Motherhood is a life long journey filled with many ups and downs and like most Moms I am looking forward to celebrating Mother’s Day with my family this Sunday. However as I reflect on my 11 year journey there are a few things I wish someone would have told me to help prepare me for all of the great times and not so great times.

1. Your body may never be the same again

Yes! You read that correctly, you may never be that perfect size 4 again. I can remember after I had my first child I dieted and almost starved myself in attempt to get back to a size 6. Within a year after her birth I hit my weight goal and was still trying to lose an additional 5 pounds. Now I look back at those pictures and think to myself “5 pounds really, girl! REALLY” I looked fine but I desperately wanted to look like I did in high school.

2. Motherhood can really take a toll on your mental health

After having my second daughter I was surprisingly diagnosed with postpartum depression.   I remember going in for my 6 week check up and feeling like something was wrong but I just didn’t know what. I fought really hard not to accept the diagnosis and got multiple medical opinions about the suggestion of medication. Being sleep deprived and dealing with the adjustments to my marriage and family lifestyle was really stressful. I implore all Mothers to make sure you have a trusted friend or therapist who can help you talk through the challenges of being a Mother.

3. Sex or sleep, don’t make me decide

Before kids sex was adventurous and could happen at anytime. After kids and especially at the end of a long work day you may be more likely to choose sleep over sex. Unfortunately this choice will take a toll on the relationship and you will wind up looking at your partner as just your partner in parenting.  Moms give out so much energy on a daily basis that choosing sleep is very tempting but being intentional about sex has wonderful benefits.

4. Getting together with other Mothers is not negotiable

When I first became a Mom I joined every Mom support group one could think of. MOPS, Mocha Moms, if it was available in my neighborhood then I was a part of it. Now that I am a Mom of three and I work from home I’ve honestly neglected the regularly scheduled social time with other Moms and I really miss it. When I do take the time to get together with other women it makes me really happy and I start to feel back in touch with who I am. Schedule a girl’s night out at least once a month, you won’t regret it.

5. Being a Mother is hard but also enjoyable.

Why do other Moms always act like everyday is pure joy when you have kids in your life? Liar! It’s just not true. Some days are happier, funnier and brighter because kids make you laugh and with their natural curiosity they see life differently. However there are some days where I may have been known to lock myself in a closet and wish I had a stiff drink to help me get through the day.  Thank God I’m a praying woman and I rely on my faith to get me through. Motherhood is beautiful but don’t you forget to be in touch with your dreams, talents and feelings. This will help you best the best Mom you can be.

Writer  Rachel Odem is a beauty blogger, licensed beauty professional, natural hair advocate and a mother. Join her this Saturday, May 7th at the 3rd Annual Mommy & Me Meetup. The event is from 1:oo-4:oopm at Little Black Pearl Workshop, 1060 E 47th St., Chicago. This event is  designed to empower mothers and daughters and promote new ways of thinking about beauty, natural hair and self-esteem.