Having kids is a huge responsibility, this is a fact. And whether you’re a stay-at-home-mom or a working mom, there are just some things you didn’t realize you weren’t prepared for until you have tiny people running around your house and peeing on your floor. Once I had kids, I found myself completely caught off guard by five specific things.
5 Things I Wish I’d Realized Before Having Kids
How the actual level of responsibility is insane
We all know that having a kid requires a ton of responsibility. We’ve heard it from our friends a thousand times. We were fully aware that we’d miss out on concerts, dinners, movies, parties, etc. That we’d spend most of our weekends in our jammies by 7:30pm eating a half gallon of ice cream on the couch to unwind after toddler bedtime. I understood that too. I knew that was coming and I was fully prepared for the weight I’d gain from eating all of that ice cream.
What I was not prepared for before having kids, were the unmentioned details of parenthood. Did you know that now that once you bring a life into the world you have to worry about the moles on an entirely separate body from your own? I mean… I guess I’d imagined someday telling my teenager “hey you better watch those and see if they change.” But I didn’t really realize that 2-year olds could also develop moles and that now it’s my responsibility to watch them. Not to mention the haircut scheduling, the toenail clipping, the bellybutton washing… taking care of my own body is enough effort. Suddenly I was responsible for the hygiene and well being of TWO additional humans.
How taking toddlers in public is the most exhausting experience ever, even when they’re being good
FYI – toddlers are hard. Even when they’re perfectly pleasant they’re usually super high energy and if you’re not swinging them in circles you’re listening to a very dramatic and detailed recounting of some toy opening video from YouTube. Is it fun and adorable? Absolutely. But it’s also very draining because these little beings demand 100% of your attention. Meaning if you’re going to get anything – ANYTHING at all – done around the house or for work, you’d better master the ability to do two things at once while making it look like you’re solely devoted to listening to that one story about YouTube. And they’ll catch you when you react incorrectly. And then you’re in big trouble.
Now take that energy level and double it and that’s how you feel on a trip to the mall. Although your child is politely holding your hand, he’s talking to you a million miles per minute while you’re also trying to get information from a sales person eye-ing down every stranger you see walking near you just in case your kid goes missing so you know who to blame (because that turns into something you really think about. Constantly.). One hour in to your public shopping experience and you’re ready for that 7:30pm bedtime ice cream!
How there can be major health risks involved with pregnancy
Did you know that there are a TON of health risks that can be linked to pregnancy? When I became pregnant, I’d heard of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes and that was pretty much it. The truth is that there are countless things that can go wrong in pregnancy for mom or for baby and they can arise in even the healthiest person. My pregnancy was absolute perfection until about 8 months in. At my 35 week OB appointment I was super swollen, but otherwise all of my stats were perfect – as usual. But 2 days later I ended up being induced due to a severe and sudden onset of preeclampsia.
After my twins were born, I spent 9 additional days in the hospital, 3 of which were in the ICU, was on oxygen the entire time and received 2 blood transfusions. Despite the many, many tests that were done, no definitive answers were found as to what was wrong with me, so I was sent home with “pneumonia.” Two weeks later I was back in the hospital and was diagnosed with a condition called Postpartum Cardiomyopathy – aka pregnancy related heart failure. I stayed in the hospital for 5 more days and went home with portable oxygen and a defibrillator life vest. While this condition is rare, it’s still something that I wish I’d known about, so I could have recognized the symptoms earlier. To learn more about PPCM check out this site: http://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cardiomyopathy/what-is-cardiomyopathy-in-adults/peripartum-cardiomyopathy-ppcm.
How every milestone is bitter sweet
This is the absolute most difficult part of parenthood. The realization that your baby is growing up, that time is moving, and that this wonderful sweet dependent being is slowly becoming their own actual person. You feel excited and proud, and at the same time you mourn the loss of the baby you once loved. I remember when my older son used the word “frustrated” correctly in a sentence at age 2. I was impressed, but also… well… frustrated! Frustrated feels like a vocab word that kids should learn in the second or third grade. Not like something my toddler who can barely talk should know how to use in a sentence. It made him seem so grown up – so suddenly.
How weak the word “love” is in comparison to what I feel for them
I thought I knew what love meant. I love my husband, my dog, my house. So maybe I do know what love means? Maybe there just isn’t a word that means what I feel for my children? They are my heart. When I hold them close, my heart beats differently. When I see them my breath feels different. I cry when I get on an airplane to take a work trip. They are my soul.
So, you think to yourself – do I want kids?
Unfortunately, there’s no way to answer that until you’re actually physically responsible for checking someone else’s moles and losing your breath because you caught a glance of them sleeping in the back seat of your car in your rear-view mirror. I’ll be honest with you – I really thought I wanted kids. My husband and I tried for a very long time and paid a doctor a lot of money to get our boys here.
I hated pregnancy. And sometimes I lose my mind trying to get these kids to bed or trying to get them to even just lick a piece of broccoli, so I don’t lose the dinner battle. But now that they’re here, and my heart knows them, and my soul is linked to them, it’s more than just wanting them around. Its existence. I can’t guarantee that your experience will be the same, but that’s my real and true experience. I wish I’d known I didn’t exist before having kids.
Hi, my name is Samantha and I knew I wanted to be a mom since I was 3 years old! Unfortunately becoming a mom wasn’t easy for me, but through IVF my husband and I were blessed with two lovely little twin boys (nope- they are not identical). The title of my blog is I Live in Flats because I’m a working mom, and I also try to be active in my church and neighborhood communities and flats are the ultimate transitional shoe. I can wear them no matter what role I need to take on!