When I was preparing to have my first baby, I was sure that I was ready. I had read all of the books, taken all of the classes, and gotten the nursery completely ready for our little one to make her appearance. However, it did not matter how much I studied and prepared, there were just things I could not learn from anything but experience. Here are just a few things I wish I would have known before having my first baby.
1. If it’s unexpected…expect it.
Many of my friends had shared their stories from going into labor with their first child. Some had picture-perfect deliveries; others only had memories of pure hell. I thought I would be ready for whatever came my way. After a full day of labor, I was ready to just give up and try again some other day.
2. Expensive translates to complicated.
If the onesie is pricey, it is also complicated. When you are sleep deprived and trying to get a squirming, crying baby into an outfit with about 567 snaps, you start rethinking your decision to shop at all of the fancy baby boutiques.
3. Motherhood is like going back to school.
Right at the moment when I felt that I was finally getting this whole “mom” thing down, my daughter moved on to the next stage in her development. Any time you feel like you are the one in control, you are probably days away from losing any ground you have gained.
4. Buy diapers in bulk if you want to start potty training.
The second I got a good deal on pull-ups and decided to invest in a few month’s worth of them, my children decided they were big kids and ready to use the potty. It’s like going to the bathroom at a restaurant so the food will come faster, and has proven foolproof in my experience.
5. You will want to keep all of your baby furniture and clothes.
When surprise baby number three comes, it will most likely be right after you have given away your crib, bassinet, and mountains of onesies. So hold on to all of that unless you are on some serious birth control.
6. Someone always knows better.
You may want to breastfeed, or you might choose to bottle feed all of your children. You might prefer disposable diapers, or the cloth variety. You could stay at home with your children or find childcare so you can pursue your career. Do not worry, someone somewhere will tell you about how you are doing everything wrong.
7. Make some mom friends.
While your single or childless friends are still important and worth keeping around, it is vital to your sanity to make a few mom friends that can relate to your motherhood-related joys and struggles.
8. Remember to take good care of yourself.
After I had my first child, I became “Momma” for the rest of my life, and I am always needed to fix a boo boo or cook a meal or take a kid to practice. This list goes on and on. However, you must remember to take care of yourself so that you can do all of these things to the best of your ability.
9. Your partner is a parent too.
I was absolutely terrified to give my husband any real responsibility when it came to feeding, changing, or even watching our first daughter. I had to learn that he is a father, not just a babysitter, and is completely able to do all of these things just as well, if not better, than I am.
10. What they say is true.
Even though you are overwhelmed by the newness of being a mom, with all of the diapers and crying and colicky nights, you really will want to cherish these days and find joy in the small moments. All too soon, your babies are grown up, out of the house, and on their own adventures, and you will be the mom giving the very same advice.