The Realities of Motherhood Shattered All My Expectations

By Nikki M

Being too much of a perfectionist does not fly when you have kids. While I was neurotic pre-kiddos, these days I consider myself pretty laid back. Sure, I still value structure and thrive on a well-planned schedule, but most of the time I find myself just going with the flow. While it seems like having a Type A personality would have benefited me as a mother, I found the opposite to be true—life with kids is so unpredictable, that it's simply impossible to plan every single detail!

While I didn't go as far as creating an actual birth plan, I did have some pretty set ideas on how I wanted things to go when I'd have my own kids. Here were some of my expectations pre-baby, and the harsh realities I was slapped with when I became a mom:

Postpartum Weight Loss

Expectation: Breastfeeding will melt off the pounds, plus I’ll have time for exercise galore while my baby isn't mobile!

Reality: Sure newborns aren't running all over the place, but they'll pretty much be strapped to you all day with round-the-clock feedings and diaper changes. Forget about exercise—by the time you put your kiddo down for the 28th nap of the day, you'll be so exhausted that you'll most likely pass out as well, only to repeat the whole routine in a few minutes.

Oh, and that whole spiel about breastfeeding and weight loss is a lie, or at least did not apply to me! To maintain a good milk supply, my body held on to an extra 10 pounds until I finally weaned my little one.

Sleep Training

Expectation: If there's anything I learned from Bringing Up Bébé, it's that there's nothing less chic than not having a fully sleep-trained baby by week two. I was to firmly say "NO" to my whimpering infant, ignoring his pleas until he learns to love the crib and sleep through the night.

Reality: Forget "whimpering", my bébé was all about a shrill, glass-shattering scream, and ignoring him only made matters worse. By day three, I had broken one of my biggest pre-baby rules — I became a full-on co-sleeping convert. 

*These days, I prefer to get my dose of French chic through our potager and baking weekend cakes.

Organic Everything

Expectation: Nothing pre-made or processed will ever touch my baby's lips. Being a stay-at-home mom means I get to whip up three fresh, balanced meals for my kids, and they will devour everything I serve! Oh, and plastic is for plebs who don't know any better.

Reality: Meal planning is no joke, organic can be crazy expensive, and eating duck embryos my whole life did not make me exempt from spawning picky eaters! After seeing beautiful $3 avocados end up in the trash, I finally gave in and let my baby have one of the jarred purees from our apocalypse stash. The little monster lapped it up, and that's that.

Oh, and (BPA-free) plastics are my best friend. Glass shatters, stoneware is heavy, gifted china is irreplaceable when you spent all your money on avocados, and metal gives everything a weird, tinny aftertaste.

Well-Behaved Babies

Expectation: You know those moms who take their babies to coffee shops/museums/farmers markets/yoga/libraries/pubs, and they both look so calm and happy, zero tears in sight, just living in the moment? I wanted to be that mom. Bringing my babies everywhere will surely teach them how to properly act in any setting, while I continue to have a life-beyond-cracked-nipples and squirty poops. As for discipline, it's all about the soothing, gentle hushes.

Reality: Babies can sense when you need to get errands done, want some "me" time, or are in a place totally inappropriate for infants . . . And they make sure you pay for it.  And the more you "hush," the more you'll insult their intelligence and invoke the most powerful, earth-shaking bellows.

Television is the Devil

Expectation: If you want your kiddos to become lazy, obese, violent, dumb as rocks, have ADD, smoke, drink, and engage in premarital sex, let them watch TV. Obviously, I needed a TV-free household.

Reality: TV is the best babysitter. Educational shows are a godsend, and are a billion times more effective than those evil flashcards. My fifteen-minute max soon became thirty, then an hour, then "as much as you can watch until I get some work done."

Besides, we grew up watching an insane amount of TV and ended up fine… right?

My takeaway from all this: Ditch the expectations, and embrace the wildness! There's no point getting disappointed over the most minute details. Once I learned to ease up, it felt incredibly freeing.

What are some of your expectations vs. realities? Share your stories with us in the comments below!

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Tags : confessions   motherhood   

Jemma Mennon
Oh, man. I threw everything out the window. There's a point when you just have to prioritize your sanity!
Yasie Goebel
So true! I thought I could take my newborn everywhere, oh she will just sleep! Man, that turned out to be such wishful thinking. She has a poop explosion every time we go somewhere and usually screams in the car. She actually hates going out and is almost always cranky.
Nikki M
Thank you Deborah!
Deborah Essner