Babies learn a lot from their mommies and daddies. They learn how to crawl, how to walk, and talk. They learn avocado is delicious and people love to give high-fives. But they're not the only ones on a learning curve - as it turns out, the student can also be the teacher-even if he or she still can't use a fork!
1. A Little Bodily Fluid Never Hurt Anyone
Before becoming a parent, you might have changed your shirt because you got a smidge of ketchup on it, and you definitely would have cringed at the very thought of a soiled diaper. All of that changes very quickly once the baby arrives.
A little spit-up on your shoulder? Bah, this shirt is still good. Baby decides to pee while you're changing her diaper? Just blot it with a washcloth. Your tolerance for everything that spews out of that little person rises a level you would have never imagined prior. And that tolerance is going to become an everyday neccesity.
2. Patience... Lots of Patience...
It is often assumed that patient people are just born that way and impatient people will never change. And that assumption is entirely incorrect. Patience is a skill that needs to be practiced and honed just like any other.
Consider changing your little darling out of her 6th outfit of the day because the diaper leaked, or she spilled pasta sauce all over her pants again, like boot camp for learning to be patient. When you've been rocking your little bundle of joy and singing lullabies for over an hour, desperately trying to get him to sleep, you learn to be patient. If not, you'll just lose your mind (if you haven't misplaced it already)!
3. Live in The Moment
Adults can often dwell on the past or get too focused on the future. They hold grudges for years, and they can't enjoy themselves because they're worried about those pesky bills that constantly arrive at the end month. Babies don't do that. They live in the present and only in the present.
If you've ever witnessed an infant bawling at the top of his lungs for his lovey, only to be giggly and happy a mere moment later when you start making twisted expressions with your face, then you'll know this to be true. If you can take away an ounce of that and apply it to your own life, you've just made it that much better. Poop happens, but you can't let that swirl your whole day down the toilet.
4. Sleep Is Mostly Unnecesary
The general recommendation is that the average adult should get about 7 or 8 hours of sleep every night. However, the general consensus is that new parents typically get anywhere from zilch to zero hours of sleep every night. Trust us, everyone who warned you about the severe sleep deprivation, at least for the first several months, was not over-exaggerating in the slightest.
Your body can and will feel positively worn and pummeled, and yet your brain can continue to operate on autopilot. Like a zombie, you can prepare a bottle, change a diaper, and put that little one back in her crib. It's amazing! It's also just horrible and you hate it. It's a not-so-subtle reminder of just how precious a good night's sleep can truly be.
5. You've Been Wasting Your Time
Go for a post-dinner stroll around the block. Lounge around in your pajamas with your adult coloring books. Netflix and chill. Your pre-motherhood/fatherhood days will feel incredibly carefree when you compare them to the hectic life of a new parent.
It may have felt like you didn't have enough time before, but that's only because you were wasting hours away watching YouTube videos and taking Facebook quizzes. You had time, you just blew it on nothing. And when you've got an 8-pound ball of flesh that requires your undivided attention 24 hours a day, everything changes.
6. Who Needs Money And Politics?
Adults argue about money. Adults argue about politics. Babies couldn't care less about either one of these things. Maybe it's just because they can't yet, but babies somehow seem to know that focusing on either money or politics is a futile exploit.
After your spending days reading through all the parenting forums and spending hundreds of dollars to buy what is recommended as the absolute very bestest learning toy a baby could possibly have, your little munchkin doesn't even want it. Why should she when she's far more interested in the napkin she swiped from diner? That's way more fun!
7. Love Is Not a Transaction
"What's in it for me?" is a very common mantra in today's self-focused society. People will only do something when they think that they'll be rewarded for it. In an absolutely practical sense, babies have nothing to offer us. They can't do our taxes, and they sure can't get us a reservation at the hottest restaurant in town.
And yet, parents persist, they sacrifice, they develop patience for random bodily fluids, and they do this because love is not tit-for-tat. It's all about the intangibles that come out of something pure. It's when just a little giggle makes a whole day 's worth of agony "totally worth it."
8. Predictable Schedules Are Life Changing
"Winging it" is stupid and foolish and it will ultimately lead to your epic downfall.
As wild and unpredictable as a newborn baby can be, life with the chubby little wonder can become infinitely more manageable (but still remarkably difficult) when you get him on a reasonably predictable schedule and routine. If you know when he'll probably be hungry and that he'll want to nap for this long starting at a certain time, it will be much easier to plan your day and get things done.
That is, until he throws in the sporadic wrench of teething pains, random nightmares, inexplicable lack of appetite, or yet another surprise poop when you're out for a family dinner and you come to the horrible realization that you forgot to refill your diaper bag. Again.
9. Failure Is The First Step Towards Success
You took your first singing lessons and you sound more like Eric Cartman than Eric Clapton. Your first attempt at roasting a Thanksgiving turkey is a burnt, smoldering boulder of fowl and you swear never to cook again. You give up, because you're not good at it. You throw in the towel, because you didn't succeed the first time.
But when a baby stumbles and falls attempting his first steps, does he decide that walking simply isn't for him? Does he decide that he'll just stick with crawling because it's good enough? No. He might have an owie, but he's getting right back up and trying again.
10. Your Parents Were Guessing With You
As a teenager, you may have thought that your parents were totally uncool and pretty darn stupid. Even so, you probably assumed that they mostly had their act together, and at least had the basics down on how to raise you.
When you become a mom or dad yourself, you quickly realize that your mom and dad probably didn't have a clue as to what they were doing. After all, now that you have your own, you're barely getting by on a day-to-day basis. You're tired. You're flawed. You're misinformed. And to think that your parents didn't have the Internet to tell them what to do when the kid develops baby acne, or at what age she should be able to roll over.
Nursery? Or Lecture Hall?
Every day represents a new opportunity learn something. As you shuffle your feet with a lukewarm mug of coffee in your hand, bags under your eyes, and a chronic soreness in your back, you gaze down at your little sleeping beauty and smile. She's so precious. Then, she suddenly springs up, throws up all over herself and proceeds to wail uncontrollably. Class is in session!