Until you spend a lot of time around young children, it is impossible to understand how much attitude they have. At the age of one, whether they can talk or not, they will respond to you with eye rolls and shoulder shrugs and, unless you have something that they want, they will completely ignore you.
Once you become a parent, the best part of the day will be when your child goes to bed. They are so demanding and exhausting, once they are in bed, it is lovely to have some ‘me time’ and catch up on all of the jobs that you didn’t do during the day (so, everything, really)!
Possibly, one of the best things that come with having a baby are the endless cuddles that you receive. Even when your baby is screaming at 3 o clock in the morning, the cuddles that you receive make it all worthwhile. It is an amazing feeling when you are the only person that your child wants, and the feeling cannot be compared with anything else. Make the most of the cuddles though – when they begin to gain independence and start walking, you will no longer receive them unless your baby is tired or poorly.
In all seriousness, post-natal depression is something that affects more than 1 in 10 women and, while less common, also affects men. It is a widespread mental illness that can affect any parent, from all walks of life. Whilst it is a common illness, it is important that anyone who thinks that they are suffering seeks professional help as soon as possible.
Normally caused by your child deciding she/he wants to party from midnight until six in the morning. Remedied by fifteen cups of tea and a power nap in the afternoon.
Your child’s life will be a series of firsts. Their first smile, their first tooth, their first word, the first time they roll over – the list is endless. Everything is incredible and your child’s development will always be the greatest thing that happens. Each first will be so exciting and whilst all children go through these developments, you will always thing that your baby is the most amazing little person on the planet.
Your child will only wear clothes for a short period of time, so shopping for new clothes and new shoes is endless. It’s even more annoying when you’ve paid £28 for a pair of shoes from Clarks and your child needs new ones three weeks later. Smile.
Write it off, it isn’t going to happen. Ever.
Personally, one of the most amazing things about having a child is their innocence. They haven’t been tainted by the bad things that happen in the world, they love freely, and they take excitement from all of the little things that they do. They see everything with a fresh pair of eyes, and they don’t see anything negatively.
Everything that you do will be judged. Ignore them and do your own thing. These people will have struggled when they were new parents, too.
Kiss goodbye to your sex life.
If you think you will ever sleep with your partner ever again, you are so, so wrong.
Obviously, to get your beautiful baby you have to go through labour. The best bit advice that can be given is to enjoy it. Whilst it sounds like the most bizarre thing to say, labour is a moment between you, your birthing partner and your child that you will never share with anyone else. It is a surreal experience and whilst it will be difficult, it is incredible and something that you will treasure forever. The amount of love that is in the room when your baby is delivered is indescribable and something that you will remember for the rest of your life. Labour is something that you will only go through a minimal amount of times – enjoy it!
Unfortunately, with a new baby, comes so much stuff. From the minute they are born, your house will be a mess and it only gets worse as they get older. When they begin to walk, they begin to play with every single toy that they own, and unfortunately, they get spread across the whole house. The only time your house will be even remotely tidy will be when your child is in bed, and even then, you are so exhausted, you’ll only be able to manage a quick tidy up before you collapse on the sofa with your partner.
Nursery, Childminders or SAHM?
There are so many different options that are open to new parents. If you want to go back to work, make sure that you go and view all of the childcare that is available to you. You might have ideas of sending your child to a nursery, but in reality prefer the ‘home-from-home’ approach of a childminder. Make sure you explore all options, your child is precious and you want them to get along wherever they go.
Even before your child is born, everyone will want to give their opinion on how to parent. They will tell you that breastfeeding is wrong, that formula feeding is wrong, that you should leave your baby to cry, that you shouldn’t let your baby sleep in your bed, blah blah blah. Everything that you are told will be contradictory and will leave you feeling even more stressed about parenting than you were originally. Ignore them. You are the parent and you know your baby the best. Do whatever you think is right, and don’t feel pressured to do anything that you don’t want to.
