What goes into raising a child is so complex and so intimate that only people with children of their own understand what that means. As a parent, you only wish that those who lack children of their own could understand what it is like to raise a child.
Here are nine aspects of parenting that only those with children truly understand.
1. Baby-making is stressful
Non-parents have no idea what it is like to make the decision to have a family — to time it just right and wait the seemingly endless days to take a test. Only you know what it’s like finally to be able to take one of those early detection tests, only to see a negative. Then wait a few days before testing again, and wonder if that faint line is actually a positive or it’s just your wishful thinking.
Non-parents have no idea how frustrating it is not to get pregnant on the first try, or to try and try and never get pregnant. It’s not always as easy as intercourse, pregnancy test, baby. When you don’t get pregnant right away and it feels like you’re dying on the inside, the words of non-parents can hurt when they say it’s not a big deal or that if you just relax it will work.
2. Sleep deprivation starts before baby arrives
They tell you to get your sleep now, because you will soon be up with your baby all night. What most childless people don’t realize is that you can’t sleep as it is. Sure, it’s a different lack of sleep, but you’re still exhausted.
3. Diapers are the best present
Yes, you love the swings and strollers and the onesies and cute little baby shoes, but diapers are what you wish people would give as gifts. You use them all the time. Those expensive little monogrammed onesies are adorable, but baby will grow out of them in a second if he doesn’t ruin them with drool first.
4. Nap time is a big deal
Childless people often believe that those who arrange their schedules around baby’s nap time are crazy. However, until you’ve taken an overly tired infant or toddler out in public instead of a fun lunch with the girls or a shopping expedition with your best friend, you have no idea how important naptime really is.
5. Working from home is difficult with kids
When a mom works from home, other people think she has it made. They don’t understand that you can’t just abandon your work to spend time at the beach. With children, working at home is only productive during nap time, bedtime, and when someone else has your child. Your time is limited.
6. Developmental milestones are the bane of your existence
When a childless friend points out that her sister’s baby was crawling at six months and yours isn’t at six months and three weeks, it’s annoying. You know it’s not a big deal, but when people casually question your child’s intelligence and ability, it’s annoying.
7. You need notice
Dropping what you are doing to meet the girls for cocktail hour in 45 minutes is a thing of the past. You simply have to have the time to contact a babysitter or make sure Daddy will be home in time for you to leave. You have to shower off the smell of baby formula and sticky treats, and you have to prepare to leave the baby.
8. It’s acceptable to answer the phone at dinner
Ever roll your eyes in annoyance before you had kids because your only mom friend constantly checked her phone and answered every call she received? Well, that’s just part of parenting. When you have a baby and you aren’t with the baby, you’re thinking of the baby.
When that baby isn’t in your sight, your phone is. If it rings, you answer it. You need to know your baby is safe at all times, and if a call comes in, you don’t want to miss it. Every ring induces a moment of panic until you know it’s not about the baby.
9. Teaching values is scary
One of the most challenging aspects of being a parent knowing you have to teach your kids right from wrong, values and morals, and kindness. Your friends without children don’t understand how scary it is to wonder if your child will become a bully or the victim, or if he will understand the importance of giving back.
If you worry how you will teach your child the art of giving back, there are organizations available to help you get your children involved in the process. These organizations teach you and your child to recognize your good fortune and your gift of giving back to the community.
Parenting is tough, and it takes one to know one. People without children have an idea, but they don’t really understand until they have children of their own. If only you could help them understand the different challenges and joys of parenthood.