If you’ve known me for any stretch of time, you probably also know that I have dreamed of the day I would become a mother since I could hold a baby doll in my hands. After Kevin and I married in 2010, we struggled with Infertility. There was a point where doctors told us we might never be able to have children. Those days were extremely dark, isolating, and full of fear. Those same doctors, however, are the reason we have been blessed with two little boys – two little boys that are our entire world. Being a mom is the most rewarding and fulfilling thing I will ever do – and although some days are more difficult than others, I wouldn’t trade a single second for anything else! Motherhood has changed me. It has shaped me and molded me – it has also taught me more than I could ever imagine. Today, I’d like to touch on the top 10 things that I’ve learned since becoming a mom. I am sure that you will be able to relate to many, if not all of them!
1. There is no such thing as the perfect mom.
As we anticipated the arrival of our first-born, I read countless books, articles, magazines, and online forums. You name it, and I probably read it. I was so scared of making a mistake. I thought I could read crazy amounts of literature and be set. Boy, was I wrong. There is no such thing as perfection when it comes to parenting. I try my best every single day, and that, my friends – is what it’s all about. Some days are better than others – but there isn’t a single day that goes by that my boys don’t know they are loved more than anything else in this world.
Both Jonah & Luca have rolled off the bed. I’ve cut their tiny fingers while clipping their nails. I hate to even admit this – but we buckled Jonah into his carseat incorrectly for the first two weeks of his life. It’s not about being perfect – it’s about learning from the mistakes you do make.
2. How to love unconditionally.
This came in many different capacities. Of course we were overwhelmed with love as we welcomed our first baby. When we learned that we would be adding another to our family, I was scared. How could we love another baby as much as our first-born? And then? Luca was born, and I understood. Our love did not divide in half for our two boys – it multiplied exponentially. Your heart just grows, and grows, and the love you experience is indescribable.
Then, there are situations where your toddler is completely pushing your buttons. You might be frustrated to the limit – but at the same time, you want to pull them into your arms and hug them as tightly as possible. Unconditional love. It’s an absolutely amazing thing.
3. You know more than you give yourself credit for!
Parenting advice is everywhere. Log in to your Pinterest account and I guarantee you will see at least a handful of posts regarding the topic. Since I became a mom, I have learned that I actually know more about this whole “being a mom thing” than I give myself credit for. Advice can make or break you. The sooner you realize that no one knows your baby as well as you, the better. I have received a TON of great advice – and have actually gone on to use a lot of it. My point is – don’t underestimate yourself. Don’t do something you aren’t comfortable with just because someone else says you should. Don’t feel pressured to try something just because Mrs. Pinterest-Perfect-Mom says you should. You are your child’s biggest advocate, and you are good enough.
4. Some days you will want to lock yourself in your bedroom with a pint of ice cream and ear plugs.
And although you probably won’t (or maybe you will) – it’s okay! There are days where both boys are especially whiny, the dog is barking to go outside at what seems like two-minute intervals, as are the tantrums your two-year-old is throwing because he is drinking from the wrong sippy cup and his sandwich is cut in half, as he requested. On those days, I just have to laugh. I laugh, because if I don’t – I’ll cry.
Some days are HARD, and it is okay to need a break. It’s okay to need a breather. It is okay to want five consecutive minutes of no one touching you. It doesn’t mean you love your children any less. That’s not the point by any means. The point is – you are HUMAN, and it’s okay to need a break. Whether or not it is with ice cream and ear plugs is up to you – just don’t ever feel guilty about needing a few minutes to yourself.
5. Worrying is taken to a whole new level.
The minute I saw two pink lines on my first pregnancy test – the worrying began, and it hasn’t stopped. I worry about everything. Did the boys eat enough vegetables today? Did we practice the alphabet enough today? Did I spend equal time playing with Luca as I did Jonah? When Kevin takes the boys anywhere alone, I am constantly in touch asking if everyone is okay. It can get overwhelming, but I honestly feel like it is completely normal. You love your children SO much, that you don’t want anything to happen to them. Worrying is now a part of your everyday life – and it will never go away.
