Remember those pre-kid days where we made big plans for the parents we would be, and the angelic kids we would raise?
Pshht, it’ll be so easy, we said.
They’ll sleep through the night because I’ll use such and such praise worthy sleep, swaddle, rock, and don’t cry method. They’ll breastfeed or bottle feed, and eat like pros. They’ll only eat organic, home cooked, no sugar meals. We’ll have them cleaning their toys and doing chores by the age of one. They’ll be potty trained from birth. No TV and limited screen time. Yeah, we’ve got this in the bag. We’re going to be perfect parents. I’m going to a super mom.
Insert having kids now, and a fit of laughter at these expectations.
How I came to be a mom
I was the ripe age of 20 when I wasn’t feeling well and decided to see the doctor at work. I thought I had a cold or a sinus infection. I cried wolf every time aunt flow was a second late, so when I was offered a pregnancy test, I said, “why not?”
I was going about in my own little world, when the doctor came in and told me I didn’t have a sinus infection – I had a positive pregnancy test.
Woah, didn’t see that one coming. I was SO excited, yet so shocked.
I spent the next 9 months planning every aspect of how I would mother, and how my child would be. And boy was I in a for a real treat by life.
My birth will be all natural, and my labor will be a piece of cake.
Tell that to my child. I’m pretty sure he put up curtains, moved in a couch and a bed, and decided my uterus is where he’d stay until college…
I went to 41 weeks, before we had to forcefully evict him from my belly. My induction was long and painful and not at all how simple I thought birth would be.
Natural birth? I called for allll the drugs to help make it comfortable. GIVE ME THE EPIDURAL!
At the end of it all, I asked the nurse, “Why the heck do people do this more than once?!” She said, “because they forget”. And she was right. I forgot, and later decided to do it all again.
Breastfeeding will be so natural
It’s supposed to be easy right? First off, NO ONE told me how much it would hurt while I got used to it! Am I holding him right? Am I making enough milk? Is it too much milk? Is his latch right? Is my milk supposed to be hosing him in the face when he unlatches?
I had SO many questions, and though I went to lactation consultants many times, I was still SO lost those first few weeks.
It was not as easy for me as I thought it’d be.
My baby will sleep through the night
I bought all the baby sleep method books. Baby Wise, Baby Sleep Solution, The Happiest Baby on the Block. I bought allll the swaddling, rock n play, and swing contraptions. Hundreds of dollars to ensure sleep.
Yeah, none of that worked. All of it went to crap, because he WOULD NOT SLEEP for the life of me.
I was awake ALL night, and all day wondering, “is he gassy, is he hungry, did he need a diaper change?” I DON’T KNOW! I tried it all, and none of it worked until something finally did. I’d be so excited, take a sigh of relief, and lay my head down to finally rest.
Head hits the pillow – *queue crying*.
I’ll only feed them healthy, organic meals
LOL! Is Chick-fil-a healthy? I’m pretty sure my husband feeds them chocolate and ice cream when I’m not looking, but that’s organic. So I’ve got that going for me.
I won’t let them watch TV and limit their screen time
Wiggles, Elmo, Ryan’s Toys, Daniel Tiger, Sesame Street, Paw Patrol, and all of the other kids shows are the only reason I can have a cup of coffee, a moment of silence, or get chores done throughout the day. LOVE my kids, but I need some quiet and sanity too.
They’ll help me clean the house and do chores
Did I mean they’ll help me wreck my house, and not clean up? Because that’s usually how this one goes.
My living room looks like a tornado hit it on the daily. Asking my 3 and 1 year old to clean, is the same as talking to them in a different language. They just stare at me blankly.
“No Me Comprendo Mom”
Do you want chocolate though, because you seem to understand my English real well when I talk about that.
I will always love my child
And I will.
But have you met a toddler? SO many days I wonder why trolling me is his favorite things to do!
I will always LOVE my child, but there are moments where I don’t always like what they’re doing or how they’re behaving. And you know what? That’s okay. Do we always like the people we love 24/7?
I will be the perfect mom
“…it wasn’t going to be picture perfect, and that’s okay.”
And this folks, is what I realized what I was MOST wrong about.
Is there even a such thing as being the perfect parent?
More than half the time, I have NO darn idea if I’m doing any of this right.
Watching moms and dads on social media, with their kids smiling from ear to ear behaving like perfecting angels made me believe that that is exactly how life would be.
What I didn’t realize is right before or after that angelic picture, came 30 tantrums about the shirt they’re wearing, about the way I cut their sandwich, how the banana won’t go back in the peel after it fell out, and God knows what else.
I thought I would have it all together, but parenting is just not easy. Everything I imagined it would be, was so far from what reality is like. And it wasn’t until I became a parent and had “turd-lers” that I understood it wasn’t going to picture perfect, and that’s okay
We’re all navigating parenting, all with a different hand dealt, different personality children. We all have to parent in a way that’s best for us.
Lets let go of our expectations, give ourselves grace, and remind ourselves that parenting really is hard as heck.
As long as we’re doing our best, we’re happy, and our children are happy – then we’re doing a damn good job at being moms and dads!
What were your parenting “expectations vs. reality” moments? Comment below!