This piece of mine originally appeared on Her View From Home.
Before I became a mommy, I had pieced together in my mind this awe-inspiring portrait of what motherhood looked like. You know – prancing around my organized and spotless kitchen in my monogrammed apron surrounded by taste-bud tantalizing aromas, excited giggles, and pitter-patter of little, darling feet. But then my “best friend,” reality, came out of hiding and punched me square in my face. The only aromas this mommy smells are of day old poopy diapers and mysterious Tupperware food buried behind the five-year-old condiments in my refrigerator. The day reality came knocking is one I will never forget—my firstborn’s official debut on earth. This was the beginning of my mommy enlightenment where I learned five hard truths about motherhood you don’t understand until you’re a mom.
1. Moms don’t have to sleep to survive. Really. I mean NEVER.
It quite possibly might be a phenomenon. I probably had ten hours of sleep that first week, yet somehow I changed roughly seventy diapers (yes, you read that right!), nursed my little sweetie an average of ten times a day (he loved his milk), and even kept myself dressed and fed and the house sort of clean (alright, that part is actually thanks to my mom). But nonetheless, it was nothing short of a miracle.
2. Colic is no myth.
It really is a sneaky little booger. Colic comes on quickly and seemingly out of nowhere. The first few days after my son was born, he seemed like a content, “easy” baby. My husband even commented on how good he was on our ride home from the hospital. Clears throat. We spoke too soon. Once we arrived home, my poor mini man decided he was not happy anymore. He proceeded to cry for the next nine months. Straight. If he wasn’t nursing, he was crying. After numerous doctor visits, months of sobbing and mental breakdowns (me, of course), we determined nothing was physically wrong with him. He was just plain ole colicky. Nothing tests the sanity of a new mother like colic does.
3. Parents will do anything to get their babies to sleep.
I think if someone had told me that my baby would fall asleep if I hopped up-and-down on one foot through the mall singing the national anthem with a bra on my head, I might have actually considered it. My son was not a fan of naps. In fact, I was lucky if he napped for twenty minutes. I kid you not (see number 2). But I remember well the day I discovered how to get my son to take a long nap. On this particular day, I happened to place him in his swing while I vacuumed the living room. Surprisingly, it didn’t take long for him to drift off sound asleep, but as quickly as he fell asleep, he awoke just as abruptly when I turned the vacuum off. Having learned my lesson, the next time I vacuumed, I made the strategic decision to leave the vacuum running after I was done vacuuming so that I could complete a few other chores around the house. Miraculously he slept the longest he had ever slept during a naptime, leaving me feeling relieved and accomplished. Needless to say, the swing and vacuum cleaner became my new best friends!
4. All those books I read in preparation for motherhood meant nothing.
Being the perfectionist I am, I thought I was completely prepared for every scenario that motherhood could bring my way. I had read and studied and knew what I would do and what I would never do with my baby. Be careful what you say because sure enough those words will come back around to haunt you! Every baby is different. What worked for my firstborn didn’t always work with my second or third and vice versa. In fact, my firstborn decided he wanted to be one of a kind and always did the opposite of what the books said he would do. When it comes down to it, they all have minds of their own.
5. Sometimes all you can do is hide in the bathroom and eat Reese’s.
Last but not least, this is the golden nugget of hard truths. When your potty-training toddler is making snow angels in his poop on your kitchen floor (true story), your pre-schooler is running through the house with his underwear on his head and your panties around his neck shouting, “Charge!” and your baby refuses to fall asleep, all you can do is grab your favorite treat and hide. Okay . . . so you probably shouldn’t leave your crazed children unattended, but by all means, when your husband gets home, grab those Reese’s peanut butter cups and get out of dodge! Trust me. You deserve it!
Motherhood is a wild rollercoaster with plenty of ups-and-downs and topsy-turvies. When you think you have it all figured out, another gut-dropping twist will come. You can guarantee it. But with all the insanity, there will also be mounds of hugs and kisses, extraordinary love, incomparable joy, and, without a doubt, lots of Reese’s.