I'm not the kind of person who desperately wanted to be a mom from the time she was 10 years old. However, I am the kind of person who desperately wanted to be a mom from the time she was 27 years old, and when I became a mom after suffering through fives years of infertility, I thought I had a pretty good understanding of what it meant to be a mother. Turns out, there were so many things that actually surprised me about mom life that I was not, in any way, shape, or form, expecting.
When my partner and I met my daughter in the NICU when she was just 3 days old, I wasn't surprised that I instantly felt like she was my daughter and that I instantly loved her. That immediate connection felt completely and totally natural. What did surprise me, however, was the feeling of sheer panic that came when my partner and I had to leave her in the hospital that night. I wasn't at all prepared for feeling as though a piece of my body was walking around outside myself. It felt like I was missing a limb, and I had only known my daughter even existed for six hours. Perhaps that's a feeling you can only understand when you're in the thick of it, as I'm not sure any amount of explanation from other veteran moms could possibly explain it.
Mom life is full of wonderful and difficult surprises, and I'm so glad I've had the incredible opportunity to experience the whole range of them as my daughter's mom. In other words, if you're a brand spankin' new parent and you have no idea what you're doing, consider it a blessing. These surprises are more than worth that confusion.
How Painful Watching A Tantrum Can Be
Seeing my daughter so visibly upset shocks me every time. I never knew I would feel it so viscerally, and it takes every fiber of my being not to try everything in my power to fix it instantly. In those moment, when I know my daughter needs to work out her frustration on her own, my brain flashes forward to the next 20 years of wanting to fix everything for her and having to hold myself back.
How Much Talking I Do As A Mom
I talk so damn much all day long. I talk more than I clean or change diapers or sooth my daughter, and that constantly communication wears me out. Even before my daughter started making any sort of noises that remotely sounded like actual words, I was exhausted from hearing my own voice all day long. There's so much explaining, so much singing, and so many questions I have to answer. Ugh.
How Fun It Is To Dress My Daughter Up
I didn't think I was going to be that mom who had her daughter dressed to the nines for every occasion, but I am and I can't even help myself. I'm that mom who sticks a bow in her daughter's hair whenever we leave the house. I never, ever thought I would be that mom, but I totally am.
How Heartbreaking It Is When My Daughter Reaches A Milestone
Before I became a mom, I didn't realize how hard it would be to actually watch my daughter grow up. I mean, that's the whole idea, right? That's the goal, to teach your child lessons and help them flourish into the person they're supposed to be. But, still, it's so heartbreaking to watch my daughter gain more and more independence with every new milestone she surpasses.
How Magical My Daughter Can Be
Literally everything my daughter does is magic. Well, not the tantrums, although sometimes even those are impressive! However, every holiday and new situation is magical to watch my daughter experience.
How Overrated Solid Food Is
If I could feed my daughter bottles of formula until she's 10 years old, I would be all for it. The amount of goo I wipe up, and the amount of times my partner and I are forced to mop the floor each week, is utterly ridiculous. Every day I'm grateful we just happen to have polished concrete floors that hide nearly everything (except the sticky feeling with bare feet).
How Impossible It Is To Delete Photos
Just about every afternoon, my daughter and I head to the park. I take a handful of photos (OK, more like 15) and send one to my husband before he walks over from the gym to meet us and play before we head home together. Every night I look through those 15 photos and try to delete the ones that aren't "good," and every night I end up with 15 photos still sitting on my phone.
How Little I Actually Cry
Maybe it's because I physically don't have the time to get worked up, but I cry much less than I used to before I became a mom. I thought I'd probably be equally emotional, if not more so, simply because I'd be so much more tired. Honestly though, I think there's a point at which you're so tired you don't have the energy to waste on crying, or you're so used to being tough for your kid that leaking from your eyeballs isn't your first response anymore.
How Much Of A Workout Motherhood Can Be
My 19-month-old daughter has only just cracked 20 pounds, so I can't really complain about lugging her tiny self around. But man, constantly carrying, picking up, and holding her in weird positions (so she can stir the brownie batter) is a much bigger workout than I ever imagined.