Not just about mothering but about everything in between. Prior to having kids I thought I knew what kind of parent I would be. If nothing else I knew I would be relaxed. Chill. A go-with-the-flow parent, if there ever was one.
I imagined a life of mothering side-by-side with vacations and cocktail-filled lunches with my girlfriends as my well-behaved and impeccably dressed children looked on in wonder. I imagined seamless bedtimes and nights spent curled up on the couch with my husband catching up on our day and our DVR with the house as silent as it were without being home to two small kidlets.
Prior to having kids I imagined hosting play dates in my pristinely clean and well organized home, sharing homemade hors d' oeuvres and mouthwatering baked goods. I imagined doing so while dressed to the nines in the latest JCrew catalog pages. Keep in mind, I imagined I would also be back into my pre-baby size 2 skinnies within minutes of returning home from the hospital.
If having kids has taught me anything it's that prior to having kids, I had quite the overactive imagination.
Real life, at least our real life, looks nothing like the pages of a magazine or the set of that hilariously funny romantic comedy about those two stylish parents with a brand new baby.
My boys have taught me that the best laid plans will always go awry and on the days when there are plans made and it's absolutely necessary the baby nap, he won't but on the days where you have absolutely no where to be? He will sleep for three hours if you let him.
I've learned that it's OK to have a glass of wine at 2pm in the afternoon and what's better, there is a reason that champagne mixes so well with orange juice. It's called Mothering.
I've learned to always, no matter what the errand, pack a change of clothes for everyone involved. Even if you're just going to the grocery store. Why? Because diaper blowouts know no bounds. They can happen at any time, anywhere and in anyone's lap and it's best if everyone has an extra set of clothes, just in case.
Much like the whole napping when necessary thing, the diaper blowout won't occur until you actually forget to pack a change of clothes for everyone. I learned that from my kids the hard way.
Speaking of clothes, on the days where I finally change out of my standard uniform of black yoga pants and no-I'm-not-still-pregnant maternity tank tops, around 4pm in the afternoon mind you, I can guarantee that within just minutes of putting on my definitely-not-size-two-skinnies, the baby will undoubtedly throw up on me.
My kids have taught me that it is possible to love someone more than half your size with more room in your heart than you ever imagined. That with each baby born your heart will grow exponentially, making room to love them even more than you did the second before.
My kids have also taught me that there will be days where even that overwhelming love isn't enough to keep you from locking yourself in the powder room, sinking to your knees and having yourself a good cry because you can't, for just one more minute, stand to be in the same room as them. Especially if they are anywhere between the ages of 18 and 27 months and happen to be impossible to reason with.
I've learned that the saying "don't cry over spilled milk" was never uttered by a breastfeeding mother, that I am physically incapable of letting either of my babies cry it out (much to the dismay of my husband and my desire to get more than 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep) and that I am a bit more crunchy and attachment-y than I ever thought I would be.
I've also learned that some Rules of Parenting are meant to be more or less "guidelines" and that sometimes mothering is more like Survival of the Fittest in so much that I'll let my child play with just about anything short of the kitchen knives just so that I may sit down un-needed for 7 minutes of the day.
I never thought I would have those kids who wore their pajamas on an errand to Walmart. I never thought I would have those kids who screamed and yelled their way through a civilized lunch at Panera. I never thought my baby would be sleeping in our bed at five months old and with no end in sight, thankyouverymuch and I certainly never thought that it would be so damn difficult to leave them in the care of someone else, just for the night, regardless of how much they may get on my nerves some days.
My kids have taught me that I knew nothing about mothering before I became a mother.
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Loyals, are you in for a treat! Throughout the next couple of weeks you'll be hearing from some of my favorite blogging mamas about the most significant lessons they've learned from their kid(s). Having already seen their posts and scheduled them all, you won't want to miss them.