We thought we had everything under control. Our son was days away from being born and my husband and I had diligently attempted to learn everything we possibly could about our upcoming arrival. We attended the parenting classes, watched the DVDs (including the one where we would be able to interpret our newborn's every sound to know exactly what he wanted at every given moment) and read (and highlighted) scores of baby books. Then, wouldn't you know it, our son was born and we had no idea what we were doing (as seen in the video of our first attempt at trying to give our son a bath, which could have been handed over to child protective services for review). I began to wonder who wrote these books and if they even had children. The books met their fate as Goodwill donations or in were thrown into our fireplace, I think.
In honor of Mother's Day, we asked some Fredericksburg Parent and Family moms to share some of the lessons they learned throughout their parenting journey that were nowhere to be found in any sort of baby book. Here's what they shared:
The one thing I learned after having my daughter was that the person who coined the phrase "sleep like a baby" is a LIAR! Do you know what it means to "sleep like a baby?" It means you toss and turn all night, you wake up every two hours screaming for some unexplained reason, and you poop your pants three times during the middle of the night. The next time someone tells me they slept like a baby, I'm going to get down on my knees and pray for them. Anne White, mother of two
Life definitely changes with the birth of your first born child. Yes, your heart fills with more love than you could ever imagine and you are left with an unforgettable experience. On the other hand, gone are the days when you could watch Lifetime movies all day uninterrupted. The once-a-day showers extend to once every few days, or when the layers of deodorant just aren't cutting it. Your substandard appearance becomes the norm for a while. Through it all, you may just find yourself repeating life four more times. The sleepless nights don't seem so bad, movies aren't that important anymore and your appearance improves...I promise. I feel blessed every day to be a Mom to five beautiful girls. Nicole O'Malley, mother of five
For me, the birth of my first child was the most wonderful day of my life. It was full of joy, relief and lots of love. After months of infertility testing and medications we finally had a beautiful healthy boy. That first year went by so fast. If I could go back, I would hold him all day every day because you never have that kind of time when you have more children. Denise Bennett, mother of three
Before I had my first child, I bought a NY Giants onesie (my husband is a huge Giants fan). I had this vision in my head of our newborn child nestled up on my husband's chest watching the games on Sunday afternoons. I was so excited that first Sunday of football season, and I put Zachary, our son, in the onesie. Within five minutes he had a blow out — so much for my vision and desired photo op. The next Sunday, I waited until just before kick-off to put the onesie on and sure enough another blow out. I was getting a little frustrated; it really should not be this hard! It took about 4 weeks before I got my prized photo and cute memory of Ed and Zachary all nestled on the couch watching the game. Too bad I had to squeeze the poor kid in the onesie and by half time he had popped the buttons and busted free! It is a funny story now, but I look back and at the time I was stressed, I ask myself why? Babies do not care about a photo that Mommy has envisioned for years; they do not care about football games. Too many times I have caught myself getting frustrated over the little things, like the perfect picture and I have to take a step back and remind myself that the picture is a snapshot of who he is at that moment and that is perfect. Donna Kern, mother of two
Before we had our son people always warned us about changing diapers and making sure to cover "it" up so we wouldn't get peed on. I still remember the first time. It took me a few seconds to realize what was happening and by then I was soaked! I learned my lesson quickly! Dayspring Fowler, mother of three
The first thought that comes to mind is how fragile you think your first baby is. I remember my husband and I trying to dress Grace for the first time once we were home from the hospital. It took at least 10 minutes to get her arms through on her pajamas because we didn't know what we were doing and we were afraid of breaking her. Then by the time we had our second baby, we could diaper and change outfits in our sleep. Katie Ritenour, mother of two
I just knew parenting was not going to be a surprise to me because when I was 17, my cousin was born, and my mom and I raised her until she was 4-years-old. So when I brought my son Ethan home, I was determined I had the perfect baby. Ethan was a piece of cake. He literally ate and slept. He was never colicky and he never spit up. To me, it was all fun and games, but it all changes when they turn two! Courtney Munoz, mother of two
I wish someone would have warned me to really savor those private moments in the bathroom before I had children. I can't even remember the last time I sat on the toilet without an audience. In fact, some of my most precious discussions about school, friends and grubby insects are while I am sitting on the throne with at least one in my lap and one in the door. Not to mention that whatever emergency is going to occur is at the moment your drawers hit the floor. Modesty was never truly an issue for me; I just need to be careful to remember to shut the stall door when I am in Target now! Jenny Tinjum, mother of four
Before I had my first daughter, Allie, I always thought I was good at sharing. However, the second I held that little girl, something came over me. I wanted to hold her all of the time. Sure, others could hold her, but I was quick to get her back after a few minutes. After having the second and third kids, I believe I improved my sharing abilities with each addition. Amy Wood, mother of three
Kerry Pinto is a freelance writer living in Stafford (with no baby books!) with her husband and two kids.