When I became a Starbucks barista during my college years, I envisioned days of learning how to whip up frothy coffee creations and a lifetime supply of free baked goods. What I didn’t expect was to absorb, however, along with the smell of freshly-ground espresso, was a preparation for my future as a parent. Who knew there could be so many parallels between serving up coffee to sleep-deprived college students and motherhood? Although, I admit, maybe I should have seen the sleep deprivation thing coming…

Here are 21 lessons on motherhood gleaned from my life as a professional coffee maker:

1. Sometimes, whipped cream can make anything better.

whipped cream

Enough said.

(photo: Seosaid/ flickr)

2. Expensive is not always better.

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At $10 or $2, that coffee is still a coffee. The same may be said for diapers.

(photo: polyfaze / flickr)

3. Everyone needs to eat cake for lunch at least once.

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It’s kind of a must.

(photo: flickr)

4. Fancy names can work wonders.3617036447_211e90a0c9

You better believe I’m going to pretend that PB & J is a “super-special, top-secret-spy-girl” sandwich just so my kid will eat it. After all, that “gourmet-three-blend cheese sandwich on freshly-baked artisan bread” is just a grilled cheese, right?

(photo: Beauty Playin ‘E/ flickr)

5. Presentation is everything.

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There’s a reason why they make dinosaur chicken nuggets.

(photo: flickr)

6. We all need a break.

shutterstock_78645643Sometimes, there really is nothing better than escaping to a little café for the afternoon with your laptop and a fresh source of caffeine.

(photo:  Irina Rogova / Shutterstock)

7. Outlets are tantalizing, no matter what age.shutterstock_39106624

Ever witnessed the gleam in your baby’s eyes when he first spots your home outlets? Nothing compared to the mad rush for outlets in the morning at a coffee shop.

(photo: XAOCShutterstock)

8. People never really grow up.shutterstock_14833093From the lady who demanded that I trickle in her milk at calculated rate to ensure that her “creme would rise, pure and unbroken to the top” of her latte, to the old man who made me re-do the whipped cream on his drink five times, I think it’s time to admit that deep down, we’re all just a bunch of demanding toddlers.

(photo: nfsphoto / Shutterstock)

9. Few things are as comforting in life as a warm drink. 

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Even if Mommy sometimes needs to add a special ingredient.

(photo:  roboppy / flickr)

10. A lil` routine is good for the soul. 

3031370381_ab5748b471From babies and naps to the old man who orders the same exact thing every morning, we all like to know what to expect.

(photo: L’Aubergine Grillée / flickr)

11. Soup of the day = leftovers.

shutterstock_126057023We’re sneaky like that.

(photo: oksana2010 / Shutterstock)

12. Everything’s better if you dip it. 

4651776700_6344c32c32Celery stalks, beware.

(photo:  Family Slinkard / flickr)

13. It’s possible to be surrounded by people and feel all alone. 

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Especially if those people are under three foot tall.

(photo:  Justinvl / flickr)

14. If you want something in life, sometimes all you have to do is ask for it. 

shutterstock_97841513Be that a mocha caramel double espresso latte or a trip to go grocery shopping all by yourself.

(photo: Nomad_Soul / Shutterstock)

15. We all come in different sizes. 

shutterstock_23947444What would the world be without tall, grande and venti sizes anyways?

(photo: Anatoly Tiplyashin / Shutterstock)

16. There is something to be said for eating all-natural foods. 

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I mean, have you tasted freshly-ground coffee? That being said, however…

(photo:  Olesia Bilkei / Shutterstock)

17. Organic isn’t always worth the price.

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Please see #4.

(photo:  morganandtara / flickr)

18. There is one secret to life.

452713612_01ecbce27aAnd that’s good friends, good drinks, and good conversation. Oh, and chocolate never hurts either.

(photo:  andrew_mc_d / flickr)

19. The 2-5 afternoon slump can be brutal. 

shutterstock_126717317Kids nap. Adults drink. And it’s not always just coffee in that mug.

(photo: gwb / Shutterstock)

20. Beans really are the magical fruit. 

shutterstock_87949297Except when you accidentally feed them to your 8-month old. And then they are the devil.

(photo: Ana Blazic Pavlovic / Shutterstock)

21. It’s just not the same without your favorite cup.

2534024558_34fe5fbdcf A steaming latte just tastes different in your favorite mug. Which probably explains why you need that orange sippy cup with the lid that’s chewed-in just right.

(photo:  86queensgate / flickr)