Parents Share What Disappointed Them About Having Kids, And Here Are 59 Of The Most Honest Responses
About nine-in-ten American parents say that the role is rewarding for them all (53%) or most (35%) of the time and a similar share say it is also enjoyable all (43%) or most (47%) of the time too.
But there are moments when the job becomes stressful. Interested in these situations, Reddit user
People's desire to educate others and vent, coupled with the anonymous nature of the internet, has allowed the post to receive over 18,300 comments, many of which are direct answers to the blunt question. Here are some of the most popular ones.
#1Worrying about them for the rest of your life.
My dad died at 64 in 2017. Grandma is still around and she’s 96 now. Every time I see her she starts crying and tells me stories about him as a child. Breaks my heart that she still is in pain from it. Outliving your children must be horrible no matter how old you are
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#2The days drag on, but the years fly by.
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#3I'm only 9 years in, but so far it's been the sleep deprivation. Hands down.
ETA: I'm not still sleep deprived. My kids sleep great now at nearly 9 & 5. But that was the hardest part of parenthood for me so far.
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#4Watching them make the same mistakes you did even though you told them not to make those mistakes.
Little Jimmy.. if you borrow a bunch of money, those people are going to want it back and if they don't get it back they'll take stuff you won't want taken.
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#5The constant anxiety that you’re doing enough to shape them to make good choices,a good life,be a good person and for them to have the life they deserve.
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#6Worrying about how the outside world will treat them.
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#7When people ask me this I say.
You know those video games where you have to escort a character to a destination without them being attacked.
Those missions are a pain in the a*s.
Image credits: Infiniski_Gaming
#8Losing them. My 15 year old son died suddenly on Tuesday morning. His dad went to wake him for school and he wasn't breathing. He had no health conditions and we don't know the cause of death yet. My baby is just gone.
Every single part of parenting is a challenge. But losing a child is a pain unlike anything I've ever known. Having a child is taking a risk that someday your whole world could be shattered, and there's absolutely nothing you can do to stop it.
ETA: Thank you so much to everyone who has commented. This has been such a devastating time for me, and it really does help to know that people out there care enough to comfort and grieve with a stranger. Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart.
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#9For me I just really like to be alone sometimes. Before kids I would just go downstairs and watch a tv show, play PlayStation, or play guitar and my wife would do her own thing as well. Now, I have maybe 1 hour of alone time (sometimes none) every couple of days. It’s at 11 at night and I’m tired as f**k then and the next day.
It’s the hardest part for me. Love them to death, but it’s hard to be “on” all the time with work and them when at home.
#10When you have a child who has severe difficulties (whether physical or mental). In our case, my daughter has a severe mental illness. Everyone gets pregnant and thinks everything is going to be wonderful and the kid is automatically going to grow up and get good grades and have friends and do normal kid things. That’s what you think and that’s what everyone tells you. It’s a cruel thing to realize that in reality, generics is a lottery and some of us WILL lose. Some kids will NOT have the life you envisioned.
#11The loss of freedom. I can't just... go somewhere. Even with older kids, there's so much planning and thinking and getting ready.
I miss being able to just decide to go somewhere, and go there.
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#12Having to deal with their total lack of self-preservation. They are creative and come up with all kinds of ways to try and kill themselves, keeping ahead of the game is exhausting.
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#13If they are born with severe disabilities, you will need to take care of them or make plans for their care for as long as they are alive. It’s heartbreaking, many marriages don’t make it. My utmost respect to parents of special needs children.
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#14It's like taking a 2nd job that lasts 18+ years with 24/7 schedule with no holidays or sick days.
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From the moment the water breaks it's cleanup. Not just the entire birthing process on the "Big Day" either. Diapers spit up and tired messy mom give way to toilet training. Cleanup of every bodily fluid. Laundry, toys, and food crumbs find every nook and cranny of space. Then you have to navigate all of the emotional cleanup from sharing toys, to bad teachers, to bullies, to bad breakups.
It's almost always cleanup, but it isn't always bad.
#16How much you sacrifice. Kids take everything you’ve got and then ask for more. They are endless, remorseless need machines. (Or at least they feel that way, for a looong time.)
But that’s just the deal. And if you’re up for it, it’s a perfectly acceptable deal. But even when you are all in and completely okay about the sacrifice, sometimes it really feels like a lot.
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#17New parent here (baby is less than 6 months old).
