I got my first taste of parenting three years ago when I moved in with my now husband and his 7-year-old son, who we had only part-time. Aside from having to remind him of the usual - brush your teeth, put your plate in the dishwasher and use your manners - he was a pretty darn good kid (and still is).
So last year when my husband and I decided to have one of our own, I thought I was prepared to become a full-time mom. I'd dress him in the latest baby fashions, we'd take long walks together in the park, and basically look (and feel) like those cute mother-son duos in the parenting magazines.
You know the photos you see of well-groomed Mom and baby overflowing with gooeyness and wearing white? Ha! Lies.
Now, don't get me wrong, I am definitely overflowing with love and gooeyness for Liam, but most days it's not as pretty as in the pictures. And so here it is - my (shortened) list of first-time mother realizations, of which I've been mentally jotting down since Liam was born.
1. You will not walk out of the hospital wearing your pre-pregnancy clothing, despite the fact that your friend's cousin's mom did it back in 1972. In truth, it will probably take at least month or two.
2. Even when you're back into your pre-pregnancy clothes - things underneath the clothing are definitely not pre-pregnancy and may never be again.
3. Those "mom jeans" we all made fun of in our teen years? I understand them 100 percent now. Something a little higher-wasted definitely sucks in that post-baby belly.
4. Putting your new baby in "mini man" (or woman) clothing is impractical. As cute as little jeans and pullover sweaters are, the number of times you have to change them when they're young is ridiculous. It's all about the quick deployment - sleep sacks and footed onesies with zippers.
5. Forget about the well-groomed fashionista mom in the magazine. It will happen for you on occasion, but most days you'll leave the house wondering if you even brushed your teeth and if people in the grocery store will notice the spit-up in your hair.
So here I am, four months into this thing called motherhood, and I'm still having these realizations and adjusting accordingly. No matter how I envision my day, week or month going, there's always a set of tiny little hands throwing a wrench in my plans.
But that warm gooey feeling I mentioned before? I have it multiple times a day. It's brought on by baby snuggles, innocent smiles, and big, curious blue eyes looking back at me. These moments make up for all the rest and remind me that being a mother is the greatest gift I'll ever receive.
Anne Creighton Blodgett is married with two children. Read her Thursdays on Douglas County Moms. Also, follow Anne on her personal blog at aviewfromthefrontpack.com.
You will not walk out of the hospital wearing your pre-pregnancy clothing, despite the fact that your friend\'s cousin\'s mom did it back in 1972.