When you find yourself pregnant and share the exciting news with the world, friends and family will fawn over you and your upcoming addition. They will start guessing boy or girl. They will ask about nursery themes and names. Advice, both solicited and unsolicited, will be shared. You’ll hear your share of labor stories – the good, the bad and the ugly.
People will tell you that you won’t sleep. They’ll tell you about how much laundry you’ll need to do. But they will also reassure you that you will love this child with a love deeper than you ever thought possible.
All of this is true.
What they won’t tell you is:
- Your Mama reflexes will kick in and you will instinctively catch puke in your hands at least once without thinking twice about it.
- The first time your child’s heart breaks over something like being excluded from a group of friends is just as heartbreaking for you. And that you’ll want to do everything to fix it.
- More socks will go missing than you ever thought possible. (Honestly, WHERE do they go?)
- When the entire family is sick with the stomach bug and you’re all taking turns in the bathroom, you still need to be their Mom and Dad. A gross, zombie-like Mom and Dad – but you don’t get sick days.
- You will be prouder of your children’s accomplishments than you’ll ever be of your own.
- Every child is their own person, even if they are siblings. They can be alike and yet so very different. Books don’t prepare you for this. You will find a way to mold your parenting style to fit each child individually, yet also your family as a whole.
- A call from the school office in the middle of a workday will never ever fail to make your heart drop.
- Your child will catch you unprepared by asking a deep, existential question about life when you are already running late for school.
- Some days are hard. Really hard. You’ll question yourself. You’ll wonder what you are doing wrong. You’ll think to yourself “maybe I am not cut out for this.” But you’ll rise up. You will meet the challenge. You will learn that one bad day does not make you a bad mom.
- Poop concern is a real thing. How much? How often? What does it look like? Yes, poop is a part of your life now. And don’t fool your self: poop concern extends beyond the diaper period depending on the child!
- While you can’t imagine it now, your beautifully adorable baby – the one that coos when you make silly noises and faces at them – will one day grow up and throw you some serious attitude. But remember, Mama, you went through that phase too.
One day, you might be parenting during a global pandemic. Your world, and theirs will turn upside down. Masks and frequent handwashing will become a way of life and school as they know it will change. Your heart will break when they ask you when this will be over and you don’t have an answer. No one has answers. Heck you will discover you don’t have the answers for third grade math problems. But, you will learn how you handle it will affect how they handle it.
This list isn’t exhaustive, not by any means. What were you most surprised by when you became a parent?