Emma is six months old. She’s my first kid and oh boy, did I feel unprepared. I occasionally look at her and think “How do you even exist?” This time last year, I was pregnant, but didn’t feel like a mother. And the year before that, having a baby was one of the furthest things from my mind.
As my first Mother's Day approaches, I've been thinking about motherhood and parenting, reflecting on the ways my life has changed, and one thing is abundantly clear: parenting is one big cliche. Every single one-liner and old saying about parenthood has turned out to be 100% correct.
Ten things stand out to me as being true about being a mother or parent, and are perhaps the ten things I would share with any new or expecting parent, fully knowing that what I am about to say is a cliche and probably not what they want to hear (I know I didn't)..
1. Nothing you can do will prepare you for what is coming
We watched the videos, we took the classes, we harassed friends and relatives for every single piece of advice they could offer. We thought we were prepared for what we were getting into. But we were not, and you won’t be either. Every single thing about becoming a parent for the first time is overwhelming; even the happy stuff. This isn't to say you shouldn't prepare, but you can only be so prepared.
2. Say “Goodbye” to all your time
I have realized every single thing I want or need to do takes twice as long or longer. Getting groceries? Plan for a blow out in the car on the way. Trying to eat your freshly baked chicken? Get ready to have it cold. Writing a blog on parenthood? It’s been two weeks and you’ve barely gotten started.
3. Your life is going to completely change forever
I’m not sure this one needs a lot of explaining. It's rather self-evident. Having to plan for an additional (helpless) person every time you attempt anything changes the way you approach your day. You just think about things differently after becoming a parent. So much is going to change, and it is not going to ever go back.
4. There is no tired like Mom-tired
My girl has never been the greatest sleeper. We’ve ever only gotten three nights with a full night sleep. Add in all the things you need to do for your child throughout the day along with everything else, and you wear out quickly.
5. Mom brain is a real and serious threat to your sanity
I think I’ve lost my keys more times in the last week than in my whole life up to this point. I frequently forget what I was doing or will enter a room forgetting why I needed to go in there in the first place. You have to remember and think about so many other things throughout the day that it’s hard to leave room for anything else.
6. Icky things like poop, pee, and boogers will stop bothering you
I’ve always been good with most icky things, but now I don’t bat an eye at any of it. You take the sneezes to your face and spit up to your shirt in stride, all while wiping the boogies with your sleeve. You just stop carrying about it.
7. Your kid is the coolest and the best kid
I love kids, and my friends or relatives kids are some of the best kids around. It’s always a joy to spend time with them and a privilege to get to watch them grow. But at the end of the day, I don’t love them nearly as much and am not nearly as enthralled in their milestones as I am about my own kid. And you know, I think they would agree about their kids. Our kids are the best kids.
8. They grow up so fast
Ah, the cliche-est of clichés. I’ve compared how big Emma is now to how she was when she was born. It was already impossible to believe she could ever have fit inside me, but now, it’s not even a possibility. All in a matter of six months she’s grown and achieved so much. She hasn’t been alive that long, but so much has changed. Blink, and you’ll miss it.
9. This is going to be the hardest thing you ever do
There have been so many sleepless nights, interrupted meetings, frustrated diaper changes… I have been overwhelmed beyond what I thought I could handle, and that’s even including all the help I have had. Looking back on my life and the challenges I have faced, they all pale in comparison to how challenging being a parent can be sometimes.
10. You wouldn’t change a thing
Despite all the negatives, this will be the best thing you do. My husband said that parenting is the only thing you do that makes your life worse in so many ways, and yet you wouldn’t go back on it even for a second. This is very true. You lose out on a lot (your time, a hot meal, your sanity…) but you gain so much more. And despite the stress and constant interruptions, I couldn’t imagine my life any other way.
Shout out to all the moms out there holding everything together. I feel you, more than ever. It takes a special person to do what we do. It is NOT easy. But when you think about your kid, it’s all worth it.