Day 9 Prompt:
Surprise: What surprised you the most this year?
Hmmm. This is a hard one. There wasn’t really a moment that surprised me. Which is kind of disappointing! I am very much a planner and like things to happen the way that I planned them. But wouldn’t it be fun to just have a total fun surprise that I didn’t plan?!?
But I digress. Probably what surprised me most this year was what shouldn’t have surprised me at all. Everyone I talked to while I was pregnant felt the need to tell me how hard it is being new parents. They shared all their horror stories of no sleep, exploding diapers, terrible childcare experiences, colic, acid reflux, not eating, etc. The told me it was going to be REALLY HARD those first few months. And I just shrugged it off and thought “yeah, yeah, yeah I get it.”
Well you know what?? They were RIGHT! But not for any of the reasons they told me. We’ve been very fortunate to not experience those pitfalls I mentioned previously. Emma is a happy baby, great sleeper, good eater, perfectly healthy. So here are a few of the things that no one warned me about (aka, what surprised me) regarding being a parent:
1) No matter how much you love to cook (like I do), your dinners will mostly consist of PB&J, whatever you can warm up from your freezer, pizza delivery, or anything you can pick up at the drive-thru or carryout. You must be able to eat this food with one hand. You will never eat hot food again.
2) You will freak out when you realize you’re out of any of the following: paper plates (see #1), paper towels, diapers, cold beer, wine. Side Note: Honest Company diapers are the shiz for many reasons. But my favorite is that they deliver a whole month supply to your door. You will never run out of diapers again.
3) Related to #2, going to the grocery store is so much harder until they are big enough to sit in the shopping cart. I’ve tried to slice it many ways… Note: it is not possible to push a stroller and a shopping cart at the same time. It is also not possible to have room for any actual groceries if you put the carseat in the cart. Best solution I’ve come up with: wear Emma in a sling or carrier so that I can have hands free and an empty cart.
4) You don’t have time to shower. If you can actually time it right to get your shower in before the baby wakes up, it’s just not enjoyable. You’re always hurrying, trying to squeeze in time to towel off, maybe dry your hair, get dressed, etc. So when you actually have the benefit of your partner around to watch the baby while you shower, treat it like the most luxurious experience ever. Use the most expensive shampoo and soap you can find. Stay in until you are all pruny.
5) It makes you kinda bitchy. My poor hubby gets snapped at a lot more often these days. I’m sorry, Kev. I blame the general lack of sleep, the brain drain, and the fact that I’m trying to rule the world (or just work full-time, teach part time, and be a mom overtime). You have to learn to be more patient with each other.
6) Breastfeeding is not a cakewalk. I heard this in vague terms before I had Emma, but no one really gives you the full picture. Balancing work while nursing, pumping and all that is a challenge. If you ever have to travel without baby, that’s a whole ‘nother challenge involving storing enough milk in the freezer, learning creative places to pump in airports, cars, etc. So my advice: Make a lactation consultant your new best friend. Give it time.. you’re both new to it. And regularly read up on all the reasons why giving your baby breastmilk is so important. The proofs and benefits behind it are so convincing that it will keep you from giving up.
7) Despite the best efforts of grandparents and friends, Emma is always happiest with mom. So while many can try to help out by watching her, if the baby is upset and you have to listen to them cry (and you will even hear phantom crying when you’re away), you’d rather just suck it up and hold the baby while you deal with #1-6 above.
Yes, parenting a baby is hard. It’s also amazingly rewarding. But that part was no surprise to me.