The 4 biggest misconceptions about new parenthood

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mom lying on bed with baby

So, you’re sitting there with a babe that still fits in your arms, and every single day you are being fed a steady diet of misconceptions. I’m going to do you a favor and just be straight with you because I have a hunch that right now you are feeling a wide range of intense emotions, and not all of them are not positive ones:

You are in utter awe at the depth of your love for that little one...but wow. You had no idea it would be this hard.

Who can you tell that to, though? You don’t want to seem ungrateful or like (gasp!) a bad mom. Maybe you think the rest of us didn’t have all of those crazy feelings or struggle quite that much.

Dear new mom, rest assured you are not alone.

You can be grateful for your baby but still feel overwhelmed.

You can be in total love but still feel sad. Every single emotion that is swirling through you right now is 100% okay.

Your hormones are whacky, you’re sleep deprived, and your world has shifted—so honestly, it’s fine to feel all the feels. You aren’t weird, bad or wrong. You’re normal!

If you can’t shake the sadness or feel overly anxious or depressed, talk to your doctor, but please know that you aren’t alone and you don’t need to feel ashamed.

Becoming a parent is the biggest of all big deals. Your entire universe has been toppled over onto its head, and it’s no wonder you haven’t found your footing yet.

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but motherhood is ever-changing, and just when you think you have the hang of it, it changes again! It’s okay though. You probably won’t find the assured footing you had pre-kid, but you’re going to learn how to dance through this life. Dancing is exhausting but way more fun.

Here are four lies we need to discuss, mama.

Lie #1: You just need to find balance

Balance is like Bigfoot, okay? There are reports of sightings, but no one has any substantial proof that it exists. If you get caught up in finding balance, you’ll chase that rabbit down a hole of discontentment.

I know some people make you feel like you should be able to breastfeed on demand for exactly 27-hours-a-day and still find time to keep your house immaculate, your husband satisfied, and your yoga poses on point. Forget it, sweetheart. If you have a friend who is actually attaining that, I’m pretty sure they’ll want her for scientific study because she’s not human.

Do you know what’s good enough? The best you can do for that day. Whatever that looks like! I’m not saying don’t reach for good goals. You can inch toward a more balanced life without trying to attain the unattainable.

Lie #2: If you rub that baby down with lavender-scented lotion, she’ll fall asleep in seven seconds, sleep through the night, and wake up dry

Commercials are a joke, and we all know it, but in your sleep-deprived state, you might actually start to believe this should work. You may become discouraged thinking that babies actually sleep like that.

In reality, if you wipe your baby down in lavender lotion, she’ll smell good while she’s wailing her head off and keeping you awake. A good smelling screamer—that’s what you get.

Bad news: Your baby probably won’t actually “sleep like a baby.” Studies on infant sleepconfirm what you’re about to find out and what every mother before you has learned the hard way—babies wake a lot and they usually need your help to get back to sleep. Toddlers may also wake through the night.

Good news: This too shall pass. Hang in there.

Lie #3: You should love every minute

No, you shouldn’t. Motherhood is beautiful. It’s amazing, wonderful, spectacular, humbling, breathtaking, profound and awesome. It’s also heartbreaking, challenging, exhausting and complicated.

There’s always something to enjoy, but it’s not all enjoyable. We all love our kids to pieces, but sometimes we want to run away a little bit. That’s perfectly human for you to feel.

Lie #4: This parenting formula/method/system is sure to make everything perfect!

This is the mothership that all of the other lies ride on. The idea that if we do a particular thing, we are assured of a particular outcome is intriguing, but I’m sorry to report that this is fake news.

No one can possibly figure out what one thing is going to work every time for all of our babies, and you should really beware anyone who claims to have done so. We buy into these lies because we’re exhausted and we want some easy answers. This is too good to be true. There are no guaranteed methods. You’ll just have to wing it like the rest of us, sister.

There a lot of lies you may end up hearing, and you’ll probably figure them out pretty quickly with that amazing intuition of yours. Learn early to listen to your gut, and if something doesn’t feel right to you, it probably isn’t.

There are also some pretty amazing truths that you are learning right about now as well.

The truth is that a mother’s love really does know no bounds.

The truth is that you could lie there and watch her sleep all night, partly to make sure she’s breathing and partly because there is nothing in the world more beautiful to look at.

The truth is that there is nothing that compares to the heart-exploding feeling you get when your baby smiles and coos at you.

The truth, mama, is that your incredible journey has just begun, and it’s going to be the most amazing ride of your life. The old “it’s all worth it” cliché? That one is no lie. It is. It really, really is.

Rebecca Eanes, is the founder of and creator of Positive Parenting: Toddlers and Beyond. She is the bestselling author of 3 books. Her newest book, Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, is more than a parenting book, it’s a guide to human connection. She has also written The Newbie’s Guide to Positive Parenting, and co-authored the book, Positive Parenting in Action: The How-To Guide to Putting Positive Parenting Principles in Action in Early Childhood. She is the grateful mother to 2 boys.


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