Becoming a parent is the most chaotic, messy, and incredible experience imaginable.

From the first time you feel those tiny belly kicks to the never-ending cycles of eat-poop-sleep-repeat (what day and year is it again?), it’s a rollercoaster of emotions. The good news is that you’ve survived!

With Mother’s Day having just passed, it feels fitting to take a beat to reflect on those wild moments and celebrate how far you’ve come (because when’s the last time you did?).

Our pals at Diaper Genie® recently reminded all caretakers to do just that with their “This Is Parenthood” campaign. Inspired by their heartwarming video, in which they sat down with parents to discuss their unique journeys, we reached out to moms and dads across the nation to share their personal experiences, reflections, and advice for new parents.

Read on to see their truthful responses (and maybe grab a box of tissues if you’re feeling a wee bit emotional). As for the expectant parents out there (such as myself!), it’s worth committing some of these nuggets to memory.

1. Expect the unexpected

“Be prepared to feel like you’ve gotten into a groove with caring for your baby after one week or one month—you figured out how to best put them down at night and anticipated their needs—only to be thrown a curveball with a whole new ‘baby’ to be learned.” — Matt Player, first-time dad who’s finding his groove, Phoenixville, PA

2. Remember that you can do anything

“Becoming a mother made me realize the sacrifices made by all mothers. Being pregnant is hard, delivering a baby is harder, and being a parent is even harder.” — Serena Turki, mom to a very adventurous duo, Houston, TX

3. You’re going to need a break—and that’s okay

“My biggest challenge as a parent was also my biggest relief: returning to work. It’s a paradox because while I experienced guilt for being away from my child during the workday, I simultaneously felt relief to have somewhat of a break. It’s easy to slip into further guilt for feeling a sense of relief from momentarily parting from your child, but be sure to give yourself grace and stay grounded in the notion that parents need (and deserve) breaks and alone time to refresh, reset, and return with their best foot forward.” — Bianca Hock Horwitz, working mom who’s allowing herself to enjoy a hot coffee at her desk, Orange, CT

4. You can feel more than one thing

“Despite the common notion that having your first baby brings unparalleled love, I didn’t experience that instantly. It took me a day or two to fully bond with my firstborn and feel the depth of love. However, when I had my second baby, I felt an instant connection, perhaps because I was more prepared and familiar with what to expect. Many people feel hesitant to discuss this, but it’s completely normal.” — Verushka Rosenblum, mom who’s totally in love with her two little rascals, Ballston Lake, NY

5. It’s not always easy

“I want to raise confident and good humans that can contribute to society in a positive and meaningful way. And that’s not always easy, but just remember that when it’s hard, it’s only a phase.” — Cynthia Rivera, mom raising two wonderful people, Sarasota, FL

6. Find your product heroes

“Yes, yes, yes on having a diaper pail. We actually have [another brand] because it was gifted to us, but I prefer the Diaper Genie because it holds in the smell better. I know they have even more options now that tie off the bag and I wish I could have that!

“And poop—it’s going to happen. There are stages of poop, from the newborn Oh, this isn’t as bad as I thought, to This is a crime against humanity; this is biological warfare! a few months later. You get through it, but remember, everyone has gagged changing a diaper before. So get a pail because it’ll help!” — Christina Christ, mom doing her absolute best with two under two, Charlotte, NC

    And friends, Christina’s not wrong—diaper changes are an adventure all their own. So when parents can find a baby product that’ll make life a tad more manageable, we don’t blame them for fangirling… just a little.

    Like with Diaper Genie’s latest product drop, the Select Pail and Jumbo Square refills. Not only does it blend in with the nursery (thanks to a sleek, stainless-steel design), but it also locks in strong odors with a ‘Push N Lock’ clamp.

    The Select Pail is also practical, holding up to 40 newborn diapers—a.k.a. fewer trips to the trash can! Plus, its square refill technology is a game-changer, reducing cartridge plastic waste and saving you money.

    So, if you’re knee-deep in diaper duty or any other not-so-glamorous parenting chore, take it from these new parents and find what works for you. It might just make those messy moments of parenthood a little bit more bearable!

    Your daily dose of joy and connection
    Get the Tinybeans app