Becoming and being a parent is a magical thing that is unlike any other experience you will ever have. It can be trying at times, just like anything else that is worth doing, but the bond between a parent and their child is one that can never be replaced.
This being said, there are certain things that you learn as a parent, some of which are very surprising and others that are to be expected. Parents learn an obscene amount throughout all stages of their child’s life, but these will focus on the early years.
Bodily fluids and functions aren’t as gross as they once were.
Poop, pee, spit-up, vomit- it all comes out of your precious little baby, and suddenly it’s not so gross. We don’t know how or why this happens, but bodily fluids take on a natural role in being expelled and cleaned up without a second thought or glance.
Fathers might have a harder time letting these things no longer bother them, but at some point, you just have to accept that it happens, and happens all the time! Nothing wrong with a little stain on your shirts anymore! It’s the newest symbol of parenthood.
There is nothing that can’t be thrown or grabbed.
Very young children don’t often know that they aren’t supposed to throw things. They are simply experimenting with their newfound abilities and testing out the items in front of them. This leads to lots of things being tossed around. Nothing is safe. Phones, hair, cups, food, toys, books, and basically everything else are contenders for little hands to grab sharply or flying across the room.
The important thing is to be patient, and take on a lighthearted point of view until they are old enough to know the difference between right and wrong. Until then, you’ll have learned to just go with the flow.
Sleeping in (and sleeping in general) are luxuries that almost don’t exist.
This is a big one that every parent learns rather quickly. Sleeping for long uninterrupted periods of time is a thing of the past. You even knew this was coming. But you probably weren’t prepared for the real thing. Now that it’s here, you’ve truly learned what sleep deprivation is. Don’t worry though! You’ll be able to catch up someday when your children are teenagers and won’t do anything but sleep!
Conversations are less about what type of drink you want and more about something your child did that day.
Remember when you were busy planning which restaurant to go to, or that you needed to buy a case of beer or a bottle to hang out for the night? Now the discussions with your partner have taken a more G rated tone. How many naps did the baby take? What new words were discovered? What did they throw and accidentally break today? What’s on the shopping list?
All of these topic and more come up now. It’s all about the baby! Of course, you are also learning how to balance being a parent and being a significant other, but that’s a different topic entirely! Talking and thinking about your child nonstop can be exhausting, but you know you love it.
Fear, paranoia, and worry are all a part of daily emotions.
Even if you are more of the laid-back type, worries can’t help themselves but surround you. It’s only natural- you want the best for your child and no harm to come to them. Here are some thoughts that probably run through your mind now all the time.
- What type of world did I bring my child into?
- Will that new food be able to fit down their throat?
- Is there a part of that toy that can be choked on?
- She’s crawling so fast now! Wait, where did she go?
- Are there any electrical outlets uncovered?
- Dad is tossing him too high!
- Is he still breathing? (while the baby is sleeping)
However, you are learning that these feelings aren’t entirely pleasant. Who wants to be fearful all the time? Just like with everything else, it’ll pass, but perhaps to a lesser degree than the rest because you will generally always be worried about the well-being of your children.
Your world has been turned upside down with unconditional love.
Perhaps the most joyous lesson is that your love for your child cannot be compared to anything else. The best part is that it’s unconditional. The love you feel within you is unlike anything before because it’s a different type than the love you have for your spouse.
Yes, babies are incredibly crafty things that turn your world upside down. But as you know, it’s not all madness. There are a million happy moments filled with laughter and joy that you will always cherish. Once you child is fully-grown, you’ll think back fondly to these lessons learned.