12 Things I Learned in My First 12 Months of Motherhood

12 things motherhood

It’s crazy to think that this time last year, I was hugely pregnant, super uncomfortable and had no idea that we were only a week away from meeting our sweet Knox! I’ve learned so much over the past 12 months, and could probably write a novel…but I decided to narrow it down to just 12 simple things I learned over my fist 12 months of motherhood. (One for each month, get it?)

  1. You’ll never know how much you can love someone until you have a baby. Your heart will triple in size, and each day it will keep growing and growing, and there will be days that you’ll just cry simply because you love this little person so very much [the irrational crying is also due to hormones, let’s be real].
  2. You WILL eventually shower, sleep and be able to walk again…just maybe not for the first month…or three. 
  3. Babies will probably choose the worst places to have blow outs…like the car, or at IKEA, but then they coo for the first time and you completely forget you have poop all over you. 
  4. Milestones, such as rolling over, are SUPER exciting…but each “movement” milestone means a little less freedom in walking away from baby. Even just rolling over can move a baby from one side of the room to the next. But watching them grow, develop and learn new skills is just the most incredible thing to experience. 
  5. The first time your baby gets sick, whether it’s a simple cold, or something more serious, will break your heart. Knox spent the night in Dayton Children’s Hospital for a stomach virus, but they didn’t know what it was at first and had to do a lot of tests including a spinal tap, and I literally thought I was going to die. You will want more than anything to be able to switch places with your baby and take on any sickness in order for them to feel better. 
  6. And then there’s the time that YOU get sick. And those Nyquil commercials about Moms and Dads not taking sick days becomes all too real…
  7. …but then your mom shows up and you’re reminded how important it is to have a “tribe.” Your “tribe” may look really different than someone else’s. But having a tribe of both family and friends who have known you for years and years, and also friends who are close enough to come by on a moment’s notice is very important. Sometimes those two groups of people are the same, and sometimes, like mine, they’re made up of family and friends who live states away, and newer friends who live minutes away. But as long as you know you have people to call on if you need help or advice, you’ve got your tribe. 
  8. There is no such thing as a vacation for parents. Babies don’t understand the whole concept of sleeping in…you may be closer to a body of water, but your baby will still be up before the sun. 
  9. Different doesn’t mean WRONG. I think I’ve said this before, but there are SO many different opinions, methods and concepts of parenting out there. What works for one mom, may completely flop for another. Every child is different, and every mother is different. If you need advice or help, ask around, but expect a vast array of responses. Take everything with a grain of salt, and figure out what works best for you and your child(ren). Let’s keep motherhood a judgment-free zone! We need to encourage each other in these difficult days, not tear each other down because someone parents differently than you and me. 
  10. Almost 12 months laster, and I do NOT have my PRE-BABY BOD. Some women’s bodies do bounce back rather quickly, while others take much more time and hard work to get back in shape. (i.e. MINE) But even if I lose all my baby weight, my body will NEVER be exactly like it was before Knox made himself at home in there. Whether you still have left over stretch marks, or a tummy pooch that just doesn’t want to go away, or simply the knowledge that your body CREATED another human being, it will forever be changed. I read an article that spoke about viewing stretch marks as battle scars…and I couldn’t agree more. I would never trade my remaining stretch marks, or even the difficulty I’m having losing my baby weight for a life without Knox. I’m learning to view my body as something different than it used to be, and being ok with what it looks like as I walk through this journey of motherhood. Comparison to others and to my “old” self is just not worth the negative energy.
  11. I love my “mommy friends,” but having “non-mom” friends has become really important to me as well! When you’re a mom, most of your life is about your kids. When they’re awake, you play with them, make funny noises at them, feed them, change their diapers, and put their needs above your own. And when they’re sleeping, you’re folding their laundry, putting away their toys, and worrying about whether or not they’re still breathing. And on the occasional night out with your husband, 95% of the time is spent talking about your kid(s). Don’t get me wrong, having mommy friends as part of your tribe is extremely important, but your friends who are single or married without kids are the ones who will be free to come over and hang out on a random Saturday night after the baby is down and you feel like a girls night in. They are the ones who will make you feel like just you again, the ones who will encourage you to go out on a Friday night instead of sitting at home in sweat pants, watching Netflix for the 5th week in a row. They are the ones who will make you feel young and not sleep-deprived again. (Until you get in the car to go home and can barely keep your eyes open…but you get the idea.) Just because you’re a mom doesn’t mean you can only have mom friends. (Shout out to my single friends out there…you are LOVED!!) :)
  12. There will be so many things that you think you can’t do…like giving birth, surviving on little to no sleep multiple days in a row, or continuing to nurse your baby even though it’s painful as heck. But you’ll do them. Not because you always want to, or because you have something to prove. But because you’re doing it all for this little person in front of you, and you love them so much you would move mountains for them. You won’t mind sacrificing hot meals for cold ones, or trading your weekends of sleeping in and watching movies all day for early mornings and walks to the park. Being a mom means that your life isn’t all about you anymore, but you won’t even notice the switch, because everything hard becomes a part of the wonderful world of being a mom.

Bonus item: becoming a mom will teach you new depths to trusting in the Lord. I remember the second night we were in the hospital after Knox was born, I sat in the chair all night holding him because I was also so afraid he would stop breathing. (I was also just so in awe and in love that I didn’t want to put him down.) But it was that very moment I realized it was going to be much harder than I anticipated to trust the Lord with this little life.

What I needed to remember was that God loves every baby and child more than even their parents do, and into His loving hands are the only place we should be placing our children. Every notion of control we THINK we have as moms, from making everyone wash their hands before holding our baby, to living with them in a bomb shelter for their whole lives- keeping them from every bad thing in the world, is false. We can’t watch over them every second of every day. But God can. And no matter what happens, He is in control, and He loves them.