The first of many parenting truths that I can tell you is that I am no parenting expert.
Exhausted after not sleeping for the 120th day in a row, my neighbor and fellow mom looked up at me and said, “Why doesn’t anyone tell you this is going to be so hard?” I looked back at her with my couple of extra years of parenting experience and said, knowledgably, “Because who wants to be that person at the baby shower?” And that is the truth. Who wants to be the one at the baby shower- while everyone else is talking about cute mock cupcakes made of out of onesies and burp clothes- you are in the back corner of the room gulping wine and talking about not having a full night’s sleep for the past two years and how last night you caught vomit in your hand.
Ya, you’re already pregnant, it’s too late to tell you how hard parenting really is.
I also think that we don’t give realistic parenting advice and information to expecting mothers because they aren’t ready to hear it. I can only speak for myself, but before I became a mom, I was pretty confident that I was going to parent better than anyone else had ever parented before. I was going to be the best parent of all freaking time. (Ya… I’ve had a whole lot of humble pie since then.) Also, when I was pregnant, I was more caught up in the fact that I didn’t want to poop while delivering the baby than anything to do with actually raising a human being. So, there you go, a perfect storm… no one talking about what really happens after you give birth because they don’t want to be that person and because no one is listening.
And it is unfortunate because parenting is hard. Really hard. Like, the hardest thing that I have ever done.
So, in case you are listening and you do want to know what you are getting yourself into before you become a parent, here are ten parenting truths that I have learned over the years.
Parenting Truth #1
You will never have stain free clothes again. Babies will throw up all over them… toddlers will wipe their boogers all over them… and children will use them as a napkin. So you can say goodbye to ever wearing something stain free again. That nice white button down? Save yourself the agony and throw it right into the trash.
Parenting Truth #2
You will never go to the bathroom alone again. This truth was actually told to me before I had a baby by a friend of mine, but I didn’t believe it. It is crazy but true. You will always have someone busting through that door… to open a fruit snack, to sign a permission slip, or to get help putting the head back on a Barbie doll. But the worst offender of bothering me when I am indisposed is my husband, who always asks some completely unnecessary question every time I try to sneak away to the pot.
Parenting Truth #3
You will become addicted to coffee. Kiss goodbye your blissful eight hours a night of uninterrupted sleep. My children are two and seven and I am still woken up at least once a week tending to some need in the middle of the night. Before I had my first child I didn’t drink coffee. After I had my first child, I drank a cup or two each day. Now that I have two children, let’s just say I pay more a month for Dunkin Donuts coffee than I pay for diapers.
Parenting Truth #4
Your kid will become a virus spreading germ machine that will single-handedly take down your whole household.
Before having kids, I maybe got sick once or twice a year. After having kids, I have had everything from the common cold to MRSA. I’m not sure if both of my kids go around licking door handles or what, but the number of times they get sick is unbelievable.
Parenting Truth #5
You will use the drive through as much as humanly possible. Do you want to know what is worse than getting having a pap smear and a root canal on the same day? Taking two small children into the grocery store by yourself. Why, you might ask? First, you have to get them out of the car. This includes finding each child’s matching sock that they have taken off and thrown somewhere in your car on the drive to the store. Next, you have to find their shoes- which are also in some hidden location. Lastly, in the winter time you have wrangle them into their winter coats. Now after you complete all these tasks, you have to unbuckle them, get them out of the car, and try to safely get them into the store without, you know, getting hit by a car in the process. Once you are in the store, the length of the store somehow becomes the distance of the VT City Marathon and your kids can not simply walk next to the cart. So, you put them in the cart which then leaves you no room to put your groceries or you are super lucky and somehow secure one of the two car carts which are germ infested (see parenting truth #5), have the smallest car attached to them, and drive like an eighteen wheeler. These days, if it doesn’t come from a drive through, Amazon Prime, or Hannaford to Go, it just isn’t worth it.
Parenting Truth #6
Mom brain really is a thing. Who knows if it is the lack of sleep, the hormones, or what, but I am pretty sure that my two year-old is getting smarter by transferring my brain cells into her body. I am running on empty, folks!
Parenting Truth #7
You will become a liar.
The Family Fun Center will be closed (even though it isn’t.) The Elf on the Shelf is always watching for good behavior. Whatever it is, you will become adept at crafting white lies to make your day run a little smoother.
Parenting Truth #8
You will never eat a full meal again. By the time I get my kids their dinner, the last thing that I have time to do is to make a meal for myself. Most of the time, I eat whatever is left on their plates, open up a bag of microwave popcorn and call it a meal.
Parenting Truth #9
You will never trust silence again. They say that silence is golden… unless you have a toddler, then that only means one thing… they have found a permanent marker and have started making a masterpiece on your walls.
Parenting Truth #10
You will love your child more than you have ever loved anything in your life, and even though the other nine things seem like major inconveniences, you wouldn’t change a thing.