One of my encourager-type friends gave me a card the other day to cheer me up because I was having a mom meltdown.
She told me she’d picked it out especially for me and that it was really funny. The front said, “You is nice.” I started laughing right away, and she said, “But you haven’t even gotten to the funny part yet!” I told her, “I’m laughing because it says I’m nice.”
“Nice” is not a word people use to describe me. They use words like “organized” and “interesting” and “energetic.” But not “nice.”
And rightfully so. I’m not one of those sweet, gentle moms who is always smiling and bubbly. I’m prickly and grumpy and usually freaking out about something. This doesn’t make me a particularly good friend candidate, but a few kind souls put up with me because I bake killer double-chocolate Rolo cookies.
The great thing about not having a reputation as a nice person to protect is that I can quite honestly share a few truths I’ve learned in the mom trenches during my combined 31 years of parenting. If you’re a mom, you have quite possibly thought or suspected or felt at least one of these, and now you know you’re not alone.
1 | You will be tired for the rest of your life.
Sweet young mama who’s in a fog of weariness you can’t wait to emerge from when your kids are older, I’m sorry to say this is true. But, here’s some good news: sleeping in really is a thing in the teenage years…both for your teenager and you.
2 | Lice is the real four-letter-word of parenthood.
But if it strikes your household, there’s one huge benefit: it gives you a point of reference for everything else life throws at you. Family share-plan stomach flu? Bad grades in chemistry? Flooding in the basement? Whatever. At least it’s not lice. You might be surprised at how comforting this is.
3 | Teenage dating is a nightmare if you have daughters.
I don’t know what it’s like if you have sons, because I don’t. It’s probably also terrible. But if you have daughters, I suggest you learn from my enormous mistake and establish a policy against daughters dating.
4 | Braces and car insurance for new drivers are financial juggernauts.
The great thing about having to pay for them, though, is that anything that doesn’t cost as much as they do seems cheap by comparison. As with lice (see #2), much of motherhood becomes all about perspective.
5 | The secret to being a successful parent is simple: low expectations.
Yours of yourself. Yours of your children. Your children’s of you. And so on.
6 | Online grade updates will make everyone crazy.
It used to be that kids only had a general idea how they were doing in a given class at school and pretty much just hoped for the best when the report card showed up in the mail.
Now, with online grade updates posted practically minute-by-minute, your grade-obsessed child (if you have one) can freak out on a regular basis about minor fluctuations in their algebra grade.
7 | The mom learning-curve never does straighten out.
Just when you’ve mastered one tricky bit — potty training, for instance — something else comes along, threatening to undo you. While I’m riding this perpetual education roller coaster, I like to remind myself that learning new things is supposed to ward of mental deterioration. If that’s true, I expect to be Mensa material by the time anyone is calling me, “Grandma.”
8 | Mother’s Day is a holiday invented by men.
Or the greeting card industry. Or both. Because this is a day when moms have to do every single thing we do every other day of the year except that, on this day, we have to act happy and fulfilled while we do it.
What we really want on Mother’s Day, meanwhile, is to be left alone to sleep while no one in the house makes any sort of mess.
9 | You’ll probably hate school class parties.
The good news is that you can hate the school class parties, and still be a mom who loves her kids.
10 | Loving your children will break your heart over and over.
But it will also fill it up over and over. Frequently, this happens at the same time.
If you, dear reader, need to unload some edgier mom truths before you explode, feel free to leave it here in the comments.
I’ll still think, “you is nice.” I promise.