When you become a mom, your world is really flipped upside down. Raising tiny humans is such a roller coaster it really is the best and hardest thing you’ll ever do. This is my list of 6 surprising things about motherhood.
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1. Your new favorite appliances will be your crock-pot and coffee maker
You know, I really did enjoy using my crock-pot before becoming a mom, but I think now our relationship is at a whole new level. When both my children were newborns, crock-pot meals, freezer meals, or takeout were about all I could manage. When both of my children were small babies I could easily wear them while assembling a crock-pot meal where as it would obviously be dangerous to cook over a stove or open a hot oven while wearing a baby. I could throw everything in my crock-pot before even turning it on, or if someone got fussy the recipe wasn’t going to be ruined if I took a five minute break to tend to them. If you need some great recipes for your crock-pot, I have a bunch here.
And coffee? Do I really need to say anything? I have always been a big coffee fan and I wouldn’t have survived either of my children’s newborn phase without it.
I could not have survived without my amazing Ninja coffee maker. It was and still is a lifesaver.
2. Being sick is the absolute worst
Whether just the kids are sick, or you’re sick, your spouse is sick, or everyone is sick, it’s absolutely miserable. When just the children are sick, at least you have energy to take care of them but everyone is cranky and not feeling well. There are messes to clean, drinks to fix, medicine to give, the list is really endless!
Whenever I’m the one not feeling good (I usually get a very bad migraine once every few months) I know my kids want my attention or they want me to play but I can’t be there 100% for them in the moment. I do what I have to do to get through the day. Normally, I lay on the floor, dim the lights, and close the curtains while they play. Is it ideal? Of course not! But you know what? I give myself grace as a mother and sometimes you just have to make it through the day.
When my husband is sick, it’s extra exhausting because he’s not available to help me or give me a break.
And when everyone is sick, well, everyone is sick and it’s miserable. Also, everyone gets a bit stir crazy while we’re sick and stuck at home.
3. You (and your kids) need to get out of the house
You will start to care about the weather more than ever during this season of life. I know that I absolutely hate going out with my kids while it’s raining. Loading two kids in and out of the car in the rain? No thank you.
We love indoor activities when it’s cold, we’re lucky that our town has two great children’s museums and a mall with a parking garage connected to one end. Our family has a membership to our local YMCA that includes child care so I can work out. We also love going to the park when the weather permits or going to a friend’s house is always fun and stimulating for my kids. There’s just something about playing with someone else’s toys that wears my kids out. We also go to Chic-fil-a pretty frequently since there’s one really close to us. We don’t always eat a full meal there sometimes we just share an ice cream or a cookie and the kids play around in the play area. I’m also lucky because several of my local Chick-fil-a’s offer a toddler time every other week which mostly includes arts and crafts or special visitors from our local wildlife center, firefighters with their trucks, puppeteers, or other fun guests. Sometimes just going to Target or the grocery store for a few things is enough. We don’t always go somewhere every day but we do try to get out of the house most days even if it’s just to the YMCA in the morning or to the park in our neighborhood.
4. If you choose for your children to have screen time, it’s OK
Screen time in moderation doesn’t make you a bad parent. In fact, if you carefully select quality shows that are educational you will be surprised at how much your child will learn. The AAP says one hour a day of high quality programing is OK for 2 to 5 year olds. Our family takes advantage of this hour.
One show our family absolutely loves is Signing Time. We have been learning American Sign Language together as a family since my son was six months old. We did a six week baby sign language class (based on ASL) with my son before moving to Canada for my husband’s job. After mastering the class, we wanted to keep learning so we decided to learn on our own with Signing Time. We’ve learned as a family and my toddler son knows over 30 signs! It’s honestly helped a lot with tantrums and figuring out what he wants. I think signing is something that you truly need a video (or a live instructor) to learn from.
According to Heathline.com, possible benefits of using sign language for your little ones include:
- an earlier ability to understand spoken words
- earlier use of spoken language skills
- earlier use of sentence structure in spoken language
- decrease in crying and whining in infants
- better bonding between parent and child
- potential IQ increase
I really credit ASL for helping to grow my son’s spoken vocabulary. Once he sees the sign, it helps him remember the spoken word that corresponds with it. We are working with my daughter on signing too and she started waving, clapping, and signing milk very early on, much earlier than my stubborn and strong willed son.
We have been working on animal signs a lot this past month and we can’t wait to take a trip to our local zoo so not only can we look at the animals but we can review the signs for them too!
My personal journey with ASL began over ten years ago when a young woman who was a Deaf education teacher joined my small group bible study. We quickly became friends and I picked up a lot of basic signs from her. I was really fascinated by ASL and honestly, I was kind of envious of her really cool job. Unfortunately, I didn’t continue my studies (I kick myself for this) and we both eventually moved and fell out of touch but it’s like I picked off right where I left off when we moved back to Texas and I took an adult class through our local township.
I truly think even knowing a little bit of language can go a long way!
Another children’s show we love is Daniel Tigre, nope I didn’t misspell Daniel Tiger, I’m talking about Daniel Tigre en español, mis amigos. I guess I should have warned you, that our family is composed of a bunch of language nerds. I studied Spanish in college and worked for a Mexico based company for a while, my husband learned a little Spanish in his twenties when he thought he might go to Buenos Aires and work. He never ended up getting transferred, but he learned enough to be able to read books in Spanish to our children. We both enjoy watching the show with our son since it helps us brush up on our Spanish skills too. The show also has a lot of really positive messages too, I love that Daniel encourages children to keep trying even if they’re not good at something, try new foods, share with friends, and of course if you have to go potty, STOP and go right away!
There are plenty of other high quality educational shows out there not about learning languages too. Some favorites of my friends’ children include: Sesame Street, Curious George, The Wiggles, and The Busy World of Richard Scarry.
5. You need mom friends
You really do need mom friends. First of all, let me say that you should never drop any of your friends because they’re not parents! That would be awful, but at the same time you do need mom friends during this phase of life. Having someone you can relate to is incredibly important. I will say that friendships don’t always happen instantly and you’ll get back what you put into things. I highly recommend you check out the Peanut App. You can find my post and my personal experience about it here.
I have met up with moms that I just didn’t click with before and when we lived in Houston, I had two really bad experiences with trying to find a group. One group was well, really stuck up and another was through the church we were attending at the time. The moms in my church group were all very sweet but they had known each other for years! It was honestly very tough trying to fit in and relate with them, especially when I was running on very little sleep.
Both of those mom groups were not the right fit for me personally and you know what? That’s OK. It’s just like everything else in life, you have to find something that’s a good fit for you and not everything is. Please don’t get discouraged or beat yourself up, keep trying! When my husband’s job moved us to Canada, I met the most amazing friend through Peanut and I also talked to other adults at my son’s Gymboree class. When we moved back to Texas, I really got in my grove before having my second child and then got into a bit of a funk until my daughter was around six months old before finding a grove again.
6. Drive thrus are now your jam
When I was in graduate school one of my professors went on a long rant about how much she loved drive thrus and I never truly understood this sentiment until I became a mom. Loading and unloading not just one child, but two, multiple times is really hard work. Drive thrus are the most amazing mom invention ever.
Hot coffee or food while my children are safely strapped into their cars eats? Yes, please.
My husband’s dry cleaning handed to me through their drive thru? Yes, please.
Tropical smoothie cafe? Yes, please.
Target drive up? Yes, please.
Kroger Clicklist? Yes, please.
So, I have to ask what has surprised you the most about motherhood? Please share what surprised you the most in the comments below.
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