Almost everyone wants to be a parent someday, but nobody (NOBODY!) is ready for it. Even if you think you are, you’re not. I certainly wasn’t, but if someone had managed to get through my thick head what I’m about to tell you before my son was born, I might have been scared enough to swear celibacy forever.
First, you will not sleep anymore. Lots of parents claim their kid sleeps “through the night”, but that’s only because the parents are so deprived of rest that they’ve lost their memory. I can’t stress this enough, guys. In the past year and a half of my life, I have never, not once, woken up to an alarm, or a sunrise, or my dog licking my face. I’ve woken up to someone screaming, every time. You don’t understand what that’s like until it happens to you, and you realize it’s about as stressful as trying to fall asleep with someone holding a loaded gun against your head that you aren’t sure when it’s going to go off.
Your child will take you for granted. They’re babies. They don’t understand or care how you feel when you’re close to tears with frustration because they won’t stop crying and are squirming like an eel when you try to attatch their diaper. You WILL lose your temper at least once, and scare yourself with how violent your thoughts are. Which brings me to my next point.
Babies cry for no reason. The more attention you give them during their protest crying, the more protest crying they will do. If you know that your baby has a clean diaper, a full belly, and isn’t hot or cold or in pain, but they’re crying anyway, ignore them. I’m not kidding. It hurts your heart the first couple of times to leave them in the crib when all they want is for you to come hold them, but trust me when I say DO NOT GO AND HOLD THEM! We didn’t understand this until the doctor gave us this advice. We were up at least three times a night with this screaming thing that wouldn’t give us even three hours of uninterrupted sleep, until we finally gave up and considered the doctor’s advice. We let him cry. He was pissed for about half an hour, but eventually he fell back asleep. The next night was the first time in his life that he slept for more than 4 hours at once. If you let your baby get conditioned to the idea that s/he has to cry to get attention, you will end up resenting your child. (That’s bad, btw.)
There’s a lot more to know about kids, but those are the realizations that hit me hardest. Just remember that when you have a kid, you don’t exist anymore as an individual. You’re just so-and-so’s parents at least until the baby is old enough for school, and probably until they move out.