Regardless of how many books you read or mommy message boards you stalk or questions you inevitably ask, there are still going to be things no one tells you about becoming a parent. It's actually rather odd that we live in a world run by technology (where we are all in a constant state of communication) and there's still some very important parenting information that somehow slips between the cracks, huh?
Although a good portion of our planet is arguably fueled by the flutter of likes and shares, there are plenty of aspects associated with parenting that people would prefer not to share. Honestly, sometimes we just need the validation that a filter or a perfectly timed moment of peace amid a day of chaos can bring. It's safe to say that no one is thrilled with the idea of their lives seeming like they're any less wonderful than they're portrayed on social media, but the truth of the matter is: no one's life is perfect (really, no one) and, sometimes, no matter how many parenting hacks you know, life gets a little messy as a parent.
So, whether you're only considering having a baby or you're pregnant and just starting your parental adventure or you're elbow deep in a room full of baby toys and dirty diapers, there's some information about this sticky journey that people aren't all that forthcoming about. Sure, the marvelous parts of parenthood are definitely worth sharing, but so are the not-so-great parts, too. Like anything else in life, the good and the bad are a package deal that, in the end, create something pretty amazing (and, you know, sometimes not so amazing).
You May Develop A Caffeine Dependency
There's a reason why mothers end up with an undeniable reputation as caffeine addicts; raising humans is exhausting, especially while they're still trying to figure out the difference between night and day. Studies have shown that some parents are so sleep deprived that they function at the level of someone that's had a few too many drinks. Sounds like fun, right? Well, it's not. You see, sleep deprived parents aren't drunk(ish) or delirious because they've participated in happy hour, they're that way because they're attempting to function on little to no sleep at all, for months at a time. For this reason, many moms depend on the boost and superhuman abilities that caffeine provides.
I never liked coffee until I became a mom. Now, well, I'm just still trying to figure out how it's legal because, yes, it makes me feel that damn good.
You're Going To Become Really Comfortable Talking About Poop
Poop consistency and color is a big deal when it comes to a baby's health. Sometimes it's yellow and seedy, sometimes it's mushy and green, and sometimes it's even sort of purple. Regardless of the consistency or color, you're probably going to have questions about what your baby's poop says about his or her health, and you'll get to the point where you're comfortable staring at poop and studying poop and talking to literally anyone, about poop.
You Might Have To Stick Your Finger Up Your Kid's Back Side
Constipated babies are kind of awful. Seeing them uncomfortable is heartbreaking, especially because the only way babies know how to express their discomfort is by crying, sometimes relentlessly. There's several ways to treat a baby's constipation, one of which is by sticking your finger and/or small suppository into their little bottoms. It's weird, yes, but effective.
You're Going To Overreact The First Time Your Child Gets Sick
Kids get sick. This is a normal part of growing up, especially while their immune systems are getting stronger. Usually, a sick child is no big deal and can be easily treated (often without medication), but that doesn't mean that you aren't going to flip the f*ck out the first time they ever get even a hint of a fever. This is just par for your parental course, so try not to freak too much and definitely don't turn to Google in your time of panic. Even the most innocent of Google searches can start with you thinking your kid has an ear infection, and end with you completely convinced your kid has an extremely rare and probably unheard of condition. Just call your doctor and leave the medical diagnosis to the people that went to school for a decade to learn how to properly treat your baby's cold.
You Might Get Invested In The Lives Of The Cartoons Your Kids Watch
You will also know every single jingle and intro to their favorite shows. You may not know who Fifth Harmony is, but you know the introduction song to Sofia the First and The Mickey Mouse Club House by heart. You'll probably become emotionally invested in the plot lines and stories, rooting for Abby when Elmo hurts her feelings on the latest episode of Sesame Street. It's riveting television, you guys. So, even though you're friends might not think you're quite as cool as you once were when you could rap any Snoop Dog song like a champ, your kids are going to think you're a total bad ass.
You're Going To Have "That Kid" That Once Annoyed You In Public Settings Before You Were A Mom
This phenomenon is what I like to call smug pie. Remember when you were younger and there was some kid kicking the back of your seat in an airplane, or screaming in your favorite restaurant while their mother calmly tried to tame them and dodge the judgmental stares of strangers all at the same time? Yeah, that's going to be you at some point. There's really no getting around it because if you've ever rolled your eyes at someone else'e kid while they were having a tantrum in public, the universe took note of it and is going to serve you up a heaping plate of karma.
You Won't Think Twice About Catching Vomit In Your Hands
Sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. Catching vomit in your hands sounds disgusting before you have kids, but after you've successfully procreated, it probably won't even phase you. It's easier to wash your hands than it is to get grape juice vomit stains out of your carpet.
Going Out Sans Kids Might Make You Feel Really Awkward
There might have been a point in your life when you were the life of the party; you were the go-to girl for a good time and you've got Facebook albums full of embarrassing pictures proving that you could hang with the best of them. Once you have a kid and your entire life revolves around them eating, sleeping, pooping, and growing, your conversational skills may suffer a bit. You might feel a little awkward, like a fish out of water in a pond that you once pretty much owned. This is totally normal, and nothing to feel self-conscious about, so whip out those pictures of your baby rolling over for the first time and show off your awesome creation to your bartender, and any other complete stranger for that matter. Have no shame in your parenting game!
