My parenting journey is challenging… full of surprises. The moment I became a mom, all the so-called knowledge from the baby books I read and the parenting classes I attended seemed inconsequential. I’ve come across moments and daily struggles that nobody could really have prepared me for! Here are 5 of the things I’ve to deal with as a parent that no one told me about:

The Challenges of Breastfeeding

I was told repeatedly that breastfeeding is the natural way to feed for a baby. However, in reality, the process does NOT come naturally to everyone and certainly isn’t always easy.

Some mothers get the hang of it right away, while others experience problems like low milk supply, or the baby refusing to latch. If I had the chance to go back in time and teach my prenatal class, I’d assure myself about how common these issues are. I didn’t need to feel so stressed and guilty when I had trouble breastfeeding.

The Unsolicited Advice

People always have different ideas about how children should be raised… even if they’re not parents themselves. I felt the brunt of everybody’s well-intentioned opinions – including passive-aggressive comments from family members, angsty midwives, and even random strangers at the library. I got unsolicited advice for everything you could imagine, from feeding techniques and sleep training methods to advice about staying home and going back to work.  With so many conflicting opinions coming my way, I started to become confused and overwhelmed, and even started to question my own parenting skills. But I just had to remember that I didn’t owe anyone an explanation for the way I chose to raise my own kids. As parents, it’s important that we stick to what we feel is best for our own kids, because we know the situation better than anyone else.

Photo Credit: Pxhere

The Mess

I’ve always been quite a tidy, organized person. But my house was total chaos once the baby arrived. For the first few months of parenting, there was baby stuff all over the place and it was a real challenge to keep everything as together as usual. But I was so focused on taking care of my little one that the surrounding mess didn’t even bother me.

The Tantrums

We are often warned about the horror of temper tantrums, but nothing truly prepares us for the real life experience. Experiencing my child’s first tantrum was quite a scary and stressful experience, especially when it was in the middle of a crowded, public place! Tantrums are always difficult to manage, but I’ve found that there are some simple ways to prevent it from happening in the first place. I’ve realized that engaging kids in regular outdoor activities can do wonders to improve their overall mood and reduce stress. Kids are naturally drawn to the outdoors – so giving them the freedom to play outside immediately makes them feel happier and calmer. It also gives them the much-needed opportunity to burn off some of their excess energy in a positive way and improve their overall health and fitness.

The Mental & Emotional Fatigue 

Most moms are told about the physical exhaustion that comes with being a parent. But parenting doesn’t just take a toll on the body. As a new mother, my emotions were all over the place for a while. I was overwhelmed with happiness one day and stressed or anxious the next. This mental and physical fatigue made me feel even more physically tired, and this is when I realized how important it was to ask for help when you need it. We can’t do everything ourselves, and sometimes we just need a bit of extra support, even if it’s just someone to talk to.

New Zealand based freelance writer Cloe Matheson’s work has been published across various sites on different topics relating to living a healthy life to parenting. You can read more of her articles on her blog.