Things Your Mama Forgot to Tell You

Posted October 6, 2011 by

Photo of barbaragreenberg

As a parent, have you ever had moments where you realized that there was so much more to this than anyone — including your mom — ever told you? Yes, our mothers certainly taught us a lot. We have all heard “wait until you have kids.” And yes, now we do understand what they meant. Karma is not always fun when it’s payback time. Nonetheless, our moms left out some quite surprising details about raising these delightful monsters known as kids and teens.

I will speak for myself, but am eager to hear about what your mother neglected to mention. So here goes — and please do not show this list to my children. After all, some things are meant for the “mothers’ club.”  We have unwritten rules that some things stay between us — right, fellow mama bears?

My list goes something like this:

  1. You feel a level of protection that you thought only animals or crazy people were capable of.
  2. Sometimes, for a brief moment, you may ask yourself who these kids are and why on earth you invited them into your life?
  3. You develop an incredibly creative and outrageous fantasy life. If, for example, your 17-year-old son is 15 minutes late you have already imagined that he has been harmed in the most horrible manner.
  4. The level of delight that you feel when your child smiles approvingly at you may actually feel like a peak moment.
  5. At different points in their lives, you will favor one child over the other. It is usually the child who is easier to get along with at the moment. Don’t even try to deny this. It’s so true.
  6. Sometimes you will envy single parents. At least they don’t have to listen to the opinion of the adult in the next room.

What did your mama forget to tell you? Come on, ‘fess up. I did!


Barbara is a Ph.D. clinical psychologist who specializes in the treatment of adolescents and their well-intentioned but exhausted parents. She is the co-author of Teenage as a Second Language-A Parents Guide to Becoming Bilingual with Jennifer Powell-Lunder PsyD and the co-creator of the website

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