1. Murphy’s Law exists. A freshly cleaned floor, just-washed sheets or a new shirt are immediate targets that must and will be destroyed. The moment the burp cloth is off is the moment your baby will spit up.
The moment you remove the changing table cover is the moment your son will poop all over the table. And your little one will not drop a single pea on the floor at mealtime until you mop, and then he’ll dump an entire cup of milk all over it.
2. Sleep, on the other hand, doesn’t. Everyone knows that a newborn will be up all night and sleep will be rare. But not everyone understands that sleep deprivation begins in pregnancy and doesn’t end until the teenage years. Trying to sleep while 9 months pregnant is bad enough, since you can’t get comfortable and spend more time in the bathroom than the bed. But then come the all-nighters with a new baby that needs to eat every two or three hours. Eventually she’ll start sleeping through the night, but most babies are early risers—and since babies and toddlers don’t know the difference between a weekday and a weekend, lazy Saturday mornings are a thing of the past. (Most moms I know haven’t slept past 7 a.m. in years!)
3. Bathrooms are not meant for privacy. When my babies were newborns, I brought them into the bathroom with me for every shower and potty break. (I was too paranoid to leave them alone!) Of course, since they’ve grown accustomed to accompanying me when nature calls, there’s no stopping my now toddler babies from checking in just to see, “What are you doing in there?”
4. Strangers no longer filter their comments. When is there ever an appropriate time to walk up to a complete stranger and put your hand on her belly? Never, yet it happens all the time during pregnancy! You think that’s bad? Just wait until you’re a mom. Strangers will walk up to you to offer advice such as “Your baby needs a hat or he’s going to catch a cold!;” tell you just what they think of your children, such as “My he’s a big boy! He certainly doesn’t go hungry! I bet he grows up to be a linebacker; just look at those chubby cheeks!” and ask surprising questions like “You’re pregnant again already?”
5. Your house will get a complete makeover. First it begins with the babyproofing—electrical outlets get plastic plugs, cabinets get a little trickier to get into—then comes the shuffling of belongings. When your crawling little one can reach your CDs and books on the lower shelf, you move them higher. When she starts walking, you move them even higher, and take the knick-knacks off the coffee table. When baby becomes a toddler, it’s time to remove anything of value, and watch your walls fill with color (courtesy of crayons and markers) and your rugs become polka-dotted (courtesy of the Play-Doh squashed in one corner, the paint in another corner, and the grape juice in yet another).