75 Motherhood Tips from Real Mothers

There was a day when I realized I had been a mom for more that half my life. I chuckled a bit, honestly, because it really felt like I was still a rookie in this whole grand adventure of motherhood. And yet, yet somehow as time passed, the lessons became no longer lessons but ways of living, the fears became normal and the questions became answers. So when I was writing The Brave Art of Motherhood I started to mull over this mysterious journey of time and motherhood and wisdom. I thought back to me, the young mom, the girl without a clue, and wondered what I would tell her.

Honestly, it was that she had within her deep bravery.

That to me, is motherhood. It's this collection of brave stories. It's bravery and it's art all smashed together. Where you're forced to keep painting but you are so tired you don't know what to do. Where you love with a depth that makes the tears fall as you stay awake. And the more I thought about this dichotomy, this tension, this story the more I believed that the words we would tell ourselves, that young self about motherhood, now mattered.

Not because we can go back, but because they are powerful. Those words are our BRAVE stories. It's the wisdom gleaned and the mountains trekked over and the gentle reminder that we are strong, powerful, beautiful and creative. So instead of it just being my brave art of motherhood I decided to reach out to moms all over the world and asked them to do the same thing - to figure out what advice they would tell their younger self. Because that advice, that's the triumph moment within motherhood.

So read these words. Be inspired, be encouraged, be real, be motivated, be brave. And write your own.

What Advice Would You Give Your 20 Year Old Self About Motherhood?

"I felt like I was doing it wrong . . . "

"I lived with a lot of unnecessary guilt when I was a young mom and I wish that I could have told myself that as long as I loved my kids the best way I could that I was doing a good job. From the moment my first child was born, I felt like I was doing it wrong.

Was it wrong that I didn’t feel immediate attachment? Was I a bad mom if I let him cry and didn’t rush right in his room when he woke up in the middle of the night? Was I terrible if I just couldn’t get the hang of nursing? Would my child not be as well-rounded or feel as loved if I went back to work full-time?

I believe we have the tendency to go into this dark space where we don’t measure up instead of celebrating all the good stuff we do every day. I also see a lot of parents making the child the center of their lives and orbiting around them, as they grow older, but it is good to have your own things and hobbies. Build friendships with other moms, embrace hobbies, volunteer, and make sure you are still forging your own path. As we have hit these high school years, I am thankful that I have always had these things and I hope someday they will model that same behavior if they have kids one day."

Meet Amy at MomAdvice.com

"Don't plan on how you will feel . . . "

"My body feels the weight of exhaustion...the weight of motherhood...as I collapse on the couch. Two children are finally tucked into bed for however long they happen to stay there this time. In this season of raising toddlers, the days are long and the night are short. Naps are shorter still.

I was asked recently by a fresh-eyed, 20ish woman if motherhood was actually hard. I smiled. Laughed the kind of tired laugh that only a mama can after fits of broken sleep for five years and counting. “Yes,” I said, “motherhood is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” I thought about what else I would tell her...what I wish I could have told myself.

If I was able to fly back in time and tell myself something to ease the journey ahead, I would have said to stop making plans and stop studying all the “how-to” books. Don’t plan on when and how you will conceive. Infertility is part of many of our stories. Don’t plan on how you will feel or heal or survive as a mother. Postpartum depression and body self-love can be wild rides. Don’t memorize the milestones and measure your babies against them. Count the giggles and the naps and the sleepy milk smiles instead.

Most of all, don’t expect your current self to carry and birth a child and remain unchanged. Embrace the new woman you will become and remain curious as to what will make this new woman happy. Then ground yourself in those happy moments and hang onto their preciousness as you walk laps in the middle of the night, pump at work for the umpteenth time, and collect Cheerios from seat cushions like your life depended on it.

Embrace the small and simple moments and teach your babes to do the same. Hold them tight and let yourself fly. You are a new woman after all. You are a mother."

Connect with Lauren at A Cup of Bliss

"You will learn the delicate art of flexibility. . ."

"Go out, experience the world, and revel in your untethered freedom. When it comes time to nest, you will be ready to fully delight in the two greatest gifts of your life.

Discover what lights you up. When the babies arrive, as challenging as it might initially seem, keep that inner flame burning by carving out time for those interests.

Learn to meditate — for calm, for insight, for the ability to choose your response over reacting habitually.Be kind and loving, but firm with yourself.

Your children will model everything you do and say. Familiarize yourself with your gut instinct (meditation also helps with this) and follow it. Trust that you know your children’s unique personalities and needs better than anyone.

Enjoy that young, perky body as yet untouched by gravity and birthing children, girl! In the early days, you will weep from exhaustion, dig deep for courage, and require help. Accept it gratefully.Relish the uninterrupted sleep, free time, and leisurely dinners. You will miss them but will adore the little creatures that take their place even more. Lose the perfectionism. Good enough is great.

You will become a fierce Mama Bear when you witness a child hurting. Use that strength to help and heal others. Stay connected to your friends, leaning on each other in the tough moments, and laughing with them in the beautiful ones.

Choose your partner carefully and build a solid, loving, supportive relationship. You will need to draw on that when your own inner reserves run low.

Your kids will broaden your emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical courage exponentially. They will remind you how to play, be silly, and view the world through their eyes. You will be peed and vomited upon, nurse many boo boos, and dry countless tears. In spite of this you will gaze into your children’s eyes in wonder and utter gratitude daily.

You will learn the delicate art of flexibility, letting go, and going with the flow. (Imperfectly. See lose the perfectionism.)Motherhood will confound you, expand your heart, and challenge you in such unexpected ways you will feel compelled to write a book about it! Breathe, Mama, Breathe. Yes, indeed."

Read Shonda's book at Breathe, Mama Breathe

". . . may not be the plan that comes to fruition. . ."

"Motherhood is going to be the hardest and most amazing thing you will ever do. Your plan for your child may not be the plan that comes to fruition, but trust that this new plan will be even more incredible than you imagined.

It is ok to have bad days, as long as you don't allow those days to define you as a mother. Trust your gut. Have faith that you are doing a good job; even on days when it feels like you are failing.

Remember that everyone has an opinion, but you don't have to let those opinions direct your path (or ruin your day). Make decisions that are best for your family, without concern for what appeals to others. Slow down and play sometimes, regardless of what is on your to-do list. Most importantly, take care of yourself so that you are able to take care of that little one that God has given you.

You got this!"

"Let yourself be a Mother"

"If I was offering wisdom to my 20 year old self about Motherhood here's what I 'd say:

No matter how many people try to tell you, you will never, never, never understand how challenging it is when you become a parent. Honestly 20 year old self.... you just won't get it until it happens and by then its too late to change your mind! In fact, you'll find that you'll still be grappling with this commitment you have made well beyond the baby and toddler stage as you realise that parenting is for life, like, forever!

Motherhood will blow your mind in so many new ways as you explore your values around birthing, parenting and education! You'll discover things you never knew existed (like hypnobirthing and unschooling) and test your limits in so many different ways. You'll find the courage to challenge societal norms and stand up and be heard as a result of your passion to do what is best for your children. Motherhood is a powerful change agent.

It's important to back yourself and trust your gut when you become a Mum, so start practicing these skills now so that by the time you are a mother you are really connected to your intuition and you believe in yourself enough to do what works best for you and your whanau/family (rather that worrying about what other people think you should/could do)

Mindfulness is your friend! It'll help you stay sane through the toughest of parenting challenges. You may not always get it right, but your chances will increase significantly if you can stay calm and present in the situation and with your children and/or partner.

Let yourself be a Mother. Your generation has grown up with so many messages about how important it is to have a career but remember, while work may be an important part of who you are, you only get these babies once and it's hard work. You don't have to do everything else at the same time. It's ok to let things go for a while and come back to them when you are not sleep-deprived and breast-feeding. It may take a lot of patience to practice this but it will be worth it 100%! "

Meet Janine at Get it Done Mum.

"Where does the baby come out?"

"When I used to think of motherhood, all I thought of was pregnancy and babies. I never thought about all the stuff that occurs after the baby stage.

I thought motherhood was about practical stuff - changing diapers, keeping kids safe, maybe paying for college. Basically like being a babysitter....with more financial responsibility.

I didn’t realize motherhood was one long emotional rollercoaster or that I’d have to answer difficult questions on the fly.

