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? 


    • Shell says

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

  1. says

    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

    • Shell says

      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.

  2. says

    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 😉
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  3. says

    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

    • Shell says

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

  4. says

    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.

    • Shell says

      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.

  5. says

    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
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  6. says

    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

  7. says

    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

    • Shell says

      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

  8. says

    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

    • Shell says

      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.

    • Shell says

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

  9. says

    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.

    • Shell says

      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

    • Shell says

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

  10. says

    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

  11. says

    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

    • Shell says

      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!

  12. says

    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

    • Shell says

      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.

  13. says

    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.

  14. says

    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

  15. says

    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

    • Shell says

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

  16. says

    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.

  17. says

    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!
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  18. says

    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.
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    • Shell says

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

  19. says

    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!
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  20. says

    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

  21. says

    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

  22. says

    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!
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    • Shell says

      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.

  23. says

    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

  24. says

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

  25. says

    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! :)

  26. says

    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

  27. says

    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.
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  28. says

    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 😉
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