“Mama did you tee-tee again?” my two-year-old asks, as he bursts through the bathroom door assessing whether my “potty time” had been successful. “Yes, son.” I replied, with less irritation in my tone than I actually felt. “Great job!” he exclaimed excitedly, and ran out of the room hollering, “I’ll go get you a sticker mommy!”  

Wonderful, I thought, with my eyes rolled heavenward. Instead of a sticker, could I just potty in private?

Before children, or even while I was pregnant, no one ever told me  I’d never go to the bathroom alone again. No one. Of course, now that I think about it, there’s a whole list of things no one ever told me.

For instance, no one ever said you’d better enjoy that hot cup of coffee now, because once Little One arrives you’ll either grow to love cold coffee or do without.

No one ever said baby wipes would become a closer companion than your own husband.

No one ever said grocery shopping would be more like training for some sort of Olympic event rather than an actual shopping trip. The only significant differences being there’s absolutely no hope of a gold medal, no recognition for a job well done, and a substantial mess on aisle 6 from the carton of blueberries slung from the cart, scattering like shot from a shotgun.

No one ever said there is no such thing as a stomach virus that only infects one member of the family, and no amount of frantic Lysol spraying or frenzied Clorox wiping will change this. It will run its course.

No one ever said you’ll never sleep through the night again. Ever. Well, actually one person was honest enough to share this with me; however, I didn’t believe him. At the time, I was eight months pregnant with my first child and propping up on five pillows in an effort to get any sleep at all. Surely it can’t be worse than this, I thought. I was wrong.

No one ever said that as a parent, you will string a series of words together forming sentences you never in a million years thought you would say. Things like, “Get the dog’s tail out of your mouth!” or “Stop licking the windows!” or “Why is there a toothbrush in the toilet?!”   

No one ever said there will always be some sort of unidentifiable, sticky and/or wet substance on your counters, clothes, face, hair, floor, car seat, sofa, or handbag.

No one ever said how much work would be involved with taking a vacation. That you would have to rent a U-haul just to carry all of the “essentials,” and the time actually spent with your precious family within the confines of the vehicle, will leave you wanting to jump from the car at the next light and hail a taxi to take you back home. Alone.

No one ever said getting everyone ready and out the door for church will be like running a 5k. You’ll be just as exhausted when you finish and sweating profusely.

No one ever said a time will come when eating PB&J at home will become preferable to going out for a steak. That eating out will morph into a totally new experience that involves no one actually eating anything, one drink knocked over dripping steadily onto your feet, two trips to the bathroom because we “just can’t hold it,” and finally dropping an extra $20 on the table in a conciliatory gesture to the server who is undoubtedly hoping he/she never sees your beautiful family again.

Yes, the list of things no one ever told me is long indeed. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you there’s another list no one ever told me about either, and it’s just as important to know.

No one ever said her sweet baby smell would be so comforting that you would close your eyes, press your face to her hair, and just breathe her in.

No one ever said his eyes would sparkle and dance when he looks at you, and his gaze would contain such adoration and pure joy just because YOU are his mom.

No one ever said that even when the deprivation of sleep feels acutely painful, her peaceful face as she sleeps so deeply cradled in your arms would soothe the ache and fill you with peace.

No one ever said his uncontained giggles, while showering his soft face with kisses, would make you giggle too.

No one ever said that her small hand clenched tightly around your one finger would give her a sense of security, and yourself a sense of belonging like you’ve never felt before.

No one ever said his boisterous high five when he finally tee-tees in the potty would cause you all to dance through the house in celebration.

No one ever said that there is a depth of love and emotion so intense it is simply too hard to put into words. It can truly only be felt in our souls. Perhaps, this is why no one ever told me.

Ginger Hughes

Ginger Hughes is the wife of a pastor, a mother to Ella and Elam, and a part-time accountant.  She is a Georgia native, but presently calls the foothills of North Carolina home.  She loves coffee, nature, and reading, but with two children under six, she struggles to find time in the day for any of the above!   She is a Christ follower and a fellow struggler on life’s journey who seeks to find joy in the everyday. Her passion for writing is fueled by the desire to offer encouragement, grace, and a deeper understanding that we are all God’s children, that we are not alone in our brokenness, and that we are all deeply loved.  You can read more of her writings at nomamasperfect.com