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“I Wish I Knew This” Women Look Back, Giving Advice to Themselves Before Motherhood


There are so many "ah-ha" moments in motherhood.

Sometimes it's realizing something wasn’t as hard as you thought it would be, and other times its thinking a new milestone or step may be simple, but it turns into a long fought battle.

Maybe you never thought teething would end, or that you would be sending your child off to college with pull ups because that gosh darn little blessing from God refused to potty train. Maybe you figured you’d be sending them to prom with a pureed apple pouch and puffs because they were the pickiest eater, now all-of-a-sudden, they are ordering off the adult menu.

As mothers, we have this constant circle of guilt, trying to appreciate things in the present instead of just looking back fondly at the memories made. Knowing what I do now, at this point in my life, there’s so many times I wish I could go back and snuggle my babies once more, but without the stress and anxiety I experienced while in the moment.

There wouldn't be that anxiety of just waiting for the next baby to start crying, or the stress of knowing my then 3-year-old would grow tired of the activity I just gave him in 3...2...1....

I would be at ease, because I know the future in front of me. And if I could go back and talk to my 28-year-old self, pregnant with my first, I would fill her in with so much clarity and direction she needed so desperately as she tried to navigate being a first-time mom.

A few months back, I had the extreme pleasure of sitting down with a group of wonderful women in the Chicago suburbs. Some have gone through hell and back with fertility problems just to become moms. Some have adopted, some have children with learning differences, others have children far from diapers, now entering middle and high school. As we spent the morning discussing motherhood, I asked each one to write down one thing they wish they knew before becoming a mom. Here are their insightful thoughts.


“Parenting is an evolution. Some days are beautiful and amazing, others are dreadful and torturous. You may feel like you’ve lost yourself at times, but you’re just evolving like a butterfly. Just go with it.” – Jan, mom of 2


"No one expects you to be perfect, and in the eyes of your child, no matter what you do, you are perfect." - anonymous


“Everything is a phase, this too shall pass.” - anonymous


“They’re not babies forever and can eventually put their own shoes on and do things on their own.” – Rachel, soon to be mom of 4


“They will not die from having an occasional happy meal for dinner, and my husband technically doesn’t need to know it happened.” - anonymous


“You will get used to the lack of sleep.” – Anna, mom of 3


“There will be the most difficult and wonderful moments all at the same time.” - anonymous


“How quickly the time goes. Savor every moment. The days are long but the years are so short.” – Amity, mom of 1


“Enjoy every phase and don’t forget to take care of yourself along the way.” - anonymous


“Tomorrow is a new day!” – anonymous


“Don’t lose sight of yourself. They are gone in a blink and you don’t want to be left figuring out who you are and what you want for yourself.” – Heather, mom of 3


“If it doesn’t kill you, it will make you stronger.” – Irene, mom of 3


“Let it go. Just let it be.” – Kay, mom of 2


“I wish I would have known that a stage is just a stage. Midnight wake-ups always end, temper tantrums always end.” – Alexis, mom of 3


“Go see lots of movies by yourself.” – anonymous


"At the end of the day, if they've been fed, know they are loved and no one has died, you're succeeding at this job. Pat yourself on the back, pour a glass of wine and stop comparing yourself to everyone else." - anonymous

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My husband likes to tell a story of when he was a child and his mom bought him lady shoes. Just like my four boys, as a kid he spent most days outside, tearing it up in the streets: riding bikes, clim