Stepping into the realm of motherhood is exciting and terrifying, all at once. The minute you decide to become a mom, your mind is suddenly flooded with questions about what it’s going to actually be like. The reality is, there are things all moms wish they knew about motherhood; things we research relentlessly and read up on and ask questions about; things we'll never actually know, until we experience motherhood for ourselves.
While there are plenty of useful parenting books out there to prepare you (or at least give the illusion of preparation) and there’s plenty of parenting articles about what experienced moms think new moms need to know that could possibly, maybe, give you glimpse into your future, nothing teaches you about motherhood like, well, motherhood itself. You can read and research and ask every question under the sun but until you're actually parenting, you'll never truly know what it's like.
Still, it's worth looking back (because hindsight is 20/20) and attempting to pave the way for new mothers who are trying to prepare themselves as best as possible. And, in the end, sometimes it's best not to know because, well, where would the fun be in that? With that in mind, here are a few things every mom wishes she knew about motherhood, because at least (now that we've experienced these things for ourselves) we can call ourselves experts, right? I mean, that's how this works, correct? You know what? Don't answer that.
Making Pinterest Perfect Baby Projects Isn’t Necessary To Be An Awesome Mom
New moms put so much pressure on themselves. They want to be perfect, or know that they can play enriching games with their babies while also hand-making super healthy kid’s meals while also looking like they just stepped off the damn catwalk. It is killer. But guess what? You don’t have to be a Pinterest perfect mom. You'll still rock motherhood, so long as you do the best you can.
Your Kids Are More Resilient Than You Are
Infants roll off beds. Toddlers stick things up their nose. Kindergarteners jump off furniture. All kids get sick, repeatedly and especially once they start interacting with other kids. Moms-to-be often wonder if their baby will ever get hurt or sick (and they totally will). But guess what? Most of the time, your kid will be okay, and so will you.
Even Though It Gets Lonely Sometimes, Your Kid Will Still Totally Be Your BFF
The first few months of motherhood can be incredibly isolating, especially with all those hormones fluctuating and all that lack of sleep. Postpartum depression (an issue we all need to care about) can also rear its ugly head and create an even more isolating experience. Most moms probably wonder if these feelings will ever end, and almost always, the answer is a resounding, "Yes."
Your Real Friends Will Totally Be There When You’re Finally Ready To Hang
New moms often venture into the “mom club,” weary that they will have to give up the lives they used to lead. Does motherhood mean the end of your original circle of friends? What does having a baby do to your social life? Well, your real besties will be around (yes, even if they don't have kids) and understand that you can't always hit the bars at midnight. In fact, many of them will be excited to take part in your new, kid-friendly lifestyle via barbecues, bowling, and the latest family movie, like Finding Dory.
You’ll Make A New Set Of Parent Friends Who Will Be Cooler Than You Ever Imagined
I know I was scared that, upon having children, I would have to only hang out with "mom friends." The thought of joining my local mom groups didn’t really sound like much fun, and I was scared I would have to make friends with a bunch of moms I didn’t have anything in common with. How I wish I had known then what I know now. While I haven't made many new mom friends, I found I had more in common with some of my friends with kids that I hadn't realized before. These are now some of my favorite people to hang with.
Some Days Will Make You Want To Run For The Hills (But You Still Won’t)
Plenty of women have runaway mom fantasies. They're normal and very natural and are in no way indicitive of how much you care about your kid, however, the more I get to know my own son, the less I can ever imagine my life without him. There are challenging days, for sure, but usually I just do some yoga or go for a walk and all is right with the world.
You’ll Get Judged And, Eventually, You Won't Care
All moms try to do what’s best for their babies and their families and, of course, themselves. You will always run into folks who don’t think you’re making the right decisions, and that judgement and shame can take a toll. Eventually, you’ll develop a hard exoskeleton of IDGAF that will deflect everyone’s criticisms and, well, you’ll be all the better for it.
You’ll Have Some Unexpected Changes To Your Body That Go Beyond “Baby Fat”
There are just all sorts of random changes that have happened, will happen and, I'm sure, are meant to continue to happen. I know many moms who just can’t process alcohol the same way after they've had kids. Some women maintain their sensitivity to smells long after their kid is born. We all react differently, and it’s good to be mentally prepared for all of the above (and, perhaps, even more).
You Don’t Really Need A Whole Lot Of Sleep To Still Function (And, Eventually, You'll Get To Sleep Again)
My son slept through the night from 5-10 months, then regressed. Then we co-slept so he wouldn't wake-up anymore (but that meant little-to-no sleep for me, as I got kicked and slapped and elbowed by tiny limbs). He has finally (voluntarily) returned to his crib. I still don’t sleep enough, but it’s getting better. I hear you sort of sleep from ages 8-13, but then stop the minute they or their friends have a car.
Playing With Your Kids Is Actually Hella Fun
Sure, when your life is about road trips with friends or going to concerts, you wonder how the hell you'll ever have fun as a mom. But trust me, there's lots of fun to be had. Building blocks are a blast; Toy cars (especially on ramps) are loads of fun; Tea parties and picnics are great; Bubbles are the best. Then, of course, there's the fact that you finally get to go to playgrounds (both indoor and outdoor ones!) and other kid-only spaces without people thinking you're creepy! It's a pretty sweet gig.
Changing Diapers Isn’t As Awful As You’d Imagine
I was seriously dreading diaper changes when I was pregnant. I thought it would be the most vile, repulsive thing ever (this from a girl who used to drink vodka straight). Once my son was born, it honestly (almost) felt like an honor to change his diapers (at least in those first few days in the NICU). I never thought I'd be so excited about poop! Eventually, he started solids and the poops got a bit well, heavier and smellier, but it's honestly not that bad.
Your Little One Will Become Independent Sooner Than You Think (And It’ll Be Bittersweet)
Every kid is different. My son was running before he turned one, but he's still hesitant to consistently feed himself. I know it’ll happen with time. Keep that in mind in your first few years, especially when you get frustrated at having someone depend on you for everything. Eventually, you’ll miss having to do everything for them.
Your Kid Will Make Your Heart Grow Three Sizes Every Time They Reach A Milestone
Your heart will grow three sizes the minute your baby is born. Your heart will grow three sizes the first time you see them smile. Your heart will grow three sizes when they take their first steps. Your heart will grow three sizes when your baby finally says, “I love you.” Your heart will grow three sizes when they hug you, just because. Your heart will grow three sizes pretty much every time you watch them fall asleep, especially when they’re a toddler. Every part, even the bad ones, will be the best parts.