10 Things I Wish I Had Known Before Becoming A Parent
Being a parent is one of the most amazing and rewarding jobs you will ever experience.
While the reward of watching your children grow is worth all of the effort you will have to put in, there will be times that you wish you had some insider knowledge before your little one enters the world.
After I had my first two children, I came to realizations that have helped me make this time around seem to go a lot more smoothly and with a significant drop in stress.
Here are 10 things that I know now that I wished I’d known before I became a parent:
1. There is No Such Thing as A Perfect Parent.
This is the honest truth and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. With so many types of parenting options and research showing none as superior, there is no magic formula to becoming the quintessential parent.
Find what works best for you, your children, and your lifestyle.
2. That No Two Children Are Alike.
Each of your kids is special and unique in their way. This can range from personality, to milestone development, to sleeping habits. No matter how consistent your parenting is, your children are individuals and will have different needs throughout their life.
On my second one, I found myself panicking when the milestones were hit later. After an initial panic over the delayed milestones, my pediatrician assured me that even the all-knowing developmental chart can be wrong and they simply use it as a monitoring tool. All three of my children hit their developmental milestones at different times.
3. That Movies Are an Exaggeration of Typical Families.
When I was first a parent, I would watch the engaging family shows and movies and try to emulate the perfect household and parenting techniques I often observed. It wasn’t long before I realized that these ideas are impossible and require so much effort that they take the joy right out of parenting.
4. That I Would Truly Come to Miss a Good Night’s Rest.
I was a young mom with my first one, and before her, I had no problem having a late night on the town before catching a few winks and going to work the next day. So when everyone told me to get ready for little sleep, I thought “no problem.” What I failed to realize was that the sleep deprivation would be an ongoing occurrence, without weekends to rest and recoup my lost hours of sleep.
So no matter how much you think you can get done when your child naps, I strongly advise taking the age-old advice of resting when your baby rests for that first year as I guarantee you, in the end, you’re going to need it.
5. That Most of the Must-Have Babies Items Are Rarely Used.
It seems when you are pregnant, you are inundated with all these amazing products that will help make caring for your child easier and make your life that much simpler. The problem is most of these items have a larger price tag and in reality don’t get the amount of use you think they will. Many of the products I bought that were supposed to make my baby chores easier often required more setup and maintenance, so I eventually stopped using them.
6. Children Can Incur Unplanned for Expenses.
No matter how well you budget or how much you plan, kids can create some of the most random expenses that you most likely didn’t account for. It could be oddly specific gym shoes that can only be found at a specialty store, unexpected and expensive school supply requirements, and even medical costs for random accidents. I strongly advise adding regular amounts to a child emergency fund so these expenses don’t ruin your budget.
7. Something So Small Can Take Up a Surprisingly Lot of Space.
Having a small apartment when my first child was born, I figured she’d be so small we should be fine on space. Well, it wasn’t long before this little bundle of joy had taken over most of the apartment leaving me the kitchen for refuge. Whether it is toys, large baby items, or just space to run around and play, children require a significant amount of space in comparison to their body size.
8. You Can Never Record Enough of Those Precious Moments.
When my first daughter was born, we were unfortunately still in the age of film processing, and while I found it worth the cost to capture the moments, I often missed a lot as I had no idea how the photo came out until it had been processed. Now that digital cameras and video are here don’t skimp on recording every moment. It is amazing how quickly your children will grow and how this record of their life can be around forever.
9. That Your Life Will Change Completely.
I was the mom that said I would be the same even after I have my kids. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Children change your life completely. Don’t be misled to think that they ruin it, they reshape it and make you a stronger individual. The things you cared about before may seem small in comparison to the magnitude of the job that you are performing when raising a child.
10. That a Job Could be So Demanding, Exhausting, and Amazing All at the Same Time.
Being a parent is hard work.
I’m not going to lie; it can be exhausting, demanding, and stressful at times.
Yet, you will never find a job more rewarding and more fulfilling than raising a child to become a part of this world. You are creating a whole other life that can become better than you were by combining your knowledge with the new things they will learn. Most parents will tell you there is no love like there is for a child, but until you experience it, there is no way even to describe it.
While becoming a new parent can cause a little bit of anxiety, knowing what to expect will help calm your nerves and let you focus on the excitement of your new bundle of joy.