5 things my first year of motherhood has taught me

My daughter turned one last month. Who knew a first birthday could be so emotional! I felt like I had pregnancy hormones all over again as I reminisced about her first year of life.

First birthdays are, rightly, about celebrating the first year of a child’s life. We celebrated Lilly’s birthday with a picnic at a local park with our immediate family. Nothing fancy, just a little get-together. I’m not into first birthday parties, but that is a whole topic in itself.

As I reminisced on Lilly’s first year – how fast it went (seriously, it feels like she was only born 5 minutes ago) and how much she has grown in every possible sense – my thoughts kept coming back to the ways in which I have also changed in the last year.  My journey of personal growth and development has been immense and, in all honesty, unexpected. Everyone says that motherhood changes you, but I, perhaps naively, didn’t expect the change to be so all-encompassing.

My pregnancy was an emotional roller coaster. Shock, joy, fear of the unknown, excitement, worry. It was never the parenting aspect that worried me, but the ‘who would I become’ part. I couldn’t imagine how life would look when we had a child to care for.  I had no doubts that I would love and care for our child, but I was worried that I would no longer be ‘me’ and, in all honesty, that I wouldn’t be happy when my days became a blur of breastfeeding, nappy changes and washing.

But, here I am. One year on and happier, more enlightened, fulfilled and relaxed than I’ve ever been in my life.  I absolutely adore motherhood. Every single part of it. Even the nappy changes and early rises (4:30AM today! I am still amazed at how much I can accomplish on broken sleep!).

In celebration of my first anniversary as a mum, here are five things I have learned from my first year of motherhood.

  1. My perspective and outlook on life has changed almost entirely.  It is as though motherhood has touched every part of my being and turned me into a whole new person.  The clothes I wear (activewear, anyone? #mumlife), my interests and hobbies, the food I eat, the way I spend my time, my care for the community and environment and even my attitude and outlook on life are all different now.
  2. Until I became a mum I spent most of my life aiming for whatever comes next – buying a better car, buying a house, getting engaged, getting married, finishing uni, getting a good job, buying a ‘better’ home, etc – but becoming a mum has made me relax, slow down and focus on the here and now. I now stop myself from saying ‘I can’t wait until …’. I can wait.  I don’t want to wish time away. I don’t need more of anything (although, another baby would be nice!).
  3. Material possessions really don’t matter. I’ve never really been materialistic, but I know now more than ever that ‘stuff’ doesn’t bring us happiness. My family would probably tell you that I’ve taken this to the extreme with my capsule wardrobe, empty cupboards and almost monthly de-cluttering (‘Surely you have nothing left to get rid of!?’), but I have become very conscious about only bringing things into my home that I love or that add value to our lives. I’m no longer interested in having a wardrobe full of clothes. For one, I rarely go out, but more importantly, Lilly doesn’t care what I look like or what clothes I wear. She depends on me in the physical, emotional and spiritual sense.  If she needs to be breastfed, it doesn’t matter if I am wearing make-up or freshly ironed clothes. She needs my love. And my boobs. And don’t even let me start on the whole ‘my body grew a life’ topic.
  4. Maybe mess isn’t so bad after all.  My family would also say that my house is never messy and, let’s be honest, it’s hard to have mess when you have no stuff; but I am the Queen of clean-and-tidy.  I laugh when I remember a sleepover I had as a teenager where one of my friends woke up in the morning to find me dusting the blinds in my bedroom.  These days I smile when I find tiny plastic dinosaurs in the bathroom cupboard, on the path outside the front door or in my husband’s shoe.  I smile when I find all the pillows from the bed on the floor (because throwing everything off the bed is a really fun game, did you know). I even smile when I find tiny hand and finger prints on my windows and mirrors. These things remind me that my house is full of life, love, innocence, learning and growth. My house is no longer for show – it is lived in. We live here. Lilly lives here.
  5. As much as I have changed, I am still me. I still love my career.  I get a buzz out of being at work, bouncing ideas off of my colleagues, advising clients, developing new legal services and mentoring junior lawyers.  But rather than the empty ‘is this it’ feeling that I struggled with in the past, I now enjoy going to work and knowing that there is a whole life waiting for me when I get home.

Motherhood brings an indescribable love and joy. I know it’s a cliche, but it’s true. I often look at Lilly and feel so grateful (#blessed – can you read my sarcasm?) that I have been able to experience this profound love.  Although the journey of motherhood is all-encompassing, it is empowering and life-changing. I am proud that I have found my own way and that I am experiencing motherhood as I want to experience it.

What have you learned about yourself through motherhood? Were you surprised by the lessons that motherhood has taught you?

59 COMMENTS

  1. Holly | 18th Apr 17

    Time flies right??!! My baby will be 22 in a few weeks and I still feel like it was yesterday! Enjoy, it sounds like you are!

