10 Things to Expect From Motherhood

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happy-family

As far as parenting journeys go, mine is still in its toddler stages, literally and metaphorically – three years and counting. I know I have many more years ahead of me, where I will undoubtedly learn more than I ever bargained for. However, even in three short years of imperfect parenting, these 10 truths keep coming back to me…

1. You will feel guilty. No matter what you choose to do – breastfeed or bottle feed, sleep train or not, go back to work or stay at home – you will feel guilty a lot of the time. You will question your choices, because other people will, whether out loud or in their minds, which will in turn, make you feel guilty. I’ve learned to accept my choices, whether they’re ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, they are the choices made for the good of my children, for our family. Guilt comes with the territory, I get that now.

2. You will get angry. Anger – a dangerous, terrible emotion, especially when it’s directed at your children, your spouse, and yourself. You will also find that you may get mad at complete strangers, such as that impatient driver who cut you off. Or the lady in front of you at the checkout counter at the grocery store, for moving too slowly. Personally, when I find myself on a short fuse, it’s because I’m tired. Fatigue does not do you favors. I can’t give you advice on how to squeeze in more down time or sleep, I can only tell you that you should.

3. You will feel incompetent. When I had Monkey, I felt like a bumbling idiot all the time, and half-expected someone to come knocking on my door to tell me to give my son back, because I was doing such a terrible job as his mother. Three years in, I know I’m not terrible. But I have moments of perceived incompetence. No matter how many pats on the back I give myself, I still feel this way.

4. You will get competitive. When you have friends and relatives who have children of the same age, forget trying to avoid competitiveness. Yes, you may say, but I don’t brag! However, you’re silently pleased when you find out your daughter walked way before your best friend’s son, or that your boy scored higher on his English test than your best friend’s child. It’s inevitable.

5. You will be resentful (sometimes.) If I said I don’t think about my time pre-children, and how carefree and fun it was then, I’d be lying. I’d also be lying if I said I am absolutely 100% not resentful. Sometimes, I am. I resent that I have little time to myself. I resent that I have barely slept since 2009. Sometimes. Just sometimes. I do not however, regret having children.

6. You will be joyful. I do not regret having children – how could I? Everyday, they make me joyful. Even through the challenges, there is much to be happy for. The smiles, the hugs, the hand holding, just being with each other, being family – pure joy.

7. You will be more appreciative. When you become a parent, you appreciate your parents more (hands up, if you’ve thought about calling your mom to apologize, and thank her) . You appreciate your spouse more. You appreciate yourself more. You appreciate the extra 10 minutes you get, any time of the day. You appreciate coffee a lot more. If you’re a parent, you’ll know what I mean.

8. You will be wiser. You will learn to pick your battles. You will learn when to give up, and when not to. You will learn that love is deep. You will learn that fears abound in every corner and there is nary you can do about it. You will learn that your heart is so much bigger than you thought possible. You will learn that you have it in you to fight for your children.

9. You will be humbled. Parenting is a truly humbling experience. I thought I knew it all, could do it all. I know now, that I don’t and I can’t, and it’s okay.

10. You will be loved. My children’s love is pure. When I look into their eyes, when they put their chubby hands around mine, all there is, is love. And that is all.

Comments

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  1. 1

    Kristen Mae says

    Yep. It’s all true. The weirdest part is the ‘incompetent’ feeling that coexists with the ‘wise’ feeling. It seems like they should be mutually exclusive, doesn’t it?

    =)

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  2. 3

    Theresa says

    Great list, I can relate to pretty much all of it. The resentful part is the hardest. The anger you might feel and the inability to show it for fear of appearing unmotherly and ungrateful for you family.

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  3. 5

    Southern Angel says

    My baby is now 13, my oldest has his own baby now and I still feel incompetent and guilty. Guilty that my oldest made a baby with a girl who was toxic to him and herself and this baby was the best thing about the whole relationship. Guilty because I had hoped to scare him away from sex without marriage and being tied to someone you can’t love. But the baby, is the one thing that saved my son’s life. When we lost my mom and his world seemed to just be falling in this child came when my son needed to be loved unconditionally, smiled at because he entered a room , and feel as if one thing in his life, though under less than ideal circumstances, has meant something. Guess what as a grandma none of the above goes away either.

