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Dozen Not So Shocking Revelations About Motherhood

A Dozen (or so) (Somewhat) Shocking Revelations About Motherhood

By Chris Jordan

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.


Chris Jordan
About the Author

Chris Jordan

Chris Jordan began blogging at Notes From the Trenches in 2004 where she writes about her life raising her children in Austin, Texas.

Oh, she has seven of them. Yes, children. Yes, the...

Chris Jordan began blogging at Notes From the Trenches in 2004 where she writes about her life raising her children in Austin, Texas.

Oh, she has seven of them. Yes, children.
Yes, they are all hers.
No she’s not Catholic or Mormon. Though she wouldn’t mind having a sister-wife because holy hell the laundry never stops.
Yes, she finally figured out what causes it. That’s why her youngest is almost 6.
Yes, she has a television.

She enjoys referring to herself in the third person.

If you would like to submit a question for Chris to answer publicly, please do so to adviceforparentsoftweens[at]gmail[dot]com.

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  • Pinkie Bling

    November 17, 2010 at 11:26 am

    This is just lovely! I’m not a parent yet, but posts like this make me think that one of these days I might just go through with it and become one. 🙂

  • Shan

    November 17, 2010 at 11:41 am

    The vomit part made me laugh and spit cereal on my keyboard. I have held my childrens’ barf in my hands too many times to count. And the funny thing is how your instincts change from running away from puke (think college frat parties) to willfully running towards it. Okay, enough about vomit for one morning. Thanks for the laugh!

  • Kara @ KSS

    November 17, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Very nice.  I like it. 🙂
    I wrote a somewhat related post after my son was born:  

  • Jennifer

    November 17, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    Thank you for taking time from Dora to write this, I felt like I was chatting with a girlfriend instead of sitting watching Blue’s Clues before doing school drop off in Target PJs that if anyone asks I will insist are yoga pants, with a straight face!

  • Momma McCall

    November 17, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    EXACTLY!!! Perfectly described! The words “It doesn’t get easier it, it only gets different” actually came out of my mouth just yesterday. I’m there with you.

  • Liz

    November 17, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    As someone who’s 15 weeks pregnant with my first child all I can say is… that was really terrifying. Out of 14 items only two were positive. It’s a better ratio than that, isn’t it…? *terrified*

    • Isabel


      November 18, 2010 at 7:44 am


      We write a lot about Motherhood here. This was titled “shocking” and I’m sorry if it terrified you. It was on one end of the spectrum. Let me share another post with you that resonated as realistic with a lot of mothers and was written specifically for a terrified expecting mom:

  • Nikki

    November 18, 2010 at 1:52 am

    This post about motherhood is simply spot on, just brilliant. I loved it so much that earlier today I forwarded it to my daughters and chosen sisters. Thank you so much for sharing your truths with us.

  • Ann

    November 18, 2010 at 8:02 am

    These are all excellent observations, and #10 strikes a particular chord with me. It would be nice to have a more widespread acknowledgement that having a baby is not a state of perpetual bliss, as most books / commercials / parenting magazines / doting relatives would have you believe.

    Oh yeah, and the vomit thing. That”s true, too.

  • Ann

    November 18, 2010 at 8:04 am

    These are all excellent observations, and #10 strikes a particular chord with me. It would be nice to have a more widespread acknowledgement that having a baby is not a state of perpetual bliss, as most books / commercials / parenting magazines / doting relatives would have you believe.

    Oh yeah, and the vomit thing. No one ever warns you about that, either.

  • Chris Jordan

    Chris Jordan

    November 18, 2010 at 8:56 am

    I think most of us think only about the really good parts, the fun things. Those aren’t really shocking. It’s difficult to explain that the love you feel for this tiny person outweighs it all, but it does. And it will for you too. Best of luck.

  • Jen

    November 18, 2010 at 9:04 am

    I’m with Liz! I know it’s not all sunshine and daisies, but at 14 weeks I did feel a touch of omg what did I get myslef into!

  • Liz

    November 18, 2010 at 11:41 am

    Thanks guys. I suppose it didn’t help that I was reading this in the middle of the night when my husband is away on business and omgomgomg. But! I wasn’t particularly horrified by the idea of catching vomit in my hands, so I guess that’s something!

