Lori Lori is a work-at-home mom of three living in Noblesville, Indiana.

Kids are great. There’s nothing that compares to the feeling of love you get when your little one gives you a great big hug and a sloppy kiss, or the feeling of exhilaration you get when your 1-year-old takes his first steps. Being a mother comes with a LOT of rewards – and it can teach us a lot, too. Here are four motherhood lessons I’ve learned:

4 Motherhood Lessons

Slow down.

We all know it’s often easier to do things ourselves instead of letting the children do it (slowly). However, after adding a second child to the mix, I now encourage my kids to do things for themselves. If I always do it for them, how will they learn? Plus, I don’t want my children to have to ask for help for every little thing. As families grow, you realize that you need to encourage a little bit of independence. So now when my kids do things themselves, I just have to take a step back and let them. It’s actually really amazing seeing the little wheels turning in their heads, their tongues out while they concentrate on hooking their seat belt and watching their proud little faces smile when they succeed! So instead of always being in a rush, I have learned to slow down a little bit.This includes not attending every party or activity we are invited to and not signing up for a million activities. Slowing down and slow parenting isn’t a bad thing.

Just go with it.

As someone who really likes to be in control, and kind of thrives on life not being chaotic, this has been a big lesson for me. Instead of trying to plan out every scenario, don’t worry so much about things. Try not to swear off co-sleeping or vow that your child can never be in your bed. Try not to swear off formula feeding, and don’t beat yourself up trying to figure out how to increase your milk supply if it is already dwindling four months into your child’s life after you swore you would breastfeed exclusively until she was at least six months. Do your best to keep an open mind. You never know what may wind up working best for you and your child(ren). If it works for you, it’s okay. Parenting isn’t about following every rule and listening to every study. If you make it that way, you’ll do nothing but drive yourself crazy! It’s okay if what you do isn’t what your mom did, or what your sister and best friend do. The beauty of parenting is that you can do it the way you like, and do what you believe is right and best for YOUR family.

There isn’t a learning curve.

You hit a speed bump, be it colic, a child who runs away or potty training, and may wonder how you’ll ever get through it. Just when you get it mastered and pat yourself on the back, your kiddo has some new challenge you don’t know how to handle. As a mom, I really never feel one hundred percent on top of things. Although my son, our firstborn, (somewhat) paved the way for my daughter and helped me learn a little more about what to expect, our daughter wasn’t just like him. Second (or third, or fourth) children are still their own little people – usually different than the first in temperament and development. What worked like a charm for your firstborn may not apply with subsequent children. It’s important to remember that every child is different, so adapt your parenting to each child and realize that it’s okay -you don’t have to be an expert.

Sometimes you may feel helpless.

While I am often willing to do anything it takes to make sure my child is safe and happy, there are sometimes situations that are beyond my direct control. It hurts to see your child left out – or even choosing not to play with the group. My son has developmental delays and while we are doing all we can to help him, there are times I feel helpless about his social development (the main area where he is behind). However, I work hard to stay positive, encourage him and keep in close contact with his teachers at school. That helps me feel more hopeful!

There is no manual for parenting (although there are some books that are pretty good out there), and there is no perfect parent; just those who love their children and do the best to teach them and raise them well. We all feel like Mom of the Year on occasion, but we may also feel as if we’ve failed from time to time. These motherhood lessons are some amazing opportunities to learn from – and if you let them, your children can teach you as much as you teach them!

What motherhood lessons have you learned?

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Category: Family Free Time

Tags: advice