What I’ve Learned as a Mom

snowman hat

My 7 year-old

Yesterday was a milestone around here: it marked seven years since I became a mom.

Seven years since my son was born in a dramatic and painful and fast delivery.

These past seven years have taught me so much.

I’ve learned that pulling an all-nighter in college has absolutely nothing on pulling an all-nighter with a crying newborn.

I’ve learned that baby poop is perfectly acceptable dinner conversation, as long as you are in the company of other parents.

I’ve learned that the mess of playdoh, paint, and markers is worth the joy… and the quiet it brings.

I’ve learned that it’s much harder to be on the parent side of the parent-teacher conference.

I’ve learned that no matter how demon-like my boys may have been during the day, they look like angels in their sleep.

I’ve learned that the messes are my responsibility to clean up.

I’ve learned that cake and balloons are all it takes for a perfect birthday.

I’ve learned what unconditional love really means.

I’ve learned that all everything I say and do is noticed and often imitated by my children, for better or worse.

I’ve learned that kids grow faster than you can ever imagine.

I’ve learned that I didn’t know what noise truly was until I had three boys.

I’ve learned that every day has its ups and downs: and sometimes you have to look very carefully for the ups.

I’ve learned that life changes so dramatically after kids that nothing anyone tells you about parenthood could possibly prepare you.

I’ve learned that being a mom is what I’m supposed to be.


What have you learned as a mom? 

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  1. Great post!!! You looked lovely by the way in your dress for the Christmas party.

    I think being a mom is one of life’s greatest lessons. I’ve learned what you have, too. I also learned it is the hardest job I’ve ever had.
    Leigh Powell Hines (@Hinessightblog) recently posted..Bowling with a Wuf and a Ram {Collegiate Mascot Books Giveaway}My Profile

  2. I was nodding to every one of these!

    You know that quote about having a child is like having your heart walk around outside your body. Yep, that’s what I learned.

    Happy birthday to your little cutie!
    Melissa recently posted..Making a Mess, I Mean, MemoriesMy Profile

  3. I have learned that no matter how much I think I knew, my kids always find ways to teach me more.

  4. Oh my, friend- you’ve learned a lot! How to bring on the quiet and survive the crying were huge for me! Huge!

    {Happy birthday to your guy!}

    Galit Breen recently posted..By Word of MouthMy Profile

    • Oh, the crying. It was so hard to deal with it, knowing that it had to be me who could make it better.

  5. Happy 7th Birthday big guy!!

    Yes, to all of the above. I’ve learnt that my patience is more infinite than I thought possible. That I CAN function on sleep increments of 90 minutes for 18 months. That I love it all well enough to have another :)
    Alison@Mama Wants This recently posted..Where I Grew UpMy Profile

    • It’s amazing how little sleep we can get by with. Though I’ll admit- I’m glad that most nights, I can sleep all the way through.

  6. Lovely and true.

    I’ve learned that my son will never comprehend how much I love him until he holds his own child someday…
    Vinobaby recently posted..Rum Balls, Baby…Flippant Foodie FridayMy Profile

  7. The sleeping angels thing really is true! I feel the same way about my boys, and actually, was just thinking about it last night as I gave Buddy one last kiss.

    Happy birthday to your BIG boy.
    Kmama recently posted..TYVM: Buster’s BirthdayMy Profile

  8. Great post. I’ve learnt how to be patient …. sometimes. I’ve learnt that kids need long lead in times – to do anything. I’ve learnt what unconditional love is too and realised that I had no idea before. I’ve learnt that it doesn’t matter what they eat as long as they eat! I’ve learnt a lot about what is important in life….. and so much more ;-)
    Fiona (@nlpmum) recently posted..Big Game GiveawayMy Profile

  9. I’ve learned there’s no greater, more challenging, more fulfilling job than Motherhood!

    Happy birthday to your son. :)
    Cindi recently posted..Spirit of Christmas: Birth ForetoldMy Profile

  10. I’ve learned that I can be entertained for long periods of time just by staring at a little person kicking around and smiling. I learned that as much as I thought I loved my nephew, my love for my own daughter is so different. Not that I love that little boy any less :p

    Happy birthday to your little boy!
    Venassa recently posted..The one where Chloe is two months oldMy Profile

  11. Agreeing with every single one of these. I also learned that although I like the quiet…noise can be comforting and enjoyable too.
    imperfectmomma recently posted..She’s baaaaaaaaaaack!My Profile

  12. I’ve learned it’s not all about me and stuff is really not that important.
    KLZ recently posted..On InducementMy Profile

    • Iot’s funny the little things I stressed about before kids that now, I don’t give a single thought to.

