Some things in life can't really be totally understood until you've experienced them, and parenthood is definitely one of them. So recently, u/stranger_not_danger asked moms on Reddit, "What do you think is a lie about motherhood you want to warn future mothers about?" And in the comments, parents had A LOT to say. Here are some of the top replies:
1. "That you have to sacrifice every single bit of your body, time, and soul for your children. If breastfeeding is sucking the life out of you, literally and figuratively, and you hate it and it upsets you, then stop! Formula has kept babies alive for decades. If you’re at your wit's end and are about to have a breakdown, it’s okay to lay baby down in the crib safely and walk away for a moment to catch your breath. Believe it or not, you don’t actually have to do those staged monthly photos with a sign that shows how old your infant is to post on Facebook."
2. "It won’t be all joy! That is the biggest lie other mothers tell! You are going to feel the highest highs and lowest lows as a mom. It brings out the most intense feelings in you, but when things get rough, remember feelings have an expiration date and you will feel joy again. Hang in there. No matter how hard it is to believe, the time goes by quickly and in no time, they’ll be borrowing your car and you will have your entire life and self back."
3. "Two kids is harder than one. Don't have another just to entertain the oldest, I know a few people that did that. Also, I don't think anyone emphasizes how much you will lose yourself and truly get exhausted by it."
4. "Sometimes you don’t immediately love your kid. When they placed my kiddo on my chest, it was weird. It took a couple days before I reconciled that this squirming loud person was the one I carried for months. I love my kiddo more now than I did then, after getting to know them. And that’s okay. It’s not always that perfect love where nothing else matters instantly. Sometimes it takes time."
5. "That you are supposed to let a child 'just cry it out.' No. That is garbage. You answer their cry, each and every time. By responding to them saying they need something in a consistent manner, you are literally laying the foundation of their trust in the world for the rest of their lives. If they don’t get their needs met when they express the need, they will learn to mistrust and be afraid of the world. Always answer the cry."
6. "That as a woman you will be naturally more equipped to care for the child than the father will. That's bullshit. With the exception of producing breast milk, men are just as capable of attending to a baby's needs. Parenting is a learned skill just like any other."
7. "That you won’t have a favorite kid. You will."
9. "Disciplining your child is harder than it seems. It is very easy to spoil your kid. Especially if you have the means, it is incredibly easy to want to spoil the fuck out of them. To buy them everything they want, either because you love them or because they won't stop crying. It's so easy to want to blame another person for YOUR child's mistakes. You might even often have to catch yourself mid-argument and realize that it is YOUR child who was in the wrong."
"This all becomes even more true when you're a stepparent. You want to be the ideal parent and have your stepchild get along with you, or at least take some liking towards you. You'll inevitably have to buy them something at some point, but it's easy to want to shower them with your money to try win their favor. It's an easy trap to get caught in.
I don't know why so few people talk about this."
10. "Traditionally, 'selfless' has been the highest compliment a mother can receive, and it’s a big fat lie. When the epitome of motherhood/womanhood is to lose one’s self completely, embracing this model only teaches our children, especially the girls, to do the same. We are better mothers, leaders, and teachers when we model boundaries, self-care, and self-respect. Obviously, there is a great deal of unavoidable sacrifice involved with being an attentive mom, especially in the infancy and toddler phases, but it shouldn’t define a mother beyond that. Reminds me of the Jungian quote, 'The greatest burden a child must bear is the unlived life of its parents.'"
11. "That all your friends peace on you. I haven’t been isolated and my friendships haven’t changed. It just takes a bit more work (like any life event)."
12. "That you’re going to be happy all the time even when baby is wanted — you’re not! In fact, you may even feel pretty bummed or miss your old life frequently and that’s normal. Older relatives telling you you’re a bad mom for not being 100% sparkles and shitting rainbows over baby have forgotten what it felt like."
13. "This may sound harsh but don't expect to have a 'village'. Many people I know with young children struggle because they don't have a support network or childcare from grandparents. The thing is, a lot of grandparents are still working full-time and struggle to fit everything in. I had no support when my girls were small. Because of this, as a grandmother, I want to be there for my kids and grandkids, but I still have to work full-time and can't always have them on my days off. I feel like I fail as a parent AND now a grandparent most weeks."
14. "That you'll eventually get your body back. HA! Besides the fact that is hard to lose weight, sometimes you just don't have the time or the energy to diet and exercise, especially after a C-section. Sometimes all I want to do is watch TV in my PJs. If I had a dollar for every time someone has said I'd lose weight by breastfeeding, I'd be fuckin' rich. Your body changes after pregnancy. I had to say goodbye to many pretty and expensive shoes :(."
"I had no problem losing the weight, I never got stretch marks, and I didn't tear or need stitches.
However, my body did not return to its pre-pregnancy condition. My joints and ligaments are permanently fucked and I now suffer from recurring hip pain and sciatica. It took several months of physical therapy for me to be able to sit in a chair again.
Looking at me naked, you would never know I had a baby. However, internally I feel like I aged 40 years during those 40 weeks of pregnancy. Pregnancy destroyed my body. There's just no outward indication of the damage."