So. You saw two pink lines. Congratulations! Welcome to The Order of Motherhood. Sit down. There are some things you should know. Things you’ll never read in any baby book or hear from your OB.
Let us begin. Here are the secrets of motherhood:
1. You no longer have a bra size. You have a bra range. The size of your ladies will change so often that by the time your baby is crawling you could probably pick a bra off of a rack blindfolded and have it fit perfectly for at least five minutes during the day. Between nursing and pregnancy weight gain/loss, some moms have resorted to 24/7 sports bras.
2. Children never appear sick when they’re in the doctor’s office. You wouldn’t know from his cheery disposition that little Sean was coughing his guts up all night long. Yes, the same child who is currently sitting on the doctor’s office protective paper, happily singing the theme song to Wonderpets, was coughing as if he’d been smoking for 30 years.
His mother called the pediatrician’s office first thing in the morning and was thrilled to get an emergency appointment. Now she’s standing in front of a doctor who thinks she’s lost her mind. Surely the child is fine. He gives her a “you have a wild imagination, don’t you?” smile of pity and makes a note in Sean’s file: “FYI Crazy Mom.”
Sean is fine. Until tonight, anyway.
3. Never, ever, EVER speak your parenting victories into the air. Don’t even post them as a status update. “Melissa is finally sleeping through the night!” “I can’t believe Jonah is finally potty trained!”
Children are enemies of progress. What you accomplish, they seek to destroy. This is not because they’re bad, it’s just who they are. Your kids may not be on Facebook or hear the words you smugly utter aloud to a friend over coffee but they are highly intuitive.
Today Jonah’s mom is buying big boy undies by the caseload on Amazon Prime. By tomorrow, Jonah will be back to pooping his pants. He will do it in public. Jonah’s mother will not have a change of clothes because why would she need one? He’s potty trained after all.
Rule #3 of Parenting states that you never celebrate a victory unless you want it reclaimed.
4. If your first child is an angel, it’s not because you’re an amazing parent. Easy kids are how nature tricks us into reproducing a second time. This will be difficult for some to hear, but I’m pretty sure this is how it goes down in heaven.
Angel #1: Ok, the Thompsons are ready for a baby. Who do we have available?
Angel #2: *checking notepad* Billy is up for an earthly experience. Let’s send him.
Angel #1: What’s his personality like?
Angel #2: *reading notepad* Crazy, likes to break items, not the best listener, known to slap, but still very sweet in his own special way. Nicknames include El Diablo and Hurricane.
Angel #1: Do you have anyone else?
Angel #2: Noah. Compliant, reasonable. likes to please.
Angel #1: Send Noah first. Then follow up with Billy two years later.
Angel #2: Right on it, boss!
Go to any playground and you’ll see an older boy or girl standing by their parent watching the younger version of them, the hellion, going buckwild in the sand.
It’s unfair to label children “good” and “bad.” We prefer “low-maintenance” and “spirited.” “Mature” and “Full of character.” Yes these are starting to resemble descriptions for wine which, coincidentally, is the recommended treatment for those on their second child.
If you’re currently on your “easy-going” child, don’t start writing that parenting guide just yet. Have another.
5. The more complicated and beautiful a meal, the more likely your children will hate it. Go ahead and spend all day making that homemade organic chicken broth for a hearty vegetable soup. Pour your soul into an authentic Italian lasagna with basil from your own garden. Bless your family with sundried tomato pasta with a creamy garlic sauce.
Just try not to cry when you see it on the floor.
Are you familiar with the whole “deconstructed menu” movement? The trend was made popular by Spanish chef Ferran Adrià. One simply reduces a dish down to its base elements, puts them on a toddler plate and charges $150 a course. Adrià must have consulted with a team of toddlers because this form of haute cuisine is beloved by small children.
One day mathematicians will discover the exact inverse function that children use to determine how loudly they need to cry at dinner time based on how much care was put into their food.
6. The fastest way to get pregnant is to sell, throw out, or give away all of your most expensive baby gear. It doesn’t matter if you’re on birth control or not. Once you sell that $120 cosleeper on Craigslist, you will fall pregnant before you finish counting your $20s.
Science has explained this by noting that baby gear, especially the big ticket items, create a protective force field around a woman’s uterus. Each time a garbage bag of onesies or Boppy pillow is removed from the premises*, the force field becomes weaker until the woman is entirely unprotected.
It doesn’t matter if you can’t remember the last time you “did the deed.” A single sperm from years ago that is waiting, lurking and if given the chance will seize the moment and impregnate you.
You’ll then be forced to either re-buy everything you just got rid of or beg for loaners from friends.
*Sending your youngest child off to kindergarten has a similar effect.
7. Pinterest is our common enemy. We as a community of mothers may disagree about a lot but our #1 source of intermother angst can be sourced back to Pinterest.
Multi-colored rock and cotton ball sensory tables. Birthday marshmallow pretzel Jello cupcakes. Fondant in the shape of the entire cast of Frozen. Ombre cookies. “How to Turn Fallen Branches In Your Background into Shelving For Your Child’s Bedroom” posts. This website is destroying us from the inside.
Pinterest has one simple message for mothers: You’re not doing nearly as much as you should. It snuck into our lives masquerading as a useful resource. It hypnotized us with images of brownies baked on top of Reeses cups and then blindsided us with a list of crafts we will never complete. We need to destroy it. With fire.
Now you know the secrets of motherhood! Happy birthing (LOL) and welcome to the club.