There’s nothing more wonderful than being a parent. The moment you set your eyes on them for the first time, your heart is going to burst. Feelings of love, joy, and devotion will overwhelm you in a way you never thought possible. When your baby arrives, your days are going to be filled with the happiness that only motherhood can bring.
That’s the soapbox pitch anyway. The truth is a bit more complicated. It is true that your baby is going to fill up your heart in ways you couldn’t even imagine. What people don’t often acknowledge, though, is that not all of those feelings will be so warm or cuddly.
If you’re expecting your first child or trying to conceive, this is a critical time for you. You need to be fully aware of what you’re in for, both the good and the bad. To help you prepare, read ahead to discover some of the hidden truths about having children that no one talks about.
Your Child Will Be a Huge Inconvenience and You Will Want to Scream at Them
There. I said it. I’m sure I’m going to have a few moms pops on here and accuse me of being the worst mother in the history of motherhood. I don’t care. The whole point of this article is to help you prepare for the realities of having children, so you need to understand this right up front.
Midwives and pediatric nurses love to talk about his in the mushiest way possible. They say things like, “The journey of motherhood presents some unique challenges as you grow with your precious child.” Let me paint a clearer picture – your baby is going to be a raging pain in your rear end sometimes and you’re going to want to yell at them until you’re blue in the face.
It’s Natural and You Can Cope
Now, before you get upset yourself and tell yourself, “I could never do that to my child,” let me assure you right now that yes you can and yes you will. And that’s okay. Who doesn’t get frustrated when all you’ve heard for three hours is ear-shattering cries and no amount of fresh diapers or feeding fixes the problem?
It’s perfectly natural to get downright angry at your child during these moments. It doesn’t mean you stop loving them or stop being a good mother. You just don’t like them very much at the time. When that happens, take a few minutes to get away from them. Put them in a safe place, walk away for a bit, and come back when you’ve had a chance to breathe. While you’re angry, you are not the caregiver your child deserves. Don’t try to force it.
You Cannot Raise Children On Your Own
Modern society has crafted this image of the hard-working single mother who works three jobs to provide for her family without any help from anybody. It’s a compelling image that gets a lot of attendees at rallies in front of the White House. It’s also a load of malarky.
Don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of single moms who bust their butt every day to make their children safe and comfortable. They have my total respect and admiration. But you can’t tell me that they don’t have any help at all. Why? Because it simply isn’t possible to raise children by yourself and stay sane.
You Need a Support Network, Whether You Admit It or Not
You may very well be the strongest, most seasoned, and independent woman on the planet. Good for you. You’re still a human being. Sooner or later, you’re going to be exhausted, you’re going to be overwhelmed, and you’re going to need a break from being a mother.
For most women, even single moms, the support of their own mothers or their closest friends is what allows them to get by. If that’s all you can afford, then use it to the full extent. Ideally, your child needs a full-time caregiver from the time they’re born until they’re older toddlers. Hiring a full-time nanny is the best solution for working moms, so do your homework beforehand to see if you can afford it.
You’ve Got to Let Your Children Fail If You Want Them to Succeed
Here’s another point that will get some choice comments thrown my way. If you want to be a successful parent, you’ve got to let your kids fail miserably sometimes. Why? Consider some of the traits exhibited by children with helicopter parents:
- They have more difficulty solving problems
- They struggle to process their emotions
- They’re more prone to outbursts of anger or frustration
- They struggle academically
Research has shown that well-meaning parents who coddle their children are setting them up for failure later in life. You may be asking, “So? I’m not going to crowd my child.” That’s what you think now. Wait until you hold your child for the first time and then tell me you’re fine with watching them be miserable.
Remember: Failure is a Good Thing
I completely get why some parents adopt this approach. I hate seeing my children upset. It wrenches my heart every time they cry or I see them give up at a task. All I want to do is run over and remove all those obstacles that are keeping them from happiness. That’s why I, and you, have to work so hard to remind ourselves that failure isn’t always a bad thing.
The reason parents are afraid of failure for their children is because of the temporary pain it brings. Our natural inclination is to make our children happy. When something gets in the way of that, we feel like it’s our responsibility to fix the issue. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that a crushing defeat now can lead to an amazing victory down the road. As our children fail, they may get frustrated at the moment but they’ll learn. They’ll remember their mistakes, improve their efforts, and learn to process their emotions. There’s nothing wrong with helping your child when they need it. Just don’t do every single thing for them.