Not everything goes according to plan in motherhood. Going into motherhood, moms often have a list of things they never want to do. Some moms may promise themselves not to let technology take-over their child’s brain or rely on pacifiers to pacify their baby during tantrums. They may want to stick with “all-things-organic” or exclusively breastfeed until their little one is at least one year of age.
Though it’s good to have a small plan in the works when entering the wild world of parenthood, one thing is for certain: Not everything goes according to plan in motherhood.
Every baby is different and no one knows exactly who their baby will be until time is spent with them. The mom who wanted to exclusively breastfeed may unexpectedly find her supply to be low. The mom who didn’t want to use pacifiers may find them to be the only soothing mechanism that works for her baby. Once a mom grows comfortable with her little one’s routine and becomes more understanding of those unique needs, she may find herself adjusting her own beliefs slightly – as well as that solidified plan.
While there are things Moms end up doing they promised themselves they wouldn’t, there are also things Mamas would have done differently when looking back. It’s important to remember that parents are human beings – not robots. Parenthood isn’t smooth sailing from the start. It takes trial and error before a mama gets into a groove.
10 Things These Moms Thought They'd Never Do... But Did
20 “I Would Never Feed The Kids In The Car”
Cars become places of chaos once children come into the picture. Especially for moms of multiples, cars can go from being just a “transportation device” to being an unfortunate second playroom.
Sometimes, no matter how many times you tell your little ones they need to wait to eat until they get home, their whining and fussiness may push a mama to her limit and the snacks come out – mid-trip.
“I promised myself I would never feed the kids in the car. No snacks, fruits – anything. That didn’t last long,” says mama of mutliples, Heidi Jerlyn Gilbert. Being a mom of toddler twins and a newborn, it can be tough juggling all those “Mama Hats.” So when there are fussy, hungry two-year-olds in the back seat, sometimes you just go against what you always believed.
19 “I Was So Against Baby In Bed With Us”
New mama of twin girls, Stacy Michaels, was never a fan of co-sleeping. Especially having two newborns to care for at once, she saw the chaos that came with co-sleeping right away. However, like many moms out there, she has already found herself giving in to this trend. “I was so against Baby in bed with us. But they are young, we’ll break the habit before they are older.”
For some, “breaking the habit” doesn’t work all that easily.
“He was an amazing sleeper for a solid 18 months and then I took the pacifier away,” explains mom of one, Katie McMenamin. “He goes to sleep in his own crib, but ends up in our bed every since night around 2:00 AM.”
18 “I Wasn’t Going To Physically Breastfeed Past One”
The nutritional values behind breastfeeding are obvious and almost every single parent has been given the “schpeel” when it comes to those benefits. When a mom decided to breastfeed, they must adjust their own lifestyle as well as their little ones. Moms must watch what they eat, stay more hydrated than usual, revolve their schedule around their pumping schedule, and make sure they are eating enough calories to support themselves and their baby.
That’s a lot to take on on top of everything else associated with motherhood. It’s also no wonder many moms continue to breastfeed their children once they get into a good groove.
“I wasn’t going to physically breastfeed past one-year-old, but would still pump,” says Renee Saraceni, mom of two. “Opposite happened. I breastfed until she was three-years-old and stopped pumping after a year and a half.”
17 Give In And Give The Binky
Pacifiers, or binkies, are helpful tools for newborns and babies. Since most are born with that sucking reflex, binkies provide them with the comfort that goes right along with that ingrained feeling. While some parents are fine with their little ones using their binky whenever they want, others would prefer they just use the binky for naps or bedtime.
Of course, sometimes it’s easier said than done - as everything is in motherhood
It can be hard not to grab for the binky after you’ve tried absolutely everything to soothe a fussy, teething, cranky little one. Sometimes, that pacifier really is needed to, well, pacify the child. It’s hard not to turn for the binky every time, but it’s okay to give in on those rare occasions.
16 Never Just Wearing A Onesie Or Just A Diaper In Public
“Anytime we left the house, I was going to have her in more than just a onesie,” says new mom, Mallory Widrick. “Especially with how hot the summer had been, that didn’t last.” Even when you promise yourself to dress your kiddo in the cutest, most presentable clothes at all times, it can be tough following through. Between the ever-changing weather and ongoing diaper blow-outs, keeping your little one flawlessly dressed can be near impossible.
Mom of six, Amy Stanton, understands how it feels to want to dress her children presentable in public. However, she also understands how it feels when it doesn't always go according to plan. "[I never wanted to] let me kids outside in just a diaper or pull-up," she says. She has now seen beyond this dream to the reality many moms have also experienced.
15 “I’d Never Be A ‘Chicken Nugget Mom’”
Trying to feed your child healthy, nutritional meals is a terrific goal to have. From day one, many moms are very strict about what their baby consumes – and rightfully so.
