Caroline Manzo: What I Wish Someone Had Told Me about Motherhood

"Oh my goodness, wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was an absolute, no nonsense, comprehensive guide to motherhood?!"

How many times have I heard that over the years? I couldn’t even begin to count. The truth of the matter is there is no foolproof, written-in-stone guide to parenting. Especially not one for motherhood!

I remember when I had my first child, the very adorable Albert Joseph Manzo IV in May of 1986. He was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen and I couldn’t believe that I had anything to do with making such perfection. That fairy tale moment lasted about 6 hours, and then the crying began. Albie apparently was the loudmouth of the hospital nursery. The statistic card that the staff placed on his cradle actually had a cartoon of a skunk with a clothespin on its nose!

For the next 8 – 9 months of his life all that child did was cry. He never slept for more than twenty minutes at a time and I thought I might lose my mind. Naturally I thought I was doing something wrong—it had to be me, right? Isn’t that the first rule of motherhood? Guilt? Well, 27 years later I know that it wasn’t me, it was him. He was a stinker. He’s more than made up for it since, so I’ll give him a pass.

My point is that we can sit and read every book on motherhood out there and outline the perfect scenario of a parent/child relationship on paper, but that’s not a realistic approach at all.

Motherhood is trial and error of the heart and soul. If I can teach a new mom anything it would be: go with your gut, love with all of your heart, and don’t be so hard on yourself!  Expect to make some mistakes, learn from them, each and every child is as individual as a snowflake, find your own rhythm, and march to the beat of your own drum.

Love them unconditionally, teach them right from wrong, and grow them into strong, solid adults with kind hearts and compassion for others.

Take the time to laugh with them and show them how much you love them by sharing quality time where you devote yourself to them and only them. I’ll take quality over quantity any day. Children sense this, remember, they learn what they live. It’s not a “do as I say, not as I do” world when it comes to parenting.

I could go on forever and probably still not get all my thought out regarding parenting. I’m the mother of three gorgeous, amazing babies: Albie 27, Lauren 25, and Christopher 24.  Yes, I used the term babies, they will be my babies forever and always, when they’re 85 I’ll be asking them if they ate and to put a coat on if it’s cold outside. That’s my role and I’ve played it well for the past 27 years.

Looking back I remember one thing my Dad said to me as I was trying to eat a bit of pasta while having Sunday dinner with the family. The kids were crawling all over me, I was frustrated and said, “OH My God! All I want to do is get a bite of food!”  My dad turned his head, looked at me and said, “That’s why they call you mommy.” I understood completely at that moment. Motherhood is about sacrifice, frustration, commitment, and the most amazing love you will ever know in your lifetime.  I highly recommend it.