I thought I knew it all. At least I see that now as I look back on the journey of motherhood I’ve gone through.
I scoured the parenting books, browsed through websites, attended child care and CPR classes. Prepped myself about sleep deprivation, diaper changes and breastfeeding. I even knew I wouldn’t know everything, yet that didn’t stop me from wanting to learn all could. I was ready to have this baby!
Except I wasn’t. Not in a way that anyone who has yet to have a child of her own will ever know until the day she becomes a mother.
This entire blog records everything I’m learning about being a mom. You’ll see all I’ve learned, the accomplishments and the mistakes. It’s an ongoing process.
25 milestones through the journey of motherhood
So today I write about 25 milestones of motherhood, from rookie to experienced.
- Read, bookmark, and print useful parenting advice and baby activities. Assemble in a binder for future reference.
- Imagine what your baby looked like. Dream about taking your toddler to the park, enjoying a leisurely walk.
- Prepare yourself for major life changes, such as extreme sleep deprivation, work schedules, breastfeeding.
- Holy cow—you’re a mom! You’re in charge of this person, doing all those things adults are supposed to do.
- You’re not sleeping. The baby wakes up every hour and a half, which means you sleep in one-hour increments.
- Breastfeeding is painful and difficult. As in, “I thought this was supposed to be natural” difficult. So difficult you want to quit, but find motivation not to.
- You’re able to comfort your baby, sometimes doing strange aerobic moves to rock him to sleep. You use a yoga ball to bounce your baby, thinking you’re a genius until a few weeks later when your knees give out.
- The house is a mess. You haven’t cooked in ages and rely on people’s donated food, take out and ordering in. You find bits of who knows what in your carpet, and your bathroom mirrors still have toothbrush splatter.
- You’re alone with the baby and have no idea how you’re going to manage this. Let alone with two, if you have twins. Somehow you do, as you find whatever way you can to get the baby to sleep—in the stroller, in a bassinet, in a baby carrier.
The learning moments
- You start developing your own parenting principles. You try a few, keep what works and toss the rest.
- You’re back to browsing through baby boards, websites and blogs to see how yours is doing compared to others. And you start a blog to track your child’s milestones.
- You challenge long-held parenting advice (Should kids always share?) and follow the ones that seem to make sense.
- You try crafts for kids. Then you realize you can’t do nearly everything you see online. Maybe once a day. Or once a week. You wonder how in the world other moms do so many crafts.
The unlearning moments
- You realize that what worked for your older child doesn’t always work for your subsequent kids. And vice versa (these twins actually like going on a stroller). You learn from your mistakes with your first child and do things differently this time.
- You succumb to things you swore you would never do, like letting them play by themselves in the playground. And you make exceptions, like when you reward your kid with stars during potty training because you said you’d never give rewards.
The relaxing period
- You don’t sanitize everything that falls on the ground. Sometimes you even let them eat that blueberry that fell on the floor.
- You realize your kids will likely be okay even if they watched over 30 minutes of a movie in one day. Or that you gave them juice and a cupcake.
- At nights, you don’t change diapers every time the baby wakes up (only if he has poop).
- You realize milestones will be met… eventually. Your first instinct isn’t to worry too much and see if a bit more time and awareness will help them be met.
The humbling lessons
- You’re not perfect. At all.
- Your kids will amaze and surprise you, all on their own. They’ll have learned to read not because you taught them proper grammar and phonics but because they’re pretty brilliant.
- You’re not such a hot shot. You’re not above other moms and will yell at her kids and lose her patience. Everyone else is struggling just as much as you, if not more.
- Just when you thought things are finally getting easier, another challenge comes up.
- You realize that toddlers and preschoolers have their own pros and cons. And every new stage and age hereafter will pose new challenges you never had to deal with during the previous stage.
- You realize how hard motherhood can be, yet still find ways to enjoy the ride.
Is there such a thing as an experienced mom? Yes, but only for the experiences you’ve gone through. I’ll never be an expert on picky-eaters or cleft lips or autism. And I have years before I even know anything about raising teenagers.
We can only compare ourselves to ourselves—to see how we’ve grown, the lessons we’ve learned.
On that note, we did it: We hit 500 posts. Thank you for being a part of this community. I hope you’ll stick around for 500 more.
Get more tips:
- Why Motherhood Is Hard for You
- Mommy Track: On Women, Careers and “Giving It Up” for Motherhood
- How I Failed as a Mom… and Why It Wasn’t as Bad as I Thought
- I Don’t WANT to ‘Cherish Every Moment’: What I Won’t Miss about Parenthood
- Feeling Lonely? 13 Moms Share How to Make Friends
Your turn: What are some of the milestones of motherhood you went through? What were your early experiences with parenthood, and how would you compare yourself now to then? Share your stories in the comments!
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