Five Things I’ve Learned from Being a Mom by Kate

11 May 2012

Our final guest for the week is the fabulous Kate from Centsational Girl.  She is a mother to 3 and a “bargain hunter, design lover, incurable DIYer, living in Northern California’s Wine Country.”
I’m so honored to be here Melissa, thank you for including me in your “Things I’ve Learned About Being a Mom” series! Becoming a mom is a life changing experience and in my mind the most influential job a woman will ever have. I consider it an honor and privilege to be blessed with little souls and consider motherhood to be an amazing gift from God. I often marvel how I was entrusted with something so important as the ultimate caretaker in the life of another human being. I could talk for days about what motherhood has taught me but I’ll try to be succinct today and keep it short! Here are five things I’ve learned from being a mom.
A Swollen Heart. The heart’s capacity to love grows exponentially when we’re entrusted with the life of a child from the moment of their birth. Every step of their development adds a new layer so that after many years your heart swells as it grows larger and larger and by the time they reach adulthood, you’ve experienced great joy, pride, contentment, anxiety, and sometimes even sorrow all because of the layers of love that have built up on your heart.

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Children Are Teachers Too I don’t remember much of my childhood but now I get to live it all again vicariously through my kids. Their inquisitiveness and innocence continually teach me to appreciate the world with new eyes and they are great reminders to slow down and live in the moment. Last August, I was encouraged by their words to savor the season, and even a recent interview with them taught me some important lessons as an adult.
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It’s Not a Competition. I’ve met several moms over the years who tout their seven year old’s “pre-Ivy League” resume of accomplishments from their brilliant musical recitals to membership on elite sports teams. Yes it’s our job to encourage our children to be the best they can be, but I’ve never been a big believer in pushing children for the sake of parental bragging rights. Kids need time to be just kids and as moms we need to be careful of buying into that mentality that if our kids are not mini Mozarts then we’re bad mothers. I think that’s nonsense. Sometimes kids just need be kids and build a fort! We as moms need to remember to make decisions that are best for our family’s welfare and happiness. IN other words, we need to build our own forts and resist the pressures that can creep inside from comparisons to other moms of the world.
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Messy is Meaningful. My children wear T-shirts from Walmart and shoes from Target, and it’s a rare day when my son is wearing matching socks. That’s just how we roll. My children are typically dirty after a full day of play and my house is rarely in a state of perfect cleanliness. There are signs of life inside our walls from the popsicle stick homemade jail on the kitchen table to the toys scattered across a floor to the piles of laundry needing to be folded. The fact that my house is not perfect is actually symbol of pride for me – those messes represent there are children at play in a world of their imagination and I know from having raised a stepdaughter (now off at college) that those moments are fleeting. It’s important to embrace those sticky fingerprints we hurry to clean and recognize there will come a day when they’re not there anymore, and we will miss them for what they represented – a home filled with growing children.
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The Priceless Gift. There is no greater gift in life than receiving the love of a child. Period. Will it matter twenty years from now that my home was featured in a magazine or that I had at one time a popular blog? Nope. What will matter twenty years from now is that I was loved by a child unconditionally for all the long selfless hours of devotion. To me, that gift of love is worth more than any amount of money or worldly definitions of “success”.
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Thank you Melissa for inviting me to be your guest today and recognizing the value of motherhood with moms as guests from across the blogosphere! Happy Mother’s Day everyone!


  1. You said it so right, Kate.  In this fast paced life we lead I see parents pushing their children into too many activities just so they can excel at something and yes, giving bragging rights.  I feel so sorry for  these children who never have time to dream, write, create or just sit and contemplate  God's beautiful creation. They're moving so fast they don't have time to enjoy their childhood and neither do their parents. It's all a blur and then it's over and sadly many have missed the best part. Thank you for reminding us of this.

  2. melissa*320 sycamore1/16/14, 10:49 PM

    It just made my morning to see your messy playroom and your daughter's fort :) I now love the phrase "messy is meaningful." And, thank you for the reminder of what will really be important 20 years from now~that really touched me, especially coming from such a successful blogger. Happy Mother's Day, dear Kate!

