Despite grandma, mom, best friends, stacks of baby books and endless parenting blogs to help you prepare for parenthood, there will still be infinite surprises when you become a parent. There were a lot of emotions and challenges that caught me off guard. It is still shocking to me that nobody warned me about how hard and painful breastfeeding can be, or that the feeling around my c-section scar would never return. Consider this your warning on a few of the issues parenting books are sure to leave out.
1. The Plush Animals Epidemic
Soon after becoming a parent, you will realize that you are the reluctant owner of 50+ plush animals, none of which you purchased. Our collection began when the grandparents unknowingly started a battle of who could buy the biggest, fluffiest, and cutest stuffed friend. The rest of the animals just showed up one day because word traveled that I was having the plush party of the year at my house. Every time I try to sneak an arm full of them off to Goodwill, my daughter comes rushing over to tell me their names, their family’s names, and their entire medical history. Back they go stuffed into drawers, cabinets, baskets, and under the bed with all the others!
2. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
Whether out of necessity or due to forgetfulness, you will find yourself repeating everything you say so many times that the words begin to lose their meaning, and their urgency. I mean, is it really necessary to put clothes on before we leave the house today? Can we get away with not leaving the house at all today?
3. Parenting Comes With A Soundtrack
It is the non-stop sounds of babies crying, toddlers asking to be picked up, toys dumping out of baskets, heads thunking against a wall, toys singing the alphabet on a loop, or even your spouse singing Barney in the shower. The only sound that is surprising to a parent, is the sound of silence.
4. Daydreaming Is Crucial To Your Sanity
I’ve had to ask myself recently, is it crazier to go a full day without a single coherent conversation, or to carry out said conversation in my head? For the sake of my sanity, I’ve decided on the latter. I’ve also spent copious amounts of time daydreaming of grabbing my best girlfriends( if they’re still my friends even though I haven't texted them back in months.), hop on a plane (one with alcohol of course), and jet off to Hawaii for a long weekend. I am a firm believer that finding a way to work in some vacation leads to being a better mommy. Let go of the guilt! It is possible (and quite common) to be madly and unconditionally in love with your child, but frequently daydream of being in a less noisy place, with at least one other somewhat rational, over 18, human being.
5. You’re Going to Need a Lot of Bras
By the time you have at least one toddler running around your house, you will have a drawer stuffed with bras ranging from sizes A-F; a different cup size for every phase of motherhood. I was a little excited about moving up a cup size when my boobs swelled up during pregnancy. After they almost exploded with milk, they were chewed on, dried out and shriveled up from breastfeeding. Then they turned into miniature trampolines for my toddler. Now I am just excited about any bra that can pull my boobs up from my belly button to their rightful place, which is, ideally, above the rib cage (in case you, too, forgot where pre-pregnancy boobs belong).
6. Online Shopping Is Your New Best Friend
The days of casually perusing the sale racks while sipping on a hot latte are behind you. If you’re lucky enough to get everyone buckled up and driven to the store, you will be in a race against time to check the necessary items off your list before the snack cups run dry and the post nap-time happiness expires. Spending money while on the couch, after the kids have gone to bed, has never looked better.
7. Lose Friends, Gain Acquaintances
You may hear crickets on the other end of the line if you call up your single friends to tell them about what a triumphant day in potty training you had. Luckily for us socially deprived, and half- crazed mothers, just about any parent at the grocery store, or on the swing next to you at the park, would love to cheer you on and exchange potty training tips. It is not uncommon for moms to bond with a complete stranger over the simple fact that you are standing next to each other, and both have children.
8. Get Comfortable With Room Temperature Coffee
Coffee is practically sponsored by parenthood. Even if you weren’t a fan of the bitter liquid before, soon after your rambunctious children come into the world, you will start to constantly crave the bittersweet, laced with caffeine, liquid life. Except yours won’t be warm, because if you can get around to brewing it in the first place, by the time you get around to drinking it, there will be tiny icebergs forming.
9. Karma Has Never Worked Faster
I quickly learned to repress the judgmental thoughts that might arise when witnessing a child having a full-blown meltdown in the store. I can promise you, no sooner than you think the words “my child will never do that,” your child will exhibit that exact behavior on an even more extreme level. Yes, all children will slap their siblings at least once. It won’t be long before you observe a meltdown at the store and find yourself thinking, “I’ve been there,” and wishing you could go over and give that mom a big hug to let her know she’s going to be just fine.
10. Nothing Is As Black And White As I Once Thought It To Be
I once had my mind made up that any time a child hits (not in self defense), they should be scolded and/or disciplined... But nothing is that simple in parenthood. What if your child slaps you on the back, then immediately their eyes light up and they run off to fetch their “Dr. Kit” while yelling, “I am sorry mommy, so sorry! My Dr. Kit make you all better!”. Situations like this, and many other parenting conundrums, are sure to leave you questioning everything you have ever read in the parenting books.