57 Lessons Learned in My First Year as a Mother


My little guy turns ONE this month! My body, mind, and soul can hardly believe it. Looking back, certain moments feel like years ago and others seem like yesterday. I have learned a great deal—both about motherhood and myself—and have grown more this last year than many of my previous years, combined. As my son’s first birthday approaches, I wanted to sit down and reflect on this surreal experience, jotting down the many things it has taught me. Here are a just a few of my greatest memories and lessons learned during my first year of motherhood:

Lessons from First Year of Motherhood


  1. Easy pregnancy does not equal easy labor. To be more specific, labor is hell.
  2. Your partner coaching you through contractions doesn’t ease the pain in the same way an epidural does.
  3. You didn’t fail because you got an epidural.
  4. When your baby comes out and isn’t breathing, you stop breathing.
  5. You’ll remember the details of going into labor like it was just this morning.
  6. Having a newborn feels like years ago. 
  7. Swaddling looks easy when other people do it. It’s not.
  8. The first dirty diaper will scare you and you’ll call the nurse in to change it for you. You may or may not do this for every diaper changed during your hospital stay.
  9. A nurse will manually milk you while you hold a spoon to catch the colostrum. Just go with it.
  10. Enormous, laughable-sized sanitary napkins exist. And for good reason.
  11. No matter how good you may feel after labor, don’t go on walks, up any stairs, or move at all; you’ll have your OBGYN back in your lady area quicker than you’d like.
  12. Engorgement. It kind of feels like you’re dying.
  13. Lactation specialists will teach you how to use a pump, over and over again. It’s not difficult, but everything feels so overwhelming.
  14. If you go to a mom’s support group postpartum, there will be one new mom who says her baby doesn’t cry, that he or she eats perfectly, and that she feels super well-rested because the baby sleeps so well. Try not to glare at her and wonder why she’s at a mom’s support group.
  15. Maternity leave benefits (or lack of benefits) will make you want to become a lobbyist the very second you are able to move again.
  16. When you get to the mall parking lot and realize you’ve never opened the stroller before, nobody watching your attempt will help you. In their defense, it was probably too funny to interrupt.
  17. Breastfeeding will surprise you. You’ll cherish the moments.
  18. Sleep. If you can master it, good on ya. 
  19. You will quickly learn to eat any meal with one hand in under two minutes.
  20. You will make everyone around you use hand sanitizer. That will stop after about month three.
  21. Your baby will prefer jarred baby food to the homemade food you spent hours preparing. The important thing is that you tried and that you care.
  22. You’ll misplace your half-eaten banana and realize you shoved his onesie down the Diaper Genie. It’s okay.
  23. Taking monthly baby pictures and making them look Pinterest-worthy is really difficult. I have found that it’s actually impossible.
  24. You will have 928 pictures on your phone of your baby sleeping, and you’ll struggle to delete any of them.
  25. You will have nightmares about something terrible happening to your child.
  26. Never puree meat.
  27. When your baby is sleeping, your eyes will be glued to the monitor to make sure you can see their chest rise and fall.
  28. You will breastfeed on floors of public bathrooms. You wonder why.
  29. You will walk around with poop on your shirt and snot in your hair and you will still be compelled to find ways to smother them with kisses.
  30. Your deeply rooted beliefs about working versus staying home will be challenged…and you won’t believe what happens.
  31. It is harder than expected to go on regular dates with your husband.
  32. It is harder than expected not to compare your child to others.
  33. You will buy a video camera because everything your child does is extraordinary.
  34. If your baby is crying, you can’t think or talk or function until they stop.
  35. You’ll wonder if friends without kids really want to be around you anymore.
  36. Your dog and your child will fight over the same toys. True brothers.
  37. Your heart will change shape, get stronger, melt, and burst with love—every single day.
  38. The NoseFrida. So intensely satisfying.
  39. Your concerns about what you feel like for dinner or the frequency of your workouts won’t matter anymore. It’s not about you.
  40. You will look forward to dyeing Easter eggs, camping in the backyard, footprint ceramics, and baking with cookie cutters more than you ever have before.
  41. You’ll become friends with other moms and feel like, finally, for once, you’ve found women who you can connect with.
  42. Once your baby crawls, safety-proof your house—immediately—or he will find the stairs.
  43. You will wonder, quite regularly, why and how you’re allowed to be a mother.
  44. Traveling now means changing blowouts in an airplane bathroom.
  45. You will stress out about healthy cooking and eating habits, and will feel anxious about holding their lifelong relationship with food in your hands.
  46. Going grocery shopping with your baby gets easier (as long as stores have the carts with the steering wheels).
  47. Your child will only have a two-errand limit, so plan accordingly.
  48. Though you never had before, you’ll instantly cry at sappy Pampers commercials and parenting videos posted on Facebook.
  49. You will feel like the greatest mother and the worst mother in the same day.
  50. You’ll become obsessed with reading methods and philosophies of parenting, not because you’re controlling, but because you want your child to be a good friend and polite and grow up to be an inspirational human.
  51. Your husband will nonchalantly say things like, “I can’t wait to help him with math,” or “I can’t wait to watch Shrek with him,” and you’ll be so glad you married him.
  52. Your husband will fly your baby around the living room like an airplane, chasing the dog as your son laughs hysterically, and you will realize this isn’t just about motherhood, but parenthood.
  53. You will discover the meaning of true contentment.
  54. And unbelievable joy.
  55. And bone-soaking love.
  56. You will never again be the person you were before.
  57. You are so grateful for that.