There are very few things you can do in your lifetime that will shake everything you thought you knew about yourself to their foundations the way that parenthood can.
You know it’s going to be rewarding, and likely super-challenging. But do you really know what lies ahead on that windy road you’re about to head down?
There are tonnes of good surprises coming your way and, of course, a few blind-siders too.
Here is just a little bit of what you might reasonably expect on Parenthood Road …
1. You might not always win at parenting
Some days you’ll nail it.
Some days you’ll struggle.
Some days you’ll want to throw in the towel.
Some days you’ll experience all of the above … in an hour.
From the very beginning you have to be gentle with yourself. That new person in your life is going to change, and their needs are going to change, almost by the minute. There’s no other experience in your life where the goal post shifts so regularly. You’ll make mistakes, and you’ll figure it out. That’s kind of what the whole gig is.
2. They’re going to arrive with their own personality
It’s a sweet dream, planning the kids you are going have, and imagining what they’ll be like. And then they arrive and you quickly realise that no amount of ‘parenting’ is going to mould them into the person you want them to be. Those little personalities and quirks come set in stone.
So, you might not get exactly who you ordered, but getting to know who they really are is the one of the most rewarding parts of parenting.
3. Things are going to different in ways you can’t predict
It seems like kind of an obvious statement. Of course things will be different – you’ll have a baby.
However, the changes to your life can come as quite a shock. My biggest tip for making the adjustments necessary for this new life? Be flexible.
You’re normally a punctual person? Be prepared to let that go.
You’re normally out of pyjamas at some point in the day? Erm, maybe not so much anymore.
You’re a scheduler? Newsflash: You’ve been demoted, someone else is in charge of scheduling now.
Your baby isn’t the only one changing and growing. You can tie yourself in knots trying to be the same person you were before, but don’t. None of that matters. The sooner you embrace life as it is now, the sooner you’ll figure out exactly what that life looks like, and the sooner you’ll fall in love with it.
4. Unsolicited advice is coming your way
If you’re pregnant, you might have experienced this already. People love to weigh in on parenting. Everyone has a passionate opinion on things, and everyone wants to share it … whether you asked them to or not.
Some of it can feel personal or judgemental. But what I have learned is that it’s usually delivered with good intent. Even if it does seem highly offensive.
Trust yourself, trust your judgement, take the bits of advice that feel right for you, and as for rest? Be like Elsa and let it go.
5. Your ‘village’ will be full of villagers if you let them in
You don’t have to, nor should you, do this alone. Help will come to you, and you should take it when you need it.
Once you realise that the sentiment that ‘it takes a village’ is true, you’ll find it easier to ask for help. Your village will love your baby when you are exhausted; they’ll lift you up when you need it and they’ll remind you of all of the things you are doing right, when it feels like you’re getting everything wrong.
6. Your skill set is about to massively increase
You’re about to add a few new items to your repertoire. Trimming teeny tiny fingernails, changing nappies in under three seconds, dealing with HAZMAT situations in the most unlikely of places … oh, and your multitasking abilities are about to go next level.
7. There are no guarantees
Just because something worked one night and your baby slept through, it doesn’t mean that if you recreate every last step down to the undies you were wearing when you put them to bed, it will happen again.
Every day (and night) is different. Hold on for the ride!
8. Your memory is … wait, what I was talking about again?
Put everything in your phone. Everything. Even if you used to be able to remember things without setting reminders, put it in your phone now. The old you is gone, remember.
Hot tip: Take a photo of where you parked at the shops. Not. Even. Joking.
9. Everyone else will seem more together than you
It’s likely that you may find yourself amazed at how ‘together’ everyone else seems to be. And they might be … in that moment. You will be in some moments too.
Find your tribe and make sure it is full of people that lift each other up. Be open about talking (and listening) honestly about what is going on for you. Some of the best friends you’ll make in life will be the ones you’ve bonded over this ‘baby thing’ with.
Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Your child is unique, and so are you.
10. There is no other baby like your baby
Sure, there will be similarities between your baby and others, but you have yourself a one-of-a-kind original. Your child is the only one of themselves that has ever, ever been. And you know who knows them best? You.
Trust yourself, trust your judgement because …
11. You got this
It won’t always be easy, and you won’t always know the answers immediately, but you will. You always will in the end. You’ve totally got this.
(This is a sponsored post for Huggies)