    • Lucy | Leaning In | 18th Apr 17

      Oh wow, don’t say that! I hoped time might slow down a little now. I guess I’m kidding myself! Yes, loving every single minute xx

  2. Amberly | 18th Apr 17

    I relate to every single one of these! I used to be somewhat of a neat freak but having children has taught me that anything, I mean ANYTHING, can be cleaned up haha

  3. Melissa | 18th Apr 17

    It’s only goes faster with each kid! My oldest will be 8 in October and I feel like someone smacked me with a shovel because I swear she was a little baby last week.

  4. Living Life Our Way | 18th Apr 17

    I love this and I so relate. Motherhood totally changes your perspective on so many things! Katie 🙂 x

  5. Victoria | 18th Apr 17

    I love that you shared what you’ve learned. My daughter is only 5 months and I have totally learned to let go of the small things and try to let go some of my OCD tendencies. I just don’t have time to stress over the little things anymore and don’t have time to deal with my little weird habits, like having to have a completely organized color sorted closet all the time. Motherhood has relaxed me for sure.

    • Lucy | Leaning In | 19th Apr 17

      Oh no, there’s no time for colour coordinated closets! It’s a great lesson though, isn’t it. It is so freeing to let some things go and just be. Thanks for your lovely comment and enjoy the rest of your daughter’s first year. x

  6. Catherine Short | 18th Apr 17

    Yes to active wear! I realized I needed to incorporate athleisure into my closet as my 8 month old is everywhere.

    • Lucy | Leaning In | 19th Apr 17

      I had never heard the term athleisure before now! I googled it (of course!). I feel quite fashionable now Wikipedia tells me that it is a trend! 🙂

  7. Jessica Bradshaw | 18th Apr 17

    I love seeing what you have learned in this year. Messes don’t matter in the grand scheme of life. What a great idea- the time capsule! I love that!

    • Lucy | Leaning In | 19th Apr 17

      The time capsule is so lovely. It is filled with cards and letters from family, some little keepsakes, a newspaper from the day. It will be so lovely for her to open one day.

  8. Davi | 18th Apr 17

    Such a sweet post, Lucy! I have a 13 month old so I can totally relate to this. I love your comment about smiling when you find toys on the ground or fingerprints on the mirror. Sometimes I don’t even clean off the mirrors just because it makes me smile to see her little smudges. One night I even took a picture of the toys she had left on the floor before picking them up just to always remember her playing. Loved this post so much!

    • Lucy | Leaning In | 19th Apr 17

      Oh I love that I’m not the only one! I honestly would never have imagined that smeary fingerprints on mirrors would make me smile! I wonder if I will change my mind in the years to come! I love that you took a picture of the toys on the floor! I did exactly the same thing with a little shoe last night and posted it on my Instagram! We’re definitely on the same page here! Thanks for your lovely comment xxx

  9. Chelsea @ Mama Fish Saves | 19th Apr 17

    Time goes way too fast! I used to be neurotic about making sure everything was in its place and now I just want those 5 minutes of tidying up to snuggle my little guy!

  10. anne @onedeterminedlife | 19th Apr 17

    I love this list! I love it and I totally agree with all of them!! Even though motherhood changes so many things, I am still me!

  11. MomOfTwoLittleGirls | 24th Apr 17

    Time really does fly. My youngest will be four in June! I really can’t believe it either. I also don’t ‘do’ first birthday’s. It’s all about the family really.
    #globalblogging

  12. Katy @ Experiencedbadmom | 24th Apr 17

    Oh, I love this and it’s so true. You are changed for the better, forever.

    LOL dusting your blinds at night!

    #globalblogging

    • Lucy | Leaning In | 25th Apr 17

      haha it was first thing in the morning. But equally as lame, I know! 🙂

  13. Mama Grace | 24th Apr 17

    You have such a lovely voice in this piece and it truly feels like a reflection worth sharing. We are always changing but I guess as mothers you embrace the change or try and fight it and fail. I think when you embrace it it has so many gifts. I use to keep all my poetry on my laptop and it never use to be about seeing the world through tiny eyes but when she came along my stimulus changed and here I am writing children’s poetry and sharing it with the world. #GlobalBlogging

    • Lucy | Leaning In | 25th Apr 17

      Thank you for such a lovely comment <3 I think the only real way through is to embrace it. I've just looked at your poetry on your site. I love the way you tell little stories and lessons and especially love the way you talk to your daughter. It will be so lovely for her to look back and read these when she is older and then again when she has children of her own. Gorgeous! Thank you for embracing your poetry and for sharing it with the world <3 xx

  14. Heather Keet | 24th Apr 17

    Such a sweet post! #GlobalBlogging

  15. Charlene | High Heels And Fairy Tales | 24th Apr 17

    I love this!!! I loved reading each of the points you listed, as I changed in those ways too, once I had my baby. It’s funny how everything else fades in importance when compared to your little person, and being a mom to them. There’s just nothing like it! ❤ #GlobalBlogging

    • Lucy | Leaning In | 25th Apr 17

      Thank you Charlene. I’m glad you could relate! There really is nothing like it x

  16. Paula from Her Life Is Love | 24th Apr 17

    I learned that I CAN be very patient. It’s so easy to be patient for my daughter, but I still have trouble being patient for adults lol.. #globalblogging

  17. Heather Burnett | 25th Apr 17

    You are so right! And the mess does NOT matter! Let yourself let that go and enjoy the time you have with your child! My oldest is 16 and it seems like she was a baby yesterday!!!!!

