Nearly every expecting couple gets the same warning. Undoubtedly, once their baby is born, they pass it on to other soon-to-be parents:
You just can’t explain how having a baby changes your life. You won’t understand until you go through it.
Pregnant couples roll their eyes, but soon after that bundle of joy arrives they get it.
In the hours after their first baby is born, parents are bombarded with new jobs and responsibilities: breast or bottle feeding, rocking, walking, constantly changing diapers. And why does that baby cry all the time?
In the following days, it’s around-the-clock feedings. No sleep. You are not on your schedule anymore. Everything is when the baby decides.
Over the next months, new parents are still sleep-deprived. Still changing upwards of 10 to 12 diapers a day. Still confused and concerned they’re doing everything wrong. And that baby is still crying. All. The. Time.
Researchers have caught on to how stressful new parenthood is, and here are the disturbing findings: Having a baby drains parents’ happiness. A new baby has a more negative effect on happiness than divorce, unemployment and even the death of a spouse.
Reread that paragraph once, but don’t really let it sink in, or it’ll be too depressing.
There’s no denying it, parenthood is exhausting. It’s draining. It’s want-to-pull-your-hair-out frustrating. But it’s also pretty funny.
I believe the key to surviving (and hopefully, enjoying) parenthood is finding the humor in the small things. It can be difficult to smile when it’s 3 am and you’re up for the fourth time that night. But, when you feel like all you can do is laugh or cry, I challenge you to laugh.
And remember you’re not in this alone. Is your back sore from carrying your toddler all day and night? Are you dying to take a shower because you feel like you’re covered in poop and snot? Do you wish Dora would shut up for five minutes??? Trust me, you’re in good company.
Spend time with other parents and share funny stories. Take time away from the kids to be with your spouse or significant other to remember what you were like before this life-altering event.
And trust me. It will get easier.