This is a list of all lists. A list like you’ve never seen before. A holy grail, if you will, of things that no new mother is ever warned about as she prepares for her journey into Motherhood.
Prepare yourself. Only the bravest of brave and the toughest of tough can handle this insane thing we call Motherhood. Continue reading with the utmost of caution; only if you dare.
Things No One Warned You About Motherhood #1: Labor War Stories
From the very first moment that you pee on that stick and the little pink line pops up, the universe unleashes the dogs of unsolicited advice on you. From that moment on, you will forever be inundated with advice on Motherhood. And now that your pregnant belly is out there in all it’s glory, every mother in the world feels that it’s time to share with you, what I refer to as, her “Labor War Story.”
Every mother has at least one. And let’s be honest. Brutally honest. Labor is bloody, it’s awful, it’s terrifying and it never goes as you planned it. And while we’re being honest, here’s another one for you. Mothers don’t share these Labor War Stories to make you feel any better about your upcoming delivery. Nope, this is a chance for every mom to recount the gory details of labor in some sort of weird, therapeutic way. Do you really want to hear, at your own baby shower, how Aunt Fanny almost lost her arm after getting a botched epidural? Or how Neighbor Nancy’s son’s shoulder got stuck in her birth canal after 36 hours of agonizing labor? Nope, you sure don’t. But, guess what? It’s inevitable you’ll hear about it throughout your pregnancy. As is the fact that you will one day be on the other side of the team regaling your own Labor War Stories to a terrified pregnant woman.
My advice? Take every story with a grain of salt. Every mother is different, every pregnancy is different and every labor is different. And that beautiful and perfect bundle of joy they place in your arms at the end of it? Absolutely worth it.
Things No One Warned You About Motherhood #2: Postpartum Hair Loss… And Regrowth
Maybe this is something you’re warned about or read about in your pregnancy books. But, when my third child turned 3 months I realized that this was one aspect of child bearing that I had either completely completely forgotten about or that no book could fully prepare me for. What does post partum hair loss look like? Hair. Hair everywhere. In every single corner of the house. Clogging up your shower drain. Sitting at the bottom of your bathroom sink. On your husband’s tooth brush. All down the back of your shirt. In your precious baby’s hands. In their mouth. And inevitably, yes, in their diapers. With the amounts of hair that you lose daily, you are sure that you will be completely bald by the time your baby turns 6 months.
And just when you think it can’t get any worse? The baby hairs. No, not the hairs on your baby’s head. Its the baby hair that you are now growing on your own head. In case you were wondering- those baby hairs? Good luck controlling them.
My advice? Invest in some new head bands and be prepared to vacuum daily.
Things No One Warned You About Motherhood #3: Laundry
This seems like it should be a no-brainer. Adding an extra person into your family obviously means that you inevitability will have more laundry. But, just how much more laundry could one little baby add to your load? As the due date of my third daughter was drawing closer and we had been making the final touches on her nursery, I decided it was time to sort through our newborn clothes to wash and organize them. A small feat, so I thought, that I could tackle in one afternoon. Two days later, it was still like a pink bomb of tiny, adorable clothes had exploded. It literally filled the entire nursery. It was at that moment that I stood back and realized what this mountain of clothes meant. This was my new reality. A new baby equaled more laundry. I was immediately overwhelmed, and the baby wasn’t even born yet.
Another thing that no one warns you about motherhood? Babies grow quickly and that means that once every three months you have to do an entire reorganization of their drawers and closets. “Who has time for that?” Whispers every mother in the world.
My advice? Sneak in moments of feeling grateful for all of those mountains of laundry that your family owns. And when in doubt, making memories with your children > doing laundry.
Things No One Warned You About Motherhood #4: You Become A Human Tissue
Sure, before your baby enters the world you’re prepared for diaper changes. You’ve been warned that your new job will most definitely entail wiping the behind of your baby for the next few years. But, what about the other stuff? I certainly don’t remember anyone ever talking about all of the other bodily fluids that you have to deal with.
Boogers, snot, pee, poop, vomit, spit up; you name it, and I’ve worn it. More times than I can count. The good news is, after time you become a bit numb to the fact that the ends of your hair might be a little crusty from baby spit up or that your toddler literally reaches for your shirt to wipe their nose- every single time. And that time that you were able to snatch up your three year old just in time to catch her throw up in your hands rather than the carpet? I count that as a definite mommy win.
My advice? I hate the saying that the days are long but the years are short because of the mom-guilt it brings out and ends up just sitting on the very bottom of my heart. But, I do know from my five short years of being a mother just how true that really is. So mama, stock up on the Lysol. Find the humor in the messes and remind yourself that each moment with our precious (albeit snotty-nosed) babies should be cherished.
Things No One Warned You About Motherhood #5: The Truth Behind The Tooth Fairy
When my five year old announced recently that she had a wiggly tooth, I went through all of the emotions. Sadness- how is my baby old enough to have a loose tooth? Anxiety- is it really a lose tooth or is something wrong and we need to go right away to the emergency dentist? And finally Excitement- I get to be a Tooth Fairy for the first time and make this into a wonderful memory for my daughter. So, I did what all mothers do; I immediately started to Pinterest tooth fairy ideas. As the days wore on and the tooth got wigglier and wigglier, I continued to scroll through the ridiculously crafty images of fairy doors and glitter covered dollars. In the end I gave up on any DIY dreams I had and settled on a really adorable, all-in-one kit from Amazon. I was prepared and ready for that tooth to pop out.
And then it happened, one night while my husband was giving the girls their baths and I was finishing up the dishes. “Her tooth fell out!” I hear from the bathroom, followed by lots of commotion. My heart nearly stopped, this was it! I ran into the room, my excited heart beating loudly in my ears. But, what I saw when I walked in was not anything I had been expecting. Instead of a beaming, toothless brown eyed beauty I found a panic stricken 5 year old, bloody mouthed and tears streaming down her face. “What’s wrong?” I ask. “My tooth fell out and I’m scared!” She replied. What was this? This was not the moment that I had prepared for and this definitely wasn’t in my Pinterest search between the fairy doors and glitter dollars. The rest of the night was spent consoling my daughter and attempting to deflect my four year old’s observations of “ew, gross, sissy.” By the time bed time rolled around my daughter was so worked up and anxiety-ridden, she was now insisting on sleeping some where other than her own bed so that the tooth fairy could not find her.
When I shared my story on Facebook, a number of my mom friends chimed in with their own tooth fairy horror stories. “Are you kidding me?” I thought to myself. I was in shock. I felt lied to; I felt betrayed. Where was the warning? Where was the heads up? Out of all of the unwanted, useless advice I’ve been given since becoming a mother not one person bothered to tell me the bloody truth behind losing a first tooth? Not even my own mother? So now, I’m making it a mission to tell the real truth about the tooth fairy. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows moms.
My advice? As with life, childhood experiences are not as Facebook-perfect as they may seem. Keep your chin up, mama and keep doing you. Your children love you for who you are and somewhere deep down, I’m convinced, that they know just how much of your very being you give to them every single day. And although they might not have all of the words to say thank you yet, one day they will and you’ll remind them that you wouldn’t have had it any other way.