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May 9, 2019

A reflection on my first year as ‘mom’ – and an open letter to all moms

Contributed by: Toni Berrafato, Program Evaluation Specialist 

10 days after my first Mother’s Day, year one of motherhood will come to a close. Over the past year,  I’ve shared with you my first drop-off, my first month as a “working mom”, and my feelings about relying on child care.


As I reflect, I keep coming back to the thought that I, as Aria’s mom, haven’t done anything especially extravagant in this first year. In fact, it all feels quite ordinary. Aria has grown from a tiny little newborn into this little person who has a feisty personality of her own. I can’t help but sit back and think; What have I done? And, was it “enough” to deserve a special day to celebrate?

Recently, I met with a good friend of mine who became a mother around the same time. She said to me that “The mom-guilt is real” and gave me a big dose of reality when I expressed to her feelings of inadequacy because I failed to plan an extravagant first birthday party “at a place that suited my vision”.


It was then that I realized this party was for me. Let’s face it— Aria isn’t going to care where the party is, what the decorations are, or how many people are in attendance. She will care that I am there. In that moment, I was brought back to reality and remembered what I already knew—children aren’t looking for the “perfect” mom, they’re looking for THEIR mom.

With that, I want to leave you with this open letter.


This Mother’s Day, you deserve to be celebrated because you contributed to these moments simply because you were there.


Dear Moms,

Celebrate this Mother’s Day, not because you did everything right, but because you did everything you could to be the best possible version of yourselves for your children.

  • For the long nights where you woke up with them just one more time, despite the fact that you felt like you might fall over if you stood up. You got out of bed, you soothed them back to sleep, and you sacrificed another hour to help them.
  • For the days where you thought about them all day long at work.
  • For the evenings where you wanted to crawl into bed and go to sleep at 5 o’clock, but instead you cooked dinner, read a book, and played with them until 8 pm.
  • For the times when you took them to the museum, or the zoo, and taught them something new.
  • For celebrating each milestone, no matter how small. The first time the word dog, “gog”, was said you jumped for joy. The first time she rolled over you cheered her on, and the first time she walks you’ll be her biggest cheerleader.
  • For reading their favorite book eight thousand times.
  • For taking them on walks and showing them the neighborhood.
  • For being you, because you are all that your children need.


Let yourself be celebrated, because even if it doesn’t always feel like you’ve done a whole lot right—you’ve done a whole lot. Happy Mother’s Day!