Attention parents! Do you feel like you’re getting more than you signed up for when you decided to have your baby? Well, you’ve got company.
Someone in an online forum recently asked, ‘What’s one thing no one told you about being a parent that they definitely should have told you?” Here are the top-voted responses.
1. Having Kids Takes Being Tired To a New Level
Want to sleep? Too bad. You might have heard you’re going to be exhausted, but until you live it, you won’t know.
When someone else relies on you, it’s your responsibility to get up and care for them. Be prepared not to sleep well for a few years (while still being required to be a functioning adult in society).
2. Everyone Will Make Mistakes
Nobody in the household is perfect. You’re all going to screw up one way or another. You may accidentally shut your child’s finger in the car door (true story!) and they may spill cooking oil all over your new carpet (also a true story!). The key is how you handle these situations.
Let them know it’s okay for both children and adults to make mistakes, so long as they learn and grow. And don’t beat yourself up over small mishaps. You’re only human and you can only prevent so much from happening.
3. The Fear
A forum member talks about the fear. When parents decide to have a baby, they know it will be challenging, but when the baby comes, they realize just how hard it is to be responsible for another person’s life. The forum member also states that no one will love the baby as much as their parents do, except for maybe their grandparents. It’s the parent’s job to help them in every way.
4. The Rage
There is a primal rage a parent feels when someone is mean to their kid or puts their child in danger. It’s like living life for someone else. Everything a parent does is for the baby, not themself.
5. Toddlers Equal a Messy House
Someone comments about how messy your house will be when the child is in the toddler/preschool years. A parent recommends keeping up with the cleaning to prevent the house from becoming a biohazard, like doing the dishes and cleaning the toilet. Be prepared to have toy cars and dinosaurs on the floor for about five years. They suggest being realistic so you don’t beat yourself up.
6. Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say
You know those parents that count to 10, and when they finally get there, nothing happens? Don’t be one of those parents. That kind of ritual lets the child know that there is no repercussion at the end, leading to an unruly teen that won’t listen. All they learned is that they can wait out the count and be on their merry way.
If you say something, especially when it comes to a teaching moment or discipline, make sure you mean it. And, within reason, always say what you want to say. It helps develop respect and gives your child a reason to trust you.
7. Sleep Deprivation
A respondent answered that every parent-to-be should be aware of sleep deprivation. You can’t do anything for more than two to three hours, or occasionally four hours, because newborn babies must eat every two to three hours, with a possible four-hour stretch at night. That doesn’t consider the time it takes to do the actual feeding.
The respondent adds that a 2 a.m. feeding involves changing the baby, feeding them for 15-20 minutes, changing them again, and then spending 15-20 minutes getting them back to sleep. So, parents should plan on 45-60 minutes for the feeding. Then, after the whole feeling process, the baby will need to eat again in an hour. It takes a few weeks to acclimate to no sleep, and it’s a tough transition.
8. Babies Are Boring
A person comments that babies are boring before they can speak. They add that babies are cute if you’re lucky, but they are boring.
Kids are more entertaining once they can catch and throw a ball, but getting there takes a long time. Another person recalls their sister calling their niece a potato when she was a few months old.
9. Bodily Fluids
One commenter confesses how comfortable parents will become with the sheer volume of bodily fluids, like poop and vomit, they deal with daily. They never realized how messy children would be. One day you’ll get to the point that you are covered in vomit and feces and barely notice.
10. This Too Shall Pass
Someone recalls that everything is a phase and that parents should remember the old adage, “This too shall pass.” The commenter suggests keeping this in mind since the kids will be out of the house in 18 short years. Even though it’s a cliche to say time flies, it’s disgustingly true. Parents should not take a single second for granted, because the years will speed on by.
11. Taking a Break Is Warranted
One person writes that if your baby is crying and you’ve done everything you can to get them to stop, you should put them in their crib safely and walk away to gather yourself and take a break. Then, they recommend going back in a few minutes. You are only human, and taking a break will save your sanity.
It’s also a good idea to take a shower and do some cleaning. To reduce instances of shaken baby syndrome, sleep-deprived and worn-down parents are wise to walk away.
12. You Are Going To Cry a Lot
Someone states that you will cry a lot and doubt yourself constantly. You will be more frustrated than ever, but remember, you were given this baby because you have something to give them that no one else can.
Regardless of how many times you think you have failed as a parent, you are their hero, and they will love you and look at you like you put the stars in the sky. The commenter suggests letting that soak in to gain strength.
13. Teaching Moments Aren’t a Thing
A forum user claims that any of those classic “teaching moments” you think will have an impression on your kids are a waste of time and effort. The kids are not paying attention to any metaphor you think you are teaching.
Although kids can remember these little moments, it’s essential to sit back, relax, and remember that more will rub off on them when you’re not expecting it to.
14. Teenagers Are a Pain in The Rear
A forum user shares that although everyone talks about how hard it is to have a baby, babies are comparatively easy. It’s teenagers that are a pain in the rear. They compare kids to video games by saying the longer you play, the harder the levels get, and the downloadable content gets more expensive. This person adds that the conversation with non-player characters gets repetitive, and hopefully, you complete the “they moved out” campaign before you run out of lives.
Another aggress that that metaphor sums it up and that every development step prepares you for the next step, although nothing can prepare you for the carnage until you hit the teenage years. The personality traits you hate, even the small ones, are amplified in the teen years. One person writes that a kid’s competitiveness is cute as a nine-year-old but absolutely horrible as a 16-year-old. The stubbornness of an 11-year-old feels quaint compared to that of a 17-year-old.