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It's not easy to love. It's irrational. It goes up the down escalator and over and under the days of the week, winding itself like a silken thread through the most mundane of activities, humming in your heart or tearing you apart.

For mothers, this intensity is relegated to a special part of our brains, called simply: "children." While it seems beyond the ken of imagination that we should have the overpowering sense of irrational and almost fierce love for our children while simultaneously being expected to "keep our heads" and raise them in a rational manner, this, ladies and gentleman, is the edict.

It can be maddening. I know of no other profession in which someone is expected to remove a piece of themselves and then teach it well and without pause for eighteen years. Or longer.

During times of great stress, such as when the thirteenth load of laundry is eyeing me suspiciously from the hamper, my lesson plans for the next 14 months are as yet unwritten or even contemplated, my bank account is laughable and my reserves of sleep, rest and peace of mind are in dire need of a stimulus plan, I tell my children to be quiet and eat their Cheerios before I freak out. Yes, I really have said that. Also, when I'm about to freak out, my voice gets all deadpan and monotone so they know something weird may happen. "Be quiet and eat your Cheerios before I freak out." It's not funny, really.

It's better, I think, than the ones who lose it completely as I've seen on the television show "Snapped" where the ladies lose their cool. But what is this motherhood, mothering, or motherlove. For some of us it's an all consuming passion, it's our entire lives. For others it's just a natural thing - part of what we decided to do. For many of us, it's a daily and sometimes hourly struggle to pursue the right course both for ourselves and our offspring. We tear our hair out and cry ourselves to sleep. Sometimes everyone knows about it and sometimes we do it alone.

Or, if we're prone to this, we can medicate our sense of inadequacy, our fears for the future of our children.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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