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Having my son is by far one of the hardest and best things I have ever done in my life. But no matter how much i prepared for my son’s arrival, how many books I read, how many videos I watched, how many classes I took, or the amount of conversations I had with veteran mamas, nothing completely prepared me for this motherhood journey. Here are eight things I didn’t know about having kids.
1. Sleep will never be the same
You always hear people tell you when you’re pregnant to “get your sleep now” as if you can somehow roll over those extra hours into some magical bank and just pull from it when you need it. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.
The newborn stage is ROUGH. There is a legitimate brand spanking new human in your care now and you have sole responsibility for keeping him/her alive. That’s a little stressful! And exhausting. This new baby doesn’t know a thing about routines or the difference between day time and night time so until that’s established, sleep is all over the place.
Or you could have a child like mine who isn’t consistently sleeping through the night at nine months old (no matter what sleep training techniques you’ve tried). So each night is a gamble on how much sleep you’ll get.
Even on those nights when my son sleeps through the night, I’m still up half a dozen times making bathroom trips because you know, after giving birth, all the lady parts have gone through a trauma and some parts don’t function as well as they used to (i.e. a weaker bladder).
2. You will constantly worry about them
It never fails, I’m always on edge when it comes to my little one venturing out trying new things. I know he needs to explore and it’s all part of the growing up experience. But I don’t want to see him get hurt or fail. I don’t intervene when he’s exploring although I’m cautiously nearby. I try to implement that it’s okay to fall or if things don’t go as planned. Still… it’s hard not to worry.
The worry that takes over during the night also attributes to the lack of sleep. All these questions run through my mind the moment I start to drift off: Is he breathing? Is he cold? Too hot? Is the crib sheet tight enough? Is the white noise machine too loud? Did he eat enough before bed? Endless, endless questioning.
3. Holidays are now all about them
Christmas has always been my favorite time of the year! Everything just seems so joyous and magical. For me, it really is the most wonderful time of the year. Now with the holidays right around the corner, I can’t help but fantasize about my son’s first experience with Christmas and the traditions we will start with him. Last Christmas, he was only six weeks old so Christmas really was just another day we were trying to survive back then. This year, I can’t wait to start watching the magic through his eyes!
4. Moms, your body is no longer just yours
In my case, as a breastfeeding mom, I’m a 24/7 diner who also specializes in room service, rush delivery, and takeout (aka pumping). My body provides for my little guy so his nutritional needs are my body’s number one priority for at least his whole first year of life.
Even if you’re not breastfeeding, your child still uses your body as a jungle gym. They try new things and gain new skills and you’re usually the first one they practice their new skills on. I have lost count of the number of bruises I’ve had since my son became mobile and used me to pull himself up on, fell over onto various parts of my body, or just straight head butted me in his attempt to look in a different direction.
5. Somedays, you’ll be running on just adrenaline
In association with lack of sleep, adrenaline kicks in to get you through. During the times where we had great sleep, I still just felt so exhausted some days. Your days are filled with constant go, go, go with diapering, feedings, wardrobe changes, nap schedules, play times, etc. Adrenaline (and coffee!) save the day!
6. Smelling your child’s butt will become the norm
There are so many cute clothing options out there and you just want to put your child into everything and anything you can get them into. Sometimes the outfits aren’t made with convenience in mind. So in the event that your spidey senses start tingling and you think there is a dirty surprise brewing in your child’s diaper, sometimes you just don’t want to have to go through the deal of unwrapping them to look so you do the good ol’ butt sniff test! Trust me, if there’s a dirty secret in that diaper, your nose won’t be able to miss it!
7. Once they become mobile, your life is really over
So you thought life as you knew it was over when you became pregnant? Or when you brought that fragile little bundle home? HA! Think again. The real fun begins when they figure out that their little body can get them from one point to another. And then they get faster in the blink of an eye and you’re wondering why you’re sweating so much before 9AM.
I’m saying all this from the point of view of a mom who has a nine month old and I’m sure I’ll have waayyyy more to say on this topic once my son starts walking.
8. You will never be able to explain the amount of love you have for your child
All the chaos, sleepless nights, and stress of having children all wash away when you look into your little one’s eyes and they give you the biggest smile they can muster. It’s all worth it! Every. Single. Thing. My heart just beats out of my chest for my baby like in those cartoons where the wolf sees his girl and his heart visibly begins beating outside of his body. There is no explanation as to what lengths I will go to for my son’s happiness. His smile is all I need to keep me going each day!
I am so thankful to be able to share my experiences with others! I wish you the best in whatever stage of parenthood you are in.????