A Dozen (or so) (Somewhat) Shocking Revelations About Motherhood
Nothing really prepares you for becoming a mother. Sure, people tell you what to expect, but until you actually have a kid or two, their words mean nothing. Needles in your spine? Dignity lost on the delivery table? After hearing everyone’s labor and delivery nightmare stories, you think that nothing else will shock you.
The only thing that prepares you for motherhood is becoming a mother. And then you can have your own shocking realizations.
14 Things to Know About Being a Mom
1. You will be lonely. Motherhood is very isolating. Even when I had several kids I described my life as being lonely in a crowd. Now that my kids are older I have moved past this stage, but I still think it is one of those things mothers don’t talk about much. Somehow it is taboo to admit that your baby doesn’t fulfill every last desire that you have.
2. Your body will never be the same. I’m not sure why this one shocked me so much. Maybe because the magazines and TV are filled with celebrities who seem to look better at 2 weeks postpartum than before they had children. I was lucky enough not to get stretch marks, but I never looked the same. Some clothes didn’t quite fit right. And my last child gave me the gift of loose skin and now basically my stomach looks like the face of a Shar-Pei. I sometimes fantasize about surgeries I might be required to have where I could have a tummy tuck done at the same time. What organ could I live without? A spleen? A slow rupturing appendix? It would have to be something which would allow me time to consult with a plastic surgeon.
3. Every last corner of your home will be taken over with child stuff. It is amazing how one tiny baby can generate so much clutter. I consider myself something of a minimalist and still I felt like my home was being over run — first the swing, bouncy seats, garishly colored toys and later bins of Legos, toy swords, and play kitchens.
4. You will be tired. When people told me about sleep deprivation before I had my first child, I brushed them off with a wave of my hand. Oh I went to grad school. I pulled all-nighters frequently. I know all about tired. You know what I discovered? It is actually NOTHING AT ALL like grad school. So in short, yes, you will be tiiiiiiiiired. Don’t worry this will only last 18 years or so. Unless you have more than one kid. Then you can just forget about it.
5. You will lose most of your brain function. I just sat here typing this while watching Dora the Explorer on TV. I am home alone. My baby is almost 6. That’s years. I have considered having my college transcript framed so that my children will realize that once upon a time I had a functioning brain. I wasn’t always the babbling idiot who goes through half a dozen names before settling on, “You, you right there!”
6. You will feel differently about how you were raised. Once you become the mom, you will think back to your own childhood with a renewed compassion for your own parents.
7. It doesn’t get easier — it gets different. As the years pass it becomes less physically demanding. My teenagers rarely insist that I carry them around anymore, but the exhaustion remains.
8. You’re never really able to stop worrying. The protective instinct you feel toward your baby from the second it emerges from your body does not dissipate as they get older. In some ways it grows stronger the more you have to let them go. The surprising part is that you are even able to let them go.
9. It’s not all sunshine and skipping though the daisies. You won’t always like your child, nor will you like your children equally all the time. It’s okay to feel that way occasionally. There is nothing wrong with you. Just, you know, keep it to yourself.
10. You will second guess your decision to become a mom. There will be days that you will wonder, really wonder, why you wanted to have kids so badly in the first place.
11. But only sometimes. The rest of the days, the vast majority of them, you will realize that you love these people you created more than anyone in the world — more than you could ever have imagined — with a love so consuming it takes your breath away.
12. You will have a chance to experience childhood again. You will read books with your kids, see movies, go places that you never would have if you didn’t have children. And you know what? Watching your children experience a joyful childhood is better than your memories of your own childhood.
13. You will catch their vomit in your hands. I know what you’re thinking, but you will, out of self defense, so it doesn’t fall on your new Persian rug, the back seat of your car, your face.
14. You should just arrange to have your paycheck direct deposited to the grocery store. The one with the good pharmacy. That is where all your income is going to go. At least until the day they start driving. Then all of your money is going to go to car insurance and you will be forced to subsist on air. The good news there is that maybe that last bit of baby weight will finally come off.
Published November 17, 2010. Last updated March 18, 2018.