Things They Never Told Me About Motherhood

  1. The rules are: there are no rules. There will always be someone who thinks you are doing something wrong. They key is to do what works. Although I personally subscribe to the rule that if you wake the baby, the baby is yours until it is asleep again; kind of the "you broke it/you bought it" principle of motherhood.
  2. During pregnancy your baby sucks all of the intelligence out of you and you don't get it back. You get increasingly stupid with each child. Motherhood will take a completely normal "with it" woman and turn her into a scatter-brain who always shows up late and with poop on her shirt.
  3. Motherhood is a 24 hour/7 days-a-week job whether you're physically with your child or not. The "mother light" does not have an off switch. So even when you are away from them, you are thinking, and wondering, and worrying about them. This is especially true in the first few months, when your baby has the gravitational pull equal to that of a small planet from which it is useless to try to break free.
  4. It may not bother you when other babies cry, but the sound of your own baby crying sets off an involuntary, overwhelming, and irrational need to GET THE BABY, HOLD THE BABY, SAVE THE BABY. If you try to fight against it (which eventually, in certain situations, you will need to) you will be overcome by feelings of guilt that you are scarring your child for life with abandonment issues.
  5. You never really know why your baby is crying. You'll try feeding it, putting it to sleep, and changing it.  If that doesn't work, you'll blame it on gas or teething, which are really just codes for "I don't know what the hell is wrong, but I must have an answer because I'm the Mom". Sometimes babies just cry-- AND THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT.
  6. You will call your mother and thank her profusely because you didn't understand, until now, how many times she wiped your butt and catered to your every whim in the first year of your life alone. You are sorry, but you didn't know.
  7. If you breast feed, your breasts will be as full, voluptuous and perky as a centerfold. When you stop, they will sag from your chest like wet mittens.
  8. There is a good chance that after you have your baby at least  half of your hair will fall out. Your hair will be everywhere: stuck to your back, in your baby's mouth, wrapped around it's toe, EVERYWHERE. Each time you wash your hair, you will collect enough to knit a pair of baby booties. And because it all falls out at once, it all grows back at once, leaving you with an unmanageable halo of tiny hairs encircling your head.
  9. You will endure the most hideous and annoying sounds, songs and noises if the thing producing them will keep your child happily occupied for any length of time.
  10. You will be shocked by your ability to love another human being so much and by your absolute certainty that you would jump in front of a bus to save them without a moment of hesitation.