To quote Burt Gummer, I feel I was denied critical, need-to-know information. Nobody warned me about this stuff. Or if they did, I was one of those Smug Childless™ who thought they would do better.
Here are a few things I wish I’d known before having kids. Not that I’d have done things differently. But perhaps I wouldn’t have been so hard on myself.
- Work-life balance is not just for workaholics. Unless you are a stay-at-home parent or you outsource the raising of your children to others, you will have to get a job that supports a good work-life balance or you will go crazy. Sadly, most jobs do not offer a good work-life balance. Keep that in mind when you’re judging other moms.
- You will learn to do everything while holding a child. Eating. Sleeping. Cooking. Cleaning. Working. Using a public restroom. If you breastfeed, you will do all of the above while nursing.
- You have a temper. And not only will they know how to flip it on like a light switch – they’ll do it for fun.
- Weekends are meaningless. There are no nights and weekends. Parents work 24/7. There are no days off. Friday night is just another evening.
- You will reach your breaking point. And then keep going. Day after day after day.
- You are more emotional than you ever imagined you could be. I’ve cried more since having children than I did in the 37 years prior. It’s like a Lifetime movie exploded in my chest.
- You’ll get touched out. Especially if you breastfeed. But even if you don’t, you will long for five minutes with no physical contact. And in those five minutes, you’ll want nothing more than to hug your baby.
- The mess is never ending. Seriously…they can mess up a room in their sleep. How? Why?
- The grossness is also never ending. You will scratch and sniff at spots to determine if they are poop or chocolate. Lean forward to catch vomit in your bare hands. To not do these things increases the mess mentioned in 8. So you do them. And then try hard not to think about it afterwards.
- They will inspire in you more love than you thought possible. And not just for them – for everyone. They will restore your faith in humanity, those little people. Their enthusiasm, their joy, their wonder…it’s infectious. You will return to the world with new eyes after seeing things through the eyes of your child. And you’ll forget all about the grossness and frustration, at least until you return home.