Like the one day you’re driving to the store and all the kids ranging from 4 to 8 years old decide to start rapid-firing questions from the backseat....like “Can you stop yourself from having a baby? But where does the baby come out? Does the doctor have to stab you?” And you’re so unprepared in that moment that you feign ignorance and change the subject.

Or having to explain to a 6-year-old why his grandfather who passed away won’t be automatically erased from all our family photos (because that’s what he thought would happen).

Or having to come up with a logical explanation your daughter will believe as to why she can’t have a sleepover with her best friend because it might trigger the mania side of her friend’s mom’s bipolar II disorder that neither girls know about.

Oh. My. Word.

Motherhood is a journey like none other. I wish I could say I was prepared for it but nothing can prepare you for the intense curveballs you receive.

Each little human you bring into the world comes with their own unique personality, set of desires and quirks. And the questions!! Oh the questions!

If you’ve never deeply analyzed the bigger mysteries in life, you’ll get lots of practice! You’ll want the best for your kids, which will require you to deeply examine your own beliefs…your faith, your values, your viewpoints on virtually every subject.

With motherhood, every day is an adventure so strap in and enjoy the ride!"

Meet Lena at WhatMommyDoes.com.

"Your sleeping and sanity will be compromised"

"I would tell her that Motherhood is hard. But the laughter, hugs, kisses, smiles, their faces, and all the joy your kiddos bring makes it all worth it.

You're going to worry, your sleeping and sanity will be compromised at times, and you'll feel like you're going to lose it. Just take a deep breath and fill yourself with lots love, grace, and patience.

Don't compare yourself or your motherhood with anyone else's. Every kid is different, you have your own journey. You'll be ENOUGH the way you are. You can do it.

Drop the perfectionism, set priorities instead. Is going to be less overwhelmed that way. Sometimes there is no right or wrong way to do things. Be imperfectly perfect.

There are going to be highs and lows as with everything in life. On the low moments please remember everything will be fine.

Focus on being the mom and the role model you want to be for your kids. Motherhood is the greatest blessing and you are going to be an AMAZING mom. Always be grateful and enjoy every stage as much as you can because the kids grow very fast."

Join Carelyn this month at the Confident Moms Summit

"Be more closer to your mother . . ."

"1) Appreciate all mothers and treat them differently because somehow a woman with kids is not the same as a woman with no kids. Being a mother is like having an additional job where you get no weekends, no holidays and no time-off. Despite that, some of the most successful woman are mothers.

2) Be more closer to your mother because you will walk the same path unconsciously and if you are lucky enough you can even avoid making the same mistakes that she did.

3) Accept the fact that if a mother is breastfeeding her child in public not to judge instead support her. Prior to having kids, this one time this lady sat next to me and I was flying to the UK and the whole trip she wad Breastfeeding her child and I just wouldn’t understand it , however now that I breastfeed my child for 22 months , I look back and say “Now I understand”"

Connect with May at Baby on Board Dubai

. . .for the love of another."

"There will come a point in your motherhood journey where you will feel like you've failed. Utterly, miserably failed. But that's where the beauty begins. It's in the rawest and most vulnerable states that we begin to transform.

You'll begin to uncover the person inside that's been there all along but you never knew she existed before. The warrior. The nurturer. The woman who would selflessly give day in and day out for the love of another.

But the challenge here is in that you have to honor her. It's easy to put her on the back burner and selflessly give. But you, dear one, you inside, are the one your children and the world needs. Spend the time you need to discover her. Because when you begin to know yourself, only then will you be able to give freely without becoming depleted."

Connect with Renae at RenaeFieck.com

"Let them live to make their own mistakes"

"There are a few things about motherhood you will find out too late.

1. Spend the money, no matter how little you have, and do a professional portrait session of your beautiful big pregnant belly every time, with your hunky hubby (who is totally worth waiting for!) and include whatever kids you have (no spoilers!). You will feel huge and you will think you have time or it won’t matter if you don’t. It will.

2. You do not have to go to work the day you wake up and realize you’re having a miscarriage. Stay home and grieve the loss of your child.

3. Get organized with your photos before you have kids and get a digital organization system in place so you can easily find photos when you need them for an 8th grade project, and you can look back on all the previous moments. BTW you can never take too many pictures!

4. Write everything down. All those funny things your kids say and do, the cute things that make your heart melt, what they love at each age ... all of it. You think in the moment you could never forget. You will and you’ll be sad you can’t remember those times.

5. Learn your children’s love language and speak it to them regularly. That book will come out before you have kids. Look for it.

6. Nothing is more important than when your teenagers want to talk to you. Drop everything else. Be present with them. They will remember and they will feel loved.

7. Every sacrifice you make for your kids will be so worth it. Follow your heart, teach them your faith, and let them live to make their own mistakes. Be there to lovingly guide them, but let them make their own choices.

8. They’ll only be little for a little while. Do all the things, make all the crafts, go to all the places. They may not remember it all but you will (especially if you take those photos and write things down!). Be present with them.

9. Learn everything you can and then trust your instincts.

10. You’re going to be an amazing mom. Enjoy the ride.

Learn about Felicia at FeliciaSlattery.com

"Each day brings a bit more chaos. . . "

"I would tell the 20-year old me that the most important things in life are always the ones that are right in front of you. Days are coming where distractions try to derail you. God will close doors and open windows that make no sense, but follow his lead and trust in him.

Your life will look nothing like what you imagined, but it is so much more! Each day brings a bit more chaos than the one before, but beauty surrounds you. Open your eyes and see it. Don’t worry so much, just do the next right thing. You won’t always be sure what that is, but the truth is- the right thing is always what is right in front of you..where God has you at that very moment.

Cherish every minute, laugh more, love fiercely, don’t let life pass you by...and above all, don’t waste your time searching for balance. Spoiler alert- you never find it, because it doesn’t exist."

Meet Heather at Life of a Homeschool Mom

"Trust yourself."

"You do you. Your path to adulthood may look different than others. People may question your choices. But you're not too young to know what you want and what's right for you. Trust yourself. You'll be amazed where saying 'yes' to adventures and challenges takes you"

Connect with Liz at Motherly

"The unrelenting pressure is going to come from one place . . . "

"You are going to feel a lot of pressure in your lifetime—pressure to do things at 110 percent performance level, pressure to look and act a certain way, pressure to be all things to all people. You’re going to think that the pressure is coming at you from all directions, but in most cases, it’s not. That unrelenting pressure is going to come from one place: you. So do yourself a favor, dear one. Take the pressure off. Take the pressure off now—don’t wait another day.

More than an attractive appearance, more than press-worthy triumphs, more than a glowing reputation for being able to do it all, live each day well. Live today well. And one surefire way to do it is to create your own definition of success. Capturing a sunset with your eyes … reaching out to someone in need of encouragement … coveting precious pockets of time to spend with the people you love … expressing gratitude for life’s simple joys like fresh air, belly laughs, and worn-out treads on running shoes … these are daily “successes” that cultivate more joy than any trophy ever could. By taking the pressure off yourself, you are able to celebrate ordinary achievements that are really quite extraordinary when you pause to delight in them."

Connect with Rachel at Hands Free Mama

"Your kids won't define you"

"I would sit with my arm around 20-year me and hold her tight and whisper these words: your kids won't define you.

They will not be the sum of all the good OR the bad that you've ever done in your life. They are little humans with their own personalities and temperaments. They will like and dislike things that are completely OUTSIDE of your control.

So take that frenzy of energy that comes every time you wonder what people will think of YOU when they see your kids and refocus it.

Teach your kids about kindness. Show their little hearts how to empathize with hurting people. Allow them to feel small in a big big world, and let that be the flint that sparks curiosity.

Their world will not hinge on you "getting it right" every single moment...and neither will yours. In fact, you'll find some of the very BEST things in your life will come from those moments when you seemingly "blew it"".

Travel with Samantha at Those Crazy Nelsons

"It will break you into a million pieces"

"Nothing can prepare you for motherhood. It's so much more than you can ever expect or imagine. It's bigger and better and harder than anything you'll ever do in life. It's also more rewarding. This journey will grow you, stretch you and scare you. It will break you into a million pieces, only to glue you back together into a version of yourself that's stronger, wiser, and more patient.

