10 Things No One Tells A New Mom
This summer seems to be the season of pregnant girlfriends. In the past week I’ve been around 7 (S-E-V-E-N!!) pregnant friends. Of those friends, four are first-time moms. When I look at them, I think “you have NO idea what you’re in for!” That’s not a bad thing. But still, I don’t want to perpetuate some of the gaps or unspoken truths of motherhood, so here’s a quick list things no one told me…and that I wish I had known!
1. Just because it’s your baby’s body fluid doesn’t make you gross out any less.
I kept hearing that my gag reflex would calm down when the throw up was from MY kid. Or that runny noses would be OK when the nose resembled my own. Uh. No. When you see a snotty face, you’ll recoil just like you always have. Do you still love the rug rat? Of course. But you’ll use an entire paper towel for a single snotty blow. Eeewww.
2. You will be jealous of your child.
How in the world can she sleep like that? I’d like to spend all afternoon in a swing! How can I make it socially acceptable to shove my birthday cake in my mouth as quickly as possible? These are just a few of the ways your child’s “norm” will make you envious. There will be more examples and they will sneak up on you in ways that make you feel ashamed of being petty and small-minded. Get used to the sensation. You are normal. Still, parenting is nothing if not humbling in the ways it reveals your shortcomings!
3. Your child will make people do strange things.
Who is that man who insists on letting your newborn nap on his chest? That couldn’t be your brother who never slows down, right? Who is that other man playing harmonica for the baby in the car? That wouldn’t be your dad who likes country music and talk radio? Why are strangers talking to you about your child’s eyes? Why do you get gifts in the mail from people you haven’t spoken with in years? What is it about a baby that inspires such an outpouring of generosity? Your child will bring out responses in others that will surprise you in ways I can’t describe. Watch and enjoy!
4. You’ll look at your mom differently.
I have a great, loving mom, but I didn’t truly understand how much she loved my siblings and me until I had a child. I know that she put up with more antics than any person should endure, but I chalked that up to fatigue. On the backside of having a kid, I appreciate her patience in ways I can’t explain. Then again, if you ask mom, maybe she’ll tell you that she really WAS tired. No matter, I still give her credit in ways I never did before!
5. You don’t really need all the new fangled stuff
Don’t get me wrong, I loved all of the baby products and assorted toddler gadgets, but when I look back and see what was most important to the kids, the clear winners were the classics. The classics are soft blankets, the cute “lovey,” and a necessary pacifier. Even the “new” swaddling blanket is just a revamped version of a regular blanket. Baby essentials eventually transition into the classic playthings: wood blocks, crayons, Lincoln logs, Legos, cars, and dolls. If the toy has been around for 50 years, it’s survived because it’s FUN. Buy those toys; they are all you need. If you doubt this advice, try bringing home a box for your kid to play in and see what happens!
6. The world feels bigger
Regardless of your child’s age, height, or education, when you have a child, the world will seem much too large for your little one. That’s why you hear parents refer to a twin-sized mattress as a “big bed.” What they are really saying is…”how did my kid grow so fast that a crib no longer contains him?” The shock continues when they get on the bus at age 6 (a yellow school bus feels HUGE), or behind the wheel of the car at 16. The truth is, when you bring home a baby, your world both shrinks AND grows.
7. Your “first born” doesn’t have to lose the top slot
Ever since “Lady & The Tramp,” I thought a baby would displace the dog. Rubbish. The “first born” wasn’t less loved, but loved by more. Of course, he never slept as soundly as before, but that’s not news to anyone.
8. There’s no such thing as “personal space”
I expected to lose my space when I had a newborn and was fully prepared for (and excited about) the snuggles of toddlers and young kids. What I didn’t realize was how I’d have constant companions under my favorite blanket. I didn’t understand that if I opened the laptop, a short person would soon fill my actual lap. Nose to nose, hands on my face, feet kicking under the table – the touching doesn’t stop. Make no mistake, I now believe “personal space” is over-rated, though I wish I had known this truth in advance. I would have purchased a larger afghan!
9. Naps are underrated
I’ve never considered myself a “napper,” but that’s because I was a fool. EVERYONE’s a napper! There are certain days where I would pay a thousand dollars to grab a little shuteye after lunch. We would do well to take a page from the wee ones.
10. You’ll Never Really Know “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.”
Read the blogs, check the books, get the fancy ultrasound, talk to your friends, but until you meet your kid, you’ll never really know what you’ve gotten yourself into. My mom always told me that God knew what he was doing when he gave us the ability to reflect back on our lives rather than see what was coming up ahead, because otherwise we might not leave our comfort zone. I couldn’t agree more.
What am I missing that isn’t usually shared?!