25 Things I Wish I Knew Before Having Kids

Jill Smokler
Being a Mom

Having children is a completely shocking occurrence. I don't know a single woman who was well-prepared for the crazy ride that is motherhood. People will tell you how miraculous it all is, how you'll love your children more than you ever thought possible, and how you would do anything for them. And it's all true.

But, they never tell you the real stuff. The stuff you actually need to know. The stuff that makes you feel inadequate, undeserving, and alone. Well, they may not, but we bloggers will.

Here's what we wish we'd known before having children ...

1. That you can become angry, irritable, and full of rage. Or that you can start having scary thoughts of harming your children. Or that you can be so terribly numb, and feel disconnected from everything and everyone. Or that you can be breathtakingly sad. And that any of these can be symptoms of postpartum depression or related illnesses, because PPD is never "one size fits all." Finally, that perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are common, and are temporary and treatable with professional help. There is no need to try and do it on your own. Katherine, Post Partum Progress

2. That no child is perfect. They all do utterly distasteful things from time to time and your child's behavior isn't always a reflection of your efforts as a parent. What's more important is the way in which you deal with the aftermath. Sarah, The Stroller Ballet Blog

3. That your sex life will never be the same. Oh, sure, maybe at first with that first one ... then they grow. They want to sleep in your bed ... in the middle. Or they wander in at inopportune moments: "Yay! I wanna play horsie too!" Then they are tweens and suspicious. Then, they invite every friend they have to stay overnight at your house and you are more booked than the Holiday Inn. Julia, Hope and Joy Home

4. That sleeping through the night meant 4-5 hours. I would have slept the last 4 months of pregnancy so I could be ready. Ottmama

5. That other moms, whether online or in person, are SO important to maintain your own sanity. It took me three years to figure that one out and now that's my first piece of advice for my expecting friends. Sara, Sara Plays House

6. That you can read and read all the baby books in existence, and sometimes they just won't apply to your child. Every child is different. Don't stress out about what "should" be or what everyone else's kid is doing. Yours is unique. You know your child better than any book ever could. It's OK to do things your way. Julie, 3 Moms in One

7. How incredibly big your vagina can actually stretch! Really didn't need that mirror in delivery room, thanks. Tracy, My Diaper Diaries

8. That you should dream big wonderful things about children and you will be very lucky to have healthy children. BUT, if you have a child with a disability or special need, it's going to be OK too! Maria, Allergy Life in Loudoun

9. To rest when the baby does. To forget about cleaning for the first year. To relax. And that it's OK to have a glass of wine or bottle of beer when you are breastfeeding. Allison, Alli-n-Son

10. That it would be YEARS before I felt like myself again, but that in the middle of being MOM (ie -- the human alarm clock, mess-cleaner-upper, cook, nurse, pillow, cow, librarian, etc.), I would find an even BETTER version of ... the me that I lost when I became a mom. I am a changed person. I spent years feeling sad about losing "me" when I should have embraced the person I had become through my children. Laura, Better in Bulk

11. That my world would revolve around almost entirely around bodily fluids. Stephanie, Adventures in Estrogen

12. That breastfeeding is a LEARNED skill. Breastfeeding is hard, that your nipples might crack and bleed. That when that baby wants to be fed and is crying, you just might cry along with her. Oh ... and that your boobs will never ever look the same again ... and yet it is so worth it! (And yet if it is not for you, give up the guilt and move on!) Modern Mom, How to Survive Life in the Suburbs

13. That a quick 5-minute run to the store would turn into a 45-minute fiasco of bundling up and packing up. Corine, Complicated Mama

14. That those sagging boobs that made you cringe on "other women" when you were young will somehow make their way onto your own body.  (Note: The word, boobs, may also be replaced with ass, stomach, arm flab, etc. Take your pick.) Francesca, SITS Girls

15. To develop a thicker skin to let all the "helpful" advice from the husband's relatives roll off my back. To not get tangled up in "mama drama" at the elementary schools, and that parenting IS NOT a competition, we all have the same goal, the point is to get there. Amanda, Three Times the Charm

16. That TV time would never be the same. Dora, Team Umizoomi, and other kid shows dominate all the TVs in the house. Sybil, A Moms Blog

17. That you'll appreciate showers like never before in part because you realise that they are more of a luxury than a necessity, but mostly because they become the only 5-minute slice of solitude that you can carve out in a 24-hour period. Zoey, Good Goog

18. That babies, strollers, and naptimes turn into homework, texting, and Big Kid dilemmas faster than you can imagine. Emily, 16 Balls in the Air

19. Not to underestimate the importance of taking care of yourself because if you are not well, it's hard to take good care of the kids. And as I have discovered, it always catches up to me in one way or another if I don't take a little time to recharge my batteries. Erin, Mommy on The Spot

20. To wear a bra while having "Relations" with the husband if you are breastfeeding. Milk leaking and squirting places can catch you off-guard and be a little awkward!  Hudson's Coupon Lady

21. That kids aren't a 9-5 job. You can't just go home and leave it until tomorrow. Tomorrow will follow you around until it's 18. Jennifer, Sprites Keeper

22. Just how completely we'd have to give our grown-up social and cultural lives. I desperately miss R-rated movies, art galleries, grown-up museum exhibits, fine dining, and TRAVEL! We got pregnant just months after we got married and if I'd known just how hard it would be to continue these adult pursuits, we probably would have held off a couple years ... Evan, Learning to Crawl

23. That the whole finding other moms and kids to socialize with is actually more complicated than dating and can be just as heartbreaking. Jennifer, Triplez Mom

24. To take long leisurely poops, preferably while reading a good book or magazine. Moomser

25. To save the drugs they give you for childbirth for when they're teens. You'll need them. Rachel Ferrucci


Your turn! What piece of advice would you give a new mom-to-be?

{Photo courtesy of Oleg Kozlov, Fotolia}

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