Before you become a parent you think you know a fair bit, but when your first baby comes along you suddenly realise there is so much about parenting no one warned you about. We asked our readers what things they discovered only after they had kids and here are their top responses. Hold on to your hats pregnant mamas!
1. How bad teething can be
It’s not always the case of course, but for a lot of bubs cutting teeth is also accompanied by painful nappy rash, sleepless nights, temperatures, drool and one seriously unhappy and irritable baby. It can often go on for as long as 12 months too, and then resurface again when it’s time for the three-year-old back molars. Nightmare!
2. You’ll lose your identity (and friends)
Many mums found that having babies resulted in a loss of identity. Being entirely wrapped up in caring for their children and catering to their constant needs and challenges left little time for what they wanted. From what to make for dinner to career choices, no decision was made purely based on their own desires anymore. Some also found that many of their friends disappeared, leaving them alone in a sea of nappies and sleepless nights, craving some adult conversation and company. Thankfully, this doesn’t always happen though.
3. You’re not just a mum
Having a baby is more than just caring for and loving them. Sign up for parenthood and you instantly also become a full-time playmate, cook, cleaner, multitasking machine, worry monster, teacher, detective and more. It’s no wonder we never have any time for ourselves!
4. You might raise them alone
Statistically around half of all parents will break up. It’s a sad fact and one that usually doesn’t enter your head when you’re thinking about starting a family, yet it could end up being your reality.
5. How hard breastfeeding can be
Even though we have more breastfeeding awareness and support than ever before, it can still come as quite a shock to those attempting it for the first time, especially how hard it can be. Cracked and bleeding nipples, engorged breasts, mastitis, leaks, constant feeds, poor milk supply, let down disasters, public feeds, lumpy breasts, babies that won’t latch properly, weaning trouble and fashion constraints – these are just some of the troubleshooting problems many women face.
6. How little sleep you really get
Again this is one that gets grossly under promoted. Before children you think you know what sleepless nights are like based on your experiences with work deadlines or bad colds but oh how wrong you were. That doesn’t even come close to the seemingly endless cycle of surviving on only several hours of shut-eye a night for months (and often years!). Quick pass the coffee. #zombiemum
7. Stuff will magically disappear
Important stuff like documents, wallets and wedding rings will constantly get misplaced, but the one item that goes walking out the door never to be seen again the most is socks. Perhaps there are secret sock gnomes that get alerts every time someone becomes a parent and sneaks in at night to mess up your pairs. The only way to safeguard yourself against this is buy hundreds (okay, thousands is probably more accurate) of socks.
8. Toddlers and teenagers are the devil
We’ve all heard about the ‘terrible twos’ but it can start as early as 18 months and continue well into the ‘threenager’ years and beyond, basically until school. Unless you’ve raised a toddler yourself, nothing will prepare you for just how crazy those little monkeys can be. And then they grow up… hmm, which would you choose – a toddler or a teenager? According to our mum jury they’re both as bad as each other.
9. There is so much mess, poo and spew
Kids = mess. There is no way around this. Before having them you might think you’ll be okay and keep your house and clothes intact, but you are kidding yourself. And it’s not just thrown food, dirt and toys everywhere either. Poo, spew, urine and snot – it can take some time to get used to this new bodily fluid cesspool you now live in.
10. The love is intense and immense
People tell you kids are the best things ever and they’re right, but until you have one you will never fully comprehend just how immense and overwhelming the love you have for them is. The heart can get bigger, you can love your partner even more, and you’re capable of more emotion than you ever thought possible. So don’t sweat the small stuff and enjoy every day.
What things did you only find out about after having kids?