35 Facts About Parenting No One Talks About

mom multitasking with baby in arms


While it is true that every family is different, there are some experiences, observations, and feelings about parenting that go without saying—literally. And although you can't really comprehend them until you've actually been there, it seems like no one warns you ahead of time about these universal truths either.

So, whether you're a first-time parent or you're expecting your fourth kid, you'll likely be able to identify with several, if not all, of these startling, and sometimes funny, truths about parenting. Check out our list of cold, hard parenting facts that no one warns you about.

You Will Both Question and Appreciate Your Parenting Skills

You will wonder if you're cut out for this.

In fact, there will be days when you feel like parenthood is a mistake. Don't feel bad for feeling this way. Anyone who says it is always sunshine and rainbows is lying. Everyone has days when they wonder if they really even have a right to be a parent. Trust us, you do.

You will accidentally hurt your child at least once, and the guilt will be unbearable.

Whether you leave the baby on the couch for a second and the first-ever roll is right onto the floor, or you are bouncing your preschooler on the bed, and they bounce right off... accidents happen. Don't beat yourself up too badly. Every parent has been there at least once.

Parenting is way harder than you expected.

In fact, most parents assume the newborn stage with colicky babies is the hardest season of parenting. But, wait until your teenager starts to drive or date. You will long for the days when your biggest worry was whether or not your baby had a nap.

Your own faults will be mirrored by your kids.

Whether it is your high frustration level, your inability to focus, your chronic messiness, or your constant procrastination, you will see these things in your kids. And, it will make you cringe. After a few times of witnessing these bad habits, you will want to become a better person.

You will channel your own parents.

You may not realize it at first because it is a slow progression. But then one day when you say something like, "don't make me turn this car around," it will shock you to your core. You have become your mother (or father).

You will become a baby interpreter.

For a while, you will be the only one who can understand your kids or know what they are saying. So, you will basically become an interpreter for them and find yourself saying things like: "He's hungry," "She's asking for milk," or "They are afraid of people with beards. Sorry."

Your Life Changes Completely

Eventually, your Netflix account only suggests kids' shows.

You won't realize this is happening until suddenly it does. It's a Friday night, and you finally have a few minutes to sit down and watch an adult show. But, the only thing in your list of recommendations is Curious George, the Disney princesses, and Spongebob.

Your dog is no longer your number one concern.

Poor little fur-baby used to be the center of attention until human baby came along. Now, you will find yourself wondering, "when was the last time I put fresh water in the dog's bowl?"

You will realize that folding baby clothes is akin to torture—worse sometimes than folding a fitted sheet.

One basket of baby laundry will take you four times as long to fold and put away. There are just so many pieces. And, it is maddening!

Talking to your friends without kids will feel strained.

It is no one's fault. It just is. You want to talk about your kids, their milestones, and their activities, and your friends want to talk about their careers, vacations, and the latest book they are reading—all the things you barely have time for. There will be lots of awkward pauses and you will feel guilty for talking about your kids.

Nothing embarrasses you anymore.

Nope. Nothing. Not even taking your kid to school in your PJs, breastfeeding in public, or singing to your screaming baby on the train. You have more to worry about than appearances these days.

It will be a long time before you can poop in peace.

Whether you have a newborn in a bouncy chair in the bathroom with you, or a toddler banging on the bathroom door, you can give up on ever using the bathroom without an interruption. Even teenagers will need something or want to know where something is as soon as you close the bathroom door.

You will realize there are not enough hours in the day.

It doesn't matter whether you have little ones or teenagers, the responsibilities, the carpooling, the running around—it all amounts to a torturously long to-do list.

Every day that you can squeeze in a shower will seem like a victory.

Likewise, every trip out of the house—even if it's just to Target—will feel like you are packing for a trip abroad. Don't feel bad about celebrating these accomplishments.

You Become a Completely Different Person

You will hone your ninja skills.

Whether it is slipping out of baby's room at night unnoticed, sneaking into your preschooler's room to get your book, or getting up without waking a sleeping child, you will learn to slip in and out of situations like a ninja.

You will laugh more than you ever thought possible.

Let's face it, babies are funny. Kids are funny. They do and say the funniest things and you will laugh so hard sometimes your sides will hurt.

You will hold off on spending money on yourself if it means buying a special toy for your kid.

And, it will give you more joy than you ever imagined. That's why moms become known for wearing outdated clothing. They are spending all their money on the kids.

You will grow to love kids' shows and movies.

Whether it's watching the Disney channel or seeing the latest Toy Story movie, you will actually look forward to watching these shows. It's not so much because they offer great entertainment, but they are a great way to unwind and snuggle with the kiddos.

Your friend groups will change during each season of your life.

No matter how adamant you are about maintaining your current friendships, some of them will fizzle out. It's just a fact. For instance, you might stop going out or spending weekends away and instead spend more time with the moms from your neighborhood playgroup. As your kids get older, you might become friends with some parents on the PTA or the parents of your child's travel sports team. It is no one's fault. It's just how life works.

Other people's kids might annoy you.

