When I was pregnant with my first baby – my daughter, Mackenzie – I remember browsing Pinterest boards with the soft muted nurseries and the beautiful flat lays of tutus and bows and the bushel of soft blankets that were made of soft white cotton muslin. I imagined myself gently rocking a sleepy newborn who smelled of baby lotion and sweet milk. I knew I would be a “put together” mom who still had time to get her nails done and hair done with a cute yoga pants outfit and at least the five minute make up routine down-pat. It was all such a lovely vision.
And then I had her.
And she was colicky.
And she cried non-stop. And spit up everything she ate. And didn’t sleep for six months.
I remember posting a picture of us on Instagram and within two minutes of it posting, my sister texted me “What’s wrong? You look exhausted!” So much for the whole “put together” mom thing.
I had no idea how hard being a mom would be. I knew that other people had kids. Heck, they had multiple kids. How hard could it be? Haha …VERY. VERY hard.
I’m not writing this piece to talk you out of having kids or more kids – because they are the best things ever. But why doesn’t anyone talk about how truly hard it is being a parent? Not in the manner of being a whiny, complaining mess … but to inspire people to understand that Pinterest and Instagram and Facebook can NOT prepare you properly for being a parent.
So here it is plain and simple…
You will not sleep. You will not eat the same way – ever again. You will not wear nice clothes around your children or they will be forever ruined. You will learn how to tune out other peoples’ children like you have superpower hearing. You will learn how to clean poop out of a tub of water. You will say “No” more times than you ever thought you would say in your lifetime.
You will munch mindlessly on cheerios that were probably dropped on the floor or possibly put into your child’s mouth only to be shoved back into yours. You will become a vessel for climbing on. You will hold every single bodily function in your hands or on your body at some point (possibly at the same time, which is a really good time). Yep. Vomit, drool, poop, boogers, and pee … you name it. All on you.
You will have chubby little hands shoved into your face, your hair, your mouth. You will learn how to walk over and around a tiny Barbie playhouse or toy truck pieces. You will learn how to sing the “Hot Dog” song. You will know who Doc McStuffins is and what color Marshall the Paw Patrol pup is.
You will be a ninja at changing a diaper in the dark, with one hand, while you wrestle snaps that are next to impossible to close with a writhing infant on the changing table. You will learn to love coffee. And not hot coffee, but lukewarm coffee at best. You will learn to have a conversation on top of little heads that for some reason will not stop talking.
And while this may all really scare you, do you want to know what the scariest thing of all is? That while it is the hardest, most physically and emotionally draining phase of your life – you will learn this most difficult thing…
Your life will never be the same again. It will be better.
Only parents can truly understand this. But I promise you – for all the warnings and articles and Instagram posts that you will read … just know that nothing in your life will ever be this good again. It is good, bad, ugly, and gross. But it is the best chapter of your life. So, revel in it. Soak it in. It ends way too quickly.