After my son was born, my mother told people, “Carol thought she was going to effortlessly birth this baby, pick him up, and keep on going.”

She wasn’t wrong. But I soon found out I was. Here are some examples of how wrong. If you are a parent, feel free to add your own. If you are planning a family, take note.

  1. Plan to go back to teaching your three hour night course at the college an hour away, three weeks after the baby is born via emergency C section. Get a traffic ticket for speeding, because pumping took longer than you thought. Sit through class in pain. Hire a substitute for the rest of the semester.
  2. Have writing deadlines for which you are actually being paid. Give the baby over to your Mother while you settle at the computer. Mother can’t quiet baby. Take him back and attempt to nurse a huge baby and type at the same time. Give up. Dictate while nursing and your Mother types.
  3. Take a six-week-old baby to see Daddy via airplane. Attempt nursing the entire flight to keep baby from screaming. (Sucking actually clears their ears on flights). Ignore angry stares when it doesn’t work. Land, take the bus with baby, and luggage to downtown Santa Fe. Sit on the sidewalk in exhaustion to nurse the baby while waiting for perennially late father to pick you both up.
  4. Plan any type of entertaining of friends. Unless they are bringing their own food, give up any idea of cooking while nursing. Your tears and the babies will water down the sauce.
  5. Plan dinner party again when the child is a toddler. Listen to criticism by others of your child running around the house, stopping to grab food off your plate with each circle run. Explain that the last time you made him sit at the table, he pulled the table cloth off, food and all. Plan the next dinner party in six years.
  6. Go anywhere with the baby to listen to live music. Make it through two songs before the baby starts wailing. Wait three years to try again. Toddler runs around and around, but won’t dance with you. Wait a few more years.
  7. Take toddler shopping. Try to read labels carefully as toddler talks non-stop. Attempt totally the prices in your head as toddler talks non-stop. Proceed to checkout and fumble for cash or card, answer clerk’s questions vaguely and distractedly, as toddler talks non-stop. Put groceries and toddlers in the car. Tell toddler you need five minutes of silence. Toddler asks, “Has it been five minutes yet?” every thirty seconds of the ride home.
  8. Meet people who actually pulled off taking babies everywhere. Admire and curse them silently at the same time.

Realize they are younger than you were when your baby was born. There are two of them. The babies are girls. Or perhaps medicated.