I recently had my fifth child and no matter how many times I experience motherhood, I continue to be amazed. I stand in awe of the creation of babies and what the woman’s body does to birth these children. It’s amazing to watch a mother lay down her life daily for another soul.
However, I also am amazed at the overwhelming feeling and craziness of being a mother. It’s beyond hard and it will rock you to the core. There are days you become some kind of possessed mom you never envisioned. You’ll begin to understand Thelma and Louise driving off the cliff. (No, I’ve never been there, but I totally get it.)
So let me save you some trouble and share a few things I’ve learned about motherhood…
1. This is the most amazing and hardest thing you will ever do.
You’ll question yourself and your abilities for the rest of your life. You will encounter moms who make it look easy and seem to have it all together. The truth is, they don’t. They too have lost it and I bet they have yelled too. We have all done it!
2. You will feel so incredibly busy, but at the end of the day you can’t see a thing you have done.
It’s called keeping everyone alive. You might not clean, do laundry, pay bills or even shower, but you sustained life today.
3. Your hormones are Satan’s sidekick.
They will leave you feeling so joyful and happy at your new role as a mommy and then, in an instant, you’ll be crying because you can’t arrange flowers correctly in the vase (this literally happened yesterday). Pray that you have an amazing husband who can put up, I mean deal with this.
4. You will get back in your clothes eventually.
Well, maybe not all of them. This takes so much time and effort for the average person. Let’s just be honest, you’ll spend more time than you’d like to admit in maternity clothes. It’s great that movie stars can return to their size 2 pants in a month, but that’s not reality. Your body shifts so much that even if you get to your pre-pregnancy weight, things may not fit anymore. Plus, you’ll find some of your pre-mommy clothes aren’t good for the mom life. You’ll be squatting and bending over a lot. You make that judgement call, but no one wants to see your goods.
5. Your identity is no longer yours.
You will be referred to as _____’s mom from now on. At some point, you will have to re-find yourself because you can get so lost in the mommy world. It’s okay if you can’t do all of the things you did before motherhood, but you have to find something that is yours and yours alone. Please do this before you start wearing mom jeans and totally lose yourself.
6. You will become the best multitasker known to man.
Now you may have been fairly good at this prior to children, but you will achieve new heights with motherhood. You will maneuver obstacles like feeding a newborn while wiping a toddler’s bottom on the toilet. You’re probably still chewing your lunch while doing this too. You’ll be able to straddle a child over a public toilet while disciplining another and holding the diaper bag. It’s really amazing the tricks you’ll be able to perform. Notice most of these ‘tricks’ occur in a bathroom.
7. Since we’re on the bathroom issue, your life revolves around it.
You’ll wipe more bottoms and see more varieties of poop than you could ever dream. The look of your child’s poop can tell you a lot, so use it as your diagnostic tool. Embrace the poop.
Recently a kid at soccer got a bloody nose and a baby wipe got every bit of it out of his white jersey. I was like an info commercial for baby wipes. I use them for everything. Snot on the couch, baby wipe. Child covered in markers, baby wipe. Pen marks on wall, baby wipe. You get the picture. Never leave home without them.
9. Speaking of packing, you’ll never have just an overnight bag.
You’ll have several bags full of enough clothes for a month, diapers/wipes, toys and first aid kits with medicine for every illness ever known. Don’t forget the highchair, pack & play, bouncy seat, potty seat and on and on. And good grief, if you go to the beach … sunscreen for days, hats, towels, beach toys, bathing suits, swimmy diapers, floatation devices. Go ahead and pull out the biggest bags you can find. You’ll need them.
10. Your memory will make its exit along with the baby.
If you remember to pick all your children up in different carpools, then you are scoring major points. One doctor told me you lose 25% of your memory with each child. I just had my 5th. You do the math. I can’t remember how.
11. You will never complete a sentence or thought.
This is partly due to #10 but the massive amount of interruptions you’ll endure will be unfathomable. In the event that you get to enjoy an hour with another adult without children, you will be amazed at how much you can discuss and learn. Of course, you will walk away from this event not recalling a thing, but it was fun while it lasted.
12. You will sleep eventually.
Depending on the child, it may not be for a long time. We have experienced horrible sleepers and amazing sleepers in our house. Here’s a little tip: if you have a good sleeper, keep it quiet to the friend who has a non-sleeper. Nobody wants to hear about the full night of rest you got.
13. You will never please everyone.
You really should have already learned this, but if you haven’t … motherhood to the rescue! No matter what decisions you make about how to parent, someone is not going to be happy about it. When you’re pregnant, you gain too much weight or you’re too small. When you deliver a baby, you chose natural in a birthing center instead of a sterile hospital. When you adopt, you decided on domestic over international. When you nourish your baby, you used formula instead of breast milk. And that’s just the beginning. You haven’t even left the hospital or birthing center yet (I really don’t care which you chose).
So, new mama, these realities may hit you right in the face and if they don’t, give it time. Motherhood can be stressful, overwhelming and utterly exhausting. It will reveal your strengths and weaknesses. It will reveal your true intentions and desires. It will reveal your selfishness you never knew existed. It will reveal every morsel of your inner being. It will test your marriage.
And the most intriguing reality of motherhood?
It’s all worth it. Every. Bit. Of. It.
God has given you the biggest job ever. Andy Stanley said, “Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do but someone you raise.” After being a mom for 11 years, I am just now starting to understand and agree with this statement. It’s hard to see it among the dirty diapers, endless laundry and bloodshot eyes of fatigue. But trust me, you will see it and it is absolute truth.
So, hang in there new mama. Better days are ahead.
Missey Calcutt is a follower of Jesus and wife to her best friend for 15 years. Together they have five amazing children ages 11, 8, 5, 3 and 2 months. Born and raised in Columbia, she earned a BA in Speech Language Pathology from Columbia College. She then attended USC where she earned a Master’s Degree in Speech Language Pathology. After working in a variety of settings for several years, she became a stay-at-home mom to her growing family. Now, she juggles hectic schedules, carpool lines and nonstop meal preparation. She loves spending time with her family, reading Christian books, getting back to her passion for writing and exercising with her Crossfit family.