Summer is almost here which means both of my babies will be having a birthday. Claire will be turning one and Charlie four.
You mamas know that with each approaching birthday for our babies, we automatically begin to reflect on motherhood. How fast time is flying by and how quickly our babies are growing.
In the almost four years of being a mother, I’ve learned some valuable lessons that have not only made me a better mother, but a better person.
Here are some of my lessons in motherhood that I have been reflecting on as we approach another year passing for both of my littles.
Life is all about choices and often times our natural inclination is to make choices that benefit us. Choices that make us comfortable and happy.
As I am growing into motherhood, I am learning more and more that my choices are rarely my own anymore.
Instead they are made based on one major thing: the fact that my children need me.
My choices are no longer solely based on my own comfort and happiness, but on theirs.
I have the choice to nurture and be there for my babies, above myself because they need me.
The choice to not give up even though night after night I am pushed to extreme exhaustion from a waking child because that child needs me.
Choosing to wake up after only a few hours of sleep and not throw in the towel because my babies need me.
Choosing to cancel my long awaited and looked forward to plans because my baby suddenly has a fever and I can’t leave her. She needs me.
Choosing to discipline for the same tantrums day after day even though I see no results or growth, because they need me to be the disciplinary. To mold them into responsible and respectful humans.
Choosing to read and play with my child even though I really just want to relax and watch a movie because they need my full attention.
Choosing to give up so many things that I love and want to pursue because I have been given the gift of motherhood and life is no longer just about me. It’s about these little ones that need me.
There are times when I need a break and that is normal and healthy. But I’m talking about motherhood in general. The moment I became a mother, that was the moment that my world no longer revolved around myself.
I chose to accept the responsibility that comes with being needed 24/7. Once I chose this and decided to be 100% committed to being there for my children’s needs no matter what, I truly understood the joy and fulfillment of motherhood.
My babies know that I love them and that I am there for their every need. They are secure in me as their mother and their joy and happy spirits show this every time they look at me.
I love that they need me. Some days are hard and I start to think about all the things I wish I could do or that I gave up, but then I just remind myself that I have my two beautiful babies.
What a gift mamas. Rather than thinking about all the sacrifices you made and all the things you give up daily, think about how richly you have been blessed to be a mama!
I try not to let myself think about all I gave up, but all I have gained by being a mother. The truth is, I need them just as much as they need me, if not more.
Don’t wish away the time or the hard seasons
Have you ever been in a hard season in your life and you wished that the time would pass so that you could move on?
Well motherhood has it’s hard seasons. Teething, illness, sleepless nights and endless worries. Seasons of joy and seasons of tears. Don’t wish it away.
Don’t wish that your newborn would be a toddler, because as soon as they are older, you will miss rocking them to sleep.
Oh how I miss the days when Charlie was little, swaddled in my arms each night as I sang to him and rocked him to sleep. My eyes fill with tears as I type this because time is flying much faster than I would like.
Instead, cherish each season. Time is a gift not to be wasted on wishes of the future. Be present, be in the moment and soak it all in.
Just thinking about my children growing and someday leaving to be adults breaks my heart. I no longer wish for time to pass, for hard seasons to pass or for my child to grow to the next easier stage.
Being a mother has taught me the value of time and of living in the present. We don’t know what tomorrow brings, but we have today.
Document with photos, videos and artifacts
Time flies and it’s impossible to remember everything. Take pictures, videos and save artifacts to help you remember things.
My mom had five kids and she had boxes with each of our names on them on the top shelf in her walk in closet. She saved notes, school projects and wrote down things that we would say and put them in these boxes. She also added pictures and random little things to help her remember.
I love going through my box and seeing all of the treasures she collected for me.
I started a box for each of my children as well. I carry my camera almost everywhere and take photos and videos of them as often as I can. Even at home, you will often find me snapping pictures of our every day life.
I don’t care what people think when I stop to take a million pictures of my babies and my family. I want to document as much as I can so that I can always look back and so that my children can share their beautiful life with their own families someday.
With each year of motherhood, I am more comfortable and more confident in myself. I care less about what people think about me and more about what my children think of me.
I used to compare myself to other women a lot and it often made me feel insecure and like I was lacking.
One thing motherhood has taught me is that the most important opinion someone will have about you is your children. What will my children remember me for? What example am I leaving for my daughter who will someday grow into a woman?
I no longer compare myself to other moms or people. I just try to be my best, authentic self. I strive each day to live above reproach. Truth be told, I fail daily, but that is ok.
In this day and age it’s easy to get sucked into comparing ourselves to other people especially with social media. We all like to post beautiful pictures and little snapshots of the best parts of our days. It’s rare that we post the “ugly” parts of our days but we all have them, we just don’t share them publicly.
You can admire and look up to other mothers but, be yourself. Be authentic. Be honest. Be a good person. Teach your little ones to love others, even if they are different than you. Be an example for your babies. What a beautiful lesson this is and I’m learning all of this through motherhood.
Honesty hour here, I can sometimes be a grumpy person at home. Sometimes I just wake up on the wrong side of the bed and it shows. The exhaustion and demands of motherhood sometimes do get to me. After all, there’s just so much going on all the time!
Even though I may want to throw a tantrum bigger than my three year old ever has, I have to choose joy even when I don’t feel like it. I’m not “faking” joy, but I’m choosing to let go of whatever is ruining my day for the sake of my children.
If I didn’t have children, I could just tell everyone I am not in the mood and go read a book or something but that is just not the case anymore.
If I am always grumpy, short and moody with my children, I have noticed that it rubs off on them as well. I don’t want to raise a bunch of grumpy, ungrateful people who throw tantrums when things don’t go their way.
I try to make it part of my purpose for each day: choose joy. Choose a smile, a kind word and a good attitude. I have so much to be thankful for, I am learning to not let the little negative things rob me of my joy.
Family is everything
When we are little, we are so dependent on our parents. Then we become young adults and suddenly we want to be independent and free to make our own decisions and be our own person.
Being a parent is like having childhood flashbacks. There are so many things my parents would tell me and at the time, I thought I knew better.
My mom used to always tell me “you will see when you are a parent.” Well, I can admit that she was 100% right. Why don’t we listen to our parents when we are younger?! Wouldn’t life be so much easier in some ways?
Being a mom, I can now appreciate and understand the sacrifice and work my parents put into raising us five children.
I now understand how much they gave up to build a sense of family and closeness which has lasted into adulthood. Because they were so involved and present in raising us, we want to foster that same closeness in our own home.
Family is one of our main values and I cherish it even more now than ever.
We try to visit our parents as often as possible, visit our siblings and let our children play with their cousins.
As the years go on, you realize that friends come and go, but your family is always there. If I ever need support, I know that I can turn to my family.
I always say, Family is LIFE.
There are a thousand more lessons I could write about and new lessons each day. Hard lessons, good lessons, funny lessons and so on.
I have to say, motherhood is pretty awesome in all those ways and beyond.
Now, time to stop depressing over how quickly my babies are growing and start planning those parties!