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The things they don’t tell you when you become a parent…

by on June 12, 2013

There are a lot of things that you never understand until you become a parent: the love you can feel for someone other than yourself, gladly giving up things you love so that your kids can have things they want and need, and the true meaning of sleep deprivation.

There are also some things that aren’t discussed. Even when you have kids and know that others will understand what you’re going through, we are told it’s best to hide what we’re thinking lest we be thought of as bad parents. I’m here to put those thoughts into words and let other parents or parents-to-be know that they are not alone.

1) You can love your kids with every ounce of your being and still want to have time away from them, when they don’t know where you are or what you’re doing. Generally this happens when they won’t stop hanging on you, won’t stop screaming for no reason, or are just generally being too much. It’s normal. It’s ok. And it’s a good idea to actually HAVE a break once in a while so that you can be a better parent. (Just make sure there is SOMEONE watching your kids while you have this break, or do something as simple as locking the door to the bathroom while you take a bath or poop.)

2) All those things you swore you would never do when you had kids suddenly become negotiable. I swore that my children wouldn’t watch TV or movies until they were like 5. I certainly would never allow them to watch anything in their bedroom. Yeah, that all changed when I realized I needed to have at least 30 minute spurts to do things like fold laundry, do dishes, make dinner, or shave. (Not in that order…) Not only have I allowed my children, now 3 1/2, to watch TV (mostly Sesame Street, Dora, or Caillou) and movies (so so thankful for everything Pixar) but I even let them watch movies while they go to sleep occasionally. Not every day mind you, but more than once a month.

This rule also goes for things you thought you’d never let them eat, things you didn’t want them to see when you broke the TV rule, bedtimes, not brushing their teeth as often as they should, and many other things you planned on but in reality it’s easier to placate them occasionally for the peace of the household.

3)  You’re going to make mistakes and you’re going to hate yourself for them. It might be something really little and in the end insignificant, but you’ll still feel like the worlds worst person. This one kinda goes without saying, but it’s not really talked about. Shit happens. Recognize it. Learn from it. Be better from it. Teach your kids that you’re not prefect, they’re not perfect, the world’s not perfect. Teach them to apply this lesson to all aspects of their life.

4) You won’t sleep. Ever. Again. Well not really, but there will be days it seems like it especially in the beginning. Then when you get a routine set they switch it up on you. The first time they sleep through the night you wake up totally freaked out that something happened. Then quickly you get used to all the extra sleep you’d been doing without. Then all of a sudden they decide sleep is no longer something they’re interested in and you get to experience a while new realm of sleep deprivation. Then you go back to work and it becomes that much harder to function on 2 hours of sleep. You deal with and try to not be cranky with them but it’s hard when you’re so so tired. For me, when that happens, I find myself trying to remember that I only get them for a short time and I need to be grateful for the moments I get to share with them one on one.

5) There will be days you wonder what the hell you were thinking having kids. The reasoning will vary but you’ll wonder nonetheless. Sometimes it will be because you now no longer have the freedoms that you once had like picking up and taking a weekend trip or drinking more than 1 hard cider on Saturday. Other times it will be because you are completely overwhelmed and have NO IDEA how to deal with these little balls of anger. You’ll feel like you can’t do it anymore, like you shouldn’t do it anymore for their sake, like you want to run away. The expense associated with them adds up, quickly. The mess and clutter takes over your house. The snot you have to wipe, the butts you have to wipe, the boo boos you have to wipe all weigh on you eventually. And the first time you step on a lego barefoot in the dark you’ll find out just how many curse words you can string together and probably invent some new ones.

6) If you are the one that was ‘lucky’ enough to carry your precious little peanut then you get all sorts of things to remind you that you grew a human. Stretch marks on your stomach and boobs.   Phantom kicks long after you’ve delivered. Continued pain after you’re no longer pregnant, often new pain from how things played out during your delivery (can we say c-section?). And if you’re really really lucky you’ll be afraid to sneeze or cough for the rest of your life. Yes, I’m talking about peeing. God forbid you get the giggles during cold and flu season, you’d best share the diaper supply with your little one if that happens.

7) You have a strange urge to one up every other woman you come across with your pregnancy and birth story. It’s ingrained in your DNA. There’s no logic. It also goes along with all women eventually talking about their births no matter how little they know each other or how the conversation started. I can’t speak as to if this is true for males or those that happen to create their families non-biologically or unconventionally (adoptive parents or those that use a surrogate).

8) There may be some kids that are an exception to this one, but most likely you’ll look at other kids like they’re orcs. I can only assume this has some deep seated biological function in order to help promote the survival of your own offspring. And to be completely honest I will admit that I wasn’t smitten with my own offspring upon their exit from the depths of my loins, but as time went on I found myself enamored with how cute they are and find myself judging other peoples kids next to mine.

9) If you’re in a committed relationship you will find yourself wondering if it would be easier to do this whole parenting this without your other half. This is true especially in the beginning and super true when you’re the mommy up feeding the baby (or in my case, babies) while your husband sleeps. You just want to punch them, for no reason, for sleeping when you can’t, for not having all the weird pregnancy issues, for breathing so… fucking… loud.  There is often no logic in the beginning. Later on the thought stems from your different experiences in your own childhoods that lead you to your current parenting decisions. This is when good communication really comes in handy. It’s important to talk and be truly honest with each other or else the offspring are the ones that suffer the most.

and…

10) You loose all sense of privacy… for everything. Well, ok, not for sex, but for pooping, showering, peeing, picking your nose. It’s all gone. If you’re not quick enough or forget to flip the bathroom lock you all of a sudden have an audience. Not only that but it will be BOTH kids, crying and snotting all over the place while they fight over a toy, when the dog comes in and hack up a sock and 1/2 a tube of glitter chapstick on the rug and then suddenly your in-laws come for a visit and the back door wasn’t locked. At that point you give up all pretense of privacy, wipe the kids, wipe the dog, wipe yourself and then tell everyone to get the hell out of the bathroom.

It’s not glamorous. It’s life. Kids are great, especially mine. They’re the most beautiful, smartest, funniest, fantastic kids in the world and I had the worlds toughest pregnancy with the most intense birth ever.

In all honesty, despite the minor hiccups that come with parenting I wouldn’t change it for the world. I love my little ladies with all my heart and would do anything for them. I love my husband with the rest of my circulatory system and I love my dog despite what she may hack up or poop out. There are good days and bad, but in the end I can’t imagine life without my kids.

I hope this helps shed some light on parenting in general and the things that no one wants to talk about. When you feel all alone or too embarrassed to let anyone know what you’re going through, know you’re not alone. When you have a bad day, kiss your kid(s), tell them you love them, and do better the next day. If all else fails, forget your plans and have some low key family time together be it at a park or a play place. And remember, you’re only human and so are they, but you’ve been doing it for a lot longer and they’re still learning how to do this whole life thing.

In the end, we’re all the same. There is someone, somewhere out there that is experiencing or has experienced what you’re going through.

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