As a new mom, I am running 100 miles a minute. My life has never been more fulfilled, more fun or more rewarding. But I’ve never been so surprised by all the things I simply did not know. Babies don’t come with manuals and there’s no preparation course for new motherhood better than a firsthand account. So for all the new parents (and parents-to-be!) out there, here’s a rundown of the top three things they don’t tell us.
1. Celebrity Bodies – Not the Real Deal
I say this is (slight) jest, but seriously, this has been a hard lesson for me. Those celebrity bodies that pop back five weeks after delivery are not the norm. Unless you are of the lucky one percent that has the time and funds to hire a Jillian Michaels-type to yell in your ear for five hours/seven days a week, along with a gourmet chef who will prepare a 1,000 calorie or less daily meal plan, and an exclusive Beverly Hills VIP-only day spa (read: plastic surgeon) for a little weekend getaway (read: nip/tuck), it’s not happening. There are those exceptions to the rule who do snap back like they never even had a child, but for most of us, I’m told it can take a year or more to totally get that body all the way back. My mother always used to say that patience is a virtue, but in this case, my patience is fleeting. But to keep it in perspective, those celebrity post baby weight loss stats may not even be a fact. Kourtney Kardashian recently admitted that her post-baby bod was drastically Photoshopped by OK! Weekly and made her appear about 30 pounds lighter. She stated, “[the magazine] doctored and Photoshopped my body to make it look like I had lost all the weight, which I have not”...and I gained 40 pounds while pregs, not 26.”
2. Babies are big business
It seems to me that companies prey on new parents who don’t know any better for no fault of their own. Half the things I bought for my son are either 1. unnecessary or 2. more trouble than they’re worth. Case in point: before my son was born I went out and purchased a $30 bottle warmer. Not realizing at the time that I could have simply put my baby’s bottle in a cup of warm water, my husband and I would go to task trying to make this thing work every couple hours. It would take 3 minutes for the water to warm up, and another 5 minutes for the bottle to get warm. Most of the time, it would make the bottle excessively hot ““ too warm for baby. Then we’d have to wait for it to cool off ““ add on another 6-7 minutes.
By this time, the baby is screaming like there’s no tomorrow. He’s pissed, we’re pissed. It’s all bad. A simple cup of warm water would have gotten the job done in 3 minutes tops. Similar worthless items that are currently collecting dust include: a steaming bottle sterlizer, an infant seat that helps babies sit up-right, and a crib mobile that my son doesn’t even pay attention to.
3. Daycare will make you go broke
Nothing against daycare providers because God knows a great one is a Godsend but daycare prices are ridiculous. Does it really take $800-1200 a month to watch a 3-month-old? (Note, in-home day care providers are slightly less expensive. Emphasis on “slightly.”) They can’t even crawl at that age, so really, how much “work” do you actually have to do other than feed, change, soothe and give attention? Especially if I have to provide the milk, bottles, diapers and wipes?
If you’re lucky, you’ll find a day care that will provide one or more of these items, but usually, that’s not the case. Then they have the audacity to charge you for holidays when they are closed anyway (e.g. Thanksgiving and Christmas). They charge like it’s a gym membership ““ you pay a weekly or monthly fee and if you show up, great; if not, too bad. Soooo irritating! And don’t have the human nature to dare take a vacation. Provided you notify the center in advance, you might pay half of your normal weekly fee as a “convenience to you”, but you’re still paying them when your child isn’t even there! I’m obviously in the wrong business.
What are some of those other “secrets” you don’t find out until you become a card-carrying member of the Parenthood Club?