A List

Five things about motherhood that caught me off guard

  1. The love. Don’t get me wrong—I knew I would love my daughter, but this kind of unconditional love is unlike anything I have ever experienced before. She doesn’t just have my heart, she is my heart.
  2. The obsession with poop. Everybody poops, of course—but not until I became a mom did I ever concern myself with the color, texture, or regularity of another person’s poop.
  3. Sleep deprivation. I lost count of the number of people who attempted to warn me about sleep deprivation when I was pregnant. I thought I knew what I was getting myself into. I thought I understood that sleep would be in short supply. I was wrong. Take my expectation and multiply it by “Oh my dog, I can’t do this anymore.” And then do it some more. And that’s the level of sleep deprivation I’m talking about.
  4. The guilt. I wish I was better at tuning out this particular voice inside my head. I feel guilty for working. I feel guilty for being grateful for the ten minutes between when I get home from work on Mondays and when my mom drops her off at home. There’s guilt that her dinner was an afterthought of whatever I could find in the fridge. Guilt that I would rather wash the bottles at night sometimes than have play time with my daughter because I want to tune out for 15 minutes. Guilt guilt guilt. Constantly.
  5. Fear. I was scared when I was pregnant that something would happen and I would lose my baby. That fear does not compare to the fear of losing my baby girl now that she’s here. She’s awfully still in her crib—is she breathing? Oh my god—she just put that leaf in her mouth—do I call poison control? Is she eating enough? She hasn’t done (insert milestone here) yet—when do I worry?

What am I missing? What were you totally unprepared for?


18 thoughts on “A List

  1. It never stops. Our children are 12 and 13 and I some nights I still check to see if they are breathing. 😊

  2. Absolutely. With you all the way on all of those. I’ve always thought of it as an extremely FIERCE love. Protective, unconditional, and deeper than I could have ever imagined.

  3. I completely agree with all five! You totally nailed it. I’m trying to think of what else I would add. Probably the laughs. Evelyn is genuinely funny and makes me laugh every day. I never would’ve imagined I’d get so entertained by a kid.

  4. All five of yours for sure.

    I think I’d add the mess. I expected things to be generally untidy. I didn’t anticipate how much they get into every single crevice of my life. We routinely sleep with legos in our bed or find a shoe behind the toilet or rocks in the washing machine. It’s insane.

    It’s also in a weird way really comforting. It’s nice to see the evidence of them everywhere because some days it’s still sort of bizarre we’re parents at all. 🙂

    • Ugh, yes. The mess. And we only have one, and she doesn’t even move that much independently. Yet somehow I’m constantly picking pieces of sweet potato off of every surface (but we wipe her hands..?), and the amount of laundry we do has increased by about 500%. The mess. It’s killing me.

  5. I wasn’t prepared for the stages that come after the newborn stage to actually be harder than the newborn and early months. Charlie slept amazingly until the 4 month regression. She was so easy to please in the early months. I was gearing up for the early months to be the hardest.

  6. Totally agree. I would add how my perception of time is so much different and measured in such crazy ways. I’m enjoying the moment, but also missing him being a baby, but also thinking of how fun it will be when he walks and talks.

  7. All of the above.

    The love, the fear, the poop obsession…yes,yes, and yes.

    And really understanding the idea of loving someone so much you would go to prison for them. I mean if anyone ever harmed my child, I’m just saying I understand it now.

  8. All of those, for sure! And yes, nothing can possibly prepare you for the sleep deprivation – and if people’s warnings conveyed how awful if would be, there might be less children in the world.

    I was surprised by how quickly parenting changes, because of how quickly your baby changes – I thought that there would be a steep learning curve and then I’d be an expert mom (ha, as if). But I feel like J’s abilities and thus her needs shift so constantly, and I’m always having to learn and improvise – probably good for keeping things interesting, but somewhat unexpected.

  9. So so true! I don’t think I anticipated the tears! Not from the kids, but from us! I have never cried so much in my life as I have these last 20 months! From the moment they were born, these tears have basically not stopped. I cry when they are hurt, or when they do something amazing, or when I think about that moment when I heard one of them cry for the first time. It’s crazy! I didn’t expect being such a complete TOOL for my kids! Like, doing everything and anything to make them laugh! Jumping around in a sports bra, banging myself in the head with an inflatable baseball bat, going “Cock-a-doodle-doo” so that my kids crack up! Didn’t expect to love making a fool out of myself.

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