“Oh, my goodness! It’s the best. Being a parent is such a blessing. You’re going to love it!”
“Get your sleep while the baby does!”
“Make sure to enjoy every minute, they grow so fast and you can’t get that time back!”
Any of this sound familiar?
Well, if you’re a parent—or an expecting parent—I bet it does, and I’d also put money on the fact you can reel off a considerable amount more ‘tips’ about parenting.
When I say tips, I actually mean useless platitudes that people say because they still can’t believe they were duped into believing it was all going to be rainbows, unicorns farting glitter, and quirky montages of your little scamp doing cute things like golden arches while you go for a new nappy. So, instead of warning—or, rather, “informing”—expecting parents or those thinking they may want kids one day what the actual truth is, they opt for assimilating a new generation into the rose-coloured, soon-to-be-disillusioned masses.
Well, I’m about to pop some motherfucking bubbles
But before we begin, as this is my first post on parenting, let me start with something those who know md have heard me say a thousand times before—PARENT DISCLAIMER.
This will come up in basically every post I write about parenting, so get familiar with the phrase and definition.
With that being said, lets get into the ten things no one will tell you before you become a parent.
- PARENT GUILT
This is the big one, so I wanted to get stuck straight in. The most important thing I can say here is get real fucking comfortable with feeling guilty.
You are going to feel guilt. No ifs, ands or buts about it. This is a lose/lose situation my friend, no matter what you do, at every stage of your child’s life from now until you suck your last breath. Every choice has the potential to fuck your kid up, at least that’s what your brain is going to scream at you, over and over.
Do you work? You’re going to feel that guilt that says, “I’m missing little Timmy’s ____ (enter any fucking thing here) and they are going to think I don’t love them enough.”
Are you a stay-at-home parent? You’re going to feel guilt that perhaps you are spending too much time with little Yasmin and she is never going to learn independence.
Play with your kids all the time? Guilt because, “How will they ever learn to keep themselves occupied?”
Hate playing with your kids? Guilt because “Isn’t this supposed to be a magical make-believe time of dragons and tea parties?”
For the record, it’s fully acceptable not to enjoy playing with your kin, they don’t understand how a game is supposed to be structured and will pitch a fucking tantrum the likes of which you’ve never seen should they loose AND if you think you can play video games with them to avoid this, I’ve got some unfortunate news: video games have changed since we were kids and Minecraft is THE WORST—sorry if you like it, you are wrong, IT IS THE WORST.
Sorry, I may have gotten off track for a second there… My point is simply this, the second your baby arrives, your life becomes the movie Sliding Doors and you will always think the other option is the better one.
But, newsflash, it doesn’t matter. The guilt will find you. On this we are all fucked. I’m sorry but there it is.
- YOUR LOVE MAY NOT WAVER, BUT YOUR LIKE SURE THE HELL WILL
Ok, have you seen How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days? Don’t worry if not, it’s not that important, and I’ma catch you up real quick.
There’s a moment where Hudson’s character says, “I love you, but I don’t like you right now.” (All caught up? Yeah. I should write summaries professionally, I know).
Yeah, that. That will happen. It will happen a lot. It might not last long, but on those occasion where your precious little angel turns into the spawn of Lucifer because you didn’t cut the crusts off their sandwich, or you know they asked you to, so you did, and for some reason that was the wrong thing to do?!
Love you, not liking you a whole bunch. Don’t feel bad about this. It’s natural, and little Timmie is, quite frankly, being a dick.
3. BABIES ARE BORING
Someone had to fucking say it.
Look, we’ve all got that one friend who is a liability, right? Constantly drinking, shooting their mouth off all the time, falling asleep at the weirdest times, and occasionally, after having drunk too much, soiling themselves?
Well, a baby is that friend, without the redeeming features of the witty bants. I’m sorry, but they are demanding and they are boring. Sure, they are cute, but I mean, YouTube exists if you just wanna look at cute things.
Babies are boring. Straight facts.
4. KIDS ARE BASICALLY SOCIOPATHS
Get mad at biology not me.
The brain isn’t fully developed until you are twenty-five. In fact, a lot of behaviours in children and adolescents are labelled as similar to sociopath/psychopathic behaviours because the frontal cortex is not full formed, which is where we develop our ability for empathy.
So, yeah. You will be negotiating homework, eating vegetables, and sorting bedtimes with someone who has zero empathy for your plight. I’m sure there is a nicer way to put it. Nicer, but no less accurate.
