Before I had my kid, there were a lot things I wished other parents told me about parenthood. When I was pregnant I didn’t get a lot of tips about kids from other parents. Parenthood was a mystery. I was told basic things like get all the sleep you can. Which meant nothing to me. How much sleep does a person need? A lot, when they aren’t getting any… 🙂
I should have asked more questions. I’m sure I thought I knew enough about kids since I babysat my nieces and nephews. Listen closely, babysitting is not the same as being a parent. You don’t get to return the kid!
The best piece of advice I got was to find a daycare and get on the waiting list immediately (at 3 months pregnant). I did listen to that. Finding a good daycare in Los Angeles for an infant is difficult. So finding daycare while pregnant is essential to working moms.
I read a lot of books, which were helpful. But there were some main points I wish people told me.
Here’s my top 6 things I wish parents told me before I had a kid:
1. You will Never and I Mean Never Sleep the Same Again
After you become a parent especially with an infant you are pretty much in a half awake state at all times. Any little whimper, coo, laugh, cry, and fart wakes you up. I co-slept with my son and sleep deprivation was my middle name. I tried to sleep but it was difficult. Now my son is almost 5, I get more sleep than his infant days but never like I did before I had him.
I get a lot of things done when my son goes to sleep at night. I clean, pay bills, write blog posts, and have uninterrupted phone conversations. So getting 8 hours of sleep is pretty impossible since I work full-time. Also, my son gets in my bed at around 3 am every night and sleeps next me. I often end up with a foot or knee in my back, which makes it difficult to get a restful sleep.
“Plan on not getting good sleep for many years to come once you have a child.”
2. Advice on Sleeping Arrangements is Just That – Do What Works for Your Family
Before I had my son, I read articles on the best sleeping arrangements for infants. I also heard stories from friends. Some parents put their baby in a crib in a separate room. Some had the baby sleep in a pack n’ play and some slept with the baby in their bed.
I started with the pack n’ play next to my bed with an infant sleeper attachment. I quickly discovered that my child was not going to let me sleep without him next to me. So I slept with my child on my arm for at least 12 months.
I don’t advise anyone to co-sleep. When I did it I didn’t have a partner in the bed with me. I wasn’t taking any medication besides Advil and I don’t smoke or drink. There’s a lot of articles out there that advise against co-sleeping due to accidental suffocation. I recommend you take those warnings seriously.
I happen to be a light sleeper and I was seriously sleep deprived when I decided to try co-sleeping. I had no help from family, friends, or a partner so I had to survive. This was the best option for me.
“Explore sleeping options before you have a child, but realize you will likely choose the option that allows you to get the most sleep because you have to. Rest and mental health are important.”
3. Don’t Buy a Bunch of Baby Stuff, Wait Until the Kid Gets Here
I was so excited like most moms about my new baby that I bought all kinds of stuff my kid didn’t need. I got pacifiers. My kid never used a pacifier. I got a baby wrap. My kid screamed when I put him in it and I couldn’t return it, because by the time I tried it the return date expired. I bought outfits. My son only wore mostly onesies and sleepers, no regular clothes for 10 months. I got toys that he couldn’t use until he was older and by the time he tried the toys months later, I discovered he didn’t like some of the toys.
Don’t buy cute baby junk, you don’t need it. Save your money! Plus, there is plenty of junk you won’t use that you will get from the baby shower, so no need to add more.
4. Boys Have Interesting Discussions About Their Private Parts
None of my friends with boys told me that boys have discussions about their private parts at young ages. My kid has said “it got long” and has talked about how it works. It makes sense when you think about it. It’s normal that kids would talk about how their body works, especially if they find it interesting. I was kind of shocked in that I wasn’t expecting it to happen this early. I heard stories about pre-teen boys and puberty in the bathroom for hours, but nothing about baby and toddler exploration. I can imagine that this probably also occurs with girls.
Don’t be shocked when your kid tells you things about their private parts. You might have to come up with witty responses. 😉
5. Cleaning the Toilet will Become Your Worst Nightmare
I thought potty training was bad. But after potty training I am now dealing with a boy that has bad aim. My son gets pee around the bowl, on the back of the seat, on the wall, and on the floor. I understand that he’s learning so I just remind him a lot that he needs to pee in the toilet bowl. He also forgets to put the seat up and gets pee on the seat, which causes me to sit in pee sometimes. I hate that! And he forgets to flush the toilet.
My son also on occasion gets poop on the rim, on the floor, and on the outside of the toilet bowl. I’m not sure what causes this to happen, but cleaning it up sucks. No parent ever told me about this nasty aspect and surely my kid can’t be the only one. Unless everyone else is escorting their 4-year-old to the bathroom every time they have to go.
You will be cleaning the bathroom a lot more than usual, so get used to it.
6. Trying to Keep Your House Clean will Feel like a Battle You Can’t Win
I struggle to keep my house clean, especially as a single working mom. It feels like I can only consistently keep the laundry clean. I sometimes fail in this area as well. I don’t spend a great deal of time at home and that makes it really hard to keep it clean. My son when we are home makes a mess faster than the speed of light.
Fortunately my son is starting to help clean upon request, which didn’t happen when he was younger. Cleaning was definitely a losing battle from infancy until about now at age 4. My house does get messy if we have a particularly busy week, but it’s manageable. When my son was under 12 months I was in desperate need of a maid. I had piles of laundry, smelly diaper pails and dirty bathrooms. Admittedly, my house was a mess, but my son was happy and well taken care of. You have to choose your battles.
Accept that your house will be messy and sometimes dirty, unless you can hire help or have family to help.
I hope you enjoyed reading my list. It was fun sharing my list of things I wished other parents told me, but didn’t. It’s a great way to pass along valuable (that’s debatable lol) information.
Please share things that you wished you knew before having kids in the comments below.
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