• Melissa Kartini

10 Things You Wish You Had Known Before Becoming a Parent

No one ever said that parenting is easy. If it were, we wouldn't have so many parenting books, classes, daycare centers, child experts and just about everything you can imagine geared towards the subject everywhere.

And we especially wouldn't have so many people telling us that it's a difficult job if it really wasn't.

Yet despite all the parenting advice that is constantly being dished out to us, there are some that fly under the radar, only to be discovered after actually becoming a parent. Here are a couple to help you mentally prepare for the job (if you're thinking of or are in the middle of undertaking it):

Your children are the definition of unconditional love

Sure, you love your parents, your partner, your friends and the rest of your family, but the love you have for them is nothing quite like the love you'll have for your children. It's difficult to describe, but it is what it is.

Your love for your children will be exhausting, real and honestly, overwhelming. There just isn't anything else like it. Really, it is when you have children of your own that you'll finally understand just how much your parents love you.

You don't need a lot of baby stuff

You really don't. Despite how tempting it would be to buy all the things in the world for your child, you don't really need that much. Not when you'll have a lot of friends and relatives gifting you with tons of baby clothes and toys- and especially not when your child themself will grow like a weed and will be just as easily entertained by their own toes as they would with a fancy store-bought toy.

The baby stuff you will need a lot of, though? Unless you're going for the ol' washing route, diapers. Lots and lots of diapers.

You can work from home with a child, but it's not easy

There are two stages in your child's life that will allow you to easily work from home. The first one is before they start walking, and the second is when they're old enough to understand that when you're busy, you're really busy. Even if your child is good at keeping themselves occupied, that doesn't mean you'd find it easy constantly rejecting their pleas for attention. There is only so many times you can say "I'm busy" without feeling guilty.

Which is why even if you're able to work from home, you should consider getting help with looking after your child. Call a babysitter, call in a favour from a friend or ask your mom or mother-in-law to help out. You'll need it.

The laundry never ends

Who knew that laundry could pile up so quickly? When it was just you and your partner, you only had to do the washing once or twice a week. Now that you have your very own little human tornado, it seems as though you're doing laundry just about every day. That lil t-shirt, didn't you just put it on your child about an hour ago?

Well, it has stains on it now, so into the wash it goes. Sobs.

You will become a human napkin

You will never appreciate just how good it feels to wear clean clothes until you become a parent. Why? Because when you have a baby, as cute and cuddly as they are, they will spit, vomit, pee and at times, even poo on you. Glamorous, amirite?

Seriously, those moments where your clothes are clean and stink-free are moments that you'll come to savour.

Feeding your child is a chore

It's manageable enough in the daytime, if they're well-behaved (imagine trying to feed a child that refuses to eat or just chooses to play and throw their food around), but imagine feeding them at night. When everyone is asleep.

If you're breastfeeding your child, it would be at that moment while your baby is crying for food that you'd love to land a well-aimed punch at the back of your sleeping husband's head. If the both of you take turns with the feeding, either way, one of you is going to lose a lot of sleep at the end of it all.

Mommy brain

You'll forget things. You'll forget a lot of things. This is pretty much inevitable what with the amount of things you'll have going on.

You'll have to feed your child, clothe them, bathe them, play with them, clean after them, constantly keep an eye on them, pay attention to them... the list just goes on. Compound these with the fact that you'll be getting little to no sleep thanks to their night time cries for another feeding, and you'll have a recipe for an extremely exhausted, forgetful mom.

Congratulations. This will be you for a few years.

Going out will never be the same

What used to take five minutes now takes about half an hour to get to. Want to bring your little one to the neighbourhood mall or the grocery store? Prepare yourself for all the fiddling and nonsense that goes on between your house and your destination. You'll have to account for all the dawdling, dressing, fiddling with the carseat and whatever else that you'll have to attend to at that moment.

Again, no one has ever said that raising a child is easy.

You will never be the same- and neither will your partner

For better or for worse, having a child will not only change you, but your partner as well. You'll find that you might change your habits for the better (living longer, trying to set a good example, spending money more wisely, etc), and that your relationship with your partner might change.

It's not like you'll suddenly become the perfect parent overnight (no one will), but just about the changes you and your partner will experience, will be focused on and due to your child.

You can never take too many pictures or videos

Just because you've already taken dozens of pictures or videos of your child walking, doesn't mean you have to stop there. By all means, take more pictures. Take advantage of the fact that you can store pictures digitally now. Back in the day, you'd have to get your photographs printed just so you can see them. This is no longer our reality.

Document every moment of your child's life if you want to, and do it shamelessly. After all, as cliche as it sounds, they really DO grow up fast. Enjoy them while it lasts.

Written by Crunch's Melissa Kartini

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