I’ve been married for 7+ years and my son is 4 years old, so it’s not a surprise that most of my friends are already parents. On the other hand, I still have many child-less friends. On a selfish level, they are some of the greatest friends because they ask me to go out for margaritas on a Tuesday night or encourage me to slip away for a girls weekend to the beach. Telling them stories about motherhood helps me remember why I love it so much since they don’t have their own stories to share – for the most part, they find the moment I found humiliating funny, or the moment I found annoying to be endearing – so they help keep motherhood in perspective.
It’s also no surprise that they have loads of questions about the realities of parenting past Facebook highlights and Twitter complaints. Is puke really that disgusting? Will I ever sleep again? Will my body ever be normal?
So here are some truths about kids that the child-less may wonder about:
Will I ever get to sleep in again? 1 of 12
Not going to lie, the first few years are rough. There's the up-all-night phase, and the nine-month-old that still wakes 3 times per night, and the toddler that's up at 5 am. But eventually, it does get easier. Your body adjusts, you drink more coffee, and one day you'll find a four-year-old snuggled between you at 8 am on Saturday and smile.
Plus, you'll be shaking him awake when he's a teenager. I personally look forward to that payback.
Will I have to wear mom jeans? 2 of 12
Of course, this one depends on your body type and weight gain, blah blah blah. But the general consensus of my friends is that higher-rise jeans are amazing. First, you don't want your tail hanging out when you're pushing a swing at the park. Secondly, most women have a bit of flab/skin that doesn't want to go away after delivery and keeping the muffin-top confined is a much better look. That doesn't mean they have to be "mom jeans" - they can still fit well and flatter your figure.
I hate kids. Are you sure I will like my own? 3 of 12
Until I had my own, I disliked 99% of children. They're noisy and smelly and way too rude for my liking. But my own kid? He's awesome. I think the sun rises and sets with him and that he smells like a combination of angel breath and glitter. Until he burps. But yes, you will LOVE your baby. Maybe not right away and of course, there will always be moments when you consider throwing him to the wolves, but you will adore him.
Does daycare take up all of your money? 4 of 12
Honestly, YES. Paying for outside childcare is expensive and on the rise. It's common for childcare costs to rival those of mortgages, but remember that at worst, daycare payments last 5 years.
Here is more information about the increasing cost of childcare in relation to income.
Is parenting the end of my social life? 5 of 12
I'm going to be straight with you - the majority of your social life will change. It's not that you'll be cooped up inside all day but that instead of brunches, you'll be going to birthday parties. Bar nights turn into early morning soccer games. Double-dates turn into having pizza over at a friend's house while the kids play. Granted, I'm a firm believer in hiring a babysitter on the regular to get in adult-only date nights and yes, you can take your kid to brunch with you. Just be sure to pack coloring books and don't pick anywhere that serves on china and crystal.
If I have a girl, do I HAVE to do princesses? 6 of 12
Definitely not. While some of my friends are knee-deep in the princess stage, some of my friends have girls that love trucks just as much as my son. Sure, toys are gender-oriented with pink versus blue colors, but as a parent you can always select toys and television exposure that is more gender-neutral to alleviate the "princess stage."
How much work am I going to miss? 7 of 12
Well, in comparison to what you're missing now. Before I had kids, I took the occasional actual sick day sprinkled with "mental health days" due to the company "use it or lose it" policy. Now that I have a son, my sick days are reserved for his sick days. He can't go to daycare with a fever or within 24 hours of a stomach bug, so a basic puke-fest can potentially take me out of work for 2 days. On the other hand, I am lucky and thankful to work for a company with the ability to work from home when my son is sick - which means I get up early and work until my husband leaves for the office, work during nap, and work at night while caring for my sick son during the day. It's tough and your office sick/sick child policy should be considered when you plan to have children.
Is it just made-up-mom-drama about the "mommy wars?" 8 of 12
Unfortunately, it is not. I wish my answer were different but the truth is that once you have a baby, everyone has an opinion. Breast versus bottle, stay-at-home versus working, chicken nuggets versus kale, and Dr. Who versus Supernatural. Just remember that everyone is doing the best they can and stay logged out of Facebook when you're feeling particularly vulnerable.
Am I going to be broke all the time? 9 of 12
Kids are expensive, but they're only as expensive as you make them. It may seem like they need SO MUCH STUFF but in reality, kids can be really low-maintenance. Sure, life is easier with a swing, bouncer, pack n' play, playmat, excersaucer, jumperoo, etc...but they're not necessities for survival. With an infant, you face diapers, formula/nursing supplies, and childcare. Added activities for older kids, saving for college, private school, and expensive toys all add up fast. Just fit the kid into your budget - so what if Little Johnny has an iPad mini and your son eats generic Cocoa Puffs? If he's alive and happy and thriving, you're doing your job.
How hard is potty training? 10 of 12
The majority of parents agree that potty training SUCKS. It's awful. You're lucky if you get a kid that responds well to chocolate candies and stickers. You're unlucky if you get a stubborn kid that would ask you to change his diaper until he's 10 if you let him. But just keep in mind that no kid has gone to college not potty trained and it will help save your sanity.
How do you handle vomit? 11 of 12
SO GROSS. I know a lot of people who just don't "do vomit" and that's okay. Parenting is not a constant flow of the upchuck. When your kid pukes, you honestly go into this game face state of mind where you just worry about her feeling better, what you can do to help, and you just clean it up. Ain't no big.
So what you’re saying is, every kid is different? 12 of 12
Exactly. No two parenting experiences are the same. Every kid is different, every parent is different, and we're just all trying to make it out alive. If you choose to become a parent, I promise you the ride is worth it.
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