There are so many things I had no idea about before I had kids.
I'll get the most serious one out of the way:
Guilt/Judgement: It'll generally start when your kid(s) is born. A nurse, doctor, friend, family member will just simply question your choice of feeding, or if you're co-sleeping or not, if the coat goes under the car seat straps or over, if you're filing your kids nails or cutting them. And the "harmless advice" will pretty much immediately feel like judgement or guilt. Now, probably not all people are judging your parenting choices, but some people are and whether they are or not, as a parent, it will feel like judgement. I don't know why, and maybe it is just me and I have bigger issues than I thought. I never asked, or I simply didn't care, anyone to wash/sanitize their hands before holding my kids. They are insanely healthy children, but maybe your kids are healthy too and you had people do that. Hearing I'm having a 3rd section raises people eyebrows, like I CHOSE my first one, I promise you I tried to push that kid out of my woo-woo and it just wasn't happening and I did argue the 2nd one. But it may not be the ideal choice or the perfect situation but it's the best for me, my baby and my body.
The guilt/unassuming judgement will continue as your kids get older and sometimes will get worse. If you're a Stay At Home Mom, you'll hear all sorts of judgment. Some people will think you're husband is controlling, and some people will never understand why you don't have extra money to go out to eat or go the movies and then they'll question why you don't try to make extra money to do that sort of thing or they'll judge your husband for not making those resources available to you. And I promise there is your own guilt for not financially contributing to the household, especially if money is tight. People will assume your kids will be behind b/c they aren't in pre-school, they will think they lack social skills or wont' have friends, etc. And if you do work outside the home you'll receive the same judgement and guilt. Your kid is always sick b/c they go to day care, you only have 5 short years before kindergarten, your kid will prefer peers over parents. UGH. It's all whats best for you and your family, I tell myself that everyday but I also hear guilt whispering in my ear. THEN when your kid is in school, to be a room mother or not to be a room mother, to be able to attend field trips, field days, etc, every decision will revolve around the noise in your head. If you have kids in Middle School, don't even get my started, and ESPECIALLY if your kids are spread out in age, and you continue to have kids. "You can't even focus on the kids you have, why are you making more?" Or, you had to miss a concert, game or didn't get to help much on a homework project. People will never understand why those things happened, they don't know you had a colic kid at home or a toddler who hates to be confined or nap time was more important for every one's sanity. And if you only have one kid people will judge that as well. Most people will say that's not true and they don't judge and it's my own fault I turn it into guilt and that's fine, I take full responsibility for my emotions. Guilt is the evilest emotion as far as I'm concerned. And I always tell myself "what other people think doesn't matter" and I put on this tough exterior like it doesn't bother me, but it really does. Judgement can come in the most passive aggressive ways (a very good skill of mine by the way) or it can come with just a look. Maybe I look too much into what people think but when you have kids all you want to do is do a good job and when there's not a lot of positive reinforcement, then I shall use guilt to fuel me.... (ok that was a little dramatic). I have read some of my moms old journals and she also felt the guilt/judgement from being a mom, so I know I'm not alone, just maybe the most dramatic :)
One more point of seriousness:
Safety: I had no clue that I'd think about the safety of my kids 24/7 and yes, I even mean when I'm sleeping. Now, I'm not talking about them getting hurt like breaking an arm, which I don't want to happen. But I do let my kids jump off furniture, ride bikes without helmets and run around outside without shoes on. But they DO NOT go outside without an adult and I check the windows in our house at least once a week to make sure they are locked and I check all the doors every night to make sure they are locked and I WILL NOT let certain people watch my kids because I listen to my motherly instincts, regardless of who thinks it's personal. The thought of one of my kids missing or getting abused makes me so sick to my stomach. Thank God I know my kids are protected by angels and protected by God's grace and provision. But I still think about it, constantly.
Now, onto the not so serious stuff that I never really knew about being a mom:
Stain Remover: There is NO stain remover on the planet that gets out poop, tootsie roll, red koolaid and mac n cheese out of the same shirt at the same time. And just when you think you've found one what works your kids will test it and it'll fail and you'll start searching for a new one! We buy most of our kids clothes (well the little kids) at garage sales (and clearance racks - it's this single income thing) and it truly amazes me when I find clothes that aren't stained. I wont' buy stained clothes and not ALL my kids clothes are stained but seeing an entire collection of kids clothes that are stain free, is amazing to me, and it gives me hope that one day I will find that magic fairy stain remover...
