What I'd Wish I'd Known {round IV}

13 August 2015

.... and now for the final round of "what I'd wish I'd known before I had kids ..... " we've got some truly wise, hilarious, and seasoned perspectives to glean from. Scroll and read and scroll and read some MORE. 


Kelly from This Ain't The Lyceum

Back before I had kids, I had several hobbies plus time to watch TV and read books. I went to the mall and shopped at my leisure and ate out whenever I was too lazy to pop a chicken pot pie in the microwave. But yet, I know I claimed I didn’t have enough time; to travel, to finish a craft project to get to the gym more often, to call friends and family. What I wish I realized then, that I know all too painfully now, is that I had tons of free time. Oodles and oodles of it. Kelly, circa. 2000 needed to quit whining about her “busy” schedule and take advantage of all the hours in her day. Stop watching Law and Order SVU reruns and get a life! I wish I could reach back and slap myself.

Only once you have a little child completely dependent on you for their care 24/7, you realize how much free time you really enjoyed. Raising that one little child will soon suck up all your precious time and energy, forcing you to forgo things like showers and coherent conversations with other adults. You’ll bemoan the fact that it took you until now to realize how much free time you wasted. As a new mom, you fully comprehend what it’s like to be busy.

And then you have another child, and those long ago days of caring for just one. single. child. seems like a stroll in the park. What were you complaining about back then? If you stay at home with your children, you now find yourself outnumbered! Your needs fall even lower on the totem pole, somewhere between taking moldy leftovers out of the fridge and emptying the diaper pail. You realize that now, you absolutely, positively, without a doubt have no time for yourself.

Does it get better? Yes, thankfully it does. You soon learn to cast your fears aside and leave your children with other people, who though not being you, are able to keep your kids alive in your absence while you do things for yourself. And eventually, your children get older and they start doing things for themselves like helping around the house while you “fold laundry” in your bedroom with the door locked.

I wish I could’ve banked all those wasted hours before kids to save for now. I would cherish them, love them and savor every second the way a death row inmate enjoys his last meal. 

Stephanie from Barefoot in the Kitchen 

Before we brought our first baby home from the hospital, my husband and I had naively read all of the parenting books. We thought we knew just what to expect and how best to care for her. But there's nothing like spending your first night as a brand new parent to make you realize that, in fact, you have absolutely no idea what you're doing.

My husband and I were young and far from our families when we had our first baby. Those early months felt so lonely and incredibly difficult.

I wish I'd known that eventually we would figure it out, at least for a little while, until a new phase began and we had to figure it out all over again. I think that's how life with children is - a series of phases, all of which eventually end, where we, as parents, are stretched and pulled and forced to adjust our expectations.

Those nights where your new baby wakes up every hour to nurse will end someday. The weeks of feeling stuck at home because you are potty training your toddler - those will end, too. And now, as we are about to enter the teen years at our house, this is a good reminder that the eye rolling will eventually disappear. I think the trick is loving these kids no matter what phase they're in. It is focusing on their good parts and waiting for them to outgrow the difficult ones. I have seen this happen in my own children over and over again. What I thought was stubbornness in one child was really just a difficult stretch in her twos. Eventually another was able to go to sleep at night without a long, drawn out routine.

I guess I have learned that the hard times will pass. I just need to be patient and never stop showing affection. This doesn't come naturally to me, so it is a lesson that I need repeated often, and I am grateful for the opportunity to share it here.

Mary from Passionate Perseverance

...This too shall pass. No seriously. No matter what you are facing, this too shall pass. Like a kidney stone but it will pass. The day from hell will end and a new one will begin, filled with possibility, wonder and much more coffee. 

Days like this...after three nights with no sleep with the colicky baby as your brains are leaking out of your boobs and the preschool director calls to inform you that your son has been expelled for biting, which of course will lead to his future incarceration in adulthood. After you gather yourself and said screaming baby, face the utter humiliation that is waiting for you at the preschool, surviving the "tsk tsk" lecture on your failed parenting skills, leaving the building with your tail between your legs and feeling absolutely no love for the four year old that is currently skipping in front of you, enjoying his new found freedom all while being completely oblivious to being voted off the island.  You arrive home to a sweet email from your sister-in-law listing what you need to bring to the next days family gathering, reminding you that you have to do laundry to make sure your family doesn't show up naked. By the way, you haven’t been to the grocery store in a week having survived on the jumbo bags of Dinosaur Chicken Nuggets and carrot sticks from the last Costco run, which itself was a nightmare.  The thought of going back, leads you to deep despair and a binge of emotional overeating that begins with scooping out the dregs of the salted caramel ice cream container found in the back of the freezer behind the freezer burned chicken breasts you forgot about. This is quickly followed by a round of potato chips and dip, as you read the text hubby sent asking “What’s for dinner?”.
I wish i had know that these days would happen, for reelz, not just in a weekly sitcom on TV. I wish I had known they would happen AND more important that I would SURVIVE them!

