1. That a 2 year old is perfectly capable of dead bolting the front door (this I learned when left stranded outside after getting the mail, in sub-zero temperatures with no jacket on). Also that it would take 20 minutes to talk said 2 year old through reversing the process and unlocking the door (accompanied with lots of tears and cries of "I can't do it!")
2. That when not slumped in an exhausted, sleep deprived heap you really need to make the most of those early months and go out for lunch and dinner, or coffee with your non-Mom friends because taking a slumbering baby out is so much easier that taking out a toddler. It's also true that your child will not die if you leave them for an hour or two with Daddy or another trusted, responsible human being.
3. That it is perfectly normal to want to kill your husband. I wish I had known that studies have shown that the first year with a new baby is usually the hardest time in a marriage. I thought it was just me having murderous thoughts when my husband didn't know what I needed him to do because I didn't know myself.
4. That it is also perfectly normal to feel that you are doing a terrible job of being a mother and that everyone else is doing it so much better. The reality is that being a parent is really hard work and no one is perfect at it and every new parent is freaking out.
5. That establishing a Mom network is essential if you want to preserve your sanity and finding out how to go about building one in your neighborhood is something you should do ahead of time. It took me a long time to figure out, but there are so many things you can do - join baby classes and baby gyms (Gymboree is my favorite, I love their art classes and still miss them), go to story time at your library/bookstore/Mall, join a local Mom group etc etc. It makes such a difference to be able to talk to other Moms going through exactly what you are going through. Now I also wish I had used the web and gone on line to join social networking sites for Moms and relevant groups within them. I also wish I had started blogging a long time ago too and discovered the world of Moms out there to talk to that way.
6. That no matter how many photos you take or video clips you shoot it is never enough
7. That you really do need to relax your good housekeeping standards and not worry about the messy house and lengthening "to do" list. Instead, just enjoy every moment because before you know it, those baby days are gone forever. Never be in a hurry to get to the "next stage" because time goes by so fast.
8. That so many of the "must have essentials for your new baby" that you buy are unnecessary so don't get suckered in. Everyone needs to know that the best bath toys can be found right there in your kitchen (mine is devoid of all measuring cups and scoops which can be found in Mirabelle's bath time duck bag)
9. Be very aware that if you do something once and your child likes it, they will ask you to do it again, and again, and again, and again, and again..........So think carefully about the consequences before you try out something new. Daddy learnt this lesson the hard way after giving Mirabelle"flying lessons" which ended with him making a trip to the chiropractor
10. How wonderful being a Mom would be (because then I might have got around to it a bit sooner in life!)
So that's my list. I'd love to know what would be on yours.