The One Thing Nobody Ever Told Me About Motherhood


“One thing that no one ever told me about motherhood is that your priorities completely shift when you have a child. All of a sudden you are responsible for another person, so it’s important to do little things that make you happy and feel like yourself! For me, a 15-minute chair massage and walking home by myself is like a mini vacation to Hawaii!”—Joyce Lee (@joycejjoyce_), senior vice president of design at Madewell, mother to Poppy (3)

“Nobody ever told me that what works for your friend as a mom might not work work you. It’s hard not to compare parenting styles, and even though I love my friends, their parenting styles often really contrast with mine. and that’s totally ok. I’ve learned to follow my gut and just do what’s right for our household and our kids.”—Kavi Ahuja Moltz (@durgadsd), co-founder of DS & Durga, mother Krishna (7) and Coco (5)


I didn’t realize how motherhood would affect my relationships with my friends without kids. We still love each other SO much—BUT boozy brunches and late night twirling on the town are no longer my reality. It takes really meticulous planning to make sure we see one another. The upside? I’ve been blessed with an incredible village of mommy girlfriends, who are down for 9AM playdates…family chill sessions on Friday and Saturday nights…and the occasional indulgence of leaving the kid(s) with our significant others and squeezing in a mani/pedi. Oy! But it’s all worth it. I swear. —Julee Wilson (@missjulee), fashion and beauty director at ESSENCE

Ashley Jahncke

No one ever tells you how utterly clueless you may feel. I remember a nurse at the hospital, hours after giving birth, telling me matter-of-factly to breastfeed when my daughter gave feeding cues. “You know her feeding cues,” she said. I may have nodded dumbly but what I thought in my head was “Know her feeding cues? I hardly know her! She just got here!” I think there’s some magical thinking that maternal instinct instantly washes over you the minute you give birth and viola! you know how to be a mom. And it’s certainly true that your body does some incredible things to be able to provide for your baby. But the idea that you all of a sudden “just know” things is bullshit. —Leah Chernikoff (@leahchernikoff), digital director at ELLE

“The thing no one ever told me about motherhood is how selfless one can actually become and how rewarding that can be. We always hear that it’s tough and trying—that’s accurate for sure, but the minute your child smiles at you or cuddles into your chest all the difficulty melts away and you find yourself thinking ‘I’ll go through a million tantrums or sleepless nights for this any day.'”—Jaycina Almond (@jaycina), model for Madri Collection, mother to Syx Valentine (1)

Bozoma Saint John


“No one told me I’d turn into MacGyver—I have no trouble taking a toothpick, a diaper, and a juice box and turning it into an umbrella. Another thing no one told me? That I could laugh endlessly at a toddler’s potty humor. And finally, no one told me that it was possible for my heart to walk around outside of my body, and that I wouldn’t want it any other way.”—Bozoma Saint John (@badassboz), chief brand officer at Uber, mother to Lael (8)


“No one ever told me that I would remain, fundamentally, myself. Sure, motherhood changes you, but it’s not a magical metamorphosis. Motherhood hasn’t made me an expert at spinning plates or juggling, or…becoming a morning person. I think it would be so helpful if we talked more about the ways that mothers—and all parents—learn to adapt and less about ways that they miraculously transform.”—Erin Boyle (@readtealeaves), creator of Reading My Tea Leaves and author of Simple Matters, mother to Faye (3) and Silas (1)

“No one ever told me that when you have children, time goes by so fast.”—Rebecca Taylor (@rebeccataylornyc), fashion designer, mother to twins Isabel and Zoe (11) and Charlie (9)


“The one thing no one ever told me about motherhood is ‘watch your older sisters.’ As the youngest in a family full of girls, I have the privilege of brilliant, brave, honest big sisters who have traveled the parenting path before me. They nurtured crying newborns into happy toddlers. They fought schools and systems to ensure their gay adolescent daughter or quiet teen son was not bullied or left behind. Long ago, I learned to ignore generic parenting advice, but I watch my sisters, closely. They approach parenting as a wild, imperfect, hilarious, messy adventure. They inspire me to do the same.”—Melissa Harris-Perry (@mharrisperry), professor and writer, mother to Parker (16) and Anna (4)

“I literally feel my kids pain when they fall and scrape their knees…When someone teases them I get a pit in my stomach, as if I was being teased myself. It’s like no relationship to another human that I have ever experienced. I also fully expected to birth my first child and emerge from the hospital a different woman. I thought I would be immune to petty, insignificant things. I was surprised to discover that regardless of the monumental shift of perspective and priority, I was still the same person. The same little things that annoyed me or upset me B.C. (before children) still upset me as a mom. It’s still me, I’m just a lot more tired.”—Casey Fremont (@caseyfremont), executive director of Art Production Fund, mother to Rex (X) and Casper (X)

Celine Khavarani


“Everybody told me everything. I was warned about everything. I was told my maternity leave it would be three hour cycles, and that just as soon as I’d fed her and burped her and changed her and gotten her to sleep, I’d have twenty minutes before it started all over again. I was told the minute you think you have it mastered, it changes again. I was told your body changes, that even if you lose all the weight, your body is bigger in some places and smaller in others, forever. I was told all these things. But I didn’t believe it. That’s them, I thought. I’m different. I’ll be at the pool having lunch with her two weeks after she’s born. But no matter what anyone tells you, you cannot even begin to process how profound it is until your baby is born.” —Celine Khavarani, senior vice president of communications at Tamara Mellon, mother to Luella (1)


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