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19 things you wish you'd known before becoming a parent

Becoming a parent is the steepest learning curve of all. Mumsnetters reflect on the key lessons they've learned

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1.  No one stands still


"As soon as you get used to one stage, they are onto another one..."

2. You'll become accustomed to the constant security detail

"You will (eventually) miss going to the loo or shower on your own."

3. It's an emotional rollercoaster


"You will feel so overwhelmed with love it will make you cry."

4. The small stuff matters just as much as the milestones


"I wish I had taken more videos. Things that seemed mundane would be lovely to watch back now."

5. One size doesn't fit all

"Parenting is different all over the world and all over the country, so pick and choose what works for you."

6. Acting is a valuable talent


"I wish I knew I'd have to develop a repertoire of about 70 different 'interested noises' for when my son shows me the thing he's built out of Lego, for the thousandth time."

7. Sleep will be something other people do

"I wish I'd have known that I wouldn't sleep properly for five years."

8. But when the opportunity to sleep does come, you'll want to be ON it


"I would have liked to have known that it's important to sleep when the baby sleeps."

9. There can be beauty in disorder


"Embrace rather than fight the chaos - because one day it'll stop. Or you'll realise that in all the trying to find order you missed the whole beauty of family."

10.  There are others like you out there


"I wish I knew about Mumsnet when my first two children were born. It would have been great to know I wasn't alone."

11.  You will always be wrong


"Never cut anything without asking first - toast, bananas, anything. It doesn't matter how you cut it, a toddler will always want it done the opposite way."

12.  It's best to be prepared


"You can never have too many wet wipes."

13.  Failure is an option


"I wish I knew that it was OK for them fall down or to make mistakes and that if they do, it isn't a reflection on you as a parent."

14.  Raising kids can be rather expensive


"All the time we were trying to conceive, I wish we'd saved hard to offset childcare costs."

15.  It can open up a whole new social scene


"I wish I'd known that I was going to make life-long friends through things like NCT, play group and at the school gates."

16.  You'll need to trust your gut


"Your instinct is a powerful voice which you should listen to."

17.  You'll discover that identity is a loose construct


"I didn't realise that I would lose my name completely and, from my child's first entrance to the world, be known as <insert child's name here>'s mum."

18.  Version 2.0 is often very different to 1.0


"Just because something worked for the first one doesn't mean it will work for the second."

19.  It gets harder. Sorry.


"I wish someone had told me that it's actually harder to be a parent to a teenager - babies are the easy part!"

And the one thing you didn't want to know...


"I am glad I didn't know how much love you feel. That's the best surprise EVER."

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Last updated: about 2 years ago