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21 Things Parents Swore They’d Never Do Until They Actually Became One

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If we earned a dollar each time we confidently declared, “I’ll never do that when I become a parent,” we might soon find ourselves indulging in a getaway on Cocoa Island in the Maldives. However, parenthood swiftly immerses us in a whirlwind of emotions and introduces us to children who seem to possess an uncanny knack for pressing all the wrong buttons in our lives.

Before we know it, our pre-parenting principles and beliefs are tossed out the window, and we find ourselves doing things that we never thought we would do. It’s reminder that we shouldn’t judge other parents because we never know what they’re going through.

Here are 21 things parents swore they’d never do until they actually became one.

1. Not Be Understanding

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As kids, we often feel like our parents don’t get it. What teenager doesn’t listen to angsty music about how the world doesn’t understand them?

But as parents, we start to see things from a different perspective. Suddenly, we find ourselves saying things like “You’ll understand when you have kids of your own.” It’s not that we don’t want to be understanding or empathetic; it’s just that sometimes it’s hard to completely grasp something until we experience it for ourselves.

2. Lying To Kids

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We all agree deception is bad, we teach our kids not to be deceptive. But as parents, we end up lying to our kids at some point. It could be about Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, or even telling them that their favorite toy is on vacation when it’s actually hidden in the closet because we can’t stand to hear “Let it Go” one more time.

Some parents joke that reasoning with their littles is like negotiating with a terrorist. In those moments, a little white lie may seem like the best option.

3. Compulsory Naps For Parent’s Sake

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Babies and toddlers need to take a nap to help with their development. But what about parents? They need that quiet time for their sanity, whether it’s so they can get a few things done, take a nap with them, or catch up on some much-needed alone time.

Non-parents are often perplexed by a parent’s obsessions with nap schedules and routines, but once they become a parent, they’ll likely understand the value of those sacred nap times.

4. Give In To Demands for World Peace

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Many parents have said yes to kids to avoid a world conflict, and many non-parents may have thought that was a terrible parent move. Until they themselves became parents.

Suddenly, we find ourselves trying to keep the peace in any way possible, even if it means giving in to our kids’ demands for a lollipop at 7 am so they don’t throw a tantrum. Sometimes, our resolve is not strong enough to deal with the consequences of saying no.

5. Drive a Minivan

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A minivan is the certificate you get for graduating to a parent. Some aspiring parents have sworn not to drive a minivan, and then they discover it’s necessary. Suddenly, the idea of sliding doors, ample storage and space for car seats is more appealing than a sleek sports car.

While some parents will opt for the SUV, others will fully embrace the minivan life and never look back.

6. Bribery

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Kids don’t always listen, and some parents resort to bribing them to get them to do what they want despite having planned never to be that parent who bribes kids. But when you have a screaming toddler in the middle of a crowded grocery store, that pack of cookies suddenly seems like a small price to pay for some peace and quiet. Plus, it can be an effective tool in getting our kids to do something they don’t want to do, like taking medicine or doing homework.

While constant bribery isn’t the best parenting tactic, let’s be real: Sometimes, a little bribery can make life easier.

7. Saying Because I Said So

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We all remember how irritating this explanation was when we were kids, especially teenagers. Many of us may have thought this was the one thing they wouldn’t tell their kids until we realized why our parents used that sentence.

Sometimes, it’s the only logical reason for deciding in our kids’ eyes. And let’s be honest, sometimes we just don’t have the energy to explain ourselves for the millionth time.

8. Never Dismiss Kids’ Questions

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Kids like to ask questions. Lots of questions. And sometimes, they ask the most random or repetitive questions that can drive us up the wall. As a result, some parents may have vowed to never dismiss their kids’ questions and always give them thoughtful answers.

However, after a long day of work and dealing with endless “why?”s, we may find ourselves giving half-hearted or exasperated responses. But hey, at least we tried.

9. No Bed When the Sun is Still Shining

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Summer bedtime routines can be a sore subject for kids that don’t understand why they have to go to bed when the sun is still up. As non-parents, we may have thought this was ridiculous and promised ourselves that we would let our kids stay up as late as they wanted.

But then reality sets in, and we realize how important it is for our little ones to get enough sleep. Plus, once school starts, those early bedtimes become even more crucial for their well-being. So, we may find ourselves enforcing strict bedtime policies despite what our kids and the sun may want.

10. Who’s Who Again?

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Any parent with more than one kid suffers from that occasional amnesia that causes them to forget the kids’ names. Each one of us with a sibling has had to answer to a name that’s not theirs. And as a non-parent, we may have thought this was hilarious and promised ourselves to never mix up our kids’ names.

But then we become parents and understand that sometimes the words just get jumbled in our tired brains. So, we might have to resort to going through every name until we get to the right one or resort to, “you know who you are!”

