It’s okay to apologize to your kids
Some of my most intimate bonding moments with my children have come after I lost my patience or wasn’t fully present. A simple, “I’m sorry. Mommy doesn’t feel good about how she just acted,” not only demonstrates an important principle of love, but it moreover teaches children what a true apology looks like.
Nothing will be perfect and that will be okay
That means the dance recitals and the birthday parties and the eleventy-billion holidays you’ll find yourself celebrating now that you’re a mom. Something will always go wrong, but you’ll be the only one who notices.
It’s going to be you
Carrying the scooter, taking care of the dog they promised they’d walk every day forever, making your little one practice her passes, doing most of the work for the science project they didn’t start until the last minute, making the cupcakes for their bake sale, etc.
You can change your mind
It’s always a good time to implement a new idea or parenting strategy to correct unhealthy patterns. Or just because you feel like it. So what if your kids have had unlimited screen time since birth? There’s no reason you can’t put the TV out on the curb and say “We’re making a change as a family.”
You will never be done with laundry
Like, ever. And it gets worse in the wintertime when everyone is wearing bulkier clothing that takes up more room in the wash.
It’s okay to brag about the everyday
You can be proud of your kids’ everyday accomplishments past toddlerhood. Think about first steps – most of us take them but we share those first steps videos like our babies invented walking. You can keep sharing those kinds of moments if you want to. Being a part of the ensemble cast is still a big deal! Take tons of photos of the first cake your son bakes (mostly) by himself. Why not?
Always have wipes
Someday when your babies have mastered the art of the potty you may be tempted to stop carrying a package of baby wipes in your purse. Resist the urge! They come in handy all the time, even when all you have is big kids.
You will feel their every hurt
From the first time your little ones experience teasing to teen rejection, their pain will rock you to your core. And it’s worse when there is nothing you can do besides saying, “I know how that feels because I’ve been there, too.” And do say that, even if it’s little comfort to them at the moment. Knowing you aren’t alone can soothe life’s stings.
You may end up doing more than your share
While I’m sure your partner in parenting is great, birthing a baby literally does things to your brain that makes it harder to hear a baby crying without doing anything about it. Science has proven that moms sleep more lightly, which leads to them being more likely to get up with babies and kids and pretty much any time there is a worrisome noise in the house – all while dad snores peacefully on.
Dirty is a relative term
Once you’ve cut a pop-covered onesie off a wriggling infant, been peed on more than once, accidentally worn a spit-up encrusted blazer to the office, your definition of dirty may change. Add to that toddler who screams through bath time and other barriers to home and family being squeaky clean, and even Type As like me adjust to a new normal.
You’ll learn new things about yourself
Some good and some bad. Maybe you’ll find you operate amazingly on limited sleep. Could be you’ll discover you’re a yeller just like your own parents were. Your capacity to be silly, stern, or sentimental may be different than you thought.
Sometimes it’ll be easier than you thought it would be
And that’s when you should prepare for the other shoe to drop. For every day your children are perfect angels there will be a day where you feel like packing them up and sending them to Antarctica.
You’re going to need help
Maybe it’s professional help in the form of a house cleaning service. Or a shrink. Maybe it’s your own mom coming to visit a few times a year to lighten your load for just long enough to get your footing back. Or maybe it’s help from your mom friends, who know what you’re going through and so are the first to offer a helping hand. Learn to accept help gracefully and gratefully!
Nature can trump nurture
This is one of those things you really find out when you become a mom to more than one child. Sometimes they’re raised in the same house with the same rules but they couldn’t be more different! And sometimes those differences reveal themselves soon after birth so don’t be surprised when your easygoing first becomes sibling to your demanding, opinionated second or vice versa.
You’ll find you can do anything
We all face challenges as moms and we are all called upon to advocate for our children. Whether your burden to bear is relatively light or unbearably heavy you will find that you have a reservoir of strength and resilience you never knew existed and that it is fueled by your love for your kids.