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Extreme yo-yo’s, high rise jeans and fluffy blowouts show the ’90s are officially retro now

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Extreme yo-yo's, high rise jeans and fluffy blowouts show the '90s are officially retro now

Although parenting is as old as history, there has never been a better time to talk about it. You’ll find shelves upon shelves of books on how to raise your children in any bookstore. There are many online forums and websites that you can consult if you have any questions about parenting.

But, most people go into it without realizing the reality. There is no way to prepare for parenthood. No matter what your vision of parenthood looks like, parenting will take it out of you, smash it into concrete, and grind it to the core.

Okay, that’s a little dramatic. But it’s only a little. Parenting is the hardest, most rewarding job on earth—a thrill ride that takes you on the highest highs and plunges you to the lowest lows. You go up and you down, sometimes laughing, sometimes fearing for your life, and sometimes screaming. “Stop the ride, I wanna get off!”

Although it is impossible to prepare for everything, it is helpful to hear from parents who have been there. Although every child, every parent, and every family is unique, there are some things that everyone should know before they go.

A user Reddit:, “What is something nobody warns people about enough when it comes to having kids,”The answers were not disappointing. Here are some highlights.

You have less control of how your children turn out than you think.

“There’s a very good chance they won’t turn out like you think,”One commenter said so. This is not to say you don’t have any influence, but each child is an individual with their own personality and their own growth. You may not be able to fully appreciate their uniqueness if you attach too much to a vision of what they should look like.

“People seem to often forget that they’re raising people,”Comment by another person “as in, independent-thinking individuals whose actions, values, personalities, interests, and capabilities will potentially be completely unlike yours. I’ve seen a lot of parents struggle hard with that, and frankly, that’s a possibility you should have made your peace with before you became a parent, imo.”

An additional person was added:

“This is why many parent/child relationships are so strained. Many parents have a child thinking they are programming a perfect human being. Many are disappointed when the child is not the exact person they hoped (or worse, the polar opposite). Perfectly normal children grow into resentful, tired adults because of their parents’ unrealistic expectations that have nothing to do with them.”

The books aren’t all that helpful.

We all want the same thing: to look good. “the experts”Some things that we read in parenting books can help us a little bit when raising our children. However, they are not the only way to be a good parent.

“The books are fine for ideas, your experience, friends thoughts, paediatricians, therapists,”One commenter “But at the end of it all you have this complicated little person you’re in charge of with their own preferences, feelings, insecurities, abilities, and you have to do what works for them and your family and, of course, also raise someone who isn’t a blight on humanity or menace to society.”

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Another wrote:

“As my mum says: ‘The kid hasn’t read the book.’

“Her parents tried to teach her everything by the book, but she was adamant that it was not possible. She was expected to wear pigtails and dresses, learn piano, and not climb trees to play soccer/football. Her dad almost hit her for cutting her hair short with pocket money. Did she stop trying to be herself? Nope. Nope.

“With her own three kids she watched what interests they developed and then helped them explore it further and to not forget to keep an open mind about other possible hobbies, sports, arts etc. I have no idea how to thank her properly for this.”

It doesn’t go by fast—until suddenly it does.

“The days are loooong and the years are so very short,”One person wrote it. It’s true. It’s true. It does feel slow in hindsight, but when you look at your child’s growth, it can seem fast.

“I’ve heard older people say this or the equivalent all my life,”One more. “I always thought I understood. And then I had children. Now I understand. I keep looking at my kids and can’t believe how much time has passed. I’ll look at them doing something new and just be amazed. Seems like yesterday that my youngest couldn’t lift her own head and now she’s doing tuck rolls across the house.”

“This is it!”shared with a parent young adults. “Mine are 18,19 & 20. Empty-nest syndrome is a REAL thing. I always look back and think… How the hell did it go by so quick? I used to roll my eyes at people who would say stuff like this when they had 3 different practices, in 3 different places at the same time. It really goes by so quickly.”

Your time—and sleep—are no longer yours.

When they’re babies, they wake up in the night for all kinds of reasons—to eat, to practice crawling, to say hi, to wail inconsolably for no explicable reason, etc. As they get older, they may wake up to go to bathroom or to drink water. They may also be more mature and want to have heart-to-heart talks at 10. While we expect to see the baby sleep deprivation phase, there are many sleep disturbances throughout a child’s entire childhood.

“When they grow older, you don’t have a private life anymore,”One commenter “They stay awake longer than you.”

“Never thought of this. The later part of the evening is my time usually,”Someone responded.

“Used to be my time as well,”Comment shared by another commenter “Since becoming a parent, my time is 4-6am. One reason why you start waking up early once you’re older, probably.”

I have a young adult and a teen and an almost-teen and I can attest how I woke up extra early to have uninterrupted time for myself.

You will lose the ability to think clearly.

