Before I was a parent, there were so many things I didn’t know or didn’t really understand. The big things were easy to spot – complete and total lack of sleep, absolutely no self-time, how much coffee would be vital to my existence…
It’s the little things that have surprised me though. Those things I didn’t even think about before I was a parent that now can make or break a day or night.
Before You Were A Mom, You Never Thought About:
1. Creaky floor boards
While these were annoying before I was a parent, or even creepy, now they are landmines at bedtime. You will know exactly where all the creaky floor boards are in your house, especially if one is in your child’s room. It’s a necessity to figure out the best routes in and out of the room so you don’t set one off and wake that kid up minutes after you finally got them to sleep. Or you could try escaping this way…
2. Getting out of the house
Before I was a parent, I knew exactly how much time it would take me to get ready. I knew I could shower, wash and dry my hair and get out of the house with about an hour of leeway time. Now, I have to add 30 minutes to 1 hour of buffer time to any trip out into the world with the kids. They make running to the store much more complicated. If you actually have to make them presentable you better leave at least two hours of prep time for all of you and manage who needs what when. You don’t want to dress someone who then wants a snack which will end up all over their clothing.
I knew this was the issue with kids but I grossly underestimated this. Throughout teething babies constantly have drippy, runny noses. When they are sick they have drippy, runny noses. If they have allergies they have drippy, runny noses. In all those cases, you end up with snot on you. It’s on your clothing, your skin and even in your hair. It’s thick, it’s yellow or green most of the time and it’s constant. Even if you teach them how to wipe their noses, like I have with my 18-month-old, I still get snot all over me when he snuggles in and nuzzles my shoulder or neck. And I can’t turn him away because he’s cute. It’s like his super power.
Similar to snot, I had no idea how often I would be the one to get thrown up on. I can tell you I NEVER thought about this before I was a parent. The idea of spit up was as far as my brain could take the scenario and that is NOT the same as throw up. My daughter got the stomach flu around 7 months old. About a year later she got it again. My son throws up anytime he starts coughing really bad. He also had the stomach flu twice this year. He threw up on me 11 times one night this fall. ELEVEN times. There is no preparing yourself for this. Just make sure you have plenty of alternate clothing if your kids become ill.
Before you were a mom …
As an adult, I would snack when I was hungry. I would stop somewhere and pick up a coffee (Yes, coffee is a snack) or just wait until my next meal. You can’t do this with kids. You need to pack some kind of snack – goldfish, fruit, pouches, fruit snacks, cut veggies and more. If you are out without snacks and the kids want a snack, you’re in trouble. Just try to find something out there that’s not fired or hope another mom takes pity on you and shares.
You think these things are simple before you have kids, but they’re not. They all have a lot of parts nowadays and the parts have parts. You need special bottle brushes to clean these things so that you don’t get food particles all over the bottles and then you need special, smaller brushes to clean their parts.
7. Putting on a pair of shoes
I swear it can take my pre-school daughter 15 minutes to put on one pair of shoes. Her shoes are Velcro. It shouldn’t be that hard, but it is. I have to ask her about five times before I usually end up doing it for her. We also MUST make sure the seam of her sock is in the appropriate place before putting her shoes on. The world will end if this isn’t right.
7. Car seat rules
Before kids you assume they can wear their coats in the car seats. You have no idea that’s not recommended. You don’t know there is a spot that’s considered the optimal spot for the car seat buckle to sit. You also never think about how long they need to be rear facing. Now if that chest clip is not in place or someone tries to put them in forward facing car seat with a coat on you freak out.
8. Family photos or any photo
Prior to being a parent your biggest photo concern was probably whether or not your spouse was smiling weird or a hair was out of place. Today you still worry about that stuff but now you have to just get everyone looking at the camera first. My son looks at the camera like a deer caught in headlights and my daughter will give me the forced, pre-schooler smile about 75 percent of the time. You know the one. It’s the smile where they look like they are growling at the camera and have widened their eyes as far as they can in an effort to look happy. It doesn’t matter if this is a group selfie, me photographing them with my camera or an actual photo session with a photographer. Pictures have become a chore. I need to take about 40 to get one with everyone facing forward and giving me something that resembles a smile. Luckily, natural looking photos are still a big trend because they don’t require everyone to look at the camera. I’m convinced some frustrated, photographer mom started this trend.
10. Night time necessities
My son loves to snuggle blankets. He doesn’t want it on him, he just wants it to snuggle. He also has a hangover from breastfeeding and loves skin to skin. He still has to stick his hand down my shirt to really be able to relax. If I’m not there he will accept my husband as a second choice, but I literally have to be out of the house to have this happen. If I’m there he will just scream at the top of his lungs until my husband hands him over. My daughter wants a blanket on her to fall asleep but needs it off of her the second she falls asleep otherwise she wakes up from being too hot. Not having a blanket, the right cup for your milk or the proper parent’s chest can totally throw off our night.
11. Foodie quirks
Did you ever think it would be so vital to have a sandwich cut appropriately? My daughter is crazy about having her sandwiches cut in squares. If it’s wrong she will tell you it is wrong. If one of them gets a cup with a straw and the other doesn’t there will be shrieking and possibly tears. If a pink plate is available my daughter will need the pink plate and my son always insists on a utensil. In all fairness, I think he has some sensory issues because he doesn’t like anything on his hands, but whoever even knew about food sensory issues before kids? Right?
What are the little things that surprised you about being a parent?
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