However, as babies turn into toddlers with opinions, likes, dislikes, and more vocabulary to share – it gets tougher. It also gets tougher when parents are working and children have activities to squeeze in between school and sleep.
“I’d never be a chicken nugget mom, but they make it too easy,” says mom of two, Michele Graham. “Pop ‘em in the microwave, some Mac ‘n’ Cheese, and canned fruit. Done.” When you live a busy life and need to make sure your little ones eat their meals, bowing down to the microwave may be the best bet.
14 “I Said I’d Never Be Strict About A Schedule”
“I said I’d never be ‘strict’ about a schedule so that we’d be flexible with going out and about,” says Breanna Yung, mom of one. “At about three months, my daughter started to nap and nighttime sleep really well and if we even missed a nap, she’d be up all night. I decided then that she just had to have her naps. We follow a fairly predictable schedule and it works well for us.”
Sometimes, giving in to routine is best for everyone. Structure gives your child an understanding of how the day is laid out and also allows their body to scaffold into that understanding.
Even if you hope your child will become spontaneous and not rigid, like their routine, following a simple schedule can be a good thing to rely on.
13 Stop Using A Stroller After Two-Years-Old
“Pushing my kid in a stroller past two-years-old,” states Heidi Mercado, mom of one. Even though Heidi set a limit on stroller use, she found herself giving in to her own words. “I loved my stroller and still miss it.”
Even though strollers are very helpful tools, they can get frustrating. Hauling strollers around, keeping them clean, and making sure your child doesn’t expect to always use one can be tough. Setting a limit for your family can be good, but it’s also okay if that limit is adjusted. Life happens, and life adjusts. That is one of the many motherhood mottos.
12 “Tantrums In The Store – Wasn’t Going To Do It”
Before the days of motherhood, you may hear or see a little one having an all-out tantrum at a public place and feel bad for the family involved (secondhand embarrassment happens). You may also have felt bad for everyone else around the child, wondering why the heck that mom would allow her baby to have an outburst like that. The maternal instinct in the back of your mind may have wanted to jump in and help.
Well, sometimes it takes having children to realize how tough handling a public tantrum really is.
Mama, Renee Saraceni, never wanted to be that mom, but found herself in those shoes – as many do. “The tantrums in the store – wasn’t going to do it. We would leave. Nope.” Looking back, Renee now sees that pre-motherhood hope as laughable during many circumstances.
11 Use Technology As A “Babysitter”
Since technology is such a huge part of our worlds these days, it can be tough not using a tablet, laptop, or smartphone as a form of positive reimbursement or reward. It also has been known to play the “babysitter” card during public outings or when parents are tired and have run out of ideas.
“The most important step is to establish a balanced or sustainable relationship with tech,” explains social psychologist, Adam Alter, to the New York Times regarding the attention technology gets from youth.
It is important to have technology in the life of children because it is in school settings, homes, and public places. However, creating a balance will keep parents away from relying on it as the go-to form of redirection.
10 Things They Wish They Did Differently
10 “Spent More Time Cuddling”
“During maternity leave with my second little one, I wish I spent more time cuddling with her,” states mom of two, Kristeena Titus. “I felt like there were so many other opinions in my ear: Don’t hold her all the time or she’ll just want to be held; let her fall asleep on her own or you’ll be rocking her to sleep all the time – you don’t want to be up all night with two babies.”
It can be tough when you feel like your personal parenting beliefs are being impacted by the thoughts of others. Every mom wants to be the best mom they can be, but that can be tough when they feel like they are being judged. Pushing aside those judgments and focusing on your baby is important, but, weirdly, can be easier said than done.
“Now my youngest is nine-months-old and I wish I just had spent more time holding her, cuddling,” explains Kristeena. “These last nine months flew by and I feel like I missed out on those bonding moments with her.”
9 Napping During Naptime
When your baby is fresh and brand new, napping during their naptimes is almost a normalcy. However, once you get into the groove of doing that, it can be incredibly tough to break that habit. Your body will start to get tired around the times your baby goes down for a nap and if you’re a stay-at-home mom or work-from-home mom, you may find your body carrying itself to the bed.
Since I work from home, I have gotten used to working during the girls’ naptimes. However, I often tell myself that if I get a certain amount of work done before their short, morning nap, I will also nap during that time. This trend has turned away from being a personal reward system to my body just wanting to nap during that hour span. This is something I continue to work on, but still find to be difficult to break.
8 “I Would Like To Experience Breastfeeding”
“My first experience as a mommy, I wasn’t able to breastfeed and was definitely scared too,” admits mama of two, Meagan Elizabeth. “My second child, I felt very stressed with the idea of juggling a newborn and a toddler. So, I felt like it was the last thing on my mind. I felt like ‘fed is best’ and it didn’t matter how.”
