We are all familiar with the typical stereotypes of being a mother, especially a new one. Among other things, mothers are known for being exhausted, minivan driving, yoga pant wearing “mombies” who run on cold cups of coffee during the day, and a little too much wine in the evening. With a grand total of thirteen months of experience, I’ve realize that a lot of these cliche descriptions are true. I am tired today, I was tired yesterday, and I will likely be tired tomorrow. With a little post-baby fluff and a lot of bending, I have developed a not so secret love affair with brightly printed yoga pants. I’ve come to accept my daily dose of cold coffee; although, I have high hopes that I may eventually again sip a beverage that is still emitting steam or contains unmelted ice cubes. A glass of wine reduces my urge to whine, which is why I occasionally need to indulge in a glass (or two) in the evening, depending on the difficulty of the day. Lastly, my Subaru Forester has started to feel like a studio apartment, and I harbor more than a little jealousy for one of my friend’s newly purchased seven-seat minivan. As a watcher of many parent-themed sitcoms, none of the above revelations have surprised me. However, just when I think that I have “mastered” motherhood, if that is even possible, my daughter blows me away with a uncontrolled bodily function, a new word, or first wet smack on the lips. I asked some seasoned mothers what surprised them, and this is what they said:
1. You’ll help a small human discover his or her identify while you discover yours as a mother.
- “The first year is literally survival of the fittest. It is a long physical test. As it becomes less physical, it becomes more mental and emotional — teaching a person to be true to themselves while navigating the world.” Jessica Hathaway, seven-year of seasoning
2. You’ll discover new passions.
- “At this point in their lives, I had no idea how much I would need to know about Star Wars. It’s legit and very much an important/fun part of their lives. So for moms of boys, start brushing up on all the movies – new and old.” -Giovanna Bechard, eight-years on the job
3. You’ll finally comprehend your mother’s love for you.
- “The biggest surprise for me after having my first was how much I loved her unconditionally and knowing that was how much my mom loved me. I never knew that kind of love until I had my daughter and never had so much appreciation for my mom.” -Melissa Clement, nine-years of experience
4. You’ll sacrifice everything for them, and you won’t mind.
- “What surprised me most about motherhood is how much I was willing to sacrifice for [my daughter]. Not enough food? I’ll go hungry. That really cute top? No, she needed formula. My precious sleep? She needs a diaper change. It still surprises me to this day, and I have two more little ones. The sacrifices are many, and the acknowledgment is non-existent, but the reward is plenty.” -Heidi Penney, thirteen-year veteran
5. You’ll learn the true meaning of unconditional love.
- “The biggest surprise of being a mom is that the love of a mother is a contract with no conditions. In your children’s great accomplishments, biggest mistakes, most annoying habits, tallest tales, sweetest smiles, sickest nights, healthiest days, proudest moments and every second in between, a mother’s love and adoration is truly limitless and unconditional. It is the fuel we run on when our gas tank is empty. Best, hardest, rewarding job ever.” -Laura Davis Rinck, on the job for 28 years