[Motherhood is] the biggest gamble in the world. It is the glorious life force. It’s huge and scary—it’s an act of infinite optimism.~ Gilda Radner
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I am a novice mother. I gave birth to my first born over 34 months ago and had my second born 18 months after that. Motherhood has been one tough act to follow. The learning experience is endless. It is never black and white. It is a lifetime of second-guessing and not knowing. Books about motherhood are plentiful, but they only serve as guides. We always learn the hard way.
Here is a compilation of 9 of the most clear-cut motherhood life lessons I learned in my first 3 years as a mom. I am sharing it to all of the novice mothers (or even the more experienced ones) out there.
1. Spend quality time with your kids.
Mothers are the busiest, most hardworking people on earth, but even when our daily schedule gets too hectic, we must and should never forget to spend quality time with our kids. Juggling a full-time job, beautiful children, loving partner, household chores, friendships, and other social interactions is never easy. However, if all mothers are to have those as excuses, then no kids would have lived as happy and bright right at this very moment. So, no matter how busy you get, spend quality time with your kids. After all, our kids (and ourselves) are only young once! Let us seize every moment we spend with them.
2. Hugs and kisses are essential.
When we spend quality time with our kids, it is just expected for hugs and kisses to follow. Hugs and kisses are vital for our kids’ health and well-being. According to an article I have read on CNN way back 1997, “Well-hugged babies make less-stressed adults”. In fact, researchers at Emory University in Atlanta and McGill University in Montreal were mentioned and these researchers believe the result of their study shows that “development of babies is controlled by more than genetics — that it’s both nature and nurture”. As mothers, we have witnessed these in our kids. The smiles, the giggles, the laughter, the happiness they exude are just evidence of how a simple hug and a little kiss can work wonders on our kids’ day-to-day living. So moms, don’t miss out on those big benefits. Cuddle away!
3. Remember that your kids are also human.
There was a cornucopia of motherhood life lessons when I got pregnant with my first born. I have been given a lot of advice (even unsolicited ones). Some came from people I look up to and even love, and some were from total strangers who didn’t even know anything about me or my story for that matter. I made sure to listen, but all those advice did not really shake or move me.
Not until two months ago, when I came across this adage on twitter and it just struck me to the core. It is one from Rebecca Eanes. It says, “So often, children are punished for being human. They are not allowed to have grumpy moods, bad days, disrespectful tones, or bad attitudes. Yet, we adults have them all the time. None of us are perfect. We must stop holding our children to a higher standard of perfection than we can attain ourselves”. It, without a shred of doubt, hit me. There is nothing more real than that statement. Now, every time I get upset about my toddlers’ behavior, I come back to that quote and it helps me calm down.
4. Don’t be scared to ask for help.
I used to be a firm believer that when someone sincerely wants to help, he/she will automatically do it without you asking. Admittedly, I still do believe in that statement, though with reservation as (unfortunately) it doesn’t work that way for some. Some people are hesitant of initiating help because they don’t want to “step on your toes”. They are scared to be branded as meddlers instead of sincere helpers. For that reason, I suggest you ask. There is nothing wrong in asking. It won’t make you less of a person if you do. The plain old “please” does magic.
5. Take care of yourself.
When you get sick or when something ever happens to you, your loved ones will suffer. If you love your family (especially your kids), take care of yourself. No one will ever take better care of your children than you, so don’t burn yourself out. Build the right relationships to create a strong support system, make time for yourself, read a good book, get enough sleep, drink lots of fluid, try to eat right, think happy thoughts, remind yourself that you are beautiful, and never forget to pray.
6. Nobody’s perfect.
I struggled to make everything perfect for my kids and my husband. I am my own worst critic, so I sometimes question my capabilities every time something frustrating happens. Nobody will ever be perfect. A piece of advice: Constantly strive to better yourself for your kids’ sake and everything will be okay. At the end of the day, your kids’ happiness, health, and well-being are what matters.
7. Forgive yourself.
This goes back to number 6. Nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes. We are only humans who will sin and sin again no matter how hard we try. That doesn’t mean we don’t do our best. We get exhausted and overwhelmed at times. It is never easy, we sometimes swear at the top of our lungs because of it. So, forgive yourself. If not, at least learn to.
8. Respect other mothers’ opinions.
More experienced mothers will always have to say their piece. Listen to them. Respect their opinions. Don’t just shut them down. You don’t have to follow them. Motherhood is not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. However different our battles may be, they are mothers as well. We must be lifting each other up, not pulling each other down.
9. Smile even when life gets too hard!
Nobody said motherhood was easy. Life is designed that way. Some days will be dark, other days will be light. Just remember to smile. Motherhood is a fulfilling job! Though grueling and terrifying at times, it is a beautiful thing. It is selflessness, strength, confidence, responsibility, and so much more personified… It is the most remarkable gift you will ever receive from above.