Years ago, right before the birth of my oldest, I started to read parenting books. Night after night I skimmed through pages that promised to show me all the major milestones, pitfalls, and joys of parenting. At the end of the nine months, I should have been an expert. Then it happened……She was born. I quickly learned that I was inadequately prepared for this parenting gig. Honestly, I have problems keeping plants alive. So in order to better prepare other parents, let me tell you what I have REALLY learned from motherhood.
1). The hospital sleep schedule is not the real sleep schedule.
Both of my girls were very sound sleepers in the hospital. We even had to wake them up to eat! Dear husband and I were so sure that we had it made. We even fell for that trick the second time around. Then we brought them home, and BAM, they decide that 3AM is party time. My oldest didn’t sleep through the night until she was four. That’s right, I said FOUR!
2). You suddenly become a poop expert.
Before we became parents the hubby and I made fun of other parents for this. I mean have you ever noticed how much new parents discuss poo? The texture, the color, the amount…..it’s like a never-ending topic with them. Three months in we turned to each other, with that sleepy look in our eyes, to have yet another bowel conversation. Shock and horror registered on both our faces when we realized that we were indeed the “parents who talked about poo.”
3). You will go out looking like “that.”
I can clearly remember thinking that I would never wear the “mom hair,” or the “mom shorts.” I would be the mom who had it ALL together. Yeah right. I graduated straight into mom jeans, and I’m rockin them.
4). Crust-less sandwiches are the “in” thing.
This one drives my husband crazy. He says, “It’s just the outside of the bread” at least twice a day. I, however, choose my battles. The crust is not a fight I’m willing to take up at this point in my life. I grab the knife when I grab the bread.
5). Palates are ever-changing.
Never, ever, ever assume that just because green beans were the “in” thing yesterday that they will be hip today. The same thing goes for basically every other food except mac-n-cheese. It doesn’t matter if you have prepared a culinary feast, fit for a queen, something will not be tolerated. Unless it’s mac-n-cheese of course. I will let you know when this stops.
6). Grandparents are magicians.
They can coax out a burp, stop the tears, and calm a tantrum. They also know how to magically disappear before the 8:00 colic screaming session starts.
7). The way your socks line up is a big deal.
The line goes right across the toe people. The sooner you learn this the better off you will be. If you are not ready to accept the sock challenge, don’t contemplate motherhood.
8). Stuffed animals will take over your house.
They are furry and cute until you get 100 of them. Then they become annoying. They all have names, and if you think you can smuggle them to the Goodwill like illegal cargo, think again. It may not be today, and it may not be tomorrow, but someday it will be noticed that “Pookey” is missing. An onslaught of tears will ensue. The Grandparent Magicians will smuggle in heaps of them. No room will be safe. It will be best if you learn how to sew on eyes and fix ripped seams before you give birth. You are about to have a full-time job as a seamstress.
9). Boo Boos are NOT necessary to need a band-aid.
I mean honestly, these things are a flat-out fashion statement. Be sure to buy them in bulk. They come in all kinds of extra cute characters and colors. Adorable huh? Yeah, let’s see how you feel about them when you are scraping them off every item in your house. Band-aids…..They multiply when we aren’t looking.
10). Bedtime = workout time
For you that is. You will do at least of 10 laps around your house every night. Let me help prepare you for this. Here is my plan of attack:
- Prepare yourself before you enter the room. At a minimum, bring a cheese stick, a drink of water, a tissue, and an extra blanket. Bonus points if you also add in a nightlight.
- Immediately check under the bed, in the closet, and start the lullabies.
- Sometimes bedtime prayers need to be said twice, don’t question this. Just roll with it.
- Turn the light off, on, then back off, then turn on the hallway light. In the end, it will be decided that all lights will be left off, but a nightlight will be installed. You have that already because you are a super prepared mom.
- Walk approximately two feet away from the door……..Wait for it……..Yeah, now you have to go back.
- Repeat three times.
- Pray for patience.
Please don’t hold me accountable for not covering every possible bedtime scenario. I’m only human. More than likely this plan of attack will fail. If not the first night, then definitely the second.
11). Motherhood will change you.
This is the absolute truest of truths. Your life changes the instant you become a mom. You will become a sleep-deprived zombie who discusses poo all day long. Things that used to seem important suddenly aren’t anymore. Guess what? You won’t care. At the end of the day, there’s always time for an “I Love You Mom” snuggle. Motherhood will mold you, bend you, and test your limits in ways that you never imagined, but it will ALWAYS be worth the effort. At the end of every day, you will stand amazed that God granted you the gift of being a mother.
How about you? What are some of your top tips for new mothers?