Menu

4 Things I Learned from Motherhood That I Wish I Knew Before.

You don't have to give up everything to focus on your baby.

4 Things I Learned from Motherhood That I Wish I Knew Before.

A common sentiment amongst my career-minded, city-dwelling women friends is that once you have children, everything comes to a halt -- your career, your social life, your fitness routines -- so that you can focus all of your energy on your child. Having drunk this Kool Aid, I waited for a long time to have kids and was prepared to think, eat, drink and breathe baby. But once my little girl came, a funny thing happened: I actually became inspired to do more and work harder. I just had to be a lot more focused on where I put my energy. I learned a few incredible lessons within weeks of childbirth that I wish I would have been practicing my whole life.

Here are 4 daily practices I wish I had done before becoming a mom.

1. Do it now. This is one of those cliché self help quips that everybody ‘knows’ but probably doesn’t practice. Putting things off until later becomes exacerbated by child rearing. “I’ll do the dishes later” could turn into 3 days of dirty dishes in the sink while you’re tending to other things. Now, when I have an opportunity in the brief windows I get while baby is sleeping, I finish each thing on my list and revisit the list during my next window. This practice has been magical. I think I am actually more productive with baby than I ever was before.

2. Be kind to your body. I spent years pre-pregnancy with an eating disorder trying to be as skinny as possible and a few other years yo-yo-ing in the other direction, because I just didn’t want to care anymore. Then I spent a few years enjoying fitness and eating well, but not really ever achieving my goals. And then I got pregnant. There is nothing like growing a tiny beautiful human inside of you to elicit awe in and respect for your body. After I released our little miracle, my body contracted to its (almost) normal state and automatically produced enough food to keep another human alive. I mean, seriously - WOW. I am now more grateful to my body than ever and have found myself much more focused on (and patient in) achieving my fitness objectives.

3. You don’t have time for bullsh*t. The time that I have to spend on work, housekeeping, other people and myself diminished exponentially. If the work isn’t going to help me achieve my goals or another person isn’t going to value me or the practice isn’t going to lift me up, then I just don’t have time any more.

4. Savor every moment. I used to go to yoga classes and sort of half-heartedly make my way through the hour, because, you know, yoga is something that I do and enjoy. As a new mother, when I get an hour to go to a studio to take a yoga class, it is an immense privilege. I now find myself treating every second with attention and appreciation. The same philosophy goes for showering, eating, reading etc.

Jacqui Somen is a former ballet dancer, a coach for wellness entrepreneurs and is trained in trauma-informed yoga and Reiki. She teaches a Mama & Me Meditation and Movement class in Miami and writes about mindfulness for busy mamas at 100and8.com.

10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

Keep reading Show less
Our Partners

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

Keep reading Show less
Shop

The 6 biggest lies I believed before having kids

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves.

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves. Some of these ideas might have been based on our own ideas of how we would absolutely do things differently than everyone else. Others, we believed what everyone else told us would happen would apply to our littles, too. But, that's not always the case, mama.

Below are six of the biggest lies I believed before having kids—and the reality of what actually happened for me.

1. Put your baby down drowsy, but awake

Keep reading Show less
Life