Being a mom is one of the craziest and most rewarding adventures I’ve ever been on. I’ve never felt more unsure, proud and in awe than I have as a mother. I know that as a new, struggling mom I would have loved a list of lessons from other moms who have gone through it.
I’ve learned a lot these last couple of years and I wanted to share the 15 most important lessons I’ve learned in my time as a mom. Simple reminders that another mom out there understands what you’re going through.
THIS TOO SHALL PASS
I thought a phase or struggle would never end at times. But they do and before you know it there will be another phase or struggle. So enjoy the phases for what they are, even the ones you’re less enthused with. I’m looking at you sleep training.
IN THE MOMENT IT FEELS LIKE FOREVER
Even though I realize “this too shall pass” at the moment it feels like it is going to last forever. Trust me, I hear you mama. I can feel your frustration and I wish I could tell you when “the phase” will get better, but unfortunately there are many times we have no idea how long it will last. Please know it will end even when it feels like forever.
THE BEST LAID PLANS OR WHATEVER AREN’T FOR MOMS
Something will always go awry. It just will, but freaking out that your plans didn’t work out will only drive you crazier. Trust me on this one, I was that mom who “freaked out” more often than naught.
BE THE PERSON YOU NEEDED WHEN YOU WERE YOUNGER
As an adult we sometimes forget the trials that come with being a kid. We’re all too often preoccupied with “real” grown-up problems that we tend to think that what are children are going through is trivial in comparison. Remember to be the person you needed to help you
TAKE DEEP BREATHS
I have learned that taking deep breaths help to calm and refocus me. I’ve also started diffusing essential oils which is especially nice when I’m deep, calming breaths. There are moments my kids have made me so angry, and I know that those deep breaths have saved me from reacting in anger. Instead it gives me a moment to think about things and remind myself they are children, and they are still learning and making mistakes.
When I was a kid it wasn’t very often I heard adults apologize, even when they were out and out wrong. One of things I remember most about my late grandmother involved an incident where she misheard me and promptly scolded me for what I said. Later we were talking and she realized she had misunderstood what I said and she immediately apologized to me. I remember feeling shocked that she was apologizing to me.
That moment has always stood out in my mind whenever I misunderstand something or overreact in situations with my kids. I always say I’m sorry to them when it needs to be said. Just because I’m an adult doesn’t mean I’m always right, although I kind of wish it did.
THEY’RE ALWAYS WORSE FOR YOU
I’m sure you’ve seen those kids who are little angels. They have great manners and behave so prim and proper. They help clean up and ask to use things in the house.
Who are these children?
Mine. Just not at my house.
Just last weekend we went to a birthday party and my daughters were helping clean up wrapping paper and handing out the gifts to the birthday girl. Everyone kept exclaiming what great manners they had, and I just kept nodding while witnessing this miracle! Your kids will without a doubt be better in front of others than they are with you. It’s frustrating, but it also means they’re comfortable enough to let their crazy out in front of you. Definitely better than in front of others!
THEY’RE LISTENING. BELIEVE ME.
You think they can’t hear you or don’t want to hear you, but trust me on this one moms, your children DO hear you. What you put out there both good and bad your children will pick up. What you say to yourself, about others and how you act everyday teaches your children.
They might not show that they’re listening to you, but overtime you’ll catch them saying or acting just like you in certain situations. So keep pressing on mom because they hear everything you’re teaching them.
YOU’RE NOT SCREWING THEM UP.
More often than not I ask myself if I am just plain screwing this whole mothering thing up. It’s been the topic of conversation with my close friends more than a couple of times. Are my kids only going to remember my impatience or the times I yelled or lost my everloving mind on them?
I usually don’t think about all the great stuff I do for my kids and I’m guessing you don’t always think of those things either. I promise you are not screwing them up even when you lose your cool or have a momentary flip out.
YOU’RE ALWAYS YOUR WORST CRITIC
I never criticized myself like I have since becoming a mom. I always tell my daughters not to speak negatively to themselves, but instead build themselves up. Yet, my inner monologue has a sharp tongue in times where I think I’m doing this mothering thing wrong. You are always your own worst critic, but try to have grace with yourself everyday because after all this mothering thing is tough.
GET DOWN ON THEIR LEVEL
Whenever possible I get on my knees and stare eye-to-eye with my girls. I hate towering over them and this puts me at a more accessible height. I feel it helps make a stronger connection with my girls both in times of trial and times of joy. I’m also usually rewarded with more hugs at this level.
SHOW THEM YOU ARE HUMAN
I used to hide the way I felt about things around them. If they hurt my feelings or made me upset I used to hide these feelings from them. I remember a moment when I was crying and highly emotional because I was either pregnant or had just had my second daughter, with my husband gone on deployment. My first daughter came up and hugged me and told me everything was going to be okay.
In this moment I felt completely horrible. I should’ve been hugging and comforting her not the other way around. Then a close friend reminded me that it was I who showed her how to comfort others and that it was okay to show her that mom’s have feelings too. You’ll show them how to have empathy and compassion for others.
YOU ARE THEIR MOTHER FOR A REASON
My first daughter had a lot of health problems (I wasn’t aware of) from the time she was born until she had surgery at two years old. I thought to myself why would God do this to me? Why was I picked to be her mother when I couldn’t even get her to stop crying or stop getting sick? Those two years were, admittedly, some of the hardest of my entire life. It wasn’t until later while talking with other mothers about the entire situation I came to the realization I was her mother for a reason.
If I hadn’t been her mother she wouldn’t have had someone waking up with her every night. Or maybe they wouldn’t have kept going to doctor after doctor in search of an answer to her health problems. Or perhaps they wouldn’t have opted for the surgery that turned her entire life around.
So even though you might be going through tough times and wondering why exactly you were entrusted with children that test your patience or sometimes make you feel so frustrated you have to cry alone remember they are yours for a reason.
IT’S OKAY TO CRY
I’ve cried a lot as a mom. I’ve cried for my children. I’ve cried when others have hurt my children’s feelings. I’ve cried when they’ve had to learn a hard lesson. I’ve cried after I’ve put them to bed. I’ve cried in my bathroom during a “mommy time-out.” I’ve cried tears of happiness when they learn something. I’ve cried when they’ve hurt themselves and a kiss and gummies won’t fix it.
I’ve cried more tears during my 8 years of motherhood than I ever did in my entire 32 years of life. It’s okay. Being a mother is an emotional rollercoaster that you’ll be on forever. Some crying is unavoidable and expected.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
Mothering can be extremely lonely at times. In the beginning, I was the only one of my friends who had a baby, and I no longer could just go out for an impromptu lunch or shopping trip. For the first year of my daughter’s life I remember feeling lonely and left out a lot.
Then I moved and found a group of moms who were just like me. I promise there are other moms out there who feel exactly the same way you do. It might not seem like it, but I know from experience you can find other moms that will help support and encourage you. If you’re struggling with this check out all the great resources at The Stay-at-Home-Mom Survival Guide.
I hope you take these 15 lessons I’ve learned as a mom and remind yourself daily what a great job you’re doing. I know it hard, but these are here to remind you that you are doing a fantastic job, even on those days you feel like you aren’t.
Do you have some of your own mom lessons you’d like to share? I’d love to hear all about them. Comment below with the most important mom lessons you’ve learned so far.