Books: First, my own books, I have had the same 4 books that my sister let me borrow when I had Zoe almost 21 months ago. I'm about 50 pages into two of those books, that is it. I love reading, and yes, I have some attention issues, but I do love reading. But that's not even what I'm talking about, it's my kids books. Again, we buy most of our books at garage sales/resale shops and I'm floored by the books that have both covers and all there pages. How does that happen? We thought Isaac was the ultimate destroyer of things, but he's got nothing on Zoe when it comes to books. She ADORES reading, even has to take a book to bed with her at night and is usually carrying around a book, but she is violent with them. She can rip the cover off of a hard back book and rip an entire hard baby book in half in no time. And let's not even get started on the subject of baby books. We have a book called "Pudgy the Beaver" which I can't even get past the cover because it's so hilarious to me. And the noises they try to spell out in a book will have you saying the most ridiculous things ever, but reading to your kids is good and fun.
Hygiene: As a Stay at Home Mom, I spend 90% of my time within the 4 walls (ish) of my house. Many days I only see and talk to the people in my immediate family and many weeks the only place I go is church, where I help my husband with Children's Church (more kids!). So when I do get around adults I tend to dominate the conversation, it's a terrible habit. But, why is there a reason to go beyond a pony tail? And put on deodorant? I rarely take a shower without at least one kid playing in the cabinets in the bathroom, usually eating lotion or deodorant. Hygiene is a thing of the past after you have kids, especially when you have no where to go.
House Cleaning: Now, I obviously have lots of time on my hands since I don't work out side the home and since that was a choice of mine I probably love cleaning. I do spend time on facebook (cause I never talk to other adults, this is the only way I can), I write in a blog (not often and not always well) and I take online surveys (it's sometimes the only way I reward myself with prizes from the points and what not I accumulate doing them). So, obviously, if I gave all that up (and yes, I often hear about it....) and the DVR I'd probably have a cleaner house AND carry a brick of resentment on my shoulder...no wait, not a brick, a boulder. When I pick up the living room it takes my kids less than 10 minutes to destroy it all over again, and I have to do it all over again and repeating myself is one of my pet peeves. The same goes with wiping the table where they eat. I do not enjoy walking on crumbs (I actually detest this), or making food on dirty counters, or peeing in dirty toilets or tripping on toys. But I do enjoy trying to be "Dawn" at some point in my day and not just wife, mother, maid, cook, etc. And I much prefer to play with my kids other than clean. And yes, sitting here writing this while Zoe sits on my lap and watches Team Umizoomi and points at (pokes) my eyes, nose and mouth 100 times and tells me what they are is playing with my kids.
Whining/Complaining: At some point you will get so accustomed to your kids whining and complaining it almost seems fruitless to continually ask them to stop or even to discipline them for it. But we all try. And when your kids fight, you WANT to intervene, but you also know they have to work it out on their own. The older the child doing the complaining/whining the more draining it is. And when the whiner/complainer is an adult and you are a parent it will literally go in one ear and out the other, but, nontheless be as annoying and draining. I had no idea how much whining/complaining literally, physically can hurt my ears. (I PROMISE you what I'm saying here or in all of my blog posts is not whining/complaining and if you think it is, please quit reading..thank you.)
Poop/Food: If "pooping while mom is eating" was a sport, my kids would hold Olympic Gold Titles in this. During at least one of meals, at least one of my kids will poop and often both of them. One needs a butt wiped on the toilet, one needs a diaper changed. And I've actually helped my daughter 'birth' a poop when she was constipated, yes, disgusting, but it's what you do when your kids needs it, well, what moms do when her kids need it. And whatever you are eating/drinking your kids will see as theirs and want to eat/drink it also. My kids eat probably 10 - 15% of all my food and sometimes even more than that.
So, there's more, but that's what I have today. I would just like to say that I absolutely adore and love my children, they are the best thing that has ever happened to me. I was a 90's hippie that never wanted to get married or have kids and probably would have stayed stoned and stupid the rest of my life but I'm so glad that God never gave up on me and my life is completely different. (Although I'm still sort of a 90s hippie, minus the stoned and stupid part). My kids are truly amazing and weird and beautiful and healthy and I wouldn't change anything in the world for them. They are exactly who I need in my life and bring pure joy to my life everyday. They are 100% a miracle and a true blessing.