There will be great days and hard days, and lots of in-between days. Celebrate the good days. Look for the beauty in the hard days. Cherish the in-between days. And, thank God for all of them, because every day and every child is a blessing. And, by the way, you're going to fall more in love with your husband each year. He's a great dad. So keep growing, but don't forget to enjoy the journey along the way. It's worth it."

Join Cheryl at her 2:1 Conference.

"She'll just need you"

"Being a mom will be hard, and you’ll feel incapable much of the time. But you’ll also get to be the one your child calls out for in the middle of night or runs to when she’s hurt or sad. She won’t need you to have all the answers. She’ll just need you . . . just the way you are. Try not to sweat the small stuff. Just buckle up and enjoy the ride!"

Connect with Elizabeth at MOPS

"Your future is beautiful"

"The best is yet to come! This amazing life of yours is going to take many twists and turns but you’ve got this! So take comfort in knowing your future is beautiful and take time to slow down, enjoy the present, and make time for self-care along the way, prioritizing your physical, mental, and spiritual health."

Meet Jill at Mother.ly

"You have all the time you need."

"When I was 20, I had a timeline and game plan in mind; I would get married at 28 and start having children at age 30. In reality, at age 30, I was single and living overseas. Even though I earned 3 degrees and traveled the world in my 20’s, I felt anxious about turning 30 without a partner.

Fast forward 17 years, and now I’ve been happily married for 15 years and have 3 wonderful kids. If I could give my 20 year old self advice, I’d tell her to listen to her gut and to understand that you have all the time you need. Follow your passions and explore your interests.

Being a mom is an amazing, all-consuming experience. I’m able to show up for my kids more fully now because I don’t have any “if only I had done this before kids” in the back of mind. I also have a beautiful set of rich experiences and global relationships that I’m able to share with my kids and which inform the way I parent."

Join Julie at Working Mother's Mentor

". . . the most magical ways."

"Don’t be so caught up in whether or not you can afford a baby. Just make sure you’re ready for your life to change in the most magical ways. And try to have kids before you ever have to mourn someone close to you. Kids are like little fireworks of energy and comfort in the darkness of your grief. You'll need them."

Check out Claire's work at Kidspot.com.au

"Amazing things will come . . ."

"I would tell my 20 year old self that despite not being remotely interested in parenthood at that age, priorities have a funny way of shifting, and that there are some amazing and mind-blowing changesto look forward to. That somewhere under the insecurity and shyness is a fierce woman whose courage she may not recognize. That her capacity to advocate for what is important to her as a mother will both surprise and astound her. I would tell her all good things take time, and some of the best good things are not even on your radar.

I would tell my 20 year old self that although she feels strong and active, her appreciation of her body then will pale in comparison to the pride she will have in her strength to birth three babies, her resolve to do it at home, and her gratitude that health and circumstances have allowed her these choices.

I would also tell her that although she feels lost in finding a life mission, of having something deep and meaningful coursing through her veins, the experiences she will have after twenty in being mentored by amazing women and mothers will set her on a course to find true love in the things that really matter. Amazing things will come without you even wishing for or wanting them. By keeping a soft heart and an open mind, great opportunities for love, and for mothering will appear. She’ll realize, all in good time, that she’s been reaching for unnamed stars that were too far away even to see. That takes faith. But here she is, 25 years on, and those stars are now within reach. Those stars now have names.

And last, if she is still listening after all of this, I would tell her she is enough. She is good enough and kind enough and smart enough and bold enough just as she is. She is enough. And oh so much more."

Listen to Heather's interviews at Nurture Squared

"The wonder of peering into rock pools."

"Don’t try to be super-mum. When you’re knee-deep in demanding little people and maybe you’re yet again pregnant and/or breastfeeding, survival becomes the key objective ‒ no matter how many clever parenting books you read or courses you go to. Just focus on the basics of feeding them, washing their clothes, keeping them healthy and loving them.

The years will flash by in a blur of small bodies, ever-empty stomachs as they get older, and a messy house. You’ll get used to counting heads to make sure no-one’s left behind. And you’ll also get used to feeling permanently out of control, always a bit behind with what needs to be done. It seems there are never enough hours in the day and always too much to do. It’s true – and not true.

Their small view of the world will enlarge yours. Don’t worry too much about the peripheral issues like housework – sometimes walk away from the mess. Remember to stop and play, laugh and love. Slow down to look at the world through their eyes. The wonder of peering into rock pools. The joy of chasing gold and red autumn leaves. The fascination of watching a spider and a fly in a life or death battle. Treasure the memories you’ll make together.

Love them but don’t molly-coddle or cotton-wool them. Kids are tough. Let them make mistakes, and let them feel the consequences of those mistakes while they’re young and you’re still near enough to support them. However, don’t save them from the consequences of their actions, no matter how young. Pampering and an easy life are a recipe for a spoilt and narcissistic adult. Your job is to give them the chance to learn resilience, to be responsible, thoughtful and contributory adults. That isn’t learnt in a protected environment.

Finally, don’t rush back to work – you’ve only got them for a few short years. If you’re not working full-time away from the home you’ll spend less, save money and everyone will be more relaxed. They don’t want things; they want you."

See what Robyn does at Getting a Grip

". . . too many other things . . . "

"There is nothing in the first 36 years of life harder than those first few months after giving birth, caring for a needy newborn, who's awake at all hours, when you're still mentally and physically recovering, yourself. Don't try to avoid getting a postpartum diagnosis. Don't try to refuse medicine because you have too many other things to worry about. Get well and your whole family will benefit."

Learn more about Meredith at Working Mother

". . . in between the loud, crazy times . . ."

"Motherhood will be the thing that shows you what strength you truly possess. It will teach you how to be resourceful, grateful and show you that your capacity for joy is bigger than you have ever imagined. Above all else, in between the loud, crazy times, you will come to know your intuition and that it's been there guiding you all along. Make time for quiet and trust yourself. You've got this!"

Meet Ingrid at IngridKellyOwens.com

". . . get ready to fight for these things . . ."

"I would be happy to tell my 20-year-old self that she'll eventually have the world's most excellent daughter and a loving partner who's excited to take on an equal share of parenting and household duties. But I'd also have to warn my younger self about some of the huge obstacles our current society has thrown in front of parents. It'd be hard to sell a twenty-something on the importance of paid family leave, affordable childcare, equality in maternal care, and ending the wage gap and "motherhood penalty" at work, but I'd tell my younger self to get ready to fight for these things with eyes open."

Learn more about Marisa at Good Housekeeping Magazine

". . . you can still have a life. . ."

"Despite what you've always believed and told anyone who would listen, you actually DO want kids. They are awesome! It won't be easy and the sleep deprivation of the early years and eye-rolling of the tweenage years are no joke. But every moment is worth it. And yes, you can still have a life -- your life -- after kids. It will look a little different, but it will be yours. And you will love it."

Connect with Joyce at Macaroni Kid

"Motherhood should never be done alone."

"My 2 Necessities Of Motherhood:

1. Motherhood should never be done alone! Surround yourself with a real community of other mamas that listen, encourage and support you.

2. Don’t be consumed by the mama guilt, forgive yourself and educate yourself by utilizing resources that can tangibly give you the tools for the most difficult and important job you will ever have!"

Join Jennifer at Mastering Motherhood

"Do anything to survive. . . "

"Have a baby when you are ready. There is no rush, wait if you want to. Motherhood is hard and your life changes. So be ready for you, no one else. All a baby needs is love.But you need a village. Where ever you get your support from, make it work for you. You can't always rely on family or friends. So find people old and new that are there for you.

Once you become a mother you'll wonder why you ever got stressed about work and spent hours formatting presentations. You'll no longer have the time to have such worries and your focus and worry will move elsewhere, on to your precious baby boy.

To my child-free self: Don't waste time, do those things now. Like buy those fancy shoes and wear them! Travel to different places, with freedom and ease. Leave work early, turn the TV off and read that book. Take those pilates classes. Don't spend time with people who give nothing in return - life is too short.

Newborns are hard work, but it is a phase. TRY with all your might to enjoy it. You will miss those long 3am snuggles and feeds when it turns to 5am and your now toddler is raring to go. And honestly, having a baby does not bring you closer to your other half. Be prepared this myth will not come to fruition.

