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Friday Five: 5 Things I Wish I Had Known About Parenting

Photo by Venture Photography

By Lauren Hagerty, Co-Founder and Content Creator of Momtourage Media

Becoming a parent is one of the most pivotal moments in your life that will change your life so  substantially, forever. You have never known a love quite like the love you will have for your  child. You have never known the heartache you will feel when that child feels an ounce of pain  or the level of stress you will feel when you are worried about your child. After becoming a  parent, every emotion you may have known becomes that much more amplified. 

These are Momtourage Media’s top five things we wish we knew before becoming a parent.

1. Your life will change forever.

It will not matter how old you are or how old your children are; you will always be their parents.  You will always love them deeply and always feel compelled to help them in any way you can,  even when they are middle-aged adults. 

2. Life will become uncontrolled, unorganized, and messy. You will also suddenly  become a selfless person.

Children are unpredictable initially – sleep patterns change, teething can be stressful, going  through growth spurts (in all stages!) can throw things off. Sometimes your child won’t fall  asleep at bedtime, won’t eat certain foods, or behave as you wish they would. As they get older,  their changing hormones make them less emotionally stable, creating consistent behavior and  attitude modification. You have to roll with it, baby, and trust your instincts! At every step of  Parenting, there is a certain level of unpredictability. 

Upon becoming a parent, you may not have the time to be organized; your first order of  business will always be to meet your child’s needs; this is when, if you have not already, the  quality of selflessness will develop. Organization and other things you may have once viewed as  a priority will suddenly become less important. Certain situations will sometimes be beyond your  control, and your house and your life will unequivocally get messy. You have to embrace it,  which can be difficult for a lot of Type A personalities.

3. When you deliver your child, what you think will transpire may not be as you planned it  in your head.

The truth is that if you are not a parent yet, you have no idea what it feels like to go through  labor. You will think you have an idea about it in your head, based on what others have shared  with you. In actuality, the circumstances surrounding your delivery will dictate how you will  deliver; it will not be what you want; it will be what must take place to keep you and your baby  safe. 

There is nothing any of my ten female cousins (or my mother) who went through labor and  delivery several times each could tell me that would even remotely get me to understand what  would happen. I could say nothing right now to help any mom who is about to have a baby  realize what it will feel like or how it will progress because everyone’s experience is unique. 

Sometimes your journey into parenthood can be without going through labor; you may go  through the process of adoption or surrogacy, which is an unknown and unique journey in itself.

4. You will think you want to be a working mom or stay-at-home mom, but what you  planned initially may not be how things play out.

You cannot predict how you will feel after having a child. I insisted I would go back to work, but I  felt completely different after having my first child. I felt such a connection that I did not want to  be away from my baby for five minutes, let alone eight hours a day. I had to change the plan,  and thankfully, with some sacrifices, and although it was difficult, we found ways to make it work  financially. 

As moms, we constantly reinvent ourselves; when I decided I would be a stay-at-home-mom,  many things changed for me. I didn’t have the mental stimulation of work that I craved, and I no  longer earned my own money (that was difficult for someone who worked and earned money  since they were 14 years old). I also had to be brave and put myself out there into new groups,  which I did, despite my initial apprehension to meeting new people. I thankfully made many new  friends on my journey, known as my #momtourage; some of them are my best friends to this  day. I remember saying to a friend who was going back to work and was uneasy about it; “you  are going back to everything you know. I am going into the unknown.” Thankfully, that shift in  perspective made her feel much better.

5. It will be the most complex job you have ever had in your entire life, also the most  rewarding. 

Raising a responsible, kind, intelligent human being is not a job for the faint of heart. It takes  courage, dedication, love, patience, persistence, understanding, empathy, caring, and so much  more! There is no guidebook to help you with every decision you make, no immediate  gratification for the work you’ve done; you have to parent the best way you know-how and hope  you are doing a good job. 

Every smile, every hug, every giggle, every accomplishment will bring you such immense joy- a  joy you have not felt before. Every day, watching your child learn and grow; it’s like opening a  beautiful gift. Being a parent is truly one of the most incredible experiences that life has to offer,  and although nothing can prepare you for it, it will force you to grow, as a person, in ways you  never imagined.

Lauren Hagerty is the Co-Founder and Content Creator for Momtourage Media  a media-based company that focuses on creating crowd-sourced and researched parenting advice for modern-day moms. She lives in Greenwich, Connecticut with her husband Keith, daughter Ava, age 12, son Max, age 10, and her two Goldendoodles, Parker and Harley. 

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