I wish someone had slapped me (literally) before I became a parent and said “wake up cause sh*t’s about to get real!” Everyone offered their advice while I was pregnant, and when I say everyone I mean everyone. I think when you are pregnant it’s like wearing a sign that says “please give me you’re two cents”. Most of the advice was annoying which led me to ignore people when they would start babbling on about their personal experiences. I had a lot of expectations of what becoming a parent would be like until reality slapped me in the face.
Becoming a parent: Expectations vs Reality
That I wouldn’t be tired
People would tell me all the time (while I was pregnant)…you are going to lose sleep, you are going to be tired, you are going to be exhausted, sleep when your baby sleeps. I brushed it all off like it was a joke because really, how tired could you get? Well let me be the first to admit I was wrong. I was so f-ing tired I couldn’t see straight for the first 14 months of my sons life. Yes people 14 months. Not the magical 3 months that everyone claims is when your baby sleeps through the night, nope. It took 14 very long months, which felt like a lifetime, until our son slept through the night. 11 1/2 months of which I was breastfeeding. Napping is also not something that works for me, so that didn’t help my cause. When I take a nap I feel worse when I wake up and completely unproductive. I wouldn’t even use the word tired to explain how I was feeling because most of the time I was so exhausted I felt like I was out of my mind crazy. It wasn’t until our son was a year and a half old before I got a “normal” nights sleep again. And to this day (he is 2 years 9 months old) it is a rare day when I actually feel completely rested.
That I could do it all without help
When I was pregnant I was convinced that it would all just come naturally and I wouldn’t need any help. Basically that I was super woman. Don’t get me wrong, I still think I am super woman, just not after delivering a baby through a large hole that had been cut into my abdomen. In the hospital they had me so doped up on morphine after my delivery (I couldn’t take the other kinds of pain killers for medical reasons), that I couldn’t even focus. At one point I was so out of it between the lack of sleep and the morphine that I had to ask the nurses to lower my dose of morphine just so I could feel human. During the night one night at the hospital I was trying so hard to stay awake and breastfeed and nothing was going right. I couldn’t nurse and I couldn’t get our son to sleep. I started to feel like I was falling apart. I finally set aside my pride and wandered to the nurses station and asked for some help. I’m so glad that I did because the moment the nurse came back to the room with me and helped with our son, it was like the clouds had parted and my sanity was coming back. My husband was a huge pillar of support but he was just as new at having a newborn as I was, and it was all such a blur until we left the hospital (5 days later).
When we got home I truly thought that I could do it all and that I would never need my husbands help. Again I was so wrong. He was so wonderful making sure I was always hydrated and fed taking care of all of my meals for the first few months. He made me breakfast and lunch all the time which he has never done in our entire marriage. I am the cook in the house. And a bit of a control freak (shocker). When the demands of breastfeeding became difficult he jumped right in to take care of me when I just couldn’t do the things I normally did around the house. He’s the best.
That breastfeeding would be easy
Never did I think it would be glamorous, but I really was convinced that it would be a lot easier than it was. I am one of the lucky ones who was able to breastfeed and I am grateful for that, but it was never easy for me. To be totally honest, in the beginning I absolutely hated it and had no faith that I would be able to do it as long as I did. Before I had my son I really thought that it would be so easy, that I would be able to nurse anywhere at any given moment. Nope, not so much. I was confined to our bedroom 95% of the time nursing because it was almost impossible for me to sit comfortably on a couch or even stand and nurse like some moms can. I felt so isolated when I was nursing because it had to be in the same position for my son to nurse properly. It was a struggle. In the beginning my son used me as a pacifier and would nurse 45 minutes at a time on each side. I thought this was totally normal until we saw our pediatrician and he told me to knock it off and give the kid a paci. We were totally against pacis (another unreal expectation) until I finally gave in and gave him one and the endless breastfeeding stopped. I am extremely proud of myself though, I hung in there for 11 1/2 months until my son decided it was time to stop, which was a lot longer than I had expected.
