“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” – Elizabeth Stone
- Let’s start with the obvious inconvenient truth about parenthood. You. Will. Never. Sleep. Again. This one pains me to write. I had so much hope for the phase beyond the baby phase, but my 5-year-old still rises with the sun. I also recently found out that parents revert to sleep patterns that existed when their kids were infants once they have teenagers that start to drive. Let that one sink in. There’s no rest for the weary.
- Parenthood brings to the surface all of the issues that we must work on within ourselves. Children act as a mirror reflecting back all of our own painful inadequacies. I considered myself to be a pretty patient person up until I had kids. Working on it.
- Your 5-year-old will wait until you are trying to figure out directions to a new location to repeatedly ask you, “Is God the first one that died?” I dare you to try to focus on the road with that question on repeat in the background.
- Without fail, your little one in diapers will time going number two right when you are about to walk out the door. Similarly, she will save her most all-hands-on-deck ten-wipe-worthy diaper for the time you are on a road trip. Trust me. Murphy’s law was written to apply to children’s bowel movements.
- All you will want to do is protect your children, and sometimes you can’t. Their pain and/or discomfort will be your pain and/or discomfort, multiplied by your desire to take the pain away. This frustration comes with the territory in parenthood.
- Becoming a parent should come with a warning label for the following behaviors: Going out to eat dinner at 5:00 p.m.? Check. Topic of conversation at dinner is your children 80 percent of the time? Check. In bed by 9:00 p.m.? Chickety-check.
- Sometimes the magnitude of the level of responsibility parenting brings will hit you like a ton of bricks. I’m in charge of shaping this little person? But I’m still trying to feel like a grown-up myself. On top of it, if you’re anything like me, you’ll never feel certain that you are doing the job right. It’s best to accept this uncertainty, because there are no instruction manuals for the job, everyone does it a little differently, and we’re all imperfect.
- Children are masters at creating work for parents at the same rate of speed that parents try to get work done. Did you just clean the kitchen? Cool, we just destroyed the living room. Did you just finish a load of laundry? Cool, I just crapped my pants. I think this skill is a built-in survival mechanism to keep parents from ever leaving the house.
- Parenthood requires letting go of your freedom of spontaneity. Gone are the days when you can make last minute plans with friends. Plans must be made at least a week in advance in order to arrange for a sitter. Even last-minute family trips are a no-go with the time and effort that must go into family packing.
- Lastly, when you become a parent, you will feel the deepest kind of unconditional love you’ve ever experienced. This kind of love is absolutely terrifying because you are vulnerable on a whole new level, but it also makes numbers one through nine acceptable, no?
Parenting isn’t convenient. It’s hard, soul-stirring, gut-wrenching work. It’s anything but convenient.
Good thing it’s also the best job in the world.
Did I miss any other inconvenient truths? Feel free to share in the comments below.