  • Charity

    November 18, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    One of the best posts I’ve read in awhile! Totally needed to read this today & passed it along. Too good not to share! =)

  • Lindsey@Kindred Spirit Mommy

    November 19, 2010 at 12:49 am

    This is really a great post – so true! It makes us mommies feel not quite so alone and we hope mommies-to-be will see it’s not all cupcakes and rainbows. lol

  • Elizabeth_K

    November 19, 2010 at 10:26 am

    I like this post, but I wanted to tell you that I loved (loved) your post on teenagers and porn. It was so thoughtful, and my babies are tiny but my friend’s son is 13 and I sent it to her. She said it was very helpful and is going to follow your advice. Thanks for all of your writing.

  • Heather

    November 19, 2010 at 11:24 am

    I love this post. You know what shocked me? How CONSTANT it is. My first Mother’s Day I had a six-week-old baby. My dad asked me how motherhood was going, and I blurted out “I had no idea how CONSTANT it is! It never stops. Ever.” And five years later, I still feel that way. You can’t take your mind off those little people for one second or someone is hurt or getting into trouble. I take my eyes off them, but they’re always in the back of my mind. “Hmmm, I wonder why it’s silent? I wonder what that thumping noise is? I wonder when I fed him last? Did he get his medicine? Is he getting another ear infection? Where’s he going to go to elementary/middle/high school, college, grad school?” It never stops.

  • Amy F.

    November 19, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    i was not prepared for the amount of snot that babies and toddlers and preschoolers produce!

  • Kristi

    November 19, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    One word on what you need to get that tummy tuck: hernia! I felt really smug because after giving birth to 4 children, I was always able to bounce right back into my workout and have my six pack back within 5 months. Alas, life is full of payback and pregnancy 5 resulted in a hefty 8 lb 5 oz baby boy…and his 8 lb 2 oz sister! 16 and a half pounds of babies made my stomach resemble a crumpled paper bag. I was too ashamed to admit to anyone that I longed for a tummy tuck, but when the doctor told me I had a complete seperation of the abdominal muscles that resulted in 3 rather large hernias and that while they were in there, they might as well take care of my excess skin and “tighten everytihing” I cried with joy! The down took 2 years to schedule the surgery because a mother of six kids under 10 and a husband that is always deployed doesn’t work well with the “no lifting anything over 5 lbs for 2 months rule!

  • Kathi

    November 19, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Re the comment that Chris did a post on teenagers and porn–does anyone have a link to that post? I missed it and can’t locate it here. Thanks.

    Isabel: here’s the link:

  • Cate

    November 19, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    Almost nine weeks pregnant with my first. Also, almost 40. This is not the life I imagined. It’s better, but I know this baby is going to radically rock our world and not always for the better. It’s okay. When we reach the teen years, I can just fake dementia.

  • Sue @ Laundry for Six

    November 19, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    Ahhh… I never even thought about the car insurance thing. Damn, I better eat up.

  • tari donohue

    November 19, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    I think the biggest surprise of my motherhood came at the end of it. I was driving home from work and got a call from my son, 300 miles away at college. He was working his part-time job, attending his EMT classes, things were rolling along with his roomies. . . and then it hit me: I was done. Those 18 years went by in a blink. No more soccer games, no more bedtime stories, no more silly made-up stories, no more songs in the car. I cried so hard I could hardly see to drive. But the second surprise of motherhood was just around the corner: I will always love them, always worry about them, always miss them. Until I’m dead and they’re not. I guess I thought I would turn in my Mother button and we could all just be pals. Wrong. Motherhood’s forever, in one form or another. Just sayin’.

  • Lucinda

    November 19, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    It can sound scary if you are still expecting your first. But number 11 outweighs all the others. Truly. You cannot comprehend until you are there. Sometimes the minute you first see them. Sometimes after you’ve had time to get to know them. But it happens and it is overwhelming.

    Number 1 really resonated with me. I was so lonely at first and didn’t expect that and felt so guilty about it. That has passed now (mine are 7 & 9) but oh boy!

