I’m going to lay it all out there. Because I love you.
1. Your kiddo will poop in the bathtub. More than once. Put a bottle of bleach on that baby registry, just so you’re all set.
2. You will cough/sneeze/laugh/bend over in public and, WHOOPS a little pee will sneak out. It sucks. Try to remind yourself that other women go through this too. Though, that never seems to help me.
3. Just because your baby has started sleeping through the night doesn’t mean you have endless nights of peaceful slumber ahead of you. Every new stage of development seems to bring its fair share of kiddo sleeping difficulties. You’ll get a good night’s sleep when they ship off to college. Oh, wait…
4. There WILL be a picky eating phase. Ok, some women do get to bypass this. But they are the LUCKY MINORITY.
5. Get the washable crayons, and thank me later.
6. Television is not the devil (in moderation, of course). I swear, that’s how my son knows his alphabet at age 2 1/2. Keep it educational, keep it to just a few shows a day, and let yourself off the hook.
7. Travel when they are 0-6 months, and travel after they are 4 (this is a full assumption, as my son is only going on 3). Between these ages is PURE TRAVEL HELL, be it car, airplane or even walking a few blocks. This is where bribery with candy suddenly becomes a perfectly acceptable modern parenting method.
8. If you will be a SAHM, get a hobby. And some mom friends. For your sanity. No, seriously.
9. In the first few years of life, it is completely unnecessary to purchase anything for birthdays or holidays. The grandparents will take care of that.
1o. Every other mom you meet will judge your parenting methods in some way, shape or form. It’s the ones that verbosely call you out on it that you want to give the finger to. The other ones are just human. And you will judge other moms too, trust me. Just remember: they are a mom, just like you are a mom, and (almost) all of us love our little ones to bits and are doing everything we think is right.
11. Keep the fridge stocked with wine. Or beer. Or vodka, whatever your poison. There WILL be days that you WILL be thankful for this. Especially between the ages of 2 and 4. And it’s no coincidence that potty training happens during these years.
12. Be prepared to clean food and/or juice off of every surface of your home. EVERY surface. I don’t know how they do it, I don’t know why they do it, but yes, you may just find a pile of dried up/moldy applesauce inside of your living room subwoofer. Just sayin’.
13. On that note, put all disc slots and video game systems out of reach. They learn REALLY quickly how to insert just about anything (except the discs or games themselves) into those slots. Once we pulled not only a game, but a coaster and a rock from our Wii. At the same time.
14. Set aside a good amount of money to repair the small electronics that your child destroys. We’ve had to fix cameras and cell phones and computer screens and computer mice and there’s no telling what’s to come.
15. If your little boy loves Dora, you will go to the store and realize that everything Dora-related comes in girl colors. Get it for him anyway. Life is too short.
16. Don’t watch the news. It will overwhelm you with the urge to squeeze your children back into the womb, where they are safe.
17. Don’t swear in front of children older than 18 months. We are big swearers. And don’t really care when our son swears. But, when they say, “Stupid F@#$ing car!” at preschool, trust me, you will care.
18. Develop your patience level. “I want to put on my sweater by myself!” and “I want to go down the stairs by myself!” can take up a full hour of your day, easy.
19. You’re going to have that moment where you say something that your mom or dad said that you always hated, and you’re going to be all, “Damn, I’m just like them.” But, then you will have that moment where you you will think, “they had do go through this crap with me” and you will realize that they were amazing parents, and you will be an amazing parent too.
20. Just because you’ve done a ton of research, and have a ton of parenting books on your shelf, and have raised X number of kids already and you write a parenting blog…well, none of that means that you will have all the answers all the time. We raise and nurture and teach and form and create HUMAN BEINGS. It’s tough work. Seriously, give yourself a break.