The worst part so far is all the unsolicited advice. Apparently everything you know is wrong, and the only reliable source is "trust me, I raised kids 30 / 60 years ago, this is how it should be done".
Well, Sharon, I saw your work, and I am not a fan.
#18I'm so tired. Just tired all the time. I don't ever remember not feeling tired.
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#19You have to feed them like every day.
#20Having depression and having depressed children f*****g sucks. If you have mental illness, and you’re kids get the same mental illness it will double your mental illness.
#21Besides all the other things mentioned, having your internal organs rearranged. Some of them permanently.
#22How your partner changes. My partner (M) and I (F) we’re thinking about having a child. He wants 2 I would love 3. We have one (2 years old). I cannot express how much he changed after the child…. He is a completely different person and not in a good way. He is always short tempered, which I had no idea before the baby arrived. (we are together for 10 years).
edit: this is what makes me think I am done at one… I cannot imagine what life would be with more kids, as he is angry all the time
#23Having to take care of a sick child when you are also sick. For me that has been the most challenging part so far.
Image credits: MrsLouisaMercury
#24Literally ZERO breaks! You are on call 24/7 for 18+ years. Never can slow down to even catch your breath. It is equal parts exhausting and rewarding. I always say I wish we had better respite for parents because we all need it!!
#25Playing the lottery of having a healthy child. Our daughter was diagnosed with schizophrenia during her teens. It's a rollercoaster of emotions. We have our good days and bad. Having to explain the diagnosis to people who feel uncomfortable being around our daughter because of the stigma displayed in the news and movies. The worst, for me, is watching her friends and our family's children have a more "normal" life. It's like reopening a wound everytime someone gets married, graduates, or some other milestone in life.
#26Watching them grow. It’s the most rewarding heartbreak ever.
#27You can't do ANYTHING without factoring your child into it. Your entire life revolves around making sure they are okay and taken care of. Your decision to do something is never really your own ever again. Can't work a night job unless you're sure you can find childcare or have a spouse to take that shift. Can't go to the beach alone without finding a sitter. Can't go to the beach with the kids without packing 80 gallons of water, a billion snacks, extra clothes, special baby sunscreens, and the list goes on. It's honestly exhausting for someone like me who loves to be alone and do things alone. I love my kid to death but god damn some solitude where I don't have to think about how what I'm doing affects her or worry about where she is and what she's doing would be nice here and there. I'm going on year 12 of motherhood. And I know it's not slowing down anytime soon.
#28Repeating myself 6,438 times a day. F**k.
#29The weight gain! During the pregnancy I gained 35 lbs. My belly has stretch marks. My boobs are all saggy.
And it’s not even fair because my wife only gained like 15.
#30They’re just always there. On you, behind you, in front of you, just a little speed bump impeding every task. Lol
#31The worry that I’m a bad parent that’s doing things wrong.
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#32For me it's giving up a part of myself that I will never get back, don't get me wrong, I would choose to do it every time, but there is a mourn of a previous self and the sacrifice I need to do to become the best father I can be and that can be hard sometimes.
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#33Transitions. From baby to toddler, to little kid, to big kid…. Time passes by and with it they start growing into independent persons. A parent’s love grows with them, but te feeling of knowing sooner than later they will belong to the world…… And we adults posses the understanding that the world IS. This can be both beautiful and scary.
#34Your life's no longer yours. By time you get home from work, sort tea, sort kitchen, get then in bed you've about an hr before you gotta go to bed to start it all over again
Edit: when I say tea I mean dinner/supper, not a cup of tea
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#35Yeah co-sign on "constant worry." Having a kid is like having a little piece of your heart running around in the world. When they're sick or get disappointed or just feel sad, it's worse than having it happen to you. Yet at the same time, you need to let your kids work through those things to learn to handle them. If you give into the worry and try to shield them from everything, you risk creating harmful co dependence. So it's a constant struggle. But worth it!
#36The strain on your marriage/relationship. We thought we were completely prepared since our child was planned. Then you add the responsibility and stress and the take away sleep. (Didn’t sleep through the night for 9 straight months) We were at each others throats every single day. We finally got ourselves figured out and are good now
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#37It's incessant. It never stops. You never get a day off.
Going from having two days per week to relax and do whatever to literally never having a moment free from responsibility.
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#38My top thing I tell expecting parents is you no longer sleep when you see fit. Tired? Too bad, you’ve got responsibilities and a human/humans to keep alive.
