Thirteen Sonoma Valley moms share what they’ve learned along the way, what they might have done differently and how they’re like their own mother.
What has motherhood taught you?
Motherhood has taught me to always give it all you’ve got, cherish every second, and you can never hug, kiss or love your children too much. Being a mother is a privilege and an honor, and while this is the most difficult thing I will ever do, it is also the most meaningful and fulfilling.
If there is one thing you could do differently, what would it be?
If there is one thing I would change, perhaps it would be getting married younger and having more children. However, when I look at our three precious gifts from God, our children, I could not imagine my life any other way.
Are you becoming your mother?
Much of what I have learned to become the mother that I am is because of her. When it was time for my mother to fly home to the Philippines after she spent two months with us helping with our firstborn, I asked her how I could ever thank her. She gently cupped my face in her hands and said, “Sweetheart, the best way you could ever thank me is to love your son and your future children deeply, unconditionally.
Motherhood taught me how to multitask, and how to prioritize my friends and family, and balancing motherhood.
Continuing to work on the work/childcare balance so I could spend even more time with them. It goes so fast.
I don’t notice myself doing things my mother did, but I always respected how she handled her work /life balance, so in that way, yes.
It’s taught me compassion, and enormous love.
Differently? I would not be so focused on making the house perfect, and spend more time playing with them.
In a personal way, yes. I’ll say to myself, gosh, that reminds me so much of my mother. But we’re much different.
I learned patience.
I’d just hang out with my kids more and have fun.
Yes. I look in the mirror and I see her and I like what I see. My mother was smart, and perceptive.
Motherhood has taught me unconditional love, humility, patience, and also to see life through my daughter’s eyes. Her innocence, joy, sense of wonder, and surprise are feelings that I don’t take for granted. I just love her sweet and loving spirit and her sense of justice for all.
Not worrying so much about her schedules when she was little.
I hope so. I lost my mother to cancer when I was nine years old. I remember my childhood being filled with love and joy. My mom was a dedicated, beautiful being and I will always aspire to be like her. She’s been my guardian angel throughout my life and I can feel her presence now in Sofia’s life too.
The #1 lesson is to listen carefully and not judge.
If I could do it again, I’d hope not to try to make my child be like me. To respect who they are.
I don’t know about turning into my mother, but as I grow older I see my mother in myself. In small quirky things. Speech. I think of her quite a bit.
I think resilience to start each day anew. The most powerful lesson is failure, because change happens in crisis, in difficult times. That keeps me resilient.
I wish I had lived closer to my large extended family when I was raising my children. But the flip side of that is that instead of found a strong community of supportive friends.
Turning into my mother? That wouldn’t be all bad.
The #1 thing as a mother is to listen. Just listen.
I wish I had tried to not always be so busy, make those breaks, be in the moment. I was a full-time teacher, and I wouldn’t change that, but I wish I had slowed down.
Am I turning into my mother? I hope so. She was wonderful. She taught me about the most important things in life, like animals.
It is a beautiful thing to have children. It makes you feel like a child again. You play with them, enjoy life.
The one thing I would do differently would be to finish my studies. I didn’t, not just because I had a child, but also because I was the oldest of six and our father only wanted for us to get a basic education.
I think about my mother all the time. Now I understand all the things she used to say to me, all her good advice. I’ve learned from her how important it is to be a good example.
Motherhood taught me endless responsibilities and endless love, and not to screw up.
If I could do one thing differently, it would be teaching my son to cook and do laundry from day one. My life would be much easier now!
I’m trying hard not to become my mother.
I’ve learned that that there is no limit to the number of quesadillas I will make in one lifetime.
If I could do one thing differently it would be: fewer sports schedules, and more outside adventures.
I became my mother when I started talking to the paintings.
As a mother I learned selflessness, number one. The ease and willingness to put my kids before me.
I parented too closely to the book. If I had to do it over I would not have allowed them to experience so many consequences from their own choices and I would have given them more logical consequences. Also, I would have been more particular about their associations.
I am not becoming my mother so much, but I see it in my sisters all the time.
As a mother, I’ve learned that loving your child is more profound than can be imagined before actually becoming a parent.
If I could do one thing differently as a mother, I would have been a stay-at-home mom for the first seven or so years. A close second is that you have to take good care of yourself to take good care of your child.
I am not becoming my mother!
– Interviews and photos by Anna Pier and Sarah Ford