25 Hard-to-Swallow Truths About Parenthood, According To Parents

Published 4 days ago

Parenting is often depicted through a rosy lens, showcasing the joys and precious moments of raising children. However, the reality of parenting is multifaceted, encompassing challenges and harsh truths that are seldom discussed openly.

Recently, a Reddit user posed a poignant question: “Parents of Reddit, what are some harsh realities of having kids?” The responses were candid and enlightening, offering a glimpse into the less glamorous aspects of parenting. Scroll below to read some of them.

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Image source: iamnomansland, August de Richelieu

Children will (and should) say things that will hurt your feelings and p**s you off. Now, that’s not to say they should be allowed to do so without any type of consequence, but this is a vital part of their growing and learning to become their own human.

The hard part is that you, as the adult, have to figure out how to navigate this without taking it personally, losing your s**t, and turning into a tyrant. You also have to learn when and how to address it, and when and how to let it go.

It’s a really tough balancing act, especially if you have a child who is neurodivergent and struggles with impulse and emotional control.


Lots of good answers here already. So I’ll try to toss out a slightly different one. I call it the “black mirror” I feel like kids learn way more from watching you exist than from you teaching them. And sometimes I will see my older son speak a certain way to his brother or me. Or do a certain thing. And it’s like watching my bad habits or faults manifest in another being. In the best of times it makes me want to be a better person. But also I am human and I have faults. And I get tired or stressed or hungry or whatever like anyone else.

Image source: I-Trusted-the-Fart


That other people will never ‘*get it*’ until they have one of their own.

It’s almost hilarious. “Oh, I will do x,y and z when we have our kid!”

“How hard can THAT be?”

“MY baby won’t etc…”

Then, when they actually do have a child, how it all goes out the f*****g window.

Oh, and having a pet is *NOTHING* like having a kid. It just is not.

You’re pet isn’t going to end up on heroin, or drive drunk, or join a cult.

Image source: AE_WILLIAMS


Image source: LunarLeopard67, Allan Mas

You’re unrealistically hopeful if you think your child will turn out how you want them to.

It is harder than juggling chainsaws to find a balance between being lenient enough to gain your child’s respect, but strict enough that they learn to conduct themselves appropriately, be considerate of people other than themselves, and become decent humans.

You should have kids if you passionately want to, from the bottom of your heart. Not because ‘it’s what people do’. Not because your partner wants them. Not because your parents want grandchildren.


Image source: HoweverFutile, Kamaji Ogino

Time goes so much faster. And not just because you’re watching them grow up and change but just because every task with a kid takes SO LONG.


Not sure if this quite fits the question, but somethings I think about how much of a misnomer it is to say “having a baby”.

That part is so brief, and also not at all the point. We’re not setting out to create a baby, but to create an adult.

That’s the whole journey, and the most important part is helping a brand new kid—>adult with their whole psychological framing of everything, empathy, respect, patience, discipline, ambition, self esteem.

Babies are kind of the easy part.

Image source: beatsinthesky


Image source: Interesting-Guest880, Vlada Karpovich

Your mourn each stage they grow out of. Then you celebrate the new stage. It’s an going cycle of mourning and then celebrating.

You celebrate them crawling, then you realise that they’re not always going to crawl to you. You celebrate them going to school, then it hits you that you don’t have a baby anymore.


Image source: GrammatonYHWH, William Fortunato

Think about how many times you use the bathroom. You probably poo once a day and pee 5 times per day.

Double that number. That’s how many diapers you have to change **EVERY . SINGLE . DAY** for a newborn child.

Babies also don’t stand still. They like to move around and wiggle. You aren’t qualified when you can put a diaper on a doll. You are qualified when you can do it on a feral bobcat.


Image source: Melopossum

That your kid doesn’t owe you anything. They never asked to be born and you didn’t do them a favor by bringing them here. You going through pregnancy and raising a baby and feeding and clothing them? That’s your responsibility and not a favor.


Image source: nickles72, Daria Obymaha

Your own flaws show up and you need to show at least a way to fix them. And school starts at eight. So the alarm goes at 5:55 ….


Image source: EndlesslyUnfinished, Karolina Kaboompics

How much they cost! I don’t have kids, but most of my friends do, and all I hear about is how they’re always broke because little Johnny did this and tiny Sarah ate a bee and that’s how they found out she’s allergic.. and I’m over here like, nah, I’ll just have a cat.