You need to memorise this name, because Peppa Pig is going to become a huge part of your life. The television show will become a third parent to your child, and the theme tune will embed itself so deeply into your mind that it’s the only thing that you can ever hear. Despite loathing Peppa Pig (because she is a spiteful, little bitch who – with her mum – spends each episode repeatedly fat-shaming Daddy Pig), you will be eternally grateful because for, at least ten minutes every day, you can use the bathroom by yourself and possibly even load the dishwasher.
Bringing a baby into your family is difficult, and will often lead to quarrels between you and your partner. It is normal and nothing to worry about, both of you will be tired and stressed, and will get on each other’s nerves. It won’t last forever, you will both get used to having a new addition to your family, and it does get much easier!
The whole dynamics of a relationship change when you have a baby. Money becomes tighter and you’ll no longer have the freedom to go out for tea once a week, or go to the pub in the evenings. Whilst things change, it is possible to still have romantic evenings with your significant other. When baby goes to bed, the time that you and your partner spend together becomes more important and something that should be treasured. Even watching a television programme in the evening with a glass of wine and a take away is amazing, and something that you begin to look forward to.
Most people are selfish to some extent, but becoming a parent changes that. You can’t afford to think about yourself first because you have a baby that depends on you for everything. It is a scary thing, but becoming parents makes you grow as a person, and you think about your child before anyone else.
Screaming, kicking, and throwing themselves on the floor. Tantrums will become a huge part of your life when your child does not get what they want. It is up to you how to deal with these tantrums, but keep in mind, the behaviour is normal and something that all children go through, they are just learning. Don’t let people put you down if your child has a tantrum in public – it is so common and no one is judging you, they are empathizing (and probably praying that their child doesn’t join in)!
Urghh Will you just give mummy five minutes before she loses her shit?!
This will be a statement that you will say multiple times a day once you have a child. Children are demanding and want your attention all day, every day. They don’t understand that the world doesn’t revolve around them, which makes it difficult to do anything, ever.
After giving birth, your body will never be the same again. Pushing out a 8lb from an area that is definitely not that big will take its toll. Something that is really common with people that have had a vaginal birth is that their bladder becomes weaker. Running, bouncing on a trampoline or sneezing become problematic and something that you don’t want to be caught short with. Just make sure you’re always carrying pantyliners and you practice your pelvic floors, and you’ll be fine!
This is the only thing that will get you through the day. Stock up.
Xenodochial: being friendly to strangers
When you become a parent (or a dog-owner, but that’s another story), you are expected to engage in conversation with everyone, and I mean, everyone. Strangers will stop you to tell you that your baby (often whilst mistaking the sex) is beautiful/looks like you/doesn’t look like you/is wearing an adorable outfit or to ask who knitted their jumper/how old are they/do they sleep through the night (NO – and they never will, either) or whether they have any teeth. It is horrendous. When my baby was a few months old, I nipped into the local shop for some milk and it took me 40 minutes. It is ridiculous. As soon as you enter into parenthood, you have to become a respectable person who will speak to anyone who looks at your child, regardless of the fact that your child is screaming, you’re in a rush, you’re surviving on two hours sleep and you hate people.
One of the many stains that will stay with you forever, along with sick, wee, poo, snot, milk, any food matter and all drinks. Embrace it – you’re going to be covered in it for a while. Black clothing hides these stains quite well so invest in a new wardrobe. Avoid anything white at all costs!
From about six months into your pregnancy for (what feels like) the rest of your life, you will survive on broken sleep, a crappy diet and eight cups of day a day (of which only one is warm). Normally, all make up, beautiful clothes and even hair brushes are forgotten about until your child turns one, and even then, just brushing your hair requires a huge effort. You will turn into a sleep-deprived zombie, unable to fully function in social situations and you will crave sleep, a hot cup of tea and the ability to use the bathroom without an audience.