Bless my pre-mom heart. Like most would be parents, I had all kinds of hopeful expectations about what kind of mom I would be. And then I had babies. Here are the top 5 lies I told myself before I had kids of my own.
My kids will eat what I cook.
It turns out my kids, like many, are stubborn. They won’t eat what they don’t like. And when they don’t eat, they don’t sleep well. And when they don’t sleep well, they’re grumpy and mean. Since my kids hate variety and flavor- unless it’s carbs, sugar or chips, they usually get a separate meal. Macaroni and cheese, frozen chicken nuggets, pizza and mini corn dogs are all on regular rotation in our household.
I’m not entirely sure where we went wrong, but I have a 4 year old who for the longest time said cheddar cheese and yogurt were too “spicy.” I have a 6 year old who has eaten the exact same store bought mini muffins from the HEB bakery every morning for the past 5 years (with the exception of the first few months of COVID when the bakery sat empty).
So, I guess if we count putting frozen foods into the oven or easy mac into the microwave, my kids technically do eat what I cook. It just tends to be a separate meal from what I prepare for my husband and myself. One day we might all eat the same thing, but until then I’ll keep my freezer stocked with a backup supply of those HEB mini-muffins.
My life won’t revolve around my kid’s sleep schedule.
Before we became parents, my husband and I confidently declared that we would continue living our same lives- just with a baby.
In reality, after a few exhausting months of severe sleep deprivation, our daughter eventually learned to sleep through the night. She would consistently fall asleep in her crib without too much fuss and sleep 12 solid hours. The catch? She needed to be in her crib by 5:30pm.
We began our nighttime routine of bath, books, songs and bed no later than 4:45pm each night. We quickly realized trading our spontaneity and flexibility for 12 hours of peace and quiet while our daughter slept soundly, was worth it. And so, for 6 months we revolved our schedules completely around our daughter’s ridiculously early bedtime. And I have no regrets.
I’ll breastfeed for the first year.
Like many first time moms, I had planned out how I would feed my babies. The prepare for baby classes, the doctors, the baby books and most of the online forums and resources proclaimed breastfeeding for the first year was the gold standard. And since I tend to be a rule follower and an achiever, I planned to breastfeed for a year. I made it almost 4 months (twice).
Babies with jaundice who required more milk than I could produce, lack of sleep on a level I’d never known before, returning to work at 12 weeks and developing a hate/hate relationship with my pump all contributed to my decision to surrender to formula.
And you know what? I now have two healthy kids who could care less how they were fed as babies. I have literally no idea how their friends and classmates were fed either.
Whether we opt out of breastfeeding all together, struggle along for a few months, thrive for an entire year or breastfeed until our children outgrow their desire to nurse well into toddlerhood- I’m fairly confident it all works out the way it should.
I won’t let my kids sleep in my bed.
If you’re a mom of a newborn or a toddler who is not sleeping, you might just want to skip ahead to the next lie I’ve told myself. My truth here might not serve you well. But if you’re a parent of older kids who still struggle with sleep then maybe you’ll find solidarity in our shared experience.
Co-sleeping was never part of my plan. With the exception of a few glorious months when they were 6-18 months old, my kids have been terrible sleepers. My oldest finally sleeps through the night in her own bed consistently. But my youngest (nearly 5) ends up in my bed more nights than not.
I promise it’s not from lack of trying. I’ve fought this battle for the better part of two years using any and all strategies the internet or her pediatrician suggests.
At some point in the past year, I lost my will to fight. Most nights my 4 year old climbs quietly into my bed and falls back asleep quickly. She curls up next to me, as close as she can get. We’re no longer battling wills or words in the middle of the night. I’m mostly able to stay asleep, or fall back asleep easily. And we’re both finally getting enough sleep.
I’m relatively certain one day she will outgrow the need to sleep glued to my body. So, I’m trusting that much like our 5:30pm bedtime season, this one won’t last forever either.
My work won’t ever come before my kids.
Of all the lies I told myself before having kids, this is the one that makes me feel the most guilt. But I’m realizing in order to be both a good enough mom and good enough at my job, there are times where I have to prioritize one over the other. And sometimes work wins.
I have had days when I dropped my daughters off at daycare and didn’t see them again until the next day (see 5:30pm bedtime meets Houston traffic). I have left mildly sick babies in the care of very capable, loving grandparents willing to care for them so I didn’t have to miss a critical work meeting. My husband and I have negotiated whose job is the most important on a certain day to determine who can afford to take our kids to their doctor’s appointment. I’ve leaned heavily on the other wonderful parents who volunteer their time to coordinate and host the class parties.
Learning to accept help and set boundaries around my work has allowed me to do what I need to do as a professional and show up for my kids as a mom.
Motherhood is hard.
I wonder if lying to ourselves, every once in a while, is a way of coping with all of the uncertainty we face as moms. Maybe it helps us feel a little more in control and less afraid. Maybe not all lies are bad.
What are some of the lies you told yourself before becoming a mom?