  13. I just loved this post Shell! :)
    Every word is completely true!
    Happy Birthday!!! :)

  14. I’ve learned that being a mom means knowing when to apologize. Even though myAnnabelle is only 5, she desrves the same respect that I would give to an adult when I’ve made a mistake.

    • Oh, and having to make those apologies breaks my heart- b/c I wish I’d never done whatever it was that I have to apologize for.

  15. You are so right. What a beautiful post.
    I have learned that just because you’re the grown up doesn’t mean you’re always right.
    MiMi recently posted..That Hit the Spot. The V Spot!My Profile

  16. Shell, you certainly were meant to be a mother. I can feel it in every post I read that you have written about your boys. You may joke and kid but your pure emotions always show through. You make me look at the way I parent differently. You remind me of what my heart can feel if I allow it. xo
    Kristen recently posted..We Need More Victories Over Cancer…My Profile

  17. this is so beautiful and sweet, shell :) and i love this picture. happy birthday to your boy!

  18. Such a beautiful post! I’ve learned that being a mom is the hardest job in the world and yet at the same time the most rewarding!
    Barbara recently posted..Home is where the heart is…My Profile

  19. I loved this, and all your lessons. The one that sticks out the most for me though, is “I’ve learned what unconditional love really means.” That most definitely is the most wonderful lesson to learn. But knowing you can talk about baby poop is a good one too.
    Jacki recently posted..It’s My Day!My Profile

  20. I’ve learned that life isn’t just about me anymore. Never ever again will it be. And I’m totally OK with that.
    MommaKiss recently posted..pay it forward, hooker styleMy Profile

  21. I have learned to prioritize. If it ain’t at the top, it doesn’t really need my immediate attention.

    Still trying to figure out that balance thing, though.
    Kim recently posted..Christmas Bokeh and a FirstMy Profile

  22. The fact that kids look like angels in their sleep may be the only reason why we don’t eat our young…
    John recently posted..Where I talk about some upcoming changesMy Profile

  23. Awww Happy Birthday to your little boy and for you surviving 7 years of motherhood! :) It sure is a game changer isn’t it? :)
    Natalie recently posted..Dinner and a MovieMy Profile

  24. Nodding in agreement all the way through. Love this and play doh and quiet.

  25. So much we have learned and yet so much more to come. Absolutely love this post. Everything you’ve learned I’ve learned. Thanks for the wonderful post.
    Sela Toki recently posted..Officially a Zit PopperMy Profile

  26. I learned patience. It takes patience to a whole new level being a mom.
    secret mom thoughts recently posted..Zombie BabyMy Profile

  27. What a great list! And yes, I always like to pretend my kids are going to clean up after themselves and they do some- but yea ultimately up to me.

    I have also learned that as a parent you will become a person that you never thought you would be- both for good and bad.
    Emmy recently posted..The Mall SantaMy Profile

    • I think the messes really hit me with stuff like oh, my son threw up… and no one else is ever going to touch that. Being the mom=puke duty. LOL

  28. wow. the switch to wordpress. I get more tempted every time I see a change.

    It’s great here….I really love how you’ve kept hte old flavor of you among the changes.

    What have I learned as mother?

    That everyone thinks they’ll be a far better mother than they actually are.

    I thought I’d be perfect: but the days have tried me. And I”m not happy about that.

    Alexandra recently posted..Therapy PostMy Profile

    • Oh, you should switch! Ashley made it so easy for me.

      I really didn’t think I’d be such an amazing mom. I fall far short of what I thought I’d be able to do.

  29. That unconditional love?

    Is something you never truly understand until you have a child of your own. . .