  • Susan

    November 19, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    Love it. My husband and I were just roaring at #13…thanks Chris!

  • Jennifer

    November 20, 2010 at 9:41 am

    So true, motherhood is the most amazing thing, and the hardest thing, all at the same time.  You become a new person, and it’s all worth it.

  • Julia

    November 20, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Having a baby, I realized for the very first time just how much my own mother really loved me. And what my parents did for me….bathe, feed, clothe, protect, soothe, sacrifice. A whole new respect for my parents.

    And tired. Oh, my gosh….I cried at how tired I was. Still tired. And the babies are 25, 22, and 20.

  • Christina

    November 20, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    tari donohue, your comment made me cry. I’m still a ways off from that but I feel it coming fast. Scary.

    The vomit comment made me laugh. I remember the first time I was puked on. Not spit-up on, but actually projectile vomited on. I was so calm and my only concern was him. I think that was the first time I truly felt like a mom.

  • Caroline

    November 21, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    Cate’s comment.. yes! and I have 2 and I so agree with all of these. I feel mentally delayed from the SAHM thing for 2 years and am clawing to go back to the job I hated.. then realized I would never want to be around any scheming co workers as much as my kids (even when screaming) so yeah. I schedule regular phone dates with my girls- wine, chats and dh takes the kids while I gab. Oh, and once a year 3 day weekend trip back home to see the girlfriends. See, once you have kids, never ever go out it is so hard to make new friends away from home when you are older. WORSE than dating! So I maintain the long term friendships via calls, email and FB with promises of minimal updates on potty training. Oh- and none of your single friends want constant updates on the kids. Not even the friends with kids! But I will say this: when my husband talks to me about anything pre baby we did (even living on St. Thomas) it paled to the small moments we have here in between sleep/potty training and power struggles. One thing for moms to be to realize is this: The WORST DAY EVER where say, your toddler is screaming and the newborn is teething and impersonating Linda Blair a ray of light hits. My toddler screamed ‘MOMMY I LOVE YOU SO MUCH ” before throwing himself on the floor after i removed the cookies he grabbed from the cabinet from his clenched angry fist. So, yeah. Bits and pieces make it all better. I had my kids in my mid/late thirties after getting the second cat and ditching the notion of meeting The One much less one who could hold a job (AGH) so had no illusions of a perfect plan but the small moments do actually make it all worth it.:)

  • Briigitte

    November 22, 2010 at 8:45 am

    My biggest surprise was what a slacker I am – not about what I now feel are the important things, but about all the things I THOUGHT were the important things way back when.

  • Futureblackmail

    November 22, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    i’ve often told my husband that if my company would allow my check to be direct deposited at Dick’s Sporting Goods, it would be so much easier. They know us by NAME there. Gah.

  • Beth

    November 23, 2010 at 7:58 am

    I read a quote somewhere that said “Becoming a parent (mother) is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” For me, this has summed up the emotions of parenthood. I remember two days after I gave birth to my first child (and when the hormones had begun to really nosedive), I told my husband, “I feel like a totally different person.” How true it was.

  • Laura

    November 25, 2010 at 2:27 am

    I have to add something I found truly amazing after I had my first child. After an entire day of taking care of her, I felt like time flew by, and it didn’t feel like I had done anything all day! It was a really weird feeling to be home all day, and not even have 30 seconds to check my eamail or five minutes to shower quick!

  • Lana

    April 26, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    When I read other mothers’ stories I feel better. It took me awhile to get pregnant and I was jealous of those with babies. Once I had my baby I was surprised that it was not blissful like I expected. I felt horrible for not loving every minute. I enjoy working and feel guilty that I enjoy it so much. I would never give my kid up, but I do cry because it is hard even with family help.

  • Lisandra Gallardo

    August 20, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Thank you so much! I cried and laughed at the same time because it’s so very thing. I have a six mouth old beautiful baby girl that I love more then anything in the world, but it has been so hard! I wanting to become a mother since I got married 8 years ago! And now that I am I’m so great full to have a healthy baby! But there are day were I want to just sit there and cry! Thank you for things it’s good t o know I’m not the only one!