are beautiful, to the ones who truly matter, and even more, to the One who means everything. I hope you write your post and let me know when you do!! 🙂

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