Friday, October 12, 2012

Things I Have Learned About Motherhood

I have been wanting to write this blog for a long time.  However, something just keeps getting in the way (or perhaps 3 somethings).  I thought I would pass on this precious information I have learned to new(er) parents before I forget it all!

Our boys.  Makai (age 4 1/2), Tanner (age 2 1/2) and Jameson (2 days)

These are the things that no one tells you about motherhood (in no particular order):

1.  Breastfeeding is WAY worse than giving birth.  It takes your breath away EVERY single time (8-10 times a day) for the first two weeks.

2.  Enjoy filling out your shirt when you are nursing.....cause after you are done, they shrink to an even smaller size than you had before (and get smaller and saggier with each one).

3.  Your husband will love your new voluptuousness, however, you will not want him to get near them (it is God's cruel joke on men).

4.  When you add one tiny little person, your laundry will TRIPLE!  Not only do they poop on, spit on and make a mess of their clothes causing you to change them multiple times per day, they do the same to you and therefore you must change your clothes several times a day.

5.  Clean clothes mean something totally different.  If it doesn't have poop on it (or smell like poop), it is clean and therefore you can be seen in public in it (see above for further clarification).

6.  Your house will never be totally 100% clean ever again.  Face the reality.

7.  Cleaning up after a meal doesn't just mean doing the dishes.  It requires sweeping, cleaning chairs, floors, table, table legs, and occasionally the walls.  Then repeat after every meal.

8.  God puts something magical (and sometimes terrible) inside little boys.  They are noisy, dirty, smelly and CANNOT sit still....unless they are sleeping.  Most of the time it is fine, but sometimes you are going to want to pull your hair out (especially when you see the little girls sitting there quietly reading a book or coloring).

9.  It doesn't matter how good of a teacher you is almost impossible to teach your own kid to read, color, do numbers or math.  It is a form of ancient torture.  Take them to a good preschool instead.

10.  It is almost impossible to take pictures of your own children and get them to smile a natural smile.

11.  No matter how many times you wipe their face, it is always dirty (at least for boys).

12.  If your kid is ever throwing a fit at the store (or anywhere in public), just loudly say "where is your mother?".

13.  It doesn't matter how amazing your kid has been while you are shopping, meltdown will always happen in the checkout line.  Which usually coincides with you choosing the longest line possible.

14.  When you have small children, always park by the cart return (even if you have to walk a lot further).  Then you can stick all your crap precious belongings in it on the way in, and return it easily when you are done.

15.  Always keep a lolly pop in your purse or car.  Trust

16.  It doesn't matter how much extra time you give yourself to get out the door, you will need every minute.  The kids inevitably spit up (or poop out) all over themselves and you and then everyone has to start all over again with baths, fresh clothes, etc.

17.  Always have wipes on hand.  Even when your kids are older.  Trust

18.  If your baby keeps getting wet from pee (or peeing out), it is time for the next size up in diapers.  If you have a boy, you have to "poke it down" or they will pee out the top of the diaper (or will pee on themselves when learning to potty train.

19.  POTTY TRAINING SUCKS.  If someone tells you that their kid potty trained themselves or that they did it in one day.....they are either lying or EXTREMELY lucky (and that luck usually runs out with subsequent children).

20.  You will never sleep like you used to.  EVER.

21.  When your husband is on duty and the kids are awesome for him, you are glad, but also secretly wishing they were terrible so that he can relate more with your day to day life.

22.  The kids are always better for their dad (at least in my house).

23.  From 4:30-5:30 (or the last hour before your hubby gets home) is the witching hour.  You are trying to make dinner with a screaming toddler clinging to your legs and your patience is shot.  Not fun.

24.  It is amazing how much screaming and crying your husband (or at least my husband) can sleep through.

25.  Before you have kids and you are out in public with a mother whose children are screaming, you judge her and can't believe how she can't control their kids. After you have kids, you thank God that it is not your screaming child and send the mom a sympathetic look.

26.  Having 2 kids is not just like adding one more (it is at least 2-3).

27.  Confession: after having my third child there was a time everyday where everyone was crying (even me) for the first three months of his life.  Everyone always needed something at the exact same time and it was so overwhelming I would cry.  Hang in there! 

28.  There is a homing beacon with children that as soon as you put the phone up to your ear, they desperately need something or screaming and fighting ensues.  Even if you try to hide in the bathroom, they will find you.

29.  Children feel the need to keep you company when you are doing your business in the bathroom.  Again, homing beacon applies.

