Lessons on Motherhood: Theory Versus Reality of Raising Children

I’ll never forget the night I brought my son home from the hospital. My husband and I sat on the couch staring at this tiny sleeping bundle of joy, looked at one another and asked, “Now what?”

I had a lot of theories on parenting, but no actual experience.

Today, my happy, healthy child is growing before my eyes. Every day is a new experience and everyday negates another theory.

If one thing is certain when it comes to being a parent, it’s that nothing is certain.

Here are six theories on motherhood from before I was a mother. Spoiler alert: They were wrong.

I will breastfeed my son for a full year without any problems.

Mom Theory #1: Nursing like a boss

Reality: I had my fancy breastfeeding accessories and steadfast determination, but I never quite mastered the skill that other mommies happen upon so naturally. Latching was a painful disaster and I quickly developed an infection. I read that formula was poison, so I continued breastfeeding, despite the agony.

My OB-GYN set me straight. She said the benefits of a happy feeding and bonding experience far outweigh the benefits of breastfeeding. The minute I switched to formula, it was like a cloud was lifted. Motherhood became way more realistic and enjoyable.

Breastfeeding has amazing benefits and I highly endorse it, but it’s not always practical or even possible. You’re not a bad person if you don’t breastfeed, or you only do it for a short time. Formula isn’t poison.

If breastfeeding is important to you, I recommend researching a qualified lactation consultant while you’re still pregnant, or soon after you get home from the maternity ward. Not all lactation consultants are the right fit (pun intended) Find one who you connect with, so you can connect with your child.

Mom Theory #2: Nobody puts baby in daycare

I will never send my son to daycare. I don’t want someone else raising my child.

Reality: Not every mom can afford stay at home with her child when maternity leaveends. Unless you’ve telepathically deduced the winning Lotto numbers, your child may have to go to daycare at least a few days a week.

Kids with working moms turn out just fine. There are decades of research to prove it. Plus, your kid will benefit from the socialization aspects. My son went to an in-home daycare, made friends and formed a loving bond with his daycare provider.

When exploring day care centers, visit several to find the right fit. There may be pros and cons to each, so trust your gut. If something feels off, it probably is.

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