There's no course women can take that teaches them how to mother, or what a good mother is, instead each woman that chooses to have children has inside them an unlocked exponential amount of love and caring that is released when they have a baby. This love and caring guides them through their motherhood journey.
When you become a mother, there are so many experiences to be had and so many of those experiences are ones that you won’t have known about. You will, without a doubt, experience many a surprise on your journey to motherhood and in those early weeks, months and years, you may find these 10 things that no one tells you about useful.
Our golden retriever was our first shot at being mature adults. She was our first child, our only love and she ruled the roost for a really long time. When we had our first human child, she was 4 years old and we didn’t realize that anything would change. While it might not have been very different for my husband, things were extremely different for me once my son came around.
Once he arrived in our lives, our dog seemed to be in our way a bit more and everywhere we went, she was under foot. She really seemed to annoy us at the time which, in hindsight, was definitely unfair, although my stresses were totally legit at the time. Having a new baby to care for is hard work and a dog is just like another child.
Rest assured though- now that my children are a little bit older, she’s once again one of my babies and gets spoiled like her ‘royal highness’ should!
It all starts with puke on the shoulder or down your back from your wee little baby spitting up on you. I think almost every parent has been there before. It’s almost a rite of passage to be out shopping or with a friend or even at work only to find baby ‘goop’ somewhere on your clothes. In addition to finding stuff on my clothes, I’ve found sticky stuff in my hair as well from my baby or toddlers less-than-tidy eating habits.
Now that I have a preschooler and a school-aged child, I honestly can’t even begin to list all of the odd places I’ve found food-related stuff. For example, I’ve had crumbs in my bed (from toast that daddy allowed my then 3 year old to eat), countless food items hidden under sofa cushions or smashed under car seats, trails of sticky red Freezies that allow me to walk directly to the culprits bedroom and freshly washed laundry with remnants of the previous days’ snack adhered in pockets.
Oh and probably the nastiest food find to date, a week old, half-eaten bag of fermented grapes in the bottom of a back pack!
As a parent, you will end up having stepped on many a piece of Lego, small cars, Barbie shoes etc before your child goes off to college. It’s just a given. Kids are messy even when we’re neat freaks and try our darnedest to keep our homes tidy.
No matter how much you stay on top of the toy clean up, kids imaginations will result in toys being placed in the oddest of locations around the house, sometimes in ‘Elf on the Shelf’ like positions.
For example, I’ve found Lego men tucked into my bed for a long winters’ sleep. I’ve found floating toys inside my toilet bowl because the ‘needed to learn to swim’ and a Power Ranger once took a bath in my dishwasher because ‘he was really, really dirty’. I’ve gone to pull out my wallet only to find a super hero instead and just last weekend, there was a dinosaur proudly protecting my garden of flowers.
As the only female in a household of growing boys and a grown man, I’m severely outnumbered and eat considerably less than those around me. If I buy treats while grocery shopping or bake cookies, I usually don’t get more than a single helping before those things are devoured by my herd.
While I’m not necessarily proud of it, I’ll admit (and I can assure you I’m not the only mom who has done it) that I’ve been known to buy myself the ‘good’ ice cream and then hide it deep in the freezer.
It isn’t just me that does this in my house either! Some evenings, my husband will run out to fill up the cars with ‘gas’ and when he walks in the door, he’ll give me a little wink as he stealthily hides a small bag high in the cupboard for later. Usually, it’s a fancy chocolate bar that we won’t have to share with the munchkins.
When I had my first son, none of my friends at the time had any children. I was the first in my circle to become a mom and so I was sort of entering foreign territory for us. With that territory, came a complete alteration to my friend circle that was, at the time, very surprising and maybe a little bit painful to think about.
It wasn’t that my friends didn’t care about me anymore or even that they were ‘turned off’ by my new parental status, it was simply that we were in completely different places in our lives and while they were busy with their social lives, I was busy changing bums and washing diapers. Over time, some of those pre-kid friends have become my close friends again, while others, not so much.
The good news is, becoming a parent also means you’ll end up meeting new people (other new parents) who you’ll bond with because of where you are in your lives and some of those people might be in your life for a very, very long time.