The best advice you will be given one day in the grocery store by a random stranger will be, "Do anything to survive, do what works for you." Then this lady will give you a hug, which will give you strength to dig even deeper, while you buy that huge chocolate cake and eventually take that shower and sleep after days of not doing so.

Throw yourself into motherhood and you will love it. You never do anything half heartedly, and motherhood will be no exception."

". . . 29 years later . . . "

"Be patient. The sooner you learn this lesson, the sooner you can move on...crap, it sounds like I am still learning this lesson 29 years later 🙂"

Meet Holly at Kids Activities Blog

"My children are the best thing I have achieved in life"

Learn more about Annah's success story at Annah Stretton Fashion

5 Moms from the Raleigh Moms Blog:

Carly Lafore, mom "Take time for you- it doesn’t make you selfish, it makes you a better mom. It’s OK to ask for help. We all need it. Bribing can go a long way. And, sometimes it’s hilarious to go into their rooms & say “I know what you did,” just to see what you get."

Jessica Norton, mom "You were right! Raising tiny humans is a lot of work! Thank you for waiting! But, remember when you would try to quantify the love you could feel for your own child? You weren't even close. The love you will have for this tiny little boy looking up at you is indescribable and totally worth all that work."

Shana Smith, mom "Thanks for waiting until you were your fullest self to have a child! Motherhood is being pushed to the brink, then pulled back in with just one look that is so full of love, life, and yourself that your heart swells more and more each time. Motherhood is the most worthy experience you'll have in your life and it's well worth the wait."

Corinne Watson, mom "Enjoy your 20s, travel, make new friends, explore all opportunities, move to a new city and have fun finding your true passions! Being a mom is the hardest, most rewarding job of my career, but I’m so glad I had the experiences of my 20s to shape who I am today, and those I’ll share with my daughter. While motherhood is a fabulous, aspirational goal, it does require a level of selflessness you need to be ready to embrace. It will be worth the wait!"

Tiffani Campbell, mom & Raleigh Moms Blog Owner & Publisher "You have everything you need within you to bring love and joy to your child's life. Don't worry about asking for permission or approval because every step and struggle is worthwhile. Get ready, girl, because as your children grow so will you,...and you will be amazed at what you find."

Learn from these moms at The Raleigh City Moms Blog

"We figure out how to come back to ourselves. . . "

"You're about to embark on quite the adventure. Stay open; be willing to love and risk and grow, even when things don't go quite as you had hoped. There is always a silver lining to be found; sometimes you just have to look a little harder - but I promise you, it will all be worth it.

Take the time to know yourself as you are now, and who you are becoming; we will do amazing things together. (Though we might get separated from each other for awhile. It's ok, we figure how to come back to ourselves - and life is all the richer for it.) Ask more questions, trust your own answers. Challenge the assumptions, especially those that tell you what to want in life.

And on a practical note, drink more water. Sleep in as often as possible. Stay flexible, literally and figuratively. Purge the contents of your life often; jettisoning anything that weighs you down or keeps you small (and yes, this includes people.) Keep your passport at the ready. Feel the feels, journal, move your body; we'll heal and this is all part of the process. Invest in yourself; we're worth it. Surround yourself with people that make you throw your head back and laugh from deep within, and who dream even bigger than you do. And all of that effort when the kids are really young, those days that last forever? So very worth it.

It's taken a long time to be able to say this, far too long, and you need to know: I love you."

Join Tonia at the The Single Parent Summit

"I'm not going to lie"

"I’m not going to lie.
Motherhood is hard.
But, more importantly, it is beautiful journey.
You will struggle, but you will also soar.
You will cry, but you will also laugh like you have never laughed before.
Some days you will not be able to make yourself get out of bed, but other days you will jump out of bed.
You will scream, but you will also whisper.
You will teach your children and they will teach you.

The most important thing, though, that I can tell you is:
It is okay to take care of yourself.
And not just okay, but necessary.
It is not selfish to care for yourself.
It is love.
Self love.
And you are worth it.

It is a false paradigm that you are saint if you sacrifice your life for your children.
Do we make sacrifices for our children sometimes?
Of course.
But we don’t sacrifice our whole lives, our soul, our identity.
Because if we do that, when our children are grown and gone, we are left with nothing but a shell of a human.

I give you permission to love yourself so that you can better love your children."

Follow Rebekah at Empowered By Us on Instagram.

". . . you will find rest in the imperfections."

"You are not perfect, so stop striving for perfection. You are human and will fail, and you need to find the grace and peace in all things. Be the best you that you can be, in each moment. Your presence and attention to serving others is light years more important than the perfection that your personality craves. Eventually, you will find rest in the imperfections."

Learn about Erin at $5 Dinners.

"You think you know, but you have NO idea' - MTV TrueLife

"How do you describe the indescribable? Especially to a 20 something who believes they are invincible and can handle ANYTHING thrown in their path?

Contemplating this question was hard, and gut wrenching for me, an internal experience that I didn’t expect.

Because here’s the thing, there’s no way to describe what or how motherhood really is to someone more concerned about the next party than the depths of love and responsibility motherhood brings.

Here’s my truth – I’d tell my 20 year old self that motherhood is expansive. Deeper than any drug you’ve ever tried. More emotionally enlightening than any break up with Scott, the guy who never mattered anyway. I’d tell my 20 year old self, that you may think you know, but you have NO idea. You can’t read about it in a book. You can’t understand it from photos on social media (although let’s be honest – there was NO Instagram when I was 20!).

Motherhood is an all encompassing physical, mental, and emotional role that will crack you open and force you to truly come into your true self to survive. Your role is not in raising your child, in fact, your child will raise you even though you think you are grown. Your child will bring new highs and lows into your life. If you want to really understand yourself and blossom into the most fulfilled version of you, motherhood will bring you there.

But until life deems you ready, enjoy the steps that get you there and know that when your time is right, your child will come to you and together, you will grow. "

Connect with Dena at The Mindful Mom Revolution

"Running them and yourself ragged will not . . . "

"You have limited time with your children, only 18 years, so make sure you are enjoying this time. Kids do not need to be in every activity and club available. Running them and yourself ragged will not make them more well rounded. One activity at a time is enough and even that isn’t necessary. Everyone in the house will be happier with fewer obligations."

Travel with Meagan at Mommy Travels.

"Waiting for my 30s to have my first child was . . ."

"Throughout my 20s, I didn't want a child at all. I was worried having a child would interfere with running my business, and that I'd be less respected in the startup/tech world as a mother.

Waiting for my 30s to have my first child was the right choice for me. Having a child does come with a boatload of extra household responsibilities, so I'd tell my 20-year-old self to get more organized and be prepared to hire more people to help out!

But I'd also say...don't be scared. My daughter is the love of my life. I rarely go more than a few minutes without thinking about her. As she gets older, it's fun to take her out, see the world through her eyes, and engage her in conversations. I wouldn't trade that for anything."

Have Erica fix your tech at 1Up Repairs.

". . . the one-hundredth time."

"Motherhood is hard. Somedays will be so hard with little sleep and your patience is worn to a thread. But being a mom is so worth those hard days. Because where else do you get paid in hugs and kisses from those you love. But it’s also easy to let the days slip by. Make the most of everyday moments with your kids. You can’t be a perfect mom (they don’t exist) but you can be a present mom.

Your kids need you present, they need you to listen to the same story for the one-hundredth time. They need you to hug them and tell them it will be alright. They need you to laugh and roll around on the floor with them. They need you to encourage, love and be proud of them no matter their abilities. Taking time with your kids creates memories that will stay with them (and you) for a lifetime."

Join Shelly at Frugal Family Home

". . . rent space in your head."

"Give into the chaos sooner. Embrace your instincts sooner. Don't allow others' ideas on what "all moms" desire to rent space in your head.

It's okay to figure out how YOU want to define your children's memories of their mom. Occupying both titles of at-home mom and working mom throughout your kids' young lives is worthy and neither should lead to guilt.

Having kids younger than most of your peers is scary and may fill you with doubt, but once you start trusting yourself, that's when you, your husband and your kids will find the groove you've been looking for.

Make time for your girlfriends ... you'll need them more than ever. And, call your own mom. You're going to find new respect for her and her for you."