11. Yelling

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The number of people who swore to never yell at their kids wouldn’t fit in all the world’s oceans. Yet, when we become parents, we understand how frustrating and overwhelming it can be to deal with a screaming child or constant misbehavior. And sometimes, raising our voices feel like the only way to get their attention and make them listen.

While yelling shouldn’t be our go-to method of discipline, there may come a time when all parents do it. And that’s okay – as long as we apologize, explain oursevles, and find healthier ways to communicate with our kids.

12. Cry Because of The Kids

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The only people who underestimate a child’s potential to make you cry are those with no kids. Because let’s be real, kids have a way of pushing our buttons and testing our patience that sometimes leads to tears.

Whether it’s tears of frustration or joy, crying because of the kids is something many parents never thought they would do – until they became parents themselves.

13. Reverse Psychology

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Kids often do the exact opposite of what you want them to do, and the only thing that works is asking them to follow the wrong instructions if you want positive results. This tactic may seem manipulative or deceitful, but sometimes, it’s the only way to get our kids to do something without a fight.

While we may have promised ourselves never to use reverse psychology on our kids, there will come a time when we’ll find ourselves saying things backward to get them to cooperate. And it’ll be our little secret – until our kids catch on and start using it on us.

14. Being ‘Old Parents’

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When you’re young, you think you have the world’s schedule at your fingertips and plenty of time for kids. Then, we chase career ambitions, wait to find that right partner, and before you know it, we’re in our 30s or 40s. Suddenly, having kids makes us feel old compared to other parents (although having kids later in life is becoming more normal).

But age is just a number, and all that matters is the love and care we provide for our children. And who knows, maybe being ‘old parents’ will have its perks – like having more wisdom and life experience to offer our kids.

15. Rushing The Kids

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Children have zero sense of time; it’s a child’s default settings to force them to hurry. As non-parents, we may have promised to always give our kids enough time to get ready and never rush them or yell to get htem out of the door. But let’s be honest, with school, work, and other responsibilities, it’s not always possible.

So sometimes, we might find ourselves yelling “hurry up!” or frantically getting them dressed while they protest. It’s all part of the chaotic and beautiful journey of parenthood.

16. Have a Messy House

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The judgments of the childless people on the state of the house of people with kids reach the high heavens. We have probably been the people who gave a stink eye at the toys strewn all over a living room. But let’s be real, kids are messy creatures, and keeping a perfectly clean house becomes an impossible dream.

So despite our promises to maintain a tidy home, we may find ourselves embracing the chaos and enjoying the mess with our little ones. And who knows, maybe someday we’ll miss those scattered toys and sticky fingerprints on the walls.

17. Calling a Partner Mom or Dad

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We may have promised ourselves that we would never call our partners “mom” or “dad” in front of the kids. But it’s often easier to identify each other this way to avoid confusion among the kids. And once it becomes a habit it’s hard to break!

Non-parents may find it weird, but other parents totally get it.

18. Having Another Child

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Many couples have a general number of kids in mind, but sometimes life has other plans and they end up with more kids. While some may have promised themselves to stick to their original plan, others may change their minds after experiencing the joy of parenthood (or they just experienced an oops or two).

Having another child can be a tough decision and it’s ultimately up to each individual family. But one thing is for sure – there will always be enough love to go around, no matter how many children we end up having.

19. Retreating to the Bathroom

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There is an ongoing joke that parents never get to go to the bathroom alone. And it’s true – our kids seem to have a sixth sense that tells them when we’re about to use some alone time in the bathroom and they always find a way to sneak in. That’s what locks are for, right?

But even with a locked door, sometimes we just need to retreat to the bathroom for a few moments of peace and quiet. And that’s okay – self-care is important, even if it means hiding in the bathroom for a little while.

20. Zone Out

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While being attentive is important for helping our kids feel loved and heard, sometimes the 100th reiteration of the exact same story or question can make us tune out a little. Or maybe we’re just exhausted and need a break from all the chatter.

It’s okay to zone out occasionally, as long as we snap back into attentive parent mode when our kids really need us. And let’s be honest, sometimes zoning out is just a form of self-preservation. Parents are human too, after all.

21. Grammy Worthy Acting

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As parents, we may have promised ourselves to always be honest and not use any tricks or lies to get our kids to behave. But then comes the meltdown in the middle of a grocery store, and suddenly we’re pulling out all the stops – fake crying, exaggerated pleading, and promises of ice cream if they just stop screaming.

It may feel like we’re putting on an Oscar-worthy performance, but sometimes it’s the only way to avoid a public meltdown and get our kids to cooperate. And let’s face it, we’ve all been there. So next time you see a parent putting on a show, just give them a knowing nod – they’re just trying to keep their sanity intact.


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