10 Mama Truths We Wish We'd Known Before Kids
You, strolling under gorgeous spring skies, Americano in hand, blissfully babbling baby in your spotless stroller, feeling totally, one hundred percent, like never before in. the. moment.
Yes, folks, like every other part of this ride -- varicose veins! stretch marks! crazy vivid nightmares! forceps! -- there are many, many parts of motherhood that seem to be kept in the closet.
It's like we're all afraid if we talk about the truths of motherhood, none of our friends will ever have babies and we'll be forever alone in earnestly discussing the bowel movements of another human, with no one to click "like" on yet another Saturday boomerang of little Eloise on the same slide at the park.
What if we blew the lid off all this insta-worthy parenting?
What if we just admitted: this sh*t is hard. And it's not always fun. And it's often thankless.
We'd still be in the trenches of the hardest, but best, work we will ever do. But at least we wouldn't be surprised.
In the name of transparency and real-ness, we're sharing 10 truths about mama hood we wish someone had told us before we had kids.
You know, so we could get a couple of dogs instead.
JK JK JK. Anyway, here they are, in no particular order.
10 Mama Truths Every Woman Should Know Before Kids
1. Babies cry, like, all day long.
When you see a new mama out with her infant dozing in the stroller or carrier, chances are they've been lulled into silence by movement and distraction. These moments are rare and these women probably walk a lot. Get ready to walk a lot. Babies cry pretty much any time they need anything, which is -- oh -- every single moment they're not asleep. Is it colic? Probably not. Teething? Maybe. Bad sleep schedule? Who knows! The key point here is: they all cry a lot, for various reasons. Find the strategy that works for you -- stroller walks, nursing to comfort them, music, and probably a combination of all these. Don't panic every time that baby cries. 9 out of 10 babies agree, adjusting to the world is hard and crying helps relieve stress.
2. The only person crying more than your baby is you.
While your baby is trying to adjust to its new earthly home, you're trying to adjust to being responsible for not killing another human. It's a lot of responsibility. This responsibility doesn't stop for the rest of your life, which is daunting and riddled with inner turmoil. Whether it's your first night out after they're born, the first day of daycare, the first time they walk to school by themselves -- take your pick -- motherhood is full of conflicting emotions. One of these emotions is grief. From your very flesh a human is born who is 100% reliant on you for its every need and 100% devoted to you in its every motivation. That human will spend the next 20 years or so weaning, first physically, then emotionally from you. You will cry. Let the tears fall and know a billion mamas before you have cried as well.
3. Cooking is no longer a "hobby."
Someone in your house is going to have to feed that kid. While reruns of "Chopped" and tasting menus at local hotspots might have described your pre-kid culinary world, things are about to get a lot more, what's the word?...efficient. Yes, mamas, welcome to your Costco years, when you actually consider moving house simply to maximize your toilet paper + ketchup storage space. Food has got to be planned, and it's got to be budget-friendly and nutritious. Unless you've got a polygamist sisterhood to help you batch cook, you're going to find planning and prepping foods in advance takes a huge load off during the busy weekdays.
4. Inside you is a very angry woman.
Whether you've always had a temper or tended to be more of a milquetoast, you're about to get acquainted with your inner rage monster. Another kid hit your kid at recess? RAGE. Partner snoring? RAGE. Mother in law commenting on your disciplinary style? RAGE. The baby cries all the time, your low back is killing you, you haven't been out of the house in a week and you're super hormonal. That energy has gotta go somewhere. Flying off the handle is your new specialty. Scary level: Kathy Bates in Misery. We promise, it starts intense and tapers off as you grow into motherhood (and out of those postpartum hormones).
