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To ask was parenting like you thought it would be?

(93 Posts)
PriestessModwena Wed 10-Jul-19 07:16:30

I follow various parenting social media accounts, it's sad to see Mothers/Parents who look dejected, as their child/ren have played on their last nerve or things haven't gone as expected, deviating from the dreamlike parent routine is a failure of sorts.

I think we as parents should be more aware/accepting that parenting isn't always a dream, with times when baby/toddler/child or teenager does not act like the angelic little cherub you expected.

Different stages of child development have their own quirks as it were. (Even into adulthood!)

I'm sure this gets discussed, I think from time to time it's good to have a reminder that parenting is seldom how you expected. Some expectations you have/had about parenting, totally go out of the window.

I had fertility treatment for DC, I had all these great ideas on what I'd do, how I'd never do x/y/z, in the end CBeebies as mind numbing as it is, can buy you time to make yourself / your home look half presentable. You can buy all the children's books published, if DC hates reading you can't force them. Car journeys over certain times can be made easier with DVD's / electronic devices.

The best advice I had whilst pregnant / parenting, was you can buy all the parenting books in the world, watch all the videos of airbrushed perfect parents, read all the blogs, just remember your DC are unique, it would be a bit dull if one size fit all. Especially with babies & toddlers, they're not programmed with whatever latest expert is saying to achieve perfect parenting.

You have to do what's right for your DC & yourselves.

Is there anything you would pass on to those who are entering the world of parenting at all? Or for the parent who is really struggling?

Giraffeinabox Wed 10-Jul-19 07:26:24

Dont read books. The baby hasnt read the book. They just set unrealistic expectations. And its okay to moan. Which the start of this post seems to read as it isnt. Sometimes its hard and its okay to say "fuck this today" and look forward to bedtime so you can have a drink.

PriestessModwena Wed 10-Jul-19 07:29:15

Totally agree @Giraffeinabox smile

Sorry for waffling.

GoFiguire Wed 10-Jul-19 07:33:32

I’d say don’t read the Daily Mail.

UserThenLotsOfNumbers Wed 10-Jul-19 07:40:37

Parenting is generally what I expected it to be, but then I'm very realistic.
One thing I didn't expect though, is just how funny my daughter can be! She's hilarious.

Pineapplefish Wed 10-Jul-19 07:43:33

I think part of the problem is that parents-to-be don't always want to hear it. I have a friend who is very very honest to any pregnant friend about the tricky bits. But the pregnant friends tend to find it rather 'negative' and ask why she can't just be happy and excited for them!

MamaFlintstone Wed 10-Jul-19 07:48:14

Just before I went on maternity leave I had a meeting with a woman I don’t really know, and when she was leaving she said “good luck, and remember it’s ok if you don’t love them straight away”. I thought it was an odd thing to say but I’m glad she said it because I feel like all we hear about is mums who talk about an instant rush of love as soon as their baby is born, and I didn’t have that. It was a good few weeks before I stopped feeling like I was just looking after her before her “real” parents came to pick her up. My husband was bemused when I asked him if he loved her yet. My experience isn’t unusual at all, but it’s never heard over all the “rush of love” comments.

I think I expected parenthood to be hard, it’s probably been harder but also more enjoyable. Highs are higher and lows are lower.

growlingbear Wed 10-Jul-19 07:57:11

Best advice is: only you know your DC, so you are the best one to know what they need. Ignore advice from anyone who hasn't been in your situation (if you have twins or a sick child etc shut your ears to advice from mothers of single babies/healthy weaners etc.)

Parenthood has been as great as I dreamed it would be. We had a very rocky start with sick children, PND and complete indifference from family but it has cemented us, has brought DH and I very close together and we have a very strong and happy bond. The DC say all their friends comment on it. They are amazed we don't fight and it's because the early years were so hard that ever since it has felt like a party in comparison.

Other good advice: don't feel guilty if you don't enjoy a phase of parenting. I was no good with babies. They bored me. I didn't really enjoy parenting until they could talk and do their own thing. If you hate toddlerhood or adolescence, that's OK. They won't be in that stage forever. Just muddle through, do your best and try to have fun together a few times a week, even if it's just laughing at the dog or making their favourite dinner.

TheDarkPassenger Wed 10-Jul-19 07:59:32

I struggle with the lack of gratitude. I’ve never done so much for anyone else that has been met with utter disgust 😂

MyOpinionIsValid Wed 10-Jul-19 07:59:59


I thought it would all be smocked tops and building sandcastles with cute little blue eyed blond children. Like fuck was it grin

WhoKnewBeefStew Wed 10-Jul-19 08:00:00

I expected it to be hard, but the word 'relentless' is how I'd describe it. That and the fact it'll be 'relentless' for at least 18 years can be soul destroying when you're going through a bad patch.

Advertising gets me. Especially the 'outdoors' type. A happy family riding pushbikes, all smiling in the dappled sunshine, under the trees. When in reality, I'm blowing out my arse because I'm so unfit, one of the dcs has fallen off, so crying, the other one is sulking because they want to be in front and my dh is pratting about trying to pull wheelies. grin that to me is typical parenting.

Bunnica15 Wed 10-Jul-19 08:05:30

Well I was an absolutely Perfect mother... until I actually became one 😏

fleshmarketclose Wed 10-Jul-19 08:10:39

I didn't expect to find a lot of it completely tedious tbh. I discovered I am not somebody who finds small children entertaining and I am far more rigid than I ever realised. Now mine are adults I enjoy them far more tbh especially when they don't live with me wink

Badwifey Wed 10-Jul-19 08:15:05

No absolutely not what I thought at all.