This worsens because not only do you wake up when they do and go to sleep after them, but you’re also inclined to stay up later for doing whatever grownup stuff you enjoy. I’m so guilty of staying up way too late to watch shows that aren’t exactly kid friendly, my wife is all into the true crime stuff, so we get the kids to bed then stay up until 1-2 some nights watching stuff. Guess who doesn’t give a s**t? The kids. They’re up at 7-8 ready to rock and I’m yet to find their snooze buttons. I’m fortunate to function well on anything over 6 hours of sleep, her not so much. She’s currently passed out on the couch as I type this, for the exact reasons listed above lol.
#39At least in America, it seems like society doesn't give a s**t about supporting families, financially.
Daycare is expensive as hell. Oh, school finally helped take care of your kids? Well, what about after school care? What about summer? Summer camps and after school care costs are nuts too. All of this adds up to the constant anxiety of failing your child, financially.
#40Definitely money I reckon.
I don't have children but my SIL does. I spent $50 on arcade machines for the little terrors one day.
I can't imagine all the cost of diapers, activities, asking to go to the movies, school stuff, birthdays, Christmas, clothes.
Back in the day you'd buy a squeaky toy and they'd be happy. It's now an iPad or iPhone.
#41teenage years, worked for a customer once who put a sign on their frig saying "leave home now while you still know everything"
#42My daughter is almost 18. For me the worst part was losing my little buddy who always wanted daddy. She would hug and kiss all the time, say I love you and I was always her safe space.
She turned 13 or 14 and that was the end. She became a teen and didn’t need mom and dad or affection anymore. I didn’t know it happened like that.
I know she loves us, but they just stop showing it. It’s a big loss actually.
#43That even though one may raise them as good as possible, that child may still turn out to be an evil human being.
#44Every time I'm no longer needed for something, it takes some time for me to adjust. I had no problem with never needing to change another diaper when he was a toddler, but it feels like every day of his teen years results in one more thing he can do independently. He's taller than me now and can reach into the cabinets just fine without my help. We've also stopped going for walks together, now that he has a cell phone.
I've been stay at home parent his entire life, and now I'm thinking about getting a job, but people don't want to hire me anywhere. That's been really difficult, too.
#45No more peace and quiet.
Apart from the real life problems, like providing for them, health and constantly being worried. They are so damn boring. How long can you play with a toddler and not lose your mind? Entertaining small kids is so annoying.
Once they learn to read it gets so much better.
#47I’m divorced and the worst part of having kids is being tied to my ex forever.
#48Losing all ability to control your own time.
They don’t eat meals and then get hungry an hour later. They have school and lessons to be taken too. They have homework. They need snacks when just start doing the thing you need to do. The need baths. They make messes and leave things everywhere.
After all this their isn’t anytime left.
#49It never gets easier, only different. Newborns not sleeping through the night gets replaced by teens staying out past curfew and you going down the deep rabbit hole of worry wondering if they were in a car accident, abducted or something else.
#50At the beginning, planning things becomes much more complicated. Want to fly? Gotta plan for stroller and car seat. Which car rental place is in the terminal so you don’t have to haul all your kids stuff on a bus.
And things can get messed up just because your kid is having a bad day. You might be out at a restaurant and your kid gets mad because [insert dumb thing here] so you just need to pay your bill and leave, or eat in shifts with so someone can be outside with a mad toddler.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my kid and wouldn’t change anything but details that never mattered to me before become things you have to take into consideration.
#51Being hungover on a Sunday morning catering to a 3 and 1 year old.
#52When you give them life advice and they listen to their stupid 17 year old friends instead. Most frustrating thing ever.
Also, I'd like to apologize to my parents for when I was 17 and stupid.
#53I have an infant. Right now, it’s:
Friends who don’t have kids and get upset because they can’t understand how your life has drastically changed.
News articles about pandemics and mass shootings, and knowing that you are raising a child in a world that generally doesn’t care about their well being.
Knowing that your child will eventually be hurt by others, and that you will be powerless to stop it… so instead you have to instill resilience in them. And you hope you do a good job because of how many bullies and a******s there are in this world.
Coping with the fact that one day they’re going to stop sleeping in your arms during naps, and laughing at your silly faces, and stop looking at you with absolute unsullied admiration.
The helplessness during their first bruise, their first illness, their first babysit session when you check your phone every five minutes because every single news story about terrible things that happen pops into your mind.
There’s a lot of “worst parts.”
Luckily, it’s still all worth it.
#54#1 Watching them be in pain (physical or emotional)
#2 Cleaning up vomit