I had a moment the other day. After a hellish day juggling the demands that come from working multiple jobs, being a wife, and caring for an overly tired two-year-old, I looked around my house. I briefly remembered a peaceful time in my life when I would leisurely return home from the office and spend the evening making new recipes, organizing my closet by color, and relaxing on the couch to watch my favorite T.V. shows while our little babe squirmed inside my belly. We would laugh and talk about plans for the future and our hopes and dreams for what parenthood would entail.
I wasn’t going to be some kind of frazzled, tired, corner-cutting mom. Not me. I was going to do it all with a smile. I would be a walking Pinterest board with the smartest, most advanced baby on the block who wore clothes that weren’t stained and who potty trained at an early age. Man, we were naive. In that moment, I remembered a few of those lies that I told myself back when I was pregnant…
1. I’m not going to be one of those parents with lots of baby stuff.
LOL. Yeah, good luck cramming everything you need for an infant in your regular purse. Just rock that diaper bag for a while. You’ll singlehandedly keep Amazon afloat in the early days, looking desperately for any kind of apparatus that will keep your baby asleep for more than 15 minutes. This habit will quickly spiral completely out of control when you bite the bullet and join Amazon prime. When she gets older you’ll obsessively study the toys your child enjoys at baby groups and friends’ houses and then hunt them down and buy them so you can perform necessary tasks like showering and drinking coffee. Your living room, patio, and yard will look like Fisher Price threw up rainbows and plastic. Just roll with it.
2. I’ll just sleep when the baby sleeps.
No, you won’t. You’ll shower, eat, pee, cry, binge-watch Parenthood, place Amazon orders, and research sleep on the internet when the baby sleeps. You’ll have had so much coffee by the time the baby finally gives in for a nap that you won’t physically be able to close your eyes.
3. I’m going to get back into shape immediately. How hard can it be?
It’s pretty dang hard. Month 1 postpartum will basically be a write-off, because you will barely be able to stand up. You will wear enormous pads for far longer than you thought you’d have to, and going Number Two will be a daunting task that requires extra childcare, Colace, and moral support. Trust me, going to the gym will never cross your mind. Months 2-4 will be progressively better, but there might be the risk of peeing yourself essentially every time you attempt to do something more active than walking.
You’ll feel back to normal by months 5 and 6, but that’s about when your precious little angel will completely change her sleep habits, again, during a massive growth spurt that never ends. On those days you won’t feel like using her nap times to go for a quick jog. Instead, you’ll eat mass quantities of chocolate in order to keep from murdering your husband when he comes home from work and falls asleep in the recliner. You’ll get in shape alright, starting tomorrow.
4. I won’t let my house get dirty, so my baby always has a nice clean environment to play and explore.
Good luck with that one, especially when you hit toddlerhood. I could clean all day (which is not realistic in the least) and I still couldn’t keep up with the toddler tornado that leaves a trail of toys, cheerios, and germs everywhere she goes. It’s cool though; what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger right?!
5. The baby will fit into my life. I am not going to be one of those moms who never gets out of the house.
Whatever you say, lady. You will become so addicted to your routine that it literally causes you anxiety if you have to adjust naptime. This isn’t too tough in the early months. But when your bundle of joy stops snoozing in the car seat and starts thrashing every time you put them in a shopping cart, you might just decide to switch things up. There’s a balance; the new you can still have a life, but it looks different and functions around naps, meals, and potty training. Find a babysitter you trust and hold on tight.
6. This baby will not affect my relationship. I won’t let it.
Good one. The baby will test you as a couple in a million ways. You will have to bite your tongue when your husband holds the baby, because he isn’t doing it the way you do it. You have to learn to trust your partner with the single most important thing in your life. Neither one of you has any idea what you’re doing. There will likely be a time when you are really mean–to everyone, but especially your partner because they are such an easy target–because you haven’t slept in weeks.
You have to find a way to compromise on parenting issues that you disagree on, divvy out new chores, share responsibilities, and find time for family bonding in the same 24-hour day that you thought was busy before you had children. Having a baby definitely affects your relationship, and the only thing you can control is whether or not it’s in a positive way.
7. I’m not going to be one of those crazy, obsessed moms.
Um, yes you are. Being obsessed with your children is basically the defining characteristic of moms.
Reminiscing about my pre-mom mindset gave me a good laugh, but also reminded me to cut myself some slack and enjoy the ride. Motherhood is not glamorous, but it is fabulous. And that’s no lie.