There is no manual for parenting. We are all just winging it and hoping for the best. The truth is we do not know what we are doing! We don’t have it all worked out. Just when we think we have it all worked out they are already teenagers and we wish they were toddlers again when our only problems were stopping them from sticking fingers into electrical sockets. Just when we think we got this, the rules change again! It is kind of like a never-ending maze or like those moving staircases in Harry Potter
You don’t sleep! When they are newborns you are waking up for feeds and changing nappies and crying that you have no idea to stop! Even when you can sleep, you do not because you are worrying if they are still breathing in their cribs! Our moms groups and prenatal classes did a great job putting the fear in us all about SIDS. We will lie awake wondering if we did the right thing rocking the baby to sleep because some mommy told us we MUST leave them to cry! When they are potty training we don’t sleep because we try to make sure they don’t wet the bed. They get sick and get nightmares and wake us up for no reason whatsoever as well! Then the teenage years you are just lying awake worrying if you have raised decent humans. You worry about their education, bullies, are they warm enough, Should you listen to that teacher and medicate them.
You get no personal space. They climb on you, sit on your lap, cling to your leg when you cooking. Come chat to you while you are on the loo about their latest computer game. They wake you up at 5 05 6 am jumping on your bed and asking for breakfast as well as what atoms are!
Even when they are older, they think everything you have belongs to them! They take your earphones and break them and may even take your clothes!
You will experience parenting peer pressure. You will get advice on how to parent mostly from people without kids! Teachers who do not know your child as well as you. You will get advice from doctors and medical professionals who all think they know what is best. Let me tell you they do not always know everything. You will be told to breastfeed if you bottle feed and to bottle feed if you breastfeed. You will be judged because you let you son play Xbox on a weekday and told you are producing addicts because gaming is like a cocaine fix. You will get looks when your child throws a tantrum in public because you said no to him licking the floor and you will get stares if you give in and give him that chocolate in the queue at the till. Other parents who think they got it all together will tell you how you should raise your kids. Even your pastor will tell you, you should send your children to school when you are homeschooling. Not that he even bothered to find out why you homeschooling, That your children, have special needs and you have no money for school! Now if he offered to pay school fees for that private special needs school your son needs that would be a different story!
You will have to make many sacrifices and you will do so willingly! You may have to give up a career to be at home like I did. You may have dreams of travel that become expensive and impossible with children. You may just dream of a weekend getaway which will not be possible because you had to buy your son a new pair of running shoes and new shirts because he grew since 2 months ago!
You will think you are never doing enough. You WILL make mistakes. Yes, you might get impatient with your kids or shout at them and think you have ruined them for life! You will have many doubts about your decisions. You will fail many many times. You may forget to send a lunch one day! You might lose their favourite toy. You may handle a situation completely wrong and only realise when it is too late.
It can be a lonely journey. You realise this when you are watching Finding Nemo the hundredth time! You may lose friends when you have kids because they can take up all your time and energy. You can be surrounded by people who don’t understand what you are going through and that can make you feel isolated and alone. You often feel like you must be the only one failing this badly as you crying in the pharmacy when the one-child pukes over the other one and no one is around to help! No one is coming!
You will not always love your children! When they have interrupted your work call for the 5th time. When they say Mommy, Mommy over and over and over! When they don’t want to listen to you. Even the moms who are gasping at this right now feel like this at times but will never admit it… You will get so frustrated with them and angry at them. Sometimes you will love them but not like them very much, mostly because you see yourself in them! You will also hurt when they hurt. If they are being treated unfairly or are left out of a party you feel their pain and there isn’t much you can do but be there for them.
There is no Super Nanny coming to the rescue. Nobody is coming! It is you and only you! Sure we have the village but in my experience the village are idiots! Kids are messy, they will burn your kitchen down. Children will draw on your walls with permanent markers. They will find your cream and spread it all over your bed to know what it would feel like. They will pee in the drawers just to see what it will do.
It is expensive to have children! Not only food and clothes and schooling but there are so many other things we forget about such as them wanting to learn piano. Have you seen the cost of Piano lessons!? It is 2020, each kid needs their own device. If it is a cell phone, tablet or laptop, they need it to stay relevant in this society.