  3. Centsational Girl1/16/14, 10:49 PM

    Thank you for having me Melissa, motherhood is the best gig in the whole world, delighted to be your gues!!

  4. Love the part about messy houses! I probably spend too much time on my house, perhaps I should cherish the sticky fingerprints instead! 

  5. I loved all your points, but especially the idea of building our own forts an resisting outside pressures. It's such a great mental image, especially woth your great picture of your daughter's fort. Thanks for your post!

  6. Katie Stromberg1/16/14, 10:49 PM

    Amen!  And thank you.  :)

  7. Amanda @ Serenity Now1/16/14, 10:49 PM

    What a beautifully written post! And so very encouraging for me too. :) I struggle with the messes and worrying about what might happen if someone were to drop by and see the Barbies all over the place. And the shoes. And the books. And...well, you get the idea. ;) Loved this one!

  8. "A swollen heart"... I love that.
    I don't have children (wish I did, but I don't), but I'm blessed to have a lot of littles running around my house all the time and my heart definitely swells over those little turkeys. Great post!

  9. Every word, so very true and totally hit home with the messy is meaningful...just tonight as we were picking up todays mess I had a moment of I can't wait for it to not be like this and then a second thought of it will be gone before we know it.  Thanks for the reminder. :)

  10. You had me until #5. I'm thrilled you enjoy being a mother, but to people who can't have (or choose not to have) children your statement is a terrible insult. "Period"  There are countless things in this life that DO matter, even if you aren't a mommy. 

  11. It's clear that Kate was talking about her personal experiences and sharing her personal opinion. I'm sure if you know Kate as a person and her larger family you would know she never meant to offend those who can not or chose not to have children.

  12. Beautiful sentiments! I totally agree with you that every moment as a Mother is precious. Children are such a gift, I can't imagine what my life would be without them. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Not at all ... but it's a very wise woman who does.  I suspect you "mother" a lot of very blessed children - and receive their blessings in return. Happy Mothering Day to you!

  14. Not at all. Actually my friends who dont have kids have a very special place in my kids life, particularly as they enter the teen years. It is great for them to have someone outside of the family who loves and supports them, and who they can turn to for advice.
    As for building forts, learning to be in the moment, and what will have value for you in 20 years time? No I dont think you need to be a Mom to learn these things. Some of us need our kids to remind us of these life lessons, and some of us do not.

  15. Does one really need to be a mother to experience or understand these things?

  16. Amen, sistah!  It's a gift, this motherhood!  I just hope my boys rise up above my chaotic tendencies and bloom despite the craziness!!!  They are such a joy to me.

  17. Kate, I'm a big fan, and appreciate so much your parenting philosophy! My children are all adults now - 30, 21 and 20 - and I love that you "get" that the days go by so fast. I think that's the most important message that young mothers need to hear today. As long as there is unconditional love, you can't mess up being a mom. I remember fondly many forts in my past. Your children are adorable!! Kim

  18. Amen to all of the above!  I am soon to be an empty nester, our youngest leaves for college in the fall.  I am thankful for all those "messy" days as our home will be all too quiet too soon.  I think if most moms (and dads too) would take the time in their child's (children's) lives to stop and ask, "what do I want them to remember 20 years from now? what do I want to remember 20 years from now?" We would all most likely quit worrying about if we have enough, live in the right neighborhood, own the perfect car, have the perfect wardrobe...well, you get the point.  Will any of that REALLY matter 20 years from now.  Beautiful post Kate, and I couldn't agree with you more!

  19. Shelleypennington1/16/14, 10:49 PM

    Thank you for this post. There are people in my life who make me feel bad if the house isn't perfectly clean or if I didn't put the fort away instantly. I have a 20 yr old that is about to be a mommy herself, and i too know how fast it goes. But today, I just really needed someone to remind me that those fingerprints and toys on the floor are ok. And Im not horrible for them being there. Thank you again.

  20. Thanks you for showing the positive side of a messy house/life! Helps ease the guilt and focus on the REALLY important things in life.


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