That I could keep the weight off after breastfeeding
What a joke. I lost so much weight breastfeeding, I felt amazing. And being plus size and dropping so much weight so fast was so exciting. Until I stopped breastfeeding and reality set in. When I was pregnant I only gained 25 pounds. When I was breastfeeding I lost those 25 pounds plus another 27 pounds. So imagine how depressed I was when I stopped breastfeeding and gained a whopping 47 pounds! No one mentioned that you burn a crap ton of calories breastfeeding and can pretty much eat whatever you want. But when you stop breastfeeding and keep eating whatever you want that you aren’t burning those calories anymore and are going to get fat. I mean, I know I should have seen this coming, but when you are in the throes of toddler-hood everything is a bit foggy, so this did come as a shock to me. I am currently down 20 of those 47 pounds but I still have a long way to go.
That my body would feel “normal” again
Yeah so that human that grew in my uterus, well he pushed all my organs around in there and nothing seems to feel like it used to anymore. And that myth that having a c-section would mean that you wouldn’t have a weak bladder like women who delivered vaginally, that’s a hoot too. Since having our son I feel like nothing feels normal anymore with my digestive process. Also it would have been nice for someone to let me know that when you breastfeed you can get dehydrated if you don’t gorge on water and that can result in a bladder infection. And that semi-flat stomach I once had is now a funny looking pooch that I don’t think I will ever get rid of because lets face it I’m no Kardashian. What I wouldn’t give to have a day where my body just worked right for me.
That I would be that great mom that never gave their kid store bought baby food
Oh it’s amusing how naive I was. I did great, I made my own baby food (for a long time). But to what end. I was that mom that thought that she was so granola and thought I would never give my son a pouch. But truth be told, I gave him a crap ton of pouches and I still give him pouches to this day. And I don’t feel bad about it. There are a lot of times where I don’t think he is getting enough veggies in his diet so after dinner I will let him have a pouch for “dessert”. I know, tricky right?! Haha. Pouches were a great invention and I’m glad they exist.
That I would not yell at my kid
Yeah so that didn’t happen.
That I would not let my kid watch TV until he was two
Hahaha! I have seen more Mickey Mouse Clubhouse than I care to admit. I have watched every episode of Handy Manny and Special Agent Oso. And I can recite all the words from Inside Out, Ratatouille, UP, Home, Wall-e, Minions and every Toy Story. Yup my goal of never letting him watch TV was a pipe dream. More power to the parents who don’t let their kids watch TV or have an iPad. I’m not one of them.
That I would not take my kid to Disneyland until he was 7
Once that kid was hooked on Mickey Mouse there was no stopping this one. You can read more about our trip to in my post about taking a two year old to Disneyland. The kicker, we are taking him again this year. Cause apparently we are crazy, just like we would call the people who took their toddlers to Disneyland before we had a kid ourselves.
That going to restaurants with a kid would be just like it was before we had a kid
In all honesty our son is great in restaurants for the most part. But he has his moments where he is a total jerk and acts like a lunatic. During the first couple of years of our sons life I feel like all I ate was chicken tenders because I couldn’t focus on what other items were on the menu. I finally had to tell my husband not to let me order them and make wiser choices because I was so sick eating them. We like to eat out and we will never stop just because we have a child. I don’t care how much of a crazy-fest it is taking him out to eat, we are just going to do it. I don’t want to be trapped at home because I am afraid of taking my son to a restaurant, I want to enjoy my life. And by no means will I be the last person on earth who has a kid at a restaurant acting like a nut bag. When I talk to couples who are pregnant and they ask for my advice (actual solicited advice) on becoming a parent, I have one piece of advice. I tell them, during the first year, as long as that baby is in an infant car seat and sleeping…go out to dinner as much as you can! Enjoy it, because it’s never going to be that quiet again.
I’m curious, what were your reality check moments becoming a parent? I’m sure that I will have many more over the years, but now I at least have the hindsight of knowing that maybe I should have listened to all that advice people were offering. With all the things that I have had to go through becoming a parent to my favorite little person, I wouldn’t give up a moment because he’s the best thing since sliced bread. I love him to the moon and back.
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