Well, bust my buttons! Why didn’t you say that in the first place? That’s a horse of a different color!”

 
People try to give moms and pregnant women, or women trying to get pregnant, advice all the time. Like, just relax and you’ll get pregnant. Just relax a little and give him rice cereal, he’ll sleep through the night. Rest up now, because when the baby comes, you’ll never get any sleep. Just relax during labor and it won’t hurt so much. Rest. Relax. Chill out.

RELAX.

Giving us this advice really isn’t helpful, because it only makes us want punch you in the face. Even if it’s legitimate advice, we’ll probably still want to punch you, and we won’t listen to a word you said. Knowing this, I try my hardest (even though it’s hard) not to give my pregnant/trying to get pregnant/new mom friends advice. Unless they ask me directly. Instead, I write things in my blog and hope they can relate.

That being said, here are the Top 5 things that I wish someone had told me before I was pregnant. Or, more importantly, the Top 5 pieces of advice that I wish I had listened to before Charlie was here.

I wish someone had told be how much I would hate my dogs, before I went and got my dogs.

Now, before you go calling the ASPCA, it’s not like our dogs are ever abused or neglected. I still love them. But, it’s more out of necessity – like, even the mother of a serial killer has to love her child. That kind of love. It’s not that they’re bad dogs. It’s that I’m realizing the impact now of being lazy dog owners. And, their dog-ness gets on my every last nerve.

Do you know how frustrating it is to just get a fussy baby to sleep, only to be woken up 5 minutes later because your little-poodle mix likes to bark at animals on TV? We found this hilarious when Dexter did it before baby. We would even egg him on. “Dexter, you get that honey badger! You get him!” Now it makes me want to punt him across the room.

Who goes there?!?

Let’s not forget about the world’s most insane/lazy/sweet beagle, who does her fair share of annoying the shit out of me. If a leaf so much as rustles outside, she’s in the window with her “what’s that, whose here?” bark. I’m resigned to the fact that our front window will just stay covered in dog slobber/snot.

The other day, I was running late picking up the baby from day care when I let her out to go potty. Our neighbor was out with their dog and her son. Libby took off so fast and hard at them, that her dog runner literally ripped the siding off of the house. As if our condo was not in ruins enough on the inside, she felt the need to tear it up on the outside too. Thanks, dog.

Oh, and I cannot forget her new habit – eating the blankets in her crate. Because I don’t get woken up enough in the middle of the night as it is; waking to the sound of a beagle puking up a bed sheet at 2 a.m. is awesome.

Hey, can I sit there?

It’s a tough adjustment for them, but it’s a tough adjustment for us too. They used to just be able to jump up into our laps – so is it their fault that, when they do it now, they overlook the fact that there’s a baby there already? Probably not, but it doesn’t make me any less pissed that they land on the baby’s face. Dexter was attached at my hip, and now he is consistently getting pushed away from me. And, don’t even get me started on the poop. I mean, accidents happen, but seriously.

I feel like I spend most of my days saying, “Dexter, get!” , “Libby, NO!” , and “JESUS CHRIST, dogs!!!” I would put my money on one of these phrases being Charlie’s first words. My BFF’s mom told me it would be this way when I was pregnant, and I didn’t believe it. Now, every day I think, let’s just drop them off at the Refuge League. But, it’s an empty threat. Like the mother of a serial killer, there’s no turning back. We took them in, did our best to raise them right, and regardless of the outcome, now we have to love them.

I wish I had known how much I would resent my career and education, before I got my degree.

I always knew I was destined to go to college, get my degree in journalism and become a writer. Somehow, I ended up in the insane world of Marketing. And I’ve loved it… until I became a mother.

Becoming a mother changes your life entirely. It makes you incredibly happy in a million ways, but incredibly sad when you have to send them to day care every day. It makes you want to achieve your dreams, but depressed that you haven’t achieved your dreams yet.

I’ve said it before, but if it were a legitimate option, I would become a stay-at-home mother in a heartbeat. Not because I think it would be “easy.” But, because the thought that I am missing such a huge chunk of my child’s development drives me mad. Every day I feel guilty. Every day I tear up when his little swing is still swaying back and forth, empty, because he and Daddy are already out the door on their way to day care.

I’m pretty smart…I graduated cum laude from the University of Maine. I have had a pretty successful career so far. (Toot, toot upon my own horn.) But, I would give that all up if I could go back in time. I wish someone could have told me, “You will become a mother, and you’ll really just want to work part time. You’ll lose all of your passion for whatever your job is and every ounce of passion you have will be directed toward your son. Don’t get $40k in debt with student loans, because you’d be happier just working at the candy store and changing diapers.”

But, a college degree comes with expectations. You can’t have a 4-year degree and a career, and give it up without people looking at you differently. If I didn’t care so much about those expectations and I didn’t have student loan debt, I would be stay-at-home-mom of the year!

I wish I had been prepared that the true anxiety about my baby would start AFTER he is born. 