Connect with Liza at her business Style Blueprint

"You'll find yourself praying on your knees. . . "

"First of all, yes you earned your doctorate and taught Ph.D. students for a decade even though you were such a slacker in high school that you almost failed out. Remember the hassle you gave your parents when it came to school? Well, sitting right next to me in your future, is your adorable son trying to get out of his homework by stalling. He is actually talking and moving in slow motion like he’s a broken robot.

He is a total cutie pie with dimples for days. He has an uncanny ability to change the conversation and keep you laughing so much that you will give into the distraction at times just to hear his stories. Tonight, you took him to Kung Fu (which helps with his ADHD), he played sports on a Wii device (which is like an Atari video game on steroids and the kids get their wiggles out doing it), and after dinner you ran the track at the gym with him.

All the special education training you had—starting with volunteering at the school and workshop 8 hours a day during the summers with kids with exceptionalities, teaching for years and eventually being a special education professor for a decade—is going to come in handy.

When you give birth to Jacob, he will come out an alarming shade of blue and will have a cry that sounds like a pterodactyl. They will keep him in the NICU. Your breasts will be full of leaking milk, and you will be dealing with your marriage falling apart. You will find yourself praying on your knees for your son in a tiny hospital chapel when they say that they may have to do a tracheotomy on him, and that he may have severe issues for the rest of his life. Oh yes, and your body will be weak from the exhaustion of having just delivered your child, and you will have a toddler daughter at home who looks and acts just like you.

When this happens, and with other life issues, please KNOW that you can handle it. You have been wishing and hoping to be a mother someday and your chance will come. You will learn how to juggle it all.

No matter what the universe throws your way, from a cheating spouse to a child with extra learning needs, you are so equipped.

They will ask you if you want to do surgery on the newborn baby, and you decide to wait a little longer to see if his vocal cords will not be paralyzed after all. You trust your intuition. And praise God… He didn’t need it! He talks up a storm! I can tell you that as I am listening to him right this minute, in the future. He’s acting out one of his stalling skits. You are stifling giggles because you know he has to work on his homework. You made the right decision for sure! Darlin’, you have great instincts. You were wired for this even though there will be days when you are teary-eyed with guilt from being a working mom. When your child gets hurt and you replay in your head everything you could have done to prevent it. Especially when you see that you are pushing your daughter too hard.

Speaking of her, your daughter will be born with gifts galore. She will sing like an angel. She will be able to do the second-grade puzzles in pre-kindergarten. Her art work will hang in an NYC art gallery before she is even a teenager.

But, just because she looks like you on the outside doesn’t mean she’s the exact same on the inside. She is an introvert. She needs quiet alone time to recharge. Your daughter loves to perform, but not like you. Going into unknown situations will cause her anxiety, and she was a perfectionist right out of the womb (whereas you grew into that with time).

Remember when you wrote that your educational philosophy for your future classroom was, “Inside every ordinary person is an extraordinary gift”? You need to remember that for your family, too. Your children both have gifts, and it’s up to you to help them discover them, nurture them, not push too hard, and treat them as individuals who live, recharge, and approach the world differently. So, 20-year-old me:

Learn self-care strategies and eat well. It will set a healthy foundation for you, and your kids will someday be watching... and learning.

Practice saying “No, thank you,” because you will be pulled in a million directions as a mompreneur CEO, president of a non-profit, and being attentive to your family and new husband (spoiler alert: you remarry a great man).

Enjoy a great morning routine with meditation, prayer, exercise, and quiet times.

Seek out your sisterhood. You will find the most amazing women who will walk this journey with you and be able to relate to what you are going through.

Hold your children responsible for their actions and help them establish personal boundaries as they will be their best own advocates.

Love on your own parents. After all they put up with your crap for years and never gave up on you!

Take it easy on yourself. No one is perfect. And you will do a damn good job as a mom.

Always keep #FamilyFirst as your personal motto. You will enter into unknown territory where there is no instruction manual, and you are guaranteed to make some mistakes along the way. Yet, when you keep your family at the forefront of your heart, mind, and soul you will not only survive motherhood… but you will hear your kiddos one day say “You are the best mom in the whole world!” "

Meet Shellie at Inspiring Lives Magazine

". . . or a massive to do list which essentially never ends."

"My beloved mom used to say, “and this too shall pass.” I quote her in my head often when mothering feels challenging. And, it’s so true.

A wise mom friend once said to me when my son was little that you blink your eyes and they are in college. At the time, I didn’t fully accept that, but it’s proven true as well. My son is now a Sophomore in High School.

So, live in the moment as best you can. Try to stay fully present and not distracted by technology or a massive to do list which essentially never ends.

Pick your battles. Don’t get hung up on scheduling activities and going into overload. Some of the most precious memories are made and experiences are enjoyed together with your child when you least expect.

Your child feels your energy and notices more than you think, so live fully and be a model resilience and perseverance. Life isn’t always easy, and these are important traits for them to develop."

Join Robin at Motherhood Later

"You don't have to figure anything out alone . . ."

"Whatever you’re feeling right now, you’re not alone. There are mothers all around you who have been there, experienced that, loved hard, and failed often. Ask for advice. Seek out support. You don’t have to figure anything out alone, whether your kiddos are the most normal, average, well-adjusted little ones on the block, or battling a whole slew of exceptionalities, maladies, or strife.

There is someone who has walked your path before and they would love to have the opportunity to help you see the way through it. Motherhood is best when faced with love, courage, and an open heart. You can totally do this, mama. I believe in you."

Learn more about Colleen at Raising Lifelong Learners

". . . and oh those precious hugs!"

"When I was in my 20s.. it was all about me.. having fun, exploring, fearless, and somehow a little selfish if I may say, but that’s ok! It’s that season of life! It’s part of learning and growing.

If I will look back and tell my 20 you old self about motherhood, I’d say it’s almost the same but at a different level.. you will again be exploring in many aspects.. the countless firsts of everything. You will have tons of fun! Imagine all the funny baby talks, the giggles, and oh those precious hugs!

Most of all, you’ll learn the opposite of selfishness. You’ll be surprised with the amount of love you are able to give. It doesn’t end and it is amazing!! So if you, my 20 yo self is contemplating about motherhood, be fearless! Welcome it with joy! And this one is important - it’s not a one wonder woman show.. think carefully who you want your kids’ father should be!! Choose wisely! 😂"

Learn about Anne and her family at Daddy Blogger

"Never let anyone tell you you aren't strong or good enough"

"Sweet 20 year old me, throughout your childhood and teens you were told you weren't smart, strong or good enough and that you're too sensitive. You will soon be 23 years old when you'll be told that due to a disease, you are highly unlikely to conceive naturally, if at all. Don't listen to any of these people throughout your life. You are smart and you are insanely strong, creative and passionate as you will learn later on in life.

And that 'over-sensitive' trait people talk of; it makes you a solid, loving, compassionate and caring human that will grace the lives of so many people you will meet over the years and all around the world. You will finish your education with an MBA in International Marketing and you will have a thriving career in senior management. Most shockingly, you can indeed have a baby naturally and it will happen. It will be a shock and the biggest blessing of your life that will complete you entirely. You will then have found your true purpose, which you instinctively knew all along.

And you can do that motherhood journey on your own, as a single mother with no family support if you need to. Never let any man stop you from having more children. Never let anyone tell you are aren't strong or good enough. Trust your instincts, they will never let you down. You are worthy, you are brave and you are going to be the best mother your daughter could ever wish for (and you will hear those words from her sweet lips).

You are going to make so many mistakes along the way, and that is okay. You will learn from them and you will grow into your motherhood skin in time. The motherhood journey will be so very hard at times. But all the blessings along the way and all that joy your child will bring you, gives you that strength to hold on tight and to every moment you can. You will feel true love and appreciation from your child.

Sweet 20 year old me, it all goes by in a blink. One moment you are holding your newborn baby worried you will accidentally kill her in her first bath or over feed her, or underfeed her. Worried about finances and going back to work to soon. Then you blink and you are hugging your teenager and teaching them how to stay safe on so many levels, how to be a strong young woman in a world that still has gender gaps in equality and mediums show all this need for perfection. Then you are so swiftly marching with her hand in hand into adulthood, digging deeper than ever to find your biggest amount of strength yet. The strength to let go her go out into the world independently, no longer hand in hand - which is just one more blink away."

