As a first time parent to a toddler, you never really fully understand the madness of why some parents behave as they do, until you become one. After flying by the seat of my pants to interpret the wants and needs of my toddler, in addition to scouring online sources for help… I came to a conclusion. Here is my list of 10 things that I never thought about as a new parent. Adults be ready for some big changes when your baby comes into your life!
- You Will Need The Patience of a Saint
Really, you will. There will be moments when you are feeling worn out and depleted of all energy, and you will have to just let those dirty dishes, pile of laundry, or toys that are lying about all over just sit there for a little while. No, you are not lazy, just tired. Plus, the little one is just going to pull everything you put back into the laundry hamper, dresser drawer, or toy box out as soon as you put things away. When things become too much, just remember to breathe deeply, and that sometimes it’s okay to walk away for a little bit…from the chores, not the child. Otherwise, you might find that your adventurous toddler has discovered a new place to climb out of, onto, or something you don’t want them to stick in their mouth is their new favorite teether. Speaking of teething…
- Teething Will Happen & The Pain May Hit Their Gums, But Your Ears
Make sure you get ready to stock up on teether toys, and be open to the type of teethers that your child will really like. Your little bundle of joy may turn into a little bundle of fussing and biting. Have some sympathy, we all had to go there at some point, before we morphed into being less cute and cuddly to the adults we are now. Keep some baby-friendly pain medication on hand, and consult your pediatrician for advice and recommendations. Semi-frozen washcloths, silicone gel-filled rings, or cold pieces of carrot might do the trick, or they might not. I found that a toothbrush with very soft bristles sometimes did the trick, but then I had to watch to make sure it didn’t go for a dip in the potty.
- Your Baby is an Avid Nudist & the Toilet is a Fascinating Bermuda Triangle of No Return
Who knows exactly the reason, but your toddler loves naked time. If it wasn’t enough to be naked in the bath, beware when it is diaper changing time. You figured making deals with them to let them run around without their socks on was enough. Nope. As soon as the diaper comes off, if they can, they will wiggle away from you with smiles and giggles. They will run freely throughout the halls, and if you’re really lucky, they’ve managed to grab hold of their soiled diaper waving about like a flag of sweet naked baby freedom. Make sure you keep your toilet seat down with the lid closed, or else you are going to get a fun surprise. Think toilet paper, toys, hair brushes, socks… You name it; if the toilet is accessible your toddler is going to throw things in there.
- You Will Stock Up & Consume More Juice Boxes and Animal Crackers Than Your Toddler
Heck, you might even try to teach your little one the art of bribes and trading…offering negotiations about nap time, putting away toys, or eating their veggies for you — I mean their juice boxes and snacks. It’s not your fault those juice boxes and snacks are just so tasty. This guilty habit only started because you wanted to show your toddler how to try something new. Then again, enjoy being a kid again for a short moment, and have an animal cracker or cookie and calm down.
- Forget About That Perfect Selfie Moment
You thought that playsuit with the animal print and ears was so adorable, but your little one didn’t. If they couldn’t struggle to get out of the outfit in time, while you get your camera ready for the perfect shot, get ready. Before you can say “Cheese!” your little bundle of joy is going to either puke, have an explosive diarrhea filled diaper, or is going to break out into tears. Those perfect shots of babies in adorable outfits are made possible with the aid of a super team of photography experts on a professional set.
- You Will Get Excited About Clipping Coupons & Scoring Deals Online
Before baby came, you and your significant other enjoyed nights out on the town, and spending with reckless abandon. Sure, you saved a bit for baby to come, but you still didn’t see the value in those sale-crazy ladies and gents who get excited over couponing. Well, your lovely little one is going to need things other than just diapers, wet wipes, baby food, clothes, toys, and books. Depending on your lifestyle and the needs of your family, coupons and sourcing items on sale is going to save you much needed money. Look at it this way, with the money saved, you can put some more aside into savings or insurance plans for your child.
- Always Be Prepared When Going Out
Take a cue from the Girl & Boy Scouts of America, and “Be prepared!” Not only do you want to make sure you always have diapers, wet wipes, and a change of clothes on hand when you go out with your little one, but plan ahead. Things seem to take longer when you are going out with a baby or toddler, so get ready 2 to 3 hours ahead of the time you need to leave out. Just trust me, and do it. Make sure you keep a bag or two on hand for dirty diapers or soiled clothing. Oh, and don’t forget the snacks, bring on the juice boxes, baby food pouches, and graham crackers. Isn’t having a kid great? You will be an expert in organizing your time and planning ahead before you know it.
- Cheerfully Accept Hand-me-Downs & Parental Advice From Those Who Have Been There
Yes, you may want your baby to be decked from head to toe in the latest fashions. However, consider this. Your baby is going to outgrow their clothes and shoes every two to three months, depending on their development and clothing quality. There is absolutely no shame in accepting gently used, clean clothing that you find acceptable for your child. If you want, you can use the clothes for making a baby quilt, rag rug, or homemade doll once they grow out of the outfits. Don’t neglect the advice of other parents who have already been where you are now. If anything, see if what they suggest works for you. They might tell you about a secret website or store that sells good quality clothes and other items for your child for the cheap. It pays to keep an open mind and be humble.
Chamomile tea does wonders for calming down and inducing nap time for moms/dads.
- Naps Are Not Just For Baby Anymore
Let us give thanks for the power of naps. Nap time may be one of the few moments in your day you can catch a break from baby, and catch up on what you want to do, too. If anything, take time out to nap when your toddler is napping if you don’t want to work on chores. Naps are rejuvenating for the brain, keep you young, and leave you feeling ready to take on tasks once you awake. Many major corporations understand that workers that take a nap come back with more productivity than those who do not get this luxury. Use your time wisely, enjoy the silence, catch up on reading, or whatever those few minutes or hours you have been gifted. Thank you baby, you are an angel when you are asleep.
- Forgive Yourself & Laugh and Love Often
When you become a parent, there is no instruction manual. We all come from different backgrounds, traditions, and get varying information on the right way to parent our children. Putting unnecessary pressure on yourself and your child, in order to keep up with other families does us a great disservice. Life is about learning, growing from our experiences, and living our day-to-day existence. Time is a precious commodity that we too often, take for granted. Despite our busy schedules with work, school, and juggling responsibilities at home, we must remember to breathe. We must take time to forgive ourselves for our mistakes, as parenting sometimes has a real tough learning curve. We must laugh often, as it raises our cortisol levels, boosts our immune system, and just feels good to do. Saying “I love you,” giving hugs, and using good manners establishes our values within our relationships. We must love ourselves and love our children, because a world of loved and wanted children makes a world of difference in our society.