What I Learned in the First Year of Motherhood

What I learned in the first year of motherhood

My baby is turning one!

I cannot believe how fast this year has gone. Of course they all say it goes by fast, but you never realize it until the year has come and gone. It seems slow in the moment with the long nights, the fussy days, and the endless rocking, soothing, feeding, changing, chasing. And then bam! A year is gone. Wow!

I remember those last really uncomfortable days of being pregnant. I felt like a whale. And I kind of looked like one too, when I glance back at photos…ahem!

The big day finally arrived. (You can read the story here if you’d like!) Such a whirlwind of joy and pain and emotions! I’m not the sappy type, but I can tell you that there is nothing like bringing a life into the world. It changes you.

It seems that motherhood and parenting is not only to raise up a child, but also to learn a lot about yourself.

  • You learn that it is pointless to change your shirt more than once in a day.
  • You are ok with sniffing unidentifiable moisture to find out if it’s a serious contaminate or not.
  • You find out that you can go a week without brushing your teeth and they won’t fall out.
  • You discuss poop as a normal topic of dinner conversation.
  • You discover how many song lyrics you actually know (or don’t know).
  • You learn a lot about how much you need God’s grace.

It is a true test of patience to tend to a baby! I know God brought my little man into the world for many wonderful reasons. One of those reasons is to teach me how much I need Grace.

The first couple of months of sleep deprivation and tending to the every need of a newborn baby are to be expected. It was hard but I expected it to be hard. I knew he needed me and I was happy to do all I could to meet those needs.

But after some time of sacrificing sleep, personal time, regular showers, and complete meals, I began to grow weary and restless. I was often conflicted between taking time to rest when my little one was sleeping or using that time to work around the house. I quickly realized how uptight I was about the dishes and keeping the house straightened.

As the inner conflict of needing to do chores and tending to my baby grew, I began to often be frustrated. I got frustrated when he took a long time to fall asleep and then would wake as soon as I put him down. I got frustrated when he would seem to cry unceasingly. I got frustrated when I had to change his diaper again, feed him again, rock him again. It’s a never ending cycle!

Then I reached a moment when I realized I can’t do this. I can’t rock him another moment. I can’t change another diaper. I can’t soothe his tears. I can’t do it!

Not alone anyway. Not even with the support of my husband. I needed God’s strength to get through the tough days. He has enough strength to help me through my weariness. And his strength is never ceasing.

Over this past year I have learned a whole new meaning to being dependent on God. Now, when I reach those moments of not being able to just-even-one-more-time, I grit my teeth and ask for strength. And it helps. I get through the moment and move on.

Dylan-those eyes-small

One thing I’ve said all along this journey of babyhood is that “he’s only this little once.” And that is so true. This helps me to savor every little sweet moment. It also helps me to get past the difficult ones.

  • He won’t always need me to rock him to sleep, but while he does I need to treasure it.
  • He won’t always need me to feed him, but while he does I need to enjoy it.
  • He won’t always need me to change his diaper, but while he does…hmm…well I’ll keep on doing it anyway.

In addition to learning to be more dependent on God’s strength, I have also learned that I am greatly in need of his grace. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve yelled at my baby. In some of those intense moments of frustration when I just couldn’t take another cry or another second of attempting to get him to sleep, I have lost it.

I have had to ask my little child for forgiveness many times. I have had to ask my Savior for his grace and mercy. I hate that I’ve struggled with this particularly. I don’t want to be a mom with a temper that yells. And yet I have failed multiple times. And every time I feel guilty and torn up and not cut out to be a mom.

But God.

My temper and frustration worked hand in hand at keeping me away from being the mom that I wanted to be. As I realized though my frustration that I needed to be dependent on God’s strength, I also realized that I needed to be grateful for his grace and mercy. I had to give up my actions to him and let go of the guilt.

I will make mistakes as a mom. I won’t always have the right attitude or reaction. I can’t be perfect. Only Christ is perfect. And in his perfection he came and died for my sins. He came that I might live. And that I might live abundantly. Part of the abundant joy he gives is the blessing of a child.

Reconciling my shortcomings and asking God to cover me with his grace, gives me the ability to start a new day, a new hour, a new moment. And in that newness I have found freedom again. I have learned to let go of some of my tasks. My list is not as important as my baby. (For some of us that is easy to say but not so easy to do!)

I don’t think my lessons in life have ended now that this first year of motherhood is over. It’s only beginning! I know there will be other aspects of mothering that will test me and put me through the fire. I can only hope that I going through the ups and downs of mothering, that I will display what a walk with Christ is like.

I want my son to know that no one is perfect, but we have a perfect Savior. I want him to know that the good things in life are a reflection of Christ and God’s beauty. I want him to know that he can always depend on God. I want him to know and experience God’s love for himself.

And now that I have spilled my heart I hope you can learn something from it too. I think being a mom has made me a little bit sappy, but more often it makes me smile. There is no greater joy than wrestling on the floor, tickling my little boy, and making him laugh. (I promise I’m not crying as I write this. Okay. Maybe I am just a little.)

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8 thoughts on “What I Learned in the First Year of Motherhood

  1. And a beautiful young mother you have become. May God bless you with many more years teaching Dylan and learning from him. Hugs. Aunt Karen.

  2. Beautiful! This brought tears to my eyes! I hope that I can, like you, be as good of a mother and Christian influence to my children one day! Love you sister!

  3. This also brought tears to my eyes! Where does the time go?! Now having to work, I treasure every precious moment that I can. This was a great read!

  4. Hi! I found your post through the Simplified Life link up party. First I must say you have a beautiful baby! I am mother of a two year old and I remember learning those lessons as well. I only wish I had someone like you to let me know some of what I felt was normal. I am sure this post will be a blessing to many new mothers. Thanks for sharing!

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