Families logo

A List of Things People Never Told Me About Parenting!

As a parent to several children, there were some things I wish I had known back then. This is a list of things I wish I had been told. Some are humorous, and some are serious.

By Carol TownendPublished 5 years ago 10 min read
Photo by Caleb Woods on Unsplash

I had my first child at just 18 years old, and I had no idea what parenting would be like! People told me many things, however nothing could prepare me for the unexpected. Here is a list of things I wish I had been told about parenting:

1. Giving birth hurts!

I remember being stuck in that labour room for over seven hours, thinking "Does this ever end?" and "Oh god, my insides are falling out!" Pregnancy was seen through 'rose-tinted glasses,' even after reading many books, I'd tell myself, "It won't be that bad! I won't swear or curse!" Believe me, it was, and I did swear and curse. When I finally got gas and air, I broke the mask. I ended up with an epidural in the end, that took some of the pain away, but then I had another problem, I couldn't feel the pushing sensation! Remember if you want a baby, giving birth hurts, and having pain relief is nothing to feel guilty for.

2. Baby poo stinks!

The first time I changed a smelly nappy, I gipped all the way through it, and this didn't go away after that either! I thought only babies were going to be sick until I found myself diving for the toilet several times after changing smelly nappies! BE WARNED: This doesn't go away! I was the same with all 6 of my babies. The only way to deal with it was to put a peg on my nose!

3. Shopping trips turn into marathon runs!

You get your baby fed, clean, and sleeping in the pram. Your bag is packed and you make a mental checklist to ensure you haven't forgotten anything. In fact, you set off so sure that you haven't forgotten anything, until the bus is due in about five minutes time, and your baby starts screaming for a bottle, and DAMN! You realise that you forgot the baby's milk! As your baby gets to the weaning stage, these trips take longer. You think you've cracked the routine, and shopping trips are going to run smooth, when you suddenly realize your baby doesn't agree with your routine, and decides they want a feeding, whenever and wherever they want! Changing nappies becomes an integral part of that shopping trip. You set off with your baby in a clean nappy, and you don't expect him/her to need changing for a while, so you think, "Three nappies will do it!" However, your baby decides to have a marathon of events, filling a nappy one after the other, and your shopping trip has now turned into a marathon of feeds and nappy changing. Well done, you've just completed your first 10k race through time!

4. Tantrums have no place or time!

You wake up expecting a peaceful day. The sun is shining, and you decide you're going to take your children out for the day. Your children wake up in a seemingly good mood, excited about the trip, and look forward to it. However, you get to the destination of your choice, and you're faced with a list of 'I want everything,' 'I don't cares!,' 'We're not budging,' fights, and tantrums over the least little thing! As I found out, children show no remorse for where these tantrums happen. You can be visiting a toy store for treats, on a fun packed holiday, and I guarantee a few tantrums will take place, and some days, no professional advice in the world can stop them. In fact, I learned that it doesn't matter how good your parenting technique is, if your children are going to tantrum, they are going to do it anyway!

5. A tidy house no longer exists!

You see it everywhere; on television, in parenting magazines, on the web. These people who seem to have spotless houses and children. However, there is one problem with this portrayal of parenting, it is false, it doesn't exist! Unless of course, you're one of these parents who becomes bound to the prison of never going anywhere or doing anything for yourself, because you are constantly tidying up! I used to be one of these parents, because some 'parenting experts' tried teaching me that the only way to bring children up, was to be spick and span. Believe me, they were so wrong! It got to a point where every single minute of my day was spent tidying while the children made a mess as I was doing it, and I had no time to spend with my partner or my children. When you have children, prepare for the mess, and learn to cope with it. Even when they get older, you will find you're constantly telling them to tidy up after themselves, or you're picking things up after them. The point is, housework will always exist, but your children will not remain young forever. So, the best thing to do is keep the house clean, but keep tidying to a minimum. I used to get my children to have a 'tidy session' with me just before they got ready for bed, and if it wasn't perfect, so what, at least they tried! Remember, if you teach your children to be spotless all the time, they will grow up frustrated, and they will start to think that having a spotless house is more important than achieving or taking care of themselves. It is important to accept some mess from the children, and not be overly-strict with it.