5. You're not gone. You're just on sabbatical.
You're initiated into the greatest secret society that ever was: motherhood. It's the most special, and overwhelming, mantle you'll ever wear. If you always defined yourself as a yoga-loving travel maven who sucks back martinis like Don Draper, it can be a bit difficult to find yourself in your new routine. That woman in the mirror with her big boobs and wild mood swings might feel like a stranger. Rest assured: the "old" you is still in there, and your new mama self + pre-kid self will harmonize into the most awesome version of you. You 2.0. Wiser, calmer and full of tips to clean vomit out of things. Honour both your mama and your "non-mama" sides. You're more than "just" a mama.
6. Six weeks is not even the tip of the iceberg.
6 weeks and you'll be back to your Tuesday morning running squad, right? NOPE. Science is (finally) moving in the right direction when it comes to women's postpartum health and we now know the body takes much, much longer than 6 weeks to recover from pregnancy + childbirth. Six weeks might be enough for your OB to sign off on your cesarean wound or feel comfortable sending you on your way with no obvious signs of trauma or infection. Six weeks is not a green light to return to pre-pregnancy activities and it's definitely not a timeline in which to expect weight loss, healing of your pelvic floor, or even emotional wellness. Find a tribe of mamas to talk to so you can understand how individual postpartum healing is, a pelvic physiotherapist to ensure your internal healing is coming along, and a qualified trainer or instructor to help you get back on the path to movement without long term damage.
7. You won't always feel like an achey old lady.
Pregnancy can be a very sedentary time with lots of sitting, or perhaps even bedrest in a worst case scenario. Many healthy expecting mamas might feel nervous to exercise and decrease their ordinary activity levels voluntarily. Then, vaginal or cesarean recovery plus a demanding baby can mean a lot of sitting and resting after birth. This inactivity coupled with the body's normal changes in pregnancy + postpartum can make a prime breeding ground for stiff joints and tissues. Your body works ultra fast to grow and soften in pregnancy, then attempts to re-program your cells to their ordinary not-pregnant shape over the couple of years following childbirth. Give yourself time. Choose movements that feel loose and nourishing, like walking, bodyweight exercises, yoga and dance. Listen to your body and avoid exercise that causes you joint or muscular pain. And if we didn't say it before (spoiler: we did) -- get yourself under the guidance of a qualified physiotherapist and/or trainer. Stiffness is common but shouldn't be debilitating and should generally be improving as you progress in postpartum.
8. You need some new friends.
Sorry to break it to you. Your old, non-mama friends will like your baby pictures on Facebook and be so glad to see you at girls' night, if you can make it. They won't be able to spend 2 solid hours over coffee discussing the merits of cloth diapering. Even once mat leave is over and you're "back to normal," you'll soon realize your new normal is drinks at 5PM, bed at 8:30PM. Simply staying awake for your 9PM dinner reservation becomes a cruel form of torture. Stay connected with your non-mama crowd and treasure those friendships, but put real energy into making some mama friends who are in a similar stage as you. They'll be up for dinner at 4:30 and actually know what you mean when you refer to "Sophie."
9. Night waking lasts forever.
OK, maybe not forever. We're pretty sure most grandmas would agree that once your kiddos move out of the house, you sleep like the dead for a few years, then menopause kicks in and you can't sleep again. 🤷🏽♀️ But if you're in those trenches of motherhood, between 0-5 years, expect to be woken every. single. night. Then, if you do sleep through the night it's like finding a $20 in that coat from last fall. #WINNING Seriously, whether you sleep train or not, you've got growth spurts. Viruses. Nightmares. Bedwetting. Stalling. One more drink. One more drink. Mama can I sleep with you. One more drink. I have to go poo. Just know your sleep will be interrupted much longer than just those first few newborn months, steal a nap when you can and listen to your poor, tired body when it needs to rest.
10. You're the best mama ever.
Listen, we're all going to make mistakes.
You're going to forget things. You're going to lose your temper from time to time. You're going to do things you regret.
You're going to be the best thing that ever happens to your child. Take care of yourself so you can be the happiest, healthiest person you can be.
You'll become the best mama you can be in the process.