In honor of Mother’s Day yesterday, I wanted to take a moment to wish all my Mom-friends, Mom-readers, and single Dads a very happy belated Mother’s Day. Something that stuck out to me yesterday as I lounged on my couch drinking wine, was just how many things I never realized until I had kids.
They have been my greatest blessing and the biggest pain in the ass all rolled up into one messy, lovable, sticky, Eskimo-kissed bundle. But what would this blog be for, if I didn’t share those immediate truths I’ve discovered about my own journey into motherhood?!
#1 Peeing will never be the same – neither will “holding it in”.
Remember when you used to be able to go to the bathroom, do your business, spend a little time primping, take deep breaths in peace? Me neither. Bathroom trips with kids, is like a race to the finish line. How fast can I pee, wash my hands, and get back out before they break something? As for “holding it in” – hahahahah – ah good luck with that. I don’t believe I knew what a pelvic floor was before having kids. Apparently I no longer have one, to recall what it was like prior to…
#2 Your car instantly transforms into a minivan.
I always joked about being a soccer mom when I would have to borrow my mom’s minivan to get to school. That is now a reality. Believe me, it’s not the car I wanted growing up, but I would be lying if I didn’t walk into that dealership and ASK for a minivan. Straight-faced, and I didn’t even stutter when I did it. But it’s got leather seats, doors that open with the touch of a button, an entertainment system, and I look cool AF when I drive down the street with my sunroof open, windows down, blasting the Moana soundtrack (yes I sing along too). Deal with it.
#3 You develop your Mom-voice.
Remember that ice cold, semi-threatening voice your Mom used to use on you? The one that instantly made your butt cheeks tighten up and you froze in place because you worried that if you move, she would lose all sense of right and wrong, and transform into some wild Amazonian woman with impeccable strength and will-power. The one that when she told you to “go to your room” you tucked tail and ran so you didn’t see her transformation into the beast. You know the voice I’m talking about. Apparently that is an inherent trait. As soon as that baby pops out of your vagina, you can suddenly access this amazing super power. Use sparingly however, because soon enough they learn that you are in fact, all bark and no bite.
#4 Brushing teeth is equivalent to wrestling a bag of snakes.
Not going to happen. The minute you take the tooth brush out they decide then and there that a game of hide and seek is in order. Ever tried to brush a toddlers teeth while they run full speed down a hallway? Short of tripping them to get them to stop, it’s a bit like wrestling a bag of snakes. You will not win. I have almost resorting to brushing their teeth while they’re asleep! When they get a bit older and have mastered the art of (almost) standing still, then you have to deal with them talking at you while you try to help. Just think of it as a mid-morning facial. Minty, with only a slight sting when it gets in your eye.
#5 Whine for days…. oops I meant wine.
I distinctly recall my mother telling me all the time to ‘stop whining’. But COME ON! I had no idea just how annoying I was until now. My own kids are experts at this technique and while I have gotten pretty good at tuning it out, there have been days where it’s tested every bit of self-restraint I had.
PRO-TIP: wine helps.
#6 Sleep will come unexpectedly, but almost never at night.
Had I known how many sleepless night were ahead of me, I would’ve taken every opportunity to sleep in and/or nap before having kids. I miss sleep. It’s like an old friend that I never get to see. I remember how it feels, but it’s not around any more. When it does come it’s never at a convenient time. It’s in the middle of the movie theater, it’s at work while you stare into the computer, it’s during your kid’s recital… Nights are now reserved for worrying and overthinking. I have a feeling that’s not something that ever goes away.
#7 Toddlers are harbingers of truth.
If you truly want to know how you look in something, want to know what someone else said, or need a pep-talk, just ask your toddler. My kids never had any trouble at all telling me I was getting fat, that I need to brush my teeth in the morning, that I should ‘probably not dance like that’, that I am pretty, that I ‘sing good’, or that I am strong. Also, don’t bother sharing anything with them that you don’t want others to know. They repeat all the things. Especially the bad words.
#8 Suddenly you become an expert at packing.
I’m not just talking about packing a suitcase… I’m talking about packing EVERYTHING. Any parent will tell you that when you first have kids, there’s no way you can leave the house without bringing everything you own. You never know when you’ll need it! Especially after the first. Granted, by the third it’s more a game of how-little-can-I-bring-and-still-be-safe, but still definitely a skill you never forget. To this day I cannot take a weekend trip without bringing everything I own!
