10 Lessons I Learned During My First Year of Motherhood

In October, my son, Oliver, celebrated his first birthday. Some days, it still strikes me as surreal that this tiny human exists. Other days, I cannot even remember what life was like without him. All the same, this past year has taught me a lot about parenthood and myself too. Here are just a few of the things I learned:

  1. People say that parenthood doesn’t come with a handbook, but in reality, there are several available for purchase at your local Barnes & Noble. I am learning to trust my gut though, instead of what someone else has to say about raising children. I can admit that I am not the best parent, and you definitely should not take my advice about the subject, but I do think I am the best parent for my son.

  2. Our once quiet home suddenly became so loud. But it’s not the loudness that bothers me. It’s the absence of sound that I find truly terrifying. It usually means my son is doing something he should not be doing. And don’t even get me started about how many times I sneak into his bedroom at night to make sure he is still breathing.

  3. I may never have as much patience as my son deserves.

  4. As I watched my son play Tiddlywinks with his Cheerios, I realized my house would never be clean until the day he moved out.

  5. I thought to raise an infant was going to be hard, but that was easy. All my son did was eat, sleep, poop, and repeat. Now my son rappels off furniture, pulls all of the pots and pans out of the cupboard, dumps cat food all over the floor, yells and contorts during every diaper change, pulls the cats’ tails, and throws the clothes I just neatly put away in his dresser all over his bedroom floor. He might be a tyrant.

  6. All of my expectations about how I would parent have flown right out the window, and I am slowly learning to accept the reality that I am of the “World’s Okayest Mom” ilk.

  7. There is only one thing worse than researching symptoms on WebMD, and that is researching anything to do with your child’s health or your child’s development. The only articles and message board responses are ones that reinforce the idea that your child has a highly contagious plague, or you’re definitely failing as a parent.

  8. I have never felt more scrutinized in my life than when I became a parent, and I’m still trying to cope with that. I can’t tell if it’s benign curiosity or actual concern for my son’s well-being, but adults think it’s acceptable to point out blemishes on my son and ask what caused it. Where did he get that bruise? I don’t know. I just told you he rappels from furniture, right? That red blemish on his ear? It’s a hemangioma; no, I did not pinch him or try to pierce his ear. Is that even a real question?

  9. Nothing invites unsolicited advise more than being a parent. I suspect it’s worse for mothers than fathers, but I can’t confirm. Sometimes the advice is worth listening to, but other times it’s okay, and sometimes necessary, to say “no thank you”.

  10. I thought life moved fast before, but now it’s going so fast it’s practically breaking the sound barrier.