The feeding dynamic can be a tough one for new moms to embrace – especially with all the different beliefs out there. Breastfeeding also isn’t nearly as easy as the media makes it out to be.
However, once you grow comfortable with yourself and your parenting style, making that transition can be a goal. “But now that I feel very comfortable in my body, and juggling these beautiful babies, if I were to be pregnant again, I would like to experience breastfeeding,” Meagan says.
7 Getting Mad When “Normal Kid Things” Happen
Babies drop things from their high-chairs. Babies whine for no real reason. Babies pull at cords and go towards outlets. Babies kick their dirty diapers and laugh as they do it.
Babies will be babies – plain and simple. Sometimes, at the end of a stressful day, those “normal baby behaviors” can get old. It may sound sad, but it’s a reality many stay-at-home, work-from-home, and working moms do experience. When Mom is burnt out, every little thing gets to her – including those somewhat frustrating baby behaviors.
Looking back, I wish I had more patience at the end of the day for when those behaviors happen. I get angry and often raise my voice, even though my eleven-month-old babies don’t understand most of what I’m loudly saying. Raising my voice and getting frustrated doesn’t make the situation better or easier to handle.
6 Not Try To Do Everything Right After Delivery
Many moms feel the need to do absolutely everything themselves the moment after their child is born. They want to hold, feed, change, and soothe the baby without support from others.
This isn’t that Moms don’t appreciate the support many throw at them, it’s because many Mamas are stubborn, independent women who want to bond with their baby.
If you were one of those stubborn mamas, you may have experienced additional aches and pains from pushing yourself so hard.
“Your postpartum recovery won’t be just a few days,” explains the American Academy of Family Physicians. “Fully recovering from pregnancy and childbirth can take months. While many women feel mostly recovered by 6-8 weeks, it may take longer than this to feel like yourself again.”
5 Letting Things Go
While some moms are very structured and strict about parenting techniques, some moms are a little more laid back.
This isn’t a bad thing in any way – it just means not everything impacts Mom like it may impact others. However, sometimes that ‘laid-back’ attitude can frustrate moms when looking back because they wonder what could have happened if it had been the other way around.
“If they said they were busy or doing homework, I let it go,” says mom of three, Rebecca Ames. Rebecca wishes she had followed through a little bit more when she asked things of her children instead of listening to their response and moving on.
4 “I Wish I Would Have Cloth Diapered My Kids”
“I wish I cloth diapered my kids. My husband was against it for my first and I kept trying to talk him into it for each of the three kids,” explains mama, Jennifer Bozzelli. “I’m a pretty ‘natural’ mama except for cloth diapering, so this is the area I think I could have improved in.”
This is the area I think I could have improved in. It’s great to hear a mama take a somewhat negative thought and word it in a positive way. Moms are always growing and learning and improving. Seeing something you wish you had done differently in this fashion is a great outlook to have.
3 Try Not To Rely On The Pacifier So Much
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Most babies have a strong sucking reflect. Beyond nutrition, sucking often has a soothing, calming effect. That’s why many parents rank pacifiers as must-haves, right up there with diaper wipes.” While pacifiers do have a right to be ranked up high on that must-have list, they also can be a tough habit to break when that time comes.
Parents often want to lessen the use of a binky our pacifier after the first year or so. Of course, it is easier said than done and can be something parents have trouble with. “If your baby uses a pacifier to sleep, you might face frequent middle-of-the-night crying spells when the pacifier falls out of your baby’s mouth,” explains Mayo Clinic.
2 Not Wish Time Would Move Faster
Parents understand how precious every second is with their newborn, but many still look forward to phases and milestones to come.
It often happens without realization: I can’t wait until she holds her head up; I can’t wait for him to turn onto his back; Maybe she will sleep through the night next month.
These kinds of thoughts and statements happen unintentionally and it doesn’t always mean the parent really wants time to move faster. There are often phases and moments parents look forward to, but it’s important to cherish the ‘now’ and not fast-forward to the ‘thens.’
1 “I Didn’t Push My Kids Hard Enough”
“I didn’t push my kids hard enough,” Rebecca Ames bravely admits. “I was so wanting them to have balance, to spend time indulging in reading, or exploring, that I didn’t ride them hard enough to be successful at grades or sports. I didn’t even push them to do chores.”
Looking back and wishing you had done something differently is a learning experience. However, it is important to learn from that experience and make positive changes to improve in the future.
Focusing on what you would have done differently isn’t always the healthiest way to think. Adjusting the focus so it is on what can make for a better future is.
References: Statements from “real-life” moms who gave consent to use direct quotes (via Momhood Mayhem on Facebook and the.write.mama on Instagram), Adam Alter (social psychologist)/New York Times, Family Doctor/American Academy of Family Physicians, Mayo Clinic