Despite reading every bit of material for the mom-to-be, I think the only thing I was fully expecting was that I would never sleep well again. But even that expectation took me by surprise. It’s amazing the kind of strange things you’ll do when you’re sleep deprived that go well beyond walking into a room and forgetting what you went in there for. Being a parent is hard work and the first thing I ever realized is that it doesn’t matter how much you’ve read or how much you think you know…you don’t know anything until you’re in the trenches, changing diapers at 3am.
Here are the things that caught me off-guard about motherhood:
- Constant changes
Your baby is always changing, like a shapeshifter. One day you feel great because you’ve got it all figured out and then BOOM! Your baby goes through another phase and you need to crack the code. You will also be changing too, as your hormones adjust and it can throw you through a loop.
- No hair, don’t care
About 4 months after having my baby, I began shedding copious amounts of hair. For each of my daughters, who were both born with full heads of hair, they also lost hair. If this happens to you, please don’t freak out because it’s completely normal. Your hair will fall out but not all of it. And it will grow back. Same with your baby. After speaking with a friend, she told me her son had been born with a full head of hair and then went completely bald. His hair grew back and now that kid has plenty of hair.
- Have your baby clippers ready
You will be shocked at how long your baby’s nails are the day of birth. Make sure that you pack the baby nail clippers in your hospital bag so that you can trim baby’s nails straight-away. My babies both had sharp nails like eagle talons!
- You don’t want your baby to sleep like a baby
Until you have children, you won’t know just how unreal the saying “sleep like a baby” is. It should be “sleep like a husband” because I can guarantee that man lying next to you, snoring obliviously will not even stir when your baby wakes up in the middle of the night, screaming away. You’ll also need to resist the urge to clobber him when he says, “Oh I didn’t hear anything,” and talks about how well he slept.
- Wait, what was I saying?
Oh yeah…I was talking about the stuff that I wish I’d known before having kids. You’ll forget pretty much everything so instead of making yourself crazier, write EVERYTHING down. Also, you’re not going to fit into your pre-pregnancy clothes immediately so don’t even try. It’s like trying to make “fetch” happen. It’s not going to happen, not within the first few weeks anyway. Try being good to yourself instead and enjoy your favorite maternity clothes. No one tells you that you still need to nurture yourself so that you can be a good mom too.