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

Popular on Empowering Parents

Reader Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Still working at it (Edit) Report

    I never really had too many issues getting along with my own mother. I am a single parent and when my own daughter chose the path of least resistance, her father, I was devastated. It’s taken a long, concerning period of time to mend our relationship. She is sixteen and hopefully, someday she’ll realize rules and structure are in place for her benefit. Are girls really tougher to raise than boys. That’s is so my experience. Good luck to all that are going through anything similar!

  2. mamalou (Edit) Report

    I just sent my oldest to college and still have one more at home in high school. It is the biggest roller coaster of emotions I have ever felt since their births! No one told me how amazing it would be to watch our daughter launch into adulthood, and how desperately I miss her. How having time with just my son is amazing and improving our relationship. I think I’m most surprised by how my husband and I talked about all the things we would be able to do once the kids were grown and right now it’s hard to get excited about those things, even though we have been planning for this our whole life! I actually miss getting up early on Saturdays for soccer games and such!

  3. Alissa (Edit) Report

    My mama didn’t really talk with me about parenting much at all but, in terms of things that surprised me about being a parent, I did not realize how lonely it would often feel. I’m sure my mother suffered from severe PPD and so maybe I wish she’d recognized it in me and shared her experiences with it.

  4. Feeling_Guilty (Edit) Report

    These is a very accurate list. I have more than once thought about being a single parent so I can get a break even for the day. I have also felt guilty with #2. I have felt like this was a punishment to me. Most people do not deal with the things we go through daily and can’t even remotely understand, so there is no real support.



Join our NEW Total Transformation® Learning Center!

Practical, affordable parenting help starting at $14.95/month BECOME A MEMBER TODAY!

Empowering Parents is the leading online resource for child behavior help


Parent Coaching Sessions

7.5 Million

Global Visitors

10+ Years

Helping Families