We all have read the articles prepping us for motherhood, our friends shared advice, words of wisdom were passed down from generations and we signed up for classes prepping us for what this whole “mother” title was going to entail. Yet, it happens with every mom, there is a day you realize it’s nothing like you imagined. Once you think you have figured out this little nugget, they change the game without warning!
My sister recently had a baby, and since moving home where many of my friends share the title mommy, I have found that there were many things we all seemed surprised and shocked by. My best friend shared her daughter peed so much on the floor she learned that diapers are the best way to soak a spill, and she will just replace the carpet after potty training. Or how another friend told me it may be another few years before my boobs lift back up, what?! I also now get calls from my sister on how I handled the title working mom. It amazed me how we all spent 9 month prepping for a practical exam to only realize we still had no clue what we were doing.
While each journey is different, I thought I would share my 10 Hidden Truths of Motherhood. Hopefully they inspire, enlighten and cause a giggle or two! I am thankful everyday that I am Harper’s mother, and can’t wait to add baby number two…just sort of a disclosure…
// Truth One //
From the minute you conceive EVERYONE has an opinion, and you know what they say about those right?!
It’s amazing how many people would give me advice when I became noticeable pregnant. The cashier at Whole Foods, my client at work, the person standing next to me in line for the bathroom, and it never stopped. Family members always feel entitled to share thier opinions, tell you what you should do, how they did it, how their friend did it, your cousin even.
Here is the glamorous part, you don’t have to listen to any of it. Do what you feel is best for you and your family. This is your time for your body and child. The perk is there are nuggets of gold in the pile of manure, but you make that decision.
// Truth Two //
Wait, now I really need some help!
The baby is here, but now what do I do?! This is a true story, about me. I took a three hour breast feeding class, I read books, watched nursing videos, and thought I would be a pro! Somehow in all of that no one told me about burping, really I thought it was for bottle-fed kids. Finally I called my mom crying from the hospital, my husband ran down the hall to get a nurse because the baby threw up. Her response, “you burped her right?” After a testy no, I asked her, and then the nurse, how. That’s how it goes, 3 am phone calls to doctors and moms, parenting discussions done at a whisper over a crib between exhausted parents, a frantic google searches…they happen.
I learned then sometimes you have to ask how to do something and swallow your big ‘ole know-it-all pride. Mommy support groups, Facebook chats, and even just saying “hey how did you handle this?” does wonders!
// Truth Two //
Your body doesn’t feel like yours, for a long time. For me? A year. Honestly. I felt like an alien feed-bag for the first few months. Your body is healing from a big event, and takes awhile to get back to working order. I feel like most new moms I talk to are surprised after that first three months end that they are still in leggings trying to figure out why their hair looks like that.
It take time to heal, it won’t happen overnight, but I promise it happens. The other great thing that happened is in getting to this re-found me I took bigger steps to a healthier me. Both mentally and physically.
// Truth Three //
You will feel so powerful. You brought a life into this world.
I suddenly felt so adult once I got my mojo back. Like I could pay a mortgage, pick our the right IRA, seduce a movie star and run a board room. I never felt more like throwing my fist in the air and saying “I am woman hear me roar!!” Then some days I felt like a crazy person, but the general feeling is of power, promise.
// Truth Four //
Your relationships will change, but some for the better.
You will lose touch with friends, you will see a shift with your partner, and your work relationships will change…but it’s okay. Part of the beauty of motherhood is you are embracing a life change. Friends that are tried and true are there, they care about the feedings, they will laugh at your giant new underwear with your while you pump and dump that rosé , and at work you now have the title working mom.
Don’t mourn the lose of that self, your new one still kicks butt! I wish I could offer a guide on these but I am still navigating it myself. I will say this, I have reconnected with some great friends, I have a new found respect for my husband, and I also realized I had some negative relationships not worth holding on to.
// Truth Five //
Your skin and hair are getting a makeover, you may love or hate it!
Luckily for me my skin did a 180 and became the skin I always wanted! I lucked out with pregnancy acne, even though I battled adult acne. The best push present, aside from baby, it stayed that way. My hair, took a longer trip south.
My hair is finally fully grown back, you get these whispy hairs that will drive you nuts, and I finally feel like it will be tamed! I tried 8 different shampoos postpartum to fight the limp dullness, finally I tried no-poo detox and I made it back to the other side! It still doesn’t dry quite the same, but hey it’s all good.
// Truth Six //
You will discover yourself, and be pretty amazed.
I never knew I could handle what I have handled the last two years. And what’s amazing is that I did it all with a smile. I realized that my stress was useless, I always worked it out, and found solutions. Why create a negative environment for my peanut when she is learning from my behavior.
That’s not to say I didn’t have 3am I can’t do this breakdowns, I did have plenty and they were warranted, but I got up each morning to hug my child.
Life always goes on whether we allow it to or not. Don’t miss the precious time you have with your baby bonding worrying about dinner, bills, or work. That’s for adult time.
// Truth Seven //
You will breakdown, you are not superwoman.
This was the toughest for me to really learn. It took 1.5 years, really. My sister, who has a four month old is learning this lesson now. She is currently on vacation with her family and had to be hospitalized for severe dehydration and vomiting. When the doctor asked what she had to drink that day, it was later in the evening, she said a cup of coffee, orange juice and a small glass of water…that’s it! She had been busy breastfeeding, tending to the baby, doing beach activities with the family, she hadn’t taken a minute to realize she needed to take care of her body. Luckily it wasn’t anything some IV fluids couldn’t cure, but the lesson was priceless. You can’t do it all. Which brings the next truth…
// Truth Eight //
You will need lots of help, embrace it.
The first few weeks of mommyhood I always responded ‘it’s great’, ‘we got this’, but really I wanted to pee without straining to hear cries, I wanted a nap SO BAD, I needed a big hug, but I felt some weird internal guilt. Finally I fell asleep while nursing, I woke up a second later and was horrified about the what-ifs. That morning I talked to my husband about what I needed from him, my mom came to visit, and when friends asked if I needed anything I said yes!
It really takes a village, it also makes a well-rounded child. Oh and there is the sanity!
// Truth Nine //
You will never know shame, ever.
You sniff butts in public, google poop colors, spread eagle for more people than you can count, sing in Target at the top of your lungs, leave the house in pajamas, forget common knowledge, you may pee after laughing at a baby fart, and you will most definitely get peed on. Remember to laugh at it, life should be fun.
// Truth Ten //
There will be dark days.
One month after Harper was born we had to rush her to the hospital for an overnight stay. My husband was almost sedated and I didn’t sleep for three days. Those are the days you become a parent. They will test you, make you stronger parents, and people. I am happy to report Harper was fine, we are fine, and I we are moving forward.
Some days your child will punch you in the nose, laugh, and you will think how can I love something and want to yell at someone so badly?! Those are a different dark, but still just as challenging.
They will happen, I don’t care what magic parent trick you have, they will. It’s how you react, and move on from those moments that matter. After the above mentioned punch, and a lesson on why we are nice with people (yes that was me getting socked by a two year old) I took a bath, lit my favorite candle and read a trashy magazine. It felt great, and I was able to let it go, no feelings of failure, but a funny parenting story to share at work!
Hopefully there was some use to what I mentioned above. There are so many more things I have learned from parenting that I book could never teach but I felt like a 100 hidden truths would be too hard to handle…also I need some sleep!