6 Things that I Didn’t “Get” Until I Had Kids

Before I had kids, I don’t think that I was insensitive to my friends who did have kids. And I definitely had a lot of friends that had kids, when I didn’t. But there were definitely things that I didn’t understand about their lives and I didn’t “get” as someone who didn’t have kids. Not just to my friends though, but people who had kids in general. I mean really you can’t control your kids? Really you can’t come over or go out because of your kids nap time/bed time? And then I had kids. Hello wake up call, nice to see you.

So if you think your friends or just parents in general are crazy because of some of these (or other) things, just wait til you have kids! Here are the 5 things that I didn’t “get” until I had kids –

  1. Moms that cut off all their hair – real talk … I thought “really, how hard could it be to just put it in a ponytail?” OMG. I had NO idea the issues that arise with hair as a mom. Hair pulling. THE PULLING. ALWAYS from the bottom of my head. Post partum hair loss. Handfuls of hair, daily. Every time I wash my hair I think of shaving my head. I get it now Moms, I get it.
  2. Uncontrollable kids in public – I am now the mom with the “uncontrollable kid” in public. He’s 2 but looks like he’s 5. Barely talks, huge. Gets very frustrated with his inability to communicate, and especially when he can’t do exactly what he wants to do. Melt downs can and do happen when we’re out. And I’m now the one that looks like I have a kid I can’t control in public, and really, I can’t. It’s more like organized chaos. But either way, I GET IT NOW. Seriously. I wanna go hug all the moms I thought couldn’t control their kids before.
  3. Nap Time/Bed Time/ Routine – I didn’t get why friends, family or acquaintances couldn’t do things because it would interrupt nap time or bed time or the kids “routine.” Just bring them with! Just put them to bed late! BOYYYYY do I get this one now. I am Queen Routine. I’m a believer in the routine. I will avoid interruptions to the routine like the plague if I can help it. I do try to be flexible because we have to live our lives, but I generally do so knowing that we will pay the consequences with cranky kids or sleep that will be a little out of whack for a couple of days. But if I can stick to the routine, oh man, I will stick to that routine. I get routines now!
  4. Inability to shower/get dressed/etc – not that I ever saw this in action, but I heard about it … a lot. When you have a baby/kids, it’s so hard to take a shower, or change my clothes, or I don’t wear anything but yoga pants, etc. When I had both babies, I’ll admit, I didn’t think it was super hard to at least get a shower in. Babies sleep a lot … but once babies STOP sleeping a lot. Yup I wouldn’t be able to tell you at most times when the last time I took a shower was. And when I changed my clothes last was probably sometime around then as well. And yes I stay in nursing tanks and PJ/yoga pants or shorts 99.9% of the time. Especially now that I have 2 kids, if by some magical mystical alignment of the stars I get them to both nap at the same time, that time is so sacred and I have so many things I could be doing I have to prioritize and decide if showering is really at the top of that list and it’s usually not. As far as getting dressed, I just don’t see the point if I’m not leaving the house and changing clothes unnecessarily just creates more laundry. Plus, leading into my next point, the clothes I stay in are nursing tanks and yoga pants because I need easy nursing access plus I want to be comfy and because I’m breastfeeding I’m still hanging onto most of my pregnancy weight so those types of clothes are the only things that fit. So yes, I TOTALLY get the shower/clothes thing now.
  5. Messes – Again, not so much amongst my friends but just things I heard generally about messy houses and cars. I didn’t understand how they could become such a mess and how it could be so hard to clean them up. Well, now with my kids in tow in the car, ONE TRIP out to run errands can look like we’ve been living in the car for a week and raccoons were rummaging through our stuff for food. It’s ridiculous. And the house – my gosh – not just the toys but EVERYTHING now ends up on the floor ALWAYS. Like that’s where everything is meant to be, on the floor. I could pick it up 10 times a day and it would still end up back there because that’s where it’s meant to be. So I give up. I pick up at the end of the day just so Dad or I don’t break a foot on a Lego in the middle of the night otherwise I say forget it! The car I will clean after each trip just so it doesn’t get too out of control and because it’s a small space (for now) it’s pretty easy to clean up quickly. But regardless, I GET why messes cannot be contained or controlled with kids.
  6. Shopping Alone = Vacation – I always thought moms were exaggerating when they talked about a solo grocery trip or trip to Target being like a vacation. I’m so sorry moms, I get it now. I had a lovely trip to paradise the other day – Target alone. I found myself staring at the ingredients on a shampoo bottle for over 5 minutes. And then I stood there in awe that I was actually able to read the shampoo bottle and not tend to a crying baby or try to keep my toddler in the stroller or cart. When my husband says I need a break, I tell him this is basically the #1 thing I need, besides a pedicure of course.

