This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
First time parents may be in for a shock as to what parenting is actually like.
If you have never experienced something first hand, it’s hard to really understand what it will be like. The first time you fly is different from what you actually imagine it to be. No matter what in life you try for the first time, you will simply not fully understand it until you actually experience it. Very often, you like to imagine that people are exaggerating because it seems unreal - and to you it really is.
Parenting is the number one spot in life where parents are in for a real shock as to what you expect vs what you actually experience. You can read every book out there, and talk to as many parents as you possibly can (most will be more than happy to tell you their parenting horror stories), but there will be things that you will find surprising when you actually become a parent - it’s inevitable.
Sure, you heard that giving birth can be a long process, but it’s hard to imagine that labor can last for multiple weeks, and knowing when you’re actually in real labor vs pre-labor is really hard. Plenty of first time parents end up at the hospital ready to have their baby because they don’t know what actual labor is. You don’t have to be ashamed, just realize that there are more experiences like this ahead.
Perhaps you heard that you don’t get much sleep as a parent. You may think that parents are just exaggerating. Once you have a child though, reality will begin to sink in - you literally survive on very short bursts of sleep for several of those first weeks of having a baby at home. The baby sleeps when it wants to, regardless of what you think you’re going to do. You can’t force the baby to sleep.
Speaking of sleep, you’ll likely not be getting full night’s of sleep for several of the first months of the child’s life (and often it will be the first few years). Sure, you’ll be able to sleep more than an hour straight, but sleeping for a full 8 hours through the night is unlikely to happen for quite some time. Be prepared to be sleep deprived for longer than you want - you’ll survive but understand what people mean about not getting enough sleep.
When you finally get your child to sleep through the night for the first time, you might think that your sleepless nights are finally over. Think again - your child will go through several regressions before you’re finally through with the sleep training. Setbacks are inevitable, so enjoy the nights you are able to sleep through because you’ll likely have to train your child again at some point in the future.
Beyond sleep, you’ll likely find that your time is quite limited to do things that you really want to do outside of being with your baby. Want to watch a movie? You’ll probably fall asleep when it’s turned on. Want to go out with your friends? Hopefully your partner is well rested because they are going to be at home with the baby. There’s a reason your friends with kids stop hanging out all the time - they have a child to take care of.
Parenting is not exactly what you’re expecting. Realize that many of the stories you hear aren’t real exaggerations - they’re simply how parenting is.