8 Things No One Tells You About Being a Mom
Plus, how to deal with the ups and downs!
Babies are adorable! There's nothing like the love surge of a full-body hug or the amazed pride you feel when your toddler takes his first steps!
Enough about the bright side. We do moms a disservice if we only gush about the countless truly terrific aspects of raising a child and neglect to mention the, well, harsher realities. It's useful to know that there are not-so-hot sides of the job, if only to take the edge off those inevitable pains of feeling exasperated, unnerved, or just surprised. And it's reassuring to know you're not the only one to admit a downside even exists. This is my list -- you'll probably have one, too.
There is no learning curve
Rather, if you graphed it, it would just go up and up. By the time you master colic, it's over. All your smug expertise at changing diapers on an upright toddler becomes obsolete when she graduates to big-kid underwear. Net result: You never feel quite on top of things.
And although the firstborn breaks you in for the next, number two is usually so different in temperament, taste, or developmental pacing that what you learned the first time often doesn't work or apply. My oldest, Henry, would only respond to the loudest of shouts and severest of threats. But when I tried my hard-learned disciplinary tactics on next-in-line Eleanor, the slightest raised voice would make her quiver and tear up.
Silver lining: A good mental workout. I've learned a lot about human behavior that I might not otherwise have -- plus a lot about kids' music and books, the art of bandage application, and how to make dinner really fast.
You run in circles
"The minute you get one thing solved, there's something else to do," says Janine Saber of Orinda, California, about the unending rounds of feeding, diapering, and bedtime that punctuate life with young children. For moms accustomed to completing projects and advancing careers, the chronic spin cycle of caretaking can feel frustrating and mind-numbing.
If you have more than one child, the circles begin to overlap. "It's like multitasking-plus," says Saber. "I can't tell you how many times I've forgotten to feed the baby cereal along with her morning formula because my six-year-old was late for school."
Silver lining: "Once you realize you have no control, you're in total control," Saber says. "Then you can say, 'Okay, I'll just go with the flow.'"