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Whether you have a newborn or a 7 year old, there is always a surprising new thing to learn about being a parent that people don’t tell you! Parenthood is a life-changing experience, and while we of course love our kids deeply, there are many aspects of having a baby and being a parent that we just didn’t feel prepared for. We know this list may sound negative but we think it’s important to know you’re not alone in how you are feeling if you’re going through any of the following:

1. The Constant Worry

You’ll worry about your child’s safety and well-being constantly, even as they grow older. From the moment they’re born, you become hyper-aware of potential dangers and risks. You worry if the ear splitting tantrum they’re having means they will be a psychopath as an adult, will they have friends at school, are they happy, are they in from their night out yet. The worry doesn’t end long into adulthood.

2. Loss of Personal Space

Be prepared to say goodbye to personal space. Babies and young children have no concept of personal boundaries, and you’ll often find yourself with little personal space or time for yourself. They follow you into the toilet, they sit on you when watching tv, they may want to hold your hand, twist your hair, stroke your arm or even your tummy when going to sleep.

3. Bodily Changes

Pregnancy and childbirth can result in permanent physical changes, like stretch marks, varicose veins, changes in breast size, c section scars, wobbly tummies, weakened pelvic floors causing you to leak a bit of urine when you cough/sneeze or bounce with your kids on a trampoline. You hair can change, your skin can get drier, periods can change and be heavier or lighter. The changes can carry on long after pregnancy.

4. Emotional Rollercoaster

The intense emotions of parenting aren’t always easy to anticipate. You may feel overwhelming love and joy, but also frustration, exhaustion, guilt, miss your old life and even regret at times. And suddenly a soppy advert has you bawling that wouldn’t have bothered you before. The emotions are intense.

5. Impact on Relationships

Having a baby can change the dynamics of your relationship with your partner. You have less time together just you two and its hard to resolve issues when the kids are always around. It’s essential to communicate and work together to maintain a healthy relationship amidst the demands of parenthood.

6. Social Life Changes

Your social life will change, and it may take time to find a balance between parenting and maintaining friendships. Some friends who aren’t parents may not understand the demands on your time. It can be a lonely time if your are on maternity leave and don’t know anybody who is also off. But it can be a time to make new friends. Baby groups and parks can be a good way to meet people.

7. Less Time for Hobbies and Interests

Pursuits and hobbies you once enjoyed might take a back seat to childcare. Finding time for self-care can become a challenge.

8. Surprise Allergies and Aversions

Some children develop allergies or strong aversions to common foods, textures, or even specific clothing materials, which can be unexpected, difficult to manage and require adjustments in your daily routine. Who would have known how frustrating it can be for you and your child to simply put on their socks in the morning only to learn you have done it wrong and the toe seem “isn’t right”.

9. Constant Mess

Babies and children can be incredibly messy, and you may find yourself cleaning up after them more than you ever imagined, from spilled food, toys, dropped clothes, arts and crafts.

10. The Laundry Never Ends

An unusual present for new parents is a laundry basket. Because it’ll be an extra wardrobe when they don’t have time to put away the clean laundry. Laundry is never ending and your own laundry usually gets done last.

11. The Smells

Be ready for unexpected odours. Babies and toddlers can produce some surprising smells, and you may become accustomed to dealing with them.

12. You Don’t Just Become a Parent

You become a chef, nurse, cleaner, teacher, organiser, finder of many lost things, event planner, clothes buyer, appointment booker, taxi driver, peace maker. You wear many hats when you have a child and you have to learn it all on the job with no training, salary or break.

Parenthood is a journey filled with both joys and challenges, and these lesser-discussed aspects are just a part of the complex and rewarding experience. While it’s important to be prepared for the unexpected, remember that the love and connection you share with your child, the giggles, the hugs, the excited eyes when they learn something new make it all worthwhile. And for all the stressful times, they really do grow up quickly. So while you don’t need to enjoy every moment every tricky stage really does pass.

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