If everyone told the whole truth about what it’s like to have kids, our population would implode. Let’s be honest—hearing someone repeat the same noise for 45 minutes straight isn’t exactly anyone’s idea of a good time.
People do say things that are true, like…
– Parenting is the hardest, but also most rewarding, job you’ll ever do.
– Kids fill a void you never knew you had.
– Kids make you realize what’s important in life.
However, they leave out important things, like…
– Kids have to reenact the breech of a humpback whale in the tub because they can’t bathe without several gallons of water all over the floor.
– They’ll step on you to get past you—not around you, not over you, on you. And they’ll pinch thigh or arm fat along the way.
– They do weird things like bite your toes.
And then, there are the half-truths people tell you. These are kind of true, but also kind of not true:
1. You’ll sleep, eventually. There’s a small window of time from infancy to toddlerhood where your baby sleeps at least eight hours. Then, they turn 2 and are busy doing other things, like not sleeping. Then, they turn 3 and suddenly have a lot of concerns and questions that need immediate answers at 4 a.m., like: “Mommy, do you want to play trains? What’s the cat doing? Can I have a snack?” When they do sleep, you can’t sleep because you kind of miss having someone standing by your bed and staring at you in creepy silence.
2. If you start them on fruits and veggies, they’ll love them for life. At least until they eat anything that’s…
– Not fruit
– Not vegetables
3. Time-out as a form of discipline works great, unless your version of discipline includes a toddler break dancing around their time-out chair, which isn’t that great.
4. The newborn weeks go so fast. In retrospect, everything seems like it goes fast. If you looked back on the Seven Years’ War, I bet it would’ve seemed like a four years’ war instead of the nine years it really was. Sure, in the grand scheme of a person’s life, the newborn weeks aren’t that much. But, tell that to a parent who hasn’t slept more than two hours a night for the past three months. Right now, their January feels like the Forever Years’ War.
5. Kids are so much fun. And they are, except when they’re overtired. Then they become a little dangerous, like trying to herd a very angry badger into a corner with a stick and some of those yogurt melt snack things.
6. Never wake a sleeping baby. I’ve let my babies go past five hours of napping bliss only to discover seven hours of awake time starting promptly at 2 a.m.
7. Incentives are a great way to potty train. Here’s how incentives went in our house:
– Stickers/potty chart: Worked for two attempts. Then they didn’t care.
– Candy: Refused to go unless they could have the candy first (well-played toddler, well-played).
– Big-kid underwear: Didn’t care.
– New toys: Didn’t care.
– Reading a book: Wasn’t interested.
– Special potty toys: Didn’t care.
– Birthday suit: What a mess.
8. Having kids is just like having pets. If your hamster can unroll an entire roll of toilet paper into the toilet and around their sister, then yes, having kids is just like having a pet.
9. Traveling with kids is easy. The first road trip with young toddlers is the first day to the last day of your sanity and the cleanliness of your vehicle’s upholstery.
10. Being a parent comes naturally. The only thing about parenting that comes naturally is exhaustion. And body fluids.
So there you have it—a look at the secret side of actual parenting. I could probably go on about this forever. But, maybe I would drive my point home better if I just repeated the same noise for 45 minutes straight.