If I could tell you the number of times I’ve heard a new mom say ‘just brushing my teeth was feeling nearly impossible today’ because of how busy they felt dealing with their new baby, I’d probably be rich! Teeth brushing and showering were not issues for me when I had my children, but only because I had an awesome bouncy chair and let them chill while I did those tasks.
That said, I’d have great goals set for each day. I’d want to clean the kitchen, vacuum, mop and get a load of laundry done by the time my husband came home from his work day. I might be able to start the day off really great and after my shower, I might actually get a load of laundry in and the dishes cleaned up, but then what? Then, it’d definitely be time for my little buddy to eat.
After he ate, he’d need to be changed. After he was changed, I’d try to get him to nap. After a half hour of listening to him scream, I’d be rocking him, cuddling him, rubbing his little back or I’d just give up altogether and he’d be up for a while longer before I’d start the process all over.
Some days, it really was a big deal to simply get the basics done. It’s ok. It does happen to us all at one time or another.
Once you become a mom, you’ll most definitely be more familiar with all things baby and toddler related. For example, you’ll know random facts about cleaning bottles and toys. You’ll know what ‘baby led weaning’ means even though your mother has no idea what you’re talking about. When it’s time to go back to work, you will research day care versus home care and you will know the details about their sleep and eating routines.
You will probably know what the hot toys of the moment are too and when birthdays or special occasions come around, you’ll hunt those hot toys down. Once you have a toddler, you will become familiar with a bunch of TV shows and movie characters even though you once swore that YOUR kid would never watch TV. You will hear the TV show theme songs and start singing crazy, ridiculous lyrics because you will know every single word.
Remember the days when you’d wake up a half hour before you had to rush out the door to go to work? And, sometimes you still made it there with 5 minutes to spare? Consider those days long gone (unless you’re crazy, insane efficient. If you are, you can ignore me). This theory applies to every outing or task you take on once you become a mother.
If you are making supper, you’ll end up stopping at least once or twice to help someone pee or stick a soother in a mouth. If you’re heading to work, you know you are also responsible for feeding and dressing another human, but you might not realize just how long doing those tasks might take. Add a puke session and you can add 5 minutes!
Rest assured, over time, you’ll learn to adjust your schedule and start preparing early enough that you’ll only be 5 minutes late for work instead of 20!
I think the mom guilt starts the minute you find out you're pregnant. Be it the alcohol, the sushi or whatever else you ate or did prior to finding out you’re expecting, you’ll probably have a moment of feeling guilty about it. That guilt doesn’t go away once your baby is born though. In fact, being a mom is pretty well a lifelong guilt session brought to you by your little people!
Usually, you will be made to feel guilty simply because you have acted as a mom and set some rules for your child. He or she will promptly decide that whatever you have said, done or denied them is ‘not fair’ and it is without a shadow of a doubt, ‘your fault.'
Just today alone, by telling my 7 year old that he was not allowed to go swimming in my friend’s pool while her 15 year old son babysat him for the day (without a grown up) was unfair and I was mean. Then, when said friend returned from her 12 hour shift as a nurse and I refused to take him down to swim in that pool for fear of disturbing her, I was once again being unfair because he didn’t get to go swimming earlier in the day!
There’s something about your children that will invoke feelings and emotions that you might not have even realized were possible. From the moment you lay eyes on your child, you will feel overwhelmed with love, awe, and fear to name a few. You will be amazed by every little thing he or she does and sometimes? Sometimes you’ll just sit there and stare at your little person for no reason at all.
Emotions will be running wild within you during the early months of motherhood and there is a really good chance that you will cry a fair bit. You might cry because you are just so overcome with love for your new little one. You may cry because your baby cries and it hurts your heart to hear. You may cry tears of frustration over the smallest things. It’s all ok and it’s all completely normal.
Becoming a mom and starting your journey through motherhood will be filled with surprises- both stressful and wonderful. You can't possibly be prepared but you can enjoy it. Someday, you'll be ready to create your own list of things to share with other new moms!