10 years ago when I was pregnant with my first child, I changed. The change wasn’t fast and so I didn’t realise what was happening until it was too late. From a dancing-till-1 am, breakfast-at-noon kinda gal into an all-caps MOTHER.6 Things I wish I had known about life as New Parent | Motherhood and Parenting | Maple and Marigold

6 Things I Wish I had Known As A New Parent

I can’t remember the last time I slept through the night. But my body got used to it, like it got used to popping a grapefruit out of a nostril. No kidding here! That was the first analogy for birthing I heard. At that time I thought ewwww. Now I understand. Totally! That and a number of other things I wish I had known before I became a mom. You’ve been warned.

Breast is not always best. Breastfeeding is fulfilling and satisfying like you wouldn’t believe. But it’s also a hard and lonely job. There are the wonderful moments when there is peace in the house and all you hear is the earnest gurgling of this sweet little baby. But then there are the moments where you are bone-tired and the last thing you want to do is wake up again to quiet a crying baby. It’s moments like these that are the reason to wake your partner up at 2 am. So whether you latch, pump or mix, it’s hard either way. So shake your partner awake because you are doing your partner a disservice by hogging the middle of the night experience.

Say Yes to help, to hold, to cook, babysit, change. If someone offers to help, say yes, “of course, here is the baby.” You would like to babysit – say “How about this Thursday?” I say lock them down before they change their mind.6 Things I wish I had known about life as New Parent | Motherhood and Parenting | Maple and Marigold

You will put that weight back on after you quit breastfeeding. Yes, it happens.  So unless you want to be the mommy who pulls her 5 yr old aside in the playground for a little sip – yup – it was my 6 yr old who awkwardly sidled away when she understood what your kids meant by “let’s have a snack” – you can’t nurse for the rest of your life. So get used to fielding comments now. “You looked so much better two months ago, what happened.” I am sleeping through the night now, thank you very much!

Take a shower every day, doesn’t have to be in the morning, just daily. It makes you feel better, perkier. And people want to stand close to you and say wonderful things like “ooh your baby is so cute, she looks just like you.”

Get the hell out of the house every day. The crying doesn’t sound as loud when you are outdoors. Park, grocery store, mall, walk up the street and back if there is nothing else to do. 10 years ago, I didn’t do this. Oh I had a good many reasons, new city, no friends, uphill with stroller, no shops close by. The reasons all seemed so legit then, they sound so lame now. Don’t get caught in the humdrum of sleep, cry, eat, poop…..and that’s just you. There is a more fun world out there. Step outside.

Travel. I can’t tell you how much easier it is when they are little, less mobile, eating more easily controlled items. Put your kid in a carrier, car seat, stroller and get out there. My husband and I took a road trip from Calgary, through the Rocky Mountains to the western-most point of Vancouver Island and back, with our then 9-month-old. We had the best time ever.

There were no pee breaks (well for me, yes), no complaints of “I am bored. My legs are dying. I am going to forget how to walk.”6 Things I wish I had known about life as New Parent | Motherhood and Parenting | Maple and Marigold

The stage before they can speak clearly is also the stage before they can whine.

Early parenthood is an exciting time, you know so little and learn so much. I wish I had known what I do now and I may have been able to stop and enjoy the journey just a little bit more.

What surprised you when you became a parent for the first time?