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What didn’t they tell you before you became a mom?

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There are many things they didn’t tell me before I became a mom.

To be fair, I didn’t tell many people I was becoming a mom. I was off at college when I got knocked up, and didn’t tell anyone at home. I was planning on giving her up for adoption. I couldn’t choose a family. I couldn’t even choose some finalists. I actually don’t remember much about the whole pre-adoption process, except for throwing up (for the first time in my entire pregnancy) after I walked in the door. I should have known then. But I kept telling myself I was going to do this. Until my contractions started and I went to the hospital and finally held that precious girl in my arms. I don’t remember much of my first labor either. But I do remember the nurse telling me I should not give her up for adoption. She was right.

So who are they, those people who should have told me these things. They know who they are. Those ladies who, in an attempt to be well meaning, tell you all sorts of horror stories when you are pregnant, especially with that first baby. The ones that leave the mom-to-be sweating and on the verge of a panic attack, as she’s listening to stories of three day long labors and months of sleepless nights. Here’s what “they” never told me:

*Sleepless nights continue well beyond the first year. You don’t sleep the first night your oldest child moves out. You don’t sleep when your children are sick. You wake up in a cold sweat at 2 in the morning because you forgot to put the tooth fairy money under someone’s pillow. You don’t sleep on Christmas Eve because even though you tell yourself you won’t, you wait until the last minute to put the Christmas gifts together and batteries in the remote controlled cars.

*Peanut butter leaves stains on fancy dresses and Halloween costumes.

*Even though you are anal retentive about cleaning your walls, you will leave a two year old’s grubby handprint on the wall until you move. And you will cry when you finally have to clean it off, because she’ll never be that small again.

*You’ll cry when they graduate. Even kindergarten, especially if you are pregnant with another one and very hormonal. Also, never wear mascara when your kid graduates.

*PTA actually means Putting in Time for Activities. Which means you won’t actually get to enjoy the Halloween dance or the teacher’s appreciation luncheons, cause you’ll be manning a booth or serving food.

*It will hurt just a little bit when you throw away the three inch stack of preschool paintings and collages, even though he’ll bring more home this afternoon.

*Your son will never grow out of his Jedi phase. He may occasionally substitute it with a Lord of the Rings phase, but he will never grow out of it.

*Your 11 year old son may still sleep with a stuffed animal, but he will resent you if you bring it up, so don’t.

*At some point in your life, you will have to hold down at least one child for a medical or dental treatment. They will cry and scream and want you to comfort them, and you will be busy holding them down. It will be one of the hardest things you will ever have to do in your life. It’s perfectly acceptable to break down and cry in the parking lot afterward.

*The next hardest thing you will ever have to do is hold your child when they grieve. A friend, a grandparent, a loved one, it doesn’t matter. Even if you are falling apart inside, too, you will need to be strong for your child. And somewhere, deep down inside, you will find the strength to do it.

*Toddler bites that break the skin may require antibiotics.

*The tensile strength of Legos is directly proportional the the length and width of the Lego structure. They do not make effective step stools.

*The pain a Lego causes when you step on it in the middle of the night is directly proportionate to its size and how quiet you have to be when you want to yell “Ouch” or “S***!” because your child is finally sleeping two feet away.

*Buy a door knob with a lock for your bedroom door.

*Never underestimate the velocity of projectile vomit.

*You will miss some of the words they come up with when they are little.

*You will laugh when they yell “S***” after stepping on a Lego, even though you know you need to tell them not to say those words.

*You will cheer the first time they smack the crap out of someone who has been picking on them. And you will still punish them.

What parenting advice did you miss out on? What things were you not prepared for when you became a parent?

Guest blogger Mrs. B. is a wife, mom to five, and administrative assistant. She blogs almost daily at Mama Needs A Straight Jacket about laundry, pull-ups, mommy guilt, work, marriage, living frugally and living rurally in the Colorado mountains.

Mile High Mamas
Author: Mile High Mamas

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  • comment avatar Amber Johnson October 14, 2010

    Ahhh, these are great! There were so many things when I became a new mom that I was not prepared for and continued to be blind-sided by as my kiddos grow older.

    When I had my firstborn, nobody told me I’d feel like a train wreck afterward for WEEKS.

  • comment avatar Daria October 14, 2010

    GREAT article.

    They told me there would be a HUGE rush of love the first time you see your child.

    They didn’t say that sometimes it starts as a small trickle that builds over time until you are flooded with love. That was my experience with my first child.

    The next ones it was easier. I could look at those little squished faces with the blood and gunk on them and know how much I loved them and who they would become.

  • comment avatar Clueless in Colorado October 14, 2010

    Oh my goodness! So true. No one prepared to be a mom not even my own parents who still claim my brother and I were complete angels! How quickly they forget…. great writing!

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  • comment avatar Mama Bird October 14, 2010

    Laughing at your list as I stare at my wall of preschool art and collages that I secretly pare down in small bundles and hope that my daughter doesn’t notice. Feels like I’m committing a crime every time.

    I love the fun little surprises that parenthood brings. As for the challenges, as much as I would’ve liked to have been warned ahead of time, I don’t think anyone could prepare me for just how hard they would be. I’m sure I wouldn’t have believed them.

    For me, the biggest surprises have been how hard bath time and meals are. The two things I thought would be the most enjoyable, turn out to be our two biggest struggles. My husband and I each take one every night as doing both is exhausting!

  • comment avatar Lori Lavender Luz October 14, 2010

    LOL! I can attest to the Lego ones. And the Jedi one. And the grieving ones, and…

    As to the adoption plan, you confirm what is said in adoption circles — that even if the decision to place is made during pregnancy, it has to be made all over again after the baby is born.

    Great list!

  • comment avatar kia October 14, 2010

    Whoa, awesome list. I am only 4 months into this mom gig. The only thing I can add is that I had no idea I would have a leaky chest, I wear so many dark colors or wacky prints now just in case I leak through.

  • comment avatar Mrs. B. October 14, 2010

    Hey everyone, thank you so much for your positive comments. I’m thrilled that you liked the post! And a big thank you to Amber and the rest of the Mile High Mamas for asking me to guest post! You are all awesomeness!

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