Well, I have learned a few things myself.
I'll call it- Everything I Never Knew I Didn't Know About Motherhood.
- You'll be exhausted forever. To varying degrees. But, unless you can afford a long vacation- sleep will become what you want for Christmas, your Birthday etc.
- You will develop a tolerance for every single thing you swore your children would NEVER do. Scream in public, throw things, run like banshees through places.... Payback is well, you know...
- You will always feel like you're doing something wrong, messing up at least one of your children, failing them to some degree in at least one thing, or perhaps EVERYTHING. And if you allow the thought that perhaps you aren't doing such a terrible job to even briefly cross your mind, your children will loudly remind you that you are THE...WORST..PARENT..EVER.
- Children make messes. The more children the larger the mess. But not in the way that 1+1=2, children together in the same room multiply messes. Exponentially. Like 1*1= infinity.
- As soon as you think you have things under control, that you understand your children, that you are on top of the schedule, that you have homework covered, that the routine is working- Everything will change. Someone will start a new lesson, sport, class, job and all your careful planning will be thrown out the window and you'll have to start over- or wing it. Forever.
- That thing that you thought would be the easiest part of Motherhood for you? Children have a way of twisting it into the most difficult experience of your entire life. It's best not to think. Try clearing your mind like the Ghostbusters did in the movie. The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man has nothing on what havoc children can create. Repeat the mantra- "I know nothing..." Acceptance is key here.
- Motherhood/ Parenthood is the hardest job you will ever have X infinity. It's impossible to know what challenges you will face. And sometimes the thought of everything that could/might go wrong will leave you huddled in a corner terrified.
- Sometimes your very worst nightmare will come true.
- You are not in this alone. Your mother/grandmother/father/any adult that has a hand in shaping who you are is there ready to help. And maybe rub it in a little that they were right all those years ago when they told you how it would be.
- Despite how it feels on Facebook, there is no mother alive who wants to see you fail. We are passionate about our jobs, sometimes we express opinions strongly, or in a way that is hurtful to those who feel differently. But deep down in each of us is the desire to be good at this mothering thing, and to help everyone else be successful too.
- Sometimes you will have to wave the white flag. Give up on some ideals for a while. Adjust expectations. Learn to love dirt. Survival is the primary goal. Anything else is frosting.
- You are not nearly as big an influence in how your children turn out as you think. They come hardwired with personalities, abilities and souls that you might be able to shape, but not ever really change. This is both freeing and terrifying.
- If someone had told you everything you would have to do as a mother, and what it would take to do this job, you would have laughed in their face. And yet, somehow, you find yourself doing things you never would have dreamed of doing, stretching in ways you didn't know you could, becoming someone you had no idea you even wanted to be. And you are grateful for it.
- One smile from a toddler can erase the frustration of a whole day full of disaster. One hug from a preteen will remove all the contention of a strained relationship. One laugh from a 7 year old boy will fill your soul with joy. The equation never makes sense on paper, but in your heart, you know you are always on the receiving end of this whole deal.
Motherhood is delicious, divine and disgusting. It is both intensely painful and extremely gratifying.
And I love it.