Becoming a parent can be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling rites-of-passage in your life. To pass on your DNA to the next generation, who will hopefully improve the world for the better leaves you feeling proud and that you’ve truly accomplished something great with your life. Of course, not everyone wants to be a parent and some might say kudos to you for helping keep the population down. All too often many parents forget that to have children is a choice and one that needs to be made with care.
So, you have heard about how fulfilling it is to become a parent, how wonderful it feels to see your baby, to experience that love, all of those positives keep blowing up your Facebook feed… but what about the secret dark side to it all? What don’t they tell parents before baby arrives?
Well, they don’t tell you that every cent you earn will be swallowed by a non-stop eating, pooping, and crying machine. Sure, you love the little tyke regardless, but it would have been nice to have known just how expensive kids really are.
Better sell those grown-up toys you keep in your garage! A boat, fishing tackle, motorcycle, mountain bike – those are the possessions of non-parents (at least when the kids are babies). You’ll need the money you get from selling your playthings to put into baby’s playthings – and budget some for a 529 or other college savings plan.
Another thing they don’t tell you is how the wrong color drinking straw can be the end of the world and completely ruin your day. Or that a face-down screaming protest in the canned goods aisle at the supermarket is something you’ll likely experience. These moments will test your will. All the baby advice books tell you to stand firm and not give in to your child’s tantrums, but when you’re in the trenches and your eardrums are waiving the white flag, you’re going to have yours periods of weakness and surrender for the sake of a “quiet-fix”.
A New Appreciation for Earplugs
While we are talking about quiet, it will soon become a word that seems to exist only in print. Where did quiet go? They don’t tell you how much you will miss relative silence and that you will savor every last second of it when it comes along. And make sure you do savor it because you can guarantee that in 3, 2, 1, someone is either screaming or crying again. As a heads-up, you’ll also find that the noisiest toys are the most popular in your house. And your child won’t get bored pushing the button to repeat whatever ear-piercing sounds she currently finds herself enamored with. So picture alternating screams with singing dolls and that is the horror movie soundtrack your life has now become.
Talking about your dishonesty here, not the child’s! They fail to tell you that you will never be able to eat chocolate again in plain sight, and must resort to stealth tactics and trickery in order to do so. Someone else needs it more, after all, and so you will have to retreat to a closet, bathroom or garage when you indulge, while claiming to be “looking for something”. Other fabrications you’ll employ: the ice-cream truck is coming, and you tell your kids that the music means it’s sold out. You see them eyeing up your dessert, so you tell them that they won’t like it because it’s too spicy. You tell them to be good, or Santa won’t come, or the Tooth Fairy, or the Easter bunny! Lies become commonplace and easy all of a sudden.
But the thing is, none of this matters when you and your kid are laughing and playing together. When you sit and clean up their cuts and scrapes, your protective nature kicks in. When they make you that first breakfast in bed, or simply hug you and say they love you. They tell you that everything is worth it, and they are right. They tell you that it’s rewarding, and it is, even if we do miss that chocolate, money, Foosball table, and quiet moments. Would you change anything? Absolutely not!