“Being a mom has made me so tired. And so happy.” ∼ Tina Fey ∼
Before I had children, I’m pretty sure I subconsciously thought a baby would just fit into my life really neatly…sort of like a trainable puppy. It’s not that I didn’t think being a mom was hard work. I knew plenty of women who told me otherwise. But I’ve actually had to go back and apologize to some of my friends for not truly “getting it” when they became moms. There just honestly isn’t any way to REALLY know what being a mom is like before you actually become one. No book or class can prepare you. And once you do it, some of the lessons you learn are hard and swift, and some just sort of emerge over time.
Because I started out with two babies, I felt like I drowned in lessons. I’m still not sure how I survived the first month. It was a cloudy, fuzzy blur, but the farther I’ve gone on this journey of motherhood, the more I’ve discovered a few key truths. I DON’T claim that these “mom truths” are necessarily accurate for everyone, and I DON’T think I know it all. Also, I DO think that many of them are spot-on whether you have one baby or five babies. But regardless of HOW you are a mama or of HOW MANY little squirts you have, some of these are going to make you want to shout, “Amen, sista!” At least I hope they do because I don’t want to be the only one who doesn’t have my life together.
1.) Makeup isn’t important.
Before twins: I admit I was one of those women who had to have a full face of makeup to run to the grocery store or to walk out to the mailbox. Ask my friends and family. There was no getting up in the morning and spontaneously deciding to go out in public. I needed my face on first.
After twins: On most days, I forget to even put on moisturizer. I still try to look decent for the public, but if you see me out and about, don’t count on the ol’ dark circles being covered.
2.) Showering isn’t important.
Before twins: I showered once and sometimes twice a day. I liked clean hair and fresh smelling skin. I liked getting into bed all spotless and sparkling.
After twins: I do well to even get one shower every day. A messy bun and dry shampoo are my friends. I know my husband is too nice to say anything, and my babies can’t talk yet, so as long as I can’t smell myself, I’m good.
3.) Clean clothes aren’t important.
Before twins: I would freak out if I got a stain on me. A night out would practically be ruined if I spilled anything on my clothing, and I would go out of my way to be able to come home to change.
After twins: I routinely have smeared substances all over my clothes… milk, poop, spit up…you name it. If I change clothes, those grubby stains will just appear again. It’s a losing battle, so I don’t fight it.
4.) There is no shame in asking for help.
Before twins: I liked to handle things on my own so people would know how independent and strong and valuable I was (prideful, I know). I also liked things done a certain way because I’m a perfectionist, so I usually just handled tasks myself (stubborn, I know).
After twins: If you come to visit me, expect to change a baby, feed a baby, rock a baby, etc. I have two of them, and I need extra arms. This isn’t a one woman show, and I’m not afraid to use you.
5.) “Baby rotating” is a necessary skill.
Before twins: I could sit on the couch, watch an uninterrupted episode of The Office, paint my toenails, scroll through my Instagram feed, take a nap, read a book, and/or enjoy a whole cup of hot tea in one sitting.
After twins: I rotate babies from the play mat to the Jumperoo, from their tummies to their backs, from the swing to the crib, from the bouncer to the chair…and on and on. When one baby gets fussy, he/she gets moved. And so it goes. Every day. All day. A million times a day. I can forget idly doing anything else, and I can really forget not having to reheat a cup of tea three or four times before I’m able to drink it all.
6.) Breastfeeding is especially hard with two.
Before twins: I WILL NOT USE FORMULA! I WILL TANDEM FEED! I WILL FEED ON DEMAND!
After twins: I AND MY BABIES WILL SURVIVE BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY!
7.) You will let your babies sleep wherever you can so that YOU can sleep, too.
Before twins: I was absolutely against letting our babies sleep in the bed with us. I just knew we would roll over on them and smother them without knowing it. Plus, a baby in the bed kills the romance. Duh.
After twins: At least one baby frequently sleeps with us because letting one cry and wake the other up is out of the question. We also usually exist with numb, aching body parts from hanging off the edge of the bed all night. Thank goodness for Tylenol.
8.) Going anywhere requires four hours of prep time and ten different bags to hold ALL. THE. STUFF.
Before twins: Purse? Check. Keys? Check. Off we go!
After twins: Two car seats, diaper bag, bag of toys, bag for pumping gear, cooler for bottles, cooler for pumped milk, extra blankets, extra pacifiers, extra clothes, more extra clothes in case the first set of extra clothes take the brunt of a diaper blowout, two different twin strollers…you get the idea.
9.) The baby gear takes over your house.
Before twins: I loved HGTV, Joanna Gaines, and home décor. I moved things around regularly and spent a lot of time shopping and decorating the nooks and crannies of our house with the perfect cozy vintage items.
After twins: I’ve never seen so many toys, mats, jumpers, bottles, pacis, burp cloths, and diapers (clean and dirty) littered all over one house. And there are usually TWO of everything! Forget decorating. I’m now focused on baby-proofing. Mobile babies are on the horizon.
And lastly…but most importantly:
10.) You are capable of more love than you ever thought possible.
Before twins: You loved hard and with your whole heart.
After twins: You love hard and with your whole heart…except your heart has grown to ten times the size it was before. There aren’t even words to begin to describe it. It’s unexplainable. My heart just expanded to include these two little humans who didn’t even exist a year ago. It’s a love that often brings me to my knees…in both prayer and exhaustion. But it is so entirely worth it, so incredibly strong, and so unbelievably life-changing.
So even if you can’t relate to the other nine, can I still get an “Amen, sista” on that last one? I think I can.