6. The television is owned by the children!

In our house, it was a fight to get the television remote from the children. In fact, it became impossible for me and my partner to watch anything we wanted to watch! Even setting television times for the children became extremely difficult. They would wake up before us, come downstairs and put their programmes on before breakfast, and sometimes they would watch them all day. Eventually we tried creating some rules. Rule number one was no television before breakfast. Rule number two was that television was only allowed after school, once homework had been completed. Rule number three was that the children had specific days where they went out, and watched no television, and rule number four, the television became 'parents time after seven PM. These rules didn't always work, and the children had many tantrums. We did the same with computer time too. Even if the children don't like these rules, it is important. Too many children are spending far too much time in front of a screen, and the invention of technology is not helping with this. My children had days where homework would be forgotten, because screen time would take over. Therefore it might cause an apocalypse in your house, but these rules are important.

7. Getting a bath becomes a wrestling match as the children get older!

There were days when the children were young, when you could get them bathed and settled, then finally get one yourself. However, as the children get older, it isn't long before you start to realize the bathroom now belongs to them, and you're walking around smelling like a bog with greasy hair, as your house turns into 'battle of the bathroom.' Not everyone lives in a house with several bathrooms, and like myself, there are parents who have had more than one child. I am in a house with one bath and a toilet upstairs and a downstairs toilet. It got to a point where I had to get up at times like 4 AM in the morning just so that I could get a bath. Eventually, I created at least two days a week where the children had to use the bathroom before a certain time in the evening and in the mornings. This might seem like a daft rule, but with so many children in the house, my own self-care was becoming virtually non-existent, and finding a couple of minutes just to brush my teeth was becoming a nightmare.

8. "I will not do chores!"

It can be anything from simply asking your child to wash up, to tidying their rooms. If your children are not going to do them, then no amount of persuasion or bribery will work! You're going to find that your children prefer to sleep in a messy bedroom rather than a tidy one, and you'll soon discover that 'clean plates' are not on your child's appetite. I once tidied my children's clothes away, only to find that my daughters had got them out of the wardrobe and strategically placed them all over the floor. When I asked them why they had done this, I was simply told "We can find our clothes better." This to me just confirms that children understand the concept 'messy' better than 'tidy,' so don't waste your time arguing over it. Sometimes it is best to shut the door, let them do what they need to do, and when they can't find anything, you'll see it's a different story altogether.

9. Children's favourite words are, "I want, I want, I want!"

You all know this one. It's that trip into town when your children suddenly realize they don't have the latest trends, and they think money grows on trees. "Mum! These trainers are really cool. All my friends have them, can I have a pair too?" You look at the cost, £300! You hesitate, and then try saying "No!" explaining that they cost far too much, while your child stands in the middle of town throwing a tantrum, telling you how poorly treated they are, and that you never seem to have any money. These tantrums can last all day, and a parent has to be very resilient and patient to stick with their decision. However, no matter how embarrassing your child's tantrums seem, we must stick with it. If we don't, our children grow up not understanding the value of money, and they will start to believe that 'trends' are worth more than anything else in their lives.

10. The "I'm in love, and I'm having lots of kids, and getting married" story!

Children do start attempting relationships and discovering love from a younger age than makes us parents feel comfortable. They often become besotted, and believe that their relationship is the 'ultimate,' and that it will last forever. They live in a fantasy world, where they will talk about having kids and getting married from a young age, usually thrown in with 'We're going to live in a big house, and have lots of money!' No matter how young they are, we do need to talk about reality, and how things really work in the real world. We need to make them aware that they are too young to think in this way, and that schoolwork and other things take priority over boyfriends. On the other hand, we also need to see the funny side and not take this too seriously. Children often form images in their minds, and imagine how life will be when they grow up. They often attempt to be 'like parents,' so if you are married and have a big house, they will imagine doing the same thing.

Every child has the 'fairy-tale romance' dream. They see it in children's programmes such as Barbie, and they often model their lives based on that. While they are young, we need to be aware of how far they go, and it is ok to talk about sex if they are at an age where they can understand it, and to make sure they are not doing anything dangerous, and that their idea of 'experimental' relationships are age appropriate. As they grow, the 'safe sex' talk is important, as children do start experimenting from an early age, and they may not understand the consequences either. The important thing is not to make them feel too uncomfortable or uneasy, but to make them aware of it, without putting them off from having boyfriends, after all, we have all been there.


About the Creator

Carol Townend

Fiction, Horror, Sex, Love, Mental Health, Children's fiction and more. You'll find many stories in my profile. I don't believe in sticking with one Niche! I write, but I also read a lot too.

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.