I had a really rough time of it from about 10 months til 3.5/4. I never thought the lack of sleep would make me want to die.
I never thought that even though I love my dd that there would be days that are so mind numbingly boring.
I never expected to feel so fiercely protective of someone. That I would literally throw myself under a bus if it meant she'd be ok.

This one is hard to explain but before dd I thought max love I could have for someone was the love I felt for my husband. Jesus was I wrong.... They are like 2 different loves. One I know could end at any point and one I know will last for eternity.

GPatz Wed 10-Jul-19 08:20:33

Ha! No.

Dear God, the lack of sleep.

However, I've learnt that my husband and I make a wicked team, even if we pass like bleary ships in the night.

I've also learnt that we are glutton for punishment after having two under two.

Luxembourgmama Wed 10-Jul-19 08:21:08

Way more fun and easier and more rewarding.

hammeringinmyhead Wed 10-Jul-19 08:21:18

I thought I would hate this bit (mine is 8 months) with the monotony of mat leave but it's been a lot more fun than I expected; he's my little buddy. I'm dreading having a toddler though. They are so unreasonable!

Sleep deprivation has been worse than I expected. I was sleeping through at 6 weeks so I assumed they got better at sleepong longer stretches but with 4 month regression, teething and summer nights we're up 3 times a night and he has slept through once in his whole life!

Luxembourgmama Wed 10-Jul-19 08:21:32

My kid is 3 though it was boring before she could talk.

lazylinguist Wed 10-Jul-19 08:22:14

Yes actually, it is pretty much how I expected. I'm struggling to think of any particular aspect that's really surprised me tbh. Mine are 11 and 14. I didn't find any stage boring or terrible. I'm no perfect parent, but my dc are fairly easy and good company.

Sleepyblueocean Wed 10-Jul-19 08:30:43

No it is not as I expected because my child is profoundly disabled and in many ways will be like a young child for the rest of their life.
My advice to anyone who finds themselves in the same situation is to find friends with similar children, know and enforce you and your child's rights and try to ignore ignorant people.

Rarfy Wed 10-Jul-19 08:31:53

I keep thinking it has come as a shock to me but when I really think about it I always knew I wouldnt like the early days much or being on maternity leave and I was right.

I absolutely love dd, worship the ground she rolls on at the moment grin she is pure perfection and I have gone through a lot to get her. Small babies don't do much though and she had trouble feeding which caused me a lot of worry and stress. I also had a horrendous recovery from csection which I didn't heal from until 17wks post partum. The early weeks are a blur. Things got easier at 12wks like everyone says they will. When she started smiling, doing things and showing a bit more personality I really started enjoying it a lot more.

The sleepless nights were tough but I coped quite well with them however I knew I would I've always been able to survive on not much sleep. I did have days feeling like the sleepless nights would never end though and that feeling wasn't good. She started sleeping through about five months which is great. Feel a bit more like me again.

Probably the thing I've found the hardest is managing everything. I thought my house would never be so clean whilst on maternity leave, it's a shit hole. I never have time to do anything. The days feel so long but there are still not enough hours in them. We have a dog too in an open plan house with nowhere to put him away so I am always negotiating the two which I find very very difficult.

CherryPavlova Wed 10-Jul-19 08:32:35

I think it was pretty much as intended but what I didn’t count on was the degree and intensity of love and how that would endure into their adulthood. We’d had teenagers we fostered before we had babies and huge amounts of experience with hundreds of children of all ages, so the practicalities were never a surprise.

Doublevodka Wed 10-Jul-19 08:32:58

Mine are 14 and 11 now. They are very different and if I'm completely honest, parenting my 14 year old has been and still is a hard slog. Some of these posts have really made me laugh out loud, particularly, picturing a lovely bike ride together and it turning out nothing like that and doing everything for someone and being met with utter disgust. I really relate to those. Thank you. I needed a laugh.

Bumply Wed 10-Jul-19 08:36:45

Well I wasn't expecting to be a single mum for the last 15 years, and I don't recognise myself in those "my mum was a single mum and a hero" type comments.

FuriousVexation Wed 10-Jul-19 08:37:25

Honestly in terms of every day looking after, it's been a piece of piss.

School however has been a whole other thing. Teaching parents to stand their ground in the face of intransigence would be a good start.

"My son is being horribly bullied at playtime to the point he's literally suicidal, what can we do?"
"Oh well, if the bullies get bad tell him to come back inside and he can stay in the classroom for break."

MustardScreams Wed 10-Jul-19 08:37:41

The first 18 months were harder than I could ever imagine. I was very against sleep training or being away from dd for any length of time, much to both our detriment.

Since I’ve chilled out and realised 5 minutes of crying isn’t going to cause irreversible brain damage hmm it’s been much easier. I actively enjoy dd’s company now. Before I loved her, but it was stressful and hard and I didn’t wtf I was doing. She’s 2.5 and makes me laugh all the time.

I wish I’d known it wasn’t always going to be fraught with panic and anxiety. I still worry of course, but it’s a reasonable worry now.

swingofthings Wed 10-Jul-19 08:38:42

Trying to be perfect parents with an unconscious expectation in return that they will be grateful is what is doing kids most harm.

It is likely to contribute to the increase pressure they feel under. We don't need to be perfect parents to raise healthy happy children, consistent parenting is much more important. I was definitely not a perfect parent but I must have done ok as both are becoming young adults to be proud of.

