No one prepares you for parenthood.
It’s not their fault. It’s impossible to prepare someone for it.
I was told, countless times, that having a child would change my life. That having a child would be exhausting. That having a child would be unimaginably difficult. That having a child would bring more joy, and devastation, than anything else ever had or would.
I listened. I nodded. I thought to myself, of course it will be difficult! I get that!
No one can prepare you for the sleep deprivation you face when your baby is a newborn. No one can prepare you for the tears you will shed as you attempt to take care of a small, helpless, being on two hours of scattered sleep over the previous four nights.
I listened to advice. I nodded. I smiled. I get it. I know having a baby is hard, I thought.
No one can prepare you for how quickly your baby will learn to crawl. And then walk. No one can prepare you for the fear that will race through your spine as you see your baby take their first nasty fall.
Over and over people warned me that these things would happen. I listened. I understood. Babies fall. They hurt themselves. They crawl, they walk, and then they run.
No one can possibly prepare you for the joy that you will feel with that the first smile, the first giggle, the first “mama” that comes through their little mouth. “It’s the most amazing feeling in the world!” I heard them say. I listened. I knew that it would be.
Everyone told me that two would be worse than one, and that three would be harder than two. I get it! Three is hard, blah blah blah. Three year olds will fight you to to the death, they told me.
No one can prepare you for the guilt you will feel as you attempt to raise that fighter of a three year old. The awful feeling of knowing you are doing the right thing only to have your child exclaim, “I hate you!” through tears.
I was told it would come. I expected it to come. I get it!, I thought, of course he won’t mean it!
Everyone told me that it would be the hardest thing I’ve ever done, the hardest thing I will ever do. I thought, I get it.
No one prepares you for the laughter. No one can prepare you for how much joy you will take out of the silly things they say. “We weren’t very close,” Alex told me when I asked if he missed one of his daycare friends who had started preschool.
No one can prepare you for how much joy you feel for your child. How what they do is the most amazing thing any child has ever done. How what they say is funnier than another child saying the exact same thing. How when they say they love you it gets stored away forever, and how when they say they hate you it also does.
No one can prepare you for parenthood.