We’ve all been there. Before having kids you received a bunch of advice, warnings and unwanted lectures from parents trying to share their “knowledge” with you. I never really wanted to listen because to me, going through something is the best learning experience & I didn’t want to overly prepare myself for a bunch of scenarios that may or may not ever happen. Also, most of the “advice” was coming from people who acted like they really didn’t enjoy being parents. Full disclosure : I do enjoy being a mama. Is it hard? YES. YES. So many Yes’s. But it’s also incredibly rewarding and the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. Below is a list of things I wish I knew before having my babies. It’s not to scare you from having kids & it’s not to show you “oh woe is me, my life is so hard”. If anything, I’d like you to laugh along with how ridiculous some of these changes are.
*Mornings will be rough. Especially if you’re anything like me & not a morning person. I can’t remember the last time I woke up on my own. I now have a 5-6 am alarm clock in the form of a very hungry baby named Rowan. As soon as mornings started getting easier with Kai where he would sleep til 8 am (aka sleeping in LATE in mom-terms), BOOM! Rowan was born and sleep was once again a magical thing of the past. Mornings are also rough, because this is when my babies are the most demanding. Rowan needs to breastfeed and at the same time Kai is pulling my hand to get him some milk from the fridge. As soon as I’m done with Rowan, Kai needs to be fed breakfast and the moment Kai is done, Rowan needs some fruit. Then the dishes. Then playtime. I usually don’t get to take a shower until Rowan gets put down for his nap at 11 am.
*I thought it would be a semi-easy transition being a stay at home mom, having already been a homebody. But being a homebody without kids, to being a homebody where your every moment of everyday revolves around their every little need is a whole other story. No naps. No breaks. “But Bethany, what about the break you get when they are both napping? You should take a nap then.” Well… When one baby is sleeping, the other is awake and vice versa. I think they know what they are doing, and are purposely messing with me. Even before Rowan was born and it was just Kai, when he took a nap I was either showering, making myself something to eat, catching up on emails, or doing one of the other million things that came before taking a nap.
Kai – “Hey Rowan. So I’ll take a nap at noon and AS SOON as I wake up, you start getting sleepy and we will high five and wear mommy down to the point where she will give in to everything! Deal?!?” :: Rowan nods his head in agreement ::
*Leaving your home will take an additional 30 minutes, no matter what. I have to make sure the diaper bag is filled with EVERY LITTLE possible thing they could ever want while we are out. It doesn’t matter if we are taking a 30-minute trip to the deli, I need to be prepared for ANYTHING. Backup Pacis, Snacks, Little toys, Diapers, Back up Diapers, Wipes. The list goes on and on. Then, in the winter I have to make sure they both have three layers on, warm socks, and shoes. 30 minutes and 30 extra pounds later we are good to go, and then one of them soils themselves just as I’m about to walk out the door. Thhaaaaanks guys!
*Weekends no longer exist. Saturday and Sunday may as well be changed into weekdays.
*Escaping to Target is like going on a vacation. Those beautiful red aisles are your haven of pure shopping bliss. Going to target used to be a chore that ate into my weekend, but as we learned above, your weekends are now gone so Target trips are now something you look forward to. Stocking up on snacks, diapers, & extra milk because your toddler guzzles it like it’s his job is an exciting and new experience each time.
*No one thinks they are a better parent than people who do not have kids yet. I too have been guilty of this. Pre-Kai I was all like, “Wow, you let your kid play with an iPad when you’re in public?” and now I’m team “GIVE HIM WHATEVER HE WANTS IF IT MAKES HIM STOP SCREAMING! STOP LOOKING AT ME & JUDGING!! IT’S AN EDUCATIONAL IPAD GAME! HE’S LEARNING HIS COLORS! AGGGHH!!”
*Do you like watching TV shows & movies as an escape from reality? So does your toddler. But he prefers obnoxious TV shows with catchy songs (in the worst way) that get engrained in your head. You’ll be humming them in the shower, while running errands, and when you try to fall asleep at night after a long day, that horrible song about colors & numbers will be preventing you from drifting off peacefully.
*Do you like eating out at restaurants? Your kids won’t. To kids, restaurants are boring, restricting prisons that are a waste of valuable playtime. Unless you enjoy burning your money, and boxing up overpriced food to eat at home after your toddler throws a hissy fit because you told him “No you cannot have cake for dinner”, going out to restaurants on a regular basis is a thing of the past.
*Do you like food? Ok, great. So does your 9 month old & he will relentlessly pursue your food like a wild tiger that hasn’t had a meal for weeks. He will climb you like a tree. He will knock the fork right out of your hand. He will scream until you give in & surrender your food. No more food for you. At least no more casually and slowly being able to enjoy it. You will now eat in shame, in a dark corner of your kitchen very quietly, because your kids also have bionic hearing and KNOW when you’re opening a box of cheez-its, even if they are sleeping 3 rooms away.
*Do you enjoy privacy? My toddler insists on walking in when I tinkle. He laughs, thinks it’s hilarious and points at me like he’s shaming me chanting “mommy goin’ pee pee mommy goin’ pee pee”. He will also jump in the shower with me at any given time. “SURPRISE MAMA! KAI SHOWER TOO!”
*Do you like leisurely shopping sprees and window shopping? Once you have kids, all of your shopping income now gets spent on them. Even though you know they will outgrow the clothes in 3 months, you can’t help but spend, spend, & spend on all those friggen adorable outfits from Zara. I can’t remember the last time I went out shopping and bought something for myself.
I could write a million ways on how life has changed for the better with the arrival of our boys, but those feelings are better left to experience on your own. It’s hard to write and verbalize love, it’s much easier to write about the immediate changes and logistics that come with taking care of another human being who is completely dependent on you. As much as you can’t imagine your life without your babes, it can sure be an adjustment from your “old” life. In all seriousness -> along with all these changes, life with the boys is absolutely glorious & I wouldn’t change a thing. (I take that back. If I could afford a personal chef and on-call nanny I would sign on the dotted line!)
I take the good with the bad, and try to only focus on the good and turn the not-so-fun bit into a joke. At the end of the day, it’s always nice to know there are millions of other moms struggling with the same issues you are going through. You are not alone!