May 15, 2012

Things you never know about being a mommy....until you are one

I am so excited about my very first Mother's Day. It's like an exclusive club that I'm finally apart of. So, to celebrate, I thought I'd make a list of the "10 things you never know until you're a mommy."

1. No matter how many books you read or old wives tales you listen to, absolutely NOTHING prepares you for this job.
I read the baby books. I listened to the words of seasoned mothers who had gone behind the battle lines and lived to tell about it. I thought I knew what to expect. I thought I was prepared for Avery to show up. I was wrong. Nothing can prepare you. No book you read or advice you follow can prepare you for your baby's arrival. Every baby is different and everything they do isn't going to be written down in the pages of a parenting book. Who would have ever dreamt that my child would be 9 months old and have an aversion to sleep? Who would have thought that I would be willing to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse multiple times on repeat because it makes my girl happy? Put the book back on the shelf and follow your instinct. Its usually more on target than any book anyway.

2. As soon as your baby arrives, time suddenly moves in warp speed.
I used to laugh at people when they said that "time flies" or "it seemed like yesterday." When I was pregnant, 40 weeks took FOREVER. I didn't think Avery would ever arrive. Then she did. And it seems like every time I turn around, she's grown. Or she's learned something new. Or she's losing some of her "baby-ness." My child is going to be a year old in two and half months. TWO MONTHS. How did this happen? I literally felt like it was just yesterday that I was standing in my bedroom, folding clothes in between contractions. I felt like I was going through 19 hours of labor just the other day. I feel like it hasn't been that long ago since we brought Avery home and adjusted to life as a family of three. Now she's talking, teething and trying to walk. And I'm left wondering where the time has gone. Time FLIES.

3. Non-baby related conversations will be hard for you to do.
As much as I love my non-parent friends, I feel like I have little in common with them anymore. I scroll through Facebook updates of college parties, vacations and spontaneous decisions. And, although I remember what that was like, I have little interest in talking about those things. If you don't mind listening to me while I talk about the benefits of orajel and teething rings, then we'll have a beautiful friendship. If you want to carry on a normal, adult conversation about things that don't relate to my 9 month old, you're out of luck.

4. You'll never sleep again.
I never, ever, EVER dreamt that my girl would be a terrible sleeper. Pre-baby, I expected to stay up with a newborn. But I thought that eventually I would get more sleep as my baby got older. Reality is much different. Sleep techniques that don't work, a baby that never sleeps through the night and late night naps on the couch or bottles to get her to go back to sleep are the norm in this household. Maybe when Avery is a teenager (although I'm sure even then, I'll be awake...waiting for her to get in for curfew), I'll finally sleep again. Until then, caffeine is my best friend.

5. Eating words will be a regular occurrence.
Before I was ever a mother, I thought I knew how to be one. I thought I knew how to discipline a child and uttered the phrase "My child will never do that" multiple times. I swore my children would never sleep in my bed. I wanted to make my children's clothes and provide homemade baby food. Yeah. Right. Avery gets her way more often than not by just whining a little and giving me an adorably sad face. Avery sleeps in my bed whenever I've reached the end of my rope at 3 am. And who has time to make baby clothes and food?? Eating crow is part of my normal diet these days.

6. There will be times you want a break from motherhood.
I've learned that this is okay. I LOVE Avery. I love being Avery's mom. I love having a little mini-me that relies on my care and love every day. But I'm not a superhero. I need a break sometimes. Even if that means taking a walk around my neighborhood or a long bubble bath. Being a mom is a full time job. Even in the best full time job, you need a day off to recharge and get yourself ready for the next day. Don't feel guilty.

7. You worry constantly.
I was a worrier before. If it could be worried about, I would. I didn't think it was possible for it to get any worse....but it did. I worry about Avery all.the.time. Will she be allergic to the food I give her? Will table food choke her? Is she breathing? Cold? Sick? Happy? I doubt this will ever end. How my mom has lived through 26 years of worrying is beyond me.

8. You will never be perfect.
During my pregnancy, I expected to be a supermommy. Do it all, cook it all, clean it all.....and reality couldn't be farther from the truth. If you're a faithful follower of this blog, you know how my life is. All the expectations I had for mommyhood have all gone out the window. We put so much pressure and expectations on ourselves. Especially in this day and age of crafty, blogging mommies that seem to do it all. I read these blogs and feel terrible about myself that I can't do it all like those moms can. I have to give myself a reality check. Yes, that blogger mom may have pictures of a homemade apple pie on her blog and talk about her home improvement plans and her new dress she just sewed, but you don't see the pictures of her house. She could be drowning in laundry--just like me! Stop putting so much pressure on yourself as a mom. You gave birth....and that's about as close to perfect as you can get.

9. Time isn't yours anymore.
Days and nights belong to your child. Schedules revolve around bottle feedings, diaper changes and bedtime. And I'm okay with that. I'm okay with being considered "old people" because Marty and I have to be home before 8 so we can start Avery's bedtime routine. There's no one better that I can think of to change my entire schedule for.

10. It's all worth it.
Motherhood is hard. It's exhausting. It's messy. It takes a huge, irreversible toll on your body. You'll talk about "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" and what color poop is normal for a formula fed baby in daily conversation. You won't be fashionable, you'll put all your nice clothes and dangly earrings away to wear again when your child is older. You'll be covered in spit-up constantly and change multiple dirty diapers on a daily basis. And none of it matters. Because loving someone unconditionally and having them love you back is sooooo worth any of the other yucky stuff.Having Avery come into our lives and change the way I view the world is the greatest blessing I've ever received. I used to think that I was put on this earth to hold some certain job....a career in agriculture or event planning. And that life would be complete when I found it. Well, I have. That job is being Avery's mom. So, whether it's your first or your 50th, Happy Mother's Day. Because we really do have the greatest job in the world.


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