As a parent, we have been lied to – or rather not been given the whole truth. One such example is the saying: “You will never know true love until you have a child of your own”. And that is where the saying ends. In my experience, there is more to it, a whole lot more, so allow me to add to that.

You will never know true tiredness

This is caused by children who aren’t particularly keen on bedtime. As infants they feed throughout the night; as toddlers, they don’t want to go to bed at all and when you do finally get them into bed, they tell you they are hungry. Being a good (and guilt-consumed) parent you both head off to the kitchen where you offer a carrot and then prepare a bowl of cereal. As teenagers, children aren’t any easier. This is the age at which they go to bed later, thereby forcing you to stay up until they are in bed. Your being able to go to bed at 9.30pm is a thing of the past.

You will never know true stress

This can mostly be dealt with in the evenings when you realise that you made it through another day without emotionally harming your children. Examples of such emotional harm are:

  • forgetting to pack school lunch,
  • being 10 minutes late to fetch them from school,
  • having promised to cook chicken schnitzel with cheese sauce for supper and then serving ham rolls instead.

That, however, is only one part of the stress you will have to deal with. The second is financial stress. Much of this is due to shoes. Boys, in particular, cause shoe stress. They will grow out of their shoes long before the shoes are even worn out. As guilt-parenting dictates, one must always buy the correct size shoe, never two sizes bigger, not only because it is bad for their feet but also because you don’t want them to look like morons when they trip over their clown shoes during a soccer match.

You will never know true peace and quiet

This is largely because of your given title: “Mom”. It is used throughout the day at various volumes and pitches, depending on the situation. There are times when you will wonder how bad it would really be to be a single woman living in Russia or some other far off country where nobody knows you. Some might even go as far as to book a plane ticket. In comparison, the word “Dad” is used infrequently and without much variation.

You will never truly have fun again

Fun is exhausting. Going for a weekend camping trip as a family requires a superhuman effort in planning and organising. You will, at least once in your motherhood, forget nappies or baby formula when you are hours away from home. You will also forget toilet paper for the camping trip, and this will all be your fault.

Going out in the evenings with friends is cruel. It gives you a glimpse into what a childless life must feel like and then an hour later it is snatched away. Why an hour? Simply because you book the babysitter for 8 pm, enjoy a mere hour of “the good times” and by 9 pm you are exhausted and just want to go home. The hour becomes shorter the older you get.

You will never truly feel guilt-free again

Guilt comes in many forms, and there is no safe place to find shelter from it. It can sneak up on you at the supermarket, at home, almost anywhere. Your child’s school, in particular, is a breeding ground for guilt. By way of example, I shall refer to the mother who said that her child is happy drinking only water and doesn’t like soda or juice. I just stood smiling as my soul began to consume itself from the inside. I thought of my son who would rather dehydrate than drink water. Surely, I was being a good mother by not allowing him to die?

This is all just a small glimpse of what you will never truly know unless you have a child of your own. I’m not going to give away anymore because I don’t want to ruin a perfectly beautiful saying which has been told by parents to children for many generations. I just want you to know that they were keeping mum.

 

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