With my daughter’s second birthday quickly approaching, I can’t help but find myself reflective. I simultaneously can’t believe it’s been two years already and am baffled as to how it’s only been two years. Motherhood seems to sort of warp time that way. These two years have been nothing short of a whirlwind. Between a birth injury, colic, and sleep training, I’m slightly surprised I made it past the first six months of motherhood. But here I am – two years older and wiser. Some of these lessons I’ve learned from motherhood are more humorous, some are more serious, all are 100% true.
Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned from motherhood…
1. Sleep deprivation is a form of torture for a reason
Everyone knows that sleep deprivation comes along with the territory of having kids, but you don’t really know until you’re living it. And for some reason, people (both parents and non) act like sleep deprived parents are being dramatic, even though sleep deprivation is a legitimate form of torture.
I still suffer from the cognitive effects of sleep deprivation, and I’ve been sleeping better for 18 months at this point. I frequently say words that sound similar to the word I actually meant to say. For example, saying the word “distraction” instead of “discussion”. I just did that the other day while talking with my husband.
2. Moms always do right by their kids
This is probably one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from motherhood. You see, I’m one of those people that has to be right. So whatever choice I make is right and everything else is wrong. But what I’ve learned is that moms don’t make wrong choices for their children – they make the right choices for them, even if it’s different than mine. All families are different. Children are different. Realities are different. Who am I to assert that what I’m doing is right for them?
I learned this lesson because I’ve had people do it to me. I’d have well-intentioned people approach me with advice or even sometimes a critique. All I could think was, you’ve never spent any time with my child – how can you possibly think you know what’s best for her?!
3. Time management skills
This is probably one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned from motherhood. Time management skills are essential to mothers. There’s not much time to waste when you’re busy raising small humans and running a household and working (either in or out of the home). Kids tend to not give you a lot of free time, so being productive and efficient with the little time you do have is imperative.
4. Women are stronger than I thought
I think most people can agree that being a mom is one of the toughest gigs out there. Being a mom includes pregnancy, birth, and, obviously, child-rearing. It is physically and mentally demanding. It’s easy for moms to experience burn out. But you know what?! That doesn’t deter moms! There are moms out there still pursuing their life passions and careers. My BFF has had two kids while getting her masters degree. One of my fellow bloggers just had her seventh kid and is producing an e-course for bloggers. I just recently built this entire website.
The point I’m trying to make here is that moms blow me away. The things mothers can do because they set their mind to it is absolutely mind-boggling. Their drive and determination to raise their families amidst everything else they have going on inspires me.
5. Social media is a dangerous thing
Firstly, I love social media. It’s been a way for me to connect with moms across the world and is helping my blog to grow. But it can also be very dangerous. It is so easy to see the positive snapshots of someone’s life and compare it to your own. It can make you question why your husband doesn’t do this or why your baby hasn’t done this yet.
Say it with me: social media is a highlight reel. People rarely capture their lowly moments and share them for the world to see.
6. Self care is critical
One thing moms are really good at is completely ignoring ourselves while fulfilling everyone else’s needs and desires. That has got to stop. Mothers are not martyrs and you are doing no one in your family any favors by running yourself into the ground.
So find a hobby you like and do it consistently. Or take at least one shower in peace per week.
7. It’s important to pick your battles
My daughter is turning two years old in a matter of days and her strong will is only getting stronger. If I fought her at every little thing I didn’t agree with then we’d be in a constant battle. That’s just not how I want to spend my time and energy toward my daughter. I try to save my energy for things that are dangerous and that will leave large stains on the carpet.
Oh, and not all mothers pick the same battles. And that’s fine.
8. Putting your marriage first is crucial
This is probably the most controversial of the lessons I’ve learned from motherhood. Not everyone agrees with this, and that’s fine. But for my marriage, this is what needs to happen. My husband and I do not perform well in our day to day lives if we aren’t connecting well. And that can be hard to do! Between Clementine, my blog, his work, and his masters program, spending time together can be a challenge sometimes.
For us, eating dinner together is something we always try to do. We eat at the dining room table (read: not in front of the TV) and don’t use our phones during.
Being a mom is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done – I think most moms would agree to that. But in retrospection, I think it’s made me a better person overall. I’ve learned some really hard lessons from motherhood, but I’m glad I learned them. It’s crazy that my small child has taught me these things. She’s so little and there’s so much she doesn’t understand, but she’s been a great teacher. I’m a better person because of her.
What about you? What lessons have you learned from motherhood?