Looking back, I don’t think I’d change anything even if I could because there’s no way I would’ve really known any of these things until I had kids myself. But it definitely gives me a new perspective and I roll my eyes at myself sometimes now when I find myself on the other side of the fence talking to my friends who don’t have kids. It gives me a good laugh. And I try to maintain as much balance as I can, as a mom of 2 small kids – as I said I try to stick to the routine but sometimes we go astray, I haven’t cut my hair, but I do rock my mom wardrobe and shower only as much as necessary.

What are some of the things that you didn’t “get” until you became a parent?

2-3 Months: Sleep, Leaps, Growth Spurts and What Else?

The things you hear about exhaustion and sleep deprivation with a new baby really don’t ring true. You don’t really start to get exhausted and frustrated until the new baby smell starts to wear off – when they’re transitioning from newborn to infant. Within the first few months to changes come on fast – from growth spurts to Wonder Weeks and developmental milestones and sleep regression. In my case, I think we’ve got some teething thrown in too!

It’s funny how much I forgot in 2 short years since my first son was born. Now that I’m deep in the trenches of this transition time, I’m remembering this was the most trying time with my oldest son. But I don’t remember my oldest son teething at this same time also! I’m pretty sure teething is to blame for the random excess fussiness that my son is having but more significantly, the buckets of drool coming out of his mouth!

Right now he is 11.5 weeks old just short of 3 months. Since about a month old, he’s slowly been becoming less and less accepting of napping anywhere but on me. Around a month old he went through his first developmental leap (Wonder Weeks) which was a little challenging, and required some extra momma snuggled naps. Then we got on the other side of it and things went back to relatively normal. Slowly he was sleeping less and less places but I could still get him some decent naps at least in the swing.

Then the second leap rolled around at 2 months not to mention we were out of state on vacation for Christmas and he pretty much would only nap on me or someone for any extended period of time. Then we returned from the trip and he was still the same. I could set him down in the swing but he would only sleep there for about 30-45 minutes. Ever since 6-7 weeks I try setting him down a couple times a day for a nap and now I will only get those short naps that way. And I’ve tried everything and everywhere – swaddled, unswaddled, rock n play, bassinet, swing, even tried laying him in my bed thinking he would like the warmth and my smell and that worked – once.

After a couple of tries a day though I give in and I just let him sleep on me and I’ll get 2-3 hours. I’ve started wearing him too and that helps sometimes so I can at least get stuff done or go outside. But having him not sleep on me is not working him not getting a good nap in so I give in to the nap on me. I’m worried I’m creating a bad habit. Mostly I’ve been okay with it thinking it was just a phase but the longer it goes on the more I think it’s not a phase and the more what other people say about it gets to me – that I shouldn’t let him, I should let him cry, etc.

Everything I’ve read though on sleep habits, development, and fourth trimester tells me that’s all wrong though. I can’t let my baby cry if he needs me. With my older son, I never let him cry ever. I have read the impact that has on the brain, their development and independence and I see it now in him. He’s very confident and independent. Also sleep begets sleep which is why crappy naps aren’t worth it just to have him not sleep on me. Same with my older son he is a great sleeper and always has been and I think that started with a focus on him getting good naps. My little one sleeps great at night though so I can’t complain too much. So if I have to subject myself to some baby snuggles (aww darn!) for one nap a day, for now, I think it’s worth it.

Besides, it all goes by SO FAST. I remember being in the thick of this stage last time, and thinking it felt like it went on FOREVER. And then before I knew it, it was over, and he was rolling… Then crawling… Then standing…. Then walking. I need to just relax, trust myself as a mom that I’m doing the right thing and enjoy my baby snuggles. Soon he won’t want to snuggle anymore…

The other part of it is dealing with the developmental changes. Some of them are so awesome! Seeing him making eye contact, smiling, almost giggling, exploring using his arms and legs, wanting to stand and sit. And some are baffling such as his change in soothing preference. I had it nailed down. I knew exactly how to soothe this kid – side laying, swaddled, paci, shooshing and swaying back and forth – basically the 5s’s. Now, just the last week or so (Wonder Week?) it’s like I’m a big kid now mom I wanna be upright I don’t wanna lay like a baby. So I have to hold him upright to try to soothe him. Big kids also don’t want to suck on pacis either. So with tired arms and legs I hold him upright and bounce and sway and pray something in that combo works.

There’s no magical combo anymore, I don’t nail it. Eventually he stops crying, but I’m not sure there are many worse feelings in the world than as a mother not being able to stop your kids crying. It breaks my heart every time and gets me frustrated with myself. Funny though because I remember his older brother doing this exact same thing to me at this similar age. Damn! Why don’t I write stuff down so I can remember what helped me through this last time?!? Oh well, I’m writing now I guess!

So I hope and pray that I haven’t created any bad habits and that I’m just going through some crazy superstorm of development growth and teething or something that is making one day good and the next day nuts. I also hope and pray that I continue to write this stuff down, when I find the time (ha!) so that maybe I can have it to refer back to next time I have a baby and I’m struggling through this time. Until the next challenge…