#9 You’ll have a new-found relationship with caffeine.
I never was much of a coffee drinker until after I had my first child. Suddenly it was like finding my soulmate all over again. It has become a shining beacon of light during my early mornings. A glimpse into a hopeful future, in my afternoons. “First I drink the coffee, then I do the things”.
#10 Modesty has no place in your life.
Recall those shy days in the girls locker room in junior high? Everyone was forced to shower in front of one another for the first time in their lives. It was embarrassing having to be so exposed in front of someone I’d only first met an hour before. I remember trying to keep my towel on and wipe down the important parts, and pray to God I didn’t stink for the rest of the day. Prepare yourself. There is no room for that kind of BS anymore. Shortly after learning you’re pregnant, you will instantly be forced to become comfortable with flashing your vagina to any and all – without a second thought. Once the baby is home with you, you will not be able to find a hiding place good enough to be able to change in peace, unless you enjoy dressing in dark linen closets or just getting dressed after your kids go to bed – sleeping in the clothes you intend to wear the next day does sound like a great way to make mornings go smoother, now that I think about it. Find a room with a light and a lock on the door, unless you enjoy surprise entrances while your arms are tangled up above your head as you try to put your shirt on for the day.
#11 There is a new-found comfort level with another’s bodily functions.
Ever caught poop with your bare hands? I wish I could say no to that. Nothing like fishing for poop in a bubble bath. Most Moms I know can boast to catching vomit, being peed on, carrying a poop covered child to the bath, ‘poop-fishing’, wiping snot with their bare hands, picking their child’s nose for them. The list is endless, and most of us do it without a second thought.
#12 Dad jokes are not just for Dads… and they are HILARIOUS.
My kids and I love to joke and tease one another. Even my children tell us “dad jokes”. We’ve gone so far as to have a battle to see who could come up with the best ones. Use them. Often. The results are usually hilarious, and if you record it please share with me! I need some new ones!
#13 Me-time is sacred.
Those few moments you get all to yourself are like a heaven on earth some times. Don’t ever apologize to anyone for taking a moment to regroup, re-calibrate, or refocus. Take a long hot bath, go get your haircut, get your nails done – whatever it is that makes you feel like a human being again. Once that time is up you can go back to mom-mode. Never forget about yourself. Also, just a side note, coming out of the bathroom with a mask on is a great way to scare the crap out of your kids. My oldest was sure my skin was peeling off. I told him it must have been because the water was too hot! His horrified look was enough to almost make me pee myself (reference #1 above).
#14 You never realized how many other people had kids until now.
I have never had so many birthday party invites, until after having kids. At one point it was like every weekend, and in one case, more than one in the same day. Having kids is like joining a club that you never knew existed. Suddenly you have a group of people that instantly understand and sympathize with what you’re going through. We share solicited AND unsolicited advice, almost daily. Most parents can communicate almost telepathically – they just give a look and a nod, and it says, “Yes Karen, I know exactly how you feel. It’s completely within reason for you to bring your kid to the park in mismatched shoes, a t-shirt that’s two sizes too small, and pants that are too big. I’ve been there. The fight wasn’t worth it and he’s having a blast playing with the other kids.”
#15 Homework isn’t what it used to be.
Remember math homework? HAHAHA – No you don’t. Thanks to Common Core, they’ve introduced so many new ways to do the same problem we learned to do (only one way I might add). While it’s great for the kids, it’s not so great for parents. Good luck learning what lattice addition is folks.
Being a Mom has been the most fantastic, the most sacred, the most amazing and rewarding job I could have ever asked for. It has also been the scariest and most trying position I’ve held to date. They seem so fragile when you bring them home. You can stare at them for hours just watching the magic you created that brought them to life. Then they start to grow, and you want nothing more than to curl up beside them and place their head on your shoulder just to feel that warmth and love just a little bit longer. Before we know it, they are testing their independence and fighting to be free of us, if only for a little while. No matter what stage you are at, know that children are a blessing. As a parent, you will never do anything more important than simply that: being a parent/parenting. You are their first love, their most important role-models… and in most cases, they are ours as well.
Happy Mother’s Day.