Ten years ago, I was headed out to dinner for my first Mother's Day with my two week year-old daughter. I remember the experiences very well. I dressed my babe up in a fancy outfit. She slept peacefully through dinner looking adorable. My Mom and Dad looked on adoringly. At that point, I had figured out breastfeeding, diapering and living a sleep-deprived existence. I was all sorts of confident about this mothering gig.
But boy, did I have a lot to learn. Ten years after my first Mother's Day, I am reflecting on all of the things about motherhood that never crossed my mind in 2004 (stay tuned for the post on the things I never could have imagined 20 years into motherhood).
(1) Motherhood is mostly about stuff management. Laundry. Homework. Backpacks. Sports equipment. Most of my time is spent putting stuff away -- and then helping my little people locate that stuff every day. Moms are logistics masters.
(2) Even when the baby sleeps through the night, you will never really sleep well again. I can hear coughs, pre-throw up sounds and midnight bathrooms trips down the hall no matter how asleep I am.
(3) There aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done. You have to prioritize. Sometimes reading to your kids at night means that the kitchen floor doesn't get mopped. It is ok mama.
(4) Hang in there at the end of the day. I am wiped out by the time I am tucking kids into bed. But I've learned that those last couple of minutes before we say goodnight are precious. I try to make the most of them.
(5) Kids need each other. I used to worry that I would have less attention to give to my kids as we added more kiddos to the family. And I thought my kids would suffer. As my kids get older, I've realized that my kids get all sorts of things from each other that I could never give them. Which is a good thing.
(6) Kids are who they are. Each of my three kiddos is uniquely them. And there is nothing I can do to change any of that. I've learned to mother them as individuals rather than apply a one-size-fits-all approach.
(7) Learn from them. The conventional idea is that parents teach their kids the ways of the world. I've found the opposite to be true. I've learned to be open to the things that my kids can teach me about life.
(8) Every mama has bad days. There have been nights after I tucked my kids into bed after a long day when I thought to myself, "Holy cow, I absolutely sucked today." The good news is that your kids still love you and tomorrow is another day.
(9) Little things go a long way. Surprise chocolate chip pancakes or last-minute root beer floats keep things interesting. Say yes to the ice cream truck once in awhile. Those little indulgences are the stuff of childhood memories.
(10) My littles are still my greatest source of joy every day. Even on the long ones.
Happy Mother's Day to all of you mamas out there. I'd love to hear about the most important thing you've learned in your time as a mama.