I share the things no one told me about motherhood that I learned when I became a mom in this funny, candid and true tell-all.
I’m admittedly pretty Type A and I like to feel prepared. So in the months before I gave birth, I read (a lot), asked a lot of questions and ultimately, did everything in my power to arrive at the delivery room ready to meet babe. I joined mommy Facebook groups. I read all the blogs. I listened to every podcast. I stocked my nursery with dozens of parenting books. Well, fellow perfectionist mommas, let me tell you something you don’t want to hear: Everything the books, blogs and your friends tell you about motherhood is just scratching the surface.
Yes, you’ve probably heard about the fact that you’re not going to sleep. And that your appetite will become ferocious when breastfeeding. And that you’ll change a million diapers a day. But there are a lot of nuanced little things I’ve picked up along the way that surprised me.
14 Things No One Told Me about Motherhood that I Learned when I Became a Mom
- You need to build a village (and you’re probably going to feel guilty about it). So obviously I knew mothering would be hard. I didn’t know that there would be days (okay most days) that I would count the minutes until my husband would come home so that I could get a little break from the blood curdling screams. Having help (from friends, family, hired help, etc) is really the key to getting through motherhood (especially those early days) in one piece.
- Breastfeeding may be natural, but it doesn’t likely come naturally. I know, your friends make it look so easy when they pop their kid on without even looking, but both you and your babe have to get into a groove with breastfeeding, and the process is often really painful, frustrating, and exhausting. I’ve written in detail about my own breastfeeding struggles here.
- You never really get comfortable with the sound of your own baby’s screams. I used to hear my friends’ babies cry and see them get anxious and think, what’s the big deal? Babies cry. But when it’s your own, and you’re hormonal, the sound is significantly more devastating. It gets easier to hear the screams, but it doesn’t ever get easy.
- You’ll get used to drinking your coffee cold (and not because it’s iced). In fact, you’ll get used to just eating or drinking everything cold. Heck, you’ll be happy if you get to eat anything other than a granola bar a day for the rest of your life.
- You’ll sing everything you want to say. Babies like songs, so you’ll start to put every-sentence you say to an annoying little ditty.
- Brunch is a 4-hour mission. It will take you military-like timing and organization to plan, pack, go and return from brunch just at the diner down the street. Or any outing for that matter.
- Your wrist is gonna get SUPER strong from one-handed steering your stroller while you carry your coffee in the other hand. And you will always have coffee in your hand.
- You’ll quickly give up on the idealistic parenting lifestyle you read about while you were pregnant. Sorry super-mamas-to-be. It’s survival time. You’ll give a pacifier, you’ll cry it out, you’ll co-sleep, you’ll use the circle of neglect for hours – all in the name of your sanity.
- You’re beloved pet (aka. your first baby) will quickly become another animal. Yah, you still think they’re cute, but there are days when the sleep deprivation catches up to you and you consider just not letting them back in from the yard.
- Your standards for cleanliness and organization will be promptly re-evaluated. As long as something pathogenic isn’t growing on it, it’s probably clean enough.
- You’ll count down the days until baby can eat real food (see lesson 2 about breastfeeding being hard). As a foodie, I can only imagine how exciting it will be when my own baby starts getting curious about food. One of my favourite finger foods as a kid (according to my mama) was Cheerios. I already have it in the house for myself because it is made with whole grains and has very little sugar (1 gram!) so it’s an easy choice for Baby E this month when he starts eating solids and he’s practicing his pincher grip skills, too. I mean, there’s definitely a reason pediatricians recommend Cheerios as a finger food, and it’s not just because it’s delish.
- Your relationship with your body will become, well, complicated. One day you will be in absolute awe at what it has grown and accomplished, and the next you’ll be feeling self-conscious about every little squishy roll. Notice the struggle and be kind to yourself, your body is doing exactly what it needs to do to support you and your babe.
- You’ll never feel like you’re doing anything right, well, or perfect ever again. You’re not making enough money on mat leave. You’re not doing enough tummy time. You’re not exercising enough (okay, you’re not exercising at all). There are a lot of different schools of thoughts when it comes to parenting, and a lot of people will make you feel like you’re never doing things right. From vaccinations, to sleep training, to breastfeeding and technology use, expect to hear about something you’re doing wrong from a fellow mom who you would think would be more sensitive. Find your non-judgy people and get comfortable just doing things your way good enough, your kid will love you just the same.
- Life is better than you ever could have imaged. Yes, it’s different. Really, really different, and at times you may question why you would ever give up your sleep, your body, your sex life, your career and well, your sanity. But when you get that mid-day giggle and cheek-y smile, you know you wouldn’t have it any other way.
Mamas, what did you learn about motherhood when you became a mom?
Mamas-to-be, what were you surprised about in this list?
What did you wish people told you about?
Leave me a comment below on your thoughts!
Disclaimer: This post was developed in paid partnership with Cheerios, however, all opinions are genuine.
Updated on August 4th, 2020
Abbey Sharp is a Registered Dietitian (RD), regulated by the Ontario College of Dietitians. She is a mom, YouTuber, Blogger, award winning cookbook author, media coach specializing in food and nutrition influencers, and a frequent contributor to national publications like Healthline and on national broadcast TV shows.