A recent Reddit thread asked parents "What's the one thing you wish someone had told you about becoming a parent?"
Here are the most relatable and real responses:
1. "Kids are like video games — the longer you play, the harder the levels get. Everyone is always talking about how hard babies are — but in retrospect, babies were easy. It's the teenagers that are the pains in the ass."
2. "That you'll get really comfortable with poop, pee, and puke. I've caught my kid's puke three times now — WITH MY BARE HANDS."
3. "That you'll spend the first two years excitedly teaching them how to speak, then the next 16 years begging them to stop talking so much."
4. "Every kid is different and every parent is different. What works for Mom might not work for Dad, and what works for strangers probably won't work perfectly for you. You'll develop your own parenting style, for better or for worse."
5. "That it's OK to accept help, whether it's medicine, a therapist, or a family member who can watch your baby so you can sleep, shower, and poop."
6. "That who you are will rub off on them more than you give it credit for."
7. "To take sleep loss seriously. It messes with you like nothing else."
8. "That it's OK if that 'rush of love' towards your baby doesn't come the second they're born. It doesn't make you a bad parent."
9. "I wish someone had told me about the fear. You know before you have the baby that it will be hard, but it isn't until the baby arrives that you realize the enormity of what you've done. After all, you're responsible for another person's life!"
10. "Don't waste money on expensive baby clothes. They will grow out of them before you know it."
11. "That no matter how great of a parent you are, sometimes your kids just will not listen."
12. "That I would have toy cars and dinosaurs on my floor for about five years."
13. "Sometimes you won't like your kid. They are born with the unique ability to find every one of your buttons and hammer them. But not liking them doesn't mean you don't love them."
14. "That postpartum depression is very real, and very scary."
15. "That babies change people. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. But there's no way of knowing beforehand which will happen."
16. "If your baby is crying and you've done everything you can to get them to stop, it's OK to put them safely in their crib and walk away to gather yourself. You're only human — take a break for a few minutes to save your sanity. They'll be fine."
17. "That I wouldn't appreciate silence until I had kids."
18. "That all of those 'teaching moments' you think will have an impression on your kids are really a waste of time. The moments they'll remember will be the little ones you didn't even notice."
19. "Sometimes — for your own sanity — you'll just have to embrace the chaos."
20. "That they will stick their fingers in all their openings...a lot."
21. "That parenthood can be lonely and some of your friends will stop talking to you, even though you feel like the same person."
22. "That until they can speak, they are boring AF! Cute, if you're lucky. But really, really boring."
23. "That you will cry a lot, doubt yourself constantly, and feel more frustration than you ever have before. But at the end of the day, you are their hero — no matter how many times you think you've failed them."
24. "That you'll get lots of unsolicited advice from your friends who have kids."
25. "I wish someone had told me how hard it is to let go. You start out as their everything. You feed them, clothe them, and teach them all they know — and you get used to being needed. So the first time they don't want to wave to you from the bus or choose to walk into school with their friends instead of you, it hurts. And one day, they leave you to go live their own lives, and you know you've done your job right. But it doesn't make it hurt any less."
26. "That you may not always have it 100% together, but you — and your baby — will be OK."
27. "And that every time you think you've gotten a handle on this parenting thing all of the rules change."
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and clarity.