What I Learned as a Rookie Mom

Photo by Lindsay McGowan Photography
Photo by Lindsay McGowan Photography

I’m in total denial. There is no way my baby is turning one year old this month. It’s just not possible! It seems like yesterday that I was big and pregnant with our first baby but somehow a whole entire year has already passed. The first year of motherhood (aka the rookie year) is a total whirlwind.  It’s 365 days jam-packed with life-changing realizations, personal development, relationship growth, reorganization of priorities, constant learning and so so much love. Becoming a mother has been completely transformatory and completely awesome.

In all my years there has never been a year that I learned more than this one. I’ve learned so much about myself… like that I can function on far less sleep than I ever imaged. That my body is undeniably miraculous.  I learned that labor and delivery get a bad rap, and recovery is what really sucks. That it’s better to get up and shower even when I want to hit snooze again. That Google is my frenemy…an amazing resource for information and research but also a slippery slope of worst-case-scenario diagnoses and misleading instruction.  I learned that I am my own worst critic and it’s ok if I don’t tackle everything on my to-do list each day. I learned that Target is my happy place, that puke makes me puke and that my dogs are not like children. That I can’t resist buying baby accessories (hello, Etsy!) and the fastest way to get a bikini body is to put a bikini on my body. I learned that sneezing with a full bladder is just plain hazardous and that my heart can hold more love than I ever fathomed. Motherhood has reiterated that knowledge is power and reminded me to trust my instincts.

Photo by Lindsay McGowan Photography

This year also proved that parenthood intensifies the roller-coaster ride of marriage. The lows are lower and the highs are higher! I learned to enjoy the ride and always remember to take a deep breath once in a while. I learned that, as parents, the sacrifices come naturally and even if budgeting seems impossible on paper we can always make it work. That date nights are now infinitely more complicated to plan and execute, but they are irreplaceable and highly important. I learned that my husband is a much deeper sleeper than I am, and I learned not to cuss him for that (as often). That other families can parent differently without loving their children any less. What works for our family may not work for your family and that’s totally okay. I learned to compromise more quickly, choose my battles carefully and stand my ground fiercely. I learned to fully appreciate and embrace the phrase family comes first.

I’m now an expert on things that I didn’t know existed before I became a mother.  I can tie a Moby Wrap with my eyes closed while cradling an infant in the parking lot of a grocery store. I regularly use a Nose Frida and the idea of sucking snot from my child’s nose doesn’t even seem gross. I can make baby food from scratch and I carry cheerios and wipes everywhere I go. I learned that the world has entirely too many variations of sippy cups. Good Lord, can someone just make one that doesn’t leak already?! I learned not to underestimate the power of prunes. That not all diapers are created equally and it’s a good idea to go up a size for bedtime. I realized that pacifiers only exist for 2 weeks, tops, before they magically disappear into thin air.  That a baby’s fingernails and toenails grow at an alarming rate and that babies are a lot less fragile than you might think. I learned that you don’t need much off that fancy registry to raise a baby.  Some of it is handy, most of it is overpriced and all of it is a pain to store when you realize you only “need” it twice.

Photo by Lindsay McGowan Photography
Photo by Lindsay McGowan Photography

The first year of motherhood is also full of little reminders that your child is gaining independence, that they don’t need you quite as much as they did before. It is intensely bittersweet, immensely fulfilling and somewhat heartbreaking all at once. I would literally give my right arm for a fully-functioning pause button because time flies by faster than ever now. I learned that I can spend an entire day with my daughter and then miss her when I put her to sleep at night. That I could kiss my sweet child a million times a day and it still wouldn’t feel like enough kisses.  I learned not to get too comfortable because as soon as you get used to one stage, it’s time for the next. Life as a mother is always changing and always full of new challenges and I’m so excited to see what I can learn in the next year!

What are some of the lessons you learned as a Rookie Mom? Please share!

Jessi is a creative, organized and enthusiastic girl mom with a soft spot for country music and all that it entails. She's a single mom to two sassy little girls (born in 2014 & 2018). She's putting down roots in West Branch, Iowa, just a few miles from her hometown of West Liberty. Jessi works in fundraising, event coordination and community development and enjoys hiking, crafts, bargain hunting, party planning, and taking in the simple joys of life. She is admittedly addicted to funny memes, is passionate about philanthropy, and is completely smitten by the adventure of motherhood.


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