I had a lot of anxiety when I was pregnant. The first thing I did when I got my ultrasound picture was to go around to all of my Facebook friend’s pages that were moms and creep their ultrasound photos, to compare and see if my baby was deformed in some way.

My head was constantly full of worry. Like, what if I miscarry? What if there is something wrong? What if I do something/inhale something/ingest something/smell something/look at something that gives him a birth defect? One day, I cleaned our counter top grout with industrial strength cleaner, without thinking about it, and then cried for a week because I was sure that smelling it gave my baby a 2nd face.

For 9 months I thought, I cannot wait until this thing is out of me, so I can be less crazy.

Ha! Little did I know, the true stress and anxiety begins after the baby comes out. He’s here, but now his well-being is all on us. Immediately, it begins. What if he stops breathing? What if I fall asleep and suffocate him while breastfeeding? Am I producing enough breastmilk – what if he starves? I’m starving him, I know it. He hasn’t pooped in a day, is he dying? He has a fever, is he dying? He’s farting too much, I think he could be dying.

It. Never. Ends.

Just when I come back to reality on one topic – like, okay, he’s growing so I must not be starving him – he goes and learns something new, like rolling over, and I have 26 new things to worry about. I wish I had know how bad the worry would be, because maybe then I would have stressed less while I was pregnant.

But, who am I kidding, I’m pretty crazy so I probably would have been stressed out anyway. I just can’t believe there is going to be 18+ more years of this anxiety.

I wish I had known that hemorrhoids are a recurring problem. 

Pretty sure this one needs no in-depth explanation – let’s just say that, after giving birth, my two dogs aren’t the only pains in my ass. Just when you think they’re gone…enough said.

That our FWC’s (Friends Without Children) would move on without us. And that it would bother me a little.

Tristan and I have always been homebodies. Contrary to what some may think, I am an introvert at heart. Mostly because 99% of people annoy the hell out of me. According to Meyers-Briggs, I’m an INTJ. And I am okay with that – I embrace the “I” in me.

Before Charlie was born, I was perfectly happy sitting at home on the couch with my husband instead of going to a party. I would rather spend time with our families than go to the bar on a Friday night. It’s funny how you “settle” down when you find that person to settle down with.

So I thought, for sure, when a baby came into the picture I would not give two craps about what was going on around us. We’d still rather sit on the couch and watch a movie, with a baby snuggling between us. Or, we’d prefer to go my mom’s so she can “ooh” and “ahh” over how cute the baby is. And while it’s true, I would absolutely prefer to do those things, it still feels funny when you see your friends without children moving on around you.

Thanks to Facebook, you start to realize that you’re not being invited to that sporting event, that dinner out, that concert, that vacation. But, really, can you blame them? Charlie is still too little for us to want to get a babysitter most of the time, so we’re highly likely to say no if the invite is extended anyway. I wouldn’t invite someone that was going to tell me ‘No’ all the time either.

I never thought it would matter to me, but surprisingly, it stings a bit. The entire dynamic of those friendships is changing, and even though I thought I was ready for it, I don’t think I was truly prepared.

So, there it is. The 5 pieces of advice I wish I had taken to heart before becoming a mother.

Becoming a mother is a unique experience for each of us, and it changes our lives in different ways. These are the things I have had to try to accept. And, hindsight is always 20/20. No matter what, I am not sure there was any way I could have prepared for any of these issues until I experienced them… with the exception of stocking up on Preparation H. That might have helped with the hemorrhoids.



4 Thoughts on “What I Wish I Had Known.

  1. Ellen H. on April 14, 2012 at 3:42 PM said:

    Thank you for posting this. I would never have thought about it and I think I will probably be relating to all of them…

  2. Anonymous on April 14, 2012 at 7:26 PM said:

    I agree with all the points – especially the dog one! I loved my dog more than I thought I could love anything, but after baby came the dog annoys me constantly. I try to remind myself that the dog just wants the same love and attention as before, and maybe as the baby gets older it will be easy to balance both of them, but right now I too constantly tell my dog, NO, OUT, SIT, HUSH. Oh, and let me tell you, resenting the degree happens if you are a stay at home mom too, maybe even more. Why did I spend lots of money and years in college just to not use my education? Sometimes I feel very wasteful staying home instead of contributing to society.

  3. Anonymous on April 14, 2012 at 7:49 PM said:

    Okay, I’m not a mother, but the part about losing all passion for other things sounds really sad to me. Its like you’re just throwing away everything you wanted to accomplish in your life. Frankly, if having kids means that I have to give up all other dreams for myself, I don’t want any part of it.

  4. It’s not that you lose passion for your dreams. It’s that you realize nothing else matters but this little life you created. Yes, I still want to achieve my “dream”. But really, my son was my biggest dream and I didn’t even know it. If I can accomplish my goals, awesome. If I don’t, I have left my best legacy in life – my son. And that is okay with me. I want to be the best that I can be for him. That’s all that matters now. You could never understand until you are a mother. If you are lucky enough to become one, you will totally see the other side. It’s not sad – it is love.

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