I survived them and so will you. Your family will eventually eat a nutritious meal AND they will not leave the house naked. Well the adults won't. The toddler, may or may not, given the day. That former four year will not see the inside of the Big House but become a loving, caring big brother to his special needs sister (who had horrible colic) and make you so damn proud that your heart will burst. But first you will have to survive puberty. It will be ugly, but you will survive it.  

That screaming little baby will change your life and make you a better human. She will teach the meaning of sacrificial love that will inspire many and create a life filled with magic and miracles on a daily basis. 

Just remember, this too shall pass. You will survive. I promise. 


I've been a mother for all of three months and one day, so I'm learning something that I wish I had known before I had a baby. How people parented before the internet, I'll never know. As much as Google taught me about babies, I feel like only experience could teach me about motherhood. And what I really wish I had known before I became a mother was that all parents are doing their best.

Oh, I paid lip-service to not judging, saying the mommy wars were terrible and all that. Really though, in my head I was all "Oh. My. Gosh. Becky. Look at her parenting." and "Gasp! I would never do that!" I had a long list of things I would and wouldn't do when I was a mother.

Then, I had Esther.

I love being a mother and love being home with my baby (yay for maternity leave!), more than I ever thought I would, but good gravy, this ish is hard! The first four weeks are such a fuzzy blur that I only barely survived because my husband was on paternity leave. But then he went back to work at the same time Esther's fussy stage was really ramping up, and I was so stinking exhausted. Also, can we talk about how
long nursing takes for the first couple of months? I didn't know up from down and was on the barest of survival modes.

So I did some things I said I'd never do, like have the tv on around her, use my phone while she's awake, hold her so she could sleep, etc. I just needed some rest; I needed to occupy my mind (or more accurately, let it shut down). I needed to not go completely crazy!

It was while I was breaking all the pediatrician's rules (like no co-sleeping? that one has been broken and broken hard) that I had my epiphany. I still loved Esther, but I also needed to preserve my sanity. Therefore, if Esther got screen time before the age of 2 (I know, I was dreaming real big on that one), so be it. She would be fine, as would I. And oh my goodness, this is what everyone else is doing! Trying their best to survive!

And that's when I realized that we all love our children and we all try our best. Some are great about no-screen time, some are great at healthy eating, and some are great at nothing. That's ok. That's more than ok because as long as you love your child, that child will be fine. Let's face it, we will all screw up our children in one way or another; we will all "fail" at some aspect of parenting. So let's not judge others for parenting in a different way. We are all trying our best, and as the Beatles said, "all you need is love."

I had no idea how heartbreaking it would be.  My heart is routinely breaking and mending with each birthday, each hurt knee, each "I love you, Mom," each day of failed or successful parenting.  Motherhood makes me raw and vulnerable, but overwhelmingly happy and joyful.  You can't have one without the other.

Britt from The Fisk Files

...that there would be more pain, more fear, and more doubt than I had ever experienced, but only because of the intense love, vulnerability and hope that hits you the minute that baby is placed in your arms and you become Mom.

...that breastfeeding might not work, yet it would still be possible to feel guilty for giving it up.

...that I would cry more in the next few months that probably my entire 33 years, yet most of those tears would be rooted in a love I had never felt before.

Kelsey from Pardon My French

What I wish I knew before I had kids? Simple answer would be everything! Realistically I feel like my answer to this would be different after every baby.

-The loss of sleep is a given, I wish I had known just how little sleep I could actually function on, and I might have tried to study a little harder in college. 
-To get extremely comfortable about going to the bathroom with an audience, and showering with a cool breeze. 
-You will never ever again in your life see a matching pair of socks in your house. 
-Mom guilt, it's a real thing. 
-Take a good hard look at your body now because it might look like something out of National Geographic when you're done making and feeding those babies. 
-The debate on the terrible twos and the low down trenches of the threes is alive and well (at least in my house, we will take the twos over the threes any day). 
-The sound of Legos being dumped on the floor will make you nauseous. 
-Stock up on wine, or your calming elixir of choice. 
-It takes a village to remain sane, so find your battle buddies either online or a play date away. 