Zaphodsotherhead Wed 10-Jul-19 08:39:01

Mine are grown up now, and how they got there I'm still not quite sure.

Dear God, the fighting! The arguing about why they shouldn't have to do something they blatently DID have to do, just because no one else was doing it, etc etc etc. The mess. The noise. The awful, awful television programmes...

But they seem to have turned out all right, so those twenty years of gritted teeth have paid off.

zafferana Wed 10-Jul-19 08:41:57

I remember when I was pregnant with DS1 and sitting at work dreaming of how lovely it would be to be at home snuggling with my baby. It was a totally rose-tinted view of parenting and one that wasn't based in anything like reality! I blame lack of exposure to babies/children before I had my own and my own lack of interest in finding out. I didn't read parenting books, still don't, and knew very few people who had DC before I had my own. So has the reality been disappointing? Well yes and no. When I compare how I am with my kids it's very similar, I suspect, to how my own parents felt parenting me and my siblings. It's hard bloody work. It involves a lot of sacrifices of time, money and all the things that as an adult I'd much rather be doing. But there are moments and magic and I really don't regret having my kids and I'm glad I didn't know what it would really be like beforehand, before if I had I'd never have done it!

HeyDuggeesCakeBadge Wed 10-Jul-19 08:54:25

I've found it hard, relentless and utterly thankless at times. I think the 24/7 nature of parenting you can't imagine when pregnant.

Now they are out of the baby phase it is easier in some respects but they are on the go constantly, still never really slept through and my body feels old and on the brink of collapse.

I love them more than i ever thought possible and they are absolutely hilarious and great company when not screaming at me.

BlueMoon1103 Wed 10-Jul-19 09:19:19


Other good advice: don't feel guilty if you don't enjoy a phase of parenting. I was no good with babies. They bored me. I didn't really enjoy parenting until they could talk and do their own thing. If you hate toddlerhood or adolescence, that's OK. They won't be in that stage forever. Just muddle through, do your best and try to have fun together a few times a week, even if it's just laughing at the dog or making their favourite dinner.

That. Exactly what I was going to say!

corythatwas Wed 10-Jul-19 09:24:23

otoh I can see the strength on the "your baby hasn't read the book" argument

otoh so many threads are started by shocked parents who can't understand why their sweet and smiley 18mo has turned into a stroppy 2yo who throws tantrums and refuses to do as she is told shock

and I can't help thinking, well if you'd only read a book....

Where I went to school (abroad) we actually had a compulsory term on child development in secondary: I found that hugely useful when my own dc passed through various annoying stages 20 years later.

MaverickSnoopy Wed 10-Jul-19 09:47:51

Not at all how I pictured. I imagined having little English roses with hair in bunches, skipping through fields and picking flowers. Really.

I came down to earth pretty quickly and settled into real parenting quite well. I think what I actually struggle with most is how so many other people seem to have it sussed, kids playing nicely and family togetherness and we seem to spend our lives running around like headless chickens just trying to keep everyone alive, let alone doing fun stuff.

I think the key thing with parenting is to keep your children alive and happy and if you can manage that then you've pretty much nailed it - everything else is just background noise.

formerbabe Wed 10-Jul-19 09:51:31

I thought it would all be smocked tops and building sandcastles with cute little blue eyed blond children

What a weird comment.

Are blond haired blue eyed children cuter than others then?

SudowoodoVoodoo Wed 10-Jul-19 09:53:58

I wasn't prepared for the quantity of loitering, especially around playgrounds and parks grin

I did have the foresight to realise when DS was 3 that he was going to become a Minecraft devotee. I deferred as long as I reasonably could but after a summer of hearing nothing but "mummymummy on minecraft..." that downloading it was the only sensible course of action. Now I get some peace while he actually plays it.

People always wondered why I went for secondary teaching (particularly because I blend in far too well with a class of y7s) but having young DCs makes me realise it was the right call as struggling with the obsessive interests from the two people I love most in the world doesn't bode well for being patient with other people's progeny.

YY to different phases. Other than sleep deprivation and physical recovery from pregnancy/ birth, I like the baby phase. Whenever I get a broody pang, I repeat the word "toddler" until the moment passes. Three repititions usually suffices. DS1 was a relentless tantrummer. DS2 was an Usain Bolt type. DS1's "terrible twos" went from 10m to 5+, so lots of overlap with DS2's turn. I realised suddenly when they were 5&3 that life was suddenly simplifying. I love the primary school years at the moment... apart from the bickering.

The logistics of the school years are tougher than nursery especially when there is no family back-up.

Parent the child you have. Ignore people who have DCs of a totally different personality type. Don't sweat the small stuff. Yes a 2.5 yo can make it a totally unworthy battle to wear clothes they don't like. As long as they are safely dressed and appropriate to the the occasion, it's not worth battling beyond that. Some DCs are more pliable than others.

Highly functioning SN children don't come with labels or manuals. It can take years of life just being harder or being a bit out of synch to build up enough of a picture to investigate.

I intellectually knew it would be tiring... that doesn't prepare you for relentless exhaustion. It's the permanently being accountable. Recently had my first child-free weekend in years, but we still couldn't risk going too far or being too drunk incase a child needed an emergency collection.

Two words: SOCKS! SHOES!

