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7 Life Lessons From My One-Year-Old

I've been at this motherhood thing for nearly four years now and am just now beginning to realize that sometimes I learn more from my children than I teach them. It sounds funny, but it makes perfect sense when you really stop to think about it. Children haven't yet been tainted by the world. They are seeing it all with fresh eyes and a new perspective that we often leave behind once we enter adulthood. There really is a unique beauty in their outlook - one that we as adults can learn a thing or two from.

Here are just a few things—life lessons if you will—that I have learned from observing and interacting with my one-year-old son.

1. Don't cry over spilled milk

I cannot count the number of times my child has spilled puddles of milk all over the kitchen floor. It is irritating, to be sure, but I've come to realize that it's not the end of the world. Messes happen and they're easy to clean up. There's no sense crying over spilled milk anyway, because it's probably going to happen again at the next meal.

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2. Stop and smell the roses

I am a lover of lists and schedules and rarely will I be found leisurely moving about my day. My one-year-old on the other hand is the exact opposite. Rarely is he in a hurry. He loves to take in the world around him as he goes about his daily business of destroying everything in his path. He loves to touch, taste, smell and truly see everything he comes in contact with. A brief walk in the spring easily turns into an hour-long excursion where he must sniff every flower and taste every stick and jump in every puddle. Sometimes our best moments in a day happen as a result of my son making me slow down and just notice things and it's something I'm trying to carry over into my life more.

3. There is no such thing as too many smiles

Sometimes days aren't so great, but a smile can make everything better. I can be having a horrible day and my son's impish grin will brighten my outlook instantly. He also makes everyone else in his path smile. He smiles at friends and strangers alike and it's rare that we come across someone who can resist smiling back. Smiles are a day brightener, and my son is teaching me to be more liberal in giving them out.

There is something about a good cry that's so necessary and cathartic for the soul, whether you've been on this earth for one year... or 31 years.

4. Every new person is a potential new friend.

I would venture to say that there are very few one-year-olds on the planet quite so friendly as mine. Everywhere we go my child makes friends with someone new. It doesn't matter how old or young they are or what they look like, every single person we come in contact with is a potential new friend. The other day at a bakery he fully hugged a random little old grandma (she was probably in her 80's) around the waist and proceeded to chat her up for the next few minutes. Watching him is teaching me that I shouldn't judge a book by its cover when it comes to potential new friends and that I shouldn't shy away from being friendly. The world needs more friendliness like my little one is dishing out.

5. Sometimes you just need a good cry... or a snack

Sometimes as adults we feel the need to hide our emotions, like crying is a bad thing. My one-year-old cries over small and big things alike and when it's over he moves on. There is something about a good cry that's so necessary and cathartic for the soul, whether you've been on this earth for one year... or 31 years. And sometimes if that good cry hasn't helped, a snack is the next best thing. The whole world looks better after eating a handful of goldfish crackers (even for a grown-up!)

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6. Always get back up

My little guy falls down at least 8,670,000 times a day, but he doesn't let it get him down. He is relentless in pursuing his goals. Those goals may only include stealing toys from his big sister, but they are certainly goals nonetheless, and he will not be held down in his pursuit of them. So often I find myself giving up after experiencing failure on my journey toward a goal, but my one-year-old is teaching me that no goal was ever achieved by giving up. You always have to get back up.

7. Life goes by too fast to sweat the small stuff

Seeing how quickly my sweet boy is growing is a constant reminder to soak up these moments, because life goes by too fast. There are times when it feels like simply blinking might cause me to miss his beautiful childhood. I am realizing that I don't want to waste this time by sweating the small stuff. The dishes and the laundry will wait and that ruined white blouse won't matter next week, but these moments are truly priceless.

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Photograph by: Lauren Hartmann

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