The things your mom never told you could probably fill the Library of Congress. Seriously, I don’t think we realize just how many thoughts and feelings she kept to herself until we have kids of our own. Here are just a few things she never said, but definitely felt.
Things Your Mom Never Told You (Because There Were No Words)
When I say, “things your mom never told you,” I’m not talking about deep, dark family skeletons or anything quite so clandestine. I mean, maybe your mom really was a Top-Secret agent or something. Anything is possible.
For our purposes today, though, I’m talking about all of those thoughts and emotions that we don’t realize our mothers never shared with us until we grow up and keep them to ourselves when we have kids. Let’s start from the beginning, shall we? I also sprinkled in a few of my favorite quotes about motherhood along the way, starting with the meme from Lessons Learned in Life that inspired me to write this. I agree with everything they said, too!
1. She was terrified from the moment you came into existence
Whether you were planned for years or a total surprise, whether she conceived you or adopted you, your mom was absolutely terrified when she first found out that she was going to have you.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, she was happy, too. Positively bursting with joy and moved to tears. But she was absolutely terrified. Parenthood is scary. From day one, we worry about getting it “wrong.” That fear never, ever, ever goes away, even after you move out and start your own family. In fact, the day you had your first kid, her fears just doubled.
2. Your birth didn’t go according to plan, and she’s not really okay with that
Hollywood gives us this unrealistic idea of what a “real birthing experience” should look like, but in reality, birth plans rarely go according to, well, plan. Maybe you came early. Perhaps you were late. Maybe you were full-breech, born via emergency c-section. Perhaps you were early, breech, born via c-section, AND born with a broken arm (actually happened to a friend).
Your mom will say the same thing to anyone who asks -she’s simply happy you’re here and you’re okay now. It doesn’t matter how you got here, just that you did. Secretly, though, she mourns for the loss of that perfect movie moment. She wanted something different for your birth, and she’s feeling a bit like the universe ripped them off.
3. Sometimes, she wanted to give you back
One thing that your mom never told you- and that we’d never, ever, ever tell our own kids- is that there were moments when she wished you came with a return policy. Just fleeting moments and she’d never actually give you back, but trust me, there were moments.
I have a friend with such horrible mom guilt over this that she had to see a therapist. Her son had colic. If you’ve ever dealt with that, you know just how inadequate it can make you feel to not be able to soothe your own screaming baby. Her therapist told her, “It’s 100% normal for every parent to have those “I can’t do” moments. So, stop feeling guilty. You’re not a bad mom. You’re just human.”
4. Other times, she wanted to take you back
Every time you left the house for a “first,” your mom wanted to race after you and bring you back into her safe, warm house. On your first day of kindergarten, she literally had to restrain herself to keep from chasing after the bus. Same with your first day of middle and high school.
Then, when you left her house in your own car to go off and live your own life, she wanted to run down the street screaming, “You’re not ready! Come back!” But she didn’t. She just smiled, told you how proud she was, and let you go.
5. She wanted to give you the world, so it hurt to tell you “No”
You heard the word so often growing up that you started to think it was your mom’s favorite word. No, you can’t have cake for breakfast. No, you can’t stay up until midnight every night. No, you can’t have a toy today at the store. No, no, no.
She wanted to say, “Yes” though. If she thought that she could raise a healthy and well-adjusted child (and not go broke in the process) by giving into your every whim, she would have. She wanted nothing more than to give you the entire world on a silver platter. She just knew that wouldn’t be good for you. So she said, “No,” and died a little inside when you looked back at her with those disappointed little eyes.
6. She wanted to throttle whoever invented the word “why”
Your mom may have had the patience of a saint, but trust me, she wanted to throttle whoever invented that word. Oh, she loved that you had such a voracious appetite for knowledge, don’t get me wrong. She even learned a few new things trying to find you the answers. But wow, did your “why” phase drive her bonkers!
7. You really hurt her feelings sometimes
I’m not just talking about the time you screamed, “I hate you” in a fit of rage as a teenager. Yes, that also hurt her feelings, but she expected to hear it at some point. We moms already know that punch is coming, so we brace for it.
No, I’m talking about all of the little things that you did without even meaning to hurt her. The toys she spent hours picking out that you just didn’t like. The time you told her that you don’t want her to read to you anymore because you don’t like the way she does the voices. All the dinners you made “Ewww” faces at after she spent hours cooking them.
So many small slights, none done out of any malice on your part, but they still hurt, nonetheless. Like thousands of tiny paper cuts, they cut away at her confidence in her motherhood skills and made her feel like she wasn’t measuring up. But she never told you, and she never will.
8. She often took care of your wants before her needs
I think it’s common knowledge that parents put their kids’ needs above their own. What you may not know, though, is that many times your mom gave you what you wanted at the expense of what she needed.
She desperately needed an hour to nap because she wasn’t feeling well. You wanted to go to the park. So, she skipped the nap. She needed a new pair of shoes because hers were killing her feet. You wanted a new tennis racket. So, she kept wearing the painful shoes.
Time after time, she prioritized making you happy over her own health, comfort, and emotional well-being. She’d do it all again, too.
9. She never felt like she was doing a good enough job
Even if she was the best mom on the planet, she was convinced she was the worst. She second-guessed every single decision she ever made regarding you. Sometimes, she triple-and quadruple-guessed them until her mind got all twisted up around itself and she couldn’t remember what she was originally worried about.
She worried that she was too strict…but also not strict enough. That she was putting too much pressure on you to succeed…but also not enough pressure. Every moment of every day, she felt like she could be doing better.
10. She tried her hardest and hopes you’ll forgive her shortcomings
One of the most important things your mom never told you but really needs you to know? She tried. Really, really tried. She knows she didn’t always get it just right, but every single thing she did was with one goal in mind: give you the best life possible.
She really hopes that you’ll forgive her for where she came up short. Please, if you can, give her that gift. Too many people never get the chance.
There are so many things your mom never told you that you’ll discover as you raise your own kids. I’m still learning new things about what life must have been like for my parents. That’s okay. There’s really only one thing we needed to hear anyway…that we were loved.