I Wish Someone Had Told Me These Truths Before I Had a Kid

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The moment I found out I was expecting my first child, I did everything I could to prepare. I read parenting books and asked other parents for advice. What I learned was mostly about how little sleep I was going to get. I was told the basics like “enjoy your sleep now” or “sleep when the baby sleeps,” both I tried with little success.

I didn’t learn much about the nitty-gritty part of parenting. No one warned me about my baby becoming a savage toddler or the fresh hell that awaited me. I was never told about the “threenager” stage, or what happens when they turn four. You get where I’m going here.

After having three children, I can safely say I’m well-seasoned on what to expect as a parent. My kids are five, two and two months old– which means I’m all over the place and in no place at the same time. I’ve learned a lot about parenting over the years, so I want to share my knowledge with you.

Your house will never be quiet.

Invest in earplugs as soon as you can because your kids will participate in a marathon of screaming. They wake up screaming and go to bed screaming. Don’t think for a second that when they’re not screaming that everything is OK– silence is never golden. They could be drawing on your walls with a permanent marker, and now you’re screaming.

You’ll get roasted all the time.

Kids have a way with words and a lot on their mind. When you think you’re looking good, your kid will tell you that you smell like a rotten pumpkin. Of course, they will say these types of things in front of company. Or even worse, they’ll say it about a stranger out loud and in front of them. They are the most honest and savage people you’ll ever know.

They wake up at the crack of dawn every weekend.

Waking them up for school is a mission impossible. They are grouchy and cranky, and to be honest, I get it. Waking up early is trash. Getting them to stay asleep on the weekend is a different story. I’ll never understand the phenomenon of kids’ early wake-up time on Saturdays and Sundays. I purposely don’t tell my five-year-old when the weekend starts and she still wakes up early. Why do they do this? It’s an unsolved mystery. Know that sleeping in is non-existent because you’re a parent.

You feel rage when someone gives you unsolicited parenting advice.

Before I started having children, I was one of those people that gave parenting advice without having a kid myself. Now I know better because I’ve been on the receiving end of unsolicited parenting advice and it is the worst. Everyone thinks they know what is best when it comes to raising your child. You’ll hear many pieces of advice, good or bad, but the best thing you can do is brush it off.

They are really expensive.

I’m not just talking about diapers. Clothes, shoes, and daycare costs will shred a hole in your wallet before you can finish saying goo-goo gaga. Hand-me-downs are gold, so take them whenever you can. If you plan to have more than one child, keep as many clothes as you can and reuse. In fact, try to reuse as much as you possibly can. The cost of daycare is, unfortunately, something everyone has to live with.

You’ll want to order take-out more than once a week.

The kitchen is still a mess from breakfast and lunch. There’s no reason to add to the category five disaster by making dinner. Besides, you’ve already managed to survive the day of repeating and arguing with your kids– let’s not add the stress of trying to get your kids to eat dinner. Take-out is your best friend, your confidant, and the wind beneath your wings. The best part is that you won’t have to put the time into making anything and cleaning is quick. Just remember to use paper plates.

Kids fake injuries for Band-Aids.

Band-aids are the new stickers, and kids are all about it. They act like the so-called injury is so dreadful that it requires a band-aid as soon as possible, or they’ll bleed to death (they are not even hurt). Don’t leave Band-Aids out where your kid can find them. Trust me.

Family vacations don’t exist.

When you’re in a different city with your kids, that’s not a vacation, that’s a trip. You’re just counting down the hours until bedtime somewhere else. Sure it’s fun that everyone is experiencing new things, but can we call it a vacation if we’re not relaxing? I don’t think so. I might be a little bit less anxious but that’s not a vacation, that’s just me not caring about how messy the kids are making the hotel room. I do this at home too, except I call it hiding in the closet.

They’ll grow out of their clothes incredibly fast.

They’ll wear a shirt two times, and next thing you know it doesn’t fit them anymore. This feeling is a little bit bittersweet. We want our kids to grow but when we realize how fast they’re growing, it makes us a little sad. Your baby was once wearing infant clothes, now they’re barely fitting in the size 5T Pokémon shirt you got them last month. And with all of the growth they are doing, your heart grows too.

