Before I had kids, I naively thought that it would be all sunshine and rainbows, but boy was I wrong. First and foremost, sleep deprivation is a real struggle that no amount of coffee can fix. Secondly, the constant mess and clutter can make even the most organized person feel overwhelmed. And let’s not forget the never-ending cycle of laundry and dishes that seems to grow with every passing day.
When it comes to having kids and parenting, we all know we wouldn’t change our life for quids.
..but isn’t there a few things you wished you had known before having them.
Of course there is nothing more precious in the world than holding your newborn baby for the first time and realising there is nothing better, the beautiful and amazing wonder of what you have just done (pushed out, rather).
That wonderful smell of your newborn bub is like a spell cast over you, which in the first few minutes, thinks you could have another go at this, four times over.
Whoa, hold up, no, no, no.
Having a baby is hard work, no that is an understatement, there are no words to describe how flipping hard it is. Yes, loving and beautiful, but also scary, exhausting, literally exhausting and really, really hard.
I wish I had known a few things, I wished my friends had been brutal with me and really told me some home truths.
Maybe they did, and I wasn’t listening because I was all in that pregnancy glow of joy and hope in the world. For whatever reason, not telling me or me not listening, there were some things I found really hard to get my head around when I had my first baby.
Here are 10 things I wish I had known before I had kids.
1. You have to tell people where you are going, at all times, even to the toilet.
That is what I struggled with the most. Letting my partner know that I need the call of nature, every time (annoyed the crap out of me, literally).
2. Lack of sleep.
No brainer this one, but some mums really don’t get that the moment that baby is born, you get no sleep. If you’re not awake feeding, you’re awake checking on him, checking the temperature in the room, checking that he’s breathing, that he’s warm, he’s cold, cool, he’s still there, the cat is not on the bed, he’s still thereyou never stop checking, which keeps you awake for the next 25 years.
3. Mummy brain.
You will not retain anything anyone will say to you or remember where anything is kept. You’re going to have to write lots of lists, in fact, you’re going to have to write a list for all your lists.
4. If you’re breastfeeding, your nipples are going to get so sore…
…you are going to contemplate ripping your child off you and placing him by the cat bowl, ‘drink child’. Red raw, swollen, scabs, you name it, but rest assured it does pass. So be brave, ask for help if you need it and try to stick to it.
5. The washing never ends.
All day, every day. Much like the mail, it never stops coming, and then you will get to a point when baby does a massive poo up the back, on clothes, you don’t bother washing it, you chuck it instead.
6. Babies develop at all different times.
Don’t not compare your baby to your friends, unless yours is smarter (just kidding). No, never do that. Resist the urge to compare and try to be relaxed; babies do everything in their own time. There is no such thing as a text book baby, they don’t exist.
7. No sex!
But who cares about that. You don’t want it anyway. You’re too busy, washing, being tired, looking after your bub and holding down your very new life. And besides, at this time, your boobs are made for milking, not playing with anymore.
8. You judge other parents.
I kid you not. You think you’re the only parent who is capable of looking after children, and every other parent is doing a sh*t job. You start to judge other parents on their child’s behaviour too. This judging thing does not last very long, and soon, you’ll come together in mummy-hood to fight the evils of parenting.
9. You don’t need a lot of clothes, toys, hammocks, rockers, bibs, teething toys and general sh*t.
Let me save you a lot of money. You don’t need half the stuff. If your friends give, then accept with open arms, but seriously, all your baby needs is you, love, milk and some clothes.
Babies/infants pretty much just sleep, wake up and cry to be fed, and then fall asleep after being fed again. You don’t need endless ways to occupy them even when they’ve started toddling, because everything is entertaining to a young child. Anyone for a game of peek-a-boo? And besides, it’s just more crap to clean up.
10. You will lose time.
What used to take you 5 minutes to pop into a shop, will now take you 45 minutes. In and out of car, bundling, dawdling, arguing, this way, no this way, and other extra steps it will take to do a simple task.
The first few months are pure torture, they really are. I call it baby boot camp. If you like sleeping, showering, having lots of me time, then welcome to hell (and heaven at the same time).