The things I was surprised to learn

By this point, you should be aware that you will s*%t yourself delivering the baby and that your social life will be totally disrupted. People will tell you about the pain of childbirth, the spitting up, the crying and the tantrums.

No one talks about the other stuff. The important stuff. Like these:

1. You need to learn strategic photography.

Naked babies are so cute, right? Like, want-to-bite-those-chunky-thighs cute. But you can’t just snap a photo of your kid splashing in the child-proofed baby tub and post it online. You need to learn some strategy to hide your tot’s bits and pieces. Think about the angles. Think about a cleverly placed toy or washcloth. Other skills you should hone prior to giving birth: finding missing socks, sleeping with your eyes open and scrubbing permanent marker off every imaginable surface.

2. Speaking of naked time.

If you have a boy, you need to be prepared to see and talk about penises all the time. Like, all the time. His hands will be down his pants whenever they aren’t holding something else … and sometimes, even while they are holding something else. We have a few trains that have seen what no little train should ever see.

3. Doorbells are the enemy.

Just rip yours out right now. If you can find a way to silence the dog, like somehow removing its ability to bark, you probably want to do that, too. Your other enemies will include a red light at an intersection and strangers who want to touch your newborn child.

4. The worst decision you ever made was moving away from family.

Ooooh, so you moved to a warmer climate thinking your family would totally follow you? Then you had a baby thinking surely they would visit often? Congratulations: You’re an idiot. Not only will your kids miss out on bonding with relatives, but you miss out on probably the single most helpful thing in the parenting world: FREE BABYSITTING. Take it from this idiot: Stay close to family if you can.

5. Your mind will think odd things you never thought it would.

Remember when you were in college and you would close down a bar at 2 a.m. and then go to class at 8 a.m. and be like, “Wow, I’m so tired”? No, you weren’t. You had no idea what tired was. Have a baby who doesn’t sleep through the night for the first, say, 12 months of its life. Then you’ll know what tired is. It’s the kind of tired that makes you start thinking things like, “Can I give my child just a tiny bit of Ambien? Like, one-hundredth of a pill?” “It’s wrong to duct tape a child to her crib, right?” Fortunately, you will come to your senses, but not before actually considering these things.

6. You should not be too proud to ask for help.

Dear God, why was I such a fool who would decline people’s offers to bring us a meal or take the kids for an hour? ALWAYS SAY YES. Offers for help come less often as the kids age, so take advantage of it while you can.

7. Forget diapers and wipes; here are the supplies you really need:

Super glue, cardboard boxes, construction paper, flashlights, batteries, key chains with real keys (don’t even play with the kiddie versions), your favorite alcohol (for you, not the kid, obv), a Netflix subscription, the free PBS app on every mobile device you own and a list of reliable babysitters.

8. You need to make friends with people who have kids your age.

Don’t try to be the only person you know with kids your age. It’s not fun. Buddy up with a fellow prego or get into a mommy group stat.

9. It’s OK to be scared, frustrated and sad.

For a long time, I was worried that I was a bad mother because I had moments that I would really dislike being a mother. I wish someone would have told me that there will be really hard days that would make me want to run away. Further, I wish someone would have told me that it’s totally normal to think like that. And taking it one step more, I wish people would make sure that parents – especially mommies – who feel this way often get the help they need.

10. Parenting books are garbage.

Remember that everything you read in a book is based on generalizations. Every milestone is based on an average age, and odds are your child will hit those milestones before or after, and you will wrongly assume you have a genius or a child with a disability. Here’s the only thing you ever need to know: Every kid is different, stop freaking out and call the doctor if you are really concerned. #KnowledgeBomb

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