In honor of turning 33 this year, I wanted to do a round-up post of 33 things I’ve learned.
I’ve read many other posts like this and always enjoy reading what lessons people have learned or what advice they would give to their younger selves.
But instead of 33 things I’ve learned in life, I wanted to do a twist: 33 things I’ve learned in motherhood.
I certainly haven’t been a mom for 33 years (I’m going on three years), but it felt like an interesting topic to explore.
It ties into the journaling and prompt creation I’ve been doing more of lately too.
And it felt natural to have it coincide with another trip around the sun for me, so here we are.
Although many of these are specific to motherhood and having a child, I’m sure you can relate to many no matter where you are in life.
So, without further ado let’s get to the list!
33 Things I’ve Learned About Motherhood
1. Whatever picture you have of motherhood will quickly change
Like just throw it out the window. “It’s gone” as my toddler would say. Whatever you think motherhood will be like, it probably won’t be.
2. Mom guilt is a thing
Among the top things I’ve learned is that mom guilt is a thing and all moms feel it to some degree. It’s common and it’s not something to feel bad about. Try your best to let it go and know that you aren’t alone in how you are feeling.
3. You’ll check to make sure your children are breathing
Like more times than you can count. It’s just what happens.
That fear, that constant checking on their breathing when they are a newborn will subside at some point, but you will always have it in your head and still check on them as they get older too.
4. Dry shampoo will be your best friend
I seriously didn’t know anything about dry shampoo until after I had a kid. I wish I had found it sooner because it’s amazing and I don’t know what I would do without it.
I’ve tried many different brands, but my all-time favorite is Klorane. It’s the best one out there and I go back to it again and again (in fact my Amazon history says I’ve purchased it 7 times…).
5. Your real friends will show up
They always say that you learn who your true friends are when big things happen. Weddings, babies, funerals. You get the idea.
If I’m honest I don’t have many friends, but the friends I do have are pure gold.
They are my very best friends and they showed up in ways I wouldn’t have expected. I’m even more grateful for their friendship now than before I had my daughter.
6. Motherhood looks different for everyone
No two moms or dads are the same, just like no kids are the same (even twins!). You might discipline differently, handle sleep differently, or feed different foods.
It doesn’t matter.
There is no right or wrong way to do those things, it’s just specific to you.
7. You can’t work full-time and raise a kid full-time
Okay, maybe you can…but I can’t. And, although I work from home, that doesn’t mean I can successfully work from home and raise my kid at the same time.
I need someone to watch her during the day so I can work. It’s great being around and eating lunch with her sometimes, but I can’t care for her and work at the same time.
8. You shouldn’t feel bad for wanting to work
Lots of moms choose to stay home, lots of moms decide to work.
No matter what you choose to do don’t feel bad.
I work to provide for my family, but I also work because I enjoy working. It’s my choice and I don’t feel bad for making it. Just as other moms who choose to stay home shouldn’t feel bad for doing that either. You do what’s best for you and your family.
9. Find something that defines you outside of motherhood
Ever since I stopped playing soccer, I think I was always searching for something to replace it. I enjoy playing video games and reading and other things like that. But, I never found anything that felt similar to soccer for me…until blogging.
Discovering blogging and building KT Likes Coffee has given me an amazing outlet and allowed me to be creative. And, I’ve learned how important it is to find something that drives you aside from motherhood, so make sure you find your thing too.
10. Set aside time for self-care
And by self-care, I just mean take care of yourself. Self-care doesn’t have to be this complicated thing everyone is making it to be these days.
Some days you might only have the time to brush your teeth and shower. But that is self-care and those simple things are important. Self-care is necessary.
11. Talking about your mental health is important
Amongst the things I’ve learned this is probably one of the most important ones. I’ve always struggled to some degree with anxiety in particular. But it was never bad enough that I couldn’t manage it on my own.
Then I had a kid and suddenly everything spiraled for me (mentally speaking).
I’ve learned so much about myself and my mental health since becoming a mom. And, I’m still trying to grow and learn in that to this very day.
All that to say, don’t feel ashamed if you need to talk to a therapist or you need medication. You need to do what is best for you so that you can show up every day for your kid and be the best version of yourself for them.
12. Your relationship with your partner will change
The age-old saying, “Having a baby changes everything,” really does ring true. You will learn that. It will be hard some days and other days it won’t be.
Eventually, you and your partner will figure it out (whatever your situation may be), but just know that you aren’t alone and everyone has had to figure out their “new normal” after having a kid.
(My tip for this is to try to keep date nights a priority!)
13. Your body will change
Like really change. Your feet might get bigger; your boobs might sag, you might gain weight. I can’t seem to shake off the 5-10 lbs I’ve picked up since I stopped breastfeeding over a year and a half ago.
My body is just different and it’s something I’m still coming to terms with.
But, my body did something amazing and I encourage you to remember that too. Because growing a person and then giving birth to them is not easy.
14. Asking for help is necessary
This is true of most things in life, but especially when it comes to kids. And, it’s honestly something I’m still working on.