I'm pretty sure I could go on and on, but the one thing I wish I truly knew before I had kids would be, to take some me time. After my first born I couldn't imagine ever leaving him. Who needs a date night? We have this amazing little baby. Why do I need to get dressed and fix myself up? I just sit here and stare at this little human all day. Then I had my second, and my third, and realized I am in a rut of sweatpants and over sized t-shirts. It was time to finally cut the cord and take some time to get my groove back. I wish someone would have told me that in order to be a good mom (well decent at best) I need to be good to myself as well. Make the time to stroll the aisles of Target alone, even if I am just going there for diapers and wipes. Taking myself out to lunch and eating alone is not such a bad thing. A night away with the husband can work wonders on the old reset button. When someone offers you help, take it! I thought I had to be a one woman band, but it turns out I possess zero domestic musical talents. All in all, not completely lose myself in the land of milk and butt wiping!

Of course we can't mention motherhood without the whole, be still my heart and the abundance of heart eye emojis, because it is the craziest kind of love. My mom once told me "kids are the one thing in life that will make your heart melt, while your head is exploding" I mean, what a great combination!!

Fran from Fran Dorsey

I wish I'd known that by six months postpartum I'd have tiny bangs that made me look like Lydia from Beetlejuice. I wish I'd known that when babies eat raisins they reconstitute to their original form by the time they reach the diaper (TERRIFYING). I wish I'd known that talking about vaccines is not for small talk (run away!). I wish I'd known that every cliche about having a baby is true. Time moves too quickly. The moment you hold them in your arms for the first time you experience the closest thing to heaven on earth. That it's one of the greatest, most frustratingly beautiful and exhausting adventures you'll ever experience. And that YES, you will sleep again.

Jenna from Call Her Happy

It's ok to go through a grieving period when you become a mom; you are now living every moment not for yourself, but for another bebe being. When you spend too much time focusing on yourself, you'll feel those growing pains in the form of wicked frustration. So, save your wants (not needs) until nap time, and your tribe will be happier. Also, put down the parenting books and trust yourself, lady.

I wish I would have known how much adventuring would change my outlook on the world.  Every day we try to get out and adventure somewhere as family, but before kids, I never thought twice about going on a hike to merely enjoy a view or how enjoyable it is to skip rocks in the creek.  Before kids, I took advantage of my free time.  I spent too may days watching TV and not enough time in nature.  I didn't think about chasing sunsets or catching butterflies.  Before having children, I didn't really feel the wonder as much as I do now; the wonder of the world that God created.  Before kids, I never really thought about that.  But now I do.  Every single day.  

Heather from Mama Knows Honeychild

What I wish I would have known before having kids is that sometimes (Read: DAILY) I would find myself crouched down on the floor of my bathroom with the door locked, hiding in there like an escaped slave on the Underground Railroad so that I could try in vain to harvest one tiny moment of alone time whilst my children pound on the door sobbing and yelling, "MOMMY!!! MOMMY WHERE ARE YOU?!" I know why the caged bird sings, y'all.

And just in case you missed the first three posts (surely that's not the case! ;)):


  1. Gah, I love these. Please don't stop. All so good. And so damn true, it makes my heart hurt.

  2. These are amazing and spot on- thanks for compiling them. Even with my closest friends, challenging issues and feelings aren't really discussed so it's crazy to feel more connected to a stranger's experiences than to people I know in real life. Especially relate to Kelly- should have savored every last minute of my "boring" weekends of binge watching L&O in my pjs. Early mornings filled with Netflix kid programs are just not the same!

  3. Can you put these in PDF form, because I think I need to print them and read day at "nap" time. Or I could visit here back at The Camp and save you TONS of energy. :)

  4. Oh, Heather, not only do you get mad props for your She-ra, Princess of Power drawing (so good! ) but you spoke to my bathroom hiding soul.

  5. Using naptime for wants not needs. Yes! That is so valuable!

  6. Im good at ignoring kids. I just keep my ears open wide. That is how I take care of them. I have 4 kids 1sr grade and under

  7. I needed this today, being a (relatively) new mom of a 4-month-old. Thank you thank you thank you to all mothers out there, who constantly inspire me with their tenacity and love and dedication to the calling.

    Loved this post, and I love your blog (I'm a new reader!)

  8. I almost did not read this, because I didn't want to read more repeats of the same sentiments I read in all the Mommy posts and articles I see in my Facebook feed and so on, "I love them, but it is hard." And maybe that was a theme here too, but these were all so well written, that it didn't feel like more of the same, and they rang very true. Folding laundry with the door locked, I'll have to try that. Thank you for the inspiration today ladies.

  9. Such beautiful women in this post. And I don't just mean their faces...I mean all that inside stuff too. Grace, your feedreader must be a mecca of women who are too legit.



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