They’ll talk about their latest obsession frequently.

YouTube videos, Minecraft, Hatchimals, etc., you won’t hear the end of it. Every time I see my daughter walking towards me with her collection of Hatchimals I cringe because I’m about to get an earful about each creature she has in her collection; she has almost 40. I think the only way I can get her to stop is to mention dinner and she’ll walk away as fast as can be.

It may not seem like it, but they’re always listening.

We repeat ourselves often with no outcome but what I’ve figured out after five years of parenting is that they’re not paying attention, but they are listening. If you tell them to get their shoes on and then softly whisper that you have a cookie in your purse, they’ll hear the part about the cookie and nothing else. How else do my kids hear me opening up a pack of Skittles if they didn’t have perfect hearing? Or swear under my breath?

They fight with their siblings constantly.

The best part of parenting is watching your kids grow together in what you hope is into best friends for life. Then two seconds later those dreams are shattered when your kids are fighting like cats and dogs. They spend more time arguing when they could be sitting next to each other in peace. Those moments when they are actually playing peacefully together are pure bliss. But that will last about 30 seconds until you’re breaking up their 8th fight by nine in the morning.

The laundry will never be finished.

It’s the task that doesn’t end. Just when you think you’re reaching the bottom of the hamper, more clothes are dumped in. The days of folding adorable tiny baby clothes are gone and now you’re left with a pile of stank that’s taking every fiber in your body not to set on fire. And whenever you feel like you’re forgetting something, you are, and it’s the laundry that’s been in the washing machine for the past two days.

You’re always tired.

When you think you’re getting some good sleep, someone wakes you up. Whether it’s your sleeping child that kicked you or another kid hovering over you at 3 am because they want to know why ducks quack. Your sleep will always feel interrupted. You’ll never be able to nap unless you’re a husband that thinks taking couch naps are OK. Coffee is not even close to being enough of what you need to feel less tired. It keeps us awake so we can spend most of our day trying to figure out when we can take a nap.

You’ll never be more sick than when you have kids.

The moment my child came home from her first day at daycare we all got sick. And I mean really sick. Green was coming out of us, and I was coughing so much I got a 2-pack of abs. I don’t understand the science behind why kids are walking germ pads, but they’re gross. They’re always sneezing and coughing. No amount of hand sanitizer can cure what was sneezed on you. Stock up on vitamins and supplements because it’s always cold and flu season when you have kids.

You’ll spend a lot of time saving your pets from your kids.

Our poor dogs have become the kid’s little playthings. Sometimes the dogs love it, but most of the time they look like they need to be saved. They’re either getting squeezed too hard or are tired of being stood up on their hind legs to dance to the Trolls soundtrack. Cats aren’t safe either, but they are swifter and can climb away from the kids.

They can turn one cracker into millions of crumbs.

They have the ability to create crumbs out of nothing. This is like a hidden talent that every child has. They can carry crumbs around on their body, and dump them on your newly cleaned floors. It’s an X-File. Where did the crumbs come from, they weren’t eating anything? You’ll be sweeping and vacuuming until you die.

Their laughter is like music to your ears.

Nothing makes my heart fill with love like when my kids are happy, and nothing is sweeter than hearing them laugh. They have the loudest and purest laugh you’ll hear. Their happiness is your happiness.

When they learn a joke they will repeat it forever.

I never thought hearing a joke repeated would be the most annoying thing ever until my kid learned of one. I think the worst part was having to fake laugh the entire time. After a while, my acting was not as good as it was the first twelve times I heard the joke. The only way to stop it is to teach them a new joke. You’ll usually have a have a variety of two to three jokes that your kid will repeat which may make it more tolerable for you.

Time does not exist when they’re eating dinner.

No one is more tired than a child who was asked to take a bite of his dinner. If you try to suggest that they get ready for bed instead of eating dinner, suddenly, they’re not so tired anymore. I can watch an entire series on Netflix, and my kid would still be sitting at the dinner table pushing her food around her plate. I’m not sure what works best to get kids to eat other than bribes.

