Need a shot in the arm for your homeschool?

Get Thrive Together, a monthly email that brings you:

  • the best of the homeschool blogosphere,
  • current happenings in education-land,
  • and great quotes that will refresh your homeschool mama mind.

Yes, I want Thrive Together!

* indicates required

Recent Posts

Some links on this site are affiliate links. A percentage of qualifying purchases support this site. 

HFC is powered by SiteGround.

Subscribe to our Mailing List

Get the news right in your inbox!

Privacy Policy

On My Last Baby’s First Birthday: Reflections on the Physicality of Mothering

On My Last Baby’s First Birthday: Reflections on the Physicality of Mothering

Unless God has other plans for our family, which He very well might, this month marked our last baby’s first birthday. I’m simultaneously sad and celebrating. This starts a new phase of mothering, and I think it’s worth it to pay attention to the physicality of it all. God made us physical beings. He formed us out of the dust of the ground breathing the breath of life into our very lungs. He incarnated His Son; God is with us. The physical matters. With that, here are a few truths I’ve noticed:

baby girl first birthday cake

There’s a reason God designed us to have babies when we’re young.

If you’re an older mom and you’re reading this, you know what I mean. Having babies at 22 is different than at 32. And at 42? Lord have mercy. Whereas my first baby’s first year took the 12 months you’d expect, this 5th baby bent the space-time continuum and made it to a year old in a mere 3 months. 5th babies (and 6th, 7th, and so on) are magical like that.

There’s just no getting around the physical toll having young kids takes on a person.

It’s constant. One day I will not be physically hauling children all the time. I think about that day with both relief and melancholy. We went for a hike a couple of weekends ago with local homeschooling friends and I did a good portion of it while carrying two children. Multiple moms and dads offered to carry one of them, but they wanted Mom, so Mom carried them. That’s both exhausting and lovely, hard physical work and wearing baby and hugging toddler on a hikeIt’s an unavoidable physical toll—one that shows itself in myriad ways, including the sunburst of stretchmarks I’ve had since almost 12 years ago when I was pregnant with my first. It’s the ab muscles I literally felt ripping apart as they separated to make room for that first growing baby. It’s the umbilical hernia and diastasis recti that have never healed because I’ve spent so many years pregnant, postpartum, and then pregnant again. It’s the knot in the left side of my neck and the hitch in my hip that feel permanetly there because it just doesn’t feel right to hold the baby or toddlers on my right side. No amount of massage or chiropractic care has yet fixed that. Let’s not even mention what sneezing, coughing and laughing does to the business downstairs. Ladies 10 or 20 years older than me tell me I’m young, but at 34 I feel more tired than I’ve ever felt before.

When the kids are tired, you likely are too.

Yet that’s usually when you have to carry their flailing, fit-throwing bodies, or their limp noodle, sleeping selves to wherever you’re going. There’s the getting up at night. Or, if you co-sleep like me, you’re not getting “up” necessarily, but it has been well over a year since my last night of uninterrupted sleep. When I’m chatting with friends, they’ll recall stories, saying, “Remember when…” and no, I don’t remember when because for the last 7 years my brain cells have not gotten real, solid rest.

Yet, there’s SO MUCH JOY.

So much. Like, baby and toddler snuggles all the livelong day. I get to smooch baby feet. (Weird maybe, but they’re baby feet, y’all). I snuggle little people who don’t squirm away, but beg to be held longer. I get to run aroud the backyard with kids who haven’t yet decided that their mother is an out-of-touch idiot from another century who only says “No” to oppress them. I tickle and get these giggles that, if I could package them up, would sell for millions because they are the Hope Diamonds of the auditory world.

For me, and I hope for you, it’s never been a question of whether it’s been worth it. But, like the laugh lines, crow’s feet, and rogue gray hair I’m beginning to notice, I look at all these physical costs of motherhood as badges of honor. I earned the crap out of those, you have too. And while I still have kids in diapers and pull-ups, I intend to savor every last snuggle I can squeeze out of this stage.

Want to read more? I started a newsletter specially curated with the best of the homeschool blogosphere. Enter your email to get the next issue directly in your inbox. Never any spam, just encouragement for you, my fellow homeschooling mamas.

