When you’re expecting, you plan for your baby’s arrival and you dream about the day you’ll finally be able to hold her in your arms. Being a parent will change your life, and you’ll barely be able to remember what your life was like before your baby arrived.
But you’ll have some eye-opening moments as well. Here are a few things you’ll learn as a new parent.
How Important Sleep Is
Remember your carefree, pre-child days? You didn’t mind putting in an all-nighter to binge watch Netflix shows, stay out all night at a club or hang out with friends. You could simply catch up on sleep the next day.
That’s not possible anymore. It’s hard to catch up on sleep while your baby is wide awake. And it’s almost impossible to stay up as late as you used to – especially since you know your baby will wake up once or twice in the night and you’ll need to tend to her.
Your Appearance Will Suffer
You’ll have bags under your eyes from lack of sleep. You won’t have as much time to do your hair or make-up. Your clothes will likely have stains from all the spit up that will be unloaded on you on a daily basis. But it’ll be a small price to pay for the joys of parenthood.
Looks are fleeting anyway. Parenthood is forever.
You Become Obsessed with Safety
You’ll perceive everything around your baby as some sort of threat – whether it’s outsiders carrying germs into your house or the electric outlets that your baby sees at eye level.
You find you are constantly on the lookout for new threats and you want to eliminate them all. The problem is you can’t get rid of every danger your baby faces. You just have to do the best you can and trust that it will be enough.
You Regret All the Unkind Thoughts You Ever Had About Other Parents
You’ll remember a time where you thought people were unfit parents. Perhaps you judged them because you witnessed their child crying constantly on an airplane you were on or you saw their kid had an epic meltdown in a grocery store.
Once you become a parent, you’ll have a lot more patience and sympathy for other parents. You’ll understand their struggles.
Everyone’s a Critic
Your relatives and your partner’s relatives will probably think you are doing things wrong when it comes to being a parent. And some of them will even go so far as to offer you unsolicited advice about how you can improve your parenting skills.
It’s up to you if you want to take their advice or not. But before you beat yourself up by thinking you’re a terrible parent, remember that much of parenting is opinion based. Just because you aren’t doing something the way they would, it doesn’t mean you’re wrong.
Shannon Serpette is a mother of two and an award-winning journalist and freelancer who lives in Illinois. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.