The title of this article probably sounds so cliche. Every mom thinks they learned so much, knows so much, can impart so much wisdom. But, honestly that’s not what this is. Motherhood has been a journey to say the least. I want to document it, for myself, so that I can look back on all of these things I’ve learned and someday laugh at what I thought I knew back then. Also, I’ve learned there’s strength in numbers. Maybe this will get you thinking too about what you can take away from your own motherhood journey.
This year I’ve learned that I’m disgusting. I’ve gone days on days without washing my hair (and sometimes body). I remember several days in the newborn phase where I’d catch myself brushing my teeth at 2pm. I can’t tell you how many slobbery, half eaten, dilapidated pieces of food I’ve let my child put in my mouth. I use my own sleeve, shirt, fingers, etc. to wipe little man’s nose. I’ve fished poop out of the bathtub with my bare hands. I’ve watched milk drip from my body like a human cow in the shower. You get the point. Motherhood is messy, that’s all I’m sayin.
I’ve learned that you keep your friends close and your village closer. Does this make any sense? I don’t know. But, what I mean is… you’ve got your pre-parenthood friends. They might be the ones who claim, “You’re not even fun anymore.” “Why can’t you just get a babysitter?” “You’ve gotten soft.” These can still be your friends. That’s fine. But, you also have the friends that actually become your village. These friends know the importance of encouraging you to take time for yourself and get away. But, they’re also the friends that encourage you to spend time with your family, too. Even better, they want to spend time with your family. In all aspects. Not just you when you’re ready to get drinks on the town but they’re the people who will do dates to the park and are always up for lunch dates accompanied by sticky high chairs. These friends are gold; keep ‘em.
I’ve learned that I’m far stronger, smarter, more resilient, and capable than I give myself credit for. I remember the days (even weeks) post-delivery that I honestly had the thought that I’d never be able to walk or sit normal again. I was amazed at women who had more than one child because I didn’t think my body would ever heal. Fast forward, months later and I’m working out, jumping (and only sometimes peeing), moving and getting by just the way I used to. My body is only the beginning of my resiliency. My mental capacity has been put to the test with minimal sleep and I’ve still managed to get to work on time and excel in each of my roles. I’ve endured 8, yes 8, straight hours of a baby screaming in the car and now it’s a rare occasion that he even makes a peep in the carseat. These are just a few things that scratch the surface of all of the trials and tests I’ve been through that have proved to me that I’m more than I give myself credit for in any capacity.
Google is my best friend. I’ve seen so many memes that say, “I googled my cold symptoms and now I’m pretty sure I have three hours to live,” or something to that extent. Before becoming a mother I was all on board for that. I was like, don’t WebMD your symptoms, it’ll make you feel like everything is deadly. And I realize any health professional reading this probably shaking their head. But, I kid you not, google has helped me to accurately “diagnose” so many rashes, coughs, and bumps. I may have 95 word-long google searches but by damn I’ve got that description down and I know exactly what it is. How do I know this? Because I usually end up at the doctor “just in case,” only to hear them tell me exactly what I read on google two hours earlier. Also, at the very least, google has helped me find mama forums that make me feel like I’m not alone in whatever crazy feat I’m up against. PS I am in no way condoning nor encouraging you to use google in place of a doctor, lol.
I’m doing it right. Contrary to the hundreds of articles, blogs, opinions, and other mothers mom-shaming, I’m doin’ it right. And, spoiler alert, so are you! Everyone has an opinion about parenting. Everyone has THE best teething solution. Everyone knows exactly how to get your child to sleep through the night. Everyone knows how you should introduce solids perfectly. Everyone knows everything. But, ultimately, you know your baby. Therefore, you know what’s best. This one is a continuous lesson I’m learning but, the more I tell myself it, the more I make it my reality.
There is nothing, NOTHING, better than my little man’s cheesy good morning smile or his silly giggles. This lesson trumps all others. Having this kid in my life is absolute chaos, absolute perfection, heart-bursting love. I wouldn’t change one second of it.
Is that everything I’ve learned? Eh, probably not. Is that everything my sleep-deprived, over-worked, mom (of an almost one year old) brained, self could think of tonight? Most definitely. Now, may my final five days with my baby, before he becomes a toddler, be slow and full of slobbery kisses.
*Photography by Rosie Nary Photography.