Five years ago, I could have given you the recipe for the perfect mother. She would have endless patience, a clean house and perfect children. Obviously, I didn’t have kids of my own quite yet.

Five years ago, I could have given you the recipe for the perfect mother. She would have endless patience, a clean house and perfect children.

Obviously, I didn’t have kids of my own quite yet.

Today I’m celebrating my fourth Mother’s Day. I’ve graduated from pacifiers to sippy cups to juice boxes, from diapers to Pull-Ups to big-boy underwear. I’ve also graduated from being a mother of one to becoming a mother to two.

And this year, more than ever before, I see how wonderfully precious each stage of life truly is. I’ve spent the past four years writing about those stages — feeling the baby kick during pregnancy, learning to nurse a newborn, watching that little mind as it learns to form new words.

Over and over for the past four years, I’ve said, “This is just a great age.” But as every mother knows, every age has its downsides, too: That snuggly newborn also is pretty quick to cry. That smiley baby gets pretty frustrated when she realizes she can’t crawl yet. That toddler can tell you when he wants a cup of milk, but he can also tell you, “No!” And on it goes.

As mothers, we push through the awkward stages and past the unhappy moments. We are rewarded one hundred-fold, by children who scream, “Mommy!” and race toward you with open arms when you walk through the door. We’re blessed with butterfly kisses, sweet bedtime prayers and small steps toward independence that remind us that we must be doing our jobs right after all.

For all my firstborn has learned in the past four years — to walk, to talk, to jump, to pedal a bike — the lessons I’ve gained as a mommy have been so much more.

So for Mother’s Day, I’ll share with you the top 10 things I learned from being a mother:

10. A dryer filled with white laundry is not a good place for a red crayon.

9. Peanut butter and jelly sandwich crusts make for a perfectly good lunch.

8. Mothers have the capacity to jump in front of a moving truck for another human being — without hesitation and without regret.

7. Toddlers have the ability to turn fully grown adults into their slaves — if you let them.

6. When a baby cries, a little part of his mother cries along with him.

5. Six straight hours is considered a good night of sleep for a mother.

4. If a child were truly hungry, she would eat her peas.

3. If you want to raise a child who stops to smell the roses, you have to actually let him stop to smell the roses.

2. You never stop being a mother. When your children are not with you, a small part of you is
missing — because it is still with them.

1. Perhaps my mom was a pretty smart woman after all.

Contact Elizabeth Davies at edavies@rrstar.com.