Before Em arrived, one of the things we heard over and over again from our friends who have kids was something along the lines of, "The first few weeks are super tough, but it's a lot more fun after that." I'm paraphrasing and abbreviating to be sure, but the picture most commonly painted for us was quite a rosy one. Maybe it's because none of our friends wanted to scare us and they instead wanted to send us good vibes ahead of "d-day", but part of me wishes they'd leveled with us beforehand as to just how hard caring for a baby can be.
Some things I've learned so far that I wish I'd known beforehand:
If any soon-to-be parent were to ask me now what they should expect, here's what I'd say, sans rose-colored glasses:
Ultimately, no amount of pre-reading, childbirth/childcare classes, nor discussion with friends can truly prepare anyone for parenthood. Hien and I each read several books, took a series of classes through Stanford Children's Hospital, spoke with many friends who have kids, and still there were moments during those first few weeks where we felt lost and woefully inadequate. There is no playbook. Despite the ever-expanding universe of conflicting information out there on the web that will have you believing one minute that you're an amazing parent, the next minute that you're a horrible human being, it seems as though we all find our own way. After all, our parents raised us with far fewer resources at their disposal and we all turned out okay, right?
I say this all realizing that, being only five months into our journey, there's worlds more to learn. So with that, I'll get off my soap box :-) (Cue Melisandre saying "You know nothing Justin Brown"...)