Alright. Since I’ve already crowned myself The World’s Okayest Mom— we all know I didn’t plan a whole lot prior to my oldest joining my life journey. I tried a liiiiiitle harder with my second, but knew there wasn’t much more out there that’s changed in the six years since I had previously given birth. One of those things being my personality. If you want to know what real motherhood is like, ditch the books and follow a mom blog.
Here’s a compilation of things I wish I knew.
Motherhood may not come naturally.
I know I wasn’t exactly thrilled at the idea of having a baby at 22 (21 at time of conception). I have many regrets of being a young, first time, mom. One of them being that I relied heavily on my mom to watch my kid. There were things that came naturally, sure. But I thought as long as I could trust whoever it was that was watching my kid (and how many people wouldn’t trust their mom, I mean they raised you, right?) that I was golden! It wasn’t until she was around 15 months that I realized how much of a crap parent I was being and felt the overwhelming guilt I had of not fully being there for my child. And before you go and judge me, because someone will, I am NOT the only one. I have thanked my mother numerous times, with tears pouring down my face (and as I’m writing this), for being there for me when I didn’t have my shit together. I’m just here to tell you, that it might not come to you right away. It might feel like you’re forcing yourself to love this new version of you, but you will get it and everything will be okay.
You will feel guilty all the time
And since I am on the topic of guilt. As a mom, this never goes away. You just learn to cope with it and find ways to overcome it. The guilt you will feel immediately after being frustrated with a baby who has kept you up all night, yet doesn’t know any better. The guilt of going back to work and having someone else “raise your baby”, or the guilt of staying at home with your kids and “not providing” for your family. The guilt you will feel after having to discipline your child, knowingly its what they need. The guilt of telling your kids “in a minute” and realizing that that minute lasted a whole hour and a half before you could give them your attention. The guilt that you have been all touched out from the kids for the day and don’t have any touches left for your husband. This list feels like its almost endless. If you need more examples, ask me, I have a trophy for this category on my mental wall of accomplishments.
Your panic and fear will elevate
It will take you through the roof of the Empire State Building. Try not to hold your breath as your toddler nears the edge of the couch, or runs through the house, hoping they don’t fall flat on their face because it will happen, and you might die from holding your breath each and every time. That won’t be your only fear. You’ll watch the news, read an article, know someone who something tragic has happened to and think to yourself “What if that were my child?“. And it will make you sick to your stomach and the fear that it could happen to you or your child may consume you for some time. You’ll play out scenarios when you buy a house. “Where are the bedrooms located?“. “What are the potential escape routes, in case of a fire/burglary/accident?“. You may (for a split second) consider micro-chipping your child in the event a kidnapping may ever occur. You will realize, more than ever, that this world can be an ugly place.
You will naturally bond with other moms
You will cry when they cry, rejoice in mutuality, because us moms— we just get it. We’ve been there. We know what its like to get that first BFP on a pregnancy test, and we know what its like when its lost– whether its through sympathy or similar experience. We know what its like to feel embarrassed at the grocery store when its supposed to be nap time but mom just needed a quick few ingredients for dinner, or when you just told your kid “No, you can’t buy that” and all of a sudden you’re center stage of Meltdown Central and think you’re being judged. We know you’re on day 3 of dry shampoo, day 2 of the same sweats, and hour 5 of the same cup of reheated coffee. Been there, done that girlfriend. Many times. Something tragic happened to a friend of a friend of mine’s kids and she went to visit her when it happened. When that mom opened the door and she asked her how she was doing, she replied with “You’re a mom. You know“. That statement could not be more true.
…at first. Its not all unicorns and rainbows. Its more like sharks and fart clouds. My nipple looked like it was being ripped off from the base, where it meets my areola. They say the average time it takes for breastfeeding to be “comfortable” (lol) is roughly 2 weeks. Well for me it was like 4. Then from there it was cake. I made the monetary choice of breastfeeding to save money on formula and to stock up on liquid gold for its cures of pink eye and owies. Not because “breastfed is best-fed” I’m “pro either method”. Fed is fed. While yes, breastfeeding has some advantages. Its not for everyone. And I was really starting to think it wasn’t for me. I did, however, miss it as soon as I stopped. I thoroughly enjoyed the bonding time with my baby and missed it when I went back to work.
Milestones are fun
Unless its their first day of kindergarten, or first grade, then the last day of first grade and they’re soon starting second grade (Ahhh!). Don’t rush them. You’ll blink and the moment will have come, then gone. Each kid grows at their own pace. Don’t compare them to other babies. You’ll beat yourself up, and you’ll be creating more frustration for both you, baby and dad. Let them be babies. Enjoy the toothless smiles, the bald head, the funny scooting, the learning how to read stages, the singing to songs they don’t know the words to, the bedtime stories and back tickles. They will grow up and you won’t know that that last time you did or saw any of that, was the last time. And you will miss it.
You will never be more loved
You love your husband/boyfriend, yes. They love you, too. You can’t imagine life without them. But you will feel a new love. You will understand what your mom feels for you once you have a child of your own. You think you love your mom? It won’t, and it does not, compare to the way she loves you. This, you will understand, the very moment you lay your eyes on that baby. You will find yourself in tears you didn’t even know where rolling down your cheeks just by looking at them. When they start to grow and they are meeting more family, and new people, and all they want is mom— your heart will be pinging all over the place. This is something they don’t explain in books… the way your heart is capable of such love, frustration, guilt, more love, happiness…
I can go on for days about my experience at mother hood thus far, but I won’t. You’ll have to see for yourself. Trial and error, is huge. Routines don’t always work. A scribble on a piece of paper that is supposed to be you but looks more like a taco, will never be more beautiful. You will play ping pong with your emotions by loving yourself and hating yourself, and loving yourself again. You will love that little cootie catcher, who beats you up and thinks its funny, and gets into toilets, more than life itself.
Some things you’ll never ever be ready for, most of them are good, and no book can ever teach you.
Yes, you will (and I do often) refer to Google, or those baby books, but your instincts will kick in and you’ll know whats best for baby and yourself.
I’m a mom, I get it.