7 Things Expectant Couples (Wrongly!) Think They'll Never Do as Parents
Before I even got pregnant, my husband and I made mental notes of the things we'd never do as parents. Oh, how wrong we were! Like us, many expectant couples swear they'll never do some things once they become parents—but trust us, you probably will. Learn from our misguided ideas.
1. We won't be slaves to nap time.
No matter where they are or how much fun they're having, parents of little ones dash out the front door when the clock strikes nap time. Though my husband and I pretended not to judge when we noticed our friends do this, we really did. After they left, we'd talk about how we would just make our kids adjust to life, which means skipping or shifting naps sometimes. We weren't going to let a teeny tiny human rule our lives! Then we actually had a child. Yep, it didn't take long for us to realize that when nap time is skipped or pushed back, you pay for it, big time. I'm not too proud to admit we really underestimated the powers of a tired baby. Now, unless it's absolutely necessary, we stick to our routine, even if that means we've become nap-time clock dashers, too.
2. We'll share 'night duty' equally.
Just because mom has the milk-makers doesn't mean she's the only one who has to get up with an infant in the middle of the night. Dads could totally take their share nighttime feedings with pumped-milk bottles or formula. Plus, middle-of-the-night wakeups might involve diaper changes or just plain old cuddles, which fathers are just as equipped to handle. So it totally makes sense that modern parents-to-be would plan on dividing up the duties equally, but frankly, it's just not practical for a lot of families. "My wife and I agreed to share [the responsibility] but since I was working and she was a stay-at-home mom I pretended to be asleep every time the kids cried," says Will Kunkel, a dad of three boys in New York, New York. "I maybe got up five times across all three kids. I had the best intentions, but after a night carrying a screaming baby and then trying to get up at 6:30 a.m. [I realized] soon we would both be stay-at-home parents if I kept that up."
3. We'll never stay out in public with a screaming baby.
Social wars are currently being waged about crying babies and toddlers in restaurants, while grocery shopping, or pretty much anywhere in public. No one wants to listen to blood-curdling screaming and sometimes even mild fussiness can prompt strangers to give parents the evil eye. Think parents of those kids should should make a graceful exit? Sure, sounds good in theory, but when a waiter has just finally brought a plate of food to a starving parent as a baby arrives at DefCon 3, can you blame the mama or papa from shoveling as much food in their pieholes before paying the bill and running out the door? You may think you'll be the new parent who is so considerate of everyone around you, but sometimes you just gotta eat, or buy groceries, or be out in the world, crying baby or not. You'll see.
4. We won't show everyone pictures of our kid all the time.
Yeesh, new parents with the 463 photos of their baby, amirite? Sure, you'll never be that overeager mom or dad who makes your friends and family—and sometimes the barista—look at 28 poses of Junior that are pretty much exactly the same. But, oh, you will. Even rapper and actor Ice-T recently admitted that he has become that dad.
"I'm taking a lot of pictures. I'm that same guy that you go, 'Oh, my daughter...' and before I know it I'm showing you pictures," the papa of baby girl Chanel, born in November 2015, with wife Coco Austin told People. "I said that I'm not going to be that guy. But now I'm just like, 'Wait, look,' and, 'Wait, look at this one,' and, 'Wait a minute, hold up.' You can't help it. You're just happy." Ice and Coco even created Instagram and Facebook pages so they can show off Chanel's cute photos!
5. We'll never bed-share with our baby.
No way, no how are you going to share a bed with your baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics warns against it, citing bed-sharing as a risk for SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths, and you're sure your tiny tot will learn to sleep in his crib right away and you and your spouse will keep your bed to yourselves. But some parents find that it's the only way they get any sleep themselves. Mom-of-one Elizabeth Levy, originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, pledged she'd never bed-share with her child. But after five months of living with a baby who doesn't sleep all that well, Levy changed her tune. "I'm hoping to put an end to it around six months when I get brave enough to sleep train," she explains. "But for now I'm just so desperate for rest that I've completely betrayed my principles!" (P.S.: If you do bed-share, make sure you follow these tips for doing it as safely as possible.)
6. When baby naps, we'll nap, too.
It's a lovely thought that you'll avoid the complete exhaustion of new parenthood by sleeping when your baby sleeps. Not if you ever want to eat or have clean clothes, you won't! Nap time for stay-at-home moms and dads is your only time to cook or clean without your kid around. Would I like to nap? Sure, who wouldn't? But there just aren't enough hours in a day. I use nap time to work, clean the house, cook so we can all live, and once in a while, take a shower!
7. We'll keep our baby away from other people's germs.
Babies are so tiny and delicate that new parents often vow to keep them in a bubble. Everyone—even Grandma!—will have to slather on Purell before holding their little princess. Binkies dropped on the ground will be thoroughly sanitized before being popped back into her cute little mouth. Eventually, moms and dads realize that dirt and germs are everywhere, and you can't protect your child forever—in fact, you probably shouldn't. New parents-to-be Jennifer Huzl-Recine and her husband Robert Recine in Tampa, Florida, were pretty germaphobic before their daughter was born, even vowing she would never, ever play in notoriously germ-filled indoor playgrounds. Slight problem, of course: Hot and muggy summertime Florida weather isn't so ideal for playtime in an outside park. The couple turned out to be very grateful for the air-conditioned playground inside the mall—germs and all!