I love it though and did plough on with the second before I could intellectualise myself out of it. I realised that a third would send me to the permanently demented zone though grin

bibliomania Wed 10-Jul-19 10:01:18

I agree with a pp about not feeling an instant whoosh of love when dd was born. It was a c-section, and I genuinely think that it's a different experience hormonally, and my body didn't release the burst of oxytocin that it's meant to. For the first few weeks/months, I felt perfectly well-disposed to her, but she just felt like - well, like a relative, like a cousin or something.

So far I feel like I've had an easy ride with parenting (she'll 11 now, so the jaws of hell might be about to yawn). I was old enough by the time she was born to know that the fantasy and the reality of any experience tend to be quite different, so it wasn't too much of a shock.

Camomila Wed 10-Jul-19 10:12:04

I always imagined I'd have blue eyed blond haired DC - because I was a blue eyed blond haired DC. Just imagined a mini me! Completley forgot about the dad part.

Siameasy Wed 10-Jul-19 10:26:33

My advice would be - parent the child you’ve got and not the one you think you ought to have.
I blame Instagram etc for a lot of these woes as people are living life online rather than mixing with actual people. SM presents a sanitised view of life with kids. Wooden toys, nature walks etc but never ever show the majority of the time which is at best mundane

NaviSprite Wed 10-Jul-19 11:15:33

It has had it’s hard moments - I didn’t expect my twins to be born two months premature and at such a low birth weight and certainly didn’t envision the 4 month NICU stay, so I have to say I have held a disappointment (in myself) for not being able to experience much with them during that time, never got to hold my babies after birth (c section) had to wait three weeks before I could hold them at all! But they’re now 20mo and thriving and I’m just going with the flow as best I can!

I read Susan Maushart’s “The Mask of Motherhood” during that NICU stay and I have to say, it helped massively! I don’t buy into “perfect family” stereotypes as portrayed by countless ‘help’ articles and I had a very candid chat with my mum whilst pregnant about the realities of child rearing. I am sorry to say that not every woman gets the same experience and I wish people were more capable of admitting just how hard, stressful, exhausting and downright terrifying it can be to be a parent. But that it has many more positive aspects to it too smile

It was best noted when I was in the waiting area for what turned out to be my last scan, there was a woman beside me talking very loudly about her perfect birthing plan, what her baby would be like because she ‘sensed’ it and spinning stories about how perfect her experience of early motherhood would be. Like me she was a first time parent, there were other women in the room who were not first time mothers and were doing their best to not eye-roll at her or stifling laughter. From the moment I found out I was having twins the rose tinted glasses flew from my face and I agreed with DH that so long as we’re all alive at the end of each day, we were doing alright! This has helped now they’re both toddlers running around (often in opposite directions) eating things off the floor and hitting me in the boobs whenever they can because they think it’s funny as they’re ‘squishy’... it’s a good job they’re so flipping cute 😂😂

MRex Wed 10-Jul-19 12:24:08

I think everyone faces different challenges in motherhood. Many of the things I was told would be hard simply weren't because DS and I are different than those other DC/DM combos so we face different challenges. The relentless of never getting time off and a long sleep is the worst of it for me, DH is picking up longer times with DS more that he breastfeeds a bit less (16 months), but it's still never a whole day off to rest. I know plenty who have had occasional weekends with GPs and lots of days in nursery, so they don't have that relentlessness, but in most respects DS is a much "easier" child than their DC (calm, eats, communicates by gestures and a few words instead of shouting or screaming, easy to amuse etc) so I don't have many of the challenges that seem to give those other mums trouble.

ineedaknittedhat Wed 10-Jul-19 12:43:00

No, but my two have autism (aspergers and pda). The pda was particularly challenging and almost drove me to a breakdown. No help from camhs exacerbated the situation. They're doing well now though and I'm very proud of them. I hope life is kind to them as I worry constantly.

Cyrusc Wed 10-Jul-19 12:48:02

I thought it would be great. I was utterly shocked when I realised that it's bloody awful 99% of the time. Constantly find myself thinking "can't wait until they grow up/leave home/be quiet".

I'm astounded that I ever thought I'd enjoy being a parent, I was a complete idealist with very, very limited exposure to babies/toddlers. While I'm affectionate/kind/generous, I'm a selfish introvert at heart and just want to be left alone a lot of the time - these were never going to be qualities compatible with motherhood so I don't know what I was thinking!

nannymcpee Wed 10-Jul-19 12:57:42

When the Midwife handed me my DS she said he will push you to the limits. I thought about it after i was induced and it tokk the little bugger 24 hours to come out along with everything the midwife obstrician could throw at me.
Its been a very long and hard journey to get him as he is our rainbow baby. We had a stillborn daughter at full term no one can prepare you for that its something the fluffy NCT dont tell you about.
He is now a cheeky giggly 5 year old and the Midwife was right. But we love him. You have to just go with it parenting aint for sissys. Xx

letsrunfar Wed 10-Jul-19 13:03:39

I've found it much more stressful and at times upsetting than I ever thought it would be.

I over estimated the sense of achievement I'd I've raised a child, and?

When people say how amazing those little moments are....all that is over rated.

BillywigSting Wed 10-Jul-19 13:06:28

It's actually quite a bit easier than I expected it to be, because I find myself wanting to care for my dc because I adore him. I have never previously wanted to look after any child, and I still don't really like other people's kids (though some of them are alright).

