"Everyone Sugar-Coated Everything": Parents Are Sharing The Lies They Were Told About Having Kids, And It Is Eye-Opening

Some things in life can't really be totally understood until you've experienced them, and parenthood is definitely one of them. So recently, u/stranger_not_danger asked moms on Reddit, "What do you think is a lie about motherhood you want to warn future mothers about?" And in the comments, parents had A LOT to say. Here are some of the top replies:

1."That you have to sacrifice every single bit of your body, time, and soul for your children. If breastfeeding is sucking the life out of you, literally and figuratively, and you hate it and it upsets you, then stop! Formula has kept babies alive for decades. If you’re at your wit's end and are about to have a breakdown, it’s okay to lay baby down in the crib safely and walk away for a moment to catch your breath. Believe it or not, you don’t actually have to do those staged monthly photos with a sign that shows how old your infant is to post on Facebook."

woman taking a staged baby photo on her child's first birthday

"Literally do what works best for you. You have to put your own oxygen mask on before helping others. A mentally well and happy mom is best for a healthy, happy baby."

u/able_title4564

Julia Pavaliuk / Getty Images/iStockphoto

2."It won’t be all joy! That is the biggest lie other mothers tell! You are going to feel the highest highs and lowest lows as a mom. It brings out the most intense feelings in you, but when things get rough, remember feelings have an expiration date and you will feel joy again. Hang in there. No matter how hard it is to believe, the time goes by quickly and in no time, they’ll be borrowing your car and you will have your entire life and self back."

u/jenniefairplay

3."Two kids is harder than one. Don't have another just to entertain the oldest, I know a few people that did that. Also, I don't think anyone emphasizes how much you will lose yourself and truly get exhausted by it."

u/-nikki-j

4."Sometimes you don’t immediately love your kid. When they placed my kiddo on my chest, it was weird. It took a couple days before I reconciled that this squirming loud person was the one I carried for months. I love my kiddo more now than I did then, after getting to know them. And that’s okay. It’s not always that perfect love where nothing else matters instantly. Sometimes it takes time."

young mom kissing her baby's hand
Rick Gomez / Getty Images

5."That you are supposed to let a child 'just cry it out.' No. That is garbage. You answer their cry, each and every time. By responding to them saying they need something in a consistent manner, you are literally laying the foundation of their trust in the world for the rest of their lives. If they don’t get their needs met when they express the need, they will learn to mistrust and be afraid of the world. Always answer the cry."

u/scareyourfamily

6."That as a woman you will be naturally more equipped to care for the child than the father will. That's bullshit. With the exception of producing breast milk, men are just as capable of attending to a baby's needs. Parenting is a learned skill just like any other."

u/brittlee8

7."That you won’t have a favorite kid. You will."

woman with three kids

u/late_significance519

"And your favorite one day won’t be the same as your favorite the next day. Or month. Or year."

u/1doglover87

Ramiro Olaciregui / Getty Images

8."Not every woman is meant for motherhood."

u/extrovertlibra

9."Disciplining your child is harder than it seems. It is very easy to spoil your kid. Especially if you have the means, it is incredibly easy to want to spoil the fuck out of them. To buy them everything they want, either because you love them or because they won't stop crying. It's so easy to want to blame another person for YOUR child's mistakes. You might even often have to catch yourself mid-argument and realize that it is YOUR child who was in the wrong."

"This all becomes even more true when you're a stepparent. You want to be the ideal parent and have your stepchild get along with you, or at least take some liking towards you. You'll inevitably have to buy them something at some point, but it's easy to want to shower them with your money to try win their favor. It's an easy trap to get caught in.

I don't know why so few people talk about this."

u/qqvxii

10."Traditionally, 'selfless' has been the highest compliment a mother can receive, and it’s a big fat lie. When the epitome of motherhood/womanhood is to lose one’s self completely, embracing this model only teaches our children, especially the girls, to do the same. We are better mothers, leaders, and teachers when we model boundaries, self-care, and self-respect. Obviously, there is a great deal of unavoidable sacrifice involved with being an attentive mom, especially in the infancy and toddler phases, but it shouldn’t define a mother beyond that. Reminds me of the Jungian quote, 'The greatest burden a child must bear is the unlived life of its parents.'"

pensive woman in a park looking away from her baby in a stroller
Fortgens Photography / Getty Images/iStockphoto

11."That all your friends peace on you. I haven’t been isolated and my friendships haven’t changed. It just takes a bit more work (like any life event)."

u/shallotzestyclose974

12."That you’re going to be happy all the time even when baby is wanted — you’re not! In fact, you may even feel pretty bummed or miss your old life frequently and that’s normal. Older relatives telling you you’re a bad mom for not being 100% sparkles and shitting rainbows over baby have forgotten what it felt like."

u/peppermintblues

13."This may sound harsh but don't expect to have a 'village'. Many people I know with young children struggle because they don't have a support network or childcare from grandparents. The thing is, a lot of grandparents are still working full-time and struggle to fit everything in. I had no support when my girls were small. Because of this, as a grandmother, I want to be there for my kids and grandkids, but I still have to work full-time and can't always have them on my days off. I feel like I fail as a parent AND now a grandparent most weeks."

little girl hugging her parent's leg
Sasiistock / Getty Images/iStockphoto

14."That you'll eventually get your body back. HA! Besides the fact that is hard to lose weight, sometimes you just don't have the time or the energy to diet and exercise, especially after a C-section. Sometimes all I want to do is watch TV in my PJs. If I had a dollar for every time someone has said I'd lose weight by breastfeeding, I'd be fuckin' rich. Your body changes after pregnancy. I had to say goodbye to many pretty and expensive shoes :(."

u/iamdollfacee94

"I had no problem losing the weight, I never got stretch marks, and I didn't tear or need stitches.

