Below are a few lessons I learned about parenting, the hard way. While I think every parents has to learn these lessons the hard way too, the least I can do is send up a warning flares.
1. Parenting is ridiculously hard! All the time. Everyday. If you are a parent, no explanation necessary.
2. EVERY preconceived notion I had before becoming a parent was so far off. I was SO SURE I was going to be the perfect mom with the most perfect kid. Not. Even. Close. Because, neither of those exist.
3. Breastfeeding is not plug and chug. I had absolutely no idea that nursing my son would be so hard. How could something so, "natural" not be. HA! It's hard. very hard. At least, it was for me. It was also frustrating, painful and required a ridiculous amount of lactation consultations and pumping to get the job done. Two years and four months of nursing later, it was one of the greatest and most fulfilling accomplishments of my life. I'd do it all over again. The pain and frustration was worth it.
4. Toys will take over. Regardless of gender, toys will take over your life. Doll shoes will make it into your shoes, Hot Wheels will make it into your pillow case, rocks will turn-up at the bottom of the washing machine... Toys take over, there is absolutely no way to stop it. Hint: Buy toy boxes, and storage shelves.
5. Potty Training is messy business. Regardless of the method you chose to get the job done, you will hate every minute, and find yourself, the bathroom, and possibly the entire house turned into the world's largest potty.
6. Nap time is the new happy hour. I use to decompress with friends after work, now I decompress VERY quietly on the couch... terrified if I make one loud noise my 'happy hour' will come to an abrupt end.
7. Toddlers can say, mommy/daddy/please and/or ask the same question four-million times in less than a minute. FYI: This will not stop until they are completely satisfied.
8. The attention span of a baby/toddler/child is about 4-seconds. This is the reason they can watch the same show or movie over, and over, and over again. This poor attention span is also the reason the minute you finish building the train track or doll house, they have no interest and have moved on to something new. It's impossible to keep up.
9. Your child will outsmart you before two. Those little geniuses don't even have to know how to talk before they can trick you into doing, giving, or allowing them to do and have whatever they want.
10. Your kid is 100% positive that THEY are in-charge, and their job is to train YOU. FYI: Teaching them how wrong they are is the main reason parenting is so damn hard.
What lessons have you learned the hard way?