Nothing prepares you for being a Mom. It’s not about having babysat a million hours, or having raised younger siblings, or having bought the right book, or having taken the right birthing class with the right instructor, or… you get the point.
NOTHING… a big fat NOTHING. I remember driving away from the hospital with our first son and I told my husband “I can’t believe they let us drive away with a baby.” He immediately reminded me he was “our baby” and I said “I know but I still kinda feel like we’re breaking out of jail or something.” What I meant in that moment was, shouldn’t we be being chaperoned by one of those amazing nurses inside? Those ones who can swaddle a baby blindfolded with one hand behind their back. Shouldn’t this be like a “take home trial period” where there’s someone there to step in when there’s a blowout poop at 3am and you’re covered in some unknown bodily fluid? Oh no… there’s not? You mean it’s just us and our baby?
It’s trial by fire. It’s like you’re studying for a final exam that never comes but you’re scrambling to swap notes with anyone who looks even minorly qualified. “She has a baby and looks about my age… wait she has an older kid too!? TALK TO HER NOW.” (And that’s also how you make mom friends. I’m not joking. If you’re a stay-at-home Mom and you’re looking to make friends, you’ve got to put on those extrovert pants and walk yourself over to your new best friend.)
But you figure it out. And some days you even get to feel like you’ve got it all figured out. (Even though you most certainly don’t… still, enjoy that self esteem boost!)
However, despite this all, there are three jobs that I have determined would have actually helped prepare me for being a mom.
1) Short order cook at a diner: Preferably one where you have to cook multiple meals for multiple people at the same time. Because as my friend Katherine puts it, “the more effort that goes into a meal, the less likely they are to eat it”. This is a categorical fact. It’s like some messed up line graph where the increase in time and effort leads to a direct decrease in consumption.
2) Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Master: Considering the second I lie down (anywhere on anything…bed, sofa, floor, half-way-bent-over-the-kitchen-counter-from-sheer-exhaustion) it’s assumed we’re doing “koshti” (Persian for wrestling), defense training would help. I would especially be interested in learning how to block a knee to the throat and prevent my glasses from being ripped off my face. Also, getting head-butted in the chin is very unpleasant.
3) Hostage Negotiator: I’m not the coolest cucumber under extreme stress. I.E., your toddler is screaming for the millionth time over something stupid (that is one thousand percent their fault btw, but whatever) … I’m prone to lose it and yell. Years of learning from my mistakes has made me more of the Zen Mama I thought I’d be naturally from the start. But ANY kind of mediation training would have been worth its weight in gold. “Little Man, step away from the toast. Take a deep breathe. Your life is wonderful contrary to your belief that the world is ending… And you ma’am, deep breaths, put on some music and dance it out in the kitchen.”
So if you find a short order cook with a penchant for jiu jitsu who moonlights as a hostage negotiator, you get their number because we all need a good babysitter.
Nothing prepares you for the daily grind of parenthood, but doing it together and laughing makes me feel a little less crazy. And I hope you do, too.
You got this.