10 Things I’ve Learned in a 10 Years of Parenting


A son annoying his mother. My oldest son recently celebrated his tenth birthday. As moms, we know that with every birthday our kids celebrate, it’s “Oh my gosh, they’re growing so fast.”

But something about ten really hit differently for me.

Maybe because it means gone are the days of toddler meltdowns and sleepless nights, and the term “bigger kids, bigger problems” is slowly creeping up on us. Whatever it is, it’s also making me look back and reflect on my first decade as a parent.

A lot has happened since my son was born. Mostly good, some bad, some tough, lots of laughs, and many core memories. In the first decade as a parent, we welcomed two other children, and at one point, I had three children under age four. We went into survival mode with newborns, sleepless nights, toddler tantrums, preschool life, a pandemic, and adjusting to post-pandemic life.

With all that being said, ten years feels like a milestone. As someone who loves making lists and also loves reflecting, here are my ten takeaways from a decade of parenting and surviving the “trenches” of having “young babies.”

1. It’s okay not to love the early days, weeks, and months.

The world would be better for new moms if this were discussed more. There is not always that initial bond, and that’s okay.

2. Allow yourself to be a beginner.

Babies don’t come with manuals. No age does. So, with each passing year, allow yourself to accept that you’re a beginner and this is new territory.

3. You will feel exhaustion on a whole different level.

Parenting is exhausting from day one. And while babies and toddlers eventually sleep, it’s a different kind of exhaustion you’ll experience as they age.

4. Bodies change no matter what.

Let’s stop mourning our pre-baby bodies. These bodies did, do, and will continue to do (if treated right) some pretty amazing things.

5. Parent the child you have.

You can read all the parenting books you want, but at the end of the day, each kid is different, and you need to focus on what works for you.

6. Don’t make academic outcomes your main concern.

I used to think I’d be so caught up in academics, but after one of my first parent/teacher conferences, hearing my son was “kind” and “inclusive,” I learned what really mattered.

7. It’s okay not to love every minute and feel bored.

Let’s be honest; once you’re out of the newborn, toddler, and preschool years and get into an actual routine, sometimes it’s okay to be bored. That doesn’t make you a bad mom. It makes you human.

8. Days are long; years are short.

If you said this to me when I had a two-week-old, there’s a chance I would have punched you. Now, with a 10-year-old, I know they are. Time flies.

9. Survival mode is necessary, but learn to transition out of it.

Those early years of being in “survival mode” are crucial. However, you won’t be in them forever and need to learn how to transition out of them. Learn to be YOU again.

10. You’ll mourn the early years but fall in love with the cool little humans they are becoming.

Of course, I look back at videos and pictures and want to cry at how little they all used to be. But seeing what fun people they are becoming, I get so excited about what’s to come.

All I can say is that I feel so lucky to have experienced my first decade as a parent—all of it. And I can’t wait to see what the next “decades” bring. But not too fast.


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