12 Things that Surprised Me About Being a Mom

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As a single woman for a decade or two– and then as a married woman without kids for awhile– I didn’t know what to expect when I became a mom.

Would I enjoy it?

 

Would I do a good job?

 

Would I feel happy… or constrained and burdened all the time?

 

When the little guy made his appearance, the first weeks after becoming a mom certainly weren’t super-easy… and though it got easier and easier, I wouldn’t describe it as having been a walk in the park.

 

But the little guy sure is wonderful, and although mommy-hood comes with it’s ups and downs (including lots of crankiness and strong-willedness of course) the last few years have been overall very sweet, fun, and fulfilling– I’m so pumped about being a mom!

 

I’ve also learned and grown A LOT (I think).

 

Now that Clayton is a 2 1/2 year old, I’d like to reflect on some of the things that were surprising to me about mother-hood so far.  There are plenty more surprising things to me (maybe I’m naive?), but I’ll limit them to the top 10 and share more another time. 🙂

 

By the way, this list doesn’t necessarily reflect the opinions or experiences of all moms–we are all different, and our personalities, situations, and kids are all very different– so if you are a mom, don’t worry if some of these things don’t seem to be true in your life.

Different is good.

 

I hope, though, that you’ll find the following thoughts at least quite entertaining and at most, enlightening–whether you are a mom or not 🙂

(PS.  The resources in the Parenting Ultimate Bundle have really been helping me with some parenting questions I’ve had lately, such as how best to discipline him in a way that helps us connect, and where to find great ideas for fun activities that help him learn.  Check it out by clicking the image below!)

12 Things that Surprised Me About Being a Mom:

 

1. Your schedule truly becomes wrapped around your child’s nap schedule… if you know what’s good for you.

 

If nap time is near, that proposed lunch date with the gals might not work.  And if it’s time to get those pj’s on, I often feel I’d better leave before my child “turns into a pumpkin”.

This schedule isn’t always a burden, though.  Quite often nap time can feel like recess and bed-time a treasured quiet at the end of the day…  If you are an introvert like me, it can be a good excuse to say good-bye to guests and get a nice time of rejuvenation rather than socializing past your tipping point.

 

 2. You never thought you’d be one of “those moms” who uses their kids’ photos as their Facebook profile pictures, background pictures…and all your Facebook pictures for that matter… but now you are.

 

The reason, though, is that you can’t seem to find any pictures of yourself on your camera anymore–and you truly are enthralled with your little one’s cuteness, thinking people would rather see them than you anyways…

(I’ll try not to do potty-training reports on Facebook, though, and maybe I’ll find a pic of me to post one of these days) 🙂

 

3.  I used to think drumming on pots and pans and other kids noises would be super-annoying.  Now I’m just pleased the little guy is having fun (and impressed with his skills.)

Much better than the whining or crying that might happen if he is bored.  I’ll take the drums anytime.  (And it’s actually pretty cute!)

 

4. Little kids really don’t have to cost an arm and a leg… if you make garage sales and thrift stores your best friends.

 

Along with breast-feeding and cloth diapers and the myriad of free ways a little one is happy to be entertained (pots and pans and the free Buy-and -Sell tractor catalog, anyone?), you don’t necessarily have to make a big dent in your savings to raise a young child…although Toys R’ Us might convince us otherwise.

(I do have to admit, though, that I think Clayton has FAR more toys than he needs…  such as gifts from others and thrift store deals, so he’s certainly not lacking for stuff.  We probably should do some ‘weeding’.)

I know that for different reasons you might not be able to, or want to, follow the above practices–so no judgement– but I’m grateful that they have worked for me so far.

 

5. There really are some babies (and toddlers) who will cry agonizingly (like nails on the chalk board + heart-wrenching sorrow) for great lengths of time if you don’t pick them up and keep them in your arms  … all …the…time.

 

I think that’s one of the reasons why moms in many countries wear their babies on their backs (among other reasons)… and sleep with them in the same bed… as well as many other child-rearing practices I’ve come to appreciate. (If bed-sharing interests you, be sure to read these safety tips first.)

We just want some peace and quiet in the day, and a good sleep at night! Plus it’s nice to know the little one feels safe and secure.

 

6. Though I still don’t love doing them, dishes can actually be a welcome reprieve while someone else takes care of the little one–especially during babyhood.

