Like a secret sorority sisterhood, I was desperate to pledge. I had no idea what I was getting myself into — totally unprepared, motherhood was a complete mystery to me until I had a daughter of my own. Let me tell you, shi* got real and fast. Sure, I had some ideas. It wasn’t like a pack of wild wolves had raised me; I had a mom. But that doesn’t mean I knew how to be a mom.
As many of us now know, there’s a big difference between babysitting for a few hours on a Friday night and being responsible for keeping a tiny human alive 24/7. So now, three beautiful babies deep, here are:
10 Things I Wish My Mom Had Told Me About Motherhood
1. After having a baby, mesh panties, giant period pads, and disposable nursing pads will become your best friends. And don’t forget the nipple cream!
Don’t get me wrong, bringing a baby into this world is one of the most beautiful things a woman can do, but it’s also very messy and can sometimes be scary. (Have you seen how big that epidural needle is? Do me a favor: don’t Google it until after you have baby. Just trust me on this.) Motherhood is the same — beautiful, messy, and scary all at once. But oh, so worth it.
2. Speaking of scary, the first night home from the hospital (with your very first baby) will probably be the scariest night of your life.
Additional helpful hints: most babies don’t like sleeping in a crib until the three or four-month mark. And calling the pediatrician’s After Hours hotline over and over because the baby won’t stop crying is ill-advised. They will probably move your appointment to bright and early the following day and may even ask you to stop calling. Guilty.
3. I never knew I could love a tiny, crying, puking, pooping human so much.
Like I said, I had no clue what I was getting myself into — sleep deprivation is a nasty form of torture. It is a widely used interrogation tactic — usually reserved for terrorists and enemies of the state. And new moms and dads, of course.
4. You will cry over every little thing those first few weeks postpartum and probably every milestone moving forward.
You are going to cry for the next eighteen years, and you might also forget many things—shoes, car keys, and changing out of your pajamas before leaving the house to run errands. Pregnancy brain is real, my friends. And it never goes away. (From what I can tell.)
5. Breastfeeding is AWESOME. But it doesn’t always work for everyone, and that is okay.
Cracked, bleeding nipples are not so awesome. (See number one.) Fed is best. Do what you have to do to keep baby full and thriving. That’s all.
6. Having to reprimand and correct your adorable but badly behaving child hurts you more than it hurts them.
Have you ever had to say no to a puckering bottom lip? What about poor, pitiful tears? As a responsible parent who desires to raise equally responsible and productive members of society, it IS a necessary task. But it is also literally the WORST.
7. Regular showers, exercise, meals, and trips to the bathroom unaccompanied by a little one become a thing of the past. At least for a time. And you are perfectly okay with it.
Nothing compares to that new baby smell and those new baby snuggles. Hygiene is for schmucks. And parents of school-aged children.
8. Your body might never look like it did before babies, but you could never imagine your life without your littles.
Stretch marks? Cellulite? A small price to pay for the sincerest love you will ever experience. Motherhood requires sacrifice, and your body is one of its favorite offerings.
9. Babies don’t keep.
How on earth do I have an almost-four-year-old? I swear I brought her home from the hospital just yesterday. Don’t blink; life flies by in a blur and you will miss it. So put the smartphone down. You never know what tomorrow will bring.
10. All the silly stuff you used to think was important — a perfect house, a perfect car, perfect hair, and makeup — it all pales in comparison.
None of it matters—family matters.
Finally, you CAN be a great mom, even if you didn’t have the best example. Follow your mama heart and that all-powerful mama intuition. Surround yourself with loving and knowledgeable women who lift you up and offer the necessary support. The desire to be excellent is proof enough that you are (or can be) the exact mother your children need. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and by all means, give yourself grace. We are all in this wild motherhood ride together. You’ve got this, mama. Surprises and all.