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To ask what makes being a parent so hard?

(264 Posts)
PhoebeGeebee Thu 14-Jul-16 19:54:31

I'm pregnant (yay!) just had three month scan and are starting to tell people.

We've had lots of lovely comments but also a lot of 'it's the hardest but the best thing you'll ever do'. These conversations are just in passing so I don't feel I can ask them to explain what they mean.

So what is it about having a baby that makes it so hard? I understand sleep deprivation and crying and the terrible twos etc.... But I kinda want to know the specifics!

AIBU to ask??

MaddyHatter Thu 14-Jul-16 19:57:40

not unreasonable to ask.

My view might be a bit skewed because my oldest is Autistic, but to be honest, the 'hard' bit is that you have this little person that you have to set up for life and hope you get it right.

Its hard because its relentless, there's no respite, even if you have lovely family who give you a break, you still think/worry about them.

It changes you as a person, it changes every last bit about your life and how you live it (anyone saying it doesn't is lying imho) and while you're doing it, its pretty much a thankless task because until they're grown, you don't really know how good a job you did!

witsender Thu 14-Jul-16 19:57:45

Not at all! For me the baby stage was fine, even though they didn't sleep. As they get older it is more challenging...the never endingness of it. Never getting a moment to myself. Always voices, bickering, asking for food, debating every last thing. The heartache when they're sad, the constant worry, the guilt. Mine are 6 and 4 now pretty much, and in some ways it is easier (practically, no naps or nappies etc) but in others it is harder. .

Totally worth it though! Congratulations. flowers

peppatax Thu 14-Jul-16 19:59:03

It's hard because you have less of stuff you take for granted and more pressure to deal with without said stuff, e.g. time, money, sleep

Rhythmsticks Thu 14-Jul-16 19:59:04

It's not hard for everyone. I found it really easy and think 0-6months is by far the easiest bit of parenting!

We co-slept so although mine fed in the night I didn't really have to fully wake so wasn't sleep deprived and a baby that only drinks milk is very portable so I found you could carry on with pre baby life quite easily ( you can't when they can crawl/walk!)

flanjabelle Thu 14-Jul-16 19:59:36

I think personally it is the fact that you are never truly off duty. Never. Even if someone else looks after your child or they are asleep, you always worry about them and still feel 'on duty'. It's the relentless responsibility that I have found hard.

However, no matter how hard I find any aspects of parenting, it is completely and utterly outweighed by how much I love my child. I would never ever trade my life in for one without responsibility or sleepless nights or tiredness or frustrations etc etc.

You have a lot of wonderful things to come op. Some of it will be difficult, but it will all be worth it, I promise.

Dozyoldtwonk Thu 14-Jul-16 19:59:41

It's really subjective…what's hard to some people is easy to others. Like everything in life, different people will experience things differently depending on their outlook, personality, the type of child they have (nature & nurture plays a part here I believe) Having DC (for me) isn't hard per se, but it can sometimes be mentally draining because there is no break, like you would get at work say. When I was pregnant, I didn't mentally prepare myself for the realities of life with a newborn, so I found things like the lack of sleep & perceived lack of freedom really, really tough. But others I know found it easy. Be aware - a lot of people just aren't honest about how tough they find parenting, tending to put on a front to save face or whatever. That's my experience anyway. Unfortunately for my friends I'm the total opposite and sometimes too honest. grin

LouSavage Thu 14-Jul-16 19:59:42

I can only speak for myself but personally it's the bloody guilt. I feel constantly overwhelmed by the fact I might not be doing my absolute best, they might not be eating well enough, they might not be happy enough, I might be screwing them up. Then I feel guilty for worrying so much I forget to enjoy them.
The sleep deprivation and tantrums are shit but you find ways to deal with it and there's really, really wonderful things that go along with the bad.
It is hard but I wouldn't change it. I'd like to be easier on myself though.

Starwarsorbaby Thu 14-Jul-16 19:59:43

What makes being a parent so hard? Having kids!
Congratulations flowers

SisterMoonshine Thu 14-Jul-16 20:00:21

The baby stage would be easy if you weren't so tired.
I don't under estimate just how much you love them - that can make some things hard.

kavvLar Thu 14-Jul-16 20:01:28

It is like your heart is walking around outside your body and you cannot protect it from everything. When they hurt, you hurt. It isn't the practical things so much, although they can be hard with night waking and constant demands to play etc.

Best thing I ever did though having kids. And the benefits far, far outweigh the drawbacks.

pegomassive1 Thu 14-Jul-16 20:03:01

For me and like what pp have said is that it is NEVER ENDING. You never switch off.. my dh switches off when he has a night out goes to work etc but I am always thinking about not just my dd but all the things surrounding family life!
I do feel like in on a constant feed/change/play/soothe/clean/cook/sleep/wake-up-find-dummy cycle BUT my dd is my absolute life's joy

isthistoonosy Thu 14-Jul-16 20:04:13

Finding time to get everything done and never getting everything done although I'm.clinging to.the hope that it gets easier as they get older.

StubbleTurnips Thu 14-Jul-16 20:06:15

You obviously do not understand the torture of sleep deprivation by mentioning it in passing; it's so difficult to describe before you go through it. We've had over 3 years of broken sleep, starting with 6 months of waking every 45mins - then we were grateful for being up every hour for months! Grateful for 15mins extra sleep. We've never had a single solid nights sleep. Ever. And it's not like being the most tired you've ever been from working or staying out late, it's having to fully wake up and care for that little person / not be dangerous the next day and still try and be a decent human being.

