1. Everyone is a fabulous mother until they actually become a mother. We all go into motherhood with grand ideas and intentions. Roughly 86% of those ideas and intentions go out the window within the first year of actual motherhood.
2. You will do many, many, many things as a mother that you swore you would never, ever do as a mother. It’s just a given.
3. You will also, despite your greatest efforts, at least occasionally hear your own mother’s voice coming out of your mouth. It’s true. It’s a total mind fuck.
4. Your kids will do many things that you never imagined that anyone who came from you could or would do. They will embarrass you, frustrate you, scare the crap out of you, and completely confound you.
5. Kids are brutally honest. Try not to let them see you naked, because they will point and laugh.
6. On the other hand, kids are incredibly accepting. They accept us, their parents, warts, wrinkles, bad hair, and all. They really do believe that we are superheroes.
7. It’s really true, that saying: “The days are long, but the years are short.” We get so weighed down by surviving the day-to-day, and suddenly we notice that our babies are now taller than us, and they have weird hair growth, and we pine for the “easy” days when they were little.
8. You have very little to do with the sort of kid you get. They are born pretty much with their temperaments already hardwired. Try not to be too smug about having an “easy” child, because it’s no more your doing than a “difficult” child is. It’s a crap shoot. Any mother with more than one child can attest to this.
9. The only thing about which you can legitimately claim expertise or superior insight is your own children – not anyone else’s children.
10. Most of us are just trying to raise little savages into civilized, decent, well-adjusted adults. There is no one right path to that goal. Choices of another mother that differ from the choices you would make should not be taken as a condemnation of your choices; it’s unlikely they have anything at all to do with you.
11. Nobody cares as much as you do, or is as impressed as you are by your kids’ accomplishments. Hard to believe, I know, but it’s true.
12. Every mother’s worst enemy is other mothers, second only to herself. We mothers are so damn hard on ourselves and on each other and it sucks the joy out of motherhood. We’re so caught up in worrying about not doing it right, not measuring up, not having the best kids, not presenting the best life possible to the world – we’re so filled with guilt and anxiety, that we’ve forgotten how to be kind to ourselves and to each other. We try to make ourselves feel better by pointing fingers at other moms – moms who, in truth, are probably no better or worse at parenting than we are, and who are likely just as stressed out, worried, and guilt-ridden as we are.
13. Nobody really has parenthood figured out. That’s why there are so many parenting books out there, with new ones being written and published every week. That’s why parenting trends change every half-decade or so. The joke’s on us, because we keep buying the books and buying into whatever new “method” comes along, hoping to get it right. There is no getting it right – or rather, there is no one single way of getting it right.
14. We are all screwing our kids up in some way. All of us. Yes, even you. There is not a parent alive or dead who never fucked up with their kids. Every single kid will eventually blame their parents – rightfully – for baggage they carry around in their heads and hearts. That said, kids and people are pretty resilient. It’s unlikely that whatever mistakes you’re making with your kids – provided they’re of the garden-variety, non-abusive sort – will result in a psychopathic adult.
15. There is no point at which you get to heave a huge sigh of relief, knowing you did your job as a mother well. There is no end to this job. No matter how big they get, no matter how closely they resemble adults, they will in some way always be babies in your heart. You will never stop worrying about them or wanting the world to be a better place for them.