30.  Having a baby does things to your body.  Without a personal trainer, personal chef, serious motivation and/or really good genetics, your body will NEVER look the same.  Those hips have to get bigger to push those babies out and they don't ever go back.  Even if weighed less than I did before I had kids, I will never be a size 8 again.

31.  If you really need a shower (because it has been a few days) and have no where to safely stash your child, put them in the crib with some books to read.  And, it is OKAY if they cry.  It won't kill them.  Plus it is harder to hear them screaming if they are further away from the shower.

32.  If you have HAD it, again the crib is a good safe place to stick him/her while you have a "Mommy time out".

33.  If you have toddlers in the house (especially if you have multiple toddlers) ALWAYS put the toilet cover down.  This will prevent splashing and overall grossness.

34.  Have a designated plastic "puke bowl" that you pull out whenever someone is queasy or sick.  This will save your carpets!

35. Don't be tempted to push the limits and stay that extra 5 minutes somewhere.  Meltdown will always ensue.  Better to leave on good terms than stay 5 more minutes and leave with a screaming child

36.  Don't start bad habits (like rocking your kid to sleep or letting them sleep in your bed), they are tough to break.

37.  Kiss your hubby in front of your kids.  They might think it is gross, but they like to see that you still love each other. 

38.  Keep a bottle of antibacterial gel in your car and your purse.

39.  Don't be afraid to put your child in the nursery at church.  It is good for the both of you.

40.  Take lots of pictures and get family pictures taken annually (or at least every 2 years).  Time slips by quickly and they change so fast!

41.  Play-dates are good.  Somehow it is easier and you get more done when your kids have friends over.

42.  My parents were brilliant.  They always had food in the cupboards and drinks in the fridge and the door was always open for our friends.  Therefore, we always hung out at our house and my parents knew what we were doing and who our friends were.  I am planning on doing the same.

43.  It is inevitable that whenever you schedule pictures with a photographer that your kids will fall down and scrape their face, get sick or otherwise make it necessary to reschedule.

44.  Stop by your kids' school sometimes for no reason and have lunch with them.  They love it and you have to do it before they become too cool for you.

45.  Always peek in on your kids just before you go to bed.  Their sweet little sleeping faces will give you a smile and a peaceful heart (and sometimes a good laugh at the position they are in).

46.  Finding good consequences for your kids is hard.  Just when you find something that works,  they change and it doesn't work anymore.  And what works really well for one kid, doesn't for the other.

47.  If you make threats, you better be prepared to follow through.  It sticks with them.  I have totally left a full shopping cart at Target!  But I only had to do it once.

48.  After boys come in from playing outside, have them empty their pockets and their shoes.  This will save your house from rock and sand piles!

49.  Don't get attached to anything you own.  It will get ruined, broken, thrown up on, etc.

50.  If you have boys, buy hair clippers and learn how to give a basic haircut.  It will save you lots of money!

51.  Don't buy nice furniture or new carpet until your kids are over 5 (see #49).

52.  Be firm and make rules and schedules, but always leave room for grace and unpredictability.

53.  When you are in the midst of the parenting trenches (ie. screaming toddler) and someone tells you to enjoy this time because it goes by fast, resist the urge to punch their lights out.  Because in a few short years, you are going to forget how hard it is to have small children and you are going to miss how cute they are and you are going to be telling some lady in the grocery store that it goes by so fast.

54.  Just when you have figured out your kids (when they eat, what they like and dislike, how to get them to go to sleep) THEY CHANGE and you have to start all over again.

55.  Don't be afraid to ask for help and call in the cavalry (grandma, aunt or close friend).  They can sympathize, help and give good advise.

56.  If your baby won't go to sleep in the evening (or anytime) and you have had a busy and stimulating day, take a lightweight blanket and cover their eyes.  It will help them calm down and close their eyes.  Sometimes babies get so overstimulated that it is hard for them to go to sleep.  It also work in the carseat.  Just cover the carseat with a blanket and BAM, out like a light.  Trust me.....they call me the baby whisperer for this reason.

57.  Take a night off every once in a while.  You and your kids will be better for it!

58.  Give your kids choices.  You can stop crying and eat dinner, or you can keep crying and go to bed.  They will usually make the good choice and you don't have to fight with them. 

59.  Don't back down.  Kids want boundaries.  Once you start a battle with your must win (or you will have many more battles in the future).  Even if it means battling an 18 month old at Fun City for an hour and a half because they won't say "please".  Trust me, it was an epic battle.  But I WON and I NEVER had to deal with that again.

60.  There is no instruction manual.  What works for someone else might not work for you.  Parent with love and grace (and a lot of praying) and you will do just fine!

They have changed a little in the last 4 years.  Sniff Sniff.

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