parent opinion

"You never would've believed me." Why no one tells you the truth about motherhood.

As a mum of three, I still remember vividly after having my first baby, the feeling of being tricked somehow along the way. 

My close friends and family members had never really told me the truth. Why had no one warned me? Was I weird, or were mothers everywhere conspiring to keep us from knowing just how hard this stuff really is? 

Eight years later, let me tell you why no one tells you the truth about motherhood. 

While you're here, watch the video below about the lies every mum has told. Post continues after video.


Video via Mamamia.

As a mum of three boys, now aged four, five and eight, my newbie parenting days are behind me. Sure, I’ve got a long way to go, but it’s safe to say I’ve moved on from those early train wreck days of newborn sleepless nights and the "what on earth just happened?" confusion of being a new mum.

So when my friends have their first babies and ask me why no one (including me) ever told them what motherhood was really like, here’s what I say.

You never would've believed me.

And I probably did try to tell you. You might’ve listened to me drone on about how bone-achingly tired I was, about the vomit-covered clothes and the constant demands 24/7, and the daydreams of a quiet cup of tea alone, but you probably didn’t really believe me when I tried to explain just how hard it was.

Like the memes say, motherhood is the job with the most demanding boss, the worst working conditions, and absolutely no pay. But no one seriously believes it’s that hard. Surely we wouldn’t all keep signing up if it really was?

Erin's three sons. Image: Supplied.

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When I used to hear my friends with kids talk about sleep deprivation, I never really understood what they meant. "Sure, I can get up a bit in the night if I have to, what’s the big deal?" I thought. Ha. I never really believed that four hours of sleep in a row could feel like high-quality sleep nirvana to a sleep-deprived mum.

You can’t believe it until you’re living it, as it really is like nothing else. 

I didn't want to be a downer.

I see you over there, looking all glowy with that beautiful baby bump. Do I want to be the one to burst your happy pregnancy bubble? Nuh-uh. 

A wanted pregnancy is a precious thing, and especially treasured when the journey to make it that far has been rocky. No one wants to be the friend raining on your pregnancy parade with talk of just how hard it will be, how tired you’ll be, or how your life/body/relationship will never be the same again. 

Instead, we let you have your time in the sun. Daydreaming about meeting your first little baby, planning for their future, buying all the things, folding and refolding tiny onesies. 

Because motherhood isn't Insta-ready.

On Mother’s Day this year, I spent a beautiful sunshine-filled day with my three boys. But like every day of parenthood, it was a day of ups and downs, taking the good with the bad, and always expecting the unexpected. 

So when I was driving home, and my five-year-old started to loudly vomit all over himself and the car, I wasn’t surprised. This kinda fun comes with the territory. 

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Don’t be fooled by the perfectly placid babies on Instagram or featured in your friends' newborn photoshoots. Motherhood isn’t picture perfect. 

Image: Supplied.

You’ll start to think nothing of getting (insert bodily fluid here) all over yourself, and you’ll wonder at how this tiny human can cause so much chaos. 

It’s a beautiful mess, and at times the magic will take your breath away, but please don’t go into it thinking every day will be the stuff of grid-worthy moments and colour-coordinated outfits.

Everyone thinks they might be doing it wrong.

When my first baby was born in 2013, I thought maybe I was doing it wrong. Between getting the hang of breastfeeding, recovering from birth, and getting what felt like zero sleep, I started to doubt myself. 

Surely other people found it easier than this?

As I asked for advice from those around me, read the baby books and tried to find the answer to making motherhood a breeze, it slowly dawned on me. None of us knows exactly what we’re doing, everyone has an opinion on everything, and we all do things differently. There’s no secret formula for making it easy.

Listen to This Glorious Mess where Leigh and Tegan are joined by Mia Freedman to share her golden rules for parenting. Post continues after podcast.

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We've lost the village.

We never used to have to be told about the reality of motherhood, because we would have seen it firsthand. 

When the norm was to have many generations under the one roof, we’d have seen our family members having babies and the reality of being a mum. But we also would have shared the load and taken our turn to look after the baby, letting the mum have a much-needed rest.

So try to build your own version of a village around you when your baby comes and say yes when people offer to help.

Even just having someone hold the baby for 10 minutes so you can have a shower will feel like gold dust. And asking for help never means you’ve failed. You’re not meant to do this alone. None of us are.

Erin's three sons with their dad. Image: Supplied.

Sorry for not telling you the truth, but I promise - you’ve got this.

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Feature Image: Supplied.

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