“For me, I stopped having a chance to think anything through without interruption,”Commenter “I had a very hard time with that. I couldn’t remember anything, couldn’t make decisions, etc because every thought seemed to get interrupted.

“Sometimes I would just like to be in my car by myself so that I could think.”

Ah, the beautiful, quiet solitude of the car. Every mother I know enjoys a good “car bath” once in a while.

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“This is so wonderful!” someone responded. “My mind feels like mush, and I was starting to worry about early-onset dementia. I can’t remember what I’m doing, I can’t make sentences and forget the common …. words. My mind is constantly being interacted with or calling my names.

Part of the brain mushiness is that children need things all the while. Part of the problem is that you now have a whole other person’s life to consider (multiplied by how many children you have). Their health and well-being, their education, their emotional state, their character—It’s a lot. You can’t imagine how much you can do until you’re there.

Enjoy the middle years.

“How important the years between 7 and 12 are for building a bond (one that lasts into the teenage years),”Commenter “They are so hard to listen to at that age with all the starts and stops in conversation and they talk about the most boring thing’s BUT it is so important to listen and converse at those ages. They will grow into teenagers that will talk to you, and be fun to talk to, but only if you can get through long boring conversations about Minecraft or whatever thing they are currently into.”

I’ve seen this advice work for teens and young adults. Listen to your teens before they reach that age.

Another user shared what it meant for them when their mother did the same thing:

“I can remember being about 12 and wanting to share my biggest interest at the time with my mom, that being Bionicle, by reading to her all the books I had been collecting with my allowance. Sometimes she would involuntarily fall asleep, but my God she tried so hard to show an interest. I really didn’t appreciate it at the time, focused on all the times she yawned or fell asleep, but now (16 years later) we both remember it fondly as the bonding time it really was.”

Another shared the exact opposite:

“My god, what an amazing mom you have. I vividly remember coming home from school around 12-13 yo, super excited to tell my mom all about my day, and she’s sitting there reading her book, as always. No problem, I’m just telling her my stories while she’s reading. Then that one time, I wondered is she actually listening? So I stopped mid-sentence and she didn’t notice. I remember my heart just sank, and after that I never told her anything ever again. I don’t think she noticed.”

You won’t be able to diaper a doll, but it will prepare you for handling a baby.

“Practicing diapers on a doll doesn’t count,”One commenter “You’re ready when you can do it on a cat.”

HA. It’s true. Others also shared their diaper-wrangling woes:

“My first daughter was patient and would just let us change her. My second daughter wants nothing more than to roll over and crawl away. There’s nowhere for her to go but she wants to go anyway.”

“It’s like, I am physically orders of magnitude stronger than her, how the hell does she still win?”

“My daughter has just perfected the alligator death roll technique when she doesn’t want to be changed or put pants on lmao. And because she’s 2 and a bit she laughs the whole time cause it’s hilarious.”

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I won’t even begin to tell you how difficult it is to get a jellyfish toddler into a car seat.

All parents are just trying to do it themselves.

“I stupidly thought once I had a child I would automatically ‘know’ how to parent,”One commenter “You’re the same dummy before and after having a child, and you realize how much your parents were winging it.”

“Leaving the hospital with that tiny fragile little being was terrifying,”One more. “C-section delivery so they kept us a couple days longer. Lots of help from the amazing maternity ward, to the moment you realize you and your spouse are alone and now solely responsible for keeping this little baby alive.”

“Yeah, it’s like: “We can leave. With the baby? Who approved?” added another.

“”The panicked looks my husband gave me when I left my newborn alone will live in my memory forever,” wrote another.

It’s surreal to be handed a newborn baby and then nothing. You have a whole new life, and you just need to figure out what to do. Good luck!

The relentlessness is real.

“Nothing prepared me for the sheer ‘unrelentingness’ of parenting,”One parent can share the responsibility. “Every day for many years has to be finished with a dinner/bath/bed routine that takes two hours, regardless of how tired, upset or unwell you are. Difficult enough if you’ve been at work all day, yes. But also if you’re on holidays and got a little bit sunburnt, or been to a family wedding and overeaten, or spent the day assembling Ikea furniture and are just exhausted.

“You could say, “I’m just having takeaway tonight” as a childless adult and then flop in front the TV until bedtime. This is not an option if you are a parent.

This is a hard truth, but it is so true. Parenting never ends. You never get a break, even if you do get one. Even when you’re not there, your children’s well-being is always in your thoughts.

It doesn’t stop at 18. Many commenters mentioned how parenting is a never-ending job. Your adult children worry just as much, but in a different manner than when they were young, and you are fully responsible for their care.

This list might make it seem like parenting is difficult. However, it isn’t. It can sometimes be frustrating, but that’s the case with all things in life. If you are lucky and try your best, the joy and fulfillment of parenting will outweigh the hard parts. Getting a realistic picture of what it entails—both the delights and the challenges—can help people temper their expectations and take the roller coaster of parenting as it comes.

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