Now that I've got 3 years of parenting under my belt I've become more aware of the long road we have ahead of us raising our wonderful little Liam. I'm definitely not an expert by any means, but for those that are just getting their head into the parenting game there are a few things I've learned that people don't share. Sure parenting is amazing and the best experience of my life so far, but let's be honest no one talks about the bad stuff and I think it's worth knowing. So here are 10 things I've learned that I kinda wish someone would have shared before I took the role as a parent.
- Your relationship with your significant other is going to change. There's no prediction on how, if or when, but it will. It happens to everyone. For some it gets better and I hate to say that for some it becomes more of a challenge, but it will change and you'll have to work even harder to get to a new normal.
- It's ok to be selfish. Yes it's ok to have a weekly girls night out and yes it's ok to still follow your dreams. Just because you have a kid doesn't mean life as you once knew it stops right there. It's important to keep the things you love about pre-parenthood in your life to maintain a good mental state.
- Kids will teach you so much about life it will scare the shit out of you. Seriously! A day doesn't go by where I don't learn something new about myself or about the world that I didn't know. These little munchkins sometimes are so full of wisdom it's like you have your very own buddha living in your household.
- To that point comes my next thing people don't tell you - Just because you're the parent doesn't mean you're always right. Case and point - my son corrected me when I confidently said that a baby kangaroo is called a cub. In case you don't know the answer, it's called a Joey and I was tested on my knowledge when Liam asked me the question. When I got the answer wrong he schooled me with the right answer.
- You won't sleep a full night unless you're traveling without your child or until your child is 18 (whichever one comes first) and out of the house. And yes, 5 hours of sleep is enough time to function.
- We are partially to blame for the Terrible Twos. These kids are finally at an age where they understand their surroundings and let's be honest as adults (especially us women) we go through a wave of emotions on a daily basis that they have yet to learn how to deal with. So while we like to blame our kids at this stage for their terror-ific behavior - honestly I think we contribute to a lot of it.
- If you've never been someone who cries, be prepared to cry more than you have in your life. Everything from overwhelming joy to frustration, be prepared for the waterworks.
- Kids will open your eyes to your worst qualities and you realize how prominent those qualities are when they mimic your behavior. It's a gut wrenching feeling!
- Remember that someone is always watching you and your every move. Whether you signed up for this or not, you're a role model which may seem like the same thing as a parent, but it's kinda different. Your every move is being monitored - how you eat, your opinion about someone else, your relationships with others - these are all things your child learns without you actually teaching them.
- You'll doubt yourself constantly asking "Am I a good parent?" and the answer is "Yes". Don't ask why or how, just know that the plain fact that you're doubting yourself proves that you're a good parent. Parenting is defined in many ways and so long as you feel like you're giving it your all, then there shouldn't be any question about it.
This will be an ever growing list and I'm confident of it, but despite the dark sides of parenting the bright side overpowers any of these challenging moments!