However, my body did not return to its pre-pregnancy condition. My joints and ligaments are permanently fucked and I now suffer from recurring hip pain and sciatica. It took several months of physical therapy for me to be able to sit in a chair again.

Looking at me naked, you would never know I had a baby. However, internally I feel like I aged 40 years during those 40 weeks of pregnancy. Pregnancy destroyed my body. There's just no outward indication of the damage."

u/min_mus

15."I know this comment isn’t for everyone, but, uh, when the father says he is going to be responsible and involved no matter what, many times they aren’t. Just ask yourself the question of how you would raise a child by yourself if it came to that."

u/fabulouspossession73

16."You don’t have to ask your partner if they can watch the baby while you run to the bathroom. You tell them to watch the baby while you run to the bathroom. I’ve seen mothers' eyes go huge with realization at this simple statement. It’s sad how little self-love some people have. They don’t even realize they are entitled to use the restroom when they have to go."

—u/severe_driver3461
Justin Paget / Getty Images

17."The moment when you birth your child won’t necessarily be a magical, happy moment like the movies make it out to be. I was miserable. I felt sudden relief of all the pressure and pain, yes. But I was so horribly shocked about what had just happened to me that I didn’t feel happy. I felt traumatized and terrified. I was happy that my baby was okay, but I felt like I was just beyond messed up and dazed. I felt like a bad mom for a long time for not being over the moon with joy. But it’s normal to feel that way and there’s nothing wrong with it ❤️. Birth IS traumatizing for a lot of women."

u/smuttyfang

18."That if you’re young and healthy it will be easy and safe. I was only 27 and a healthy active person, and pregnancy destroyed my body. I now have a ton of medical and very expensive dental issues that I never had prior to pregnancy. I’ve already lost six teeth and may need partial dentures. I have extreme tension headaches and vertigo, as well as horrible acne and hair I never had before. They really don’t stress enough how even one pregnancy can completely break down a healthy body."

u/greenkyber

19."I feel like the biggest lies I heard were about pregnancy and childbirth. When I was pregnant the first time, everyone who already had kids sugar-coated everything and made everything seem so magical. It's like a secret club of truth you only gain acceptance into after having a kid. Also, let's normalize hating being pregnant but still loving your baby."

toddler using a stethoscope to try to listen to his pregnant mom's belly
Gareth Brown / Getty Images

20."I don't like the phrase 'Cherish every moment.' You'll hear it a lot from well-meaning old ladies when you're pregnant. I get what they're trying to say. But I had a very specific moment with my first baby when he was around five months. I was feeling awful as a parent because I felt like I wasn't present enough, that I wasn't 'cherishing every moment.' In hindsight, I realize it was not possible, and it put a weird pressure on me I didn't need. Yes, you should 'try' to cherish each moment because they pass so quickly. But some moments, they're gonna suck balls."

u/tinlissy

21."'There’s no right time, just do it.' Don’t have/adopt a child for any other reason than you want to raise a child. That means don’t have a child because you want someone to love you, to fix your relationship, because you want someone there when you’re old, to heal your parental trauma, because you think you should. The only reason someone should have a kid in any way is because they want to raise a child that will eventually become an adult and be an entirely separate person. And start working on your trauma ASAP."

u/fantastic_garbage_85

22."That you need to buy all kinds of gimmicky specialty items or your baby will suffer life-long consequences. Like, I didn’t have a diaper wipe warmer, and my kids are successful adults. Don’t let capitalists take advantage of you and instill fear!"

baby sitting in a highchair eating a cookie
Picturenet / Getty Images

23."That it gets easier as they get older. Fake news. It becomes easier to communicate with them (sometimes), but the problems are still there. There are just different and more complicated problems. Something else to keep in mind, there is more support and advice for moms of babies and toddlers than for older kids and teens. People seem to think by the time they get in that tween stage you'll have things more figured out. My oldest kid is 11 and I still don’t know WTF I’m doing."

u/avoidnoise8787

24."That pregnancy is magical for everyone. I hated being pregnant. I got a bunch of symptoms that I didn’t even know were possible (nose bleeds, congestion, carpal tunnel) and never got pregnancy glow or felt happy about it. I love my kid endlessly, but pregnancy sucked and was nine months of misery. But you don’t have to love being pregnant — hating being pregnant doesn’t mean you don’t love your baby."

u/natureismyjam

25."'Your body will know what to do.' Pregnancy and birthing come with real life-threatening risks. This line may be comforting, but that’s all it is, a comfort. You could absolutely die if given poor medical care and support."

pregnant woman sitting on the edge of a hospital bed holding her lower back
Jose Luis Pelaez Inc / Getty Images

26."That once maternity leave ends you just sail off back to work. Obviously, not everyone finds this bit difficult, but I have. Didn't really look into it too much before birth and just assumed I'd go back to work after a year or so. Well, after we priced up childcare, looked at all the small print for government-funded childcare, and worked out the logistics, it just wasn't viable. She's almost three now and I honestly feel depressed, like I'm losing my identity and sanity."

u/tiredandfrazzled

27.And finally, "You will never be caught up to your child's level. Once you get used to who they are and how to best manage things, they change. It's beautiful. Yet you'll always be catching up. Learn from your child too."

u/ritzie_smitzie

Is there anything you would add? Share the biggest lie you were told about parenthood in the comments!