Rhiannon Kutzer

All posts

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Nice to meet you!

I’m Rhiannon.

You can call me Rhi for short (as in “rejoice”). I’m a fiercely independent homeschooling mom of five, a Navy wife of 13 years, and a creator of various things: articles, a semi-regular newsletter, quilts, furniture, and the occasional knitted scarf. This is the site where I write about our homeschool journey and news and happenings in the homeschool world. more about me.


Subscribe & Follow

Popular Links

Let’s Thrive Together!

Need a shot in the arm for your homeschool? Get Thrive Together, a monthly email that brings you:

--the best of the homeschool blogosphere,
--current homeschool news,
--and great quotes that will refresh your homeschool mama mind.

Latest Posts


  • Happy New Year and all, but more importantly, today we got to watch our @wyo_football win the Arizona Bowl. (With a freshman QB starting for the 1st time ever, btw 😮😮😮💪🏻) Way to go Pokes! #theWorldNeedsMoreCowboys #OneWyoming #GoWyo
  • We always have so much fun doing projects from @artforkidshub #homeschool #trynewthings #watercolor
  • Morning Time Details! E. (12), S. (almost 8), and L. (6). Our Morning Time morphs as the kids grow and change. It usually includes a combination of memory work and reading aloud. We try to cover a WHOLE LOT of things: Shakespeare, Bible, poetry, catechism, hymns, timeline, art study, composer study, and Ambleside selections for nature study, tales, and church history. This term I’m adding Plutarch.
The hard part is figuring out where I want to aim, with the 5-year gap between E. and S., and then L. being a newbie to full-on school. Having moved twice in 2019, I nixed MT and just focused on individual work. That came with costs. Shakespeare, Plutarch, art study, and composer study suffered. Memory work barely happened at all. I was BUSY. We missed out on discussing things together. Now that we’re settled, it’s time to restart MT.
This term I’ve decided to aim Shakespeare and Plutarch at the oldest, while the girls listen in and do handwriting/drawing/fine motor. I won’t ask them for much narration. Our reading schedule for these is AMBITIOUS. Maybe crazy. Then we’ll do all the memory & read aloud stuff that suits everyone. These lessons are SHORT. Then E. will go do his individual work while I read aloud w/ just the girls.
Also, “Morning Time” is a misnomer, considering we break it up throughout the day. It should really be called Morning/Lunch/Nap Time. I need a new name. Circle Time? Except we don’t sit in a circle. Together school? Except we’re together doing school all day. I don’t think English has the word I’m looking for. Maybe Tertulia or Salon?
Our actual coursework is: the Scottish Play, Plutarch is Alexander the Great’s life, our artist is Gustave Courbet, composer is Paganini, Bible memory is Psalm 46, Hymn is Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me, read alouds will rotate from Burgess Bird Book, Trial and Triumph, Blue Fairy Book, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Vanderbeekers, & picture books. Timeline is from Classical Conversations. Poems are Charge of the Light Brigade, Winter Night by Teasdale, and The Land of Nod.
Whew! It’s gonna be a fun term! What do you guys do for Morning Time?
  • #homeschool #family #weekend projects. Oldest got through a CPR course, curtains are hung, first batch ever of hard apple cider is bottled (a big learning experience!), and Morning Time for the next term is planned. 👊🏻 Time to call Dominos so these people can get fed 😂
  • Oh Halloween. That day when I pull costumes out of thin air at T-minus one hour ‘till trick-or-treating. Then one kid melts down in the middle of the fun, and is carried screaming to the car, with me hoping all the while that no one thinks I’m abducting a child. And, my favorite non-PC thought: one kid suggests we should have dressed as hobos, since we’re going around asking people to give us free candy. Phoned it in this year, Kutzers. 🤦🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️ #gladitsover For the record, we had a soccer player, an archer, Spider Girl, a princess, a tiny farmer, a witchy mom (Is that even a costume or just a Thursday?), and Bat Dad.
  • We may not get school started until 8 or 9, but we eat well while we read. “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life.” I think the house smelling like bacon counts as atmosphere. 😂🥰
#homeschool #charlottemasonirl #homecookedmeals #livingbooks

Follow @rhikutzer


Find me elsewhere: