Family life

6 Things I Wish I Knew Before Having Kids

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1. Baby clothes are basically disposable

I spent HOURS picking out clothing for my firstborn. Did I really want him to wear plaid? What type of plaid? Was tartan really HIM, or was he more of a stripes kid?

You guys, baby clothes are cute and adorable and lovely and sweet and sooooo not worth having a lot of opinions about because babies go through clothes like a squirrel goes through acorns.

What your baby doesn’t ruin with spit up or a blow-out diaper, she’ll outgrow in six minutes anyway.

If Aunt Mabel gave you a hideous onesie that says “Future Supermodel,” and it goes against EVERYTHING you believe about raising a daughter but you don’t want to offend Aunt Mabel, just put it on your baby first thing in the morning and feed her some prunes. It won’t even last until first nap.

2. You don’t know what you don’t know

Ever hear yourself saying, “Well when I have kids, I’ll never…”? Stop yourself right there.

Whatever you were about to say about not feeding them Cheetos, not letting them use your lipstick, not turning in early for the night even though Usher is playing at the United Center so they could keep their bedtime routine? You WILL end up doing that thing.

3. Pets ARE NOT THE SAME

When we had our firstborn son, we also owned two cats. We’d owned these cats for years. We were great pet owners! Up-to-date on shots, Halloween costumes for both, special diet pet food pet owners. We thought we were so ready.

Basically the only question you need to ask is: Can you leave your pet alone at the house for over thirty seconds? Then your pet is nothing like a baby.

‘Nuff said.

4. Evvvvverything gets more complicated

Before kids: Huh, I need more eggs for this recipe! Let me pop over to the store!

After kids: Huh, I need more eggs for this recipe! Let me get the baby dressed. Whoops, he pooped through this outfit. Let’s get another onesie on him. Whoops, he spit up! Can I just scrub that up real quickly? Nope, it’s already soaked into his onesie. Let’s change him again. Shoot, he’s crying now. Is he hungry? Let me try to feed him. [20 minutes pass] Okay, now to the car. Strap him into the car seat. Crud, I forgot my purse. Pull the car up to the front of the house. Take the car seat out, lug it up the stairs, grab the purse, back to the car, click the car seat back into its base. Drive to the store. Park at the store. Look into the car seat. Baby is asleep. Sigh. Drive around for the next hour so the baby sleeps. Never cook anything again.

5. There is never a “right time” to have kids

If you are waiting for the perfect, easy moment to expand your family, that moment probably doesn’t exist. We had kids in the midst of a PhD program, vocational decisions, and living on a shoestring. But if we’d waited until we had a big financial cushion, guess what? We’d still be waiting.

There are easier and harder times to have a baby. For example, I wouldn’t want to have one while backpacking through Europe. But there’s no right time.

6. The exhaustion, anxiety, heartache, and physical changes? You wouldn’t trade them for the world.

Having kids is face-planting-in-your-oatmeal exhausting. If you carry those babes in your belly, your body really will never be exactly the same. You’ll worry about bizarre things like Hand, Foot, & Mouth Disease (yeah, that’s actually a thing). Sometimes your kids will act so crazy you’ll want to walk away from the playground muttering, “Whose son is THAT?”

But do you know what? Those times are the minority, and it is all SO worth it.

Kids are amazing. They will bless you, stretch you, and help you do things you never imagined you could do. They will snuggle and babble and just be so utterly themselves that you will be constantly in awe.

My husband and I waited some time to have kids, and I’m glad we did (we were birthing degrees for a bit, and kids would have made that infinitely harder). But I wasn’t prepared for just how good having kids would be.

Exhausting? Yes. Anxiety-producing? You betcha. Gobs of work? Every day. But good? That overpowers all the other things daily.

I stand in awe of the God who created these little people and entrusted them to my husband and me for this short season. What a good, loving God.

Now where’s my coffee?

Have kids? What do you wish you would have known earlier? Don’t have kids but want them? What are you most looking forward to?

4 thoughts on “6 Things I Wish I Knew Before Having Kids

  1. Nobody tells the truth about having children. People tell you it’ll be great and amazing and life changing. The truth is: it’s damn hard.

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    1. And I feel like I had a different experience. I knew it’d be hard (that’s one reason I put it off for so long!) but wasn’t prepared for how hilarious and fun and good it would be. (But don’t get me wrong – there are days I’m so tired my EYELASHES hurt. And these are the norm!)

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  2. People who have kids tell people who don’t have kids all the time, “It’s hard, but it’s worth it.” But those words don’t really have any meaning until you have kids yourself. I loooove my sleep. I neeeeed my sleep. I am not a morning person. I never could have known that I would be happily sitting on my couch at 5:45 AM, sipping coffee and watching a cheerful baby playing with her toys on the floor. Yes, I am tired and I’d love to sleep until 8:00 uninterrupted every day, but every once in a while she pauses in her play and looks up at me and waves “hi” and smiles and then goes back to her toys, and my heart is destroyed.

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    1. Seriously. And now when people tell me they “only slept in until nine” I bite my tongue… Life changes radically with littles, but I wouldn’t trade it. Well, MOST days I wouldn’t trade it.

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