Becoming a mother teaches you all kinds of things: funny things, heartwarming things, and downright frightening things. You can read all the books in the world, but there are some things you just have to learn by experience. Here’s what I’ve discovered about motherhood…

10 Things I Never Knew Until I Was a Mom

Everyone is naked all the time

For the first five years of motherhood, you will see more nudity than the average sex worker. First it’s diaper-changing and baths. Then it’s the toddler who figures out how to take his diaper off. Then there’s potty training. And then you have the phase where they think as soon as they come home they need to take their pants off. It works in reverse, too; your children will see you naked way more often than your spouse does, due to their lack of boundaries and urgent need for juice when you are in the shower. Motherhood is one big naked party, and it’s not the least bit sexy.

You will become deeply invested in things that don’t matter

Namely, children’s television programs. You would not believe the OUTRAGE in our home when The Fresh Beat Band brought on a new Marina. Not from my child; from me. And don’t get me started on Disney Junior. My friend Amanda and I have created a backstory for the cast of Sofia the First that is probably more suited for The Young and the Restless. But when you see the same episode 35 times, well, you do what you have to do to endure.

Don’t even bother painting your nails while your kids are awake.

Unless you are skilled at opening a jar of peanut butter with your face.

Motherhood makes you incredibly selfish.

Yes, children; I will give you all of my time, love, and attention. But this is my chocolate, my chips, my iPad, and my Starbucks. Back off.

Your standards will drop considerably.

Not regarding your child’s health and well-being, naturally. But your own personal hygiene and home cleanliness standards take a big nose-dive. Shower? I think I took one this week. Dishes? Well, we aren’t eating our cereal with measuring spoons yet. Speaking of, cereal is a great meal when you don’t want to actually cook anything. It’s fortified with vitamins! Some days (maybe even most days) you will rock it, but on those days when someone is sick/teething/refusing to sleep/generally being a jerkface, you’ll be satisfied if everyone makes it to bedtime alive. Including you.

You will refer to yourself in the third person.

And you will call your husband, “Daddy.” I can hear you saying you’ll never do this when you have kids. But you will. “Honey, mommy would like to use the restroom without an audience, ok?” “Let mommy drink her coffee before making any insane demands.” “Don’t touch mommy’s wine!” And speaking of…

You’ll say things you never expected.

Favorites include: “No more flushing pencils down the toilet!” and “The dog’s butt is not a toy!”

You will become both the smartest and dumbest person alive.

Your child will expect you to have all the answers, but will also reject the answers you give him. My son once asked me what clouds were made out of. I was busy doing something else, so I gave him a quick, “I don’t know for sure.” “YES YOU DO!!!” When I said I thought clouds were mostly made of water, I got: “THEY ARE NOT! They’re made of sugar.”

I can’t even.

Sometimes you will forget who you are.

Seriously. It’s really easy to lose the things that make you unique because you’re so wrapped up in being someone else’s mom. I know many of the items on this list are meant to be funny, but this one is 100% serious: if you don’t carve out time to take care of yourself and pursue your interests  you will go insane. Yes, you’ll feel guilty the first few times. But it will make you a better mom.

Motherhood is the hardest, most frustrating, most tiring, most exciting, most fun, most awesome thing you will ever do.

I can sure complain about motherhood and my kids. I do it way too much. But I love it. I really do. I don’t just love my children; I love being their mom. I don’t really remember what it was like to not be their mom, and I mean that in the best way possible. Motherhood is an all-consuming thing that makes me a more tired, but better, person.

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Mama’s Losin’ It