When you find out you’re going to be a parent you start to visualize what this new life will be like: a happy baby in your stroller as you go to the park on a sunny day, snuggling with your child on a lazy Sunday afternoon watching football, enjoying shared snacks because your child is not a fussy eater, never dealing with a temper tantrum, a sweet blissful-unicorn-and-rainbows-snoopy-dance child who slept through the night from day one, date night with your spouse and still having lots of romance time…
Then you become a parent.
I knew our life would change, but I had NO idea just how much. I naively thought that because I had so much Babysitting/Nannying/Child Development experience that I knew exactly what we were getting into.
I was a damn idiot.
Below is a list of things parenting books don’t tell you about because they were written by people who don’t have kids. Or people who don’t parent. Or aliens. Or they know that if you knew the truth, you’d think twice about having/adopting those kids.
Things the Parenting Books Don’t Tell You (the first year edition):
– When your blissful bundle comes home for the first time they will probably cry for 4 hours straight the first night. Just because they can. Honest-to-bob there’s nothing wrong with the kid, they will just CRY AND CRY AND OMG IM A HORRIBLE PARENT BECAUSE I CANT GET IT TO STOP! WHAT AM I DOING?
– Whenever your child does actually sleep, you will obsessively check their breathing, meaning you won’t be getting much sleep AT ALL. Taking shifts? LOL. Even if you pump and decide that your spouse will bottle feed once a night you’ll still be wide awake whenever baby is, so it’s probably faster for everyone involved that you flop that tit out instead of waiting for a bottle to be made by your zombie spouse. Trust me. Experience.
– Nursing is not as easy as you think it’s going to be, so FOR THE LOVE OF GOD read the book BEFORE the kid is born. Take a class. Find out your local La Leche League info and GO TO A MEETING. Get phone numbers. Trying to read a book when your kid is hungry is not possible. The more prep work and support you set up for yourself, the better. It took us almost a month to really get nursing down. It wasn’t easy at all. We struggled. The only reason I suceeded was because I was determined to make it work and I had a great support system.
– You will wish your husband had boobs. Especially when you’re in the car and a song on the radio causes you to let down and he starts laughing at you. (Pro tip: spike his coffee with breast-milk & tell him after he drinks it. That’ll learn him! And it’s healthy…)
– Due to lack of sleep, you may find yourself sitting down to pee WITH YOUR SWEATPANTS STILL ON. Don’t worry, you’re not alone in this.
– Invest in comfy, yet cute, sweatpants. Until your belly dies down, it’ll basically be all you can wear. You also won’t feel like anything else for a while.
– This may not be as applicable the first few months, but once your kid starts crawling especially you will find that you rarely get alone time to go potty again.
– Road trip? You’re likely the one taking kiddo to to restroom with you. You will become an expert at holding a baby while you do your business. (I have no idea why so many of these issues are tied to the bathroom…but it just is…)
– A daily shower? BWAHAHAHAHA. (Note: Invest in dry shampoo)
– If you are breast-feeding, you will find your shopping trips riddled with “but I can’t nurse in that…” thoughts. It’s ok, there are cool blogs to help you dress fashionably while lactating! (Milkfriendly is my favorite)
– You will realize how truly fucked up every lullaby is.
– Some days you will lock your mobile child in their room for 5 minutes and shove your face full of oreos because you just.cannot.read.that.book.AGAIN. and need the breather. This is normal.
After all of this, you’re probably wondering “why not just hire a team of nannies?””. Well…that moment when your kid is sick and only wants you to make it better, or when they discover a new “trick” they can do & only want to share this with you? Totally worth it.
So carry on, soldier. We all get tired. We all look forward to bedtime a little more often than we’d like to admit. But sharing love with your kids? Greatest experience ever.