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Lessons I’ve learned since becoming a mother.



I'm a writer, author, and online educator who loves helping others build intentional lives through the power of habit and meaningful routines.







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Motherhood is turning out to be the biggest teacher I’ve ever encountered– sitting right there next to marriage. 

I feel like I should be carrying around a notepad and pen at all times to capture all the things I’ve learning (and unlearning) from this newfound toddler with her springy ringlets and her quiet curiosity.

I didn’t want too much time to go by before I pressed pause and jotted some notes down. I know I will look back and be so glad I did. 

It’s messy and I don’t know why I ever thought messy was wrong.

I am someone who struggles to work when there are messes around me. This is ironic because my husband will tell you I’m the one who makes the messes. I fully own this. But I still desire clean spaces and order. My brain thrives on order even though I have to fight hard to make it happen. 

But there is not a single thing about having a toddler that feels orderly. There are messes. There are rooms you pick up and they’re magically messy again after 4 minutes. There are spills. There are breakdowns. There is chaos. 

I created a sensory bin for Novalee the other day because I thought to myself, “This will be so fun! She will be playing with puffballs and popsicle sticks and YAY!” I immediately regretted the decision when she poured all the contents of the sensory bin onto the floor multiple times. 

But you know what? I don’t know where I got programmed into thinking that messes aren’t natural. Life is messy. Mistakes happen. Chaos ensues. It doesn’t have to become my normal but I can let it slide from time to time. 

So here’s to the messy. Here’s the hard. Here’s to cleaning one space only to have it ravaged 5 seconds later. Here’s to embracing the mess because it means that real-life happened and it was good and chaotic and lessons were sewn into the fabric of our beings in the process.

There are no medals at the end of the day.

I can tend to be a brat. I’ll admit that. I can sometimes act spoiled as I grew up being the only girl in my household. Trust me, I’m trying hard to break this thing.

But there will be days where I treat motherhood like the Olympics and I don’t need to. Lane might come home from a long day at work where I’ve been with Novi and I will be quick to tell him that we had a long day too. 

Why do I do that?! What is wrong with me!? Do I need to compete to feel seen?!

He reminds me calmly (because he is a much better human than I) that there is no competition. There is no medal standing for who does a better job. Or suffers the most. Or has the longest day. 

Motherhood doesn’t come with a report card.

Motherhood isn’t a competition.

Motherhood isn’t a “who did it best” Olympics.

Motherhood isn’t a comparison trap.

If I fall into this mindset then I miss the point… I miss the moment. I miss the fact that he and I are on the same team. We are working towards the same goals. 

I’ve put mom-shaming on mute.

Jess Connolly has a phrase: Shame off you. 

I remember it often when I want to bully myself or beat myself up. I’m my own worst critic.

I’m lucky that I’ve never experienced the guilt from mom-shaming outside of my mind. I’ve wondered why that is, why I can so easily put the mom-shaming on mute. I think it’s a clear calling from God to support the moms who fall victim to that guilt, to speak life into them when they’re feeling shackled by shame.

So if that’s you, here’s a message I hope you’ll find: shame off you, mama. It is not your job to carry the expectations of other people.

Friends. Family. Moms. Third cousins on Facebook. People who think you should do x or y or z. Strangers on the internet. 

They feel entitled to their opinion but they’re also not the ones raising that baby. You are. And you know best. 

I wish I could bottle up and share the radical feeling that flooded over me the moment Novalee was born. It was this wild freedom that rose in me, like, “I’ve got this. That girl is my girl. I know what she needs. No one else in the world is more equipped for that little lady than I am.”

That’s what I want you to know today. No one else is more equipped for the job than you. You’re it. You’re the right person for the task at hand. 

And to the ones who engage in the Mom-Shaming: We are all on the same team. We are all-hands-in raising the next generation. Let’s cheer each other on. Let’s push one another forward. Let’s embrace the messy and the hard. Let’s come alongside one another and simply say, “Yes, I feel you. I’ve been there before. It gets easier. Sometimes it gets harder before it gets easier but you’re figuring it out and learning so much.”

To all my readers who are mamas or moms-to-be, I see you and I am cheering for you as loudly as I can on the sidelines today.

The most valuable thing I’ve learned how to do within motherhood is…

I’ve learned to unplug. To power down my phone. Since having Novalee, I’ve become keenly aware that she sees everything we are doing. She is soaking it up. She is observing it. She is mimicking. 

So what message was I sending her as I picked up my phone 67 times a day? I was unknowingly sending her a message that whatever was happening on this screen was precious… it was enough to tear me away from her… and friends, that might seem like a dramatic realization but it’s kind of, definitely true.

We’ve all been to dinner with someone who keeps getting on their phone. Or who picks up the device in the middle of a conversation. Or someone who looks up and says, “What were you saying?” because they’re so distracted by their device. We’ve all felt that. And we’ve all likely been that person.

It’s not a pretty feeling. It’s a feeling of loneliness and disconnect.

Why would I ever think my child can’t experience those same feelings when I choose my phone over being fully present with her?

So I started unplugging.

I started powering down the phone. And it was been one of the most beautiful rituals of my day. I turn off the phone and it’s like I can breathe in my life. All the good, all the hard, all the mundane. It’s mine. 

I get down on the floor and I do a puzzle with her. We move to the books. We play with the dolls. It’s mundane, sure, but I know it matters to her. I know it sends her a signal that I want to be down on the ground loving her through this playtime. That there is nowhere else in the world I would rather be than right here with her. 

I know she will grow up and into a world saturated with technology. It’s foolish for me to think I am not going to be her first teacher in this arena and that I can model behavior for her. To show her the importance of presence, I put away my phone and just show up. 

Kiss that baby every chance you get.

It goes fast.

It goes really fast. People warned of this but now I’m seeing it for myself as I check on her through the monitor and watch her long legs and arms span the length of the crib. 

There’s a scene in one of my favorite TV shows where one of the main characters is making a speech in her office to two employees who’ve just become pregnant. She’s known as a mogul. Someone who always put her work before her kids. And, in the cliche blink of an eye, they grew up.

She tells them a story about a man she encountered in Radio Shack who gave her the most solid advice: Soon enough, they’ll be grown. You kiss that baby every chance you get.

Those words have stuck with me ever since. Every time I pull her out of the crib. Every time I lift her to the sky. Every time I want to give up on the day or ask for a retry. I stop what I am doing and I simply follow the advice. 

I kiss her and I whisper, “We’ve got this.” Because we do. And so do you.


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Hi, I'm Hannah

I love writing about all things faith, mental health, discipline + and motherhood. Let's be penpals!


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