By Loraine Balita-Centeno
No, we still haven’t figured it out yet, and neither have you. Parenting is such a complex “job” that no one will ever quite get it. You will always feel stumped, overwhelmed, and guilty at times. When you think you have things figured out, something will come up that will either drive you crazy or take you a million steps back. Parenting is like that. Children are such complicated beings sometimes that you won’t quite know how to handle them. So here’s just a few of the things you might need to know so you’ll have an idea of what to expect as you begin your journey.
1. There will be no time outs.
The moment the doctors place that little bundle of joy in your arms, the game is on. And it will go on and on and on until they move out after college. But you will never stop being their mom even when they’re away. You will always find yourself thinking about them, worrying about them, so it could go on forever. You will always be a mom no matter what time it is, or day it is, or season it is. Whether they’re 16 inches tall crying beside you in your bed or six feet and 6,000 miles away, you will always be their mom.
2. You will meet nazi moms and they will make you feel bad.
The world is filled with thousands of people with issues and sometimes they take it out on other people. Expect to meet other moms who will try to make you feel inept at motherhood, those who will compare her perfect children to yours, those who will make you feel that you’re a bad mom just so they could feel that they aren’t. These women just like you feel guilty, they, too, feel they’re not doing enough for their children, and they try to take it out on others so they will feel good about themselves. Try your best to understand them.
3. Children grow up fast, they really do!
You will hear this many, many times from moms, especially veteran moms of adult children. They will only be a baby for a few months, a toddler for a couple of years, and young kids for a while. Soon they won’t want to hang out with you anymore, and start having their own lives that don’t necessarily revolve around you. So cherish the moments when they can’t seem to live without you, when they cry as soon as you get up to pee. It could be exhausting, but remember they won’t need you like this forever.
4. So take lots of pictures and videos, too!
Because days are going to be long, taking photos will be the last thing on your mind. But try to document your time together as often and as much as you can. Document their cuteness, the sound of their voice while they’re little, their silly dance and antics. Keep these photos and videos so you can show it to their girlfriends in the future, or blackmail them into visiting you on weekends, but most important, cherish these photos because when they’re done driving you crazy at home they will get married and drive someone else crazy in their home. And you will miss them.
5. Trust your instincts.
If you feel like something’s wrong but you’re afraid to seem OA in the emergency room, get off Google and take your child to the hospital. More often than not, a mother knows when something’s up way before everyone else does. If you feel like it warrants a check up, go ahead and get one. Don’t feel embarrassed to seem like you’re over reacting, a good doctor will know and understand a mother’s fear and concern. If he or she won’t, go find someone who will.
6. Some days are going to be better or worse than others.
Motherhood is not all butterflies and rainbow farts. It’s a tough job. While most of the time you will be thankful for having little blessings, there will come a moment (which will be fleeting, with hope) when you will feel too exhausted to function, and unbelievably overwhelmed and stressed. Sometimes you will lose your cool.
7. So keep sniffing your baby’s head!
And we don’t even mean this as a joke. Researchers have found that the smell of your baby’s head or the smell of your baby in general releases chemicals that activate the feel good center in the mother’s brain. It’s a built-in reward system that helps you get through the dizzying first few weeks and months of motherhood. We’re guessing its nature’s way of ensuring the species’ survival, having this “mechanism” prevents moms from leaving their babies and running to the hills when sleeplessness and stress drive them crazy.
8. You will know what lyrics in love songs mean.
Every living cell in your body will know what it is like to love someone more than you love yourself. You will know what it’s like to want to do everything and anything to make someone else happy. You know those “I will die for you” lines you hear on the radio, that, too, will feel true when you become a mom. You will literally take a bullet to save this little precious person. Their happiness and wellbeing will mean infinitely more than yours.
9. If you don’t feel as ‘in love’ with your baby right now, don’t worry, the feeling will come.
If you don’t feel an instant connection with your child a few seconds after you’ve just met him, just like in the movies, just how other moms talk about it, don’t panic. While others say they get the-moment-I-laid-eyes-on-you feeling as soon as the baby comes out, others take a while to fall in love with their babies. The more time you spend with the little one the more the bond grows. And it doesn’t matter whether you had that moment or it took you months to get it, you are going to do just fine.
10. Don’t forget about yourself, and don’t forget about your spouse.
While mommy duties are already overwhelming, you need to squeeze in time to take care of yourself, and nurture your relationship with your partner. Don’t feel guilty wanting to go out to have a trip to the salon every once in a while. If you feel like you need a break and would want to catch a flick with your hubby, go for it. It’s for your baby, too. Why and how? Because a happy mommy raises happy babies. A mother who’s always stressed and overwhelmed, who’s often at her wit’s end, will raise irritable little children with a less than happy disposition. You need to recharge and unwind so you can get back and be at your best again.
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