Whole Parenting Family

12 things you can’t anticipate before you’re a mom

whole parenting

I’ve had my share of surprises in motherhood. I’m sure all mothers have. But when I was chatting with a pregnant first-time mom the other day, I realized there were about a dozen things I really couldn’t have anticipated, no matter how much I read, quizzed seasoned moms, and needled my own saintly mother.

This isn’t a list that covers what you “should” know, because there are very few “shoulds” about parenting, outside of safety of the child and mental wellness of the parent. I.e., don’t shake a baby no matter how angered you are by screaming and get help and space between you and an incessantly screaming baby so you don’t go crazy and hurt the baby.

It’s simply a few discoveries that I didn’t know would happen, and I’m glad they did.

1) People will ask awfully inappropriate questions and yet mostly don’t mean to be rude. I.e., You look so big! (to moms carrying in their wombs) or You have a kid? I didn’t know you were pregnant (to moms carrying in their hearts) or Your baby doesn’t sleep through the night?!

2) I was overwhelmed. Just simply: overwhelmed.

3) I didn’t magically lose the baby weight but eventually did. It wasn’t night/day after delivery.

4) That annoying sing-song voice people use when talking to children? I unconsciously adopted it.

5) I count a meal as eating slices of cheese and meat and a paw-ful of grapes while standing and watching them eat their carefully curated lunches of the same damn thing.

6) Whenever all three drive away from me, I freak out that they’re going to get into a car wreck and leave me an orphan.

7) Moms universally love talking about their babies sleep, facial expressions, and how quickly they can demolish a roll of toilet paper.

8) I stopped assuming people’s children looked physically like them, and started being more aware of blended families and children who grew in their hearts.

9) My sense of accomplishment went from churning through briefs for 10 hours to managing naps, diapers, feedings, and perhaps a bowl of cereal for dinner (or takeout. Guilty of takeout more often than the budget should bear).

10) “Clean enough” became a real mantra to live by in every realm of my life, e.g., my hair, the kitchen floor, the baby’s onesie, the front of the house, bed sheets with crusty spit up.

11) When they fall asleep, I look at pictures of them on my phone and talk about how cute they are, despite even the grandest monsoon of a day.

12) Other people’s children matter to me. A lot. Suddenly everyone is someone’s child. And everyone’s life has more value than my former cursory glance.

 I’m launching new baby and kiddo leggings for Fall sometime next week–you will know exactly when they drop if you’re a subscriber to my newsletter and will get first dibs & a discount 😉 And the newest caps are hereI’m sure you have experienced way more profound insights in motherhood so share!


  1. Emily on June 29, 2015 at 7:05 am

    I just had my first baby 6 weeks ago… I can relate to all of these!! Especially looking at the pictures on my phone. Every time I leave the babe I look through them all 🙂

    And I felt like I could have written a book of all the inappropriate comments I got…. “You’re 29 weeks?… So you’re going to get BIGGER than this??”

    • Natural Mama Nell on June 29, 2015 at 3:12 pm

      UGH hate the pregnancy comments!! And the pics on the phone . . . every time!!

  2. Meryl Carver on June 29, 2015 at 10:08 am

    That last one–oh boy howdy, yes! I never would have guessed that there would be times I just can’t watch the news because all the babies out there hurting and suffering would just overwhelm me.

    • Natural Mama Nell on June 29, 2015 at 3:13 pm

      I know. I KNOW!

  3. Rachel @ Efficient Momma on June 29, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    #10 lol! The other day we had a diaper leak a little bit (pee) and my toddler’s immediate response was not to change the sheets but to go grab a towel and lay it down over the wet spot. What am I teaching my child? lol

    • Natural Mama Nell on June 30, 2015 at 11:58 pm

      mmmmm that may have happened in our house too!

  4. Rachel Louise on June 29, 2015 at 10:50 pm

    This is so true, so true. Thank you for sharing! Makes me think about my own list. Which would definitely include your #11 (it was happening moments before I read this post) and your #12; oh how much I love all the babies! A friend is expecting her first in a few weeks and my joy and excitement is as if this little one were my own!

    • Natural Mama Nell on June 30, 2015 at 11:57 pm

      Oh the joy of it!!

  5. Lisette on June 30, 2015 at 5:35 am

    So true! The first half especially resonate. And as for number one, another pregnant lady told me I didn’t look pregnant- I was 9 months!

    • Natural Mama Nell on June 30, 2015 at 11:56 pm


  6. Michelle on July 12, 2015 at 12:24 am

    Number 8. As an adoptive mum, I am touched by your awareness. And aside from losing baby weight, I experience all of the above! Amazing how motherly love is universal and not necessarily biological.
    Thank you for sharing the story of your beautiful family.

    • Natural Mama Nell on July 13, 2015 at 11:21 pm

      I’m so glad it resonated with you! Thank you for being here.