When the Sippy Cup is Half-Empty: My Doubts Going into Motherhood

Spiders and snakes? Don’t bother me.

Going to the dentist? No problem.

Public speaking? My pleasure.

Becoming a mom? Scared me so much that just the thought would make me shake more than a belly-dancer in an earthquake.

I love our son, but I’ve had to work through (and am still working through) a number of fears that I’ve carried with me from my pre-motherhood days. I knew that there would be the so-called “joys of motherhood,” but I wasn’t to be fooled by this common saying; I’ve never been an idealist, and I don’t believe in sugar-coating the truth (it’ll rot your teeth). As far as being a mom was concerned, I definitely saw the sippy cup as half-empty rather than half-full. So what was I so scared of?

momaphobia1. I’d be giving up my identity. I was haunted by these thoughts when I became a mom: Will someone raid my closet, throw out all of the cute clothes, and replace them with dowdy dresses, comfy pants, and stained t-shirts? What if I lose my sense of humor? Will I have to paint my house in primary colors? Will people still call me by my first name, or should I just sign everything with “Isaac’s mom”? Who am I??!!

2. I’d screw up my kid. Ted Bundy, the Unabomber, Charles Manson – you know what they all had in common?
They all had moms! As a baby, each was held by some woman (perhaps not enough) that looked into their eyes with dreams of what they might be someday. And then those dreams turned into nightmares! What if that’s my kid? What if my son turns out to be a serial
killer? What if he’s the gunman on the national news? What if… what if he likes Nickelback? AHHHHHHH!!!! The horror of it all!!!!

3. I’d be judged by other moms. I pictured the snickering girls from middle school now graduated out of training bras and into Baby Bjorns. “You let your son watch TV? Huh.” “You’re still working outside the home? Huh.” “Your family doesn’t eat organic? Huh.” *snicker, snicker, point, laugh* Then they’d slam their minivan door in my face and drive off.

4. I’d have to give up everything I enjoy. I knew that motherhood would come with sacrifices but would I ever get to do what I like to do? Would I eat at any restaurants that didn’t hand out balloons? Would the most exotic adventure I’d take be the African exhibit at the zoo? Would my DVR be set to record nonstop Nickelodeon? I pictured my life being packed up in boxes and hidden behind a toy bin. Sigh.

5. I wouldn’t like my kid. This one seems like a terrible thing to say, as we all like to think that everyone likes their own kids. Well, I don’t buy it. Though I was sworn to secrecy, I’ve heard people admit to not liking their kids. And we’ve all seen that one kid acting up at the park and thought, “Where is his mother?!” My theory is that she isn’t absent – she’s hiding. Would you want to be seen with that kid?

These fears embodied what I had always thought of motherhood – it was this vast unknown full of all sorts of painful and disappointing outcomes. It was life-sucking, soul-smothering, and I’d screw up my kid’s life while my kid was returning the favor.

But I’ve come to understand that while motherhood isn’t entirely a bed of roses, it’s actually more enjoyable than I expected! Do I dare say I like it? My kid is awesome, and I can’t imagine my life without him. I was able to keep my wardrobe (unstained, at that). Most moms have turned out to be supportive and fun. I’ve found new things that I like to do with my son (nothing beats snuggling on the couch), and I still get to enjoy some of my previous activities on occasion. And only time will tell if I screw up my kid, but should that happen I can blame it on nature vs. nurture – our son’s adopted. 😉

All in all, I’ve come to discover that I’m still me – just mom me (a preferable variation of “mommy”). So why do I bring this up? Well, I’m throwing this confession out there hoping that maybe, just maybe someone else can relate. Did you have any fears going into motherhood? Please tell me that I wasn’t the only one.

Janelle never imagined herself to be a mom, but found herself being just that when their (at the time, 10-year-old) son, Isaac, moved into their home and hearts in May, 2012. She and her husband were thrilled to adopt him just seven months later, and she loves connecting with other parents trying to navigate the foster-to-adoption process. She enjoys working in Human Resources at her church and has a part-time gig at a bank in Lawrence as the best (and only) shoe shiner in town! She’s passionate about Jesus, board games, traveling the world, and KU basketball - to varying degrees - and if she were ever to go to a party where colors were invited, Janelle would want to talk to orange the most.


  1. Janelle, I think I can safely say that most of us moms have experienced fears like yours at one time or another – especially the one about our children liking Nickelback. HA!

    No, but seriously.

  2. A million and one fears… And the number grows bigger each day. You’re not alone, and I admire and appreciate your honesty. You just verbalized what many mom me’s feel, but are too afraid to admit! Well done!!!

    • Thanks. You know you never know. These are the thoughts that I internalize, but I’m often to scared to say. That’s what I like about having our community through Kansas City Moms Blog. It’s a place where KC moms can safely share and connect with others possibly thinking the same things.

  3. Love it! I was afraid of all of those!!! And even though I’ve only been an adoptive mommy for 6 weeks I’m so surprised at how much I love it. A lot of work but totally worth it. Thanks for being honest and sharing your fears! It’s great to know I wasn’t the only person having these terrible thoughts 🙂

    • I’m so glad that I wasn’t the only one! If you have to think terrible thoughts, it’s better to have them in good company. And I’m super happy for your new family, and all of the adventures ahead!

    • YES! Janelle, Lauren is one of our national City Moms Blog Network girls. Wait ’til you all read our post this morning! We seem to have hit the jackpot on smart, intelligent, and FUNNY women here in Kansas City. 😉

    • Thanks, Lauren! I’m having a great time writing with these great gals. And hey – it’s good, cheap therapy!

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