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Mendo Lake Family Life

Motherhood Turned Me into a Sap

By Jessica Guerrieri

There was a time, in my pre-child existence, when I’d roll my eyes with the best of them. Photos of chunky babies inside watering cans would tug at my smile muscles but leave my heartstrings firmly intact. I was confident that motherhood would not make me into a blubbering sap or someone who could be anything other than horrified at the sight of graphic birthing videos. 

But then came children—and the feels. Somehow my kids magically provoke the entire spectrum of human emotions in me on a daily basis. In general, I am softer and more fragile because they are in the world. If, scrolling the Internet, I see an image of tiny footsteps in the sand, I’ll search Etsy for a throw pillow emblazoned with that same image—plus a quote about the fleeting nature of childhood embroidered underneath it. I’ll also likely ugly-cry even before I click “add to cart.” 

Recently, a friend, the last holdout of my childless buddies, had a baby. In college, we bonded over our shared hatred of kissy pictures and dads wearing their children as accessories. When I asked her what she thought of motherhood so far, she texted me a picture of her husband rocking a Baby Bjorn, underneath it, a line of happy-crying emojis. “It’s all those sappy, clichéd things we used to make fun of,” she wrote. I can’t wait to get that first Christmas card featuring all of them in matching flannel PJs.

Motherhood sap follows me everywhere. On Saturday, I completed my fifth half marathon. One of the pacers in front of me shouted words of encouragement to runners that looked like they were currently regretting all of their life choices. Just as one man shook his head in surrender, the pacer and a small group of cheering racers linked arms with him so that he would keep moving forward. It was a glimpse of goodness that left my insides gooey and propelled me towards the finish line. Afterwards, I asked a mom-friend who had completed the race if she, too, had gotten choked up during the run. “Of course!” she said. “On mile 12, where I had trained with my son in the stroller, I heard his little voice telling me I could do it and that empowered me to get to the end.”

Nope, I can’t roll my eyes anymore.

Sure, it’s been an adjustment. For instance, strangers in the street look at me funny when I tell them things like, “It’s nothing. I’m just remembering the grandpa who rode a tandem bike with his grandson to school drop-off this morning.” But I like this vulnerable side of me. It’s so much more liberating to crawl out from behind the tissue box and unapologetically own these emotions. I’m not sure who coined the term “all the feels,” but my money is on a mother.  

Jessica Guerrieri is a mom and a freelance writer/blogger. Find her at and on Instagram @witandspitup.