20 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Had Kids

by Deanna Verbouwens

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Image source: iStockPhotos

After seeing and holding the newest member of our family I've realized that there is nothing as pure, beautiful and amazing as the sight of a new born baby, but the smell, the smell of a newborn so lovely, so clean, it actually reminded me of the air in Oregon, strange I know, but it did.

That wonderful smell was like a spell cast over me, it almost made me tell my husband that we should go for number three, well for a good five minutes until that feeling of being knocked over by a wave and tossed around in the surf made me realize that I can't possibly have another baby.

No way. No how.

Having a baby is hard work, as cute and cuddly, as beautiful and loving it is to have a child it's also scary, exhausting, literally exhausting, and hard.  And I'm done.  I actually applaud the moms that have more than two children, to me they are just amazing, how do they do it all? I feel faint just thinking about it.

Nevertheless, all stages of Mommyhood are hard, and I really wish someone sat me down before I had children to really tell me the in’s and outs, to explain that there will be very high highs’ and extremely low low’s. And maybe just maybe I wouldn't be such a mental case.

So here are some things I wish I knew before I had my kids:

1. You won’t sleep. Even if your baby is a “sleeper” you still won’t sleep; how can you? The media, doctors and everyone in between will worry you so much you’ll never sleep soundly again. The only real sleep you’ll get is when you go away, without your kids, all by yourself in a hotel room, or a padded room.

2. Little bitty babies - think of them as little bitty humans - some days you're cold, some days you're hot, some days you’re cranky, some days you’re not, some days you’re not hungry, some days you can eat an entire cake - in one bite. Babies have their moods too! It’s one of the most challenging “things” to grasp and can be rough if you’re a Type A-person and want things a certain way but try to go with the flow, it will help a lot - trust me. TRY!

3. Choose two or three close family or friends that you can bounce your questions off of, if you ask too many people you’ll end up in that padded room.

4. Mommy brain. You won’t remember a thing, don’t worry it happens to all of us.

5. TRUST yourself. Please trust yourself. PLEASE.

6. You will make mistakes and it’s okay.

7. Don’t compare your child to anyone, even a sibling. If Johnny walks at 8 months, and Samantha at 12 months, so be it, it happens.

8. There is an END in sight with every stage of child rearing. From the early months of sleep deprivation to the terrible two’s to the potty training to the biting to the everything, even the puberty, the teenage angst - you’ll get through it, be patient.

9. Trust your instincts, it may take a little fine tuning but you do have natural maternal instincts, yes, I’m still finding mine but they are there.

10. When someone is watching your child, ok when your mom or mother-in-law is watching your child, don’t be a control freak. Let them care for their grandchild the way they want and the way they know how. They’ve raised you, and your spouse…didn’t they?

11. You are not strange or alone when you feel that a trip to Target is liberating. It is.

12. Bottle fed, breast fed, cereal, fruits, vegetables and whatever else, feeding your child is a chore. The only joy you’ll get when you feed your child is in the early months - breast or bottle fed - except maybe at 2 am, sleep deprived, your husband is sleeping in your cozy bed and you want to drive a hammer to his head because well, he’s sleeping. But yes, the early stages are wonderful, anything past six months is horrible and not at all enjoyable.

13. Listen to your children - all ages, listening is hard but do it, you'll learn so much.

14. You will become a human napkin. Invest in spot cleaner.

15. They grow up quickly.  It's cliche I realize but it's true, stop to ENJOY your children.

16. The laundry never ends. Much like the mail, it never stops, it never will, the laundry room will be your best friend.

17. You will feel everything your child is going through and then some. The amazing, the good, the bad, and the ugly. The amazing is well amazing, the good is great, the bad and ugly hurt so much you’ll feel like you can’t breathe and that your heart will stop. So painful. Imagine being a grandparent? Holy moly! This has to be 100x worse.

18. Be kind to yourself, take care of yourself, take time for yourself - an hour a week - if it’s a walk, reading a book, taking a class, mani/pedi do something, you have to decompress or you won’t be able to take care of anyone.

19. Let your children be themselves. A psychologist told me that our children are exaggerated versions of ourselves, I get that but they do have their own personality, quirks, and interests as well. If Johnny doesn’t like tennis as much as mommy, well so be it.

20. Your children define unconditional love. Yes, you love your husband, partner, parents, siblings, friends, relatives but there is nothing like the love you have for your child. It’s overwhelming, unexplainable, real, and exhausting.

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