New moms learn pretty quickly that everyone else knows what to do better than you, and they are not afraid to tell you. To breastfeed or to bottle-feed? To cry it out or to comfort? To co-sleep or crib sleep? To vaccinate or (gasp!) to not. And the perhaps the most highly judged question of them all: To go back to work or to stay at home.

Even moms that don’t have a choice wonder if they’ve made the right decision. The thing no one tells you is, it’s a lose/lose situation. Does that make you feel better? No? Maybe this will:

The fact is, no matter how prepared a new mother may be for baby: (pinterest-worthy nursery, tiny diapers in neatly stacked piles, washed and folded onesies, hospital bag full of essentials like chocolate bars and gossip magazines) nothing can mentally prepare us for the change to come. It’s more than the sleepless nights that people warn about. College had sleepless nights and we survived just fine, thank you.

It’s this: When you become a mother, life as you know it is over. Not in a horrible way, more in a caterpillar into a butterfly kind of thing. Or more honestly, caterpillar into moth. (Butterfly would imply daily showers and ample time for makeup application.) However you picture it, what I mean is this: when you become a mother you change forever. And there’s no going back.

Here’s what I’ve learned. When my first child was 4 months old I quit my job as a copywriter at a prestigous New York City advertising agency so I wouldn’t miss a minute. Seven years later, and I’ve had millions of minutes. Loving minutes. Screaming minutes. Hour-long minutes. First-smile minutes. Sick minutes. Sleepless minutes. Proud minutes. Lock myself in the bathroom with a glass of wine minutes.

And what I miss is: work.