No one tells you about the ugly side of motherhood. We all show the Pinterest-worthy and Instagram-legit photographs of smiles, glitter, holding hands and picture-perfect moments. I know I had my camera firmly in the off position last night as my emotions melted down around me at the mall. I didn’t want to be at the mall—that factored majorly into my frustration as I worked to balance family needs and work.
When you are pregnant you probably read the book, What to Expect When You are Expecting. It helped guide you through the day to day changes in your body and your growing baby. But no one warns you that the day after deliver, your belly will feel like an unmolded bowl of Jell-O. It will flop beside you when you lie sideways and mock all of your expectations of perfection. You jiggle your belly and wonder, “What else didn’t people warn me about?”
Here is my version of what to expect after you expected:
- You will sacrifice daily for the rest of your life. Really truly sacrifice in ways you never ever imagined that you could become selfless in.
- In the early years you will have to work hard to remember where you end and your child starts.
- You will endure heartache as you watch your heart walk on the outside of you – especially during the teen years.
- You will cry huge sobbing-snot-bubble tears the first time your child starts to separate themselves from you. Separation anxiety goes both ways!
- Sleeplessness does not stop after the first year. Trust me, I entered motherhood 23+ years ago and I haven’t slept the deep careless sleep I once experienced before kids in decades.
- Your kids won’t be perfect.
- You will fail over and over and over again at this parenting thing.
- You will reach the end of your nerves repeatedly. And when you have reached the end of your nerves you will be pushed even further.
- You will lose your temper over the silliest things while out on the ledge with frazzled nerves. You will have moments when you wonder who is being more childish – you or your child?
- Your kids will forget their chores, what you told them, their lunch money, homework and so forth repeatedly.
- You will have to play the part of the bad guy more often than you would like.
- When you have to punish your children, you will discover that it really does hurts you more than it hurts your child. (My dad always said that when he punished me and it turns out he was right!)
- Those stretch marks—they are forever.
- Pregnancy, labor, delivery and motherhood are all equally difficult. You don’t get through one phase and suddenly get to sit back and kick your feet up. The whole journey is hard—even the empty nest phase.
- You will doubt yourself.
- There will be parenting disagreements.
- That Jell-O belly does get better, but like all things it takes work. Ugh, I hate that part.
- You will have to become really good at apologizing, being honest and forgiving.
- You will have moments you want to scream and cry.
- There will be times when you are bone-tired, weary, and depleted. You can guarantee that those are the moments your kids need you to help them with important homework, have a personal crisis they need you to walk them through or just need a little bit more of you.
And here is the good news:
- You will find yourself beaming with pride, joy, and love like you never knew existed over the smallest things your child does.
- A hug from your child can completely restore your equilibrium.
- A kiss from your child can refill your tank.
- Holding your child’s hand helps you walk beside them, guide them, protect them and replenishes your soul.
- An entire person was weaved together in your womb, carried, birthed and raised by you. Wow—no really—that is so amazingly cool!
- The bond between you and your child is like nothing you will ever have the pleasure of experiencing with anyone else. And that bond with each child is completely unique.
- You will find other moms to walk this journey with and those friendships will be priceless.
- Between their first steps and your final breath you will find a thousand reasons to be grateful for the selfless sacrifices of motherhood.
I am a wife, mother and author. In those titles I fulfill the jobs of mom-preneur, taxi-driver, schedule keeper, appointment maker, cheerleader, secretary, web content writer, budget keeper, farmers market helper, blogger, nurse, problem solver, homeschool teacher, homework helper and so much more.
Last night I cried out, “Calgon take me away!” I attempted to calm my nerves in tub of hot water, sea salt and essential oils. Yet nothing was taking me away. The pressures of being a mom-preneur had firmly weaved into every single one of my muscles and thoughts last night. By morning I was somewhat restored, yet groggy, as I reminded myself that a meltdown moment is to be expected now and again.
I cannot have a 1950’s expectation of my home with a 2015 schedule. None of us can. So let the dishes pile up, build mountains of laundry, and take a moment to soak in the glorious messy nature of motherhood.