My little sister had her first child this past Thursday, July 10th. We all held our phones up and took joyous pictures of each of us snuggling the little sweet fresh precious life and cried tears of joy together that we would have a new dear baby to love. I was especially happy because this one was not mine.

As I reflect on the week, I cannot help but think about my little ones, and what I have experienced with them. I have a five-yeari-old and a one-year-old, and they have been such a blessing in my life. As I reflect on the past five years of sweet motherhood, I think about how many things I have learned just about being a parent in this short time.

I see all of these tips online about what to expect or what they don’t tell you, and I wanted to make my own based on my own experience.

What you should know about having children:

My muddy princess

You need to always have spare clothes- for everyone
Kids are freaking messy. Anything squishy with color, they are going to dive in, head first. Then, after they have conquered their messy bliss, they want to share it with you- all over your shirt, and especially on the rear end.

They puke - everywhere
I had to get into the habit of always having extra clothes for myself anytime I took my daughter anywhere. During her 2nd, and most of her 3rd year, anywhere I took her, she puked, and mostly on me. We were at a wedding shower where I was a bridesmaid and she was a flower girl and she ate an M&M and then puked everywhere. Out with friends at Los Bravos- she ate a chip and puked everywhere. She even puked on her 2nd birthday. She puked on her 4th birthday because she got overly excited about her new dollhouse! So, bring those spare clothes, scope out the closest item that you can grab for your child to vomit in (baskets from free chips?) and watch for the signs because you are a mother now and chances are, there will be vomit soon.

Wal-Mart is your favorite place and your least favorite place… all wrapped into one
I have two kids, it is summertime, and we buy everything at Wal-Mart. I used to stick my nose up at their clothes, now I go through each section sifting through the clearance to find my child’s next outfit, or blank canvas. And for me, I also buy my summer sundresses there because A) they are cheap, B) I do not have to worry about all things listed above because , even if I got a huge green cupcake icing stain right on the stomach, I didn’t invest too much in it, and C) because when it is 93 degrees outside and you are covered in sand that was sprinkles in your hair “for magic” and you have curdles mini throw up dribbling down your shoulder, you want something comfy and lose on.

But then, you get a brilliant idea of going ahead and taking both kids, along, after work on Friday night to pick up “just a few things to get through the weekend” and you develop a since of rage and regret that you never knew existed in you. Perhaps it is the little hand from the seat in the cart pulling everything in the cart while you are trying to read a label, perhaps it is the begging 5 year old who wants another Frozen doll or Monster High movie. Maybe it is the shear fear of those 5 dreaded words: “I have to go potty.” Whatever it is, something in it changes you from that proactive happy, relieved from the work week being over mother to a hot mess zombie who ends up ordering a pizza on the way home with a car full of groceries.

ashley sollars

You will cry- a lot
I cry a lot in the car after events like the ones listed above. One times, I sobbed like a maniac after taking my daughter to her first parade because she would not stop screaming and I finally realized that she had a full diaper- and that was all it was! You will also cry at 3 in the morning when you have to be up at 5 and your kids just want to stay up and party with you. So, while you are out at Wal-Mart, get a box of tissues, because it is going to happen, a lot.

They will OWN the TV
Forget “The Walking Dead” episode you have been dying to watch, that isn’t happening until after bedtime and it may not happen until you finally get to a night where you do not pass immediately after doing the happy dance that they are all asleep. While you are sifting through the shocked emotional posts on facebook, you are also piled up on the couch watching “Sarah and Duck” and actually finding it a little amusing.

Sleep is but a fond memory
From the point you are about 8 months pregnant and have to wake up to pee every hour, to the rest of your life, you can forget those days of sleeping all you want. Get over it.

Nothing is sacred to a 1 year old, especially your sunglasses.

You will become THAT person on Facebook
You will take a million pictures of your child doing the same thing, and not be able to part with any of them, and think everyone else needs to see 33 pictures of your child covered in spaghetti. You probably will also notice people start deleting you because they are sick of seeing your child’s face. That is okay, though, because your still have 345 friends that you can share with.

Your fears will change
I used to be so scared of spiders that I would nearly pass out at the sight of them. Now, I walk right up to them, look them square in their millions of eyes, and kill them with my bare hand, because I am awesome.

Now, I fear anything that has to do with the safety of my wee ones. My daughter might as well be wearing football pads while playing on her scooter in the backyard, and swimming takes a ton of preparation because you have to get all of the gear and slather on the highest SPF sunscreen on the market. You will be that crazy person who wakes up in the middle of the night and absolutely have to go check to see if your children are still breathing. Then you will probably take your crazy to the next level and crawl into bed with them. This is when that whole weird crying thing comes in to play.

Some really cool girls watching Beauty and The Beast, because that is how we roll.

You will begin to notice that your old friends begin to fade away

Especially if they are not parents, many times when you become a parent, your old friends lose interest in hanging out. It is nothing personal, you are just at a different point in your life and not everyone wants to come sit on your couch and eat ravioli while watching Dora. Your truest friends will stick by you, whether or not you share a mutual love for finding steals on school clothes. They will understand your issues and even come over after having the baby when you text them and express just how exhausted you are so that you can sleep (you know who you are!). You will also find a new set of friends that have the same love for “The Hot Dog Dance” and you can share cute pins with on Pinterest.

Don’t worry about what other people think
Everyone who has been a parent or close to a parent has probably been in the same position you are in right now. Chances are, while you are potato sacking your screaming child from the toy section of Wal-Mart to your car, most people are looking at you and thinking “Been there!” When you are getting your yearly haircut and the hairdresser finds something gooey and foreign in your hair, just laugh it off and enjoy that free shampooing.

You also do not have to be the mom other people expect you to be. If you cannot breast feed because of some unforeseen reason, that is okay, they make formula for us! If you are a working mom and have to send your child to daycare after 8 weeks, you should be proud that you have that in you instead of guilty for not being able to stay home. We all do what we have to do to provide for our children, even if that means having to sacrifice ourselves a little.

Is there anything cuter than a passed out baby?

You will love every minute of it
Even though parenthood sounds like absolute torture, it is the best thing that ever happened to me. My daughter has inspired me to become a better person and was the reason I worked so hard to get through school, get a job, and follow my dreams. My son has taken it to the next level, making me feel like Super Woman, and helping me to develop more patience. I have replaced prints of impressionist art in my apartment with canvases with acrylic painted butterflies made by the sweetest little hands in the world. I have given up eyebrow waxes every two weeks and haircuts every other month with nice shampoo so that I can afford to play “The Good Girl Fairy” and leave my daughter presents when she has a good day. I have traded in nights of wine and card games with friends for lemonade and Candy Land on the living room floor.

As tired and as broke as I am, I absolutely love being a mom.

My first moments as a momma