(in no real order)
1. Number one rule is to get the baby fed. If that means supplementing with formula, it's not the end of the world. But breastfeeding is so much more than just feeding the baby, and you don't want to miss out on it. It really is worth all the struggles.
2. You really never do regret the time you spend holding your child. Even if you are told by everyone that you are spoiling your baby, at the end of the day, it's your baby and you can spoil them if you want to.
3. A broken arm doesn't really look like a broken arm. Sometimes it looks like a four year old who's being too dramatic.
4. Benedryl really does fix everything. Runny noses, hives, coughing, crappy moods, etc. It'll even get rid of contractions.
5. The worst pregnancy leads to the easiest delivery.
6. Being a good parent is accepting the child you have and loving them, not blaming yourself and them for personality quirks that make everyone's life more difficult.
7. Sometimes, the best way to avoid a fight with your beloved husband is to pretend that he's not home.
8. When your child hurts, it hurts you ten thousand times worse.
9. Letting your child know that it hurts you isn't always a good idea, because if they know that you're freaked out, it just makes it harder for them.
10. Standing with all the other parents waiting to pick up your child from school feels an awful lot like standing on the playground when you're a little kid yourself.
11. Nobody really cares if you're late or cancel plans last minute. People understand you've got kids - and if they don't, you should really rethink your social group.
12. Nothing bad happens if you occasionally give your kids oreos for breakfast. Not saying it's a great idea for every day, but every now and again, it's a nice break.
13. Speaking of breaks - it's totally okay to hand your nine month old food you know damn well she's just dropping on the floor or shoving down into the high chair, if it buys you enough time to eat your own dinner while it's still hot. You can always clean up later.
14. When your baby wraps her arms around your neck for the first time and squeezes, and follows it up with an open mouth sloppy kiss, you will literally be brought to tears at how incredibly blessed you are.
15. Having a little boy is baffling (who are these super heros and why does he keep trying to emulate them, screaming "I'm the FLASH" and tearing around the house, or hurling batarangs at imaginary villians), but it's one of the most tender, loving relationships you'll ever have.
16. Listening to your daughter sing along with the radio is the most disconcerting sensation, because you'll suddenly start thinking of her as someone who will one day actually feel those emotions and it freaks you out - because you could swear that yesterday she was still saying "wuv" instead of "love."
17. You're never really as good at mothering as you want to be. At any point, you could list a million things you wish you had done differently.
18. Your kids will fight faster and meaner with their siblings than with anyone else. This doesn't mean that they don't love and adore them - and it doesn't mean you're a crappy parent.
19. You will feel like a crappy parent far more often than you will feel like a good one. Because the job definition is so endlessly changing and there's no way to prepare for any of it.
20. Your job isn't to make your child happy - in fact, making your child happy all the time is the quickest way to screw it up. Sometimes, lots of times, you have to kind of make them not like you all that much. Bedtime, eating vegetables, taking baths and going to the doctor - nobody wants to do them, and that's why God gave children parents.
21. Speaking of God - there's no faster way to figure out how you feel about religion than to have a child who asks about it.
22. It doesn't really matter what bed everyone sleeps in at night. You can make the most beautiful bedroom and your eight year old would still rather sleep snuggled up next to you, and you can not share a bed with your husband for years on end and still have a really awesome sex life (apologies to my children who may be reading this years from now...).
23. Really grasping that your husband is as much a parent as you are is incredibly hard, and infinitely worth it. Because your kids deserve two equal parents - and your husband brings stuff to the table that you'd never think of. Like knowledge of super heros, for example.