You're expected to undergo a boatload of changes when you decide to become a mother. Some of those changes you were definitely warned about and some you, well, definitely weren't. With all the great and wonderful and amazing things that accompany motherhood, come things that are going to frustrate and infuriate you or at least leaving you scratching your head in total disbelief, especially if you're a mother in her 20s. I mean, there are a lot of weird things that happen when you're a mom in your 20s, and no matter how "normal" those weird things inevitably are, navigating your way through them can be an awkward, not to mention eye-opening, experience.
Having a baby in your 20s can change your life for the better, but there's no way to completely prepare yourself for every single inevitable change you'll face. No matter how many baby books or blogs you read ahead of time, you're going to come across a lot of things no one warned you about parenthood. Your priorities are going to change drastically, and things that might have never been on your radar before will now occupy every corner of your mind; things that will make you laugh and cry and cringe all at the same time when thinking about them, because motherhood is great, yes, but it's also stressful and gross sometimes too.
Your 20s are different when you have kids, sure, but they're different in a (mostly) amazing way. That won't necessarily make you feel any less weird when you realize that you're not only in charge of your still-changing life, you're in charge of someone else's life, too. I mean, we're all still growing and learning and evolving (regardless of age) but you're definitely doing all of those things in your 20s. Having a kid accompany your journey can be, you know, weird and awesome and strange and difficult and an overwhelming but glorious experience. At some point, you're (probably) going to feel like a fish out of water, which is why it's important to remember that these 12 weird motherhood experiences, no matter how awkward and strange, are still pretty "normal" (whatever that means).
You Suddenly Value A Full Night's Rest
Before you had kids, staying out until the sun came up was not just normal, it was your mission. The bags under your eyes were like a badge of honor, but that was when sleeping in until noon was a viable option. Once you've got kids, you'll never need an alarm clock again because, yes, they will wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed every single morning whether you're ready for them to or not. They don't care how exhausted you are, so getting a full night's rest is actually a beautiful thing for a mom.
You Start Reading Food Labels
Before kids, you probably ate whatever was easiest to fix (or had late-night delivery) and there's a good chance it came from a box or a freezer bag. It probably also contained a lot of ingredients that aren't necessarily a part of the food pyramid. Once you've got a baby though, you become vigilant with your label reading (because you want what's best and healthiest for your baby) and feeding them something that contains ingredients that you can't pronounce is the thing nightmares are made of.
You Develop A Bit Of A Caffeine Addiction
The thing about getting a full night's rest when you've got kids is that, well, it doesn't really happen all that often. Your baby will wake up hungry or scared or wet, right when you fall into blissful unconsciousness, and you'll have to pick your tired body out of your cozy bed to take care of them. By the time morning rolls around, you might have been in and out of bed several times (unless you're co-sleeping, but even that sleeping arrangement doesn't mean you won't need to get out of bed), and waking up sans sleep pretty much sucks. Thank goodness for coffee...
You Start Buying In Bulk
Kids aren't exactly cheap, are they? You probably never knew what a Sam's Club or a Costco was until you became a mom, but now when you think about all the money you can save by buying in bulk, going to a big box store to stock up on diapers and bacon is better than a trip to Disney World.
Your Taste In Vehicles Drastically Changes
Most of us rolled our eyes and said "I'd never" when we saw other moms driving mini-vans. They just weren't cool or sexy or appealing or anything that remotely resembled how cool you were, duh. Now that you have a baby of your own, you've come to appreciate how roomy and practical they are. Yeah, those other moms had it right.
You Actually Enjoy Watching The News...
Watching the news is a saving grace for moms who are constantly preoccupied with the always-changing needs of their children. It's a way of staying up-to-date with current events, product recalls, food recalls, any and all recalls and, well, you get the idea. It can also help you to escape from the drudgery of changing explosive diapers and cleaning baby food out of your hair (as long as the news is "happy," which isn't always the case). Oh, and murder mystery specials? Ugh, they're just the best, right?
...But You're Also Terrified By The News
The thing about the news is that it doesn't exactly give you all the warm and fuzzy feelings. There's a lot of ugly in the world, and being constantly reminded of exactly how ugly it is can be terrifying, especially for a parent that is constantly wondering what kind of a world they're raising their daughter or son in. It sort of makes watching cartoons all day seem relaxing.
You Spend A Lot Of Time Googling Various Aches And Pains
Raising kids isn't just a mentally and emotionally exhausting act, it's also a physically exhausting one. Spending your days in a constant state of motion, often cleaning up messes or picking up your child, will eventually take a toll on your body. You'll wake up one morning with a kink in your neck or an ache in your back, and spend the rest of your day trying to figure out what happened. I'd laugh if I wasn't too busy fighting back tears, as it's both hilarious and kind of sad that, since becoming a mother, I have seemed to age 40 years in just the span of, like, four. I'm a twenty-something going on 55, I swear.
You'll also spend a lot of time googling information about germs and poop and boogers, because kids are gross, yes, but you've got to soldier through the sticky to make sure that they're healthy.
You Think About The Future Way Too Much
Once you have kids, your future is about more than just you, and you spend your time thinking far beyond tomorrow or next week or next month. You'll want more for yourself and your family, and just getting through the day won't feel like enough anymore; not when you've got little lives that depend on you and your vigilant planning. Things like mortgages and school zones and day care ratings will suddenly take center stage on your list of priorities, and planning for the long term is a necessity when you're a mom.
You Might Even Panic About That Future
The future can be scary. Not knowing exactly what's going to happen, or if you're going to be able to provide for your family the way you want to, keeps a lot of parents awake at night. Things like saving for retirement or your kid's education, something that probably never crossed your mind before, will weigh heavily on you. Even if you're got a solid plan in place, it's still stressful to not be able to control every aspect of your life. It's a pretty understandable fear for all parents, regardless of age, but you must admit; it's comical when, in the span of a year, you go from being completely comfortable living paycheck-t0-paycheck, to setting up retirement plans and savings accounts.
Spending A Friday Night In Your Pajamas Actually Sounds Really Amazing.
Before you had kids, Friday nights didn't even get started until 10:00. After you became a mom? Yeah, staying in on a Friday night to binge watch your favorite show, and going to bed before 10:00, is as intense as your Friday night plans get. Weekend nights post-children are just as awesome as they were before you had kids, but with fewer hangovers and more elasticity in your waist bands.
You Suddenly Feel Old
Caring about things like foreign affairs and GMOs and investment portfolios has a way of making you feel old, even though all of those things are perfectly normal and important and relevant parts of any parent's life. Still though, that doesn't make growing up or getting older feel any less difficult. You might not feel as hip or as cool as you once did, but the feeling you get when you put a smile on your child's face completely trumps feeling old and uncool.