“When I’m a mom, I’ll never ____”. “My kids will always ____”. Most moms have said something along the lines of these statements before we actually entered motherhood. I’ve had conversations with fellow moms, especially ones with toddlers and older, and I found this was true among many: our mom dreams vs. mom realities. What I mean by this is we all had an idealistic picture of how we planned on “mom-ing”, whether it’s setting standards for screen time, all-organic everything, never losing patience, etc. And then at some point along the mom-journey one, few or many of these went out the window because we realized it just wasn’t realistic or not as important as we had once thought. I then decided to pick the brains of a dozen or so of my mom-friends for what they said before they had kids and how they feel about it now that they are a few years deep into parenting. Here are some of the “confessions”:
“I’ll be glowing and have a happy little bump”…when actually it was non stop barfing, crying, and giant bump. I was so excited to be pregnant and for how magical it would be but neither of my pregnancies were magical unfortunately. In fact they were so bad it is the only thing that keeps me from having another one… hospitalization, 9 months of sickness, and just not being able to be a mom to the children I have. But I wouldn’t change it for the world and glad they both ended up being happy and healthy babies.
“I’ll never do a gender reveal party”. Well since this was our first child after trying for so long, we wanted to celebrate every little step along the way. And it was so fun!
“I will never use bribery when asking my child to do something,” …10 fruit snacks later ??
“I’m not putting my baby on social media”. But she’s so cuuuuuuute how can I not?
“I’ll never yell at my kids”. HA!!! I still try to count to 10 in my head instead, but some days I can only get to 4.
“I will never let me kid have a tantrum or scream in a store/public”– At home, when he’s having a tantrum I walk away let him calm down, and then we talk about what he needs and can have. Just because we’re out of the house doesn’t mean this goes out the window- it’s all about consistency. I will try and change the subject or distract him- but sometimes they just need to release and you know what, go for it. The looks don’t bother me and it’s kind of scary how well I can tune out his whining…
“I vowed I’d never use disposable diapers”… oh man! I hired a cloth diaper collection service & I even returned and donated diapers from baby showers because I was THAT committed to using cloth diapers. Jokes on me—at the hospital, they slapped on that disposable diaper and showed me that the line changes colors when the diaper is wet. I cancelled the cloth diaper service the same day, while I was still in the hospital!
“Never would I ever let my child wear a onesie and diaper only (in or out the house)”. I saw too many babies in white onesies and diapers and always wondered why these little humans weren’t fully clothed. Lol #fail. Before and after daycare, I keep him in a onesie and diaper because he takes all of his clothes off and I can barely keep his onesie and diaper on—thank goodness he hasn’t figured out how to unsnap all three buttons yet (but he has figured out how to pull the diaper off from under the onesie #facepalm).
“I’m not going to do pacifiers, they will learn to soothe themselves”. Have you ever heard a newborn screaming at the top of their lungs multiple times a day? Yea, we changed that up real quick.
“I will never buy my kid a present at target just to keep him occupied”… I do it every single time i’m in target or CVS.
“I said I wouldn’t buy those colorful, noisy, Fisher-Price toys. I won’t let my kids use iPads and phones, especially in restaurants. And my silly, young self thought I should have 3 back to back and it’d be fine ?
“Technology won’t raise my kids”. I still don’t have a robot taking my place, but sometimes Mama needs a break and YouTube/BabyFirst TV is great for it.
“I’ll never get toys that make noise”...LOL that lasted a hot minute.
“I’ll never drive around or sit in the car while the baby sleeps”. If that means they’re going to get some extra zz’s, sure I will.
“I’ll never let my kids sleep in my bed with me and not in the crib. And I’ll never make my kids go to bed late every night”.
“I will never breastfeed longer than a year/if my kid is able to ask for it, that’s weird!” – Well I got to a year and had recently become a SAHM, and nursing became much easier, quicker, and more enjoyable- especially since I didn’t have to pump anymore. I ended up nursing him until he was almost 2 and am so happy and grateful I was able to do so.
“I will never make a separate meal for my child” And I didn’t have to, until my eat-anything amazing baby led weaner became the pickiest toddler alive at 18 months, practically overnight. I try and plan at least a few meals every week that I know we can/will all eat, but other than that I usually make him something different, or a different version of what we’re having. At this point, I’m about getting nutrients into him and avoiding constant meltdowns.
“I’m going to prepare all of his meals”. Well, turns out those little pouches of baby food really come in handy. At least they’re organic?
“We’re going to make sure he eats as organic and unprocessed as possible,” …Um, give me all the Goldfish crackers and Teddy Grahams, haha!
“I was like “my kids will not be allowed to eat in the car”… and “they will NEVER eat McDonalds”…now we have #frenchfryfridays at the golden arches.
“I would make my child’s food; no frozen foods”… yeah…this is a short story. HE IS TOO PICKY! I need to have a variety of foods and I just don’t have the time to make all of these foods. It’s so much easier to have weekly amazon fresh deliveries to bring many types of foods for the little one’s persnickety buds.
“I will only make 1 dinner per night and if my kid didn’t eat it then he’d go to bed hungry”…i make kids meals every night for him because he won’t eat any of the food we make.
“I know for sure I said no matter what I’d always make a healthy lifestyle a priority… I’d always run/workout!” Haha that’s the 1st to go! Unless I want to wake up at 4:30! And how can I when I’m up all night with crying babies! ??
“I would always stick to my beauty regimen”… I didn’t have much of a regimen, but I did enjoy washing my face, applying a fancy facial cream, and brushing my teeth. These days I’m happy to just brush my teeth without falling asleep with the toothbrush in my mouth.
“I’ll never cry when I leave my baby”…literally broke down in tears the other day when I had to leave him for the weekend.
“I promise my social life won’t suffer”. The honest truth is, I’ll take a night in with my family over a night out any day. I can’t hang past 10:30 anyway and that’s a stretch lol fortunately my social circle is now filled with fellow parents who get it.
For myself, I said most of the ones above especially screen-time, pacifiers, co-sleeping and buying only organic products. Also, “I won’t have a house that you walk in and immediately know there are kids there by the amount of toys thrown around the place.”…Well the boys have taken over the entire house, from their own rooms, to our room, the office is now a second changing station/laundry room, the living room is now a full-on playroom, and you’ll probably slip on a car or two somewhere. I’m not worried about my house looking like a “kid home”, because it is. Sure we sacrificed some style for function, but I want my kids to feel like they can be kids in their own home. Besides, eventually I’ll get my house back, right?
The point of all of this was to show that even though many of us felt so sure about some ideas of motherhood, now that we’re in it, we laugh at those picture-perfect thoughts. We put so much pressure on ourselves to be the best mom, not make any mistakes and do right by our children. Funny thing is, it’s the kids that will let us know what is best for them sometimes. It’s ok to make mistakes, go back on your own word, throw out all the rules and say “eff it” when you’re close to throwing yourself on the floor into tears with your equally hysterical toddler. Does it make us hypocritical, maybe. Does it make us a bad mom? no. We are HUMAN, we are designed to be imperfect. So bite your tongue before you judge a mom for her parenting choices!
My husband insisted I use this quote by Helmuth Von Moltke, “No operation extends with any certainty beyond the first encounter with the enemy.” While raising kids isn’t war and they aren’t our enemies (though at times it feels like it), things never really go exactly the way you plan it. To be a parent is to be flexible, and malleable and learning to laugh at yourself.
Thank you thank you to all those amazing moms who contributed to this long, comedic post. I hope it was cathartic for you and you no can realize we all are guilty of the same. Y’all are great moms and doing it right!