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Motherhood is not natural. Well, for me it isn’t. I love my girls. I love being a mom, but for me, the mommy-learning curve was ginormous! Today my girls are 15, 12 and 10, and there are a few things I now know about being a mom I wish I had known then. Below are some of those wisdom pearls:

My daughters won’t remember their birthday parties.

I love parties, and I spent hours planning birthday themes and surprises hoping to lock in that special memory. My girls are older now, and they hardly remember any of it. They don’t remember the cake, the decorations or even the presents. How can this be!?!! The bright side is that they also don’t remember my pre-party psychotic episodes where I would yell at my sweet birthday girl and husband for touching things.

Family portraits are a myth.

The perfect family picture only happens in the movies. Of this I am certain.

There’s no such thing as a breastfeeding trophy.

I could only breastfeed my girls for about three months before my milk would dry up. I felt like such a failure. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had lots of mommy failures, but none of them had to do with my milk. I’ve never had anyone say, “Your daughter would have been more valuable to the human race if only you could have maintained your milk.” Breastfeeding is a gift, but it’s not the ultimate gift. Buy some formula and move on. There are lots more baby moments for you to enjoy.

Imperfect family portrait Christmas cards are way more fun than the perfect ones.

Friends and family enjoy the laugh, and you won’t get put on the naughty list for yelling those words at your kids.

You don’t have to cherish every freaking moment. You just don’t.

Buy cute shoes, not Diaper Genies.

The lure of storing 200+ dirty (keyword: newborn) diapers was tempting, but the industrial engineering degree required for inserting the refills proved to be too much for this sleep-deprived mom. My solution: Toss wet diapers in your closest trash bin; but for dirty diapers, put on those cute new shoes you just bought, go outside, and toss them in your neighbor’s trash. Simple.

Just buy boxes.

The best toy on the market is a giant refrigerator box and a box of crayons. If I had it to do over again, I would have planned a giant box birthday party and cancelled my reservation for that deathtrap inflatable waterslide.

Let your kids get dirty.

My kids never had fun when I made them wear their cute designer clothes. Ever. Why? Because I would not let them! Seriously, we missed out on way too much fun because I was worried about grass stains. Kids need mud.

Find a good babysitter.

You need a break from all things baby, and if you’re married, your relationship needs a baby break as well. Don’t feel guilty about taking care of yourself. Healthy moms raise healthy kids.

Give yourself some grace.

You’re not going to be a perfect mom, so say a lot of prayers. Ask a lot of questions. Discover your unique parenting style. Stop comparing yourself to other moms, and in the end, give yourself some grace. You’re doing the best you can.

Give your mom and mother-in-law some grace as well.

They are doing the best they can too.

Motherhood did not get easier for me until I stopped obsessing and started easing into my own mom-style. I haven’t cornered the market on motherhood, but, I have to say, these days I’m having a lot more fun.

Tasha Levert, Ph.D., is a licensed professional counselor in New Orleans who provides face-to-face and online care. She is a conference speaker, worship leader and the author of Stories of Hope for the Sleep Deprived.Tasha and her husband Tim (Pastor with Students at the Vineyard Church of New Orleans) have three beautiful daughters and a lazy schnauzer named Gumbo. To find out more about Tasha or her practice go to

What mommy lessons have you learned along the way you wish you would have learned sooner?