The original title of this post was “The unexpected parent,” but after writing it out, it no longer felt appropriate.
I wish someone would have told me that even though I never felt a strong (or even a little) desire to be a mother, I could and would be a damn good one. That the desire to be a mother isn’t necessarily something you’re born with. One day you may wake up a mother. And you may realize, “This is what I was meant to be.”
I wish someone would have told me that life doesn’t end when you become a parent. As cheesy as it sounds, life begins when you become a parent. OK, that’s not true either. Life begins about a year after becoming a parent — because the first year is survival. And survival is not a beginning or an end. It just… is. But then things get easy. And you just live your life… and wear your kid around as you’re livin’ it!
I wish someone would have told me that labor is horrific and that you may not have “love” at first sight. Many people I knew (and many things I had read) stated that when they saw their baby for the first time they cried the happiest of tears and felt a love like no other. For me that love took months. And there is no shame in that. From the beginning I felt an overwhelming need to nurture and protect him, but I wouldn’t describe it as an overwhelming love. Not by any means. And that is okay. Completely okay. It will come with time. Even when you think it won’t.
I wish someone would have told me that a parent has a lot of hard choices to make and that someone… anyone… will judge you no matter what your decision. So go with your gut. Do your research. And hope for the best. Cause none of us knows what we’re doing 100%. And all of us will make mistakes along the way. And ya know what? There is not one right answer to any parenting question.
I wish someone would have told me that every single one of us bribes our child at some point. Case in point: I recently told Ari that I would get him a cake pop from Starbucks if he just behaved in Target while I ran in to pick up a prescription. I had to get to the pharmacy before they closed for lunch to drop of the prescription so we bypassed Starbucks and went straight to the pharmacy. The whole way through Target he was yelling “caaaaaaaake paaaaaap! caaaaaaake paaaaaap!” Ha. So we went straight to get one and all was right in the world while I ran my errands. Thank Jesus for cake pops and Starbucks, am I right!?
I wish someone would have told me that there is no exact child development ‘rule.’ There is not ‘right’ way for a child to develop. If they are eating and thriving, they will catch up to verbal and non-verbal milestones in time. Don’t listen to the bullshit. Everyone will have an opinion on milestones. And YOU know your child. That’s it.
I wish someone would have told me that my relationships would require evolution in a major way. My relationship with my partner, my family, and my friends, would all be different. Not better; not worse. Just different. And I would need to roll with the punches of all of it; and to make the important ones evolve. And those who don’t will fall by the wayside.
Mostly, I wish someone would have told me that I could handle whatever motherhood would throw at me. That I’m versatile; that I’m tough; that I’m sensitive; and that being a mom is something that we can be awesome at without even knowing you were meant to be awesome at it.
So even if you’re finding yourself in motherhood, unexpected, know that you were made for this.