10 Things You Never Realized Before Having A Child

Last Monday, I had a moment. I shared my struggles and you listened. Many bloggers, myself included, begin writing as a way to express ourselves. From issues with food to struggling as a parent, it’s therapeutic. After reading all of your comments, I was glad that I publicly vented. Too many people filter out the bad and it’s nice to know we’re in good company so thank you for sharing your own stories.

For another mommy Monday post, I’d like to be a little more light hearted.

Before having children, there are so many things you do not think about and things you think you already know. I’ve tried to whittle down the many things I never realized before having children into a short list of 10. Would love to read your additional ideas in the comments.

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10 Things I Never Realized Before Having A Child

  1. By putting your child to bed later does not mean they will sleep later. Yeah, I too thought that my kid would sleep from 8 pm -8 am. Nope. The opposite sometimes is true however. Put the kid to sleep earlier and they sleep longer, i.e. 6:30 pm instead of 7.
  2. It’s important for me to tell you my child’s age in months. Childless people make fun of you for saying your child’s age in months instead of years but as a parent of a 14 month old, every month counts. If I ask a toddler parent how old their kid is and they say it in years, I’ll follow up with a month question because I want to know when I can expect my child to stop eating dirt and say a few more words.
  3. Sleep is sacred and my plans will always revolve around nap time. I know I used to make fun of people who did this, but I’m now that person. Sorry, I can’t come to your party until my kid wakes up from his nap. I also can’t come to your party until he goes to sleep for the night. Can you plan accordingly? Thanks 🙂
  4. Grandparents are not your best resource even if you think they have the most experience. All grandparents suffer from this sort of parenting amnesia. It’s almost like they just blacked out the years they raised you and have no idea what a child wears to bed anymore. In their defense, they put us to sleep on our bellies with blankets and standards have changed but they aren’t exactly the best people to call for advice which you learn early on. They are fantastic babysitters, just make sure you update them.
  5. I also never realized how many places I would no longer be able to go to because they are not stroller friendly (Charles and Newbury Street kill me). I went MGH so I could get avocado toast at Pressed but once Tommy arrived, I could never go! Luckily the South End location is stroller friendly.
  6. Breakfast at 8am on the weekend is actually quite lovely. It’s quiet and you don’t have to wait which is so very rare in the city. There are no crowds and you can actually relax. Pre-baby Sarah thought this sounded like torture. I love my sleep.
  7. Flying west is going to be hell. We are heading to San Francisco in two weeks and Tommy is going to wake up at 4 am for the day… I’m having panic attacks already. We are going to London in April and that I’m excited about! Tommy can join us for dinner and then we’ll all sleep in. Shit, I already forgot about #1… hopefully this plan works though?
  8. Sesame Street is actually pretty funny. A lot of kids movies like Pixar and Disney are too. There is adult humor hidden in there that the kids don’t obviously get but it’s just entertaining enough that adults don’t mind watching it again and again.
  9. Being a mother with a stroller in the city makes you so much more aware of what is and is not handicap accessible. We really need to do a better job for those with disabilities. In the winter, shovel enough on your sidewalk and into the intersection so that a wheelchair (and stroller) can get through.
  10. You can’t work from home full-time and not have help. Why I thought I could is stupid in hindsight.

Most importantly and this doesn’t deserve to be on this list because it is so much more than a number on a top 10 but I really didn’t realize how being a mom would change me inside. I hate the level of empathy and sympathy I have for everyone who is fighting a hard struggle. From children and parents with cancer to child refugees and the homeless, it’s heart-break after heart-ache every damn day. I wish there was more I could do than send a check here or there. Maybe it was just my newsfeed on Facebook last night but it seems like the world is totally f’ed right now and needs love more than ever.

I also am pretty sure that I have postpartum anxiety. I will write a separate post on that but I didn’t expect to be so afraid of something happening to my baby that I would make myself almost sick. I knew it was possible to love someone so unconditionally that you would throw yourself in front of a bus to save them but to feel it is different. It’s unnerving. It’s raw. That might be weird to call love raw but that’s how it feels and I didn’t realize it would be like this.

Have something to add to my more lighthearted list above? Share it in the comments.

Read this post next… 10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Baby 

10 Things You Never Realized Before Having A Child

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  • Annie

    I love this post and can relate to it so much! Ourson is a few months older then Tommy and just yesterday I told someone he was 16 months then wondered how annoying they found that. Why didn’t I just say one? Well, like you said 13 months verse 18 months is such a huge difference! And I feel you on the anxiety. It comes in waves worrying about something happening to our little guy. Some nights are sleepless because of it. Who knew you could love so much!!

  • Jen K.

    I still have anxiety that something will happen to my children, now 16 and 13. I won’t take them to the Grand Canyon because I’m afraid they’ll fall off, there aren’t handrails.

    My kids have flown, a lot. My daughter was only 18 months when we went to Malta, staying in London on our way home. If you are still nursing, that will help a ton with Tommy’s ears on the plane. Request a refrigerator for your room, in case you need to refrigerate milk or anything else. Europe is so accommodating to families, they always have their children in tow, which is nice not to be scowled at. If he cries on the plane, don’t sweat it -- I’m sure you are bringing a bunch of new to him things that may keep him entertained. All the best for a safe trip(s).

    • Sarah

      Nooooo -- I was hoping that would go away but I think I figured it wouldn’t 🙁 So glad to hear about Europe and exactly why we chose london. I thin it’s gong to be a great trip!

  • Rachel

    I enjoyed reading this!! 1. Isn’t necessarily true though every baby is different. If I put my 19 month old to bed at 8pm he will wake up 8am same goes for 7pm and 7am. I also sleep trained him from 12 weeks and still do. lol I wake a sleeping baby to make sure he sleeps good at night. I think it really just varies with each child.

  • Nina

    Yes to all of this. I was nodding along with every single thing. And I was soooo unprepared for it all!

    One thing to add: when I see another parent of a small child, I always smile and nod, as if we’re part of a club. Why do I do that?? Maybe because I now know what it’s like to be a parent?

  • Cari

    Can totally relate! A couple of others… 1) the door alarm on a fridge. I used to think “why do we even have this button? Who forgets to close the fridge!?”. Ha…my toddler. 2) I used to think people were weird or stalking me for driving around the block over and over or driving laps through a parking lot. Now I realize they are pebably just trying to get their kid to sleep.

  • Liz

    Ahh -- you’re unofficial addition to the list! SPOT ON. I am just a bleeding heart about everything now. I just love love love her so much it made my heart bigger, like the grinch! LOL I also think I have PPA -- can’t wait to read your post on that.

  • MrsB @ Mind over Matter

    All of it so true and the darn anxiety about your children’s wellbeing continues way past their babyhood / toddlerhood 😐 I guess mothers are built to protect and to be vigilant at all times, maybe that’s where the anxiety comes from.

  • Abby

    Great post! My son is 13 months (totally different then 1yr ????) and I can completely relate to your last statement in the post. I used to cry maybe once or twice a year and now sad commercials make me cry! My heart breaks for complete strangers who might possibly be in the slightest bit of distress. Glad I’m not alone because I was starting to think I was turning a bit loopy????!

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