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10 Things You Wish You Knew Before Becoming A Parent
When you are pregnant with your first child everyone tells you how wonderful things will be once the baby is here. They are right. Life is absolutely amazing, wonderful, filled with happy moments of joy and tears, and…… exhaustion! You will hear all about the good moments the baby will bring, but not many people will tell you the cold hard truth about just what to expect. Here is a list of 10 things you wish you knew before becoming a parent!
1. You will not get another 8 full hours of sleep for a long time!
This is the one warning that all parents actually do hear about but they can’t really grasp the idea yet. When I was pregnant, I remember everyone kept telling me to sleep now because I won’t be able to once the baby arrives. I really thought that they meant the first two or three days of birth, not weeks or years for that matter!!!! Not to mention if you are breastfeeding, you wake up more frequently to nurse your baby and are just physically and mentally exhausted days after giving birth. So, combined with being tired in general from giving birth to feeding a newborn every two hours, you can feel like a walking zombie the first few weeks. Some parents are blessed with a great sleeper after only a few weeks of birth. My first baby didn’t sleep through the night until she was about 14 months old! My second slept through the night at 3 months. Every baby is different, just be prepared to deal with either situation!
2. Parenthood can really test a marriage/relationship
This is a given with any relationship raising a child and going through all of the emotional stresses. You may not realize just how important it is to pick the right partner to have a child with until you actually have that child. You might disagree over ways of disciplining your child, parenting styles, religious beliefs, work schedules, financial issues, and just the overall love each of you show your child. It is very important to have the same values and goals for your children because otherwise, your differences in child raising could tear a couple apart. So be prepared to discuss the important parenting style you want to give your children with your spouse/significant other and make sure they are on the same page. Parenthood only gets harder as your children age, and you need to make sure they are in it with you for the long haul.
3. Your social life will end (at least for a short while with friends who don’t have children)
This is especially true once you have more than one child! No more nights out until 4 AM with your friends for a long time. Even when you do finally have that long night out that you couldn’t wait to have, you will want to KILL yourself the next morning when you feel like death and your baby is wide awake at 6 AM. Trust me….not a good idea at all! But you live and you learn and you will save those special moments for big events when you can have a sitter for the night of the event (and even the following morning so you can recover!). You will also begin to notice that most of your social life involves other friends who have kids. It becomes hard to hang out with your single friends unless they just come over your house to visit, otherwise, they won’t see you stopping by the local bar for a drink with them after work like you use to. Once you have more than one child, they tend to outnumber you, and you realize having a good schedule for your children works best and makes your life easier. Therefore, you basically live by their schedule. Life is definitely different, but honestly….so much better! You will be so content just being at home admiring your children more than anything else in this world.
4.Your bedtime will change drastically
I remember the days of getting out of the shower at 8:30 PM and going out at 10 PM! Well….that changes after you have kids. You will soon find yourself in bed on a Saturday night at 8:30 PM and couldn’t be more happy anywhere else! Yes, you will text your friends and laugh at yourself for being in bed so damn early and feeling old, but it doesn’t mean you are old, it just means you are a parent…and those kids of yours can really wear you out!
5. There is no alone time and any form of privacy is pretty much out the window
This one is especially true for mothers more than fathers. I have watched my husband use the bathroom alone, have a cigarette alone, and shower alone without anyone walking in the bathroom or knocking on the bathroom door waiting for his return. I, on the other hand, seem to have a very different situation. Don’t get me wrong, it is a wonderful feeling to be loved so much that your children miss you the second you leave the room, however, some privacy on occasion would be grateful! (As I am typing this, my one daughter is sitting on my shoulders…I’m not even kidding!) I figure, when they are older and are teenagers, I am sure they will give me plenty of privacy then. So, for now, I will soak up all the love I can get, even though at times, 5 minutes of privacy would be a blessing!
6. Your sex/intimacy life will change
Be prepared for this one, in fact, prepare your husband even more so! I always heard children changed your sex life but we didn’t want to be one of those couples that it happens to. It changes a little bit with one child, but with two, everything seems more exhausting and at the end of your day sometimes as parents you will choose sleep over sex! Yes, this is so sad but true! So try and make time for each other as often as you can. It is even harder if you do not have close family around to babysit and give you some alone time. Even so, make sure you put your marriage first and have some time for each other, even if it’s when the kids are asleep and you are exhausted. It’s still so important to give your marriage that time because if the parents aren’t happy, most likely it will affect the children and then they won’t be happy either.
7. You will be amazed at how often you will touch and talk about body fluids
So this one might sound strange, especially if you aren’t a parent yet. Those of you that read this that are parents are most likely nodding their heads and agreeing with laughter right now! Yes, you will touch snot, pee, poop, puke, and plenty of drool on more than one occasion. You will also discuss these body fluids with your spouse and friends that are also parents. It sounds crazy but you literally become a human tissue! You will be amazed at how much you will touch this stuff and it won’t even phase you like it may have years ago before you had kids.
8. You will no longer be selfish
Before we have children we purchase gifts for ourselves and take time out to do things that we love and enjoy. After children, you tend to do everything for your children and put your needs and wants last. You will spend your last dollar on your child instead of yourself, you will work long hours, give up sleep and food and make huge sacrifices to make sure your child is happy and has all of their needs met. You will forget to take time out for yourself sometimes but in the end it’s all worth it. When I was single, I could never even imagine going to bed with make up still on or not having my nails painted every couple of days. Now, well….let’s just say that I’m not as well-groomed as I use to be! 😜
9. Parenthood is hard
Maybe some people don’t agree but I feel that parenthood is hard. Especially when you want to do the very best job you possibly can and raise good, decent human beings. You are their role models so you have to be the best model you can be. They learn everything from you and are shaped by your values and beliefs. They will watch you intensely and mimic everything you say and do so you will want to be careful at all times of your own actions in front of your children. Our children learn everything from marriage, relationships, finances, work ethics, politics, education, love, religion, self-confidence, and so many more things. It is a hard job and no parent is perfect but it is such an honor to be a mother or father so cherish every second of it and try and do the best you can.
10. You will never be loved more by anyone else and you will never love anyone as much as you love your own child
There are days that I look at my children and just can’t get over how amazing they are and how much I love them. I remember my own parents trying to explain to me how much I will love my children once I have one but I didn’t understand at the time. It’s something that you can’t describe to anyone until you have your own. Your love is so strong for them, it’s unlike any relationship you’ve ever experienced before. Most importantly, the love that they have for you is incredible. They depend on you 100% of the time and never want to be without you in their sight. It’s a beautiful and indescribable feeling and a feeling that is well worth all of the lost hours of sleep over the years!
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