For anyone about to embark on the crazy journey that is parenthood, here are 10 lessons I’ve learnt so far…
- Nothing can prepare you
You can read all the books, watch all the videos, talk to as many other parents as you can but ultimately your experience will be unique and nothing can prepare you.
- There’s only so much a baby can “slot” into your old life
Oh yes we’ve all been there. Naïve statements about how we won’t let our baby’s schedule rule the roost and we’ll just bring them along for the ride. Try it once and I promise you won’t be trying it again!
- Friendships will change
This is probably obvious given your life and priorities are about to massively change, but some of your friendships won’t stand the test. The good news is you’ll find new friendships along the way and those that stick around will be stronger than before.
- You will become last in your priority list
You probably felt like you never had enough time for yourself before but add in looking after your baby and you will forget your needs even exist.
- Amazon Prime will be your new best friend
As organised as you are pre-baby you will inevitably find a long list of things that you “need” (or “everyone else has”) once baby arrives and if you don’t have Amazon prime before I give it one week before you realise you can’t live without it.
- You will become obsessed with (and talk neurotically about) sleep
You can probably add feeding and pooing to this list too because it’s all you and your mum friends will ever talk about. But sleep is the big one. As soon as your little one has a fairly good night you will obsess over your previous day’s routine and will try to replicate it to the nth degree. But 9/10 it will have nothing to do with anything you can influence so just enjoy every bit of sleep you can get and invest in some good coffee!
- Remember to find time for you
Going back to lesson #4 it’s important that you do remain a priority, even if you’re now at the bottom. Finding time for yourself and doing things from your ‘old’ life will make sure you don’t feel resentful about your new one.
- You and your partner will probably bicker (a lot)
Thrown into a job where you both have no experience, are completely sleep deprived and someone’s life depends on it, it’s no wonder you and your partner will face your biggest test to date.
- Your respect for other parents (especially your own) will go through the roof
Instead of wishing that parent with the screaming child would ‘calm it down’ already, you will have a newfound respect and empathy for other parents. And whatever you think of your own parents before, you will look at them through different eyes when you see all they’ve faced and come through.
- It’s the hardest but most rewarding job you’ll ever do
It’s cliché but I’m sure there’s not a parent out there that would disagree. It’s likely to be the most challenging thing you’ve ever done. And there’ll be times when you think, why did I do this?! But even the tiniest smiles, coos, gurgles, laughs from that little person will make you realise why you did.