There's no doubt about it, the parenting books seem to leave out the scariest parts of parenting. I get it, freaking out a pregnant chick is not the best thing to do, but making a first-time parent think parenting is easy if you follow the steps in the book, is crap too!
In an effort to do the job the parenting books won't, and in honor of top 10 Tuesday, below are 10 Things The Parenting Books Are Afraid To Tell You.
1. Sleep. Say goodbye to sleep! At least, a solid 8 hours. I remember living for the time when my baby "slept through the night." Silly me, from 6-weeks on I prayed every night would be the night my infant slept through the night. My child is three; he has yet to sleep through the night, in his bed.
2. Clean surfaces. No matter how hard I try. No matter how fast I clean up a mess. No matter how diligent I am about clean hands, and limiting sticky foods, EVERY surface in my house, right down to the windows, are covered in tiny little fingerprints.
3. Stickers on everything. Let's just say, the day your child learns about stickers, is the day you learn to check your butt before leaving the house. OK, well it should be. Because I'm here to tell you, nothing is more Awesome then your husband coming home and peeling TWO stickers off your ass. Especially, when you and your child have just walked in the door, too.
4. Goodbye clean car. I don't care if you're a stickler about not eating in the car, your child will still find a way to destroy it. From toys that make sounds every time you turn a corner, to stickers on the windows, to muddy footprints on the seats, your car will never be the same once that car seat goes in.
5. Couples date nights turn into playdates, with wine. Gone are the days of wild couples nights out, finished with breakfast at a late-night diner. Here are the days of pairing off with couples with children, to have early backyard BBQs, that end when the kids turn on each other--aka bedtime.
6. The laundry NEVER ends. Pre-baby, Saturday was laundry day. Post baby, every day is laundry day. If you skip a day... well, you don't, otherwise geologist turn up at your door to measure the volcano growing in your laundry room. And trust me, leave the volcano of clothes too long, and it will erupt.
7. You go from a Gourmet Chef to Chef Boy-R-Dammit-Pasta-Again. Let's just say, the day my kid had his first bite of pasta, was the day every other food ceased to exist. For some kids, it's chicken nuggets and french fries. For all kids, it's an uphill battle of showing them there is more to life than their favorite meal. For me, it's an internal battle of, do I have the energy to fight for rice or potatoes, or just give the kid his damn pasta?
8. Your happy marriage turns into a wild rollercoaster ride... from hell. No way did I ever imagine the stress of having a child would rock my marriage so hard. But between the fear, sleeplessness, financial stress and awesome responsibility that comes with being parents, our marriage got put on the back burner. We started to drift apart, and at times, resent each others parental role. Even though it took us too long, thankfully, we finally realized finding quality time with each other daily to reconnect is essential. Even if it's 5-minutes a night outside on the porch talking.
9. Your parent(s) turn into crazy people you don't know. After a childhood of being restricted by your parents from eating too much sugar, staying up late and getting a toy every time you go to the store, once your parents become grandparents, they flip the script. All of the sudden, they are cool with candy, skipping bath and bedtime and buying the most ridiculous kid shit.
10. You turn into a crazy person you don't know. Between the sleeplessness, fear and insane responsibility that comes with being a parent, something happens, you become this person called mom/dad. Since becoming a mom, I've stopped dropping F-bombs all over the house, stopped drinking more than one or two alcoholic beverages--Mainly out of fear the next morning will be torture when the kid uses my full bladder as a trampoline while begging for Mickey Mouse and pancakes. At 5 am. Which, I wake up to make with organic milk and eggs and whole grain wheat flour. So much for the good old days of being hung-over ordering pancakes and a sweet tea in the McDonalds drive-thru.
Everything changes. And yes, it's certainly for the better. But the trip to better requires a lot of selflessness, fear, watching your parents turn into spineless twits and saying goodbye to your former wild, caution-less life.
I get it, the parenting books don't want to freak out an already freaking out couple, but seriously, people need to know parenting is not all unicorns and rainbows. It's hard as hell, requires a huge life adjustment, and above all, serious teamwork and communication between all involved. (Grandparents, that means you too! No more chocolate bars before dropping off our kids! That shit sucks.)