Motherhood is an excellent teacher. Even though pregnancy felt forever long, the day you became a mom, you probably felt totally unprepared. You’re suddenly deep in the trenches, learning as you go. Getting peed on along the way.
Well, here are twelve things I personally learned in the first twelve months of motherhood.
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1) I Learned the Poop Talk is Real
I talked about my son’s poop with my husband, my doctor, my mom, my mailman… Literally, anyone who would put up with me. I was obsessed with his poop. How much, what color, what consistency? It was a problem.
2) I Learned About a Whole Different Kind of Tired
I thought I knew tired…
But I had no idea.
This last year has taught me that newborn-baby-induced exhaustion is a whole new level. It’s intense and surreal. It’s the type of tired where you put salt on your toast and your frozen dinner in the fridge. (True stories!)
And I now understand why sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture.
Related: Anxiety and Motherhood
3) I Learned That I Can’t Do it on my Own
I had these grand dreams when I was pregnant that I would be that mom. The one everyone looks at and thinks, how does she do it all?
Boy, was I wrong.
Without the help of my husband and in-laws, I would have been eating Pop Tarts every day and drowning in dirty laundry.
4) I Learned a Brand-New Type of Love for my Spouse
I’ve always loved my husband, of course! But after having a baby, I saw my husband in a whole new light. He became a father right before my eyes. Holding our tiny bundle of joy in his arms and smiling down at him, I remember him whispering, “He’s perfect”. I never knew I could love my husband so much.
Related: Nurturing Your Marriage After Kids
5) I Learned That Asking for Help Shows Strength, Not Weakness
Before having my son, I was the type of girl who would never ask for help. I’d rather risk serious injury than ask someone else to help me lift something too heavy. (I have a gnarly scar to prove it!)
After having my son, I learned that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. It is a sign of strength. When you ask for help, you are really saying, “I know my limits, and if I keep this up, I won’t make it”.
6) I Learned That This, too, Shall Pass—Probably Faster than You Think
I’m sure you’ve heard, It’s just a season. But sometimes those seasons are LONG. And agonizing. And you really wish it would be over. But then…
It is over. And you miss it. You miss nursing your baby. You miss him relying on your hugs to calm him down. You miss the days when he was so helpless.
I know, I know. After X months of being woken in the middle of the night, you don’t think time is flying by. And you certainly don’t think you’ll miss it when it’s over. But you will.
7) I Learned Not to Play the Comparison Game
The only person you should compare your baby to is your baby. Compare your baby at 10 months to your baby at 8 months. Are you seeing progress? Good. If not, give your doctor a call.
8) I Learned Every Relationship Will Change
I didn’t believe the people that told me this. Surely it wouldn’t happen to me. My marriage was rock solid, my friendships were lifelong.
But things did change. Not necessarily for the worse. But I had to work harder at keeping the magic alive in my marriage. And I had to learn how to still be a good friend when a tiny human consumed all my energy.
9) I Learned You Can’t Avoid Judgment (or Mom Guilt)
I thought I’d dodge this bullet. I didn’t know anyone that was rude and would try to hurt me…
But that’s the thing. The people giving you advice and telling you that you’re doing it wrong aren’t trying to hurt you. They think they’re helping.
Remember, you’re the mom. Ditch the guilt. Take the advice that you like and leave the rest. No one has motherhood all figured out.
10) I Learned What It Felt Like to Have my Heart Beat Outside my Body
It’s cliché, but it’s so true. Until you have a child, you probably won’t understand this. My heart broke when my son got his shots, it leaped with joy as he learned to crawl, it sat in awe as he perfected his pincer grasp. I felt everything.
11) I Learned to Let Go of Perfection
I learned I’ll never be a perfect mom. Ever. It just isn’t in me.
And that’s okay.
I’m a mess. I probably haven’t showered. I definitely don’t have makeup on. And your guess is as good as mine as to whether or not these pants have been peed on. (#boymomproblems)
But I’m not going to beat myself up over any of that. Life is too short to wish I were more like that other mom. I’ll never be perfect and that’s perfectly okay
12) Most of All, I Learned I Could Be a Good Mom
I always feared that I just wouldn’t know what to do with a baby. I wondered if I’d have that “mommy intuition” everyone talks about. I hoped that I’d be able to be a mom, but I always doubted it.
Well, one year later, I’ve learned that I have what it takes. I don’t have it figured out (and never will), but my son is thriving and generally happy—unless he knows it’s bedtime.
You have what it takes, too. I promise. It takes some time to find your groove, and it often feels like right when you find it, something changes to upset it. But I promise, you can do it.
Let me know in the comments down below, what have you learned as a mother?