Now that my baby is four months old (how did this already happen?!), I wanted to take a minute and share a few of the things I’ve learned so far.
1. No amount of articles or books or videos will prepare you for the reality of parenthood.
I am a researcher. Once we found out we were expecting, I followed every pregnancy and parenting account I could find on social media, I read multiple books, I religiously read my daily email from What To Expect. While it was informative and helpful, none of it prepared me for the reality of being a parent. As it turns out, it’s just one of those things you have to learn by doing.
2. It’s true: no matter what your baby looks like, you will think they are the cutest baby you’ve ever seen.
I’ve seen a lot of babies in my day, and certainly some really adorable ones, but none of them hold a candle to my little one. Since he was born, my husband and I sit around and just admire how cute our little creation is. So I get it now, no matter how cute he is compared to other babies, all I can see is the most perfect angel baby.
3. All my babysitting and nannying paid off.
I was much better prepared for the crying, lack of sleep and responsibilities of a newborn than I expected, and I credit a lot of that to babysitting and nannying in high school and college. I’ve held a crying baby who just wouldn’t stop. I’ve babysat a baby who was supposed to sleep my entire visit but woke up every 15 minutes instead. I was certainly exhausted those first few weeks, but I generally knew what to expect and I believe that really helped me handle it better.
4. The chores never end.
Apparently I overlooked some of the chores when I was babysitting, because this is so much more than I imagined. From washing bottles to emptying the diaper pail, to almost daily laundry and constant drool/spit up cleanup, I was a little unprepared. As soon as you have all the clothes washed and put away, they poop on everything. We are getting used to our new normal and have figured out a few hacks to keep the chores under control.
5. It takes an hour to prepare to leave the house (especially during quarantine).
With a baby, you have to prepare for every possibility. That means always having a fully stocked diaper bag, traveling with the breast pump, planning around naptime, planning around feeding time, etc. We are getting the hang, but with quarantine, we pretty much spend all of our time at home, so it’s not something we do often.
6. Being a parent has brought me more joy than I ever could have imagined.
I always wanted to be a mom, and I knew I’d enjoy it. But the joy it’s brought me is irreplaceable and irreplicable. I am so happy, and I never would have imagined it would feel like this.