1. Expect to become flakier. If you weren't good at keeping plans before, you might as well throw in the towel for good. Even the best laid plans can come to naught in the wake of a child. Baby's schedule gets off, nap runs late...stormy weather...teething fussiness...you name it. Some say you have to make a choice -- be a crappy friend and a good parent or vice versa, but I say good friends understand that your flakiness isn't a personal reflection on your friendship, but rather a symptom of parenthood. Flake on.
|Take a nice picture? Never.|
2. Expect to lose inhibitions. Silliness happens, and it's silliness that often makes your little one giggle. You think crack is addictive?? I kicked my crack habit the moment I heard my baby laugh. [Disclaimer: I have never done crack. I do not plan to do crack. I do not condone the doing of crack. Stop doing crack. Drugs are bad, mmmkay?] ANYWHO, you'll find that you'll do...well, just about whatever to hear that baby giggle again, even if it means shaking your head back and forth and making sounds like a dog that's lost its bark.
3. Expect to disregard modesty. Modesty? What's that? Haha. When your baby starts screaming in their bed while you're trying to shower, you don't care what you look like as you barge out to see what ails the tiny one. Wet carpet? It'll dry. Half-shampooed hair? Wear a ponytail. Guests scarred for life? That's what therapy is for.
|We can hang.|
4. Expect to find yourself sacrificing your "mad money." While we're totally house poor (as in, bills are paid, food is on the table, but no, I don't have the money to go out for the night), I do like to save up a little here and there to eat out for lunch or to buy something I've had my eye on for awhile. I've found those things are a lot less important than getting that cute pair of baby pajamas that are on sale, or that teething pacifier, or that adorable giraffe... I'll just eat beans and rice again for lunch, haha.
5. Expect that the public won't understand gender. Boys wear blue, girls wear pink with hair bows, end of story. If you're like me, you balk at these traditional ideals. I like to dress our little girl in all sorts of colors, and I don't put hairbands on her often. (They look so constrictive!) And not everything she owns is frilly...she even has a onesie that has Spock on it. (Live long and prosper.) We also use a "gender neutral" car seat and stroller, so of course everyone asks me how old my "little boy" is. Eh, we just roll with it. They mean well.
6. Expect more self-confidence. Okay, I'm afraid I'm losing you here. At least hear me out before you hit that little red "x." I get it. You carried a baby around for 9+ months (or less?), and your body shows it. Even if you've lost all that baby weight and then some (good for you, now pass me the chips), you may still have some evidence of that baby. Somewhere. Ok, fine, maybe some of you don't. I, on the other hand, am still sporting a kangaroo pouch (great for babies to snuggle into), stretch marks, the linea nigra (Google if confused), and huge boobs; however, I think my body is dynamite. I GREW someone in it. That is so freaking cool! So what if my hips are bigger than yours? I pushed a human through them. So there!
7. Expect to find your inner b*tch. There's no other word for it. Some call it your mama bear instincts, but that sounds too furry and cuddly. With that additional self-confidence comes a realization that all those people that were parents before you...well, it's a level playing field now, and you have a little one to protect. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks, says, or does, your number one priority is your baby. Sure, you can still be polite and as respectful as possible, but bottom line is no one's feelings matter if it means compromising your child's care.
|All the "firsts" are wonderful.|
8. Expect (continued) unsolicited advice. Okay, so you thought all the unsolicited advice would stop once you actually had the baby, right? Wrong! It actually gets a little worse. And everyone wants to share their parenting stories with you...and they really want you to parent your child the same way, because that will validate their choices. Well, boohoo, they had their chance. They may have done a great job, they may have totally screwed up, but that doesn't matter. That was them and their children. This is about you and your child. So just smile and make neutral comments and excuse yourself from the situation ASAP.
9. Expect little support for breastfeeding. Yeah, you're probably tired of hearing about this from me, but I had no idea how big a deal it was until I had my baby. We live in a money-centric society, so formula is the gospel. Don't let that discourage you. Your body fed your baby for 9 months...do you really think it can't do it after that baby is born? If you feel unsure, shy, or just need advice, don't just reach for the bottle because it's "easier," reach out for advice from a bfing mom. And if she doesn't help you, reach out to the La Leche League. (You can always email me at email@example.com and if I can't help you, I can put you in touch with someone who can.)
|For every tear, there's a hundred smiles.|
10. Expect the ups and downs. It's not all rainbows and butterflies. There are late nights, early mornings, lots of body fluids, lots of tears, lots of laughs, lots of....everything. There's ups and downs every single day, but the ups certainly outnumber the downs. Hang in there...and if you're feeling particularly sad, reach out to a friend or trusted counselor. It shouldn't feel that way. :)
Happy parenting, y'all.