Children…. Some people want them and some people do not. It’s no secret that children change your entire life. Those of us who have children would tell you, we couldn’t imagine our lives without them. Our children are a part of us; they’re a piece of our heart and DNA walking outside of our body. Adapting to having children can be a challenge, but they add many new and exciting pleasures to our lives. I’m a mother of two beautiful children who I love dearly, but they do drive me crazy sometimes. People will tell you how wonderful children are, how they make us feel complete, and they are all of those things plus more. However, let’s get real for a minute and talk about 15 things people don’t always tell you about having children.
1. Their very existence will change a lot in your relationship
While you may love your children unconditionally, they affect and change your marriage or relationship in many ways. Some of those changes are obvious, but not all of them. I think it is very difficult balance between, being an individual person, a partner, and a parent. Making time for yourself, let alone your partner becomes difficult while managing your children and everything else in your life. There will be times when you feel like you need to clone yourself to give everything the attention it requires; your marriage, home, career and extra circular activities. You will be exhausted at the end of most days and those times where the two of you lounged around watching TV will become less and less. Intimacy, alone time, and one on one time will be hard to squeeze in. In most cases children bring their parents closer, but at the same time add new stresses to the relationship. Keeping a strong relationship and emotional bond requires work, with or without children.
2. You will crave alone time
Not only will it be difficult for you to have alone time with your partner, but for yourself as well. Children demand so much of you and there will be phases where you simply can’t even go to the bathroom alone. There will be times you find yourself driving down the road with the radio turned off for the quietness and piece of mind. You will crave alone time and silence, but then when you get it, you will miss your family.
3. They will drive you insane sometimes
Oh yes, they will drive you crazy sometimes. They will ask you questions nonstop, tell you how to drive from the back seat, date others you don’t like, listen to music you can’t stand, say they want something to eat and then throw it away, talk back to you, and this list could go on and on. Nonetheless, they will push you to the edge and it becomes more about learning to pick your battles.
4. They will make you cry and laugh, a lot
Children at a young age can be funny and amusing while, learning to talk and walk. As the years go by, they will make you laugh and cry – – a lot, over the smallest and biggest things you can imagine. Children have a lot of spunk and personality that they express differently through each phase they encounter. You will cry with tears of joy and laugh until your stomach hurts. You will have emotions you don’t know to expect sometimes; when they have their first days of school, graduations, marriage, having children of their own and many more through their experiences. You will hurt and cry for your children, for their endurance of pains you cannot take away. For their worries, fears, and things you cannot stop from happening during their life. When you look at your children, you see them with your heart. Your heart will absorb many of your children’s joys and pains throughout the journey.
5. You will get angry and have to walk away sometimes
It is very easy to forget the age of your child when their attitude and behavior can challenge your nerves. Children at some point will start to have willpower and crave independence. They will test boundaries, act disrespectful, make bad decisions and more; that will test your patience and anger levels. Children will be angry and mad at you too sometimes, to express their emotions for things they are upset about. Anger is normal, but our reactions are the most important thing. Be aware of how you react to anger and what aggression you show. We set examples for our children, model acceptable behavior for them to follow, and teach them methods to manage and cope with their anger. Something my five-year old daughter taught me was “mistakes happen mom.” It’s important to understand that mistakes will happen and that children are learning. Something I’m still learning… Patience and reaction.
6. They are the best and worst of you
Your children are a reflection of you however, they are not you. Children learn, they observe and react. Children have a way of being a living and walking mirror of their parents because they mimic what they see. They mimic the good and the bad things; they see and then, they do. We may not always set the best example or be the best role models, but we should try to be. What we do as parents does matter, drastically! Children are born innocent and pure. We teach them their habits and attitudes. Our children look at us for example and we set them, unknowingly realizing the impact of how we conduct ourselves and the power of our influences. Smoking, drinking, speaking negatively about others, and bad language is something children see daily now. Be aware of what your behaviors and examples are displaying for them to see. Do what you say, when you mean…. what you say to them.
7. They will teach you things you’ve forgotten
Children are the best teachers when it comes to reminding us things we have forgotten and adding value for things we never realized we were lacking. Children can teach us to forgive, slow down and be carefree in the moment. Children are innocent, love without hesitations or expectations of anything in return other than, friendship and love. They can teach us a lot of practical lessons if we learn to observe them. They teach us how simple and small things can be rewarding, to find laughter and happiness from everyday excitements, have compassion and empathy for others in pain, and that affection is a powerful behavior. Children see the world through goggled eyes; they are innocent. They see and find astonishment in everyday things; as they explore, learn, forgive and love.
