Kids Make You Happy & Other Big Fat Lies

Jacqueline Burt Cote

sad boyBe honest, before you had kids, were you part of the camp who thought that having a baby would make you a happier person? Ha! I wasn't surprised by the recent news that adults with kids are significantly more stressed than adults without kids, or that 1 in 5 women now reach the end of their childbearing years with no children. In the 70's, it was 1 in 10.

Moms are bummed because we bought into the children-as-wish-fulfillment myth way back before we even got pregnant, and the reality of motherhood comes as something of a shock. Think about it: If some truth-talking mama pulled you aside before you had kids and debunked all the mommy fairy tales swimming around in your childless head, coping with the daily ups and downs of parenting might be a lot easier.

At least you wouldn't feel like you must be doing something wrong because you're not over-the-moon joyous all the time. Here are a few Mom Myths you might as well stop believing in right now:

Myth: You forget about the pain of childbirth the second that baby is in your arms.

Reality: The memory of that stupefying pain will stalk you like a relentless hunter all the days of your life.

Myth: Every "first" your child experiences is a priceless moment you'll always treasure. Get that scrapbook ready!

Reality: Hmm, like the panic attack-inducing process known as Baby's 1st Bath (why must those little bathtubs be so slippery?) or Baby's 1st Ride in a Stroller? How fondly I remember leisurely strolling my shrieking baby daughter down Seventh Avenue, stopping every two feet to run around to the front of the stroller and say "Mommy's still here! See? Mommy's right behind you! You don't have to cry!"

Myth: Once you have children, you never feel alone.

Reality: Spend a few days in a row with no adult interaction, having conversations limited to "what the cow says" and the precise location of your child's nose ("there it is!") and tell me you're not a little bit lonesome.

Myth: Spending time with your child is so fulfilling, you'll never miss your "old" life.

Reality: There will come a day, a dark day, when you're pushing your toddler on the bucket swing at the playground and some younger version of yourself will walk by, chatting on her phone, wearing sunglasses, no doubt headed to a super hip bar or club that you don't even know exists, and you will want to body-snatch her. (If you could figure out how to do that, you probably would.)

And the list goes on ...

Do you feel like Happy Mom Myths set you up for disappointment?

Image via Catherine Scott/Flickr

Read More