11 examples of the "hard" everyone said parenting would be.

When I was young and couldn't wait to be a mom, people told me, "It is harder than you think." Nobody ever mentioned specifics. Here it is. The "hard" people were talking about.

1. You will be so tired you will cry. You will hide in corners or in the shower. You will cry at 3 a.m. when your baby has been up every hour and you haven't gotten any real sleep. You will have to clean things up in the middle of the night. The more kids you have, the less sleep you get.

2. You will clean up more bodily fluids than you can imagine. You will clean up gallons of blood, urine, vomit, feces, snot, and tears. If your child has ENT issues, you may have to clean fluid from little ears. That is loads of fun. The stomach of an 11 year old can hold enough vomit to cover the floor of a 10 x 10 bathroom floor, the bottom half of the walls, and somehow find its way INTO the toilet paper roll and onto the BOTTOM of the toilet bowl. I recommend buying cases of paper towels, facial tissues, and disinfectant wipes. You have no idea how many of these you will need at a time. My 15 month olds once took off their poopy diapers and collaborated on a beautiful finger painting. As you read, you are probably underestimating the time it takes to individually clean each slat on a crib.

3. Your child will think you are the enemy. There will come a time when no matter what you do, you are wrong. Last week, the sweet girl currently laying sick on my couch, told my husband that he made her life worse and he and I are the enemy. Just to be clear, my husband is not her father, and in the time we have been together he has improved our situation immensely in every way. I was prepared for this but he wasn't and he was crushed.

4. Your spotless house won't be for long. I have never been the best housekeeper, BUT, think of it this way: for every child you have, that is one chore that doesn't get done. I have 8 kids. I simply can't keep up. I do a pretty good job considering. I am forced to prioritize. I don't dust... ever. My windows only get cleaned when my husband can't stand the finger prints anymore. I run the dishwasher twice a day and sometimes that isn't enough. Sometimes I get so far behind folding clean clothes that there is no available seats on my sectional couch. When I had one baby, my house looked great except the toys everywhere. Heaven help me the toys are out of control!

5. People will give your kids gifts that push you over the edge. A few years ago, my family celebrated Christmas with friends. The friend we had known the longest, the guy who was there when I met my first husband, been through everything with us, got his name on my list by giving my then 5 year old a bracelet kit containing 10,000 beads (the tiny glass ones). In the first 10 minutes, she spilled the entire kit on the tile floor. I was still finding the beads when we moved  year later. The musical toys are great. the kids love them. They love to pick one button and push it a thousand times in a row. Some days I consider putting cotton in my ears.

6. Forget about your shows or any other adult activity you are used to. It never fails that as soon as you get into something. Someone will interrupt. When my oldest son was about 2, he woke up and came into the living room while we were watching a horror flick. He walked into the room at the moment the chick was hacking up her husband with an ax. He wouldn't go near the neighbor for weeks because she looked a little like the star of that movie.

7. There is no privacy. Not in the bathroom, not in your bedroom, there is nowhere to hide. Children follow you and dig in your stuff. They are nosey and clingy. They are always around and they find everything. Be aware that kids love toilet brushes!

8. Nothing is yours. You will undoubtedly end up lending pretty much all of your things to your kids. I now have 2 daughters that are roughly the same size as me. They borrow clothes, shoes jewelry, sometimes without asking. My 5 year old likes to "borrow" and hide things she likes. Lucky thing we aren't in a country that cuts off fingers for that kind of thing!

9. You will make the hardest decisions of your life and never know if you chose correctly. Phones, dating, discipline, so many more. Their entire life will be tough decisions. Cloth or disposable diapers? Attachment parenting or cry it out? Are they really sick or don't want to go to school? Do I pay for chores or just expect it? Do I pay for cars or college or whatever or make them earn it? Do I bail them out of jail or let them sit it out?

10. You will doubt yourself and feel guilty all the time. You will wonder if you could have prevented every bad decision they make. You will wonder if you did it right. You will think constantly about how you taught them, and pray that they learned how to do the right thing and be good people.

11. They will repeat things you didn't know they heard. My daughter once told her Kindergarten class, "My mom is getting her tubes tied so she can't have any more babies." No one understood but the teachers but yikes.

The 11 reasons I did it 8 times even though I knew these things after the third:
1. New baby smell
2. "I love you Mommy." is the most incredible sentence in the English language.
3. If I did a good job, my kids will look back and think about how great their mom was.
4. Grandchildren are all the fun without the responsibility (theoretically).
5. Even when they hate me, I know they love me.
6. No matter how hard it is, the good memories are the strongest.
7. I see myself in the tiny faces of my children (not only physically but in every aspect of them).
8. Tiny clothes bring me great joy and I am obsessed with baby shoes.
9. The beautiful smiles and precious little cheeks and fingers and toes; all things tiny really.
10. I love to see children learn and find themselves.

11. The most important reason I had more children after I realized how hard it really was: if I do this right, there will be 8 more people in the world helping others and working toward what is right.


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