Parenting is a funny thing.
When you’re on the outside looking in, it’s like this black box of mystery where you can kind of make out the edges, but you aren’t entirely sure what the complete picture is.
And those on the inside, the “initiated” parents, don’t help the situation at all. They just beat around the bush when it comes to describing what it’s like. They’ll use ambiguous phrases like It’s great or It’s hard. But try to get them to paint a realistic picture of life on the other side of the delivery table, and their words fall short.
Well mine won’t, so let’s dig in. Here’s 4 things no one tells you about being a parent.
You will be more tired than you’ve ever been in your life.
You will be a zombie. A walking zombie with bags under your eyes and spit up stains on your shirt. Maybe the reason most parents don’t tell you this up front is because they literally can’t even comprehend the conversation out of sheer exhaustion. But believe you me. After weeks and months of an hour of sleep here and an hour of sleep there, you’ll never take a decent night’s sleep for granted again. Oh and for the males reading – your significant other will always be twice as tired, so if you need someone to complain to, make sure it’s not them.
You will have your patience tested by the minute.
You know what’s more fun than dealing with a screaming toddler? Pretty much everything, ever. But guess what? You only have to deal with that 78 times a day as a parent. One minute they’re a sweet angel that is melting your heart, and the next minute they’re a possessed demon straight out of a horror movie. Patience gets a new definition when you’re a parent. The patience you learn as a pre-parent adult is like a bunny hill, and the patience you learn as a post-parent adult is like a double black diamond. You’re going to fall on your face a whole lot before you make it down the hill.
You will be disgusting. Like all the time.
Remember that “spit up stains on your shirt” line from earlier? That will be the least of your disgust. You are the target, with your child’s spit up, drool, vomit, and poop as the arrows. Their sole goal in life appears to be transferring as many bodily fluids onto you as possible each and every day. Have you seen the Twilight movies? This is their way of imprinting on you to claim their ownership. You will shower each day fully expecting the water and debris coming off of you to be brown and clog the drain. And once you’re finally clean with a fresh shirt on? You’ll pick up your child to immediately have them shoot another arrow directly at you.
It will all be worth it.
And this last point is truly all you need to know, which is why it’s the only thing most parents tell you.
It’s worth it because like I’ve said before, life dishes out pain and joy in equal and opposite measures. Parenting will push you, but parenting will open you. Over time the sleep gets deeper, the stains come out, and the tantrums tame down. But the experiences and memories will be there forever, shaping you into a new and better version of yourself.
You trade the temporary for the permanent. And that’s all you need to know.