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  4. 9

    Angela says

    The anger… I was already a short fuse, and then having a child, then getting pregnant 9 months later… and now pregnant with no. 3 when the first two are under 4 years old… I have found that when I feel like i’m getting snappish I’ll stop and just yell. AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH kind of thing. The kids think it’s hilarious and they’ll join in, and then all three of us are in the middle of the living room yelling, and then all the frustration turns to hilarity, because it’s so ridiculous.

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  5. 11

    Kristina says

    I can honestly say I have NEVER been resentful towards my child (15mths) at any time. There was a scene on HIMYM a few weeks ago where Lily was saying that sometimes she just wants to run away. I cant understand that. Maybe its because I had to work so hard to get pregnant in the first place. I dont know. But definitely I have a ton of resentment towards the hubby, mostly for not helping me around the house more or for not making enough money so I could stay home. But never once towards my son have I ever been resentful. Now guilt thats definitely another story…. guilt is the absolute worst part of parenthood. I cannot seem to escape it. I feel guilty over every choice we make. It causes me tons of anxiety and now I have panic attacks. So yeah… guilt is not my friend.

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    • 13

      Alison says

      Guilt is a heavy one for all of us. I hope you find a way to get around it – motherhood is hard enough!

      I’ve never been resentful towards my children – just my situation where I feel like I’m doing all the things and I don’t get time off etc. Never towards my kids.

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    • 15

      Lauren says

      Me too..I’ve learned to force it. Eventually, it will come naturally. I started doing it when I realized my kids were miserable too. It was a horrible day..everything was going wrong. Not just the day, but my entire life. So..I turned on some music..and we danced. We just danced and danced. For the first time, in a lonnng time, I fell in love with my kids. The joy in their eyes..the pure happiness. Even though it was just for a moment, I felt joy. And I was so appreciative for that and for them

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    • 16

      Alison says

      Maura, it’s not everyday that we find joy and appreciation – mothering is HARD. I hope you do though, by looking at all the small moments, by looking at the children who you love deeply.

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  6. 19

    rutimizrachi says

    This is really wonderful! My “baby” is 18… so I could add a ton of stuff. But I’d rather wait and see how you write it in a few short years. (Yeah — I know it’s more than a decade. But it is amazing how fast it goes. And how wise you get.)

    Keep writing. You are a pleasure to read.

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  7. 28

    Falon says

    So true! I think I feel all 10 of these every single day at some point in the day. But my kids love me nonetheless (for now). They have the rest of their lives to figure out how badly I messed them up.

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  8. 32

    Crystal says

    This is such a great post and so true. It’s been 22 years since I slept like a normal human being. No matter their age, they are always your babies. And always keep you on your toes!

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  9. 38

    Jenni P. says

    Oohh… Numbers 3, 4, and 5 fit me.perfectly! Incompetent, yes. My first and only baby thus far will turn 6 months old in a few days. When I was planning to return to work, I picked out breastpump. My insurance company would pay for the PISA but I had to choose whether I wanted the tote or the backpack. I stood at the store for at least 15 minutes like a drooling idiot and couldn’t decide. It’s not a life-altering decision. Same with sippy cups yesterday. I was trying to pick one out in the store and there are literally hundreds of styles. Again, not a life-altering decision. So, just as I was about to cry for an adult another mom came over and gave me some great advice. I can make major decisions okay, but smaller ones? Forget it.

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  10. 42

    Amanda Martin says

    I so needed this today, thank you! I think I ticked off all of these: guilt, anger, incompetence, resentfulness and joy and love and some of the others too. The thing that amazes me is how rage and love can coexist. I can be nutty-mad at my children for absolutely nothing just because I’ve had three hours’ sleep in a week and then the youngest (2) will come and pat me on the arm when I’m sobbing with guilt and frustration because I yelled, and everything is okay again. I’ll never know how kids and parents survive the first five years though!

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