"Dear pre-kid me: I’m just going to give you a heads-up."

Dear Pre-Kid Me,

I’ve been doing this parenting thing for almost four years now, so I feel reasonably confident enough to talk to you about a few of those ideas you have. You know — the ideas about what it’s like to have a kid and what you will or will not do as a parent.

You have a lot of thoughts about parenting, and you feel pretty good about them. I get that. But let me tell you — none of your life experiences so far have changed you in the ways that being a mum will change you.

So I’m just going to save you some time and give you a heads-up about a few of those thoughts that didn’t quite pan out like you anticipated.

No, babysitting your four younger siblings does not prepare you to have and care for your own child. You feel pretty good about your childcare skills now, but raising your kid is very, very different.

Yes, you will give in and cut the peel off of the apple.

And the crust off of the bread.

No, you won’t make your kid eat everything on his plate every single night.

But if it’s any consolation, you will stick to that no dinner/no dessert rule — some rules are just written in stone, you know?

Yes, you will let your kid sleep in your bed.

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No, not all kids take naps. In fact, some kids actively fight sleep and only get more active the more tired they get. Just wait until you see it. It’s remarkable. I still don’t understand how it happens.

No, getting up in the middle of the night for two months to train your puppy doesn’t compare to getting up in the middle of the night for six months to feed and comfort a baby. Doesn’t. Even. Come. Close.

Okay, I lied. It’s not going to be six months — it will be over a year of waking up multiple times each night. Sleep now while you have the chance.

And no, putting your baby in the car and driving around to lull him to sleep will not work. Contrary to the popular advice you have already heard from many, many people.

Yes, you will be strict about bedtime. You will leave family gatherings early to make sure your kid is at home in bed on time. People will question this. Don’t listen. They aren’t the ones who have to fight to get him in bed when it’s past bedtime.

Or feel sad for him the next day when he wakes up at exactly the same time he always does and breaks down crying because he drops his firetruck or accidentally sits on his book.

Lyndsay Knowles is a writer, educator, and mum. She writes about storytelling, parenting, writing, and other life experiences. 

This post originally appeared on Medium and has been republished here with full permission.