Things I want my Daughter to know: 7 Things being your mom has taught me

This week in honor of Ava’s 7th birthday I’m doing something a little different with “Things I want my daughter to know”. This past Saturday Ava celebrated her birthday and it made me realize just how far we’ve come. When she was born I was 18 years old. I had no job and just a high school diploma. Today I am 25 and I have one degree and am steadily approaching a second. So I’m going to list 7 things being Ava’s mom has taught me.

1. There is no greater love than the love a mother possesses for her child.
I discovered this days after you were born and people wanted to touch and hold you. Though I knew they meant no harm I didn’t want anyone touching MY baby. I also felt this on your first day of school, when you began nursery I wanted to sit outside the school all day and I cried after dropping you off. Nobody could take care of you better than I could and it was hard for me to let you go and be a little person. Even now every morning when I kiss you goodbye for the day I wonder what your day will be like and if you’ll need me at any point during the day. There will never be a moment where I am not fiercely protective over you, even when you think I’m being unfair.

2. Sometimes your bad behavior is funny.
I know moms aren’t supposed to admit this but I think it’s in good humor to know that occasionally your out of line behavior cracks me up. The first time I had to excuse myself from disciplining you, you were two years old. Someone had moved your fridge letter magnets up out of your reach and you were not pleased. You attempted to reach them I heard you struggling to and as I came out to assist you, you shouted in anger “WHO THE bleep PUT THIS UP HERE?!”. To which I promptly burst into laughter and had to turn around. Should you have repeated adults bad words no. Did I correct you? Absolutely, but till this day it cracks me up. Every now and then you have little bursts of attitude and though it’s a bit out of line it’s funny to me to see such a large personality on such a little girl.

3. Just because I see the world through rose-colored glasses doesn’t mean everyone else does.
This has become clearer to me as you’ve gotten older and I find just because I gravitate to something doesn’t mean you will. It also means just because something comes easily to me it might be complex to someone else. This became obvious to me when I’ve had to explain to you why certain things aren’t acceptable in school. Though I can see your potential and know the questions to ask you to get you going again not everyone else does and I have to teach you to ask for help productively when you don’t know how to do something.

4. Change in inevitable.
I’ve said this before but the only reason I know how to roll with the punches is because I am your mother. Change is something that panics and stresses me out but I can’t let you see that. So in turn I’ve learned to accept and roll with it as best I can so my flaws never spill over into your life. Having you was the biggest change my life will ever endure but I know if I can be a mother and raise a little girl everything else life throws my way is a cake walk.

5. Kids really are mirrors; they reflect all of what’s around them.

One day when I was running late for something and I had to take you with me I truly saw that you absorbed most of the habits around you. I’m a bit anal retentive when it comes to certain things, and that clearly rubbed off on you because you wouldn’t wear socks that did not match, you downright refused. It slowed down the whole morning but it made me see that everything I do, in your presence or not, affects you in some way.

  1. Admit when you’re wrong.

This is a hard skill for people in general but I would be doing you an injustice if I didn’t teach you to be humble and admit when you mess up. I discover these things often, like when you’re right about where something is or if you did or didn’t do something. Though my first reaction is to brush it off I know I have to admit it was my mistake. Teaching you it’s okay to be wrong is the first part, I also have to teach you how to fix it. Sometimes sorry is not enough and you have to replicate that I’m sorry in the form of actions.

  1. Don’t ever stop finding reasons to smile

I am amazed at how quickly your mood can change, both good and bad, but mostly good. I am amazed that even in the middle of a rainstorm you’ll find something to laugh about or be silly. I then remember that this is a gift of youth that is often spent over time into adulthood but seeing you experience it makes me remember that it was not too long ago that I was care-free and laughing. I cherish that I can share these laughs with you and hopefully let you keep those moments a little longer.


Mommy loves you so much and one day when you’re a teenager loathing my rules and expectations I hope you’ll read this. I hope you’ll read this and gain a little clarity into the method to my madness and understand that I don’t set rules with the intent of raining on your parade but instead with intent of protection, guidance and stability. One day when you may have a daughter I hope you’ll relate to my words and they’ll finally resonate with you and you’ll see every choice was crafted out of pure love.

Virtues from Motherhood: Cherish the here and now

When you think about time, you often think of how quickly it moves, or how there aren’t enough hours in the day. What we don’t tend to think about is the value that every small moment has in the big picture. As a mom, time is an uphill battle, it’s always escaping us and we’re always chasing it in return. I’ve learned over the past seven years that it matters less what it looks like and more what it is. Like many new moms I was self-conscious of my changed body and I spent so much time hiding from pictures or avoiding social events, and posting pictures because I was worried what I would look like in the eyes of others. What I learned from that however was that all I was doing was missing out on capturing and being part of milestone and hallmark moments of my daughter’s life. I also found that people, the right people anyway, were not looking at the materialistic things in the photo they were looking at the love present.