The thing that blindsided me was the guilt. You really can't do right for doing wrong and you will always be doing it wrong in someone's opinion. Forging the confidence to say 'no this is my child and this is what works best for us' is tricky. The shift in boundaries with grandparents can be quite challenging too at times.

problembottom Wed 10-Jul-19 13:07:16

I’m six months in and so far it’s as I thought. I knew it would be hard (one of my DSis was hospitalised with PND) and I knew it would be relentless. I’ve had dark days and I’ve cried buckets (I never cry!).

But I also knew I’d love the baby classes, playing with toys, singing songs and general day to day madness cause I’ve always loved that with my nieces. And I knew about the overwhelming love I’d feel that would make it worthwhile.

I had no clue about the birth, I did birthing classes and thought I’d breathe my way through it and it would be joyous. What a knob. My birth was quick and straight forward but also fucking horrendous.

And I didn’t know the strength of the bonds I’d make through NCT and classes. I usually take ages to make friends but my mum group relied SO much on one other in the early days.

Cabbagesoupsucks Wed 10-Jul-19 13:08:00

For me, the hardest part of parenting is me and/or my DH. I never realised I'd repeat things my parents did that I didn't like, or that I'd react to stressful times as I do. The fact that I didn't know how my DH would parent until we had kids and the different approach we sometimes have on things and how much pressure that can add sometimes. I think taking on the burden of emotion and behaviour, the guilt associated with things I can't prevent or protect them from or 'mistakes' I've made. My kids are actually bloody brilliant. They drive me potty, they make me cry with laughter and they are truly inspiring beasties. But they are also very different and I guess you end up being a different parent to different children when their personalities and traits are so different.

Spludge Wed 10-Jul-19 13:15:20

I'm a permanent step mum to 2 girls 9 and 10. ( their mother died when they were babies . Very sad).

I have to say I always thought it was hard because I'm not the maternal mum , although I have brought them up since they were 2 and 3. I have to say although I put 100% in and put on the mum face and do my best if I'm honest I've hated every stage every phase . It's totally boring and hideously life consuming .

It's interesting to hear birth mothers say the same thing.

I often ask ...why do people actually have kids. Your whole life freedom self and relationship as you knew it is totally stolen. I just dont get the need and think a lot of people naively dont realise what they are doing .

Saying that I am very proud of these 2 young girls they are a credit to themselves and one day I will look back and think I'm glad I helped them get through life despite it being at the total expense of myself. You make choices in life and I'm committed to the choice I made. Doesnt mean to say I have to pretend to love it .

All mums are amazing. They have to be.

burninglikefire Wed 10-Jul-19 13:16:07

I really thought that my babies would be blank canvases and that if they were brought up in an environment of love and respect, then they would be civil and loving to each other. I was a fool!!!

But I love them all dearly and, now they are grown up, they are all very close.

Having them was the best and hardest thing I have ever done.

babybrain86 Wed 10-Jul-19 13:27:48

I didn't expect breastfeeding to be so hard, I read up on it and did courses while I was pregnant and it was made out to be the easiest most natural thing in the world, if it hurts you're doing it wrong etc. I felt like such a failure when the first 6 weeks where a huge, painful struggle! Currently 30 weeks pregnant with baby number 2 and much more prepared this time!
A friend who is due similar time as me (with her first) mentioned how she felt bad she hasn't yet read any parenting books. I advised not to bother, baby hasn't read the books and they'll just make you constantly feel like you're doing it wrong, follow baby's lead and you'll find your own way which works for you!
I also didn't expect to love toddlerhood so much, I absolutely adore watching my confident, sassy, independant, strong willed and outright cheeky little mini me grow and learn something new everyday!

PinkSquidgyPig Wed 10-Jul-19 14:41:56

I keep my expectations low and work on the premise that:
I'm 'largely a bit rubbish'.
Parenting doesn't get easier, just different.
Getting some outdoor time every day is really important for her my wellbeing.
I say sorry if I get it wrong/get angry/shout at her.
Telling her I love her every day.

It was bloody hard when she was 5/6 and I was at peak menopause (combined with, then, undiagnosed diabetes).

I really enjoy being a parent/mum, but like I said, my expectations of what it would be like are low (compared to some of the aspirations I read about) so the good stuff feels like a great achievement 😂.

I just hope we survive the teen years ...

freshasthebrightbluesky Wed 10-Jul-19 14:58:51

Yes I think so. I love my dc so much I could burst but they do my tits in something chronic and I find looking after them can be a bit boring but I knew that anyway from how my siblings described parenthood.

I didn't expect to be so skint though!

Namechangedonceagain Wed 10-Jul-19 16:39:32

I thought having a child would be tough. And maybe a bit boring and isolating. I have found it to be lovely and surprisingly easy, really fun, and instead of isolating I feel like I have my best little mate with me all the time! So it's a big improvement to what I expected!

MayFayner Wed 10-Jul-19 17:14:27

First time around, yes it was pretty much as I expected. I don’t know what I expected really, I was just 25 when DD was born and her F walked out when she was 6 weeks. But parenting her was a dream and everything made sense and was lovely. She’s 18 now.

When she was 12/13ish I decided I wasn’t ready to not be the mother of a young child anymore so I had DS1 and DS2, now nearly 5 and 3. I expected the parenting experience to be the same as it had been with DD- it bloody isn’t. It’s 100% harder, every day is a hill to climb. I love them so much but by god do they push me to the end of my wick...

Phineyj Wed 10-Jul-19 17:28:50

I hadn't expected quite so much of it to be constantly trying to get them to do things they don't want to do...

