1. First of all, parenthood is HARD. Like crazy, exhausting, unbelievably hard. Just because everyone (or mostly everyone it seems) does it doesn't mean that it is easy. I really thought that because I did well in school and at work that I could be a parent and have it be easy peasy. Ha! It's 24/7, 365 days a week, no sick days, and no vacation time (unless you have grandparents nearby which, sadly, we don't). I used to watch A Baby Story on TLC before and when I was pregnant and every story made it look like parenthood was this super natural, easy thing. Parenthood is wonderful but those first few weeks are especially trying and they never really showed that. I have to remind myself during difficult times that everything is a phase and we will get through it. I have dedicated my life to raising these children and raising them right. As my hubby would say, "Everyone can do it but not everyone can do it well." Smart man he is. :)
2. Pregnancy is the easy part. I remember complaining and complaining during the first and third trimesters of my first pregnancy with Mr. B. I just remember thinking that once I had him everything would be so much easier. Ha! Although pregnancy is no cake walk, at that time the baby is contained, quiet, and well taken care of all snuggled in your uterus. You will miss that 2 hours into walking your baby up and down the hall to get them to sleep. :)
3. Speaking of sleep, it is a precious, precious thing. Before babies I would sleep 10 hours a night. The thought of that just blows my mind now. And that whole "babies just sleep all of the time" is a crock of you know what. They eat a whole lot and some babies cry a whole lot too (read Mr. B) and some babies never want to sleep anywhere but in your arms, on your breast, etc. If I could tell 5 years ago me a good piece advice it would be this. Just sleep now cuz who knows when you'll sleep well ever again! Some nights my kids will just turn over and it wakes me up. And your hubby somehow has the capacity to sleep a whole lot harder than you do so get used to getting up several times a night!
4. You will never love anything like you love your children. Holding your babies the moment after they're born is just mind blowing. Watching them grow, learn new things, and say I love you are just about the best things in the whole wide world. And it's a good thing they're cute because they can make you more mad then you've ever been in your whole life. :)
5. You can never "leave" your kids. Even when my kids are with a sitter or with their grandparents I am constantly thinking of them. Their schedules run constantly through my head and I am always wondering about what they're doing, if they're behaving, etc. Even on date nights hubby and I talk all about them! Maybe that'll change when they get older, but I kinda doubt it.
6. Tantrums, bad behavior, or the "terrible two's" are not the result of bad parenting. I would see kids misbehaving out in public and would always scoff, "Ha! My kids will never be that bad. And if they are I'll never take them out in public!" Just as a warning if you say/have said that karma is headed your way. Some kids are born naturally more difficult. It's called temperament and just because you or your spouse were "easy" children that does not mean you will be blessed with one. My first child is spirited (I will blog more on this later) and his first three years have not been super easy. Almost all children go through difficult phases and tantrums are a normal part of childhood development. I have learned not to judge parents because they may be trying and you have no idea what went on before you ran into them. So now when I see children having a tantrum out in public I just smile at the parents with a knowing look that says "Hey, I understand. It's hard and I'm right there with you."
7. Enjoy "you" time. Now that we have 2 kids I rarely get any time just for me. My kid free time usually consists of running errands (usually grocery shopping because who likes to take two kids to do that?!), paying bills, cleaning the house, and sleeping. It's even worse when Brian is deployed but luckily he's been home for a glorious 7 months! I've been trying to make it a priority lately because I find the more time I spend with friends or exercising, the happier mommy I am. I miss those days occasionally where I could just lay on the couch the whole day, watch movies, and have no schedule whatsoever.
So to those out there just awaiting your first bundle of joy be prepared to ride that crazy rollercoaster called parenthood. It's a crazy but super rewarding ride that you'll never want to get off! :)
The day I became a mommy (April 24, 2010)
And the day I became a mommy of two (May 15, 2012)