Hey you! Yes, you over there with your tiny full term belly, wondering how your life is going to change once this baby comes. Let me tell you, this baby and the ones that come after her are going to rock your world, but in the most amazing way possible. However, there are a few things you should know and appreciate before they arrive.
1) Stop obsessing over getting the best parking spot possible. There will come a time when you will have actual physical obstacles to overcome when you park somewhere. Try searching for a parking spot when you have two babies and an enormous pregnant belly, or three babies in tow. Toddlers are as slow as molasses, and you are constantly terrified that their little hands will slip out of yours and they will immediately be hit by a car. (Side note, stop speeding through the parking lot! Toddlers escape easily and are hard to see!) Also, car seats with babies in them weigh about two tons and are about as easy to lift into a shopping cart as a baby grand piano. So, relish your physical freedom, park in the back, and enjoy a leisurely stroll to the store. We moms will be forever grateful.
2) When planning a social event, stop assuming that getting a babysitter for kids is a simple matter. It isn’t. Babies especially are tricky because sometimes they absolutely refuse to take a bottle (cough, Wren!) Try and make the event as child friendly as possible, if you can. Don’t pick a restaurant that has no high chairs and takes two hours to serve the food. Bonus points for having a child friendly wedding. I firmly believe weddings should be a family affair (because they are about the beginning of a new family, after all!)
3) Appreciate never being self conscious about how you look, because you are not going to feel that way again. However, your husband will be more in love with you than ever before after all the babies. Go figure. Side note, having ample cleavage does not make you look better in dresses. It makes dress shopping impossible.
4) You know how you can read or watch a movie about horrible tragedies happening to children and not bat an eyelash?
How is that possible you inhuman monster?! Well, let’s just say that after having kids that stops immediately because you know that if anything like that happened to one of your babies you would just spontaneously combust from the agony of it.
5) Treasure this time that you can visit a place and not immediately see all the potential hazards to your child. You can go to a lake and think: what a lovely lake. Instead of: if she falls in the water, I won’t be able to find her! You can visit your sister’s in laws’ picturesque house and think: what charming decor! Instead of: my toddler is going to destroy all of these tempting breakable items within her reach! You can see a gorgeous antique and think: I would love to have that table in my house. Instead of: those corners are going to literally poke her eye out! Et cetera, et cetera.
6) You know those handicapped stalls in the bathroom that you have been using with impunity because they are so wonderfully spacious? Stop that. Those are for handicapped people. Also, moms with toddlers and a stroller who really have to go pee but don’t want to leave their stroller unattended would find it quite useful as well and will stare daggers at you when you come strolling out of your spacious stall after taking your sweet time next to a dozen empty regular stalls. Not that I have experienced that particular situation myself.
7) Stop glaring at the mom in the store, restaurant or church whose toddler is being bad. Trust me, she may not show it, but she is way more upset about it than you are and you are making it worse for her. There is very little one can do in the way of discipline in a public place.
8) Stop worrying about your marriage and what kids might do to it. Nothing straightens out your priorities and gives you a healthy appreciation for the important things in life quite like having children. Your marriage will be strengthened by it beyond your wildest dreams. You think your husband is great now? Just wait. Being a husband and father was truly his vocation in life. (As he will tell any stranger who asks about his kids that will listen.)
9) Cultivate those wonderful friendships now, because when you have babies at home, having friends is going to become a lot more difficult. Your childless friends are going to find it hard to relate and won’t know how to reconcile your differing schedules, and your friends with children will have play dates with you where you will spend 99% of the time chasing after your babes and 1% of the time socializing. You will appreciate having a solid foundation with all the friends you want to keep now.
10) Never say never. You may think now that you will never be the mom that will cosleep, breastfeed in public, have the screaming child in the grocery store, nurse the baby back to sleep several times a night, exclusively breastfeed for six months, let the children watch TV, let the children go in public in their pajamas, etc. But the future mom you is laughing at you. Hard. So stop judging the moms who do these things.
11) Thank you for not getting a dog. You will be dealing with enough poo and pee and early morning wake times to last a lifetime after having three under three. I cannot imagine what this would be like if I were responsible for keeping a dog fed, clean, and happy on top of everything else I’m doing already. There will be plenty of time for dogs when the girls are all out of diapers. And then they will get to enjoy a puppy instead of the cranky geriatric dog mommy and daddy bought in college.
So cheers to you, childless self! Enjoy that alcoholic beverage in your hand, because you are about to go three years sober. Good thing you never really enjoyed drinking in the first place.