8. They will break your heart
Children will break your heart… over and over again. The first time they tell you that they hate you, is something you won’t forget. They will make bad decisions and may choose to have a life you would not want for them. As a parent, it will be difficult to allow your children to make mistakes and let them learn from them. Your heart will break for them, as you have to stand by and watch them experience things in life. You will feel unbearable grief for their experiences and hardships. Human is… Human, none of us are perfect; mistakes, bad decisions, and unplanned events all have a way of impacting your children and you.
9. There will be financial struggles
It’s not a surprise that children add financial pressures to your life. Children cost a lot of money and I don’t think anyone being honest, would tell you other wise. Expenses add up and things like child care cost, activities, hobbies, food, clothing, school supplies, college, and health insurance – just to name a few, can be financially exhausting. The cost of raising a child is the biggest investment you will ever make. However, when you think about the cost of children…. nobody can really afford them, but we just do.
10. You will love them unconditionally, but be scared to death.
There is a pure and raw kind of love between a parent and child. You will love your child so much that you will do anything you can for them. You will want to protect them from as many things as you can, but you will not be able to protect them from everything. There will come times , when the very nature of the world we live in, will scare you to death because of what our children will have to face during their lifetime. There is so much anger in this world and our children will face evils in their every day life that was not in ours. There is no such thing as safe anymore; violence and tragedies now happen in places like schools. The best thing we can do is teach our children the realistic nature of the world they are growing up in. That ultimately, hurting people…. is still hurting people. Teach them to have compassion, forgiveness, understanding, and empathy for others. Teach them the importance of self-control and the difference between right and wrong.
11. You will disappointment them even when you try your best not to
I don’t think any parent would ever deliberately emotionally or physically hurt their child; at least not a good parent. As parents we want the best for our children, want to give the best opportunities, and a better life. Unfortunately, at some point at another… we will disappoint them. Hopefully we will not disappoint our children in large significant ways, but rather small ones that have minor impacts on them. There will be times when you cannot get them something they want, times when you cannot be somewhere with them, when you say something you wish you could take back, and moments you wish you could erase. At the end of the day, just be there and support them the best way you can. Do not let the contents of our lives be mistaken for quality of it.
12. You will question and struggle with how your decisions affect them
As parents we play a vital and irreplaceable role in our children’s lives. Our decisions have a very large impact on them physically, emotionally, and mentally. I have said it before in my blog, having children is a tremendous responsibility that there is no way to prep for. Every decisions and action we make as a parent plays either a small or large roles in who our children could become. It’s my responsibility to make sure they are taught right from wrong, have values, ethics, understand and cope from disappointments, how to appreciate successes, and to have respect themselves and others.
13. You will change because of your children
Change is normal with or without children. As we grow older we tend to change due to responsibilities and life. When you have children your identity changes because your role in life changes. You now are responsible for the well-being of another life. Before long you will notice that things that were once important are not as important now. You will want to change and better yourself, for the sake of your children. Self-development and taking care of “you” because of them, is vital.
14. You will start to notice how fast time goes by
You blink and your children go from newborns to toddlers, then teens to adults. BAM just like that. As you get older you will slow down some to savor the finest moments that you can’t get back. You will begin to understand that the to do list, errands, and choirs will always be there, but your children will be grown and gone before you know it. When your children become independent you will be proud of them, but eventually you will miss their dependence.
15. They will change how you view life
Having children is like getting new eyes and a larger heart to rediscover the world with. They have a way of bring more joy, laughter, anger and sadness into your world than you can ever imagine. Children have a way of making you see the world differently…. for the goodness and evils it has. You will appreciate family, loyalty, friendships, trust and bonds that add value, character, and integrity to your children’s lives.
Children are far more complicated than easy. Being a good parent and the best we can be, is difficult. As parents, we are not perfect and even in doing our best we will still fall short sometimes. Some of the most important things to say are not always said; I was wrong, I am sorry, I shouldn’t have acted that way, and I love you. As a parent I can tell you, it is sometimes more difficult than I can express; to make the best decisions, show and express enough love and affection, the right amount of discipline and guidance, that will shape my children into the best they can be. In the real-world children do not come with a manual and there is no script for us to follow. As parents we have a responsibility to our children to be and do the very best we can, to love them unconditionally, support and encourage them, and provide them with a safe and stable environment. As a parent you will hurt, love, laugh and cry… more than you can ever comprehend unless, you are already a parent. Then you know all to well, the struggle is real.