Sunday, January 6, 2013

5 Things #Motherhood Taught Me

All that remains of a celebration to remember is a few dying balloons on my living room floor. From a birthday party with just mommy and daddy to a big she-bang with countless family and friends—my girl partied hard. And I still can't believe she is one year old. I look back on this past year and can't help but notice how much she's grown and how far we've come as a little family of three. Hannah is, without question, our everything and we love what she has added to our life. She has changed us. She has changed me.

That's what motherhood does. It changes you. For the better, really. A few months ago, I wrote "5 Things Motherhood Taught Me About Fitness." Today, I'd like to share with you five things that motherhood in general has taught me

(Woah, haven't looked at my baby bump pictures in a while.)

1) It can wait. That pile of laundry that needs to be folded. Those dishes on the counter. The shoes by the back door. They can wait. While it's nice to have a clean house, it shouldn't be at the expense of moments lost. By nature, I'm an obsessive clean freak. Being a mother has taught me that while it's nice to have a clean house, there are certain things that can wait until the kid is sleeping. Why clean and organize when you can play?

2) It's perfectly fine to want time away from your kid. It doesn't mean you love them any less. It just means you need a break. For awhile, I'd feel guilty handing off Hannah to anyone that wanted her whenever we were entertaining visitors or in a sort of social scene. But then I realized that it's good for her to be in the arms of other people that love her. That it's good for me to take a moment because those moments ultimately recharge me. She doesn't love me any less for letting someone else hold her or watch her or rock her to sleep. And no one is judging me for stepping away. But I can be a better mother to her if I am in it 100%. And sometimes, stepping away for a minute or two or 60 gets me back to that 100%.

3) Motherhood and wifehood go hand-in-hand. Just because I am a mother now doesn't make me any less of a wife—but sometimes, I get so caught up in the daily tasks associated with taking care of a child and keeping a house in order that I forget I am a wife, too. Before I know it, the day is over and I've hardly spent any time with my husband. This is something I continue to work on. Something WE continue to work on. First, I was me. Then I became a wife, and now I am a mother. These three parts of me should all work together to create one solid, happy person. One solid, happy life.

4) Life really is too short. I look at my daughter and it hits me—someday, we'll have to say goodbye. Perhaps this is morbid, and I assure you that I don't sit around and think about this daily, but it hits me every once in a while. That I'll probably (hopefully) leave this Earth before her, carrying with me a hope that I'll get to watch her from above. I pray that this is so because I don't want to miss out on anything that she does with her life. And when I think about that possibility, I literally feel an overwhelming sense of love for her. I am reminded to love her, love every minute with her, with my whole entire being because life will never be long enough. Ever.

5) There are many ways to be a mother. From books to the Internet, mom groups to advice from the doctor—you can't really define motherhood. And by that, I mean you can't put a "right" and "wrong" on anything a mother does. Every child is different, therefore, every mother is different. Advice is great to give and receive, but it shouldn't ever lead to judgement. Or self-doubt. As a mother, you have to do what feels right. Sure, rely heavily on what your child's doctor says. But don't get caught up in what so-and-so thinks you should do, or what so-and-so does herself. It will only wreak havoc on your self confidence. Motherhood brings with it many a challenge, and we need mommy friends—not mommy enemies.

Question: If you are a parent, what's one thing the role has taught you?

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