There is a short person that insists on holding my hand when I use the toilet.

Nobody explained the absolute lack of privacy you’ll have.

Image source: Saarlak


Image source: bretty666, Kristina Paukshtite

Want to do something quickly? you can’t. you now have another human to care for/think about for a very long time, even after they turn 18.


Image source: cjacked-, Juan Salamanca

Realizing that a “vacation” is now just listening to your kids fight, having to buy expensive food they won’t eat, and not sleeping for a couple of weeks a year.

There are moments when you feel like they’re enjoying things and building core memories, allowing you to feel the joy of having those experiences with them.

But in the end you’re just doing the same child care in a more expensive place


Image source: anon, cottonbro studio

You’ll be sad and miss the child who is gone as they age. Because of how much they change and grow, for the first several years they’re basically a new person every 6 months and you’ll miss who they were. For example, my son is nearly 7 and I sometimes miss my 2 year old, who was super cute and I loved dearly, but will never ever see again.

You love who they are as they grow, but there’s a palpable sadness that comes along with it, too.


Image source: Rare_Ease_662, RDNE Stock project

Sometimes your kids grow up and develop personalities that you don’t like or that are incompatible with your own.


Image source: Phantasmai, Lisa Fotios

You might not be attached to that child right away, maybe even for a while after, AND THAT IS OKAY. It is so completely okay to not know how to sort all that right away.

I had my first last year. I come from a long line of stoic women who show very little emotion even doing the most nurturing task. I was of course excited to finally be having kids, but when I paced around 41wks pregnant I felt no motherly bond. My body was doing something it was designed to do and I was along for the ride. When they layed her on my chest I reacted as they instructed me, that’s all I had.

For the first month of her life I didn’t feel that connection, and with waking every hour and a half for feeding plus seeing how it was stressing my partner out (who is not a night owl, and I am not an early bird) I too went into that stoic autopilot. My brain said “child needs x, provide x”. I didn’t even know what to call her! I’d be staring at this brand new little human and saying her name sounded too formal, but not addressing her before talking felt odd. My brain was slowly learning how to categorize all this.

Around week 6 (and after sleep was a bit better, waking every maybe 4 hours instead of 2?) I think that motherly instinct came around. Suddenly I could tell her different cries apart, and when I’d have conversation with her I found I’d sprinkle smiles and bounces in, it was great. I finally felt a small sparkle of mommy love. She’s 8mos now and hell on wheels with her standing and scooting everywhere, haha. Now I know all about her and love her to pieces.


Image source: anon, Keira Burton

That there are going to be some days you’ll wish you didn’t have children.
Yes, it happens. No, you’re not a terrible parent. That s**t is hard.


Image source: Ben716, Yan Krukau

The amount of time you spend standing around waiting, at parks, playgrounds, to get out the door, into the car etc etc. I totally underestimated that.


Image source: sebestienn, Karolina Kaboompics

Get a second fridge and watch your food bill soar. All your bills will soar. And right when all the bills are paid they will break something, need a hospital visit, or an event is coming up, or fate finds a way to siphon more money out of you.


That any mental health or neurodivergent issues the parent has are going to be exacerbated x 100.

That you will almost constantly feel like a f**k-up, either with regards to raising the child, to effectively handling the non-kid parts of your life.

Image source: Reasonable_Yogurt519


Image source: HungryRaccoon3, Ahsanjaya

Say goodbye to your disposable income and sleeping through the night.


Image source: mynamecouldbesam, Alexander Taranenko

Weekends spent in your car waiting for your offspring to complete various activities.


Image source: DragnSerenityTardis, Creation Hill

The love is so strong you wonder how your heart can hold it and knowing you would take a bullet, run into a burning building or do anything for them but also have many moments (often in the same day) when you think your head will explode from your internal screams of “I hate being a mother!”.


There is no one single way to parent that is universally right. All children are individuals and even within the same family each requires their own approach to everything.

Also for future parents prepare yourself to feel Constant doubt about every decision and action you take with your kids forever. .

Image source: Crimsonfangknight

Saumya Ratan

Saumya is an explorer of all things beautiful, quirky, and heartwarming. With her knack for art, design, photography, fun trivia, and internet humor, she takes you on a journey through the lighter side of pop culture.

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harsh realities, kids, parenting, parenting kids, parents
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