Becoming a parent is scary. There’s no doubt about it. You and you alone are responsible for caring for, protecting, teaching, disciplining, nurturing – for anything and everything this little human being will need for the next 18 years (at least). That’s A LOT of responsibility! And no matter how many parenting books or websites you read, there are going to be tons of moments that you think, ”No one ever mentioned this before!” Here are 16 scary things no one tells you about parenthood – from the funny to the freaky and everything in between.
#1 There’s no right way to do this thing.
It would be infinitely easier to parent if there was a perfect prescription for how to have a perfectly healthy, happy child. But it just doesn’t work that way (would we really want it to?). You’re going to get advice from everyone – and we mean everyone. And there’s always going to be controversy over what’s “right,” but the fact of the matter is everyone’s winging it and hoping for the best. It’s a little like driving blind. Get used to trusting your instincts.
#2 You will always feel guilty.
Since there’s no defined right way to do this thing, you’ll inevitably feel like you’re doing something wrong. It’s totally unsettling and you’ll worry that you’re wrecking your kid, but don’t worry – you are almost certainly not.
#3 You will never be you again.
You are now you + child. You may not have considered yourself selfish before, but having a child forces a selflessness that makes the old you look pretty self-centered. You’ll always maintain bits of old you, but you’ll never be the same. And it’s wonderful.
#4 You’ll worry about horrifying things that never crossed your mind before.
The terror of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome will make you stare at your baby’s chest for hours on end to make sure she’s breathing. Honey is now poison because of the threat of infant botulism. That pencil will take an eye out. That stranger might steal your baby. Everything becomes a threat to your child’s well-being. Over time (hopefully), you’ll find a comfortable balance between rational risks and real life.
#5 Bad things will happen.
No matter how cautious you are (based on all of those aforementioned worries), something unexpectedly bad will happen. They’ll step on a nail at the neighbors, choke on a piece of bread, slam their hand in a door. That’s life – not your negligence. And while at the moment it seems horrible and your child is screaming and you’re freaking out – these are important life lessons.
#6 Your heart will hurt more than you ever imagined possible.
Witnessing your child experience real physical or emotional pain will make you ache and hurt and cry. It’s another fact of life. It’s like the quote from Elizabeth Stone, “Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ”
#7 Your child will make friends with people you’d rather they didn’t.
You can’t control everything. You just can’t. Look for the learnings. What can this child and this friendship teach you? Is there another perspective you should be considering?
#8 Your child will ask you extremely touchy questions when you least expect it.
You’re tucking the blankets and kissing goodnight and at the very last second he asks, “Where do babies come from?” You’re in the grocery store waiting in line and your child points to the man behind you and asks, “Why doesn’t that man have 2 legs?” There’s no way to prepare for these moments. Just know they’ll happen and they’ll be very awkward and challenging.
#9 The moment everything seems to be smooth sailing…nope.
You finally figured out how to avoid bedtime temper tantrums and you’re loving your new seamless schedule and routines – everyone’s so happy! Then she comes home from school in tears because her best friend doesn’t want to be BFFs anymore. The drama never ends.
#10 Sometimes you have to be mean.
Your child will think you’re being mean, but in actuality, you’re disciplining. Like Bette Davis said, “If you have never been hated by your child, you have never been a parent.”
#11 You’ll expect that things will get easier as your child grows up, but oftentimes it gets a lot harder.
When they’re little, your biggest wish is for uninterrupted sleep and tantrum-less days. You’ll think, “I can’t wait until he’s bigger and beyond this phase!” But the next phase might be bedwetting and acting out. And the next could be dealing with a bully at school. And then it might be dealing with unrequited crushes. And then it might be anxiety or hormonal mood swings. Dealing with biological needs like getting them to sleep and eat is completely different than dealing with emotional needs like helping mend a broken heart. In essence, it’s never easy (but the rewards are SO worth it!).
#12 Sometimes you’ll be helpless when you want to help the most.
Broken bones, broken hearts – there will be times your child is hurting and there is little you can do about it. You can offer treats and buy presents to soothe the pain, but you can’t make it go away. And that’s tough. Just love and hug and love and hug.
#13 Sometimes you won’t like your child.
Kids can be little monsters sometimes – even the sweetest of angels. It’s okay to get frustrated. You can dislike the behavior, but still love the child.
#14 Sometimes your child will truly creep you out.
The most normal, happy kids sometimes say weird things like, “Mommy, did you know a little girl lives in my closet?” or maybe they sleep walk or have night terrors that have them shrieking with eyes wide open even though they’re asleep. Weird stuff will happen.
#15 There will be many moments you simply won’t know what to say.
Um. Well. Hmph.
#16 One day, your child will leave.
This is pretty obvious, but truly, the older they get, the more you’ll dread the day that they move out. It’s cliche, but no matter how old they get, they’re always your baby.
Becoming a parent means that you will do and see some things that you previously thought were impossible. The flip side to that is you will experience greater joy, happiness, and fulfillment than you ever could have imagined!! No matter how many scary, crazy moments, there are always far more wonderful ones!