“This is hard. We must be doing something wrong.” That’s what my husband and I thought soon after becoming parents.
The only other explanation was that no one had been candid enough with us as to what having a baby (or two) was really like. Fortunately, we at least realized this was a possibility.
So this is for any new parents who are finding it hard and wondering if it’s just them - please know you are not alone in this crazy adventure!
1. Nothing will ever be the same. Nothing. Ever. But you will find your new normal. For now, until everything changes again. But that’s not a bad thing. Anything that stays the same is stagnant (think, yucky, stagnant water). Living life is about growing and change. Life with kids is full of change and full of surprise.
2. Your heart will forever walk around outside your body. It's scary.
3. Sleep deprivation is a bitch. No wonder it's used as a torture technique.
4. Going to the bathroom alone will become a luxury you are rarely afforded. Unless that's happening to you at work - then that's weird and you should talk to HR about it.
5. Breastfeeding can be really hard in the beginning. It can also get easier.
6. Post partum depression and anxiety are real and they suck and help is available. Don't suffer.
7. You will learn all sorts of new things about yourself. Some you'll like, some you won't.
8. You will learn all sorts of new things about your partner. Some you'll like, some you won't.
9. More times than you know, you will leave the house with some baby body fluid on you without even realizing. My husband had been at work for hours before someone pointed out the spit up on his shoulder. When my kids were toddlers, I'd get to work, sit down, and note the mid-thigh stains on my pants, nose high from my snot-nosed kids. Awesome.
10. You will find yourself doing things you swore you would never do. The things you previously saw parents do and said, "I will never do that when I'm a parent." Yup, it happens. Hopefully no one will judge you, so don't judge yourself. It's survival.
11. Momnesia. You will forget things.
12. Don’t buy new furniture. This needs no explanation.
13. If you have a husband, you will likely be amazed by what he can sleep through. I found this incredibly frustrating and also enviable.
14. Baby #2 or #3 isn't necessarily any easier. But it generally is less scary as you know that both the baby and you can survive. The biggest change is from zero babies to one (or so I think as we skipped that and went from zero to two). After that, its just smaller degrees of increased chaos.
15. Really nice outfits are more likely to get stains on them. This applies to the baby's outfits and your clothing, too. The more you like it, the more likely the baby is to have a poop explosion.
16. If you want the baby to take a long nap, make afternoon plans to go somewhere. Having plans to go out is a surefire way to be stuck at home, just waiting for the baby to wake up. Days where you have no plans, the baby will take a short nap and you’ll look at him thinking “now what are we going to do?” (Baby #2, 3, 4….will be woken up from naps as it’s always time to go somewhere and you can’t wait for the baby to wake up!)
17. Things change all the time. For the good and the bad. As soon as the baby starts sleeping through the night she will start teething and wake up during the night. It has helped me tremendously when we are in bad patches to remember that things always change.
18. If your baby attaches to a favorite blanket, lovie, stuffed animal or anything essential for his sleep: go to the store and buy multiples of them before they no longer sell them. Stock up! Because that favorite will get lost, left behind, or fall behind the couch and you'll have no idea where it is. Then you're screwed. Bonus points for rotating versions of the same favorite object. That way they all become equally "loved" (beat up) and a new one isn't noticed and rejected.
19. Take care of yourself. Being a mom is a new identity and takes a lot of energy. Try to find time to connect with parts of your identity you've always valued and that help restore your energy. Taking care of yourself is one of the ways you take care of your baby. And remember, it's all temporary, so things that get put on the back burner won't always be.
20. Momnesia. You will forget things. Did I say that already?
I'm a mom of four children, a wife, and a Licensed Professional Counselor. My parenting life helps me be a better counselor, and my professional experience helps me be a better mom. Both allow me to be creative, to learn and grow, to make mistakes, and to rarely sleep. I love the beach and gardening, reading if I can stay awake, running (which these days is after my kids and not much else), and using humor through it all!
DISCLAIMER: This site is designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice, legal advice, or professional services. If you feel that you have a medical problem, you should seek the advice of your physician or health care practitioner.