Saturday, April 17, 2010

Top Ten things NO one told you about parenting!

let's be honest, there's no way to completely prepare for being a parent. and no matter how many children you have, it's always a learning curve. we all knew we'd love them, we knew our priorities would change, we even knew we'd probably be broke! but there are secrets of the parenting club that no one shares ahead of time. maybe so the world keeps producing?

10. pregnancy sucks. before you have kids, you see these adorable pregnant women out and you can't wait to join the club! they seem to be glowing, they can eat whatever they want and people always open doors for them~ perfect! what they don't tell you is that glow is irritation mixed with sleep deprivation, they've had heartburn for 63 days straight and they currently have a pair of ginormous maternity underwear cutting off the circulation to their upper body. the amazing thing is that once it's over and you have your sweet baby, you forget how miserable you were and want to do it all over again as soon as you see another pregnant woman!

9. while we're on the topic of beginnings, let's touch on the beauty of childbirth. we know it's going to hurt, that's why they have drugs! they say it's comparable to a gall stones in a man. i'm calling BS on that one. as a person who's had several unmedicated births I'm telling you that any man who's felt that kind of pain would have thrown himself off a cliff. you know they can't handle that. but i'm getting off track. even if you choose the epidural, there's still alot of pain involved. from stitches to the contractions after the baby, it's no party. we won't even go into the fact that you can barely walk after the first one.

8. then that precious little baby is born. it's love at first sight... maybe. you're entire pregnancy you've dreamt about the moment they lay that baby on your chest. you've fantasized about how wonderful it will be and how in love you will be instantly. but no one tells you that sometimes it takes awhile. that maybe you have an emergency c-section or your baby can't latch on or you are crippled by postpartum depression. there are many variables that can delay the bonding process with a new baby. in those instances what you really need is someone to tell you not to sweat it. it will happen in it's own time and you will love that baby even more than you thought possible. just be patient.

7. the body, oh the poor body. we've discussed this one many times before so we'll keep this brief but oh my. things that used to be firm and perky and tight are now sagging and flabby and... well, you get the picture.

6. you always imagined you'd protect your children, that's a no brainer. what you may not have known is the crazy, irrational person you would become if your child was in any way hurt or picked on. suddenly you're this angry, vengeful psychopath ready to storm the playground and beat the snot out of that classmate that hurt your little one's feelings at lunch yesterday. even while your brain is telling you that you're being crazy, your heart is on a rampage! you've officially turned into that parent. even though you swore you wouldn't before you had kids!

5. tv is your new best friend. you said your kids wouldn't watch tv. and on the rare occasion they did, it would be super educational. suddenly you find yourself parking your baby in an exersaucer in front of "the price is right" just for a few minutes of peace! you thought you would only resort to such things for vital necessities such as using the bathroom. now you'd just like to have a five minute phone conversation without interruption.

4. i'm sure you assured your beloved during your pregnancy that having kids would not affect your sex life. you two would never become like those other married couples who joke about their waning sex life. and along comes Jr. suddenly you're tired and unshowered and hormonal and you're-pretty-sure-that-if-he-touches-you-you'll-punch-him! it's normal, it happens to the best of us. but if i may inject just a bit of advice from a mom of five: don't let it become habit! give yourself a month or two after baby to recover and then do your best to get back to whatever you had before. even if you don't feel like it, meet his needs. i promise that even if you have to force it in the beginning, eventually you'll be back to enjoying it like you did before. and your marriage will benefit from it. obviously i would know, seeing as how i keep getting pregnant!

3. i don't think anyone ever mentioned to me what a total idiot i would become in trying to entertain my children, specifically the baby. that i would make faces and sing ridiculous songs and generally act like a crazy person. anything for a laugh. that my husband would let the girls put makeup on him and paint his nails and then take pictures of him! that we would dance around and roll on the floor purely for their enjoyment. or that it would be totally worth it just to hear the baby giggle.

2. i think the thing that blindsided me the most about motherhood was that my biggest judges would be other mothers. i always thought motherhood was this super tight, exclusive club of women who would never let one another down. what i found was that no one would judge you as much as other women. whatever you do there would be someone else who thinks their method is the better way. it's taken me years to learn not to let them get to me. to do things the way i feel is best and not concern myself with the opinions of people who don't matter. on the flip side, no one will ever understand what we go through daily like another mom. they can also be our greatest allies. i am blessed to have several real, genuine friends in this journey who withhold judgement and give grace, support and love. that's priceless.

1. i think the biggest thing i was unprepared for is that motherhood will change you in every area of your life. you knew your life would change in the expected areas. you didn't see that every nook and cranny of your life and self would never be the same. once you've been changed by motherhood, there's no going back. but i like to think that as moms we have become the best version of ourselves. or at least that's what i'm telling myself... that's my story and i'm sticking to it!

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