When you are expecting a child or you have just had one, all your relatives congratulate you, are happy for you, and those who are already parents always add a layer of it by saying that “it’s wonderful, you’ll see, that life changing”. Bla-bla-bla, bullshit. Being a parent isn’t rosy every day, quite the contrary, and there are two or three things you wish you had known before getting into this mess.
1. Sleep, this forgotten concept
Before, you found that parents who said they were tired always added a little, naively thinking that the lack of sleep was not that bad. How many times have you had sleepless nights drinking in bars? You know what it’s like not to sleep. Except no, failed. Not sleeping to party and being woken up every two hours by a crying baby for many months is very, very hard. And even when you think you’re cushy because it’s finally getting dark, it’s the start of teething, sickness, nightmares… You’ll never have a peaceful sleep again, deal with it.
Luckily, we’ve given you the best tips for helping her baby sleep.
2. Being scared all the time is exhausting
Fear that he will hurt himself, that he will take the wrong road, that an illness will degenerate, fear that he will not eat enough, that he will eat too much, that he will be constipated, that he will have diarrhoea, that a dog eats him, that a pervert kidnaps him, that he is a fan of Jul or Black M… You freak out all the time.
3. You really become responsible
But not like “I’m a responsible person, I pay my taxes and I eat vegetables”. No. You are responsible for the life of another human being, who depends entirely on you to be able to live. If you don’t feed him, he won’t eat. It’s hot to admit at first.
4. You’re not only a parent, you’re also a teacher / nurse / shrink / camp leader
Did you think your job helped define you? Nay. At home, in addition to your job, you have the ultimate joy of owning several hats, and this without being paid, of course.
5. You will always come second
Because the priority is more you, it’s him, whatever happens. If you are both hungry, he will eat before you. You stink and you haven’t been able to shower all day yet? It will wait, you have to take care of him first. Are you exhausted and would you like to take a nap? Sorry, not him, so you’ll have to wait and pour yourself an eighth coffee.
6. A baby has no instructions.
The first days, and even the first months, you grope. Yet you have read tons of books during pregnancy, but you still don’t know how this little thing that screams all the time works. So you learn on the job, you test things, and you see if it works or not.
7. Make do with existential questions
Breastfeeding or bottle feeding? Co-sleeping or separate bedroom? Crèche or nanny? Small home or industrial pots? You have to decide, a little at random, asking right and left to know what the others are doing, and continuing to doubt all the time.
8. You will feel guilty for everything
Because you let him cry, because he didn’t finish his plate, because you didn’t have patience, because you shouted a little, because he didn’t say hello to the lady, because he bit another child at the nursery, because you didn’t tell him that you loved him today.. You are the pro of guilt, for everything and for nothing (mostly for nothing).
9. You won’t see the time pass
You didn’t really believe those people who said “enjoy, it goes by so quickly”. You thought it was an old nostalgic phrase, when in fact it wasn’t at all. Time passes at breakneck speed, and before you can even realize what day it is, your kid has just taken his first steps while yesterday, he was still in your belly.
10. You will love someone even more than yourself.
And that’s the thing you couldn’t prepare for, because it was impossible to imagine until it fell on the corner of your face. You will love the life of another human being even more than your own, you will be ready to die in their place, to suffer pain in their place, to suffer everything in their place, if it can allow them to be well. And you didn’t know it could be that bad.