In what now feels like a previous lifetime, I was once a corporate sales trainer. I worked with many different groups within our organization, from franchisees, to store managers, to sales associates.
We may look at some people and assume they know it all. But what I’ve learned through my role as a trainer is that no matter who you are or where you are in your career – or just life in general – there is always something to learn. If I ever found myself working with someone who became overwhelmed with new information on a topic they thought they already knew through and through, I would kindly share a saying that a mentor once shared with me:
1) There are things you know.
2) There are things you think you know.
3) There are things you don’t know.
4) Then, there are things you don’t know that you don’t know.
Let me tell you, you’d be surprised at how much we don’t know, we don’t know. And as a mother, that saying has never been more true or relevant to my life.
1) I didn’t know there would be So. Many. Diapers.
I’ve never really been around, or at least responsible, for a baby until I had my own. And in nearly 30 years of life, I’ve never changed a diaper and was OK with not knowing how. I figured this was something I could learn from the nurses in the hospital post-delivery. So, I knew I didn’t know how to change a diaper, but what I didn’t know was how many diapers I would be changing! I honestly had no idea that newborns can make a dirty diaper ten times a day. And that number isn’t counting the wet diapers in between!
My mother-in-law and I still giggle at her first run to the drug store for us after we got home from delivery. She bought a small pack of newborn diapers; it was probably a 24 count. The packaging said “12-hour wetness protection” so she thought if there are 24 hours in a day, and we need one diaper every 12 hours, this pack will last us all week! Needless to say, she was on her second drug store run that same afternoon.
2) I didn’t know breastfeeding is more than feeding.
Before I was even pregnant, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. I had always been fascinated by our ability as women to grow, birth, and then feed our babies with our bodies. I knew that breastmilk had great nutritional value, and I was excited and hopeful to be able to provide that to my baby. What I didn’t know was that breastmilk, and breastfeeding, is so much more than just nutrition.
Have a hungry baby? Of course, give it a boob. After all, that’s what boobs are for. But what about a fussy baby? A restless baby? A scared, or hurt, or sleepy baby? Give them a boob, too! What I didn’t know I didn’t know was that breastfeeding would be my number one tool in parenting. If you’re lucky, it can be a magic cure-all for anything from boo-boos to boredom. If you would have told me that before having a child, I’m not sure I would have believed you. Even as I’m typing this, my mind is still slightly blown.
3) I didn’t know how much our family would grow.
Of course with getting married, then getting pregnant, my husband and I knew that we were growing our family. We knew that soon our duo would be a trio and we couldn’t have been happier about it. We knew that a new baby would mean building new relationships in the family. Our moms would grow into grams, our fathers would become grandpas; our siblings are now aunts and uncles and there are even some great grandparents, aunts, and uncles in the mix.
But what I didn’t know was all the other ways that our family would grow. Because of this new little life that we created, dear friends are now godparents. My cajun baby loves his nanny and parrain, and they love him, too! Because of our baby, other close friends have become closer, and I’ve also gained a good friend or two. I knew everyone loves babies, but what I didn’t know is that a baby can bring love from others into your life, too. It’s been a beautiful experience growing our family with our little one. I want him to grow up knowing that family is what – and who – you make it.
There are probably countless other lessons I didn’t know I needed that motherhood has taught me over the past year. Some I’ve taken note of, some I’ve shared with others, and some are lost somewhere in the mess that is my mom-brain. But these three will stick with me for a lifetime. In the words of the Notorious B.I.G., “If you don’t know, now you know.”