". . . it truly is the most loving gift you can give them. . ."

"I would tell my 20-year-old self that motherhood is more of everything. It’s more love, it’s more pain, it’s more fun, it’s more joy, it’s more sadness, it’s more life. I would also tell her that this love is so strong and these little ones need you so much that you want to give them everything and that is a beautiful thing. But I would encourage her to be aware that that amount of love and caring can make her own self-care elusive.

I would encourage her to surround herself with a village and to not be afraid to ask for help from her husband from her friends or from hired help. I would also tell her that while she might want to be friends with her children the most important thing to do is to teach them to be independent of her. That may feel counterintuitive but it truly is the most loving gift you can give them, the gift of confidence and self sufficiency. Because whether or not we like it, they will not always have us and what you want to give them is the greatest gift of them having themselves."

Connect with Daniela at her show Reclaim Yourself Mama

"You are the definition of . . . "

"I'm proud of you.

Trust yourself more and don't worry so much. Even though you'll have to make a lot of big decisions at a young age and do everything on your own - you are the definition behind turning lemons into lemonade. You're going to have a lot of ups and downs, but it's going to be fun and you'll look back over and over and be amazed at all the things you're going to accomplish.

And even though you never wanted or expected to be a mother, it will be the best thing that ever happens to you - and your son will be your biggest fan. So buy the shoes, take the trip. Move to NYC. It's all in your cards."

Connect with Stephanie at Mommy Nearest

"Take every special moment they offer . . . "

To me, before I was a mother:

This is going to be hard. Brace yourself.

You can do this.

You will survive the sleepless years, the cries of your children, the pain you can't take away that threatens to break your heart, the loneliness, the days where children rage and gnash at you, the doubt... everything.

You can do this.

Make decisions and stand up for them, even when opposed. Do not listen to those who are going to try and offer their words of advice and make you question and wonder if you are doing this right. You are.

Hold those babies as long as you want. Hug those kids as long as they are willing. Take every special moment they offer because soon, too soon, they will be too big, too cool, too busy and you will miss it.

Don't get distracted by the computer, by the things, by the dreams of escape from the chaos and the noise. Be as present as you can, but give yourself the grace to know you are worth a break.

Believe. Pray. Standfast.

You can do this.

Love, Me."

Meet Lisa at The Canadian Homeschooler

“Go find some mom friends. Find them as soon as you can. Your other friends are awesome, but friends without kids simply can’t relate to the “I’ve been up all night and still smell like sour breast milk because he screams whenever I put him down” type of feelings.

It might take a few trial and errors but take those brave steps to join a group, walk up to another mom at the park, or reach out to that mom at church, but do it. Once you have friends that you can count on for laughs, cries, support, and everything in between, you will be kicking yourself for not doing it sooner.”

Join Katie at My Joy in Chaos.

"Motherhood deepens your heart in a way . . . "

"I would tell my 20 year old self that while the 20s are full of adventures, fun and sleeping in, Motherhood deepens your heart in a way that you'd never expect. You may not get to go to the bathroom alone or fully finish a meal, but you'll cherish the days with your children most of all."

Join Dawn at The Nashville Mom Blog.

"So where there will be rain . . . "

"I'd tell myself that infertility is a struggle for so many. And the experience will change who you become. Even lead you to your soul purpose. So where there will be rain, there will also be two gorgeous rainbows.

On another note; skip the years of birth control induced moody hell and just go have fun. You can start with Nate at that house party in college. You'll know the one. I'll be waiting for some good flashbacks."

Learn from Rachel at Roasted Beanz.

". . . it will become your lifeline."

"I'd tell my new mom self it's ok to teach your baby to sleep. Even if it's rough and you wonder if it'll damage your baby, it won't. And when you both get good sleep and have a solid routine for that, it will become your lifeline.

I'd tell her that it's ok to find your own solutions and that your mothering doesn't have to look like anyone else's.

Last of all, I'd tell her to not to feel guilty about working (either full or part time). All that guilt and worry about daycare and being gone wasn't necessary. It worked out and we were still so close and we both loved it."

Read Janet's Newspaper Mom.

". . . stop and burn those early days into your memory."

"Stop worrying about the kind of mother you will be. You’ll do great when the time comes. I promise you will rise to the occasion and overcome the challenges all parents face. For now, enjoy finding Mr. Right and building the close relationship that will become the foundation for your family. Don’t think you’re missing out by not rushing into marriage and babies.

When you meet the beautiful baby girl that’s now a smart and caring teenager, stop and burn those early days into your memory. Days will seem long and the cycle of diapers, feeding, and burping neverending, but time will go by fast. Hold on to those memories. Write about them, take lots of pictures, and don’t forget to stop even during the busiest days to be grateful and appreciate what you have."

Meet Susanne at HillbillyHousewife.com

"Have faith in the road .  . . "

"One thing I would tell my 20 year old self is to put faith into life. I had my first miscarriage at 20 and it was devastating. I never thought I would be able to mother my own child, but here I am, a mother to a wild toddler boy. Have faith in the road life takes you on and believe everything happens for a reason"

Join Emma at EmmaDawn.com

". . . find joy in the struggles"

"My simple advice to my self would be you dont have to be the perfect mom, just love them and the moments you share, seek God's wisdom when you just don't know what to do, teach them all you can, and find joy in the struggles."

Join Kristi at Mastering Motherhood

". . . milestones don't mean squat. . . "

"I’m not going to sugar coat it for you. Go ahead and throw out the parenting books. Having kids with Autism is hard.

You’ll be excluded from things both intentionally and unintentionally. Friends won’t understand. FAMILY won’t understand.

But you’ll be okay.

You’ll learn that the typical milestones don’t mean squat when your almost 6 year old cheers himself from the bathroom for finally figuring out the potty, and his older sister gives him a high five. You’ll find yourself tearing up at the birthday notes from your 5th grader’s classmates when you assume he has no good friends, and realize they all think he’s the coolest kid in the class. You’ll find your tribe who gets you, and gets your kids, and you’ll find magic amongst all the chaos."

Connect with Kerri at I Am The Maven

". . . how you handle it when you get it wrong is . . . "

"Consistency and grace.

If I could go back and do anything differently, I would be more consistent in my responses to my children - both in praise and in correction.

And give yourself and your children lots of grace. You’re both going to make mistakes along the way, but how you handle it when you get it wrong is much more important than getting it right all the time."

Connect with Ashley at Pichea Place

" . . . be happy with who you are . . . "

"As a young mom, I would tell myself to stop trying to do everything. Stop trying to make everything perfect. Spend more time with your boys because in a blink of your eye, they will be grown.

Focus on building lasting memories, and do what feels right for you and your boys, not what society and everyone around you says is the right thing. Take care of yourself, be happy with who you are and in turn the boys will be happy."

Connect with Liz at Hoosier Homemade

". . . collect their stories and wisdom like jewels. . . "

"You have plans for how motherhood should go: when you’ll have kids, how many kids, etc. So, if motherhood doesn’t happen how you planned, I want to tell you not to spend too much time on disappointment or anxiety. Instead, consider your pre-motherhood years an investment in your future kids. Strengthen yourself in healthy ways physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Grow your faith and the identity of who you really are. Motherhood requires you to give so much to your children, so knowing yourself is stabilizing.

Travel. Read. Explore. Volunteer. Enjoy all the life experiences you can - you’ll love sharing your adventure stories with your kids!

Develop deep relationships with family and friends; they will be your safety net, so form strong connections with people who share your vision for your family.

Talk to moms about their motherhood journey; collect their stories and wisdom like jewels - you’ll need these later when you have doubts or concerns.

Don’t fret about being the “older mom” (there are plenty of us!). Your life experience and wisdom will be a resource for yourself and for the younger moms that will surround you.

Yes, the raw joys and trials of motherhood will still blindside you the way it does most everyone else, but delayed motherhood is not wasted time - it’s an opportunity to invest in yourself to be the mom your kids will need."

Join Julie at Happy Strong Home

". . . let your children see and appreciate you in various roles."

"Life won’t be the same once you have a child. But after you get adjusted to getting less sleep and caring for this little human being who gobbles up so much of your time, you will never want to go back.

