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10 Things They Don't Tell You About Raising Children

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

I've noticed through the course of the past few weeks, with friends bringing home new babies, that there is a substantial list of things they don't tell you when they send you home from the hospital with a bouncing burping bawling bundle of joy.

I mean, they give you the necessary, food goes in the mouth, change the diaper when it is dirty, good luck speech, but really, there should be a list. SO. I've taken it upon myself to compile such a list. Something that may or may not be of use to you; but every new mom deserves to know what she's getting into.

1. You will no longer own white clothes. You may think you do, but I assure you, you don't. It is best to take them outside and tye dye them, preferably with rust orange, (goes well with baby poop) and a dirty shade of off white yellow if you bottle feed. These will become your good clothes, and you will wear them in public, and you won't care. Because at least, they are clean. Sort of.

2. There is no such thing as a moment of silence. It has ceased to exist. For the next 18 years, (22 if you plan to allow them to room for the duration of the education you will most likely be taking out a second mortgage to pay for) Even when you are alone, you will hear them. Whether it be the scream of a newborn, the tantrum of a two-year-old, the whining of a four-year-old, the tattling of a five-year-old, the screaming of a seven-year-old, the door slamming of an 11-year-old, the begging of a 13-year-old, the music of a 16-year-old, and the demanding of money of a 17-year-old. Silence IS NO MORE.

3. Your body, if you choose to accept this baby making mission, has forever changed. I don't care if you gain two pounds, and give birth to a four pound baby. Your body knows, and will forever hate you for it. Your chest will double in size, but not the way one would hope. Your hips will widen, and will somehow "forget" how to return to their once coveted size. Your stomach will gain friends of the stretch mark persuasion, (those of you without these, feel free to leave now, you are not welcome here). Your feet will grow. Those shoes you once bought that cost more than a weeks worth of meals, put them under the tire of your car, and give them a new use as speed bumps. I tell you no lies. Change. That's what you're in for.

4. Those moms you run into who think that because their child can walk at nine months that he's going to be the next Einstein, just smile, and remember Einstein was a late bloomer. Milestones are a great way to check the progress of your children's mental growth, but they are by no means a way to compare and belittle those whose children tend to go at their own pace. Teeth are not a sign of intelligence, and neither is height. Those percentiles they give you are not to be used to decide your children's future. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

5. Invest in a shopping cart. Your own shopping cart. There will be places, (like the mall) that will not provide these for you, and those strollers they make, won't even begin to contain your child(ren) and your purchases. I would suggest a cart with at least enough room to grow. Don't go getting a Hobby Lobby or dollar tree cart. Those things were made for small pets, not children. A Sam's club or Costco cart is the best investment. Don't worry about fitting it into the car, you will come to realize your car is just another thing of value that your children will eventually destroy. Tie the cart to the outside and let it hit the car as you drive. It will prepare you for what you have to look forward to when they turn 16.

6. The definition of clean you once held, will be substantially lowered. What used to qualify as dirty, will become fitting for even the most distinguished of guests. Take your furniture, and put it outside for 24-48 hours. Allow birds to do their business on it. Attack it with sharp objects. Bring it back inside and color on it. Only then will it be ready for the kids. Take the hammer to the coffee table, and pour some stain removing agents all over the prettiest parts. Let it sit. In fact; Don't wipe it off. A clean coffee table is just an invitation to be messed with. This might actually prove to be a deterrent.

7. Potty training is a torture device used to separate the strong from the weak. Those who do it before their kids are in kindergarten are what we in parenting circles call "overachievers". There is no such thing as a potty chair. There are potty rugs, potty panties. potty tile, and potty loveseats, but these are not marketed because I mean really, what sells better. Buying these things is clearly just a waste of time. Potty chairs that make music, are just a further waste of ones hard earned money. They will use it to carry toys in, and or, pour water into, after which they will drink it, because, well heaven knows they aren't going to pee in it. Give them a Wal-mart bag. At least this way, they can reduce reuse and recycle.

8. Cute baby clothes are to children as spaghetti sauce is to white berber. Nothing says get me dirty like clothes you paid far too much for. If clothes are purchased for you, high five. Accept them graciously, but keep in mind, they will be destroyed. If it is your fourth child and you have nothing left because you just knew you weren't having anymore, buy nothing but onesies. It's amazing the uses you can get out of these cheap and changing items. Baby blessing, white onesie; Church, pink or blue onesie. Outside, go gender neutral with a yellow onesie. Maybe even dress it up with some socks. Point is. Buying your two month old $1000 worth of clothes is really just like taking your last paycheck to the fire-pit. You will get very little out of it in the end. And really, we're all about getting the most out of life.

9. Be prepared to be mortified, humiliated, embarrassed and maybe even a bit taken aback by the things you had no idea children could do. They will say things out loud that will turn even the darkest of faces a cherry shade of red. Don't tell them anything about anyone that you don't want repeated. You might think they will forget, but they won't. The memory capability of an elephant, that's what they've got. They will have no shame, don't for one second attempt to pass gas in a public venue. They will call you out. Things you once said in passing will now become weapons used against you to get you to do things you really had no intention of doing. Do not attempt to bribe children over the age of six months with something you don't plan on executing within the next 25 minutes. Patience might be a virtue, but it is not bestowed before the age of 75.

10. And lastly. Things that used to be simple; will no longer be so. Laundry will become a task that requires six baskets, and a 24 hour block of time. A trip to the store, will not only become something you dread, but chances are you will have to make more of them because you will be so frazzled when you get there, you will forget the very reason you came. Taking a shower will no longer be something you do alone. Naps. HA. They will forever become a thing of the past. Doing dishes will become the term you use for the last time you had an adult moment with your spouse; suffice it to say, you will NOT BE DOING THE DISHES VERY OFTEN.


Truth be told. It's the hardest, lowest paid position you will ever encounter. The hours will suck, the breaks will be few and far between, and frankly, your benefits might seem a little lacking, but I assure you. They will come. There will never be another job more important than that of a mother. You will put it more hours than any CEO, but you know what. It will be worth it. And that, my child bearing friends, is a promise.