Tumbleweed101 Wed 10-Jul-19 18:14:24

I think the hardest bit was discovering that your real children are nothing like the children you’ve imagined having! That started from even before my son was fully born and they announced he had blonde hair. I’d been picturing a little dark haired baby!

sar302 Wed 10-Jul-19 18:45:12

@NaviSprite We only have one, and still I answer often (when my husband asks how our day was) "we're both still alive 🤷‍♀️".

I was sure I wasn't going to enjoy my baby being a baby - and I didn't. However, i'm surprised by how much I enjoy him as a toddler! I also expected to go back to work at 10 or 11 months. But at 19 months I'm still a SAHM. I think having a child - even with the annoyances - has surpassed my expectations!

nannymcpee Wed 10-Jul-19 20:27:24

Amen Sister. Im blasting my Kegal 8 machine to ACDC in the hope i wont be able to water my neighbours plants everytime i blow up a birthday balloon.grin

nannymcpee Wed 10-Jul-19 20:29:05

Me too sweetie the menopause is the worst. Go older moms xxxxwink

IWouldPreferNotTo Wed 10-Jul-19 20:31:01

No book said that 90% of the time my baby is crying is because he's rolled onto his front and is now crying because he's forgotten how to roll back despite being able to do it during the day.

No book warned me how hard a baby can hit you in the face while laughing.

No book warned me how my standards for yuck would drastically lower to the point where a bit of vomit on a shirt can stay as imm not changing three shirts a day

NoIDontWatchLoveIsland Wed 10-Jul-19 20:31:12

I had lots of nieces and nephews and my siblings and I are quite similar in personality & parenting ethos, so parenting is largely how I expected. I didn't have rose tinted specs! It helped hugely that my nieces and nephews are a real range and my siblings had found a lot of solutions for various different tricky phases etc. Eg one sibling in particular gave me a wealth of food related tips that I am sure massively helped warding off or at least minimising fussy eating. Another sibling had brilliant sleep/nap tips.

The thing you can't be prepared for imho is how much you genuinely bloody adore your own DC and literally think they are completely objectively perfect. I am so bloody blind to any imperfections in my darling pfb grin

nannymcpee Wed 10-Jul-19 20:32:20

Great mummy you are. When these little ones are born we dont expect that they have their own little personalities we can only work with them not against them. Xxxxcc

HavelockVetinari Wed 10-Jul-19 20:34:45

Parenting is even better than I imagined - even with the shit bits. I struggled to conceive for years before having DS through IVF, and even though he was a truly abysmal sleeper for the first year and a half I'm still in a bubble of happiness at his existence. Sorry if that's soppy! blush

nannymcpee Wed 10-Jul-19 20:34:53

Keep going sweetie parenting aint no job for sissys mom power. Xxxx

Fivebyfivesq Wed 10-Jul-19 20:39:13

Thought it was going to be horrific. Actually find it rewarding and fun. Sleep deprivation is terrible but I’m fulfilled by it in a way I never thought I would be.

Also - I actually found some of the books very helpful. I have found the phrase ‘every baby is different’ to be a massive health visitor cop out - there is actually loads you can learn about the stages of children’s development and so much you can do to support them at each stage. I’ve enjoyed learning about babies from books and other mums’ experiences - this kind of learning can be reassuring and positive - not a competition.

foreverhanging Wed 10-Jul-19 20:54:25

Fuck no. It was sold to me as the most amazing, fulfilling, wonderful thing you'll ever do. Endless cuddles and giggles. The occasional tantrum for hilarious reasons. Exciting to wean them and pick out clothes.


Drudgery most of the time, a lot of whinging, following you around while you try to keep the house afloat, making everything messy, pulling on your clothes, keeping them away from dangerous stuff, needing eyes in the back of your head, cuddles - except you have an elbow in your collarbone or a foot kicking you or your hair being accidentally pulled, tantrums every day about the most ridiculous (not funny) stuff, worrying about her eating enough, cooking things to throw them away again, sometimes going through three outfits a day because she's pooped herself/chucked jam on everything/got wet and screamed to have outfit off. Post natal depression.

Oh and I'm fat now.

(Disclaimer: I fucking love her more than anything, and I would never ever give her back for all the money and time alone in the world. I also cannot believe I made her, and when she is not tantruming or whinging, she is actually so clever and hilarious).

It makes me laugh how naive I was - oh I'll sleep train (definitely couldn't do that), I'll never let her watch tv (hello CBeebies and DisneyLife), I won't let her use a phone or tablet (see previous), I'll be so strict about tantrums (in Tesco walking out with a screaming toddler under one arm saying sorry, sorry). There are more but I can't remember.

foreverhanging Wed 10-Jul-19 20:55:06

@TheDarkPassenger omg this ! Seriously it drives me crazy. Toddlers do not give a fucking shit.

foreverhanging Wed 10-Jul-19 20:56:30

I forgot the sleep. The sleep was the worst. She did not. Fucking. Sleep. All this 'newborns sleep all the time!' She fucking didn't. Ever. She had reflux, and colic. And was generally pissed off at being a baby. She used to wake up every 45 minutes. I nearly died.

AmIRightOrAMeringue Wed 10-Jul-19 21:00:37

I didn't realise how organised I'd have to be

And how much strain it would put on us as a couple at first

Fuckedoffat48b Wed 10-Jul-19 21:03:49

Yes, but he is only 8 months and I hated the newborn bit. But I am the eldest of my generation and had a lot of babies around me growing up so my expectations are as realistic as possible. I'm dreading toddlerhood because I am well aware of what is coming!

