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    Parents Of 2 Or More Kids Are Sharing The Biggest Misconceptions Non-Parents Believe About Having Children

    "Every baby is different, so what worked for one won’t necessarily work for the next one."

    Note: This post contains a brief mention of mental illness and trauma.

    Dedicated parents should be celebrated for the devotion they have to caring for their kids. Raising any number of children is an important role to fill, and some may decide to initiate a larger family dynamic and have multiple kids.

    A family poses and smiles at the park
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    I recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community with two or more children to share misconceptions they hear about raising families. Here are some of the illuminating responses we received.

    1. "Raising these new humans and watching them grow and learn and show their personalities is amazing and fun! Yes, there are a lot of hard or obnoxious things about being a parent, but it’s not the nightmare social media often makes it out to be."

    A dad and his daughter play as superheroes in their home
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    2. "I do, in fact, have an identity outside of my kids and family. Yes, of course they take up a lot of capacity, time, emotions, etc., but I am still a whole person outside of them. Maybe that's not the case for other parents, but being my own person – kids or not – is very important to me."

    "Also, the idea that as a parent of more than one kid you have no time for anything besides kids; my parentless friends often work 60+ hours a week and are just as busy but with other priorities. I don't count myself as 'more busy,' though yes, my plate may look different, and I have more cylinders in my life going on, but we're all busy!"

    snadiah

    3. "A big misconception is that you’ll lose your identity. In the beginning it’s hard to separate being a parent from who you were before with the long nights, lack of sleep, and general worries. But it does come back. I found it helped immensely to return to work, where I had an identity other than being just a mom. And the older the kids get, the more you’ll become your own person again. Kids may change things around, but trust me when I say you’ll find yourself embracing the change and finding new ways of rolling with it."

    A woman talks to colleagues during a conference room meeting
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    4. "The biggest misconception is that 'it goes by so fast.' No, it doesn’t. Some days positively drag by, and I find myself looking forward to the multiple cups of coffee I’ll drink and the brief silence of nap time."

    A woman holds her daughter and drinks coffee
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    "I love my children, and I would do anything in the world for them, but the days when I track the time by how many episodes of Peppa Pig we’ve watched are as long as Frodo’s trip to Mordor. Looking back on photos always makes me think that long-past moments feel like yesterday, but in my heart I know that those moments were a lifetime ago, which, in a way, I’m thankful for. I get to enjoy all the little moments."

    hannahrosevines

    5. "That you should 'treasure every moment' or miss the baby years. I find so much joy in seeing our kids grow and change to become people of their own. The Talmud says about children, 'We push away with the left hand, but we bring close with the right hand.' Love and cherish your kids, but also let them be free to become themselves." —merylblintz

    6. "That it's completely miserable and we can't wait for kid-free time. It can definitely wear you out; waking up with a hangover and getting three kids up, dressed, fed, and in the car by 8 a.m. only to drive all over town to drop them off at separate schools and/or daycare is A LOT. But I miss them *so much* when I'm not with them. Sometimes it physically hurts."

    A woman gives her daughter a big hug
    Fg Trade / Getty Images

    "Also, everyone talks about financial preparedness being important before becoming a parent, but I rarely see discussions around being emotionally prepared, especially if you have any history of mental illnesses or trauma. Pregnancy, birth, postpartum, sleepless nights, excessive crying, feeding difficulties – all of that and more come *in the first week* and it *will* be triggering of trauma responses and mental illness exacerbation. There's absolutely no avoiding it ... So if you want to become a parent in the future, while you're busy preparing that college fund and the down payment on your starter home, also go to therapy and prioritize it above your wealth. Money can run out, houses burn down, and if anything catastrophic happens, you're going to have to deal with it in a healthy way for your children."

    amandac4103107d2

    7. "'Sleep when the baby sleeps.' I have other children to take care of when the baby sleeps."

    A young boy rests with his mom while his father holds his baby sibling
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    bessk89

    8. "Mostly it’s all the things they say they would 'never' do. There were a lot of things I said I’d never do before I had kids, but here we are. I don’t think people always understand how much parenthood can be about survival. I have two children and one has a rare chromosome disorder. So there are things I never did with my oldest that I do with my youngest because the game changes completely when the second child has some special needs." —l401ddeb9b

    9. "Childless friends assume we’re being inflexible if we won’t schedule activities during nap times. It’s just not worth it! My two, sans naps, turn them into actual gremlins, and it will likely impact bedtime too. I’m sorry we can’t make lunch at a regular time, but I don’t need any reason for bedtime to be extended or for additional tantrums!"

    Two young boys jump on a bed in their pajamas
    Peopleimages / Getty Images/iStockphoto

    10. "That kids cost a ton of money. Obviously, you do need things for them, but it doesn't have to cost a bomb. There's so much you can get cheap or secondhand, and half the stuff you think you need you really don't."

    emilyec1

    11. "I have three kids, and my hands are never as full as people say ... but my heart is."

    Three siblings smile as they sit on the couch together
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    wraes

    12. "That every day is a vacation as a stay-at-home mom."

    A woman cooks while watching her two young sons
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    kriahr

    13. "That you become almost an expert on babies with the more you have. Every baby is different, so what worked for one won’t necessarily work for the next one. With each baby you have to learn about them!"

    A baby girl lies down in her crib
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    14. "I have five kids ranging in age from 13 years old to four months. I love how everybody I know who doesn’t have children just assumes the oldest two (who are 13 and 11 years old) are a huge help with the toddlers and baby. Yes, they help if we ask, but they are still children themselves and cannot be expected to help us be parents."

    A mom holds her baby while talking to her four other kids in their laundry room
    Stephen Simpson / Getty Images

    "Being a stay-at-home mom is not for the faint of heart. And no, my oldest do NOT change any diapers. I get asked that all the time for some odd reason."

    ashleylbailey1985


    15. "'It gets easier.' No, it doesn't. You just grow a thicker skin and get a bit more deaf to the screams and cries."

    aga15

    16. "My favorite was always, 'You're not really a parent until the second kid,' like the first four years of my daughter’s life didn't count. Other people said I wasn't really a mom until I had a son AND a daughter. Because boys are soooo different when they're newborns."

    A parent holds the feet of their newborn baby
    Paulaphoto / Getty Images/iStockphoto

    17. "My 'favorite' comment was, 'We have a puppy, so it’s just like having a baby!' – wrong. I can’t leave my child in a cage unattended for half the day."

    A puppy rests on its bed and stares at the camera
    Cbck-christine / Getty Images/iStockphoto

    18. "I’m a foster parent for 13+ aged children, and those without children always say I’m not a real parent, I’m more like a mentor. Anyone with a child who is at least 13 years old calls me a parent and never says I’m like a mentor. Parenting is parenting, and teens have parents, too!"

    A mom and dad laugh with their son in their home
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    19. "I don’t subscribe to the idea that having several kids leads to sibling rivalry and jealousy of the new baby. I’ve always worked to avoid jealousy by encouraging closeness between them, never comparing them, and answering their calls for Mama the first time even when I’m busy with the baby. Even if I can’t help them yet, I can at least acknowledge them and prove that their new sibling doesn’t monopolize my attention."

    A young girl watches over her baby sister
    Koh Sze Kiat / Getty Images

    Note: Some answers have been lightly edited for length and/or clarity.