Growing up, I was around kids a lot! I started babysitting when I was 13 years old. My mom was a kid’s pastor so we had kids over all the time growing up and I helped in services. I even worked at a daycare at the age of 16. Then, I went to school for elementary education and subbed & taught in classrooms for a few years.
So you’d think I knew everything about kids once the time came to have my own.
I did know a handful of things, but nothing can truly prepare you for a baby of your own. One that you’re in charge of 24/7 and that never goes home to other parents.
I’d like to share with you a couple of things I’ve learned over my 1.5 years of being a mom that I was NOT prepared for. (no specific order)
Teething is the worst.
Now, this is a bit of an exaggeration, but I did not realize how difficult teething weeks would be for both your child and yourself as the parent. Different teeth coming in have affected my son differently, but those molars especially were a doozy. Multiple wake ups in the night, extra emotional, only wanting to be held, crying a lot, etc. And sometimes, sickness & teethings symptoms can be similar so sometimes you’re just clueless as to what your child is feeling. That is a hard place to be.
How empathetic I’d feel when my kids were sick.
I hate when my kids are sick. I would be sick 100 times before seeing them sick once. It makes me heart ACHE. I’ve literally cried over them being sick because of how sad it makes me. They can’t tell you why they’re sad or where they’re hurting, but you can just tell they’re off. You feel absolutely helpless.
Babies move & make noises a lot in their sleep.
Babies are loud sleepers. They wake up often stirring and maybe even letting out a couple cries, but that does not mean they’re even awake! They do a lot in their sleep. Just because they begin moving around does not mean they need your boob to eat. Now, if they’re screaming, yes- they need you. But a simple 1-2 cries or lots of stirring just means they’re entering a new stage of sleep not that they need to eat.
What did I do before kids?
Sometimes I think back to life before kids and I have no idea what my husband & I did with our free time. Kids are amazing but you are a parent all day everyday. It’s a full-time job. Not a bad thing, but it definitely makes you think harder about the things you do when they’re napping, etc. because your time alone is so much more limited.
Raising kids takes a village.
I had heard this saying before, but I truly didn’t know what it meant until I was in a situation where I needed help. I’ve chatted briefly about this in another blog post, but you’re not supermom. You need rest. You need time by yourself. You need to recharge and do your hobbies. You need date nights with your husband. You need time with your girlfriends. Being a mom isn’t your identity. You’ll need help at times & THAT’S OKAY.
Don’t follow all the rules.
I am an enneagram one that is a rule follower through and through. So by me telling you to not follow all the rules is actually very surprising haha. But, I’ve learned that Google says a lot of things that are not true. Google will tell you to wait 6 weeks to introduce a bottle to your baby because otherwise they’ll have nipple confusion. Google will tell you you should have your baby in your room sleeping for 12 months before moving to their own crib & room. Google will tell you to wake up your child from sleep to eat in the night.
And I’m not saying to not listen to any of it, but you need to do what is best for YOU and your BABY. This will look different from child to child. And if you have a question, ask another mom in your life you look up to- not Google. I always went to my own mom to gain motherly wisdom and hearing from an actual person their experience, will help you learn.
The world tries to fill you with fear.
I didn’t realize how much fear is put into parents (or tried to put in). Think about all the products that are marketed to parents strictly out of fear. And every parent wants their child to be safe & happy, so they give in and spend the butt load of money to ensure this. Well, acting out of fear is very different than acting out of what’s safest for your child. One product that’s advertised is the ‘Owlet Dream Sock.’ If you’re not familiar, this is a $300 sock you place on your baby’s foot while they sleep and it’ll beep if your child’s heart rate is not good or if anything bad is happening to your baby. Now, if your child has health concerns, this is a great option. But, if you have no reason to be concerned of your child’s safety, then I see buying this as acting out of fear that something will happen. They’re trying to get you to spend $300 on a sock. If you’re worried, have your child in your room longer or turn their monitor up a couple notches. But buying unnecessary products out of fear of SIDS or something else, is just silly. You won’t be able to sleep if all you can think about is whether your baby will die in their sleep. There is healthy fear & there is unhealthy fear. Don’t let the world make you fearful.
These are 7 things I did not know about being a parent prior to becoming a mom! What things did you not know before having your first baby?
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