Published on May 2, 2017 inParenting on LandOMoms.com
Our social media news feeds are constantly streaming, and experts on every subject abound on all corners of the web, advice and information ooze from every crevice, yet there are still things no one told me about being a mom.
Sure, I got the typical advice that new moms get: Sleep when the baby sleeps, ask for help, savor every moment. But it’s the stuff no one told me – the lessons I learned all by my lonesome – that now defines my motherhood.
Here are four of the big lessons I’ve learned during my mom-dom:
Perfection is a Myth (Perpetuated Pin by Pin)
My first year of motherhood held the biggest surprises for me. Pinterest had told me that fresh, smooth baby skin and stylish motherhood would be my future and that breastfeeding would come easy. Instead, I got sleep deprivation and erratic hormones.
Even my veteran mom friends danced around the reality. No one ever looked me square in the eyes and told me the first year would be both awful and exhilarating. No one ever told me I would lose myself in it; that Type A or Type B personalities held no power against the strong-holds of early motherhood.
The first year turned my expectations upside down, crumbling up catalogs of mommy-n-me outfits and perfectly crafted meals and replacing them with an authentic, down in the trenches, sleep-deprived, caffeine-addicted, yoga-pants-wearing mom. But, hey. You know what? That’s okay.
It’s a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
No one ever told me my first Mother’s Day would look nothing like the picturesque visions I had in mind. You know, breakfasts in bed and lovely, thoughtful gifts from adoring husbands and children.
My husband was a new dad too, unaware of how to “properly” celebrate and honor me, so my first Mother’s Day was a mess. But I had to realize: part of it was my own fault. I held my family up to unrealistic expectations.
Since then, our Mother’s Days have been fulfilling simply because I tell myself they are. A simple day at home filled with gratitude and family has become our focus, and that feels right for us.
Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize
No one ever told me, either, how many decisions I would need to make just to get through a day. I’ve learned moms constantly juggle priorities and decide what’s most important. Do the kids play soccer or basketball? Learn piano or attend drama class? Or do we skip it all so that we have more family time?
Do we make a ham and cheese sandwich for dinner so we can continue building a fort? Or do we spend that hour preparing a full hot dinner to nurture those little bodies? No one ever told me how these seemingly mundane decisions would feel so important once I became a mom.
Motherhood is full of surprises. That’s for certain. But most surprising of all is how much this experience has molded me. Every day comes with new challenges and new aspirations, but each day also gives me the opportunity to cement my family’s foundation.
It’s What You Make It
Here’s the most pleasant surprise of all: Mothers give birth to the stories that make our families what they are. Yes, we’re on the hook for SO MUCH every day, but there’s a freedom in it. Every motherhood experience is the choose-your-own-adventure story we decide on. We get to hand pick what tools, inspiration or advice we keep versus what we simple set aside. And that’s pretty cool, right?