While every family is unique, there are some parenting experiences and feelings that come as second nature—literally. And, while you can’t fully appreciate them until you’ve experienced them, it appears that no one teaches you about these objective truths in advance.
So, whether you’re a first-time parent or expecting your third baby, you’ll probably be able to relate to a few, if not all, of these surprising parenting truths.
Following is a list of harsh parenting realities that no one tells you about.
1. To Have Children, you have to Endure Pregnancy
Whether you’re the parent carrying the child or not, pregnancy is an essential part of having children and things will start to change as soon as you get the news that you’re expecting.
Feeling the sensations of a child growing and developing inside your body can really start to give you a sense that it’s no longer just about you and your partner anymore, but there’s someone else you need to start thinking about.
Even the pregnancy itself can take its toll, as morning sickness and weird food cravings will become your new normal. Even though these aspects of pregnancy are completely normal and are certainly not out of the ordinary, if it’s your first pregnancy, it can be a lot to get used to.
2. Sleep is a Luxury
When you become a parent, it’s probably the first time you really realise how often you’ve taken a good night’s sleep for granted in the past. Especially when your baby is still very small, regular night feeding and crying can make it feel like a blessing when you manage to squeeze in a couple of hours.
You’ll constantly have to be prepared to adjust your sleeping schedule to accommodate your little one. Even if you have your partner to help you, some changes are going to have to be made.
One of the best parenthood tips is to try to sleep when your baby is asleep. However, we understand that this is often easier said than done and isn’t always possible.
3. Don’t Go on a Baby Shopping Spree
When you’re waiting for your new bundle of joy to arrive, it can be tempting to get carried away with the painting and decorating of the nursery and it’s easy to think that you need lots of stuff. Social media is often to blame for this, but believe it or not, babies are quite happy with the bare minimum.
As long as they’re well cared for, clean, well fed and loved – you’re doing a great job. Remember not to go all-out on clothes shopping when the baby is a newborn, as they’ll only be in those clothes for a month or two before they’ll outgrow it.
Instead, save your money from being spent on expensive baby toys and clothing and put it aside for a rainy day instead.
4. It’s Expensive
While it’s no secret that parenthood can be expensive, it comes with a lot of hidden costs that you may not have taken into account just yet. For example, it’s extremely common for new parents to underestimate how many diapers and diaper trash bags they’ll need, and almost always end up making emergency grocery store trips late at night to grab more.
To ensure you always have diapers on hand, the disposable kind is the best option. However, if you’re environmentally conscious and don’t mind spending a little more money and time on laundry day, then the reusable cloth kind can be a great option too.
As the baby grows older, yet more hidden costs will begin to reveal themselves. Daycare and babysitting is surprisingly expensive, and many expecting parents neglect to take this into account.
5. You’ll Have to Make Career Sacrifices
Regardless of how business-savvy you are, it’s impossible to not adjust your working life after the arrival of your baby. The baby will need to be cared for, and not many people can afford to place their baby in full-time daycare so they can head to their workplace as normal.
Because of this, one parent often chooses to put their career on hold to raise the baby while the other continues working. Alternatively, as this can be too costly for some, many parents choose a more flexible role, often one that involves working from home.
While at first this may seem like the ideal scenario for a parent, it can be pretty chaotic when you have a little one constantly demanding your love, care and attention. It all depends on what job you actually do, but it could involve having to hire a nanny or paying for childcare for at least a couple of hours each working day.
6. There’s No Such Thing as “Normal”
If you’ve ever laid eyes on the pages of a parenting book, it’s highly likely that you’re already stressing out about “milestones” and wondering when your child will reach them and how it will compare to your friends’ babies. However, it’s so important not to dwell too much on these things.
If your child is taking a little longer than “normal” to crawl, walk, sit up, or talk – try to remember that every child is different and it is not a direct reflection of your parenting.
As you discuss your thoughts with others, parenting websites and groups can be comforting. When you’re a parent, you quickly realise that other parents have comparable challenges and worries.
7. Take Plenty of Photographs
It’s really easy to get caught up in the moment and before you know it, your little baby will be leaving home and heading off to college, and it’ll be time to pull out the photo album to have a little cry. You don’t want to get to this point and not have any pictures to look back on.
So, make sure you document your baby’s development every step of the way, you’ll never regret doing this, but you may regret it if you forget to. Babies are only babies once, it’s up to you to make sure they have memories from their childhood to look back on once they’re all grown up,
8. Say Goodbye to your Social Life
Not completely, but just the way it was before. If you plan on becoming a parent or are currently expecting a baby, then you’ve probably already thought about this and accepted the fact that your social life will never be the same again.
You won’t be able to grab your keys and head out without a thought in the world, zero baggage and without telling anyone first.
When you have a baby on board, you’ll need to think about changing bags as well as toilet facilities once you’re out. You’ll also need to think about what you’re going to feed the baby and whether or not you’ll need to prepare pumped breast milk or bottles before you head out.
9. It Can Be Scary
As a parent, you return home with this small little creature who has suddenly taken over your entire life in every aspect. You’re on high alert for even the tiniest movement or sound. And even when everything is quiet, you check to see if the breathing is normal.
The flood of emotions, both pleasant and bad, can be overpowering. Try to stay calm and seek advice and comfort from family and friends who have been on the parenthood path themselves. Don’t panic! – you’re doing great.
10. Your Life Has Changed Forever
This article outlines the most dramatic changes that take place once you introduce a new member to the family. However, this is by no means the end of those changes.
Even as your baby grows into an adult, they’ll still rely on their parents for a whole host of things and your general outlook on life will always be altered to cater to your child from this point on.
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