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There is nothing I wanted more than to be a mom.
I couldn’t wait to experience all of the wonderful things I had practiced on my baby dolls since I was three.
I thought I knew what to expect, but having children made me realize I was wrong.
Lies About Parenting
Lies about parenting are rarely malicious. They are often told by people who are well-meaning and hopeful about the future.
You may be caught off-guard by how wrong the following statements are.
You can also rest assured that there are many more parenting lies that you probably believe.
1. Breastfeeding is easy.
Maybe breastfeeding is easy for some moms, but not every mom. I will even go so far as to say it is not easy for most moms.
If it were, why do hospitals and birthing clinics have lactation consultants on staff?
Even my local pharmacy employs a lactation consultant to help new moms learn how to nurse their children.
She is always busy.
Why, then, are moms made to feel that breastfeeding is intuitive? For me, breastfeeding was difficult and a huge chore.
While I loved spending that time with my children, I would have been just as happy giving them a bottle. I only chose to breastfeed because it was the healthiest option.
When they were weaned from the breast, I felt like throwing a party.
This doesn’t make me a bad mom, and if this is how you feel, it won’t make you a bad one either.
It’s a fact that parents rarely talk about: Breastfeeding isn’t always fun.
2. A mom will automatically bond with her baby.
The fairytale of motherhood begins as soon as the child is born. As mother and child embrace, the two are bonded.
Unless, of course, you’re one of the many moms who don’t immediately feel a connection with their child.
For the first week after my son’s birth, I felt exhausted. I was in pain. I was far too stressed to feel anything but anxiety.
This doesn’t just happen with moms.
Dads can also lack that connection they expect.
In fact, studies show about 20 percent of parents need time to bond with their children. For some, it can take weeks or even months.
If this happens to you, don’t worry. The bond will form. Give it time.
3. Post-partum depression is easy to recognize.
I had post-partum depression after my son was born. I didn’t realize it until several years later.
I was never treated for it because I didn’t know that what I was feeling was treatable.
I thought post-partum depression happened immediately after a child was born. I didn’t realize that PPD can raise its ugly head as late as 12 months after having the baby.
Around the time my son was one, I began feeling that I was a terrible mother. I was so certain that my child would be better off without me that I had suicidal thoughts.
I couldn’t eat and I couldn’t sleep. I lost all of the baby weight and then some.
A few months later, the PPD went away, and I felt like myself again. It was just luck that my undiagnosed PPD didn’t worsen.
If you find yourself feeling depressed or guilty, if you have insomnia or difficulty concentrating, reach out to your doctor.
Even if you are well past your child’s birth, you might have PPD.
4. You will forget about the pain of childbirth.
This is one of those lies that always burns my biscuits. Just last week, a friend of mine repeated this as absolute truth.
She said she doesn’t remember any of the pain she went through with her three children. I told her that I remember in great detail.
I can still almost feel the 12 hours of labor, the sharp pain that came after my doctor broke my water, and, most of all, the healing pains of my two c-sections.
While my friend might have forgotten the pain of childbirth, that is not the case for every mom.
5. Grandparents are always there for their grandchildren.
My husband has long had a difficult relationship with his mother. They didn’t see each other often after he moved out of her home.
They rarely talked, and she showed very little interest in his life. He was certain all of that would change once she had grandchildren.
He was wrong.
The extent of her involvement in the lives of her grandchildren is the two cards she sends per year: one for their birthdays and one for Christmas.
People, even grandparents, do not magically transform at the birth of a child.
6. Children are always sick.
I had been told that kids are little germ factories that are constantly ill with colds and other viruses.
Parents then suffer from catching these diseases from their children. It’s a vicious cycle, or so I had heard.
There are kids who are often sick, but it is not a given.
My kids rarely get sick, and when they do, it almost never lasts longer than a day. Most of the kids I know are similar in nature.
7. Raising kids isn’t financially possible without two incomes.
Quite the opposite; raising kids can be much more financially draining if both parents work.
The cost of daycare can be overwhelming, depending on where you live and what kind of care you have access to.
After my children were born, my husband and I did the math and found that the cost of the daycare we were considering exceeded the salary I was making at the time.
Not working in an office actually allowed us to save money. Not driving to work meant I didn’t stop to get coffee on my way to the office.
I didn’t eat lunch away from home each day. I didn’t need to keep a professional wardrobe updated. I didn’t attend happy hours with my coworkers or go to out-of-town conferences.
We even cut back to one car.
I did continue working part-time out of my home, but the money I made only covered the cost of the health insurance I was no longer getting through an employer.
Still, we managed to save enough money to pay off our mortgage early while raising two children on one full-time income.
8. Kids must start extracurricular activities at a very early age.
I was told that a child must be placed into sports as soon as they are able to follow instructions.
Otherwise, they will be behind the curve and will miss out on future opportunities.
I believed this so much that my kids were both in soccer before they turned two. Luckily for me, they hated soccer (as do I), so we didn’t stick with that sport.
However, my husband and I continued to place our kids in a variety of activities so they could become the phenoms we were told they should be.
Now that they are teens, my kids don’t take part in any of the sports or activities we encouraged in those early years and they are doing fantastic.
9. Children learn from their parent’s mistakes.
This was the most surprising lie that I truly believed. I absolutely thought my kids wouldn’t make the same mistakes I did when I was young.
I read an entire book that explained how to share the mistakes I made so kids would know better than to repeat them.
What I know now is that it is absolutely and unequivocally impossible to prevent some mistakes.
Kids have to learn these hard life lessons for themselves no matter how much we beg and plead for them to do otherwise.
10. Parenting gets easier as children get older
Parenting a newborn is hard. Parenting a toddler is even harder. Parenting remains at that same level of difficulty until, I’m assuming, forever.
Though the nature of parenting changes as the kids get older, new frustrations and fears arise at every corner.
The good news is that difficult parenting is accompanied with warm hugs, bright smiles and lots of love.
There are plenty of things people believe about parenting. You will find out for yourself which are true and which less true.
Have you been surprised by a lie about parenting? Tell us your story in the comments!