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37 Things You Should Know Before Having Your First Child

It's not an easy job, but it's so worth it.

1. Parenting is way harder than you thought it'd be.

Before you had kids you were sure getting your kids to go to bed on time and to eat their veggies would be a snap. LOL, old you.

2. Babies’ heads are magnetically attracted to doorways.

Flickr: kellysue / Via Creative Commons

Or at least it seems that way, so you have to be extra careful when carrying your baby into a new room.

3. At 3 a.m. you don't care how cute a onesie is, you care how many snaps it has.

Disney Baby / Via

When it comes to onesies, the fewer snaps the better. And you should definitely avoid the ones with buttons.

4. Your kid will go through way more Band-Aids than they actually need.|mkwid|sE0NEk4jz_dc|pcrid|53649326654

If your kid gets the tiniest scratch? They need a Band-Aid. If they're bored? They need a Band-Aid. If you bought the Band-Aids with the Muppets on them? They need a Band-Aid. Eventually, you learn to hide a box for when they really, truly, actually need one.

5. When your baby/toddler is acting up in public, people aren't judging you nearly as much as you think.


Most people don't care or are parents themselves and understand. Sure, some are annoyed, but everyone? No way. Knowing this definitely helps your stress levels.

6. You should always — ALWAYS — make your kid go to the bathroom before you leave anywhere.

Warner Bros.

And you can't just ask them once. It's a good rule of thumb to make your kid say they don't have to go at least five times before you get in the car.

7. At least 50% of the straps on high chairs in restaurants are broken (or at least it feels that way).

Flickr: tompagenet / Via Creative Commons

You quickly learn to check the straps before the waiter walks away.

8. If something is wrong with your kid, they're usually trying to tell you what it is — even before they can actually talk.

Warner Bros.

If your baby is crying it's probably because they're wet, hungry, or tired. And while toddlers aren't very articulate, if you really listen to them you'll often find they're mumbling a word that communicates the problem.

9. Your kid is watching you every day for cues on how to be a human.


Basically, you need to be the person you want your kid to become. And if that means you have to make some improvements, hey, that isn't such a bad thing.

10. Never give your kid a bedside glass of water unless you’re cool with taking them to the bathroom at 3 a.m.


Or, you know, changing the sheets at 3 a.m.

11. If you don’t freak out when your kid falls down they might not either.

You've even found that acting like your kid did something cool — instead of wiping out — works, too. "Good one, buddy!"

12. Staying fit becomes a whole lot harder.


It's easy to convince yourself running around after your kid is exercise, but it doesn't really count as an aerobic activity. Staying fit can be done, of course, but you have to make it a priority.

13. You will need to find the balance between getting sleep and personal time.


After a long day with the kid it's easy to put off sleep — even when you're exhausted — to watch a movie, read a book, or socialize. But you need sleep as much as you need personal time. It's a juggle.

14. Little kids like to talk about boring stuff, but talking to them about it is a huge part of their development.

Universal Pictures

Engaging your kid in discussions (about Caillou, for example) teaches them how to articulate themselves and that their voice matters.

15. Kids cannot keep a secret.

Flickr: dottiemae / Via Creative Commons

You should never tell your kid anything that you're not cool with them repeating to your partner, kid's teacher, or a random lady in line at the market.

16. There’s no quicker way to make sure your kid is listening than by fighting with your partner.


They don't hear you when you tell them to put their shoes away, but they have a dog's hearing for when things get a little tense between you and your partner.

17. Yelling at a kid to stop throwing a tantrum will only make them tantrum harder.

Warner Bros.

Often, the best way to calm a kid is by remaining calm yourself. Sometimes, though, nothing works but letting the kid flail around until they tire themselves out.

18. Kids will ask for way more toys than they need.

Mike Spohr / BuzzFeed

Instead of buying new toys, take some toys your kid has lost interest in and put them in a box in the closet. Later, when your kid is bored, you can pull out the box and let your kid go "toy shopping."