Enjoy your child for who he/she is and not compare them to yourself, other siblings, or other people’s children. Notice their strengths and encourage them. (The happiest things we do are those we love and are good at.) Stick to your convictions and values and be a strong mom from the start. If your child knows you will cave in after asking 100 times, they will ask 101 times.

Insist on respect from your child and teach them friendly social skills like please, thank you and hello. Have your children help you; they deserve to learn everyday skills and understanding about being part of a family. Make fun memories with your children and celebrate birthdays and other holidays. Laugh with them - a lot.

Take care of yourself along the way and let your children see and appreciate you in various roles. Be grateful for the opportunity to be someone’s mother. It’s the most important thing you will get to do in this lifetime."

See what Mary does at FrontPorchIdeas.com

"Kids are just passing through."

"Be selfish. There's this belief that women are supposed to sacrifice themselves when they have kids. Once you become a mom, of course you become focused on your kids and focused on creating a good life for them, but never forget your own life. Kids are just passing through.

One day, they'll need you less, and may even push you away because you raised them to be self-sufficient and independent (and rightly so). And throughout all those years, keep working on YOU, following YOUR dreams and doing the things you've already wanted to do, despite being a mom.

One day, if you've raised them right, they'll leave home and make a life for themselves. And while they'll always love you and need you, they'll need you less and less. You won't want to be one of those moms who spent years focused on them so much that you've lost yourself.

So be selfish. Put yourself and your interests first sometimes. The kids will be just fine."

Join Serena at ThriftDiving.com

". . . motherhood will be framed with expectations. . ."

"Dear 20 year old self - I'll start with the summary - motherhood will the framed with expectations from books, unqualified opinions from others who know nothing about you, and your shadow of your own path through life and your job is to develop discernment and filters that fit who you truly are.

Therefore, worry less about the "should" and more about the present moment!

Everyone has an opinion about the right way to mother - good for them. Use your critical thinking skills and define motherhood by your own internal compass. Buy them cheaper toys with cool boxes - a $10 toy with a lot of cardboard has more leverage than a $50 gadget with none. Skip the dishes and cuddle.

Remember that these souls chose you as their mom and no matter what's going on, they are the perfect people in the perfect moment with the perfect mom for their life."

Connect with Megha at Enchanted Life Society

"For the first 10 years hold them close and then . . . "

"I would tell myself the same thing that I tell all new parents - you're going to get a lot of unsolicited advice and way more judgement on how you raise your children. Take advice with a grain and salt and consider it or don't, but just remember that YOU know your kids. You know what they like, what they don't like, their behaviors and all the things that make them who they are, so some of that advice might work for some parents with certain children but it might not work for yours.

Believe in yourself and your parenting skills - you know what you're doing and don't let anyone make you feel any different. Also, you can teach your children respect without them having to obey every single adult that is in their life. It is okay if they voice a different opinion if it is done in a respectful manner. If you've given them permission to do something and another person tells them they can't, it is okay for them to say, "My mom knows I'm doing this, and she is okay with it." (Of course, it depends on where they are). But the point is, that not all adults need to have a say over what your child does.

Find like-minded parents and form friendships. Make sure to find people you can like and respect because chances are your kids are going to be spending a lot of time with them. Get to know the parents and families that your children spend time with because if your children spend time with them, they are going to have influence over their thoughts and behaviors.

One of the best pieces of advice that I ever received was, "For the first 10 years hold them close and then for them next 10 slowly let them go." Obviously not all at once but let them make decisions and start doing things for themselves. Teaching a child to be able to go out in the world and be able to do basic life skills is essential and needs to be taught - they don't just know it.

And always remember to follow your own dreams. Your child looks up to you and they do what they see. If you're not facing your fears and believing in yourself, chances are they won't either. You are important and so your dreams.

But the biggest thing I'd tell myself is - You've got this! You're an amazing and awesome mom...don't EVER forget that!"

Visit April at Niche Starter Packs

"As a mom of two, with one in Heaven, I’d tell the mom who has lost a child that life is worth living, joy is possible and love lives in and through you. So look up and live."

"Motherhood. Enjoy it. Seek wisdom from someone you admire who’s already raised her children. Or is just a few years ahead of you yet seeming to do it well.

Books. Read them and put into practice the good things you learn.Do you think your children will come without an owners manual? Read the book of Proverbs in the Bible, how to raise children is spelled out right there. So share with your babes and little ones the lessons you read there so they learn to read and apply those life lessons too.Teach your children how to grow into responsible adults, so they can be respectful, responsible children.

Give them age appropriate chores to do before they can play. Teach them the value of contributing to others. Read one story every day to your children from the Children’s Bible and tell them from your heart who Jesus is to you. Ask yourself, “Who else will teach them your values? Who else loves them even more than you do, Susan? Jesus.

Monitor screen time from TV to video games to phone time to help them learn they are created for community. To look up and out from their devices and from themselves to spend time with people. Not to live in their own “personal rectangle”- that iPad, mobile phone, monitor or any other device that may evolve. Your job is to teach them to talk to people as well as to teach them how to live and love their community.

Ask yourself, “Do you see the words commune and UNITY in community, Susan?” Remember, it’s your job to teach them to communicate and live in unity with others, not isolated, alone and lonely even in the midst of many. Remember the lesson mom taught you. “A can’t is a coward too lazy to try. And I’m not raising cowards, and can’t never could...and never will. Remove can’t from your vocabulary for you are created for greatness."

Speak LIFE into your children’s mind. Tell them who you see them to be. Smart, gentle, loving, calm, capable, creative, etc... Powerful positive words. Shape their life with positive words filled with love. Speak truth. Correct in love. Live a life full of joy. For joy is a choice. Will it be chaotic? Yes! Yet choose joy in the midst of every mess. And teach your children how to do the same."

Visit Susan at Dance with Jesus

". . . your life will be a vibrant bouquet of love and joy."

"Motherhood will be the most challenging journey you'll ever go through. It will have the highest highs and the lowest lows. Your heart will forever be walking outside of your body. You will cry and laugh at the same time.

Everything about you will change. But you'll become stronger, wiser and your life will be a vibrant bouquet of love and joy. Enjoy your time before you embrace motherhood. Motherhood will be hard, but it will be beautiful."

Join Suzi at StartAMomBlog.com

"Take up the space you deserve."

"Why do you doubt yourself so much? You are amazing. You are strong. You have really great ideas. Listen to your gut, and don't listen to all the noise. And please stop being so afraid to speak up. Your voice is worth hearing. Be loud. Don't shrink. Take up the space you deserve"

Meet Colleen at Mother.ly

". . . the responsibility and the blinding love."

My 20 year old self knew she wanted to be a mother, but had a very idealized view of what it meant to actually be a mother...the challenges, the fear...the responsibility and the blinding love. More than anything, I’d want to tell her she will be enough. Despite the doubts and the anxiety that she just can’t get it right...she will be everything they need.

Trust yourself. Listen to the advice you are given, apply what fits and feel comfortable ignoring the rest. YOU know what your kids need...love. And you. Remember you are doing something extraordinary.. .“

Become part of Danielle's community at Pretty Extraordinary

". . . but I beg you, do not rush. . ."

"I know you’ll wait until you marry before you start having children, but I beg you, do not rush in having babies because ‘they’re adorable’ or you’re visualizing having your daughter to dress up. Children are a blessing, but they are also a lot of responsibility. They have lots of needs and you must be mentally prepared for the demands having a baby will require.

Motherhood is also one of the most rewarding occupations because you get to watch your child develop into a beautiful, mature person with values of integrity, loyalty, and love for others.

Take time to get to know yourself. You graduated from high school early and walked right into your first job at a commercial bank at 16 years old, instead of heading to college as you’d hoped because of changes in your parent’s economic situation. At 18 you were promoted to Branch Manager’s Secretary and your responsibilities continued to increase in the workplace.

However, in doing so, I fear that you may not have taken the time to get to know you, know what you truly want, what you goals are. You’ve sort of just gone with the flow. At an age when many young people were just having fun, you had a full-time job with a lot of responsibilities.

I have every confidence that when you have your baby you will love him or her, protect and cherish the little one because that’s who you are. And I hope you have a husband who wants to share the responsibilities of raising your child. In the meantime take time for reflection and continue to build your relationship with your Creator knowing that He’s always there for you."