After all, you spend enough time dealing with snot, meltdowns, puke, and whining with your own kids. Your tolerance level might be nonexistent when other kids are around.

Leggings, sweatpants, and sweatshirts dominate your wardrobe.

You never thought it would happen, but here you are. You are wearing the typical mom or dad uniform. After all, you are too tired to care half the time. So you opt for ease, comfort, and cotton.

You worry more than you thought humanly possible.

Who knows what will consume your thoughts. From the early stages of parenting when you are worrying about your baby's pooping, peeing, and nursing habits to the later stages when you worry about texting and driving, dating, and grades, there is never a moment when you are not concerned about something.

Your Personal Belongings Will Get Wrecked

The backseat of your car will be grosser than gross.

No matter how often you clean your car, you can't seem to escape the spilled juice and crushed Cheerios and Goldfish, not to mention the mountain of toys, extra diapers, and other crap that lines your floor. Even when your kids are older, their smelly sports gear and McDonald's wrappers from all the carpooling will drive you insane. Your car will never be the same.

Despite the promises you make to yourself, your kids will get their grubby hands on your iPhone.

And, their baby slobber just might fry your battery. When they are older, they will hack your Facebook account and take random selfies of themselves. What's yours becomes theirs, no matter how hard you try, even your precious iPhone.

Your favorite sweater (or jeans or jacket) will get ruined.

It might be baby puke, sticky fingers, or even a teen's first attempt at doing laundry. But, it won't bother you as much as you'd think. Oh, you might be a little miffed at first, but the next big grin or tight squeeze you get will erase all that frustration.

Your Relationship With Food Will Change

The majority of your meals will either be eaten super fast or while you are standing at the counter.

You just don't have the time to sit down and enjoy a meal because just when you do someone needs a diaper changed. Even when the kids are older and you are shuttling them from point A to point B, you will find yourself eating on the go.

You will learn to smuggle candy and other treats in the house like they are illegal drugs.

But your kid's will have noses like K-9s and can sniff out chocolate like no one's business. As a result, you will resort to stuffing entire chocolate bars into your mouth while huddled in the laundry room or resort to hiding them in the freezer inside an empty broccoli bag.

You will eat more "kid food" than you ever thought possible.

Just because you would never eat a processed chicken nugget or box of macaroni and cheese pre-kids, doesn't mean you won't do it now. Sometimes there is just not enough time to make yourself that salad you should have. So, you end up eating what the kids are eating and pretend like it tastes good.

You Will Be Shocked

There is so much poop.

No one tells you how much poop you will deal with. In fact, healthy toddlers might poop three times a day. And because they are eating solid foods now and not breastfeeding or formula-fed, it stinks. Like, really really stinks. And you have to deal with it on a daily basis. Even when they are grown, the smell in the bathroom might knock you off your feet.

Parenting can be lonely.

No one tells you how insanely lonely it can get. In fact, it doesn't matter if you are a stay-at-home mom or a working mom. Your free time is almost always consumed by taking care of your kids. For this reason, it is extremely important to carve out some adult time if you can. Even if it is just a cup of coffee with a friend while the baby naps upstairs.

Your marriage will never be the same.

Life after kids can wreak havoc on a marriage. All of a sudden, it becomes insanely difficult to find time alone together, especially if funds for babysitting are tight. Initially, you may try to have date nights while the baby sleeps, but you often find that you are too exhausted to even hold an intelligent conversation. Then, when the kids are older and staying up later, you are searching the family calendar for a window of opportunity here and there to be intimate.

Parenting is so boring and mundane.

This reality is a huge culture shock to many parents. After all the excitement of the baby's arrival wears off, it can be really boring to do the same things day after day. The endless cycle of feeding, sleeping, and diaper changes is enough to drive anyone crazy.

Your children will be judged for their entire lives.

Social media contributes to this phenomenon. But, other people will judge everything from how your baby looks and dresses, to what you are feeding your kids. They also will judge your parenting style, how well your child does in school, and even their athletic or musical abilities. In fact, there will be times when you feel like you live in a fishbowl and cannot do anything without others having an opinion.

Parenting involves so much heartbreak.

Whether it is a missed developmental milestone as a baby, or not making the soccer team during high school, your heart will break over and over again. Everything that impacts your child, will impact you tenfold. You will feel every rejection, every sadness, every disappointment your child experiences and it will break your heart. Even the good things like their first date, heading to college, and getting their first apartment will break your heart little by little.

Life changes more than you expect.

Whether you had dreams of advancing your career, continuing your education, or even keeping your Thursday night basketball game with the guys, your life will change more than you might expect. Some things just have to be put on the back burner. You may even struggle to find your sense of self now that you have a child.

A Word from Verywell

Even though it can be maddening at times to be a parent, there are other times when being someone's mom or dad is one of the most rewarding experiences in life. You will both love—and hate—every stage of parenting. In fact, each stage will become your new favorite, except for when they leave for college. So, enjoy it while it lasts. Your kids grow up in the blink of an eye.

By Sherri Gordon
Sherri Gordon, CLC is a published author, certified professional life coach, and bullying prevention expert.