7 Things Motherhood Has Taught Me

by - May 08, 2022

I've been a mom for seven years (and one month, but who's counting?), and as short a time as that is in the grand scheme of things, I feel like I've already been through so many seasons as a mother.

First there was the newborn stage where we definitely didn't get enough sleep but it didn't matter because there was something new to experience every single day.

Then there was the baby stage. You know, that bit of time between newborn and toddler. The baby is more mobile, crawling and walking, reacting more to their surroundings, and you're finally getting more sleep...when they're not teething. This is the stage where you start to think that maybe you've got this parenting thing figured out.

The toddler years are simultaneously the most fun and the most frustrating. Your baby is turning into their own little person, but pushing all the boundaries and all your buttons as they do.

Next come the preschool years. They're learning ABCs and numbers, potty training, and how to socialize. Their first friendships are forming, and if you're lucky, you're making some parent friends of your own.

We've reached the school years in our house. Covid has kind of killed a lot of the typical school experience, both for Alexis and for us, but some things have remained the same. There's homework and projects, afterschool activities like art lessons and gymnastics, and a lot of new experiences being thrown at you every week.

I've said this many times, but I think it's worth repeating. Motherhood is simultaneously the most rewarding and most difficult thing I have ever done.

Two years ago, I shared five lessons that motherhood instilled in me. At the time, we were a couple of months into the pandemic, and I was doing a lot of reflecting because I had a lot of time on my hands. Now, two years later, so much has changed, and I feel like I've grown, not only as a mother but as a woman in general. So, in honor of my seven year stint as a mother, here are 7 things I've learned.

1. You can't pour from an empty cup. Admittedly, I've gotten much better at recognizing the signs of burnout, and thankfully the last four years have seen a much-improved work-life balance. Still, as a mom, it is easy to put myself last, but I've been making a concerted effort to take time for myself every single day.

2. I don't have to be a get-in-the-floor mom to connect with my daughter. This is the thing about myself I struggle with daily and where almost the entirety of my mom guilt comes from. I don't like playing make-believe. Maybe it's something to do with all my years working in news, but I really struggle to connect with my imagination in a childlike way. That said, I've found other ways to have a relationship with Alexis through books, cooking, shopping, etc.

3. My hobbies are important, too. For a really long time, I gave up all my favorite things. To be fair, it happened before I'd even decided on motherhood, but adding a child into an already unbalanced work-life situation didn't help. It took me too long to realize how extremely unhappy I had become, but once I started back doing the things I love for no reason than to just do them, I started to feel like me again.

4. It's okay to say no. In any situation. With or without an explanation. Even if no one understands.

5. Boundaries are important. I mean, I've always known this, but I've also always gone out of my way to try to include everyone. But as I've gotten older, I've realized that not everyone needs or should be included in my or my child's life.

6. Unsolicited parenting advice/comments will never stop. As much as I hate it and as uncomfortable as some of it makes me, I know that most people aren't doing it to be intentionally rude.

7. Every mom has something to offer. I interview a mother in my local community every month, and I'm always amazed at what comes out of it. Even though I always ask a handful of the same questions, the responses are always different, and I always learn something.

Happy Mother's Day!

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  1. Hi, Ashton!

    This is an excellent post for Mother's Day, dear friend. First of all, I can't believe that little Alexis is already seven years old! Second, that's a wonderful picture of mommy and daughter, a keeper, one that you will both enjoy for the rest of your lives.

    Your list of 7 lessons learned about motherhood contains common sense principles that are of value to mothers everywhere. Like you, having come from the same background in news, I have difficulty playing make-believe games with young children. I also appreciate your emphasis on taking care of your own physical health and mental well being, pursuing your own separate hobbies and interests, establishing and enforcing boundaries and just saying "no" to your child when it's the right answer for the situation.

    Happy Mother's Day to you, my dear friend!

    1. Hearing that you have trouble with make-believe games makes me feel a little bit better about that. I obviously didn't used to be this way, having my fair share of dolls and other toys that required it. But whenever I get in the floor to play those type of games with Alexis, I come up blank.