- THEY WILL ACTIVELY TRY TO KILL THEMSELVES
Up until the age of at least four, you are looking after a lemming. By that, I mean that your child has no fear, no self-preservation, no idea that you shouldn’t put one’s tongue in the fucking plug socket. Everything demands them to taste it, insert it, touch it, and stand in front of it. Keep your eyes peeled because the ingenuity of children when it comes to potential self-slaughter is just impressive. I always joke that I have kept my child alive without fail every day of his life, and the parents laugh, and the non-parents say, “Oh, don’t say that,” and that’s when I look at them and say, “You weren’t there man. You don’t know.”
- YOU WILL CONSTANTLY THINK THEY ARE DEAD
Here’s a fun thing about babies: they seem to know exactly when you’ve let your guard down at night, and it is at this point that they will either stop making breathing noises, or they will let out a rasping breath akin to a death rattle.
They will do this several times a night, all while they are asleep. You will never not check. So, either you are up all night with a crying baby, or you are up all night checking that the sleeping baby is still breathing. Welcome to the land of sleep deprivation, my fellow operantly exhausted pigeon.
Not to worry though, as they get older that changes. Instead, they just refuse to go to sleep, and when they eventually do they are up every 15 minutes for a glass of water, or ‘to give you a hug,’ so you can’t ever fully relax, and at this point it feels like you were knocked unconscious and taken to some extreme psychology experiment where they test how long it takes to break someone using prolonged psychological warfare.
Seems a bit extreme?
I was being kind when I said ‘mild.’
- YOU WILL REALISE YOU ARE GOING TO DIE
After eighty-one hours of wanting my baby out of my womb, he finally arrived, and you know the first thought that went through my head when I saw that magical little bundle covered in my own detritus?
“OH. FUCK. I AM GOING TO DIE.”
Don’t get me wrong, I have always understood that this was likely to happen at one point, but this was the first time I actually confronted it head on in a ‘face my mortality’ kind of way. I had just had a helpless little baby pulled out of my vagina by a doctor whose strength could match Captain America’s in that one scene with Thanos, you know that one scene with Thanos? And I just suddenly realised all at once that I would be dead one day and he would be alive without me…
And then I passed out.
Not because of the thought, but because I had been in labour for eighty-one-fucking-hours.
- YOU WILL FORGET IT’S NOT SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE TO BANG ON ABOUT THE COLOUR OF YOUR BABY’S POO
Yeah, you will almost instantly become obsessed with your baby’s poop, its colour and consistency.
You will talk to fellow parents about it (who you only know because you were thrown together in an antenatal class in which the only thing you have in common is that all of your lives are about to be interrupted for the next 18 years), and when you meet up with the people in your life that you actually have things in common with—on the rare occasion you can wash and dress on the same day—you will tell them, too.
They will not appreciate this, especially if you are out for a curry. Most people don’t wanna hear about your baby’s poo. You might think you don’t need to be told this.
You will forget.
You will do it anyway.
- BOYS GET BONERS AND GIRLS’ VAGINAS COME FULLY FORMED
Right let’s get this clear, babies have genitals. They look like adult genitals but smaller, and baby boys will get erections from day one.
I was not expecting this and it freaked me the fuck out. I didn’t know what to do, why did my innocent little baby have a lob-on?!
It’s natural, apparently. So be prepared for that joy.
Also, just to say, vaginas look like vaginas from day one—as my brother-in-law couldn’t believe when my niece was born.
- YOU WILL FEEL RAGE BEYOND WHAT YOU THOUGHT WAS HUMANLY POSSIBLE AND YOU WILL BASICALLY BECOME A TODDLER YOURSELF
Look, you are going to get angry. So, so fucking angry.
I mean comic book anger. Hulk would run from you. You think you might actually explode with rage and you will have to keep that shit in check.
I’m not sure how to help you here. Because I don’t know how I do it. I mean, let’s get real, I’m human. I don’t always manage to keep my zen-like cool.
That was sarcasm, in case you couldn’t tell. I have no zen, no cool, no chill, and little money—that last part wasn’t strictly relevant, but as children are basically money pits, I figured it worked.
I repeat, ‘calm and consistent’ over and over again when my precious boy is saying/screaming such gems as, “I hope you die in a fire,” or “Why are you purposely trying to hurt my feelings?” at me in response to me asking him to, for example, eat his dinner (which he has been asking for every minute for the last hour), or brush his teeth.
So, there you have it.
It’s not glamourous, or pretty, and there is no rose in those glasses, but all of those things are true of being a parent. A lot of it sucks beyond the telling, but the most annoying thing? They do one cute thing, that you are 98% sure is a manipulative power play, but you fall for it anyway…
…and for that moment, everything is perfect.