The 9 Toughest Things About Being a Parent

parentingAs my child is very much on the downhill side of a year now, I am feeling more like a relatively competent parent and less like the insane woman that the hospital accidentally gave a baby to. There are definitely things I am better at than others and a long list of things I have yet to experience, but we have a good routine and Eli and I are both relentlessly happy. And while parenting has proven to be the coolest job I’ve ever had and I love that little baby in ways I cannot convey in words, it has also been the hardest job.

I’m not sure if parenting feels harder because it really is, or if it’s because the stakes and the emotions are so high that even small things feel monumental, but the fact of the matter is, it’s difficult. It’s rewarding and wonderful and I don’t want to sound like a Debbie Downer because I love being a mother more than anything else (and stay tuned for the 10 best things about being a parent tomorrow), I think I just didn’t appreciate how tough this would be before I got here. And so, in the interest of not blowing smoke and pretending for new moms or moms-to-be that this is easy, in my first 9 months as a parent, these have been the 9 toughest things that I’ve been through.

  • Sleep Deprivation 1 of 9
    I don't say this to scare soon-to-be parents, but sleep deprivation is hard. It wasn't as difficult at first as I thought it would be, but as we're reaching 9 months and my child still doesn't sleep through the night, I'm definitely finding that my fatigue is harder to be cavalier about. I knew that there would be many nights of minimal sleep, I knew I would be tired, but I really didn't know that my child would still be getting up 2 times a night at 9 months. I'm not sure I could've physically prepared for this, but some mental preparation may have helped.
  • Separation Anxiety 2 of 9
    We are in the thick of separation anxiety and it is heart wrenching. Especially at night, especially when he's tired, Eli will cry and cry when we leave the room. He does it in the mornings with my husband as well (he's rather non-plussed when I leave...) and it's just so sad. And there's really nothing you can do. Coming back in when he cries only reinforces the crying, leaving him to be sad is just horrible. It's nice being missed by your child, but it's terrible watching them be so sad about it.
  • Guilt 3 of 9
    This is a big one for me. I tried very hard to not let this be a part of my parenting, but it sneaks in more than I want. Going back to work was a big source of guilt. Supplementing with formula (though fine! and not a big deal! we heart formula! and breast milk!) made me feel the guilt again. Letting him fuss when I know he's just overtired and there's nothing I can do? Guilt city. It's hard when what you know to be best for you and your child, doesn't necessarily meet up with what your child thinks is best. All I can say about this is so far he's forgiven me for all the things I have felt guilty about.
  • Sick Kids 4 of 9
    We have not had a delightful winter when it comes to germs. An ear infection, bronchiolitis, a mystery virus with a fever of 102 and a sinus infection. All in 2 months. It was awful. Not because caring for a sick baby is awful, which it is, but because watching your child be in pain or feel lousy and not being able to fix it is hands down the worst feeling I've ever had. Watching my child cough until he vomits and not being able to help him is the epitome of helplessness. Thankfully, most of these things are short lived and you both get through it, but it is just the worst.
  • Loss of Personal Time 5 of 9
    All aboard the selfish train. This one isn't hard for my kid, it's just hard for me. I miss my me time. I miss going to movies and out to dinner. I miss being able to get places on time and not having to carry 800 million bags at all times. I miss getting up and having lazy mornings before work where I take my time getting ready. I miss all of that. And yes, it's silly and superficial, but it's tough some days.
  • Uncertainty 6 of 9
    There are truckloads worth of uncertainty when it comes to parenting. Do I wake them or let them sleep? Do I go to the pediatrician or wait it out? Do I start solids now or later? The list goes on and on. The thing is, there is rarely a right or a wrong unless your child's physical (or emotional) safety is at risk. Otherwise, it's shades of gray and all you can do is what's best for all of you. Though that is notably so much easier said than done.
  • The Fear 7 of 9
    This goes a bit with uncertainty, but having a child is opening yourself up to some pretty intense worries, even if you're not prone to anxiety the way I am. You become more aware of all the things that could happen and realize how quickly your heart could be shattered if they did. Thanks to great support and therapy I've gotten many of my fears in check, but there will always be lingering worries.
  • The Cost 8 of 9
    Yep, I'm going here. Having babies is expensive. We planned to breastfeed (which, p.s. is not free) and ended up pumping (which, p.s. is REALLY not free). Eli is a very slow grower, but clothes are still not cheap. Diapers and wipes add up too. Throw in toys, strollers, diaper bags and seriously, this tiny little human is a money pit. A really really cute money pit that you will find yourself spending money on because that outfit is so cute you cannot live without it and sorry you're not sorry.
  • The Mess 9 of 9
    Babies are messy. They spit up, throw up, poop, have no regard for where their snot and spit goes. The laundry is tremendous, the toy clean up that takes place at the end of everyday is time consuming, especially when you know that the entire room with be wrecked within 10 minutes of your child waking up in the morning.

Those are my 9 toughest things about being a parent. But I know that since Eli is only 9 months old, I’ve yet to experience many of the harder parts of parenting. What do you think is the toughest part about being a parent, and why?

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Article Posted 5 years Ago

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