The Biggest Surprise of Motherhood is How Much People Don’t Tell You About It

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I wasn’t so sure about motherhood, having never been a babysitter.

I was in love with my husband and figured I would enjoy motherhood because I was lucky to have a great mom myself. But having never changed a diaper before, I was pretty terrified when my due date approached.

Now, I feel so lucky to have 3 gorgeous children in my life. There’s nothing more important to me –  I am who I am today because I’m a mom. Giving birth, breastfeeding three babies, and nurturing them every day to help them reach their full potential has had a huge impact on me. Yet I also work to stay true to the things that I valued before becoming a mom like having a sense of humor, nurturing my own creativity, enjoying life and maintaining an enthusiasm for travel and the outdoors. These things make me a better mom and have had a positive impact on my family.

The biggest surprise about motherhood is how much people don’t tell you about it.

Everyone has advice and tips, but they don’t tell you everything. When I first became a mom, I told my friends I wanted to breastfeed. I didn’t have a clue that it wasn’t going to be all natural and beautiful, and no one told me otherwise. I felt like a contortionist doing all the little things the lactation consultant suggested. Soon, my nipples were cracked and sore from my baby trying to latch and it was challenging because we were both learning a new skill.  When I asked my mom friends about my breastfeeding issues, they filled me in some, but it wasn’t something they proactively told me about before.

Breastfeeding and its challenges are the whole reason I started my company.

I was a really leaky breastfeeding mom; I leaked a lot for 6 months! Cotton nursing pads saved money, but didn’t stop leaks and were too visible through my shirt. When I discovered the amazing softness of rayon fabric from bamboo and leak-proof materials, I created bamboobies (bamboo + boobies) nursing pads to help myself and other new moms, too. Though I was already juggling a lot, taking a chance on starting a business was not really a choice – I was possessed. I was motivated by the obvious need  for a better nursing pad and a nursing cover that didn’t attract attention. Both of these ideas were at the forefront of my mind because of my own struggles with the products on the market, and the rough times of the early months of nursing.

Today, bamboobies products address a variety of  needs for pregnant and breastfeeding moms, and honestly, they really work! Our growing, vocal base of moms that love and rave about our products will tell you: our premium, eco-friendly products are created with love from one mom (me) to many others to ensure that new moms and babies are happier and healthier, and so is their world.

Being the owner of my own company comes with a lot of responsibility which can be time consuming; however it also gives me a lot of flexibility. Having this flexibility allows me to work and be a supportive, present mom. My  work influences my approach to motherhood in that I stress creativity. I share new product development ideas and challenges with my kids. They’re old enough now that they get it and I hope my work encourages them to be entrepreneurial and growth-oriented in  their thinking.
I love the diversity of daily experiences in motherhood, but juggling it all is the biggest challenge.
As a mom, we are constantly swapping hats and priorities. I’m a teacher, a chef, a snuggler and strict disciplinarian, a Lego builder and a football coach, and so much more. I’m not an expert, but I do my best and I try to enjoy doing it. The challenge with being a mom is that you may have three #1 priorities and you just have to find a way to fit them all in. It may mean tapping into your family or your “village” for help, or saying no and moving on. I couldn’t do it without a super-dad, my own amazing mother and other great grandparents, friends and the kids helping each other out!
 
Motherhood has taught me that I have more to give than I thought.
Usually I can somehow manage to fit one more thing into the day, especially if it involves my “littles.” I’ve  deepened my relationships with my mom community and tap it regularly for advice, play dates, and more. It truly takes a village! My husband is part of that village and I work to make time for him, too. Date nights help keep me sane and connected with my husband. I’ve also learned about my own mom and our relationship has been enriched – you never know how amazing your own mother is until you’ve become a mom yourself. Last– but certainly not least–  it’s important to  take time for self-care and supporting my needs. The way to be the best parent you can be is to make sure you have taken care of yourself, too.
Kerry Gilmartin is the founder of bamboobies. If you need breastfeeding support, mom humor or breastfeeding products, check out www.buybamboobies.com or follow @bamboobies socially on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. #wevegotyourfront
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