4 Things People Didn’t Tell Me Before I Had Kids

Jennifer Bet-David
Jennifer Bet-David and her family.

You may feel lonely for a few weeks.

No one told me that I was going to be very lonely at first.

Our company was in the infancy stage (no pun intended) when I had my first son. I was home alone with a newborn baby all day with my husband working very long hours at the office. We were not in a position for my husband to stay home with me for a few weeks to help make the adjustment.

I would daydream about going on lunch dates like we always did before I had the baby. I would put the baby in the car and drive around with him just to get out of the house. I would say in those first few weeks I was the best McDonald’s drive-thru customer. My birthday was 14 days after I had my son, and I remember being so excited that my husband ordered Maggiano’s and we had my birthday dinner at home with our newborn baby.

You will receive nonstop childbirth advice.

Everyone wants to give you advice about how to have your baby, which typically aligns with how they did things personally.

I was the type that always wanted to have a natural childbirth, going as far as hiring a doula to help me have the baby the way I desired. When most people learned of my decision, they would tell me, “No mommy, you don’t want to do it that way, you want the drugs!” I would reply with “no,” and their response would always be “Just wait until you get to the labor pains.”

I have had three kids, and they were all natural childbirths.

You may feel guilty.

No one told me anything about mom guilt. I experience this often because I am a working mom, and a pretty ambitious one at that. I like working, I like being creative, and a lot of times I get caught up in big projects and work late hours to get things done. Then I feel guilty about coming home late and not spending enough time with my kids.

The worst was the time I completely missed out on helping my son with a Christmas project at school. The kids were supposed to build a “Santa Boxcar” from a cardboard box and decorate it. I got the memo for it, and I knew there was a day for the boxcar train parade for the kids. Apparently, I was distracted the day I pinned the memo on the kitchen board and didn’t fully read it. I thought the kids were building the boxcars at school and parents were supposed to show up to watch the parade for the boxcars they had built. The teacher even sent out several email reminders about being boxcar ready, and I still didn’t catch on.

Sure enough, I show up at the parade and my son was the only one without a boxcar. Thank God he was dressed like an elf and my son’s friend was dressed like Santa, and they walked in the parade together as though it was planned that way the whole time. But seriously, I felt awful that I missed out on the whole experience of building and decorating the boxcar with him.

You’ll have many tough decisions to make.

You are going to be faced with a lot of tough decisions. I mean, this is your kid’s life. You are responsible for caring for a human being, and this is hard work. I have boys, so do you circumcise or not? Do you vaccinate or not? Public school or private school? Nowadays there is so much conflicting information out there, and it is difficult to navigate through it all.

A few years ago, we had a situation at school. The teachers had suggested that we hold our son back a grade for developmental reasons. We had him evaluated by a therapist and went through some sessions with her, and she suggested the same. So our son went to Kinder Prep instead of kindergarten that year.

At the end of that year he had done great, and it was time for him to go to kindergarten now. After thinking about it and realizing our son would be 19 when he graduated from high school, we were not comfortable with that and we wanted him to go to first grade, which is where he would have been if we hadn’t held him back. We got some pushback from the school initially, but they agreed to give him a chance if he were to be tutored all summer and take a test to enter first grade.

We did exactly that, and he skipped kindergarten and went straight to first grade. He really thrived that year. Now he is in the middle of his third-grade year and he is an amazing student! At the time we were going through those decisions it was challenging and unsettling. Were we making the right decision by doing this? His development showed us that we were!

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