Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves. Some of these ideas might have been based on our own ideas of how we would absolutely do things differently than everyone else. Others, we believed what everyone else told us would happen would apply to our littles, too. But, that's not always the case, mama.
Below are six of the biggest lies I believed before having kids—and the reality of what actually happened for me.
1. Put your baby down drowsy, but awake
This little gem is hilarious. You know what happened when I put an awake baby down in a crib or bed? They stared at me like, "Okay cool, I can chill here for a second. Then what are we gonna do, mom? Take a walk? Oh, let's take a stroll around the block in the carrier! Then we can go watch a movie on the couch! I could use a little milk top off, too. Thanks."
I don't personally know any of these mythical babies who fell asleep when put down while “drowsy." What is a drowsy baby anyway? Babies have two modes: “Awake" and “I need to go to sleep, now! Milk, please!"
2. The evenings are when you'll reconnect with your partner
This worked for a little while, when we had one kid who went to bed earlier than we did. That phase didn't last long. Now we have two kids, including one who likes to nap late and then go to bed late (with us). Often we all go to sleep together as a family, which is great. No bedtime battles. Some nights the stars align and both kids fall asleep early. By that point we are usually too brain-dead to have a good conversation.
Our best times to reconnect are usually when we've all had a good day of adventure, filled our own cups, spent time with the kids, and then come home and turn on a movie. Then we can talk while we are feeling relaxed and the kids are engrossed in the screen.
Another option, of course, is a trusted babysitter. Making time to talk about something besides the kids on a regular basis is important, but once I stopped expecting that re-connection time to happen in the evenings, I was a lot less stressed.
3. You'll breastfeed for about a year
Through a combination of overzealous preparation and luck, I had no trouble breastfeeding. I thought that I'd breastfeed exclusively for six months, then add some solid food which my baby would adorably gobble down while slowly reducing the number of breastfeeding sessions down to a couple times a day by a year old. Certainly by two years.
My kids arrived with other plans. At six months they had no interest in solid food. When presented with some avocado, they were like, “Does this go in my hair?" It wasn't until after age one that they started eating more than trace amounts of solid food.
I also know some great moms who made it to two months, three months, or six months of breastfeeding. Exactly one year of breastfeeding—while somehow deemed the most socially acceptable duration—is not always common.
4. You have to ____. Otherwise they'll never _____.
When my oldest daughter was born, I initially embraced holding her for naps as much as possible. She was a newborn and needed it, right? It was the fourth trimester!
Then she turned four months and I had a minor freak out. Was she supposed to be napping in her crib? What if she never learns to sleep independently? As it turns out, there was no reason to worry. Little humans have an amazing drive to learn and become independent. They just do it on their own timetable. No one goes to college in diapers, with a pacifier, or still wanting to sleep with their parents. They all grow out of it without any intervention at all. No need to sweat it.
5. It gets easier as they get older
This one is only half a lie. My kids are only five and two-and-a-half, but things are easier in many ways than when they were two-and-a-half and zero. Those days with a toddler and newborn were hard. In many ways life is easier now. We get more uninterrupted sleep at night and no one screams through an entire car ride (most of the time). At the same time, having two children with opinions and plans is in some ways harder than having one child plus a baby who can happily tag along on just about any outing.
Little kids generally also come with little problems. Almost all of them can be solved by a nap, a hug, or some more quality time together. As they grow older, their worlds grow bigger and we can't always fix their problems with a hug or by snuggling up together. Seeing them wrestle with difficult life experiences makes toddler tantrums look easy.
6. Your life will never be the same again
Technically, this is true. Your life is forever changed after having kids. However, this is usually said in a foreboding way, implying that your life will be worse than it was before kids. The truth is, your life won't be the same again because it will be so much better.
Originally posted on Pocket Full of Pebbles.
You may not know the shape the path ahead will take—but you should trust in your strength, mama. You've got this.