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In life, we often envision things much differently than they are- and having children is no exception. Before parenthood, most of us have this idea that things will flow smoothly, and we have this perfect vision of what having kids will be like; but I am here to tell you, it’s not the way you plan for it to be.

Being a parent is a rewarding job in many ways. But the rewards don’t come without risks and hard work. Sometimes, being a parent is the scariest thing in the world, and all the time, it’s exhausting and mind-consuming. I promise, the rewards far outweigh the scary parts, though.

Here are 8 things I wish I had known before having kids.

1. Get ready to not sleep for the next 18 years (at least.)

I mean deep, uninterrupted sleep. You will get some rest, but it will likely be light, because you will start to keep your ears and senses available as you sleep, so you can wake when they do. And since it takes time for them to get a normal sleeping schedule, expect it to be chaotic at first. Outside of that, you will be stressed. Just expect it to not be the sleep you are accustomed to.

2. You will get mommy’s brain.

Mommy’s brain is a real thing. With all of your newfound tasks and to-dos and the fact that you are now focused on another human life that you are responsible for, it will be harder to remember things. At times, you will be foggy- thank all that lost sleep.

3. You are going to make mistakes, but that’s okay.

No parent is perfect. You will make mistakes. The point is to be open to learning new things and stay open to change and growth. As long as you are open to doing better and try your best to make them happy, healthy, and thriving, it will be okay.

4. Your idea of a clean home is going to change.

You will clean your home and then five minutes later it will be dirty. Just wait until they go to bed, and then clean the house up. But don’t bet on it staying that way. In time, I’ve learned to accept that everything can’t and won’t always be in its place.

5. Your $ex life will never be the same again.

There are many reasons for this. A. you are going to be exhausted, so even when you may want to, you just won’t feel like it. B. who has the time? C. they will wander in your room at random times, without any notice. Then as they get older, they will be suspicious when you get time alone.

6. Parenting is not a one size fits all endeavor.

No matter how many books you read, or even articles, there will be advice and habits of other parents that just won’t fit your child or situation. Every situation is different, and no two parents do everything the same. And that is okay.

7. You won’t be the same person ever again- but isn’t that the point?

Once you have had a child, you will forever look at life differently. And while at first, you may wonder, “Where did the old me go?” You will learn to accept her and embrace her.

8. You will appreciate showers in a new light.

With little ones running around, showers will become a luxury more than a necessity. Why? Because finding solitude, even for 5 minutes, will be far more difficult than you ever imagined. Even with 24 hours in a day, I promise, you will be busy.

Above all, parenting will change you in the most beautiful ways. It will make you connect and love deeper than you ever imagined, and if you are someone that has always done things a certain way, you will be challenged in this mindset. This is a new chapter and a new form of growth- embrace it.