    And there is no real way to explain it to anyone who doesn’t have kids.
    Stasha recently posted..Memories that will never fadeMy Profile

    • It’s impossible to understand. I love my husband with all my heart, but even that didn’t show me unconditional.

  30. 100% this: “I’ve learned that being a mom is what I’m supposed to be.”
    Jocelyn @ ScooterMarie recently posted..A birthday wishMy Profile

  31. What a beautiful list, especially that last one! And you are so right that no one can ever prepare for you for what parenthood is truly like until you’re in the midst of it.

    What have I learned? I’ve learned that it takes practice on a daily basis to be a good mother. That, for me, it doesn’t come naturally. I feel like I already had the decks stacked against me from the get go so in the process of trying to be a good mother, I’m also having to face some of the mistakes my mother made with me so I can be a different…a better mother…to my children.

    • I hear ya. We both have to fight against that. But, remember that just knowing what we don’t want to be- goes a long way. xo

  32. I keep hearing that GFC is going away. Did I miss a memo somewhere?

  33. Happy 7th birthday to him and 7th anniversary of motherhood to you!
    liz recently posted..My List for a Merry ChristmasMy Profile

  34. Oh this is fabulous. My kids have taught me so much.
    tracy@sellabitmum recently posted..Peace Love and HappinessMy Profile

  35. Raising three boys myself, i totally get the noise thing. And looking back, i wouldn’t have it any other way!

  36. I’ve learned that farts are very funny, the worse smelling the better, and also that gun talk is normal and not necessarily an indicator of a violent personality (Oh, God, I HOPE). But then I have boys too.

    Happy birthday!
    Nicole recently posted..The very best way to spread Christmas cheer is by singing loud for all to hear.My Profile

    • Oh, farts and guns. It’s a shame you don’t live near me. Our boys would have a blast together.

  37. How true all those things are Shell.

    What I’ve learned is that no matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t be everything to everyone. There is no such thing as super mom, believe me I tried!

    My kids just had to live with good ole me, and ya know what? They turned out just fine with me just being me!

    And I ended up a lot happier to when I stopped trying to be a crazy mom person trying to do it all…
    Jen recently posted..trying to get back in the grove of bloggingMy Profile

  38. What have I learned? The job is never done. Some days that’s an awesome statement. Some days it’s exhausting and almost impossible to keep going.
    Missy | Literal Mom recently posted..I’m Practical! She Thinks I’m Practical!My Profile

  39. Yeah, I never pulled college all nighters b/c I always got too tired and gave up. No such thing with a baby around. And poop. I think I’ve talked about poop on a daily basis since my baby was born. I talk about it at dinner, at friends’ houses, in the car, at restaurants…
    Rach (DonutsMama) recently posted..Remind MeMy Profile

    • I remember napping after all nighters. That doesn’t work either.

      Two of my husband’s friends had babies in the past few months and it was hilarious to listen to the dinner conversation the other night with all of them. Diapers, poop, breastfeeding. A big switch from last year!

  40. I’ve learned that the more kids I get, the less I know about being a good parent. They are all so different and they all need their own special parenting techniques. Sometimes it gets pretty overwhelming! Such a nice post for your son. Happy Birthday!
    Momof12 recently posted..The Christmas LetterMy Profile

    • Each kid really is so different. I just have my 3 to go on, but I can say that I have needed to handle things differently with each one. There’s no such thing as a solution that will work for all kids.

  41. Happy Birthday! It is always so bittersweet that they have to get older.

    I have learned that laughter is a must. Even the most stressful and worst situations can be relieved by finding that thread of humor. I hope one of the things that my children remember about their childhood is that it was filled with laughter and silliness.

  42. Ive learned…being a mom is much harder then it looks in some ways and easier in others. Nate is sick right now…that will test your patience
    stephanie m recently posted..Makeup Monday {Holiday Party}My Profile

  43. Agree with all of the above! One thing that i have learned that my mom did with me, when your child is sick or scared…always snuggle even if it is the stomach bug! Because your child only wants you.
    Jenny recently posted..Fishing With Daddy . . .My Profile

  44. I agree with this list esp. chatting about poop. Never realized I’d talk about it so much.
    I’ve learned, I’ll never be on time anywhere, again!
    Carolyn recently posted..Paper StarsMy Profile

    • It’s such a common topic of conversation among parents- which cracks me up. It used to freak me out before kids.