She's the best thing in the world, but there is a reason sleep deprivation was a tool of torture grin

PhoebeGeebee Thu 14-Jul-16 20:06:30

dozy - I guess that was what I was looking for. I know different people find different things difficult so wanted to get the whole range. It's easy to imagine sleep deprivation or tantrums, because you see people dealing with them - but things like the guilt, I've never experienced so that really helps.

I guess I just want to go into this knowing as much as possible!

featherpillow Thu 14-Jul-16 20:07:05

Congratulations flowers

For me it was the feeling of being soooooo tired but still having to function at a fast pace.
The noise and constant questions can be annoying too.
Having to be patient when you're really at the end of your tether and just want to scream (although sometimes I did scream!!)
It taking an hour to leave the house and still forgetting something important.
Oh the joys. Some babies are apparently calm and easy going, so you might get lucky wink

BikeRunSki Thu 14-Jul-16 20:07:25

The relentless, ongoing demands on my time, money, energy, patience, goodwill....

Strokethefurrywall Thu 14-Jul-16 20:08:27

What I find hard about being a parent is that you can never turn your brain "off".

Mine are 4 & 2 years old. I found the newborn years with them (as individuals) easy. Loved my maternity leaves, they ate and slept well and when I went back to work at 4 months, it was a good transition etc.

What I've found harder as they've both gotten older, is maintaining the headspace for everything that needs doing. And that's not necessarily the parenting part of it, but all the life "admin" that needs doing.

Remembering to license the car (which I forgot until yesterday and it expired 3 weeks ago), making notes of birthday parties, getting gifts, cooking, deciding what we're having for dinner, grocery shopping, grocery lists, walking the dogs, laundry, making lunch kits, remembering appointments, trying to maintain a decent social life, finding time to exercise, juggling a full time job, hearing "mummy can I have...?" constantly and the relentless chatter of a 4 year old with verbal diarrhea and a 2 year old who's favorite word is "no!" .

The parenting part would be easy if I could get rid of all the life admin in my head. The life admin would be easy if I didn't have kids. The combination of the two parts are what makes it hard. We're also in the process of selling our house and moving to a temporary home until our new house is built. Once we're settled house wise, I will be outsourcing as much life admin as I possibly can!

Ihatechoosingnames Thu 14-Jul-16 20:09:39

You're always 'on.' You can never switch off, not really truly off, even if your child is not with you at that moment. You have less time to do everything. Your children just consume your every thought and moment.

The baby stage is thankless, relentless and OMG the sleep deprivation (I know some babies are good sleepers one of mine was but the other was definitely not) nearly destroyed me.

But the amazingness outweighs the drawbacks, for sure.

doing Thu 14-Jul-16 20:10:04

You don't need/want to know about this stuff before you start.

It doesn't help to know. Ignorance is bliss.

Icecappedpinetrees Thu 14-Jul-16 20:10:41

Overwhelming anxiety! This tiny baby, then toddler, them child needs you to survive and thrive. You become the sole decision maker (with a partner at times but at times it feels like it's all on you...) for something so very precious and there are no second chances. Every interaction matters, every decision, to this little person you are an anchor and a compass, you are their whole world and it is terrifying. They end up being a mirror so you see your very best side shining from them and your very worst too, filling you with joy, delight,excitement then guilt and regret and sadness too. It's such a roller coaster and it is relentless, it is all day, all night, every single day, forever. It's monumental.

You worry for them, small worries (will they roll onto their tummy in the night, should I move her? What is that mark in their tummy? when are they due a nap?) and huge worries (are they growing up to be morally decent and happy?)

There's more but I've probably terrified you said enough.

It's absolutely wonderful and the very best thing I've done. Don't worry. And know we're all in the same boat, you're never alone, the vipers are always here to listen! smile

sunnydayinmay Thu 14-Jul-16 20:10:45

You'll probably look back at this thread and laugh. Or cry.

It's wonderful, but there will be very little headspace for you once the baby is born. You start worrying about lack of sleep, and feeds, and whether they are gaining weight. And do you have enough nappies, how do you cut nails..?

Then you move on to why isn't the baby crawling, walking? Then, why don't they just stop throwing themselves off dangerous places, and eating mud?

Then, why won't they eat this food I've made? Why don't they talk? Why won't they stop bloody talking?

Which reading level? Why don't the school realise I have a genius child? Why isn't my child reading as well as their friend? Why doesn't my child have a friend? How can I keep up with the play dates?

Get the picture? I'm currently on: is ds1 going to survive a camping week when he hates camping? Do I have everything on the kit list? Will I remember the three bits of paper due back for ds2 tomorrow? Have I sorted childcare for every day in the summer for both dcs?

Got to go, as have just remembered ds1 needs sports kit for tomorrow...

NeedACleverNN Thu 14-Jul-16 20:10:47

It's the constantness for me.

You never get a time off being a parent. No real time to yourself, always having to think of your children first, less money and completely life changing.

But it's worth it. Absolutely.

Seeing their little eyes light up when they see you and the big smiles and the mummy I love you. It's lovely.

I wouldn't change a thing

CPtart Thu 14-Jul-16 20:11:51

The lack of sleep is a drop in the ocean, for most it passes.
Mine are 11 and 13 now and find I just move from one set of worries to another. Also that although they become increasingly self sufficient you never 'switch off'.
Having said that as someone who was neither here nor there about having DC, parenthood has given me the single best moments of my life.

Ifiwasabadger Thu 14-Jul-16 20:12:23

Not sleeping for more than 45 minutes for a year.

The lack of sleep.

The relentless lack of freedom.

You never come first ever again.

The feeling that you are not doing it right.

Being judged by everyone for how you parent.

Being judged by everyone on the milestones your child doesn't meet.

The guilt that you are fucking them up and one day they will hate you.

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