1. I totally squandered my time (and let work hours rule my life) when I was single and newly married but childless.
How in Fresh Hell did I think I "never had enough time" to do things?
In my early twenties I worked retail, which meant some day shifts (8:00-ish to 5:00-ish) and some night shifts (1:00-ish to 10:00-ish) plus many weekends. Later I moved to more steady 9-to-5 type jobs, and eventually gave that up to freelance from home. Yet even as my schedule grew more flexible, I never, ever managed my time well or learned to fit my work hours into my life optimally. I always felt overwhelmed. Even when I was able to set my own agenda, I still somehow always felt I couldn’t get everything done.
2. The core trait of motherhood is not patience or understanding or unconditional love, but the ability to be interrupted.
Oh, you will need those other things, but really the most important realization you will have is when you fully appreciate that your own needs/wants are secondary. I’m not talking completely giving up self-care/self-awareness, but more the understanding that when another human is literally depending on you for survival, your desires to finish this or that, or do one more thing, or prioritize your own thoughts is pretty much out the window.
3. Every role does not need to be a starring role.
What do you want to be when you grow up? I can guarantee I never would have answered this question, a stay-at-home homeschooling mom of three without a paid job but fully supportive of my husband’s very demanding career. Because our culture tells us we must want to have it all, shine the brightest, be. the. star. The very, very critical behind the scenes work is minimized, ridiculed even. But it matters. A lot.