The Honest Truth

A very dear friend of mine is trying to decide whether or not she wants to have children.

Having kids definitely changes everything about your life.  Some aspects of it are glorious, and can never be experienced unless you procreate.  (And these are all the things you hear about before you have any children of your own.)  Other parts of being a parent honestly kind of suck, but they are nearly impossible to avoid.  There is absolutely no way to prepare anyone for what parenting means, especially the parts of it that are really shitty.

However, I decided to come up with a short list of some crappy parenting truths for my friend’s benefit.

Here they are, in no particular order:

  • You will never have a private moment ever again.  I have had my kids in the bathroom with me more times than I can count.  They walk in when I’m using the toilet, in the shower, clipping my toe nails, tweezing my eyebrows, you name it.  Somehow children do not know or care about closed doors.  And, if you dare LOCK the door, you’re bound to have someone screaming for you to open it on the other side.  I have given up trying.  I have just come to the realization that I can never have any privacy, ever.  (Unless maybe I check into a hotel room alone.)
  • You will never sleep again.  I’m not sure how much I have to elaborate on this one because it kind of speaks for itself.  Sure, you can sleep train (also called self soothing).  That may work for awhile.  We did this with A when she was nine months old.  That didn’t stop her from getting up at the crack of dawn every day since.  Then your baby will grow into a toddler who will have nightmares, or get sick in the middle of the night, or need a drink of water, or god knows what.  Or, heaven forbid, you’ll have to sleep anywhere that is not your own home.  Then you can throw whatever progress you’ve made out the window.  Next, you may have another child, and you can really just forget it.  I have literally not slept a full night’s sleep since my seventh month of pregnancy with my first child, and I don’t expect to for about another twenty years.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is either lying, checking themselves into a hotel alone periodically, or dropping their kiddos off at Grandma and Grandpa’s house to spend the night.
  • You will come into contact with every kind of bodily fluid whether you want to or not.  Poop, pee, blood, vomit, snot, you name it.  You’ve seen it, had it on you, had it in your car, on your rug, couch, and clothes.  You can’t be squeamish when you have children because things will come out of them that you never even knew existed, and you’ll just have to roll with the punches.  Parenting is not for the faint of heart.
  • Speaking of disgusting, your house will never be clean again.  Ever.  This is coming from a Type A personality who really, really likes things to be clean.  I have thrown in the towel, and I try to do my best.  The only way to keep up with the mess that kids create is to have a live-in housekeeper.  If you have one of those, you have a shot at having a clean house every once in awhile.  If, like me, you don’t, well you learn to prioritize what really needs to be cleaned right this instant before you have guests at your doorstep, and what can wait until tomorrow or next week.
  • Your sex life…or should I say lack thereof…if you go re-read the sections above about never having any privacy and never getting any sleep, you’ll see where I’m going with this.
  • You will no longer enjoy meals. I love food and, before I had kids, I loved cooking and eating meals. Ha!  It seems funny to even think about that now because I dread cooking (finding a meal we can all agree on, purchasing all the ingredients and finding a moment when a child isn’t attached to my leg while I’m trying to cook all make for a horrid experience).  And the actual business of sitting down and eating a meal together – whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner – is something I get no joy out of.  My 9.5 month old makes a giant mess of herself, her chair, the table, the floor and sometimes me.  My three year old has to be coaxed into chewing every single bite (unless I’ve caved and she’s having pizza or chicken nuggets).  I rarely even get to sit down, and my husband is not there for breakfast or lunch on weekdays, and sometimes he’s not home by dinner either.  The only way I enjoy a meal anymore is if I hire a babysitter and go eat out at a restaurant!
I’m sure there are other lousy aspects to being a parent, but those are the ones that resonate the most for me.  If you’d like to contribute some more, please post a comment; I’m sure my friend wants to hear about them!  In the end, when trying to decide whether or not to have children, I think it’s best to not over-think it.  Go with your gut, and you’ll figure out how to make the crappy parts of parenting not so crappy.

And, for the record, I wouldn’t change a thing about my life — except maybe hitting the lottery so I can afford that housekeeper and more frequent visits to hotels sans kids!  Good luck and godspeed to all of you considering parenthood!

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2 thoughts on “The Honest Truth

  1. Love these. So true. I would also add that errands will never be the same again. There is no such thing as a quick trip to the store because if your kid is like mine, then you have to coax her to leave the house (a 10 minute process). Then at the store she must get her own rolling basket and pull it around the store filling it with all sorts of things that you have to then put back. And when you finally finish shopping, she MUST ride the escalator an extra 3 times. And if you actually do want to take your time somewhere to browse, that is when your child melts down and insists on leaving right then.

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