Connect with Yvonne at 50 and Wiser Coaching

"You can't teach your children what you haven't learned yourself" 

"Say goodbye to your 20 yr old body. But . . . if you take care of your after preggo body, your body will be even better and stronger than it was when you were 20.

Life is not all about you. The decisions you make now (good and bad) will affect your children. If you have "unforgiveness" in your heart, learn to forgive. Or at least be on the path to forgiveness. You can't teach your children what you haven't learned yourself.

Travel and explore the world as much as you can. After your children, you can still do those things, it will just be different, including packing more luggage and visiting kid friendly restaurants and entertainment."

Learn from Kandace at MOPS International

"The new you will emerge soon. . ."

"Put down the books and just let the first few months roll into what it will be. Watch your kiddo and learn what's best for them. Know that your life will never be the same, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The new you will emerge soon and you'll like her even better."

Join Kate at Simple Pin Media

"You will never be ready . . . "

"Perhaps what I would tell my 20 year old self will seem questionable, but this is for MYself - and without a doubt I would tell my 20 year old self not to "wait" for motherhood.

You will NEVER be ready, and it might be more than shocking, but motherhood beats any other adventure you'll ever have. Motherhood beats being mortgage free. It beats traveling the world, it beats building a six-figure business from the ground up. Just go ahead and have those babies - they will trump all your other dreams and then some."

Learn more about Carly at Mommy on Purpose

"He has already equipped you for the task"

"You’re a better mother than you think. Don’t worry so much about how other moms are doing it. Surround yourself with people you trust – but most importantly trust in your own abilities and be confident in your parenting decisions.

God made you a mother to your children for a reason. He has already equipped you for the task. Enjoy this season!"

Become part of Theresa's community at the International Christian Mompreneur Network

". . . and stay in the zone of love. . . "

"One thing I wish I'd known is how tricky motherhood would be on the marriage. My top tip is to create a "Love Budget" where you literally call one of your bank accounts Love Budget and have an auto payment each week or each month putting a bit of money aside for date nights, massages etc. Things for YOU as a couple or individual to help you feel loved and stay in the zone of love once baby arrives."

Connect with Natalie Go To Girl Essential Wellness

". . . adapt faster to the second. . ."

"I would tell my 20-year-old self to adapt faster to the second kid. What worked perfectly for the first might not work at all for the second, and trying to make it work is like cramming a square peg into a round hole."

Listen to Amy on the Parenting Bytes Podcast.

"Being a brand new mama is even harder". 

"Being a mama is HARD. Being a brand new mama is even harder. Be kind to yourself. Take all the offered up advice from friends and family into consideration, but follow your heart.

Only YOU know what is best for YOUR family. What works for them, may not work for you and that is OK. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Your kids won’t be in diapers, waking you up for night feedings, on the pacifier or bottle forever. Focus on what matters most, that at the end of the day, you love your children as much as humanely possible and that you are ENOUGH."

Visit Jennie at Motherhood Support.

"You will be humbled, stretched, worn down and re-birthed . . . "

"Dear heart, your intuition is so alive and accurate! You have always known that you are to BIRTH, to MOTHER and to activate the ancient WISDOM that your female body has carried with it for eons.

The ability to have a joyous, active, healthy pregnancy. The ability to birth your children naturally at home and in the water. The ability to pass essential nutrition, immunity and love to your babies through breastfeeding (for as long as you and baby want to). The ability to be a fully initiated mother and to reconnect with all the other important parts of you too, such as your inner maiden, solo adventurer and Sexual Priestess.

You will soon realize something that will profoundly and positively shape you and your children's future: Personal Growth and Healing. All the hard work is so immeasurably worth it! Sometimes you may get weary of cleaning up your and your ancestor’s negative imprints, trauma, limiting beliefs and all things that have blocked love. Hang in there and keep trusting. The quality of love and connection you will have with your children and all of Life will be beyond your wildest dreams.

You have already sensed this and I want to affirm for you that parenting is indeed a Spiritual Practice. It is one of the most potent paths of self discovery, mirroring and revealing aspects of you in every moment. Lean in to support and help when it arises. You will be humbled, stretched, worn down and re-birthed over and over in a way that continues to reveal your authentic essence and greater and greater capacity for love, presence, empathy and joy.

I love you mucho and know that you and your children will be SO loved. There may be several stages of relational and romantic love discoveries (and challenges) along the way. Even though you may doubt it at times, you are and will know without a doubt that you are always loved and worthy of being loved... you and your children: The whole beautifully perfect luscious package deal.

I am so proud of you, amazing woman.

Ps. When the time is right, you will be helping others go through the territories you have been through. It may feel vulnerable at first and that is okay. They, and you, will greatly benefit from this wonderful opportunity. Go Mama, Go!"

Meet Viraja at Viraja.com.

"You're going to wonder how you ever breathed without . . . "

To my 20 year old self, you have plenty of time. Your children will completely change your life and for the most part it will be for the better. One day, you're going to wonder how you ever breathed without your children. Children are the hardest and most rewarding adventure you will ever go on.

You've always wanted to be a mom and believed your kids would fulfill you. Little did you know, your kids would flip your world upside down. But you need to wait. You need to wait because you're not ready for the judgement the world will throw at you. You are not strong enough to tell people to mind their own business. You are not ready to advocate for your life during your emergency c-section. You don't know enough yet.

I would never have been able to defend my mothering skills at 20 and I would have fallen victim to people's judgements of me. I don't care what people say about me now.

One day, you're going to kick some serious mom ass. Your girls will be proud to call you mom and you'll know it's okay to be vulnerable. It's okay to fail. In summary, to my 20 year old self, march to the beat of your own drum. The only person who knows what's best for your kid is you!

Meet Monica at Redefining Mom

". . . but waiting till you were 37 . . . 

"You didn't know it at the time, but waiting till you were 37 years old to have your first and almost 40 with the second child was a good thing. You got to travel. You built a career to a place where it was easier to juggle motherhood and work demands.

If you had had a child at 20, you would have had a nervous breakdown and not known how to handle the balancing act. Your work ethic and organization skills were easily applied to motherhood once you were ready. And who knew taking your kids to work would be such a good decision and teaching opportunity for your daughter, who ended up with a career in the same field."

Learn more about Holly at Inmar.com

"You'll never be able to go back and make up for lost time."

"If you really want to be a mom, you can do it. The combination of joy and exhaustion in the first couple of years is unique and a bonding experience like no other. And most of all, don't wait for the perfect partner. You have the rest of your life to find that person, but the time to become a mother is limited. You deserve the joy of mothering."

Connect with Jane at Single Mothers By Choice

"You'll never be able to go back and make up for lost time."

"You'll be a mother for a long time, but your kids will only be living at home for a small fraction of that. Put down the smartphone, let the furniture gather dust, and play the game, plan the vacation, host the sleepover. You'll never be able to go back and make up for lost time, but you'll have plenty of years to do things for yourself after they've flown the coop."

For fashion over 40 tips, visit JoLynneShane.com

"Listen. For far too long I put my heart on hold . . ."

"Listen. For far too long I put my heart on hold during motherhood. That's the other advice I would give my twenty year old self. I'd tell her that she is worth fighting for her heart, her passions, her breath throughout motherhood. Because it is very easy to tell ourselves to wait until the kids are grown. But when we wait, we teach our kids to wait too. So about seven years ago I decided to start fighting for my heart, to fix the areas in my life that were broken and to live a life of purpose and vibrancy.
So many women wanted to know how I did it - how I found the time and the bravery. So I wrote a book. And it was a labor of love and tears and heartache and hope. And now I want you to read it. Yes, I'm going to be bold and brave and tell you that you need to read it.
Why? Because your heart matters.

It took someone telling me to dare to fight for mine and for happiness and that is what I am telling you. Don't put yourself on hold. Be brave. Find happiness. Find yourself. Laugh again.

So with that, get your copy of The Brave Art of Motherhood here.

4 Responses to “75 Motherhood Tips from Real Mothers”

  1. February 4, 2019

    Dan Morris Reply

    This is great.

  2. […] many walks of life to share some tips they wish they knew at 20. You want to read them, I promise. Here’s how to get […]

  3. February 20, 2019

    Peti @ The Leveraged Mama Reply

    Some great tips here! Mine would be – look, you have no idea. Get comfortable with that and enjoy the ride!

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