We are currently on holiday and it has been lovely despite loads of people naysaying about how awful it would be. I know other new mums who have hated the impact having a baby has had on their ability to 'travel', but I think they were a bit spoiled to begin with, sorry 😶

AgnesNutterWitch Wed 10-Jul-19 21:04:32

I have a 13 month old and being her mum has been a total dream so far. My kid is so easygoing and sweet.

The unexpected part that I've really struggled with is the physical side of motherhood. My pregnancy and labour were complicated and awful, then I had sepsis post partum, and the fallout from my SPD meant that I still had mobility problems up to around seven months after the birth. And breastfeeding, my god, I wasn't prepared. It was hellish at first and even now I'm still breastfeeding and I don't feel like my body's my own. Losing the baby weight was the worst slog because breastfeeding makes me ravenous all the time and getting back to exercising was a long, slow, painful road that I'm still plodding along a year in. Also for the first three months after giving birth, I had to put my finger in my vagina and press on my perineum if I wanted to poo properly because of the episiotomy / tearing. And sex is still painful and just not enjoyable any more.

I had this really naive idea that because I was healthy and quite athletic pre pregnancy that I'd sail through and bounce back, maybe have a few pounds to lose but that would be it. But pregnancy and birth absolutely broke me, it was a shit show.

StripeySocks29 Wed 10-Jul-19 21:04:35

I agree 100% with not everyone feels the instant rush of love, I was all set up for it but when I was pregnant I hadn’t really thought about what my baby would look like, and I’d never been around babies really, so when they handed my baby to me the first thing I felt was shock, I was expecting something akin to a plastic dolly or a cartoon baby not the wrinkly jaundiced snub nosed thing covered in blood that I was holding.

Poetryinaction Wed 10-Jul-19 21:07:36

Pretty much. I have 3 aged 5 and under right now. I totally love it but my husband struggles.

EssentialHummus Wed 10-Jul-19 21:16:25

the quantity of loitering

This. Also, she didn’t look like I expected. And everything everyone else said about stress, tantrums and chores. But then she sticks her fingers up my nose or chases after the ice cream van or puts two words together (she’s 22 months) and I just think she’s the most amazing thing in the world. She’s taken to coming up to me and her dad and saying “Hug?” - I mean, how can you resist?!

carly2803 Wed 10-Jul-19 21:21:00

no-i genuinly had no idea when people said"you wont ever sleep for years"

i thought they were bullshitting.


Mummoomoocow Wed 10-Jul-19 21:27:24

The never ending guilt that you’re doing it wrong.

How monotonous every day becomes between 9 months to 18 months. He’s still 17 months, I’m just being very very hopeful.

Separation anxiety is a genuine real developmental milestone and you should definitely emotionally prepare for your laidback angel to suddenly cling to you like glue and bawl immediately upon leaving the room to use the toilet

The never ending slog that weaning is. My MIL was so excited for weaning and I cannot understand why, it’s the most stressful development thus far! Just eat the fucking food FGS!! I made you all of this food because you’re hungry and you won’t eat it and now your crying because you’re hungry and I have to cook you something else to eat which is going to take another 30 minutes. Oh. My. God. Fuck. Weaning.

Sandybval Wed 10-Jul-19 21:36:48

Some bits have been so much harder than I thought they would be, and others so much better I couldn't even imagine. The hardest when she was first born was the overwhelming feeling of every ounce of freedom feeling like it had been taken away; obviously I knew logically pre birth that a baby would be all consuming, but the feeling was something I couldn't have imagined. I love the little things more than I ever thought I could, but it isn't how I pictured. Not sure what I was expecting though!

Nanajj Thu 11-Jul-19 10:48:18

I am an easy going person ,not gave much thought what people think of me ,and I not one for judging others ,I get on with nearly everyone I meet,I class myself as a likeable person and I am not a jealous person ,I trust everyone.
A few months ago it changed
My grandkids were watching something on their tablet ,and ping a message came through on messanger "hows you ,hows the grandkids?" Wtf is this ? Next thing I know whole message disappeared. I messaged my other half, oh that was someone I knew years ago when I worked on the taxis ,I assumed he ment worked with ,then he added shes a nutter and an a**whole, dont ask me why but I had an off feeling about it so I asked again who it was then asked were you seeing her ,he admitted that he did , now this was 27 years ago before I met him ,I knew what he was like he told me ,he had been married before me and this person was an affair he says lasted 2 weeks
Anyway he told me she had got in touch with him a couple of months before hand he replied to her he said he briefly said he was married and we had our grandkids staying with us and that was it he deleted the message and didnt tell me ,so i messaged her and asked why she after 27 years decided to look my husband up and engage in conversation knowing hes married ,what was she wanted she then started to try and play with my head saying he contacted her ,wanting to meet up ,then said he hadn't done anything wrong it was her ,I told her never to contact my husband again
Now because of this I feel betrayed ,hurt and lost trust in someone who was my rock ,we had the most amazing marriage anyone would ask for always supportive my best friend ,my soulmate now I feel I have lost all that in second ,
He said there was not intentions nothing he just answered and thought nothing of it ,I asked why he hid it from me and lie about who she was ,he said he was very embarrassed and he didnt want me to know that he was an a**shole before he met me
It has made me question everything AIBU
It has been nearly 3 months now and I cant stand this feeling that I have ,I want us to get back to how we were but I just dont know if I can forgive ..
Please help how can I get over this