  45. amen to every single one!!
    rhiannon recently posted..January – March RecapMy Profile

  46. I love this post. Being a mother is great. I agree that there is nothing a person can say that will actually prepare a person to be a mother. It takes practice and our own failures to learn. Thanks for sharing.

  47. Love this, Shell. It’s all so true. And I’ve learned that one person is capable of making me the happiest and the most angry person on earth. All within a 5 minute time frame.

    Happy birthday, little (big) guy!
    Natalie @MamaTrack recently posted..Sibling PrideMy Profile

  48. Love this post :-)
    Genevieve recently posted..FNL: The One Where I Seek Public AssistanceMy Profile

  49. And you do it so beautifully. Happy Birthday to your darling 7 year old!
    Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell recently posted..I Would Rather Take A Severe Beating…My Profile

  50. Yes to all of that. I have also eaten crow, or humble pie many times over. I have learned that I lack patience still! I know that each child can abide by the same rules but must handled differently because they are each different in their own right. I die a little inside each time my teenager makes another step towards adulthood no matter how many times she tells me she will always need me. It’s hard to see but yet amazing. Happy birthday(again) to your sweet boy.
    Lourie recently posted..Reality vs. Are You Serious?My Profile

    • How I hate the taste of crow and humble pie- but yes, eaten that many times since becoming a mom!

  51. What a great post. I second your statement, that no matter how demon-like your child may be during the day they look like such angels when they are asleep.
    Meg @ Adventures as a Small Town Mom recently posted..Meeting Santa for the First TimeMy Profile

    • That’s probably why I have so many pics of my boys when they are sleeping- to remind myself they can be sweet. ;)

  52. Love this post! I’ve only been a mom for 2 1/2 years but I can say “amen!” to almost all of them! The most important thing that motherhood has taught me is that biology and DNA are not what makes a family. Love is what makes a family. I cannot imagine loving Abby anymore had I been the one to birth her. Every day I am just so thankful that I was chosen to be her mom!
    Jamee @ A New Kind of Normal recently posted..Right NowMy Profile

  53. Wonderful post! I am definitely going to look harder for the ups at the end of the day. Thanks for that reminder!
    Robbie recently posted..Sick of sicknessMy Profile

  54. What a fabulous post — I may have to borrow it in a couple of months when my oldest turns 6 (if you don’t mind, of course). What have I learned….that no matter how much you think you know, your kids will always teach you something.
    Deb recently posted..Why run?My Profile

  55. I absolutely love this tribute to your son! To answer your question, I have learned that when I feel the most alone, I can reach out, especially on the internet, and receive love and support from the most unexpected quarters.
    Jessie Powell recently posted..Two Days until 35My Profile

  56. Happy Birthday to your Big Guy and Happy Momiversary to you!

    I’d like to add something prophetic to your list, but you seemed to have hit all the high (and low) notes.

    It’s the hardest job and I’ll never have one I love more!
    Sorta Southern Single Mom recently posted..Repost: There’s No Hole, Mamma!My Profile

  57. Happy seventh birthday to your little man!!!!

    Being a parent is the hardest job in the world but worth every moment.

    A Mother’s Thoughts recently posted..Is It Safe To Smoke Marijuana When Pregnant? Can It Hurt The Fetus/Baby?My Profile

  58. I think you’ve definitely nailed it! Especially about the noise. I’m not even a person who likes quiet, but now with two there is so much noise all the time. I just want just a tiny bit of quiet sometimes!

    I learned that there is absolutely nothing better than having your children fall asleep on you. Quiet. Cuteness. Cuddles!
    Marta recently posted..The Soliloquy of Motherhood.My Profile

  59. I’ve learned that moms are FREAKIN’ AMAZING. we have the toughest job in the world. and men don’t get it, they just don’t.

    also? i was dumb to think that a singleton would be EASY after twins.
    erin margolin recently posted..I Had a VBAC, or There’s a Bowling Ball in My Lady Bits.My Profile

  60. I always say that’s why God invented sleep…so that we forget their evil doings and fall in love all over again…
    Not a Perfect Mom recently posted..The Best Most Exciting Most Crazy Most Excellent News Ever!!!!My Profile

    • Sounds very true!

