There is no doubt that motherhood lends innumerable life lessons, whether those lessons are ones we’ve learned from our own mothers, from being mothers ourselves, or from what we’ve experienced of maternal love from the women in our lives.
In celebration of the gift that is motherhood on this day honoring all moms, I thought I’d share ten things motherhood has taught me:
How To Do Anything & Everything One-Handed
As the new mom of an infant son, I can proudly say that I’ve mastered the art of cleaning, carrying groceries, and yes, even eating, one-handed. While this sometimes requires bending, reaching and twisting into not-so-graceful positions, it is certainly a testament to the flexibility and strength required of moms.
How To Be Still
Of all the lessons motherhood has taught me, this one was, quite possibly, the most difficult to stomach. We live in a society that has conditioned us to be constantly ‘on the go’, and on days when the laundry waits unfolded in my living room and my to-do list seems extra impossibly long, sitting in the dim lighting of a nursery with a baby snoozing on my lap can feel inconvenient.
However, in these quiet moments, as the embodiment of innocence and trust sleeps soundly in my arms, I am reminded that rest is just an integral and necessary part of the human experience as any sort of “doing”.
How To Laugh In The Face Of Frustration
Spills, slips, missed naps, arriving unfashionably late, dealing with sass—the list of frustrations that all moms encounter at one time or another could go on for days. Finding joy and humor in the little things (or perhaps in spite of things) is not only possible, but is downright necessary in order to stay sane.
I’ll never forget the 2 a.m. diaper change not long after my son came home from the hospital where my husband and I broke into belly laughs over something I now can’t even recall. That feeling of laughter warming the back of my throat kept what would have otherwise been tears at bay and made me feel human again.
How To Effectively Procrastinate (In A Way That Matters)
The “just one more time” phrase could be harkened the hymn of childhood. Maybe it’s blowing raspberries on the tummy of a laughing infant, sneaking in one extra cuddle before bedtime or simply stopping to listen to your child talk about his or her day.
The to-do list (as I know) will always be there, with boxes left unchecked, which is why procrastinating can be worth it when the activity your opting to do is one which nurtures the happiness of another human being.
It’s Okay (& Necessary) To Have Support
I never realized how true the old saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ was until I became a mom. Especially in those early days postpartum as my hormones ran amuck and my sleep was limited, I realized just how heavily I was leaning on the support offered by my spouse, mom, mother-in-law and countless amazing friends.
As someone who often finds it difficult to “receive” (I prefer to be on the giving end), acknowledging that I sometimes need help and finding the humility to ask for it has been eye-opening in the best kind of way. Human beings are relational; we aren’t made to go at it alone, especially in something as important and raising a person.
How To Be Generous
Generosity is a trait I learned primarily from my own mother and the other ‘mom figures’ in my life. Witnessing their willingness to give of their time to others regardless of the cost to themselves has been an inspiration which I hold dear to my heart and strive to emulate in my own interactions with my child and those around me.
Deeper Appreciation For My Significant Other
Throughout my journey to and since parenthood, I have felt the appreciation I hold in my heart for my husband grow exponentially. He has truly been a rock to which I’ve clung during dark moments of self-doubt, worry and exhaustion—and watching him be a father to our son has only illuminated the importance of the role he plays in my life.
What Loyalty Looks Like
Sometimes I look back on my life thus far and can vividly see the moments in which my mom stood unfalteringly by my side—even at moments when I was in the wrong or had made a mistake. I always felt with certainly that she was in my corner. Her willingness to have my back in this die-hard kind of way always seemed to come as second nature, and has taught me how COMMIT to loving and believing in another person, no matter how difficult it can sometimes be.
The Beauty Of Being Awe-Struck
I’ll never forget the first time my infant son saw his hands for the first time and realized they were connected to his body. As he moved his fingers past his face again and again, his eyes widened in absolute wonder. The joy of watching your child discover the world around them is absolutely enough to remind you that stopping to be in awe of all the beauty and goodness around us is worth the pause.
The Meaning Of Unconditional Love
As a child, I was on the receiving end of unconditional love from my parents. As a parent, I just sort of expected to be the one always on the giving end of the overwhelming love that flooded my heart the moment I first laid eyes on my son.
Yet, somehow, every morning I wake up to my baby smiling widely and excitedly as soon as his gaze meets mine—no matter what mistakes I made the day before. Even though sometimes I lose my patience, wait a little too long to change his diaper or watch helplessly as he topples to the ground after losing his balance, still he reaches for me with those chubby little arms, staring at me with the exuberance only a child can muster.
Motherhood has taught me that while unconditional love is many things, it is most certainly looking at someone with as much excitement and trust as he looks at me, no matter how often or in what ways I might have failed him previously.
No matter where we are in our lives, we can all stand to take in the lessons that motherhood in all its forms has to offer. After all, these are the lessons that speak boldly to the human heart of sacrifice, humor and strength, and are truly without equal in the value they hold.