5 things I never realised before I had kids…

before I had kids

There are a LOT of things I never realised before I had kids. They’ve definitely given me an education – that’s for sure. Perhaps I spent too much time imagining my life with a baby, and forgot to think about that the fact that said baby would quickly grow into a walking, talking child. What didn’t you realise before you had kids? Can you relate to any of mine below?

They will quickly have their own opinions about everything.

(And FYI subsequent children form their even strong opinions even faster).  I never imagined I would have arguments with my four year old about why he needs to wear pants to leave the house. Or a twenty minute argument with my 6 year old over why he isn’t allowed to do whatever he wants on the computer, whenever he pleases. I never imagined how I would have epic battles to get children into bed, nor that an 8 month old could have an opinion at all. 

I don’t know about your kids, but mine seem to have been born with iron-strong wills. And the ability to argue and negotiate under wet cement. I’m sure this will serve them well when they’re adults but right now, I sometimes just wish they would do something, anything, when I asked them to do it!

Your non-sleeping newborn will grow into a little person with a hilarious sense of humour.

I knew of course that babies grow into children. But I guess I didn’t know how hilarious I would find them.  It’s delightful when you realise these little people that you’ve poured so much energy into for the last 2, 3, 5 years are now awesome little humans you’d actually choose to hang out with given the choice. 

Eventually feeling ‘touched out’ will be a distant memory.

When your babies are tiny you’ll feel touched out and maybe even a little resentful of the lack of physical space you have (I know I sure did). In a couple of years though, you’ll miss those endless cuddles and when they would actually sit still for five minutes so you could enjoy them. 

I don’t know when the change happened. I think I was probably in the thick of pregnancy and babies at the time.  I feel like only last week I was asking Eamon for some space on the couch. Or he was driving me crazy with his obsession with wiggling the soft skin on the back of my arm. (Yep, thanks for pointing out my weak spot kid). 

Now, I can’t remember the last time I cuddled him as he fell asleep.  I’m determined to now enjoy his cuddles while he is still happy to give them. Soon he’ll be a teenager and I wonder whether I’ll crave the constant contact of those newborn days again. 

You’ll see the world with different eyes.

The world feels even bigger and scarier when you’re faced with the prospect of sending your baby out into it.  I had this moment the other day. I was teaching in a high school and I’m not sure what it was but suddenly I was transported back to high school myself and I remembered how hard that time is as a kid.

You’re awkward.

Unsure of yourself.

Everything feels big.

You desperately want control of your life but have very little. Everyone else seems to have it together and you still believe the lie that they do.

You’re the odd one out.

Suddenly my heart hurt to think that my boys still have all of this ahead of them. OF course, its necessary to go through it to grow into the adults they’ll become but I guess that Mama instinct of mine wishes it could protect them from that pain, just like I can fix most things with a multi-coloured bandaid now.

Suddenly this stage seems a lot easier in comparison. How much longer will ‘kissing it better’ and ‘putting special cream on it’ will work?

Your relationship with your partner has to come BEFORE your kids.

When Eamon was a baby I remember reading the advice that you have to put your husband before your kids in your priority list. I remember having a negative physical reaction to this.

No way! I thought. Kids are WAY more needy. They need you more.

It took a temporary separation (when Eamon was about 18 months) for me to realise how accurate this advice actually was. 

If you don’t prioritise your relationship, it will fall to the bottom of the pile. Babies and kids are simply louder and better at getting their needs met. Your kids will literally scream to get the attention they need, your partner probably won’t. (Or maybe they will but it’s unlikely to get the type of attention they’re wanting).  

The logistics of putting your relationship ahead of family life is really flipping hard when you have very young children. But the reality is, if you don’t put your relationship first, the family falls apart – and wasn’t that the whole point in the first place?!

But look, I really don’t think you can invest in your relationship if you’re running on empty. It’s like asking a starving person to share their one and only grape (weird analogy to choose I know, but go with me).

I think that’s why I’m such an advocate for yoga. It teaches us to slow down and listen to our own inner voice. To learn how to look after ourselves well so that we can look after others in turn.

If you’re reading this post shortly after having your own baby you might like to try this gentle postnatal recovery class below. It’s a great place to start with yoga after having a baby.

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