Today I had a bowl of Cheerios for lunch. My house looks as though it has been ransacked. Plates and cups have been abandoned in strange places; the living room is a tangle of coats, books, shoes and toys. The piles of laundry in my bedroom have long since become indistinguishable between clean and dirty and somewhere amongst the disarray, a tumbleweed of dog hair rolls by. The dogs are furious. “Didn’t we just do this?” their glares seem to shout. “Have you learned nothing?!” Apparently we haven’t. There is a newborn in the house.

A seminar should be offered to all parents who are contemplating having a second child. There are certain things you ought to know about the reality of the situation that no one bothers to tell you — probably because these things are already obvious to any rational adult. But, you’re not a rational adult, are you, Prospective Second-Time Parent? You left rationality behind the moment you started thinking, “Aw, baaaabies!” instead of, “Ack! Babies!” when confronted with a newborn. Every new parent goes through a period where the exhaustion and stress of caring for an infant is still so fresh in their minds that the thought of ever having another baby is absolutely abhorrant. Eventually, as your child gets older and your routine regains some sense of normalcy, you start to forget about the time when showering was a luxury only afforded to you every four days and you regularly pushed the boundaries of how many days without sleep constitutes legal insanity.

Lesson One is guided imagery. Someone sits you down and repeats the following phrase over and over until you have a panic attack: “Remember what it was like when your child was a newborn? Now, imagine that, but you still have another kid.”

Lesson Two: At some point your older child will try to off the baby. There may be a honeymoon period where they are enjoying the role of older sibling and the baby is a novelty, but that will eventually run out and you will be left dealing with mysteriously overturned baby furniture and a squalling infant.

Lesson Three: Your routine is garbage. This is a physical test. You are presented with a messy house. You must attempt to clean it, one-handed, holding a screaming baby while another child follows in your wake, destroying everything you’ve accomplished like a three-foot-tall tornado.

Lesson Four: You must cut yourself some slack. You won’t be able to do everything and things will fall through the cracks. Last night, I fed my toddler frozen waffles for dinner. That’s it. Just frozen waffles. He didn’t even want syrup, so he just ended up with two buttered Eggos. I chucked him a gummy vitamin to compensate, but I’m still mildly concerned that he’s going to end up with rickets.

Super Mom, I am not, but with a three year-old and a two month-old to contend with, I’ll settle for Adequate Mom. Do I get a cape?

Sarah Erchenbrecher Fryling is a Northwest Ohio columnist who writes about what it’s really like to parent in the 21st century.