6. Your kisses are magical.
The fact that Jonah comes to me with every bump and bruise – with every scrape or scratch, and asks me to kiss it? Oh my goodness. Pure bliss. It is amazing to me that I can kiss one of his “boo-boos” and it is completely and magically healed. If only this would last forever. I’ll soak it all up and enjoy every moment while I can!
7. Time is more precious than you could ever imagine.
I remember the exact moment Jonah was born so clearly. Now? I find myself face to face with an almost-three-year-old. Time is every mother’s worst enemy. Shortly before my grandfather passed away in 2013, he told me that the days are long but the years are short. He couldn’t have spoken truer words. I try so hard to savor every moment. Every diaper change. Every cuddle. Every snuggle. Every first eventually becomes a last, and before we know it our kids are grown. Don’t wish away the present, because it becomes the past far too quickly.
8. A messy house means your children are happy and learning.
When Jonah became mobile, I literally followed him around the house picking up everything and anything he happened to move from “it’s place”. It drove me insane. I felt like all I did was clean up after him. One day, Kevin looked at me and said, “Honey, he wants to play with his toys.” That was a turning point for me. I wasn’t allowing him to play and explore because I was too busy picking up after him.
From that day on, we made a pact to clean up twice a day – once before naptime, and once before bedtime. We usually meet this goal. And when we don’t, I try not to get too bent out of shape about it. With two kiddos now, our house is especially “messy”. Toys scatter our floors. Walking back the hall is often an obstacle course. But you know what? It’s okay. It’s okay to let them play. It’s okay to get on the floor and play WITH them! It’s okay if your house isn’t spotless – anyone with young children at home completely understands. It’s okay to be messy. I’m fully convinced you can have a messy, yet clean, house. Our house is clean – just cluttered. That clutter is the reason that Jonah knows all of his colors. And his shapes. And most of his letters. And the reason my heart skips a beat when he mumbles, “Mama, pay cars with me?”
9. Comparison is the thief of joy.
In a world where Social Media makes it possible to share anything and everything at any point in time, it’s no wonder how easy it is to get caught up in comparing your child to another. I find myself comparing my boys to each other all the time. Social Media can be an amazing resource – I’ve seen it first-hand. However, it can also cause people to doubt themselves and be led to feel inferior than another. Most people tend to post only the very best aspects of their life on Social Media – highlighting the highs, and often times leaving out the lows. It’s human nature, after all.
As hard as it is not to get caught up in – don’t. Who cares if little Johnny down the street is already walking and he’s only a few days older than your little one. Who cares of Mrs. Pinterest-Perfect-Mom plans a themed craft for every holiday throughout the year, and you barely have enough time to make dinner. Who cares if Sally’s mischievous Elf on the Shelf outdid herself once again, while our Elf has been perched on the ceiling fan for four days. Don’t compare yourself to other parents – every family and situation is different. We’re all just doing the best we can…and that is all we can do!
10. To your child, you are the entire world.
There is no better feeling than my children running straight into my arms when they are hurt, scared, or tired. There is no better feeling than feeling little arms wrap themselves tightly around my neck. There is no better feeling than hearing your little one say, “I love you, Mama.” There is NOTHING better – nothing. I never for a second take for granted that in the eyes of my children I am not only their mother, but their teacher, their confidant, and one of the people they trust most. I can see how much my children love me when I look into their eyes, and that – is the reason that my heart explodes with love for them and our relationship. Motherhood is an incredible journey – and for as quickly as it passes, I have to make sure that I am enjoying every stage and documenting every milestone whether it be through pictures, videos, a baby book – or even blogging! Motherhood is a gift. It is a blessing. It is beautiful. It is everything. It is a million emotions wrapped into one (or two, or three, or more!) children. Motherhood isn’t easy – but it’s worth every single moment.