By the time I managed to get pregnant, I had already been inundated with advice and warnings about the dark side of parenting. I knew I wouldn’t stop worrying, that sleep would become a luxury, and that it would be a lot of hard work. All of this is true and doesn’t take away from the fact that I love being a mom.
However, in these almost 13 years of motherhood, I can say there were many things nobody cared to share. Not that it would have made a difference, really, but let’s just say that some responsibilities that come with the job are conveniently hidden. And I can’t help but think, thank goodness nobody brought these things up because I would have never thought I would be able to do them. Like …
Weak stomachs need not apply.
The amount of bodily fluids you clean up as a parent knows no limits. Pee is the least of your concerns. Whether it’s your baby’s spit up (my daughter had reflux so it was more like major barfing), your toddler’s snot, or even your child’s plaque, it will surprise you how tolerant you become. And let me tell you, you never get used to it. But you do learn to just shrug it off and deal with it. After your child has their first round of the stomach flu, you know you can face anything.
Things would be easier if we had an acting coach.
As a parent, sometimes it’s best to learn to hide your emotions. The other day, my daughter needed a tooth extracted and started screaming before the dentist even touched her. She was so scared I had to take deep breaths just so my own anxiety didn’t overpower me. Usually my face reflects everything I am feeling in the moment but that doesn’t help at all when your child looks at you for cues on how to react to something. A poker face is much more useful, whether they’re scared and looking to you for support, or you’re secretly cracking up at their latest shenanigans.
You become your child’s personal driver.
David Beckham got it SO right when he said he felt like his son’s private Uber chauffeur. The older your kids get (until they are old enough to drive), you spend so many hours driving them around. It’s not just school, doctors, after-school activities, and sports tournaments. Their social lives get so busy between all the playdates and birthday parties — then they complain when you are three minutes late to pick them up!
Your weekends cease to exist.
Well, the weekends in which you spent time doing whatever you wanted become a part of the past once you have children. Not only do you wake up when you have to instead of when you want to, but you try to make the most out of the time that’s left after you drive your kid from one activity to another, whether it’s a game, training session, birthday party, or playdate.
How much more intense everything feels.
Parenthood seems to enhance every single emotion you have. When you’re happy, you’re ecstatic. When you’re angry, all you can see is red and counting to ten just doesn’t cut it. For me, being a mom amplifies the highs and the lows. Mostly in a good yet scary way, too.
Truthfully, parenting is not for the faint of heart. It is a work in progress and you do get better by learning from your mistakes. You’ll also learn things about yourself you had no idea were among your hidden talents. But the main reason I’m glad that nobody warned me about some of the toughest aspects of being a mom is that I honestly may have been too scared to have children. And envisioning everything I could have missed out on if that was the case truly unsettles me. My kids have made me a happier and better person. I wouldn’t change being their mom for anything. Even if I could do without the sleep deprivation, craziness, and bodily fluids, just being able to love so deeply is a miracle.More On