…don’t say you weren’t warned 😉
The epitome of how I feel before bed
You will be tired.
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, you don’t know what tired is until you’re a parent. Exhausted doesn’t even begin to describe it. It’s kind of like every ounce of energy has been sucked out of you, leaving you fighting a constant state of exhaustion. And when you work outside of the home as well, every day you come home to more work, leaving you feeling even more tired when you didn’t think that was possible.
Someone will always need something.
It’s not like you dress them and feed them and do a couple of dishes and your work is done. Someone will always need something. Your kids will want you to listen to every word of a very long story about Michael M. and Michael K. in their kindergarten class. And they will want you to maintain eye contact with them until the very end, or they will all start over. And by the very end, you still will not understand who was who, who did what, or why anyone cared, but you’ll nod and pretend to understand everything…or again, they may start all over.
Your family will mainly want your attention when you’re trying to do something else.
Your kids will only want your undivided attention the moment you are trying to give it to anyone else. They will follow you into the bathroom, or suddenly need you the moment you answer a phone call. My husband will ask where his glasses are (like I’m the one wearing them and like they’re not sitting on the counter in plain sight). Everyone expects to eat, and the kids have to be bathed. Did they have homework? Where is it now? Has anyone seen that damn backpack? And by the end of your day, your husband will also want something from you 😉 (please refer him to #1)
I love this picture. The baby is about to electrocute itself and who knows what the other kid is doing in the background…
No one in your family cares that you work.
This may sound a little harsh, but it’s so true! They don’t care that you’re working outside the home. They don’t care that you spent all day at work, when you get home you’re expected to still do stuff. Like, that it is also YOUR job. I seriously think there needs to be some sort of feminist or equality class in elementary school. Why am I the one that is expected to do the dishes and the laundry and cook every meal? And when my husband does it, he’s applauded for “helping out”!?!? And to everyone out there that says “my kids care, my partner cares”….they may care, but they still expect you to do it. If they don’t, please pass on your secret Of course, my husband does do stuff, but ultimately, I have more responsibilities at home, even though I work more hours (and I’m still in school. for the record. just saying).
Everyone else’s needs come first.
Seriously, I’ve always known that this is a mom-thing. But I just didn’t know how much it would suck. And I hate to be the rebellious one, but whyyyyyyyy is it always okay!?!? The other day my daughter ate 10 chicken nuggets. There was probably a 50% chance she didn’t get breakfast, but still….TEN!? There were two leftover that I had every intention of eating. In fact, I had already taken a bite out of one. But she saw I had two and asked if she could have them. When I said no, my mother looked at me like I was the devil. I wanted to say, but I didn’t eat breakfast either! And she doesn’t need twelve! I own exactly three pairs of slacks, three black cardigans, a handful of blouses, and two pairs of shoes. I keep meaning to buy more clothes, but my baby is going through diapers like they’re not $45 a box. And my husband needs more suits. And helloooo, he needs them for work And yet, I have to wait for the underwire to come out of my bra and stab me in my side-boob before buying another bra. Sigh. (p.s. if you ever see me, you’ll find me in one of those black cardigans and slacks. I’m very aware there’s a tiny bleach stain in one and a hole in the other. No need to point it out). lol
You will get up earlier and go to sleep later than anyone else in your house.
Every night my husband begs me to go to sleep when he does. He either wants #2 (again, refer him to #1) or he doesn’t want me to wake him up when I finally go to bed. But there is still stuff to do, still work to be done, and he doesn’t seem to understand that the only time I’m actually able to do it is when the house is quiet and no one is calling my name, needing something from me. I don’t care if it kills me, I will stay up as late as possible after my kids go to bed so that I can watch bad t.v. and enjoy the sound of silence. And even if it only lasts until the time I wake up, the living room will be toy-free. I’ll regret it the next day, but hey, there’s always caffeine…
Being off of work does NOT feel like being off of work.
No one ever told me this. No one ever gave me a heads up. It kills me to take PTO because when I take PTO I’m taking imaginary time away from my imaginary real vacation. You know, the one where I actually go somewhere and have absolutely NOTHING to do. But whenever you’re off of work, you’re still working. You’re just not getting paid or getting any recognition for anything being done. And the work is harrrrrrrrrd. OMG is it hard.
He decided to water the sofa Another cushion to turn over.
All your jobs are never-ending, except your actual job.
Seriously, if my husband made enough money, I would work just to have someone clean my house every day of the week. The work at home is endless. There are dishes, and laundry, and bathrooms that need to be cleaned, and who knows when the last time the floor was mopped or the baseboards dusted. Someone out there is going to read this and say “I do that every week” and just know I’d give you the dirty eyeball if I heard you say it. I once turned over a couch cushion because I just couldn’t be bothered to try to get the marker stain out.
You will feel guilty.
I always thought I wouldn’t care if I missed some school event because of work. After all, I would have missed it because I was working, not hanging out at a bar. But no one tells you about the constant guilt you feel for not always being present. And no one warns you about your kids favoring the person who is always able to show up (but thanks all the same Mom and Dad). And you don’t even have to actually miss an event to feel guilty. You will feel guilty when your kids don’t do well on an exam (you should have helped them study more), when they forget to turn in their homework (you should have put it in their backpack—btw, where IS their backpack?!), or when they ask for your partner to put them to bed because they read the story until the end without falling asleep Guilt feels heavy!
You become the glue.
Even if you don’t always work or mother well, you somehow become the glue that holds everything together.
Uhhh he will definitely need another bath. And that shirt is a goner.
Something will fall apart.
If you learn to accept this at the beginning, the guilt and the constant needing and the permanent state of exhaustion will not be the death of you. The dishes may not get done. Laundry may not get folded. You may trip on toys walking through your living room. Some days your house may be one week away from an episode of Hoarders, and things may fall apart all around you. You may not be able to give every single thing in your home the time and attention you should. You may neglect things. But don’t let it be your kids, and don’t let it be your marriage. Accept that you may not be able to give everything 100% of your precious spare time. If there are dishes in the sink, be okay with that if they were left undone because you were sneaking kisses from your partner in the laundry room 😉 If there is a basket of clothes somewhere in your house that hasn’t been folded, be okay with that if you were playing in the backyard with your kids. Things will fall apart all around you, but keep your kids and your marriage together.
You will not be able to remember much of your life before you had children.
No matter how much work being a parent is, I can’t seem to remember my life before I had kids. Nothing I did before them was really that important. The good times were good, but they seem kind of meaningless now. Sometimes I miss the freedom, the times when nothing but immaturity held me back. But I only miss it for moment.
Watching my children grow, watching my crazy, chaotic family learn to grow together is one of my greatest blessings.
Until my next delivery ❤
Shelly Lopez Gray is a registered nurse behind the blog Adventures of a Labor Nurse: the Highs and Lows of Labor and Delivery. She writes about the secret (good) work of nurses and provides information for women before, during and after their pregnancy as well as resources for nurses for professional growth and development. She works in the Houston Medical Center and in a suburb of Houston. Shelly volunteers teaching prenatal classes to women at a pregnancy crisis center and provides breastfeeding information to mothers at a teen clinic. Shelly is dedicated to the health of moms and babies and genuinely believes that every nurse has the potential for greatness.
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A working mother is the hardest job around. And, unfortunately many are doing it alone, as the fastest growing homeless population is single mothers, due to divorce, flight from domestic violence or flight by a boyfriend who turns out to be no friend.