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'You will lose friends.' 11 things no one actually tells you about parenting.

Before I had kids, I asked a few friends what parenting was like. 

As much as I love the friends that I spoke to, five days after the birth of my first child, I was ready to sever my friendships with those people. Had my vagina not been held together by so many stitches that I couldn’t even sit to drive, I would’ve also gone over to their houses to tell them to their faces. 

Because they didn’t. Tell. Me. Anything. 

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I mean, they told me everything… except the actual stuff that you need to know about having kids. So, just in case you potential future mamas or papas are currently weighing up your decision, here’s what you need to know. Actually. 

1. Whatever your current salary is, it won’t be enough.

As soon as you give birth, the giant gaping hole that your baby has left in your uterus will transfer itself to your bank accounts. True story. 

So, budget. Do the math. And stop watching episodes of Teen Mom UK or you’ll lure yourself into a false sense of security that convinces you that kids cost nothing and you can raise five of them in a caravan on your parents’ front lawn. 

2. Your plants will thrive.

No, really, they will. 

Every other aspect of your life will be so far out of your control that you will remember to water your monstera when its soil is completely dry and your blueberry bush when its soil is well drained. And as a result, they’ll thrive (probably the only aspect of your life that will – heads up).

3. Baby poo REALLY smells. 

It can smell like chicken cacciatore, crossed with lasts night’s rogan josh that has just repeated on you, crossed with that lone piece of watermelon that’s been sitting at the back of your fridge for the last 19 days and has started fermenting.

Breast fed. Formula fed. Mixed. 

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I guarantee you, you will find yourself wondering just how the f**k your teeny baby, who is still months away from starting solids, can produce such horrendously smelling, adult sized, explosive poos. 

You may also find yourself weighing their nappies after said explosive poos in an effort to understand just how your less than 5kg child has excreted 9kg of s**t.

4. You will spend whatever time you’re not sleeping, feeding, changing nappies or crying, googling.

Here are the top 5 things I googled in those first few years:

  1. “divorce lawyer near me”

  2. “dark green toddler poo with whole corn kernels normal?”

  3. “most effective contraception”

  4. “punt road chardonnay by the case delivered”

  5. “RCH ED wait time”

5. You need a clothes dryer. 

Enough said. 

6. You’ll feel like you’re failing – all the time.

Your child/children. Your partner. Your job. Your friends. Yourself. There’s no escaping it. 

At times it will feel like you’re drowning in failure. Because you will be. Because you won’t be able to do everything right all the time. 

In fact, at times you won’t even be able to do one thing right, some of the time. Welcome to parenthood.

7. If you have more than one child, they will conspire against you.

When one is screaming with colic, the other will be cutting its molars. When one wakes for a feed, the other will vomit in its cot. Or s**t on the kitchen floor. Or break its arm. It’s just how kids roll.

8. At some point, you will hate being a parent.

There isn’t one parent that I’ve spoken to that hasn’t shared this sentiment. 

It will happen. It’s inevitable, and it is so okay.

About 10 days into baby number two, after being at the children’s hospital for four days with no more than two hours sleep a night and then returning home to a house full of gastro, I remember crying to a friend on the phone, telling her that I was hating being a parent and that I just wasn’t cut out for it. 

As a mum of two kids herself, she turned around and said to me, you’re not meant to enjoy it right now, let go of that pressure. All you need to do is keep your baby alive. Right now, that’s enough. So, I’m telling you, right now, that’s enough.

9. You’ll have to start scheduling when you poo.

And when you wee. And even when you think you’ve got the timing perfect – you won’t have. 

As soon as you sit down on that toilet seat to release the bowels you’ve been waiting three hours and 43 minutes since baby’s last feed to release, your baby will stir. And then scream. And then you’ll have to wait another three hours and 43 minutes to even think about having time to go again.

10. To parent is to grieve.

The life you had. The life you could be having. The friends you’ve lost (because you will lose some). The responsibility you’ve gained. 

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You will grieve intensely. 

Maybe only for a short time but maybe for longer. That’s normal and, despite what Instagram and Facebook and that seemingly perfect mum who runs past your house every morning pushing her stroller tell you, it’s completely okay.

And finally:

11. You’ll learn to love in a way that you never have before.

I would hear this from other parents all the time but I never took it on board. 

Not because I didn’t believe them but because I couldn’t understand how you could possibly love in a way that was different to the way you love your partner, or your nephew, or yourself. But you can. 

It’s not always love at first sight and it can take weeks or even months for your tiny human’s personality to emerge enough for you to view them as something other than a clingy, crying poo machine but once it happens, it’s all consuming.

The kind of love you’d take a bullet for ten times over. Without thinking.

Kat Kats is a Melbourne based writer for performance whose works have been performed in Australia and internationally. She is the proud mama of ‘Irish twins’ Neo Stella and Doxie Theo.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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