You're Going To Fight An Epic Battle Against Vegetables
One day, your kid is going to love carrots. Like, request them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; they're going to eat them so much that their poop is consistently orange, but at some point they're going to have a sudden and inexplicable aversion to carrots, and any other food parcel that doesn't look like a chicken nugget or a blueberry muffin. You might think that you're a strong-willed and patient individual, but the moment your child decides to go on a food strike and becomes a picky eater, you're going to question every fiber of your sanity and it's going to be a legitimate source of stress that keeps you up at night.
Sometimes, You'll Wish You Weren't A Parent
You are going to love your kids so much that it hurts; most of the time. There will definitely come a time when you feel like you've reached the end of your rope and you just want to quit. This is a normal feeling. No one likes to admit that they sometimes feel like they're failing, but we all get overwhelmed at some point. Just because you're tired and exhausted and feel like you've got nothing more to possibly give to another person, doesn't mean you're a bad mom. It actually makes you're a good mom because you've given so much of yourself to your child, that you've denied yourself the care and love that you deserve. (But, like, don't do that. You need to take care of yourself too, so give yourself some self-love and do stuff for yourself, mom). Don't feel bad about feeling overwhelmed. I can guarantee you, you're definitely not alone in that department.
You're Going To Understand Why People Start Drinking Alcohol Before 5:00
Some days, you are going to feel like such a boss at parenting; your kids are going to be fully clothed, have a belly filled with nutritious snacks, and be on their sweetest and best behavior. Then, of course, there are going to be days when your kids decide to wage a war on your sanity; days when there's poop on your favorite shirt and crackers in your shoes; days when you don't brush your teeth until after you've had lunch. On those days, you won't even remotely question the, "it's 5 o'clock somewhere," saying and understand why all of your mom friends have emergency bottles of wine stocked in their nightstands. It happens.
You're Going To Worry About Literally Everything
The zika virus, dry drowning, diaper rash, food allergies, daycare workers, plastic toys, GMOs, vaccinations, your child's height, weight, and growth. The list of things that parents worry about, both understandably and completely irrationally, is a long one.
Getting Out Of The House Takes Advanced Planning
Remember when you could just hop on a plane and take a trip to the beach on a whim? (Yeah, me neither because that's kind of an expensive ordeal, but you get the idea.) Yeah, that (kind of unrealistic) scenario is going to get even more unrealistic once you have kids. Hell, even taking a trip to the grocery store for a gallon of milk is going to take an hour of preparation. When traveling anywhere with kids, whether it's to the store or to the beach, preparation is key. You want to be prepared to avert any possible tantrums and able to fulfill any and all needs of your child while away from home. You might spend 30 minutes packing the perfect diaper bag for your trip to Target, but you'll still probably forget something, and it's probably going to be exactly what you need when your child decides to go rogue.
You're Going To Doubt Yourself All The Time
It's okay if you don't know everything, because you can't. It's okay if you don't feel like you're capable, because you are. I mean, you're in charge of another human and that is a lot of responsibility; it's okay if you feel completely ill-equipped for the job. There's definitely a learning curve; there's definitely lessons that you'll only learn when you make mistakes; there's definitely more (read: all) mothers who feel exactly like you do. It's completely normal to doubt yourself and your ability to parent to the best of your ability. Just remember that you are capable, and the most capable person to be your kid's mom.
It's Okay To Ask For Help
I have no idea why this isn't the first thing someone says to you after they hand you (or you catch) your baby. We have this ridiculous idea that a woman should just know how to mother, and that isn't always the case. If you're overwhelmed or tired or worries or just in need of some assistance, it is perfectly okay to ask for help. It doesn't mean you're not a capable mother; it definitely doesn't mean that you're going to continue to need help every step of the way; it doesn't mean that someone else could do a better job. It just means that you're a normal human being who shouldn't be burdened with the many responsibilities and aspects of motherhood, alone. So, whether it's your partner or a friend or a doctor or a family member or a sweet neighbor, ask for help.
You Need To Take Care Of Yourself
Say it again for the people in the back: you need to take care of yourself as a new mother. You have to. Have. To. You cannot give and give and give for the betterment of your family, only to have nothing left for yourself. You don't need to push yourself to the brink of exhaustion to prove that you're a loving mother. Honestly, that's not what love looks like. Instead, take care of yourself and practice self-love and do things for yourself, so that you have the energy to take care of everyone else.
You're Going To Become Seriously Obsessed With Your Kid
Parenting is a tough gig. There will be days when you just want to quit, and you literally count down every single minute until they go to bed so that you can catch just a few moments of solace. Then, once you get them in bed and they fall asleep, you're going to look at their sweet little face and their adorable little cheeks and you're going to marvel at their innocence and wonder how you could ever possibly love something more than you love that little mess-making, tantrum-throwing, vegetable-hating, bed-hogging, absolutely perfect person. Everything they do and every milestone they reach is going to seem like the greatest victory. Even though they might drive you crazy, they will make you happier than you ever thought you could be, and that is the biggest surprise of becoming a parent: no matter how much you think you might love your child before they're born, it will never compare to how much you actually fall in love with them as they grow. Every. Single. Day.