What I’ve Learned Since Becoming a Parent

By Amy Amatangelo

I’ve been a mom for over two years now and here’s what I’ve learned that I didn’t know before:

1. You will have a laser focus on poop: I had no idea how much I would think and talk about poop. When my daughter was a newborn, my husband used to call home from work every day wanting “the poop report.” Poop continues to be a huge topic of conversation in our house. Seriously, we are all poop all the time.  Has she pooped? What did the poop look like? How many days has it been since she pooped?  We have songs we sing every time my daughter has a bowel movement.  She’s old enough now to sing right along with us. Will she be in therapy years from now because she was traumatized by singing “Who let the poops out?” Only time will tell.

2. Stay at home mom, working mom, it’s all hard: Before I had Molly I thought that being a working mom would be harder. Working moms juggle a career, employer demands and deadlines with raising a child, day care drop-offs and pick-ups and having to leave work whenever their child is sick. That’s hard. I didn’t think stay-at-home moms had it easy, per se, but I didn’t know they had it so hard. I now know how difficult it is to be home with a baby, all day, every day. What it’s like to be the one to change the majority of the diapers, provide the majority of the meals, deal with the majority of tantrums and provide the majority of entertainment day in and day out.  Being a parent is a hard job no matter what your circumstance.

3.You’re going to think other parents are nuts: Eventually you’ll be talking to a parent and they’ll say something like “Oh The Wizard of Oz is Carrie’s favorite movie” and you’ll be shocked because Carrie is 18 months old and too young to have a favorite movie, let alone one that features scary, flying monkeys.  But here’s what you have to remember – you are probably doing something that another parent thinks is equally crazy. Molly has always been a skinny child, so we pretty much let her eat whatever she wants whenever she wants. If another parent came over and saw Molly munching on a cupcake at 6:30 a.m., I am sure they would have something to say about it.

4. Don’t ever tell a new mom that this –whatever this is- is only a phase and that it won’t last long: This used to drive me crazy. While that is true, of course. It doesn’t make any difference to the mom who is getting up three times a night to breastfeed. Sure her baby may sleep through the night in four months. And sure in the grand scheme of a life, four months is not a huge amount of time. But when you are up in the middle of the night and a good night’s sleep is a distant memory, this is not what someone wants to hear. The appropriate response is “That is so hard. You must be exhausted.” And leave it at that.

5. Not everyone will think your child is as adorable as you do:  I am always shocked when the checkout clerk doesn’t think it’s positively charming when Molly wants to “sign” the credit card machine or when they don’t delightfully chuckle when half of the boxes I put on the conveyor belt are open because Molly has eaten her way through Whole Foods (see point #3).  But it’s probably not a bad thing for your kid to run into people who only see a whiny, demanding 2-year-old. It will give her something else besides poop to talk about in therapy.

6. You will never ever be able to finish a full cup of coffee in the morning: Just let that dream go now.

What did you learn about being a parent that you didn’t know before? Talk about it below.

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