      Like right now- my boys are all sleeping and oh, they look so cute. But earlier tonight? I was ready to put them on Santa’s Naughty list.

  61. Beautiful tribute to him and motherhood! Happy Birthday to him!
    sara@domesticallychallenged recently posted..My Christmas ListMy Profile

  62. I am still learning many of these. I am so glad I get to follow in your footsteps.
    JDaniel4′s Mom recently posted..Muffin Tin Monday- A Snowman’s Buffalo Chicken LunchMy Profile

  63. I’m not a mom but I am always taking notes for when the time does come. The one thing I’m learning the most is that moms are freaking amazing and hopefully their children realize that!
    Julie recently posted..It’s OK Thursday!My Profile

  64. You have learned great lessons in the last seven years. I hope you continue to learn in the next seven.
    Jessica recently posted..Dear Santa, I Promise My Requests Are SimpleMy Profile

  65. All great lessons learned. I hope he had a fabulous birthday!
    Kimberly recently posted..Life Is Full Of ChoicesMy Profile

  66. Congratulations Shell for surviving 7 years virtually unscathed!
    Amen, to every. single. point!
    Happy birthday to your little errr big guy!
    Jackie recently posted..Where I’m From…My Profile

  67. I love this post. :)
    Lee-Ann recently posted..Happy Half Birthday Princess!My Profile

  68. This is an excellent, beautiful, touching post. Thank you for sharing.
    McKenzie Haraschak recently posted..On Do-GoodingMy Profile

  69. So true!

  70. Couldn’t have said it better. It’s strange how the subject of poop and other bodily functions has become more like small talk.

  71. I’ve learned that no matter how bad a day is, snuggles and hugs and kisses and a simple I love you from a tiny voice can make it all better.
    Kimberly recently posted..Got Pepto?My Profile

  72. I’ve learned all the exact same things! And the pride you feel when your child learns something new or does the right thing.
    Just Jennifer recently posted..Deck the Halls!My Profile

  73. I love your list! I haven’t experienced all of them yet, but I’m sure I will. Being a mom is totally an undescribable feeling that you can never truly explain. The all nighter is SO true! I don’t know how I used to do them, by choice, every weekend. I’ve learned that being a mom is figuring out how to do it all in the time your given and if you can’t do it all, figuring out what things are most important. It turns out bathing every day is not on the top of the list….yet. I’ve learned that reading the same book over and over and over and over, to your own kid isn’t nearly as painful as it was pre-kids. I’ve learned that the best toys are boxes, not electronics. I’ve learned that no matter how much I want to put my foot down that sweet little face and/or cry usually makes me cave. And most of all I’ve learned that there is no such thing as a perfect mom, we’re all just doing the best we can one day at a time! :)

  74. I noticed after my post that you my website wasn’t poppulating for you. Hopefully this one works better.
    Renee recently posted..Comment on HonestyMy Profile

  75. Girl, we are kindred spirits. You told my story with description of your first childbirth (mine was way to soon, too tiny and too many days in the NICU) and followed by the 3 boys comment. Whew, After a day like today, I appreciate that I’m not the only one who has to look REALLY hard for the beauty in the day-to-day stuff. I can’t remember how I found your blog, but thanks. New follower for sure. – L

  76. What a great list. I think I needed that reminder. I learned that you will always worry about something when it comes to the kids. But sometimes you have to let them go and just hold your breathe.
    Anastasia recently posted..Oh the clingy!-PYHOMy Profile

  77. Happy (belated) Birthday to him!! This was such a sweet post. I can relate to every last one of those things. Although, I don’t have 3 boys, my 2 plus the 2 girls are quite loud as well. And some days, the girls are louder than the boys ;)
    Runnermom-jen recently posted..April, May, JuneMy Profile