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21 things no one tells you about being a parent

You can speculate plenty about how your life will change when you have kids—but in truth, you’ll never really know until you have one

Written by
Vivian Manning-Schaffel

As rewarding as it can be, raising children is the ultimate Darwinist exercise—only the strong and resourceful survive. Heading to the coolest parksbeaches and even going picnicking used to be whole different different ballgame. You won’t really know what you’re capable of—until now.

1. You will question your beliefs on the daily. The weight of keeping another person alive can induce an existential crisis in even the most solid of humans.

2. You’ll bribe like a mafioso. Kids don’t generally eat, sleep, poop and behave just ‘cause.

3. Going to Target by yourself equals a restorative spa retreat. Completing a task or finishing a sentence without interruption is so damn freeing, where it happens is irrelevant.

4. Your arms will be stupidly buff. Hoisting a 20 lb. toddler, a stroller and two bags of groceries around town will leave you effortlessly cut.

5. Your calves will be even buffer. Pushing a stroller containing same toddler for countless hours almost eliminates the need for barre class.  

6. You’ll be forced to wait in line for things you shouldn’t have to wait in line for. Like, after-school classes and ice cream. Shame no one’s figured out how to combine the two. 

7. Your Netflix will only recommend kids’ shows. Greys Anatomy? Fuggetaboutit. Dora, The Magic Schoolbus and Curious George will be all up in your business, all the time. Time to make a separate profile?

8. A decent education is not a given. You’ll write an award-winning dissertation and kiss many an ass just to get your kid into preschool. Then, elementary school. Then, middle school. Then, high school. With no shame in your game.

9. You’ll lie like a politician. From the existence of the tooth fairy to the existence of a dead fish, you will say almost anything to make your people happy.

10. Making it to Labor and Delivery is a feat in and of itself. And if you pull it off, you’ll recite the story like a scene out of Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

11. You’ll (sometimes) want sleep more than sex. You can’t get it up if you can barely get upright.

12. You’ll want your kids to sleep more than anything. Please dear God, fall asleep. Please?

13. Camp is really, really expensive. As are Wiis. As are all things kids want/like/need. 

14. You’ll get more done in an hour than others do in a day. You’ll heroically feed a baby, argue with your mother and run a business all at once, each and every day.

15. You’ll detach from prized possessions. As kids aren’t exactly born with the grace of Misty Copeland, your days of splurging on statement furniture are over—for now.  

16. There is no such thing as privacy. Even without an open door policy, spend a second too long on the bowl and you’re hostage to your child’s demands.

17. Very little will faze you. Full diapers, baby vomit, and trips to the ER make you unscarable—you’ve lived through so much pint-sized mayhem you could write your own horror movie.  

18. You’ll show off your kid to a stranger. I mean, they are pretty awesome.

19. You’ll regurgitate your parents most played platitudes. What’s worse, you’ll do this without a trace of irony.

20. You won’t sweat the small stuff. So many diapers to change, such little time for bulls*it. 

21. Your FOMO will turn into FOGO. Because you now know nothing happening outside your four walls really matters that much.

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