The other day I was rocking my sweet baby boy in my favorite chair while my husband put our older daughter to bed. My son repeatedly tried to pull my hair and shove his little fingers in my mouth and it took me by surprise how I wasn’t bothered by it. I looked down at him to smile and he made eye contact and giggled right at me while he moved his fingers to his own mouth and started to fall asleep. As irritated as I was that I just wanted bedtime to.be.over.already, I was taken back by the patience I seemed to have (sure, said patience ran out about an hour later when he still wasn’t asleep, but I’m going to focus on the positive).
I started reflecting on all the things I have learned being a mom, from changing diapers to trying to calm toddler tantrums. I started thinking about the things that have happened that I had no clue would happen and I realized there are so many things nobody told me about being a mom. I’m sure some of these were unknown due to the fact that I am an only child in a very small family but it seems like for everything I was told about motherhood, there were about 10 other things that went unsaid.
- No one told me that the baby wouldn’t be the only one going home in diapers (oh, that mesh underwear!).
- No one told me I would need to walk away. Literally just walk away. Put the baby down in a safe place, close the door, and walk away until I knew in my mommy heart that I was composed enough to return in a safe state of mind.
- No one told me about postpartum depression. “Baby Blues” weren’t even mentioned until after I had given birth and the reality of PPD was a foreign concept. Imagine my surprise when it snuck up, silent, out of nowhere, and I endlessly worried what was wrong with me and why I cried at the thought of nursing my baby…again.
- No one told me how incredibly isolating and lonely motherhood can be.
- No one told me I actually might hang on to some baby weight while I was breastfeeding. Learning to love the new mom-bod wasn’t exactly easy when all I had heard was how amazing breastfeeding was and how the pounds just melt off.
- No one told me my mothering instincts might not kick in immediately; that it might take a little while to bond with my baby. I never in a million years imagined looking at my beautiful baby and not feeling connected. She had lived and grown inside of me for 9 months, I felt like a monster for not instinctively knowing what to do or how to love her.
- No one told me that every single negative news story about a car crash, drowning, bullying, or missing child would result in instant “what if that was my child” thoughts. I stopped watching the news.
- No one told me about the mommy wars and how judgmental other moms were…that learning to be confident in my mothering skills might end up taking a really long time and even then, I’d often question what the right decision was.
- No one told me that being pregnant with a second child would result in an immediate, “What the hell did I just do?” when the realization that you don’t think you can love another child as much hits you. Spoiler alert: you can.
- No one told me the joy of car naps and coffee.
- No one told me there was no sweeter sight (or sound!) than a sleeping baby. Or the fat little wrists that are so chubby it looks like they have a tight rubber band around them. Or those toes…those sweet little baby feet! No one told me that my camera roll would triple in size over the course of a couple days and my phone would need an upgrade to have enough storage for all the memories I wanted to capture.
- No one told me the transformation from husband to father would be so magical to watch. I knew I loved my husband, but seeing him change from the husband role to that of father was more beautiful than I could ever imagine. Some changes were subtle, others not so much; while his outward appearance was the same, I watched him, the person he was, change as the love for his children took over his heart.
- No one told me the woman I once was would be gone – or how important it would be to foster and support the new me, the mother, while also acknowledging that I was still an individual outside of that. More importantly, I had no idea how incredibly hard that would be.
- No one told me that I would love so much it hurts, physically and emotionally. That emotions could be SO big. Motherhood means your days are now full of little things that seem so insignificant to the more important things that seem to be worthy of the earth spinning off its axis…and you feel every single one down to your bones. Yet no matter how weary you are by the end of the day, everything in the world sleeps down the hall and you cry because you want to be the best you can for them.
- No one told me about the village that could come in the form of online mommy groups. While long time friends and in-person play dates are amazing, I have made some of the best ‘mom’ friends over the internet. Real, true, let’s travel and meet each other, text or FaceTime every day, cry when you’re sad, and celebrate when you’re happy friendships. The support and insight they have provided over the last 4 years cannot be put into words. Some of the best women I know exist in one very special Facebook group and I would be lucky to meet them all one day.
- No one told me that I’d see, understand, and treasure my own mother in a whole new light. You hear the stories from your own mom growing up but until you go through it yourself, until you’re thrown into the sleep-deprived and emotional warfare that is motherhood, you don’t know how much your mom loves you. I get it now.
- No one told me the sight of your children playing together and the sound of them laughing together would be one of the best sounds you could hear around the house. Second only to the sound of the wine opener breaking into a fresh bottle or a container of ice cream being opened after bedtime. (Kidding! Kind of.)
- Lastly, no one told me how motherhood is the hardest thing I’d ever do and that I would love it more than anything else. I cannot imagine life without my two sweet children, no matter how rough some of the waters were to get here.
Do you have any of your own “no one told me” thoughts to add to the list? Let me know in the comments below!