Before children, I merely loved. It was a selfish love. When my husband reached a hand across the table to snag something off my plate, I slapped it.

I know I love my children unconditionally. For instance, when I’ve just sat down at the kitchen table with a warm breakfast and my daughter crawls onto my lap and starts shoving it into her mouth, I don’t toss her across the room. I let her have some.

When I eat a cookie, I munch around the center until only the soft middle is left, the part I used to save for last and eat with relish, and then I hand it over to my son, who loves it, too.

When I recently came upon my daughter standing in a puddle—yes, a puddle—of diarrhea on the bathroom floor, my thought was, “You poor, sweet, lovely thing.” I would never have thought that about my husband.

When my son asks to play make-believe with his Angry Bird stuffed animals for the eight-thousandth time, I nod over my horror, grab the red bird, and pretend to launch it at a pig.

When my daughter shovels snow off of the lawn and onto the driveway, I smile.

When my children wake me up three times a night, and then enter our bedroom for good at 6am, I say, “Good morning” and pull them up to cuddle. This has been my hardest struggle. Since having children, I’ve learned that I am no good without adequate sleep. I’m touchy and angry. I have to swallow my urge to snap, and then on top of it, I have to smile. I am mostly successful at this.

Looking back over six years of being a mom, I think parenting is hard not because of dirty diapers, missed naps, or whining. Those are the details. What’s hard, for me anyway, is the fundamental transformation I’ve had to make. Henry and Clara have forced me to face my faults, to figure out what I don’t want them to emulate, and to change. Their well-being is important to me. And so I share. I compromise. I slough off the hard edges and I give them the soft center.








26 responses to “How I Know I Love My Children Unconditionally”

  1. Ginny Washburne Avatar

    Happy New Year! Love this post, especially the last picture 🙂 I agree that I’m also one who needs a good 8 hours sleep every night. It can be so hard not to yell, snap or be crabby when I don’t get it. But my 3 sweet boys need me to be there for them, sleep or no sleep. They deserve the best part of me, every minute of the day.

    1. Jessica Vealitzek Avatar

      It’s slightly embarrassing how hard it’s been for me to overcome my brattiness when I’m tired. Sometimes, I act like the child.

  2. Barbara Ackles Avatar
    Barbara Ackles

    Great post Jessica and I’m glad you are giving them the soft center. You are a great mom to my grandchildren!

  3. macjam47 Avatar

    My dear friend, this is such a beautiful post. I am sure you are a terrific momma. I felt the same way when my children were young, and now that they are adults, I still feel the same. We have more patience for our children, sacrifice for them, and worry about them no matter how young or old they are. There is nothing like a mother’s love, and yes, it is unconditional. Your children are beautiful! Enjoy each and every day with them.

    1. Jessica Vealitzek Avatar

      Thanks so much. Yes – I think while my children can sometimes bring out the worst in me, mostly it’s the best. I’m a better person for being their mother.

  4. Wendy Avatar

    Ah yes……the things we will do for our children! Great post as always and I completely agree! How they can get us so wrapped around their tiny little fingers is amazing!

    1. Jessica Vealitzek Avatar

      I think anything sounds cute coming out of a 3-year-old.

  5. Hallie Sawyer (@Hallie_Sawyer) Avatar

    I love the cookie analogy. I’m trying hard to find my soft center as I’ve been feeling a bit crunchy all over lately. But truly, lack of sleep may be the biggest reason so I get you on that topic.

    I think unconditional love is one our greatest gifts as parents. However, making sacrifices doesn’t necessarily mean we have to give up who we are as individuals. That is what makes families so special; it’s because of who YOU are and what you bring into the fold.

    By creating a cozy and loving home for our kids, we are giving them a solid foundation for how they will love their own families some day. I think that is worth every sacrifice.

    Love this post and LOVE the pics. What cutie patooties!

    1. Jessica Vealitzek Avatar

      Yes – definitely. The flip-side to this post, that’s just as true, is that I let my children see my flaws and I try to explain them to them. I don’t want them to think I’m perfect. I don’t want them to think they can have ALL my cookies. 🙂

  6. kmploetz Avatar

    I was trying to explain this concept to my daughter (6yo) two days ago. I wasn’t entirely successful, but perhaps with these kinds of examples I would be. Taking care of her through boo-boos and stomach bugs is the biggest way I know I have unconditional love for her; I am no Clara Barton that’s for sure but when she’s sick I am somehow so patient and not squeamish. If my hubs gets sick though? He’s on his own!

    1. Jessica Vealitzek Avatar

      Oh, yes. I have NO patience for my husband’s whining when he’s sick. You touched on one of the things I love about being a mom: this natural, Clara Barton-ish instinct that kicks in when one of the kids is sick.

  7. kmploetz Avatar

    Rats! I typed a comment but then it disappeared. But the nub of it was that it is when my daughter is sick (esp the stomach bugs!) that I am most aware of my unconditional love for her. I do not have a good bedside manner for anyone else, but her? Yes. The examples you use are so great. But the soft part of the cookie! Well you are a bigger person than me! 😉

    1. Jessica Vealitzek Avatar

      Nope, I think it worked! 🙂
      And, I don’t give the soft part ALL the time.

  8. Jess Witkins Avatar

    Aww, this was so sweet. I can see all the little things. Even with my nieces and nephew, I forgive them and give to them much more than my partner. LOL. Not sure I could give up the center of the cookie though. That’s tough!

    1. Jessica Vealitzek Avatar

      There are definitely times when I think to myself, “Hurry and eat it before he sees it.”

  9. Jessica Halepis (@nourished_mom) Avatar

    I love your image off sloughing off our hard edges and giving our children our softest centers. What is our work as parents if not this? Softening, loving, again and again.

    1. Jessica Vealitzek Avatar

      Yes – lovely comment. Over and over, a constant effort.

  10. Dawn Brazil Avatar

    This was a lovely post. I have children and they have totally changed me…in the best ways!

    1. Jessica Vealitzek Avatar

      Thank you, Dawn. It’s the same for me — it can be so hard, but nothing but good has come of it.

  11. Dana Avatar

    As a teenager, I remember wondering why my mother would do anything for me, regardless of what a brat I was being. Now that I’m a mom, I know. Lovely post, Jessica!

    1. Jessica Vealitzek Avatar

      Ha – yes. I can’t believe the way I sometimes treated my mom. But that’s the best part about unconditional love, the ability–almost an eagerness–to forgive.

  12. Nina Badzin Avatar

    Wonderful post for the new year, Jessica. Happy new year! And ditto to what Hallie said re: unconditional love.

    1. Jessica Vealitzek Avatar

      Thanks, Nina. Happy new year to you – and happy birthday!

  13. deborahbrasket Avatar

    What a lovely post and such sweet and amusing examples of unconditional love–although I am beginning to question how unconditional my love really is. I’m not sure I would give up the soft part of the cookie to anyone! (Well, maybe half of it).

    1. Jessica Vealitzek Avatar

      I admit to hiding the fact that there’s even a cookie to eat in the first place. Sometimes I wolf it down so he won’t know and then ask for it.

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