13 LIES People Tell Themselves Before ACTUALLY Becoming Parents

things non-parents say

While it’s true that anyone can make a baby, surviving the challenges of infancy and toddlerhood is enough to make a good person crack. I know, I’ve been there. 

We all hear copious amounts of advice about how to be a great parent and let's be honest, most of isn't just unrealistic—it’s total crap. 

Maybe it’s rooted in a good place, but the difference between talking about being a great parent and actually being one can be miles apart. 

When I think about the advice I heard, and the ideal promises I once swore to keep, here’s how far apart those two ended up.

1. I’ll never let my kid watch TV. I’ll never parent by iPad.

The reality: I call BS here. Sometimes, the only way you can get ANYTHING done is if your kid is occupied. The iPad will keep one kid busy while you put the other one down. TV can be your best friend at dinner time.  Don’t be ashamed of it, at least you get to eat.

2. My husband and I will share the work equally when baby comes along.

The reality: You’re the only one with boobs; so if you’re breastfeeding, he’s not helping. That means you’re up every three hours for months. Sorry, Mom, that’s just how it goes. 

For the rest of it, not all men intuitively step up. They’re not bad guys; some of them have no idea what to do. 

Don’t complain about it, fix it. Tell him what to do and don’t gripe if it’s not done your way.  

3. I’m only going to breastfeed.

The reality: This is a noble wish, and one I shared. But the reality is sometimes there’s no milk.  Sometimes, you need to sleep. Sometimes, that can of magic powder is a godsend to quiet the baby and keep everyone sane. Don’t reject it before you’ve tried it. But remember, after months of no REM sleep, you’ll try anything.

4. I don’t need help! Lots of mothers did it before me without extra help, I'll be fine.

The reality: If you’re a martyr or victim this is true. But it’s patently false that women had no help. We're just taking a long time to realize that pro-women cultures had it easier when it came to raising kids. It takes a village. Don’t forget that.

5. I can eat whatever I want, I’m eating for two.

The reality: Someone told me it takes a 5,000 calorie deficit to lose one pound. Think about that the next time you’re stuffing your face "eating for two".

6. It won’t take long to get my body back into shape.

The reality:  That pouchy belly is there to stay unless you fight hard against it. Don’t torture yourself into believing that you can go back to a flat belly in three months. It took nine months to get this way; it'll take at least that, to lose it. 

7. I’m going to continue without caffeine. I’ve gone 9 months without it. I’m sure it will be fine.

The reality: Coffee is a mom's best friend. So are tea, sugar and the occasional five-hour energy drink. The reality is once you’re back to work, you have to function. A little coffee won’t hurt; falling asleep at the wheel will.

8. I’ll nap when the kid naps. 

The reality: Good luck with this one. On occasion you’ll do this. The rest of the time you’ll pay bills, work, clean your house, do your laundry, catch up with your husband, wife, other kids, even yourself and do anything on your mountain of things you stopped doing when you became a parent. 

9. I’ll never take my baby out to a restaurant. I hate when kids cry and ruin it for everyone else.

The reality: Sometimes the only chance you have at a normal life is by going out.  You take off your yoga/baby pants and force yourself to be in the world. It’s healthy and as long as you pick a somewhat noisy place, no one will care. As long as you don’t.

10. Sleep is overrated.

The reality: After your baby is born, you'll never want anything more in your life than sleep. You will trade favors for it, beg for it, and eventually your body will fall asleep on its own whenever it can. Don’t be surprised if you fall asleep while putting baby down, in the middle of the afternoon, while nursing, at church, over a holiday meal. Your body has to sleep and one way or another it will.

11. I’m sure I’ll be ready to go back to work after three months.

The reality: Part of you will be ready, and the rest will be sad.  It’s hard to leave your little one to go to the office. Don’t be surprised if you question this decision, worry that you’re neglecting your kid or feel like a bad parent. You’re not. This is just part of our modern life and we have to get thought it.  You’re not alone, we all hate this part.  Even those of us who love our jobs. 

12. Having two shouldn’t be a problem. There’s one for each of us.

The reality: Come on now, this is just naïve. Having two is like being shot out of cannon every day. It’s exhilarating but you’re barely keeping afloat. You'll feel overwhelmed and you will be fine.  But it’s not two on two like in football, especially not in the beginning.

13. Two in diapers is best, that way we get it all over with at once.

The reality: Who knows if this is true or not. Having two is hard, so whether you have years in between or you have Irish twins, what you really have is a big challenge on your hands to conquer. You get to pick the way you want to take your medicine: all at once or in separate doses.  Think about it.