But, I know that I can’t clean every inch of my house alone, pull together all my child’s meals each and every day, and work a full-time job too. I need help and that’s okay. It’s not just okay to ask for help, it’s necessary.
15. You care less about what people think of you
This might not be true for everyone in motherhood, but it has become true for me. I truly don’t care what people think about me. I know I’m a good person, a good mom, a good friend, and a good wife.
Motherhood has shown me that other people’s opinions don’t really matter, especially people who don’t even know me.
16. It’s not about you
Everything in my life is about my child now and that’s probably how it is for you too. She’s not the reason for my existence (I am my own person after all). But, the decisions and choices I make impact her and I make all my decisions with my child in mind now.
17. Some days will be great
Everything will go great. Naps will be great. Meals will be great. Everything will be great some days. Cherish those days.
18. Other days will be hard
Everything will go wrong. Naps will be awful. Food will get thrown. Everyone has a bad day (even kids). Don’t let it define you in motherhood.
19. Because there’s always tomorrow
No matter what the day was like, it’s just one day and you always have tomorrow. You can try again, you can do things differently, you can start fresh. One day does not define you in motherhood.
20. Sometimes you just have to survive
I don’t know what my grandparents did when they got sick, but sickness for both you and your child is inevitable.
And, sometimes you just have to survive the day or week. Put on a TV show, make easy meals, don’t stress about it. It’s temporary and sometimes you just have to survive in motherhood (especially if you are the one who is sick!).
21. Celebrate the little things
Witnessing your child’s growth and milestones will fill you with pride and joy.
You probably think your kid is a genius (I know I think this about mine). And frankly, that’s how it should be.
Celebrate everything, big and small because it’s fun to watch a child grow up (exhausting, but fun).
22. Write it down
Funny stories, things your child says (my daughter’s latest is “makeup cereal” for “maple syrup”). Fun days or weeks or vacations. Write things down so you remember it and can tell your child one day.
The important thing is to just write it down so you remember.
23. Trust your gut
People always say this, but it’s especially true when it comes to your child. If you think something is wrong or off with your child, trust that feeling. You know what’s best.
24. You learn how to prioritize better
I’ve always been pretty good at this, but I’m even better than before I was a mom. I use my time more wisely and I try to let go of the things that don’t matter as much anymore.
25. You learn how to forgive quickly
Kids push your buttons, and sometimes you just have to forgive your kid for whatever they did and move on.
But more importantly, you learn how to forgive yourself quicker too once you become a mom. You aren’t perfect and you will make mistakes. It’s part of the journey.
26. Gratitude and appreciating the small things
A roof over my head, air conditioning, food in the fridge, a working vehicle. Things are hard sometimes, life is hard, but I’ve learned so much about appreciating what I have since becoming a mom.
My child is healthy, happy, and loved and that’s really what matters most.
27. Saying no is a good thing
You don’t have to do everything. If you need a break and don’t want someone to visit or don’t want to travel, just say no. It’s okay.
28. Don’t overschedule
Similar to saying no, don’t overschedule yourself or your kids.
I never realized how good my mom was at this until I became a mom. I played one sport as a kid growing up (soccer) and it was my love and passion. But, my mom also set a boundary and I was asked to pick at a young age what I wanted to do (I was in gymnastics for a bit at 4 or 5).
I didn’t play a sport every season or do a bunch of after-school activities, I played one sport year-round.
And I know now that it wasn’t just my mom fueling my passion it was her guiding me and setting a boundary for herself (and my dad) as a mom too, which is so important.
Your kids don’t have to do everything; you don’t have to put them in everything. Boundaries are a good thing for your child and yourself.
29. Appreciation of your parents more
Since becoming a mom I’ve developed an even deeper appreciation for my parents and my childhood.
I always knew my childhood was good, but they made it that way and they made parenting look easy…they still make parenting look easy sometimes. And, I just appreciate everything they did (and still do) for me so much more.
30. But you will do things differently
Everyone has their own way of parenting, so just because your parents did things one way doesn’t mean it will work for you or even your child.
You have to do what is best for both you and your child.
31. You will understand unconditional love
It’s a feeling you just can’t explain or verbalize, but it’s truly unconditional.
32. I’m a good mom
And you probably are too. So in case no one has said it to you today, you are a good mom and those babies are lucky to have you.
Don’t doubt yourself so much and repeat that affirmation to yourself.
33. Everything is a phase
This is something I’m still trying to remind myself of as my toddler is still not fully potty trained yet. I know eventually she will be. After all, I remember those dire newborn days and little to no sleep. But eventually, we got there…and we will with potty training too.
Everything in motherhood is a phase. No matter how hard it is or how awful it might seem right now, eventually, you will get through it.
Every mother’s experience is unique, and these are just some of the things I’ve learned in my few short years of motherhood.
No matter where you are at in motherhood, embrace the journey and continue learning and growing alongside your child.
And tell me, what are some things you’ve learned in your motherhood journey?