Parents Of 2 Or More Kids Are Sharing The Biggest Misconceptions Non-Parents Believe About Having Children
Note: This post contains a brief mention of mental illness and trauma.
Dedicated parents should be celebrated for the dedication they have to caring for their children. Raising any number of children is an important task, and some may choose to initiate a larger family dynamic and have multiple children.
I recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community with two or more children to share misconceptions they've heard about raising families. Here are some of the enlightening responses we received.
1. “Raising these new people and seeing them grow and learn and show their personality is amazing and fun! Yes, there are a lot of hard or gross things about being a parent, but it's not the nightmare that social media often makes it out to be."
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2. "I do have an identity outside of my children and family. Yes, of course, they take up a lot of capacity, time, emotions, etc., but I'm still a whole person outside of them. Maybe that's not the case with other parents, but being myself – kid or not – is very important to me.”
“Also the idea that as a parent of more than one child you don't have time for anything but children; my orphan friends often work 60+ hour weeks and are just as busy but with different priorities. I don't count myself as 'busier', although yes, my plate may look different and I have more top hats in my life, but we're all busy!"
3. “A big misconception is that you lose your identity. It's difficult at first to separate parenting from what it was before, with late nights, lack of sleep, and general worries. But it comes back. I found that going back to work where I had a different identity than just being a mom helped immensely. And the older the children get, the more you become your own person again. Kids can change things, but trust me when I say you will embrace the change and find new ways to cope."
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4. "The biggest misconception is that 'it goes by so quickly.' No it does not. Some days just drag on and I look forward to the many cups of coffee I will drink and the brief silence of the nap.”
"I love my children and would do anything in the world for them, but the days I keep track of how many episodes of Peppa Pig we've watched are as long as Frodo's journey into Mordor. I always look back at photos makes me think that moments long gone feel like yesterday, but in my heart I know those moments were ages ago, for which I'm kinda grateful. I can enjoy all the little moments.”
5. "That you should cherish every moment or miss the baby years. I am very happy when I see our children grow and change to become independent people. The Talmud says of children: 'We push away with the left hand, but we approach with the right hand.' Love and cherish your children, but also allow them the freedom to be themselves." - Merylblintz
6. "That it's totally miserable and we can't wait for the child-free time. It can definitely exhaust you; waking up with a hangover and getting three kids up by 8am, dressing, feeding them and putting them in the car, driving across town to take them to different schools and/or daycares is a LOT. But I miss them *so much* when I'm not with them. Sometimes it hurts physically.”
"Also, everyone talks about the importance of financial preparedness before becoming a parent, but I rarely see discussions about being emotionally prepared, especially if you've had a history of mental illness or trauma. Pregnancy, childbirth, childbirth, sleepless nights, excessive crying, breastfeeding difficulties - all of this and more will come *in the first week* and it *will* be a trigger for trauma reactions and aggravated mental illness. There is absolutely no getting around it. .. So if you want to become parents in the future, while you're busy preparing the college fund and the down payment for your starter home, go to therapy too and put it ahead of your wealth. Money can run out, houses burn down, and if something catastrophic happens, you have to deal with it in a healthy way for your children."
7. "Sleep when the baby sleeps." I have to take care of other children when the baby sleeps."
8. "Most of the time, it's all the things they say they'd 'never' do. There were a lot of things I said I would never do before I had kids, but here we are. I don't think people always understand how much parenting can be about survival. I have two children and one has a rare chromosomal disorder. So there are things I never did with my eldest that I do with my youngest because the game changes completely when the second child has special needs.” —l401ddeb9b
9. "Childless friends assume we're inflexible if we don't plan activities during the nap. It's just not worth it! My two, with no naps, turn them into actual gremlins, and it will likely affect bedtime as well. I'm sorry we can't have lunch at a set time, but I don't need a reason for an extension of bedtime or additional tantrums!"
10. "That kids cost a lot of money. Of course you need things for them, but it doesn't have to cost a bomb. There's so much you can get cheap or second-hand, and half the stuff you think you really don't need."
11. "I have three kids and my hands are never as full as people say...but my heart is."
12. "That every day is a vacation as a housewife."
13. "That the more you have, you almost become an expert on babies. Every baby is different, so what worked for one may not necessarily work for the next. With every baby you have to learn something about them!”
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14. “I have five children ranging in age from 13 years to four months. I love how everyone I know who doesn't have kids assumes that the two eldest (who are 13 and 11 years old) are a big help with toddlers and babies. Yes, they help when we ask, but they are children themselves and cannot be expected to help us as parents.”
“Being a stay-at-home mom is not for the faint of heart. And no, my elders do NOT change diapers. For some weird reason I get asked that all the time.”
15. "'It's getting easier.' No, it doesn't. You just get a thicker skin and become a little deaf to the screams and screams."
16. "My favorite has always been, 'You're not really a parent until you've had your second child,' as if my daughter's first four years didn't count. Other people said I wasn't a real mom until I had a son AND a daughter. Because boys are soooo different when they're newborn.”
17. "My 'favourite' comment was, 'We have a puppy, so it's like a baby!' - wrong. I can't leave my child in the cage unattended half the day.”
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18. "I'm a foster parent to children as young as 13, and those without children always say I'm not a real parent, more of a mentor. Anyone with a child who is at least 13 years old calls me a parent and never says I'm like a mentor. Education is education, and teenagers have parents too!”
- BuzzFeed users
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19. "I don't share the idea that having multiple children leads to sibling rivalry and jealousy of the new baby. I've always worked to avoid jealousy by encouraging closeness between them, never comparing them and answering their calls for Mom the first time even when I'm busy with the baby. While I can't help them yet, at least I can acknowledge them and prove that their new sibling isn't monopolizing my attention."
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Note: Some answers have been edited slightly for length and/or clarity.
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