    • Lucy | Leaning In | 25th Apr 17

      It really doesn’t. Sure, there are some things that have to be done, but others can wait 🙂

  18. Eoin | 25th Apr 17

    A great read. You’re so right, we spend so much time wishing our days away to get to the next ‘milestone’, yet taking the time to revel in the here and now is SO much more rewarding. #globalblogging

  19. Nicole - Tales from Mamaville | 25th Apr 17

    Beautiful post. Motherhood does indeed change us from inside out, doesn’t it? Our priorities, our capacity to love another human being, and every aspect of our lives. And it’s all so worth it!
    #GlobalBlogging

  20. kristin mccarthy | 25th Apr 17

    Great reflection Lucy. That first year does fly by.

  21. Barrie Bismark | 25th Apr 17

    I can relate to all of these. Being a mom changes you for sure!
    #globalblogging

  22. Stephanie | 25th Apr 17

    #2 definitely! My goals have completely changed too. #globalblogging

  23. Jeannette | 25th Apr 17

    Love your list. I have learnt so much about myself. I never thought I could love a human being as much as I love my daughter. #globalblogging

  24. stacey oakes | 25th Apr 17

    The biggest change for me was just how emotional I have become at every single thing I see on TV. I literally have to have a news black out now or else I’m a snivelling mess! #GlobalBlogging

    • Lucy | Leaning In | 25th Apr 17

      Oh yes this is true for me too. I try to avoid the news – it is too dark and depressing 🙁

  25. Musings of a tired mummy...zzz... | 25th Apr 17

    Being a mum has made me less selfish and got rid of my anxiety: thanks kids! #globalblogging

  26. Rebecca | 25th Apr 17

    Love this!!! I learnt SO SO much about myself after becoming a Mama… and realised my true passions, desires and most importantly relationships! I feel for the first time like I am confident in myself… Motherhood has made me fare more confident in me and who I am. #globalblogging

    • Lucy | Leaning In | 27th Apr 17

      That’s so good to hear Rebecca! I think I’m more confident too, or maybe just more carefree 🙂 x

  27. ohmummymia | 26th Apr 17

    Focusing on here and now is something that motherhood taught me as well:) And my boy is 1 too 🙂
    #GlobalBlogging

  28. Michelle Goodwin | 26th Apr 17

    Love this. Being a mum has changed me for the better and made me figure out who I really am #globalblogging

  29. Nige | 26th Apr 17

    It’s mad how time goes so quickly my oldest is 21 and I have a 19′, 18 and five year old twins. Becoming a parent definitely changes us but I have always thought for the best happy belated birthday thanks for hosting #globalblogging

  30. Eva Katona | 27th Apr 17

    Aw, congratulations to you and happy birthday to Lilly ????
    I suppose we can all make our lists and it’s a great idea to look back and embrace your journey. #globalblogging

    • Lucy | Leaning In | 27th Apr 17

      Thank you Eva. We have to embrace it, there’s no other way 🙂 x

  31. tracey at Mummyshire | 27th Apr 17

    Oh yes, a first birthday is so emotional and for me it really did cement the fact that this little bundle of cuteness was growing into a little character! I do love the idea of a first year time capsule, I wish I’d done this for mine.
    Since becoming a parent I think I’ve become more patient, I have become less selfish and I’ve developed the ability to do 100 things at once
    Glad you had a wonderful first birthday
    Thanks for hosting #Globalblogging
    xx

    • Lucy | Leaning In | 27th Apr 17

      It’s not too late! You can do one at any time. If your kids are older they can even join in – help decorate the box and put their own little treasures inside. You can even bury it! Oh yes, I thought I could multi-task before, but I was wrong – there’s nothing quite like a multi-tasking parent! Thanks for your lovely comment xx

  32. Jacquiline Hamilton | 27th Apr 17

    lovely post. I definitely feel the same. As mom of twins we have a crazy busy house and a messy house… it all adds the experience of motherhood!

  33. Lexie @ mommyhomemanager.com | 27th Apr 17

    You make it sound like being a mom has made you a better person as a whole.
    I love the idea of a first birthday time capsule! The time does go by so quickly that is is hard to keep track of it all and take everything in! It would be great to look back into a box that seems to freeze time.
    Thanks for sharing! #globalblogging

    • Lucy | Leaning In | 29th Apr 17

      Thanks Lexie, it has 🙂 The time capsule is cool, it will be fun to open it with Lilly in 17 years time! x

  34. One Messy Mama | 28th Apr 17

    I just LOVE the idea of a time capsule. It’s amazing how quickly time flies. I think the biggest lesson I have learnt, is to just be calm…. We can’t always change the chaos so instead of freaking out about it, to just embrace it all!! Happy Birthday precious poppet! #globalblogging

    • Lucy | Leaning In | 29th Apr 17

      I completely agree about embracing the chaos! It really is the only way! xx

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