Just The Facts, Ma’am: A Field Guide

Should you decide to have multiple children, or, let’s be honest, even one child, your life will change dramatically. But, especially in the event that you should prove to be more fertile, whether in body or soul, than you had imagined, and end up being responsible for more humans than you have arms, there are some things that you should know.  So here it is, your glimpse of very true things that await those who breed, or adopt, or foster:

  1. Everywhere you go, strangers will ask you brilliant and well-intentioned questions, such as, “Don’t you know what causes that?” and “They aren’t all yours, are they?”
  2. These questions are usually accompanied by helpful statements, like, “Wow, you’ve really got your hands full!” and my personal favorite, “I would shoot myself in the head if I had that many kids!” (Which was said to me by a fellow parent at my children’s school, in front of my kids. Yep.)
  3. Every day will be more full of cuddles and heart melting moments than you could have ever predicted.
  4. Suddenly, all of your priorities will change to revolve around the needs of tiny humans that call you “Mommy”.
  5. Life as you knew it is over. Over.
  6. But what you get instead of your old life, is a million, trillion, times better and more rewarding.
  7. And by rewarding, I also mean harder than you can imagine.
  8. You will suddenly compare the amount of work it takes to go out in public, by the size and make of every car in the parking lot. Minivan=hard, Suburban with five carseats=champion level difficulty, sedan with one booster=moderately inconvenient, pristine BMW convertible=supremely easy.
  9. You know when you finished college, and thought, “I never have to do homework again!”? Wrong.
  10. Playdates are Purgatory for parents. Even if you aren’t Catholic. Seriously. Places of suffering.
  11.  No one else will see how amazing and wonderful, beautiful, sweet, funny, and all out lovely, your children really are, except for you. This revelation will shock you every time you see it.
  12. There is power in numbers. A big family might mean that you never get to be alone, but it also means that you never have to be alone.
  13. If you stop at Einstein Bros. Bagels for breakfast, the staff will assume that you are bringing food to your whole office.
  14. Your grocery budget will be the same or more than your house payment.
  15. You can never have too many band-aids, paper towels, toothbrushes, tubes of super glue, or rolls of toilet paper.
  16. Sugar and Satan both start with S. This is not a coincidence.
  17. When that many children love it when you sing, you will feel both self-conscious and like a secret rock star.
  18. The odds of getting your child’s name right on the first try decrease exponentially with each additional child.
  19. The less likely someone is to have their own child, the more likely they are to judge your parenting.
  20. There is no replacement for people who remember the parenting trenches, roll up their sleeves, and help you do this monumental task of raising humans.
  21. That said, helping a new mother should be grounds for sainthood. Or at least, a medal.
  22. Yoga pants are 95% for cleaning the house in comfort and 5% for actually doing yoga.
  23. White carpet and couches are only for movies and Pinterest. Not real people, with real children.
  24. When you register for your baby shower, don’t forget the carpet cleaner. It’s way more useful than a diaper genie, trust me.
  25. Every time a child breaks something special, is an opportunity for you to tell them that they are more important to you than any thing. This will not fix your grandmother’s china, but it will heal their heart and prevent yours from becoming bitter.
  26. That many children are a party waiting to happen. Celebrate everything.
  27. No public success can rival the feeling of little hearts that trust you so completely that they fall asleep in your arms after saying, “Mommy, I hold you.”
  28. Your sense of humor is the conjoined twin of your patience, if you can keep ahold of one, you will keep the other. You will need both, more than I can tell you.
  29. For every time that you feel overwhelmed and ungrateful about this huge team of mess-making fit-throwers, some other woman is trying to heal from her arms or womb being empty when she doesn’t want them to be. Realizing this will change your life, and help you be thankful again.
  30. Being silly and loud changes a cranky child’s mood faster and more effectively than being snappy ever could, and it gives you the ability to enjoy them when they come around. Just saying.
  31. At some point you will realize that you don’t have to apologize for your big, bumbling, beautiful, family, and just start living. That is when things truly become amazing.