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Before you bring home your first child, you will be inundated with advice/anecdotes/general unrequested opinions regarding what is coming your way. People mean well, but as you trudge your way through parenthood, you will quickly realize that all these people are lying liars. If they really wanted to do you a solid, they should have saved their advice and just said, “Hold on to your f’ing hat.”
Below I have detailed a few of the many ways people fib to unsuspecting parents-to-be:
1. “It all goes by soooooo fast!”
This is the biggest lie ever told to parents of young children. And it’s the one that stings the most when it doesn’t turn out to be true.
In one of your early days of parenthood, you will be out at the store and will inevitably be accosted by a well-intentioned woman who sighs, puts her hand to her heart and says, “Oh, just cherish every moment, dear. It all goes by so fast!”
You’ll look down at your spit-up-stained shirt (or pajama top), tuck your uncombed hair behind your ear and take a deep breath to keep yourself from bursting into a heap of sleep-deprived, overwhelmed, underprepared, hormone-inspired tears.
You’ll give the nice woman a forced smile while thinking to yourself, “I would give my left boob to make this part go by so fast.” (But you can’t give your right boob because it is currently the only boob producing milk.)
Which leads us to …
2. “Breastfeeding is the most natural thing on the planet!”
Ah, the beautiful bond between a mother and her offspring. The passing of life from a mother’s bosom. And — holy crap! Is that a blister on my nipple?!
Breastfeeding may be natural, but it’s natural in a Shark Week documentary sort of way. It’s gnarly (and can sometimes involve teeth much scarier than you’ve ever seen on a shark).
But don’t worry …
3. “You look great!”
No you don’t.
4. “You need all of the stuff on your registry.”
You know what you need? Quite a bit of Tupperware and some cardboard boxes full of packing materials (because nothing entertains a kid more). You also need a ridiculous amount of sippy cups.
You will spend a majority of your child’s first couple of years in search of the perfect sippy cup. Then once you find it, you will be in search of it in your house because it will inevitably disappear. Or at least the lid will.
If the lid and the cup are both missing that means it’s probably hidden somewhere full of rotting milk. In that case, put your house on the market and get the hell out. Don’t look back.
5. “An adult needs 8 hours of sleep every night.”
Even on the rare nights that I’m allowed 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, I still walk around in a haze the entire day. Children Never. Stop. Moving. Ever.
And they will not allow anyone around them to stop moving either. The other day I drifted off on the couch while my 4-year-old colored. It was my longest nap in years. It was 2.7 minutes. Tap, tap, tap, “Mommy, you accidentally fell asleep!” Whew, that was a close call.
6. “Your child is an actual human.”
We all have such high hopes for our kids before they arrive, and then we are generally frustrated by them once they get here. Babies don’t really do anything and then toddlers do way too much (none of it appropriate for public viewing).
Through extensive scientific studies, I’ve discovered that it takes years for your kid to become an Actual Human Child, and the journey to that milestone is not a pretty one.
But their behavior is a lot easier to understand once you realize this fact. If you are confused as to how far your child has left to go, I offer you this helpful diagram of progression:
Blob → Smiling Blob → Monkey → Angry Monkey → Actual Human Child
You’re welcome and you’ve been warned.
7. “Toddlers eat.”
Once you realize that toddlers are essentially monkeys in clothes, you will have a much easier time understanding their eating habits (and why they very rarely want to wear clothes).
You don’t see monkeys eating normal food do you? No, they like one or two things, and they like throwing those things more than they like eating them. Your child standing up in her high chair and waving her arms around during dinner time doesn’t seem so bizarre now, does it?
8. “You can have it all.”
Only if you plan on sucking at most of it.
9. “Your child is special.”
No, I’m sorry to tell you, he/she isn’t. Your kid probably isn’t going to be a professional athlete. Or President of the United States. Or perform monologues on a Broadway stage. The sooner you realize this, the easier everything will be.
Let the kid put a bucket on his head and run into a wall now and then, the MENSA membership committee isn’t looking over his application just yet.
10. “Everyone is #Blessed.”
Every photo on social media with the hashtag #Blessed represents a split second in time when a parent was able to hold everything together long enough to snap a photo. You know why moms always post peaceful/delightful images of their kids? Because their kids acting peaceful/delightful is rare enough that it’s worth noting.
Don’t worry, you aren’t the only one who is a #BlessedMess.
Dawn Dais is the author of The Sh!t No One Tells You About Toddlers: A Guide to Surviving the Toddler Years (Seal Press, September 2015). For more information, visit dawndais.com or follow Dawn at @bydawndais.