A very, very long time ago, I wrote a post called ‘What No One Tells you about Pregnancy‘. It was one of those posts I wrote when I was beluga whale sized and feeling very ready to (snap, crackle and) pop a little baby into the world. Today I’m sharing with you all a companion post to that one. A few things I wish I’d known about becoming a mom.
Hopefully, if you’re a mom, you’ll be able to relate to some of these. And, if you haven’t entered into the world of parenting just yet, consider this a warning. It ain’t all that it’s cracked up to be.
1) I wish I’d known how hard those first few months would be.
Remember that scene in Friends when every time Monica holds Ben he cries? That was literally Baby E and I for the first two months of her life. I remember putting her in her crib one day crying her little eyes out and sobbing in the next room because absolutely nothing I did seemed to comfort her. It wasn’t until she was about 4 months old that we really hit our groove and started to bond a little more. I wish I’d known that the ‘instant bond’ isn’t always instant and that’s ok.
2) I wish I’d known that formula feeding doesn’t make you a bad mom.
I never breastfed Baby E–I pumped exclusively until she was about four months old and then switched to formula. Even now, admitting that stings a little.
I felt like such a failure in the hospital when the hospital’s lactation consultant informed me I had ‘odd-shaped’ nipples that made it harder to breastfeed (her words not mine) and even more of a failure when my baby screamed bloody murder instead of learning to latch. Sometimes I still struggle with guilt over my decision to switch to formula. But, deep down, I know that it was the right choice for our situation. I wish I’d known that the best-laid breastfeeding plans can go awry and there’s nothing wrong with choosing formula.
3) I wish I’d known that all those cliches about parenting are true.
It’s true that the days are long but the years are short. It’s true that life changes dramatically after becoming a parent. And it’s also true that sometimes the only thing you can do to get away from a loud and rambunctious toddler is hide in the bathroom with chocolate. Pretty much parenting alternates between oohing and aahing over the new adorable thing your child does and wondering why in the world you ever thought it was a good idea to have kids.
4) I wish I’d known how much becoming a parent would affect my worldview.
Honestly, I never considered myself a political person until I had E. I had opinions but I mostly kept them to myself to avoid causing a stir. Now I’m overwhelmed with the desire to make the world a better place for her and the rest of her generation. And that desire has made me more outspoken and vocal about my worldview than I ever thought possible.
5) I wish I’d known just how much time I’d spend worrying.
Worrying that I was doing things wrong. Worrying about breastfeeding. Worrying about poop. Worrying about bumps on the head and daredevil stunts on furniture. Worrying about SIDS. Worrying about which car seat to buy and which detergent is better for sensitive skin. Worrying about what schools she’ll attend and what life will be like for her in five years or ten years or fifteen years.
So much worrying, you guys…seriously.
6) I wish I’d known how I excited I could get over bodily functions.
Have you ever congratulated someone on a poop? If you’re a parent, you probably have. It amazes me how much of my day revolves around some kind of bodily function. And it astounds me even more that the girl who is, to this day, squeamish about mud (*raises hand) has absolutely no qualms about various bodily fluids appearing on her clothes throughout the day. Parenthood, y’all, it changes you.
7) I wish I’d known that life doesn’t end because you have a child.
So many people warned me that the husband and I would never spend any time alone after having a baby. Or that having a kiddo in tow would mean no more vacations and a life spent confined to the couch ruled by the schedule of a tiny human. Spoiler alert? Life doesn’t have to end after you have a baby. And even though it might not be as easy to do some things as it was before becoming a family of three, we’ve still managed to have some pretty great adventures since the little one has arrived. I wish someone had told me that even though your child is very much a top priority in your life, you shouldn’t neglect everything else that’s important to you. Making time for your spouse and your own self-care is just as important (if not more so) after you have a baby than before.
8) I wish I’d known how much I’d love being a mom.
I call E my little ray of sunshine because she, without fail, always brightens my day. I love watching E grow into her own little person and discover new things about the world around her. Even when I feel like I’m drowning in a sea of dirty diapers or dealing with a temper tantrum that would put Jack-Jack to shame (name that Disney movie), I always try to remember just how much joy my sweet baby girl has brought to my life.
Becoming a mom might not be everything I thought it would be but it’s an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world.
Anything to add? If you’re a parent, what is one thing you wish you’d known?