Nanajj Thu 11-Jul-19 10:59:26

Sorry I think this is in the wrong thread .I'm new to this site

Babdoc Thu 11-Jul-19 11:15:39

It certainly wasn’t at all as I expected. I didn’t expect to be widowed before the youngest was a year old. I didn’t expect the exhaustion, the grief, the trying to juggle a stressful job as a hospital doctor with the loneliness of single parenthood and the pain of bereavement.
I didn’t expect to have to deal with absolutely everything by myself- the cooking, cleaning, gardening, DIY, holiday planning, play supervising, nappies, toilet training, salary earning, being up all night when they were ill, dealing with DD1’s autism and depression and her two attempted suicides by hanging, to the point of being off work myself with stress and anxiety and a complete breakdown.
I thought DH and I would be sharing it. And that those years would actually be happy. Naive fool, eh!

Winsomelosesome Thu 11-Jul-19 11:28:19

I struggle with the lack of gratitude. I’ve never done so much for anyone else that has been met with utter disgust 😂

Lol, yes this^. We're on holiday just now, a holiday I've saved hard for (single parent). The beach is too rocky, the food's weird, the pool's too salty! Wtf! I've had to bite my tongue hard.

In all honesty though I never had any expectations as I never planned to have children, one accidental pregnancy in my late 30's and well it's an experience that's for sure, thankfully I got a pretty easy one but yes more gratitude sure would be nice, maybe in another 20 years, took me until my mid 20's I think to appreciate my parents.

my2bundles Thu 11-Jul-19 11:38:59

If you work in childcare of some sort before having children don't be deluded into thinking raising your own will be the same .

Zaphodsotherhead Thu 11-Jul-19 12:01:47

But what can we do? I have a friend who's just given birth, and she's been very depressed and keeps saying 'why didn't anyone TELL me it would be like this?'

But when you're all glowing and pregnant and everyone is very interested in you and chats to you about what you're having, and nursery decorating and the best prams and all that - would you even listen if anyone told you how grim it's going to be? Obviously, it might be grim for THEM, but it's going to be different for you and your little angel...

And if you try to tell them about not loving your baby immediately, sleepless nights, arguments with your partner, loneliness, etc, you are accused of being negative and trying to ruin their happiness!

LadyRannaldini Thu 11-Jul-19 13:03:09

Never read a book either before or after the birth, never got into baby conversations, such a boring subject, never got involved in tiresome mother and baby groups. I honestly think that a lot of the unhappiness felt by modern mothers is having a rose-tinted view and too high expectations. One only has to read many of the posts on here, I'm not sure if they're very sad or very funny.
Lighten up, go with the flow and remember that you and yours are nothing special, people have been having babies since time immemorial. In thirty years time what you're doing will probably be sneered at and you'll be very unhappy because your books told you differently.

LadyRannaldini Thu 11-Jul-19 13:08:59

Separation anxiety is a genuine real developmental milestone

Largely brought on with the modern attitude of carrying the baby around 24/7, slings in the house (!), of course they have 'anxiety' when left! The idea of the 'little family' to the exclusion of everyone else is not doing babies any favours, if mothers were not so precious their babies would grow into happier, more secure children.

MollysMummy2010 Thu 11-Jul-19 13:17:56

I found the baby and toddler years easy and fun. Parenting a 9 year old is hell. I expected some bumpy teenage years but actually from 7 to now have been awful and I would like to run away and hide.

formerbabe Thu 11-Jul-19 13:20:27

if mothers were not so precious their babies would grow into happier, more secure children

So many threads on these boards from women who can't cope with visitors or relatives holding their baby or someone else giving them a bottle, or a member of the public cooing over the pram. It's just ridiculous.

Jayne35 Thu 11-Jul-19 13:20:57

Separation anxiety is a genuine real developmental milestone

Largely brought on with the modern attitude of carrying the baby around 24/7, slings in the house (!), of course they have 'anxiety' when left! The idea of the 'little family' to the exclusion of everyone else is not doing babies any favours, if mothers were not so precious their babies would grow into happier, more secure children.

This, absolutely. My DCS are 23/21 and I would not say I was a great parent but I muddled through and they are ok. Though I could leave leave them with anyone and they were fine, which helped a great deal.

Doesn't suddenly get better when they are adults though, DD is still a stroppy teen on occasion at 23!

formerbabe Thu 11-Jul-19 13:24:27

I love pregnancy, birth and the baby stage.

Toddlerhood is hellish and so of the reasons I'll never have another.

Primary age is pretty nice.

My eldest is rapidly heading towards his teens. If I say good morning to him, he usually mutters 'idiot' under his breath.

Looking forward to the next few years... should be interesting.

Mummoomoocow Thu 11-Jul-19 14:29:20

@LadyRannaldini what a judgemental post. Why are you assuming I carry my child in a sling and ward off relatives holding him, lending to him being insecurely attached?

Honestly, fuck off with that.

nannymcpee Thu 11-Jul-19 22:39:27

Bless you. 😚😚

Loudlady34 Fri 12-Jul-19 11:08:20

before I got pregnant, I never thought of the huge amount of worry that would start as soon as you see the positive pregnancy test, and that it will last for the rest of your life as you never stop worrying about your kids!!
I also never expected to have a child with behavioural problems.

PriestessModwena Sat 13-Jul-19 22:53:13

I'm so glad other shared their stories. I think it needs to be normalised that it's not rainbows & fluffy clouds, it's ok to feel how you do. Many blessings to everyone.

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