You’ll never use the bathroom alone.

Always remember these next three words, lock the door. If you don’t, your kids will walk in when you’re trying to use the bathroom to tell you about a toy, something on TV, or an argument they’re having with their sibling. There is nothing sacred about privacy in the bathroom anymore. You gave that up as soon as you found out you were expecting a child.

You are always running late.

When you become a parent you’ll quickly learn that even though you’re getting ready at 8 am for a party that starts at 2 pm, you’re already late. It doesn’t matter how much planning you put into getting out the door with your kids, you will always run out of time, it’s science. I’ve never been in a triathlon but I do get my family ready to go out every weekend, so I think that counts.

You are your kid’s personal Uber.

While your social life is pretty much non-existent, theirs grows overnight. Your calendar displays reminders for the parties your kid was invited to every single weekend of every month. Your job is to chauffeur your child to each party. This is your life now– driving your kids around to do things they were invited to do.

They want to be helpers when they aren’t very helpful.

Before having kids, you could get things done around your house in as little or as much time as you wanted. Once you have kids you either don’t have enough time or worse– your kid wants to help. What you planned to be a straightforward task is now a crusade. They insist on helping, and even though they don’t know what you’re doing, they just want to be a part of it. All of the positive parenting books will say that we should involve them. But be warned, tasks that once took you five minutes to complete will take two weeks.

Your house will never be clean.

I don’t even know why I bother cleaning. Sometimes when I clean the bathrooms, I want to make my family use the bathroom in the yard. Unfortunately, they somehow make their way in and stink it up while getting toilet paper and toothpaste everywhere. There is always something on the floor. A spilled drink, toys, Legos, crumbs, piles of laundry. Let’s not forget about the dishes in the sink, although I’d like to. Even at the end of the day when you’re finally getting comfortable in your bed, you’ll find something that your kid put in there, like a spatula. It’s like a junk drawer blew up, and you’re living among its contents.

Parenting lowers the standards of your appearance.

You’ll always have glitter, stickers or chalk dust on you. It’s the parenting rite of passage. I’ve gone hours with a sticker stuck on my face because I was busy doing something. I’ll go out in public with it on and won’t notice until I’m back home. To be completely honest, I don’t even care anymore. My appearance is the last of my worries. After all, I’m still wearing the same clothes from three days ago.

WiFi is your co-parent.

Sometimes you need a break. You need a break from your kids talking and arguing, and the best way to do that is to let them watch something on the iPad or TV. It’s possible to parent without screen time, but is it easier? I don’t think so. It’s actually very helpful for a parents’ mental well-being. If I can eat a meal in peace, it’s because my kid is watching something. If I can use the bathroom alone, it’s because my kid is on the iPad. A lot of people knock screen time and I understand– it should be done in moderation. But screen time and WiFi are necessary for parenting. It will keep you sane.

You’re a snack cart.

Now, this I can understand because I too love snacks. But the way kids love snacks is on a whole other level. Snacks are what hold them back from going bonkers in the minivan or a grocery trip. Keep snacks in your bag, car, and your pockets. They are your lifesavers when nothing is making them happy and they’re on a verge of an epic meltdown in Target.

Doing anything alone is like a vacation.

Who knew that going to the grocery store alone would be so thrilling and relaxing. I’d happily stand in line at the Post Office if it means I get some time alone. It may not seem like a lot, but these small mental breaks are crucial, and you need to take them and enjoy them whenever you can. Next time I go to the grocery store without my kids, I’ll probably also drive into some traffic so I can stretch out my time alone.

You’ll never know a love like this.

This is something you’ll realize when your kid is sound asleep and you kiss their sweaty face one more time before you go to bed. How lucky are we to get to experience being a parent? You’ll scroll through pictures on your phone and relive some of the moments you’ve had together as a family, and there are many. Your heart grows every day for them and even through all of the daily struggles, their love is keeping you going.