 

I never thought that would be true.  Also– speaking of cleaning– even if you’ve never been a neat freak, you start to really notice the mess when a little one adds to it.  I’m finding if I ignore my own messes too long, they will really get under my skin, but if I try to deal with them as soon as possible, I feel much better. Who knew? (Still need to keep practicing this one, though.)

 

 7. Parenthood can bring out all of the weaknesses that so far you’ve managed to hide so well.

 

That temper, that messiness, that screen-addiction, that impatience.  Now you’ve got to deal with these vices if you want to really enjoy life as a mom–and if you want your children to, as well.

Fortunately, this is exactly as it should be as God works on us and helps us turn to Him for answers and helps us with the changing.

The cool things is, kids can actually help us change and grow. Clayton has helped me, for example, to be more open and confident in a group as he takes over with his smiles.

 

8. People who never would have batted an eye at you while passing on the street, now are all smiles and goofiness–you’ve never seen this side of strangers before.

 

Even big, tough men give little (or big) smiles at your little one as you pass them–kinda strange, yet kinda nice.

 

9. It’s surprising, at first, as your little ones learn to crawl, and then walk, and then run, how much you have to constantly keep your eyes on them. 

 

This seemed at first like it would be very wearying, but pretty soon my brain seemed to re-wire itself so that it became a habit and it wasn’t so hard to have “eagle eyes”.

Same goes for diapers.  At the beginning I was filled with fear at how many of these I’d need to change, but now it’s just become habit and is not so bad…although potty-training doesn’t sound like a bad idea soon… 🙂

 

10.  I never thought I’d get excited while being held up by construction vehicles and tractors or by a passing train–but now my child’s excitement is my excitement.

 

I used to feel sorry for parents who had to watch their kids at a kiddie park or similar place, rather than go off on their own to do the really fun stuff. But I now get that it’s actually fun to watch your child in awe of the world around him, learning new things, and attempting new tasks.  It’s super-entertaining to see their enthusiasm and hear their funny words.

Even my longing for travel just doesn’t seem to be  as strong at the moment.

Perhaps my son is adventure and entertainment enough for me at this time in life, or perhaps I just don’t want to spend an arm and a leg to go somewhere that he won’t remember (and we’d have to plan around his nap times, too), but I feel perfectly content to stay where I am for the most part.   I know that will change and we’ll hopefully get some trips under a belt in a few years, but for now, no problem!

 

11.  Independence is over-rated.

I now see what the phrase means, “It takes a village to raise a child.”  And although I had never been one of those people who gravitated towards babies, I sure appreciate those people now!

In the first few days of babyhood, it became very apparent that I needed people around more than I thought I did–if only to hep me maintain my sanity on days when the little guy just wanted to cry and be held and I didn’t have much sleep.

When different people pitched in to let me have said sleep, as well as to entertain the baby or even do some dishes sometimes (even though now I was a bit more happy to do them), they were my heroes!  It’s also good to have empathetic women with whom to share mom-stories and share tips with (sometimes) .

No mom is an expert in everything; we can all help each other out.

 

12. While I’d been happy to get in discussions about parenting issues before having kids, now those can be sensitive topics.

 

No one wants to be told they are doing everything wrong (or even some things). We all love our kids and want them to know they are loved and for them to turn out right.

When someone verbalizes their opinion on a parenting topic I hold dear, it can be very hard not to either share my own opinions (too much) or to just feel hurt, if it was advice.  So I’m learning at times to just nod, and say, “Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll think about it.”

Then I try to take the issue to God in prayer, asking him to give me wisdom and guidance about whether there is some truth in the advice.  And then I can adjust if needed or stay the course.

I think if we each pray for God’s help to be the moms He wants us to be…

….keep being willing to learn new things and apply them…

….keep following our intuition about what’s best for our child…

…and keep giving ourselves and our children lots of grace when we fail…

…we are going to do fine. 

 

Mommyhood certainly has it’s challenges, but I believe we can do it, Moms–and even greatly enjoy it–with God’s help.  

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So that’s my list for now.  Hope you enjoyed it.  

If you’ve been scared off parenting, I don’t think you really need to be–the good far outweighs the bad, and the “bad” is good for character-building (in yourself), if you let it. So it’s actually all good 🙂

 

How about you?

If you are a mom, what surprised you about parenting?  Write your thoughts below in the comments.  I’d love to hear about them!

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