What a Mother Learns in 18 Years

What a Mother Learns in 18 Years


shutterstock_192786428 [Converted]-01On St. Patrick’s Day, 18 years ago, I became a mother.

I knew nothing about parenting that day. I had held an infant only once before Evan was born, and never changed a diaper. I’d read some books, yes, but the real learning can’t happen until you do it yourself.

So, what did I learn?

That it’s basically impossible to “sleep when they sleep.”

That the things you swore you would NEVER do — for me it was carry snacks with me everywhere (“they can eat at mealtime” I sniffed) — are the things that save your sanity.

That you can never watch the news, or hear about a hurting child, the same way ever again. (It makes it tough to cover the news, too. Trust me.)

That there really is no need for things like electric diaper-wipe warmers. On the other hand, you can never have enough spit-up cloths.

That some days you might never figure out why they are crying. Sometimes they cry because they’re babies.

That you will do things for your children (ask favors, risk embarrassment) that you would never do for yourself.

That it is harder watching your kids navigate middle school than it was navigating middle school yourself.

That sleep deprivation really is a form of torture.

That paying a baby-sitter every couple of Saturday nights is cheaper than paying a marriage counselor.

That when your gut tells you they are sick, or something’s wrong, they are and it is.

That many battles are not worth fighting, but others definitely are, and sometimes one kind masquerades as the other.

You’d better have a Plan B when you Count To Three.

That it’s O.K. to surrender to the mess. You can clean it up when they move out. READ MORE