I've always wanted to be a mom. My partner and I spent five years trying to have a baby before moving to Texas, from out of the country, to adopt. Needless to say, I had ample time to think about what kind of parent I would be. I also had ample time to judge my friends and family on their parenting styles, then pick and choose what I would be as a parent. But even though I had all those examples, motherhood isn't how I imagined. So trust me when I say, there are ways you're definitely not the parent you thought you'd be, and that's OK. Because if your babies are anything like mine, they're far more incredible than you ever could have imagined, too.
My husband and I joke that the only thing we knew before we had kids was that they were going to be sleep trained. Ha! We also gleaned a few other parenting choices by watching our friends and family figure their own kids out. We made bold declarations about continuing to travel and leaving our kids with grandparents. Turns out, after two kids traveling is absolutely not a priority for either one of us right now.
I do think it's really fun to look back and analyze what you thought life as a parent would be like versus the life you're actually living. Sort of like how I wanted to be an artist in grade school and now I'm a writer. Or I wanted to live in Maine forever and here I am, in Texas after living eight years in Ireland. Evolving is, truly, par for the parenting course. So with that in mind, here are just a few ways you're probably a far different mother than you thought you'd be. Hey, at least you know you're not alone, right?
You Feed Your Kid Sugar... Often
I definitely thought I would be the kind of parent who wouldn't feed their kid sugar (except on their birthday, because I'm not a monster). That was the case, too, until my daughter turned 1. Yeah, after I had a 1-year-old i the house that "plan" went out the window.
I actually survive on sugar, and my daughter's reaction to sweets is excruciatingly cute. I've never seen such genuine enthusiasm for a pack of mints so, yeah, she eats candy.
You're Sillier Than You've Ever Been
I love that my kids bring out a silly side of me that I really didn't have before. I've always been the un-fun aunt; the one who would do crafts but probably wouldn't be that goofy. In fact, I usually tell people I just don't have a great sense of humor and, as a result, don't find typically funny things all that funny. Physical comedy makes me cringe and I really hate potty humor.
But my daughter brings out a silly side of me and, well, that makes me proud.
You Don't Actually Need Sleep
I've always been the kind of person who needs eight hours of sleep, every single night, if I'm going to function the next day. Enjoying more than eight hours is great, but any less than eight and I'm a disaster. But since having kids I can run on adrenaline or coffee or peppermint patties instead of eight hours of sleep.
Kids truly do change you, my friend.
You're Outrageously Proud
I definitely thought I would be a "cool mom" who didn't brag or talk about her kid all the time. Ha. I am outrageously and outspokenly proud of my kids and sometimes I have a significantly hard time shutting up about them. I just want to tell the entire world how wonderful and great and smart and kind and strong they are.
You Do, Actually, Get Frustrated
As a parent I get much more frustrated than I ever have in my life. I get frustrated when my kids don't sleep when they're supposed to and I can't figure out how to help them get there, and sometimes I get frustrated when I haven't left the house by myself in days. I remind myself of two things when this happens: my children are not robots and can't do everything perfectly on schedule, and this, too, shall pass.
Still, I don't think any parent goes into parenthood acutely aware of how frustrating it will be. In fact, I think we've all looked at other frustrated parents and told ourselves, "No way that will be me." That's the lie that allows the human species to carry on, my friends.
You Put Up With Way More Gunk
The goo and gunk that comes with kids is definitely my least favorite thing about being a parent. Before I became a mother I knew I couldn't handle it, and to some extent I still can't. Still, my threshold for goo is actually quite a bit higher than I thought it could ever be. Slimed banana down my leg? Whatever. Crushed and half-eaten Cheerios in every crease of the car seat? We'll vacuum it next year. You haven't had a bath all week? Sure, if you don't smell, you're good to go.
You Do Very Little Research
I think my parenting knowledge has mostly come to me by osmosis. Thank goodness I write about parenting or I wouldn't know have the stuff I do about babies and kids!
I kid, sort of, but I also know that in my past life I would have read books and researched online and now I type four words into Google, scan the headlines, and call it good.
You Want To Parent Your Own Way
Before I became a mom, I thought I wanted to do everything exactly how my mom had raised my siblings and I. Somewhere along the way, perhaps when my partner and I took a turn toward adoption and started a pretty non-traditional family, I started really wanting to pave my own path. I still do lots of things the way my own mom did, but I make a lot of parenting choices that are different. I'm OK with that, and if you do the same you should know that it's OK, too. In the end, we're never the parents we thought we'd be, we're the parents our children need us to be.
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