The moment you hear the cry of your newborn or you welcome your adopted child into your home, life changes…drastically! In an instant, everything is changed and you begin the crazy adventure of parenting. Along the way, there are some universal lessons that nearly every mother on the planet can relate to.
This Mother’s Day, we here at Picniic have put together a list of six life lessons only motherhood can teach in its unique way.
1. Live in the Moment
Once you’re a mother, your child quickly shows you to slow down and delight in life’s small moments. With a newborn, you’ll live in the moment that you watch them peacefully sleeping and making the cutest facial expressions. As your child grows, you’ll have to slow down to check out the ants crawling on the sidewalk or pause to watch the airplane flying overhead.
Although at times you may be tempted to hurry your child along, but at times, you’ll most likely give in and enjoy living in the moment in a way you hadn’t before. Your child will bring new meaning and excitement to everyday life moments. “Mama, the moon is out!” they’ll say, or “Look! A bird!” they’ll exclaim. Children bring new wonder to even the most mundane life moments.
2. Uninterrupted Sleep is Invaluable
There’s nothing like the first time your child sleeps for more than two hours at a time. It’s like heaven! Uninterrupted sleep is something that you may have thought you appreciated before…but as a mother, you’ll discover how valuable uninterrupted sleep truly is.
This is a fact, no matter how old your children are. Once they get beyond the stage when they do sleep through the night, you may be awakened for trips to the bathroom or comfort after a scary nightmare. As your kids grow, you’ll be worried about what time your teenager should be getting home or whether they’ve finished their homework or not.
Getting a few hours of uninterrupted sleep is something that’s invaluable and that you’ll appreciate on those few nights that you make it through a whole night without being awakened.
3. No One Knows All the Answers to Parenting
It’s ok. You can admit it. Before you became a mother, you knew how you’d deal with plenty of behaviors or situations. Many parents had a long list of “I would never let my kids…” or “My kids will never…” prior to becoming parents. However, at some point, you’ll realize that one or more of those things you swore you’d never do or that your kids would never do have gone right out the window.
That’s because no one has all the answers to parenting. Most parents come to this realization sooner or later. Because each child is different and each parent also has their own way of approaching each situation, there are a million ways to approach similar issues. You’ll also learn that even parenting experts, developmental psychologists and pediatricians may have conflicting viewpoints on a whole range of common parenting issues such as: sleep training, weaning, discipline, and potty training, among others.
This life lesson will allow you to become confident in your parenting choices. Because there’s no one correct path, you’ll realize that only you, who live with your kids and know them better than anyone else, can decide what choices are best for you and your children.
4. This Too Shall Pass
Oh, the stages of parenting. There are the famous “terrible twos”, the “threenager” stage, the “pre-teen years” and then, of course, the actual “teen years”. In addition, your child may go through teething, a stage of throwing everything on the floor or even a potty stage where bathroom humor is the only humor.
In any of these stages, you may feel like your child is extra challenging. But, just when you feel like it couldn’t get worse, the stage passes and your child leaves behind behaviors that had you pulling your hair out. In parenting, it’s important to remember that “this too shall pass.” Most behaviors including clinginess, obstinance, and attitude are usually temporary and will eventually give way to a more pleasant stage. However, keep in mind that pleasantness, obedience, and agreeability may also be around only for a short period of time until your child goes through another period of change and growth!
5. Pick Your Battles
One of the most important life lessons parents learn is flexibility. As a parent, you have to choose your battles. Sometimes, you’ll break your own rules. For example, on a night when you’re particularly tired, you might eliminate the screen time limitations you usually enforce. Or, perhaps your child really wants to wear a Halloween costume on your grocery shopping trip. Provided it’s weather appropriate, you may decide that taking spiderman shopping is probably easier than dealing with a 2-hour tantrum. While you’ll likely have some untouchable rules that are never allowed to be broken, most parents learn that having a happy family with happy children sometimes means negotiating and giving in at times.
6. Have Extra
Extra wipes, extra diapers, extra pants, extra patience, extra sandwiches, an extra juice box, extra love, extra socks, extra hugs and extra everything! Motherhood requires for you to be prepared ahead and above and beyond what you expect you’ll need. While some, like the extra love and hugs come naturally, other things we have to work on, like patience and packing the perfect diaper bag. Whether you need the “extra” things for your own child or end up needing an extra juice box so that your child can share with a friend, most mothers can probably agree that having “extra” can be a lifesaver.
Motherhood is a very rewarding journey, but also quite challenging. Both the positive moments and challenges teach these and other important life lessons. Forever changed, you’ll never approach life in the same way as you did before you became a mother. That’s something to celebrate!
What life lessons have you learned from motherhood or parenting? We’d love to hear from you!
From all of us here at Picniic, we wish you a Happy Mother’s Day!