The Year in Review — Lessons Learned

I’ve been a mother for just over a year now.  I’ve been a full-time working mother for about 10 months.  Most of my posts have been about my son, or the world around me.  Very few of them have been about me.  This one is about me and the things I’ve learned over the past year.

I have learned that the world will not come to a screeching halt when Miles starts to cry.  I still hate to hear him cry, but I now recognize the difference between a cry of frustration or stubbornness, versus a cry of pain or true distress.

I have learned that if you are not a mother, you probably can’t really understand the struggles that mothers face, or how incredibly strong a mother’s instincts can be.  Protecting my son is not a choice.  It is something that is engrained in my DNA and intrinsic to the core of my being.

I have learned that, much to the dismay of those who don’t understand, my son is now, and probably always will be, my top priority.  I have learned that this is not indicative of any weakness on my part.  It is simply what it means to be a mother.

I have learned that there is absolutely nothing in this world that compares to hearing my son laugh or holding him in my arms.

I have learned that most moms experience some serious anxiety with their first child, but that it dissipates over time.  I have learned that most moms are eager to talk about this if you start the dialogue, but that it’s often not discussed.

I have learned that there are a lot of things about motherhood that no one ever tells you.  I have learned to share these things with new mothers and expectant mothers because I wish someone had shared them with me.

I have learned that my husband is one of the best men I know, and that many women aren’t lucky enough to have such a supportive, loving, kind man in their lives.

I have learned that even douchebags can be good dogs sometimes.

I have learned that I can accomplish more in a day than I ever thought possible.  Most days, I feel like I actually do the work of three full days.  I often feel like I’ve worked a full day with middle of the night/early morning wakings with a crying child and getting the entire family ready and out the door in the morning before work.  Then I complete a second full work day at the office, only to come home and start my third day of getting the baby to bed and getting everything ready for the next day.

I have learned to use my time efficiently.  I can accomplish more from 9-5 than some people can accomplish all week.

I have learned that sometimes when you think you can trust someone, you actually can’t, and vice versa, and that I shouldn’t give my respect to someone who hasn’t earned it.

I have learned that society has certain preconceived ideas and norms about mothers that I thought were long gone with the generation before mine, but are still very pervasive.

I’ve learned that being a full-time working mother is hard.  Striking a balance between my work life and my personal life is a challenge that I did not know would be so difficult.  I feel like I am doing a pretty darn good job, but there are days where it all seems to come crashing down around me.  I am still learning that sometimes, it just isn’t possible to do it all perfectly, and that sometimes, even when I do, some people will not recognize that.  I am still learning that there’s probably not much I can do about that except to do the best I can in all aspects of my life and hope the results speak for themselves.

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