We’ve all heard those parenting tips: Sleep when the baby sleeps. Take plenty of photos. Enjoy it while it lasts. It all goes so fast!
We’ve also been told what to expect: sleep deprivation, instinctual bonding, sleep deprivation.
But seriously, FAST. It goes fast.
The truth is that parenting isn’t a one-size-fits-all experience. So much of those first 12 months is subjective to your baby’s temperament, your lifestyle, your hormones, your parenting philosophies — the list goes on. But I do think that there are certain universal truths that blanket us all.
Here are, in my opinion, 8 truths of new parenthood:
1. Everything in your life will now center around your newborn’s bowel movements. The color, consistency, frequency, amount. It will consume your life in such a way that dinner parties and Facebook statuses suddenly feel like appropriate forums for poop discussions. Resist this urge.
2. Parents of newborn boys will get peed on. You can take precautions, even buy little gadgets, but the fact remains: You will find yourself, more than once, the target of a surprisingly long-range stream of urine.
3. Politics become more important. Don’t be surprised if international tragedies feel magnified and your core priorities shift.
4. Nothing wakes a baby faster than sitting down for dinner.
5. Nothing makes a baby poop like the click of the carseat buckle.
6. Being able to talk out loud while walking down the grocery store aisles is suddenly acceptable with a non-verbal infant. And it’s surprisingly liberating.
7. You will feel judged at one point or another. Whether you’re breastfeeding too long, not breastfeeding long enough/going back to work, quitting your job/being too old, being too young. The more confident you become in your parenting decisions, the less you’ll notice (or care about) the judgments and critical opinions. That being said, parenthood is riddled with insecurities — and that’s universal.
8. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, sweeter than a baby sleeping soundly on your chest. And yes, you will miss this. Because yes, it goes much too fast.