19. You can't take enough photos — and especially videos — of your kid.

Mike Spohr / BuzzFeed

Before you had kids you thought, "What's the big difference between a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old?" But now that you're a parent you know the answer: a lot. Having video of each of these stages is priceless.

20. If your kid has a security blanket or toy, it's smart to order a spare online.

Universal Feature Syndicate

This way, if your kid's beloved blankie goes missing, you can pull out the spare before your kid loses their mind.

21. If your kid is in a bad mood, put them in water.

Flickr: valentinap / Via Creative Commons

Splashing around in a tub or running through the backyard sprinklers never fails to change a kid's mood.

22. Kids have an amazing memory.

Paulaphoto / Getty Images

When your kid is 4 or 5 they will shock you with what they remember. This makes sense, though — their brains are new computers that haven't been filled up with endless data like ours.

23. On most days you try to be the best parent you can, but on others just keeping your kid alive is a win.

Flickr: slopjop / Via Creative Commons

And that's OK. You can't be #ParentOfTheYear all of the time.

24. You will develop a serious DGAF attitude.

Your friend, horrified: "Is that spit-up on your shirt?"

You, nonchalant: "So it is."

25. Toddlers will scream when you're putting them in the high chair, but they usually chill out once you've got them secured in it.

Flickr: ambernectar / Via Creatie Commons

This isn't always the case, of course. When it's not, you need to know: ↓

26. Distraction is one of a parent's best weapons.

Is your kid still freaking out in the high chair? Show them something shiny! Are they asking a question you'd rather not answer? Point out the dog across the street!

27. Your tolerance for gross things will grow exponentially.


Before kids the idea of blowout diaper might have made you retch, but now it's just a day at the office. You'll even wipe your kid's nose with your hand if you have to.

28. You learn to put your kid first in life.

Flickr: quinnanya / Via Creative Commons

Before kids (for the most part) you only had to worry about taking care of your own needs, but once you're a parent you have to take care of your kid's too, and usually before your own.

29. If your kid cries when you leave them, they usually stop crying a minute or two after you're gone.

Flickr: icanchangethisright / Via Creative Commons

It's easy to feel terrible imagining your kid crying all day in your absence, but they usually get over it pretty quick. Don't believe it? Ask the person watching your kid to send you a photo of your kid five minutes after you've gone.

30. Dealing with other parents can sometimes feel like high school all over again.


Parents are supposed to be mature adults, but some can be judgmental and gossipy. It's important find a parent group that is supportive and on your team.

31. Kids eat way less food than you think.

Flickr: phalinn / Via Creative Commons

Eventually you figure out the right portion for your kid so that your fridge isn't stuffed with leftovers.

32. Never act smug if your kid isn't going through the terrible twos, because they might end up being a threenager.


Kids hit that easily frustrated phase at different ages.

33. Watching your kid interact with others when they don't know you're watching is pretty amazing.

Columbia Pictures

If you can, arrive at preschool early and peek through the window. It really is something to see your kid operating as an autonomous human being with their peers.

34. If potty training isn't working, it's probably because your kid isn't ready and NOT because you're doing it wrong.

Flickr: abardwell / Via Creative Commons

But when they are ready, the three-day potty training method is pretty amazing.

35. One of the most important things you can work on is patience.

20th Century Fox

You need patience when you're trying to put your kid to bed, patience when you're potty training, patience when your kid is on your last nerve, and patience in a thousand other scenarios. The more patience you have, the better parent you'll be.

36. There are few — if any — things in life that will give you more pride and self-respect than knowing your kid feels safe and loved.

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In fact, it will drive you to be a better person.

37. Kisses, hugs, and cuddles from your kid are at the very top of the best things in life.

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You've come to realize how important it is to savor these moments — and not just because older people never fail to tell you to enjoy it while it lasts.

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