This realization was reaffirmed for me while scrolling through Facebook a few weeks ago. I came across a shared post by a woman named Tiffany Watkins who posted a pictures of herself in a bra and undies holding her young son Austyn. In the pictures, Austyn can be seen grabbing moms’ glasses, mimicking her faces, and laughing. His gleeful expression and love of his mom is obvious, but what’s more obvious is her love of him and love of the moment they’re sharing. I loved this post and shared it on my own page, and with Tiffany’s permission I’m sharing it here as well. I think we can all learn something from Tiffany’s post, mom or not, that you should celebrate love, moments, and memories free from fear of appearance or judgment of others.

The post has been shared quite a few times and other women applaud and find courage in her adorable post because in it she’s not just honest but she’s real. I encourage other women to share the love they’ve captured in pictures and share it without that, “oh no look at my legs” or “look at this” reaction that we’ve all had to a picture. In ten years, when you look back at that picture you were reluctant to share odds are you won’t remember that you thought your thighs were too big or your arms weren’t positioned right instead what you’ll remember is the happiness of that moment and the memory it left you with; you’ll remember happiness not self- judgment.

All in all, I don’t think anyone has ever taken a “perfect” picture, but we’ve all taken ones embroidered with love and happiness, and those things should be celebrated and cherished. I applaud Tiffany and I think her pictures are so simple yet mean so much. On Austyn’s first day of kindergarten she may come across those pictures, and not remember how she felt about her appearance that day but how small Austyn was then and all the memories surrounding that time. So my message to women who think twice about posting, POST IT! Share that love, that happiness and be proud of the life you’re living and the life you’ve built with the ones you love most. Don’t let anyone anywhere ever tell you otherwise because having an abundance of love in your life will always trump a “beach body”. Be rich in love not materialism.

Virtues from Motherhood: Strength

Strength is a well-known and wildly used word and like many other words in the English language, it is easier said and defined than it is done. It is not until you’re forced, tested and down to your last fighting step that you discover your true inner strength.

My first lesson in sheer strength came when I brought my newborn daughter Ava home from the hospital. It’s expected, of course, that newborns come with no sleep and little time to function outside of changing and feeding. At eighteen years old however the virtue of patience was still being cultivated and I was at a loss. Never before in my life was I forced to operate on next to no sleep and make major life choices for another human being. It was terrifying.

When Ava was one week old she was readmitted to the hospital with a case of jaundice. Not only was it scary to have a baby that needs to go to the hospital it was even scarier having to talk to doctors, sign papers and navigate the healthcare system to make sure Ava was getting the care she needed. Everything seemed like this big blur and my head was spinning I had to do this alone. As I held Ava fast asleep in my arms in the triage area, I remembered how quick my own mom sprang into action when we were sick or hurt. I tried to think of all the questions she’d asked and how she asked them and I started to feel as if I wasn’t totally clueless. After I’d taken a deep breath, or twenty, I asked for a patient care representative and I got information about Ava’s treatment, her rights as a patient and mine as her mother. As soon as I got my hands on that information I felt better because I’d asked for help.

Ava ended up staying in the hospital two nights and I barely slept the entire time we were there. All I had in that room to sit or sleep in was a recliner and one white sheet, we weren’t at the Hilton and we weren’t there for me. I don’t remember caring much that I was uncomfortable I just wanted Ava to be OK, I stood next to her incubator most of the time watching her tiny chest rise and fall with each breath. When they finally said I could take her home I was so relieved, emotionally, mentally and physically.

If you’d told me on my eighteenth birthday that in 10 months I’d be sleeping on a chair in the Pediatric ICU I’d have rolled my eyes. My life was all about me then, my mom still made my dentist appointments; the biggest test of my strength was deciding what dress I wanted to wear to graduation. It wasn’t until I was wholly responsible for another life, a defenseless little life that needed me that I discovered I harbored that same inner strength my mom had. I don’t know how I stayed up for nearly 48 hours but I did for my daughter and it taught me that even when you feel you’re lost and you don’t know which way is up, you do.

Looking Ahead: Thank you so much for reading! Each week I’ll be posting about my struggles and triumphs of being a mom while working and going to school. This week I debuted my “Virtues from Motherhood” which are personal stories I want to share with my readers so they know they’re never alone in what they might be feeling. Next week i’ll debut “Things I want my daughter to know” where ill be sharing some of the most important life lessons I’ve learned that I want to pass on to her. I hope you’ll keep checking back and sharing your thoughts and comments with me!