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The journey of parenthood is a profound odyssey, encompassing moments of pure joy and the nuanced navigation of significant challenges in raising our children. While most parents recognize that these trials are an integral part of the journey and hold purpose, this awareness doesn’t negate the occasional, or even frequent, difficulties that inevitably emerge.
A parenting forum discussed the following question: “What is the worst part of being a parent?” The answers give great insight into what concerns are on parents’ minds. If you’re a parent, these might help you realize we all struggle together.
1. Never ending Meal Planning
Kids are growing and need a lot of food (and snacks). One mom says her biggest pain point is “figuring out 3 meals, 8,000 snacks, 1,000 activities and settling for the fact they won’t like, want or do any of them.” Kids are always hungry, and you can’t take a day or meal off!
2. The Job That Never Ends
One parent reports the constant presence gets to them sometimes. “Relentlessness. Kids don’t stop, they don’t go away, they always need to be fed, and cleaned, and entertained. They are always there, for 21 years+, they are always there. Every single day, every single hour. Kids are always there.” Of course, before they know it, ironically parents will have an empty house and wish for that presence back.
3. Constant Interruptions
With kids, there tends to be a lot of interruptions. “Sitting here trying to have a conversation with my wife about our retirement portfolio and one of them is whining nonstop because he didn’t go to sleep and now he’s overtired. She just went upstairs to try to settle him. Again.” Some days it seems everything is mad chaos, thankfully there are plenty of calm days to balance it out (usually).
4. Having to Watch Our Kids Make Mistakes
Kids have their own problems to solve and pains to withstand. As a loving parent, it can be hard to watch. One mom talks about “the emotional pain of watching your children go through something almost unimaginably difficult knowing that your best efforts may not be enough to save them.” For the little loves of our lives, this is hard to bear.
5. Bad Timing
“Kids have an incredible ability to get really sick during the most inconvenient times.” Whether it’s a busy work week or a vacation is coming up, kids get sick at the most random times. And so goes life…
6. Always Worrying
“The worry that something horrible will happen to them. Sickness, kidnapping, getting lost, etc.” It seems there’s always something to worry about when it comes to kids, no matter their age. Learning to trust and let go are important parenting skills.
7. Free Time?
Between work, meals, errands, extracurriculars, and spending time with family, a parent has little downtime. The lack of self-care and time alone can be tough on a parent’s mental health. Fitting in small moments for ourselves is important, when possible.
8. Severe Sleep Deprivation
Do parents even sleep? Or do they turn into vampires while their kids are little? One mom says, “Lack of sleep impacts your ability to do everything.” Concentration, patience, multi-tasking, and to-do lists can all be thrown out the window when a parent is chronically tired- which often happens with littles!
9. Having to be Strict
It’s fun to play and laugh with your kids, but at some point, boundaries have to be set that your child will inevitably try to push. One parent admits their least favorite part of parenting is “the guilt when you have to stand up to your kids and discipline them. It’s never fun to see them sad.” A tough but necessary part of parenting.
10. No Time for Your Own Hobbies
One user asks, “Do you like doing things? Say goodbye to doing any of those things.” It’s hard to find a chunk of time for things a parent to do something they love.
For any parents feeling totally overwhelmed, know that you’re not alone. If you feel like you’re hanging on by a thread, it’s time to ask for help- hire a babysitter, drop the kids off with a friend or family member, and take an hour (or more) to recharge!
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