Before you become a parent, you think you know what it’ll be like… at least a little bit. You read all the books and blogs, and you have all these ideas about it, but then you actually become a mom or a dad to a real-life tiny human, and it’s a whole new ball game.
You’ll definitely learn some things on your own, but I’m going to share a few things no one really tells you about being a parent…
1. You will never sleep as soundly again.
Before you have children you sleep like a log… the sweet and restful sleep of someone who doesn’t have to worry about another person’s well-being. Once you become a parent, there are a million things that will keep you awake at night, but mostly you just become hyper alert to any and all sounds that might be your stirring child.
2. Most of your meals will be eaten cold.
I can’t remember the last time I ate a meal that wasn’t at least lukewarm. In between nursing while eating, spoonfeeding a baby, or cleaning up toddler messes, you’ll probably just learn to appreciate meals that aren’t quite as warm.
3. You will feel more emotions in a 24-hour period than you ever thought possible.
Since becoming a parent, I have learned more about the spectrum of human emotion than I have at any other time in my life (OK, except for maybe the pre-teen years when everything felt a bit tumultuous). There are many days when you will be overwhelmed with joy, sadness, frustration, elation, confusion… all in the same day… sometimes within minutes. Children can be lovely and wonderful and frustrating all at once sometimes, and as such, parenting will follow suit.
4. You will enjoy buying things for your kids more than buying things for yourself.
I used to love to shop for myself. Buying a new pair of shoes or a fun necklace was one of my favorite pastimes. But now, while I still enjoy treating myself to something new from time to time, I enjoy buying things for my kids even more. It’s so fun to see the joy on their faces as they experience something new and tiny clothes are so much cuter than their grownup counterparts.
5. You will probably do something you swore you’d never do.
Before becoming parents, many of us have a list of things we promise we’ll never do. For me, one of those things on the list was that I would never let my kid wear anything with a character on it. Yeah…that totally happened. Eventually you realize that you have to pick your battles and some things (like glittery character shirts), just aren’t worth the fight.
6. It will fly by quicker than you think.
OK, this one is something that people actually do tell you, but you won’t believe it until you actually experience it. It’s like you blink, and they’re little people full of personality and talents. It’s crazy!
7. You’ll look forward to bedtime all day, but once they’re asleep, you’ll miss them.
This is by far the weirdest and most wonderful thing about parenting in my opinion. There are days when I am dragging and exhausted and by the time dinner rolls around, I’m just counting down the minutes until bedtime so I can finally have a free moment to myself. And then… they go to sleep and I miss them. Sometimes I even (briefly… very briefly) contemplate waking them up to snuggle. Go figure.
8. You will become a much more confident person.
I’ve never been particularly self-assured. I’m a people pleaser, and I’ve always spent far too much time worrying about how people will receive me or the things I say. I’ve always had body hangups. But, now that I’m a parent, it’s like I’ve found my purpose and have finally settled into myself. I’m finally comfortable in my own skin. I finally realize what’s important in life and things like worrying about wrinkles and stretch marks and not offending everyone just don’t rank very high on my priority list anymore.
9. You’ll be more tired, but you’ll stay up even later.
I figured that being sleep deprived would entice me to go to bed earlier, but that’s not the case. The thing is, even though you’re more tired at the end of a day spent chasing little ones, you’ll relish those moments to yourself and basically try to squeeze in a hundred things in those hours after your children go to bed and probably end up staying up even later than you did in the pre-kid days.
10. Your heart will never know a love quite like this.
People can tell you how amazing being a parent is, but you’ll never really understand until you become one. Your heart will grow three sizes… probably even more… and the love you feel for another human being… your human being will blow you away and change you forever. It really is so worth it.