10 Truths About Motherhood

From the moment you triumphantly wave that positive test under everybody's nose, people are eager to share their experiences with pregnancy and birth. But there are a few things nobody told me about motherhood. So for anyone reading this who may not be a parent yet, or who's a new parent, brace yourself for a few critical truths.

Your kids will get on your nerves. I hate to say it, because nobody wants to admit that there are days when they actually second-guess their decision to ditch the birth control. It may not happen for the first few months, but trust me: once they start demanding, whining, and being impossible to reason with - which they will - you'll be like, "Whoa ... what was I thinking?" For this reason, you need breaks from them. It's important. You'll appreciate them a lot more if they're not shoved up your rear end 24/7.

You'll feel guilty because your kids get on your nerves. We all know at least one of "those" moms: the type who seems to endlessly enjoy her children's company, who never seems bothered by the incessant questions, who patiently explains everything, all the while gushing, "Aren't they just precious?" And because of her, you'll feel like a crappy mom less-than-adequate on those days when you really, reeeeeally wish you could pack your kids off to Grandma's for a little vacation. News flash: even "SuperMom" gets tired of her children at times - you just aren't around to see it. I struggled with infertility for five years before finally having my first son, and it was always painful to hear people complaining about their kids when I couldn't have any. "If I have kids, I'll never do that," I vowed.
Ha. Hahahahaha.

You'll constantly wonder if everybody's kids go through this, or just yours. By "this," I mean any of the hundreds of phases they'll go through: the picky eating phase. The "I-refuse-to-wear-pants" phase. The whining everything phase. And it never fails - while your kid is going through these phases, it will seem as though everybody else's kids are acting perfectly normal, causing you to wonder if some catastrophic "wrong turn" in your parenting has made your offspring this weird. But don't worry. It hasn't. All kids do this ... whatever "this" may be!

Every tragic story will nearly make your heart stop. Suddenly those starving kids in Africa seem so much more human. Hearing about the toddler across town who got hit by a car will cause you to fly into a near-panic, thinking, "That could have been my baby."

You'll miss your old life. Before you have kids, you can't possibly fathom the amount of personal sacrifice that it takes to raise them. It's like trying to imagine being a celebrity or something: you can picture it vividly, but until it actually happens to you, there's no way of knowing what it's really like. Once you have kids, you'll pine for the days when you could just spontaneously decide to take a roadtrip, read (or sleep!) for hours uninterrupted, go to the bathroom alone. Everything, from loafing to shopping, becomes different - and there will be plenty of times you'll miss those days when you could be as self-centered as you wanted.

You'll want everyone to think your kids are as awesome as you think they are. But they don't. I remember distinctly when Colin, my firstborn, learned to wave; he would wave at random people in the grocery store or whatever. Some would wave back, but some would just look at him and walk past. I wanted to punch those people and yell, "He was waving at you, you jerk! Return the gesture!" I mean, how could they not see how adorable this little guy was, and take the time out of their busy shopping schedule to acknowledge him? And now that he's four, things like this are still going on. If we're out somewhere and he's acting all whiny and crazy, and people are casting judgmental sideways glances, I get the urge to explain. "He's not always like this! He just hasn't had a nap today! He's normally so sweet ... you should see him sing lullabyes to his baby brother ..." The bottom line is, nobody - except for the other parent, and certain family members - will ever see your child for the gem he or she really is and praise him/her accordingly.

Your life won't be easy with just one child, but it's a heck of a lot easier than having two or more. When we only had Colin to worry about, Curtis and I had a little more freedom. It was only necessary to accomodate one nap schedule, one feeding schedule ... to get one child dressed and put on one pair of shoes. We could be a little more flexible - and heck, when he was really little and slept all the time, we could even still go to "grownup" restaurants. Then Cameron came along, and it got a bit more tricky. Now we've got to consider the (ever-changing) needs and schedules of both kids and work around two instead of one. I can't even imagine what it's going to be like adding our third baby to the mix in a couple of months!

You will change your mind. When Colin was born, I said I'd breastfeed exclusively. I said he wouldn't watch much TV, and when he did, it was only to be educational stuff. I said I'd never spank him. I said when he started eating "big people" food, it would only be organic and low-sugar. Apparently, I lied, because each and every one of those goals has fallen by the wayside. It happens, and sometimes not by choice.

You'll never feel completely confident. I just blogged about this a couple of days ago. You will second-guess almost every parenting decision, no matter how small (and if it backfires, you will relentlessly blame yourself). With every new baby you bring into the family, you'll feel almost as clueless as you did with the first ... unless maybe you're, like, Michelle Duggar or someone with an equally huge number of children.

Despite all this, you'll love them more than you ever thought possible. Even if you've had the mothering day from hell, and your kids are driving you to the brink of insanity, you'd still go to any lengths to protect them if they were threatened. You'll look at them while they're sleeping, or during a rare quiet moment, and your heart will melt. And this, my friends, is the magic that makes motherhood the best experience of your life ... no matter how much the hours and vacation days suck sometimes. :)


  1. a fab post everything in that list is 100% true!!! you are one top dog mummy and you've made me feel lots better as i have had a few mothering days from hell recently xxx

  2. Good to know! I need to save this for future reference! The funny thing is, those are all the things I do actually think about when we discuss pregnancy...the things that hold me back. But, #10 definitely makes it better!

  3. I related to every.single.paragraph. Great post!

  4. thank you for posting this. It's nice to hear the truth :)

  5. You're so right! I used to lock myself in the bathroom occasionally, just so I wouldn't hurt any of you kids. But let someone in the neighborhood say something bad about my babies and I'm through the roof! After all is said and done and all the kids are grown, being a mom is still the best - and most important - thing I've ever done.

  6. True.True.True. Stopping by from SITS. Loved your post.

  7. I know this is an old post but it reaffirmed everything I've felt since having my Mad.
    After 3 do you still get neurotic about tragic news stories? I couldn't watch the news for almost 3 months after she was born and I still have "issues".


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