What to Expect … when you are Parenting

Does anyone remember what it is like to “want” a baby?

You think of it all the time.  You pee on sticks, even if they are not the ones you get from a pharmacy.

You become consumed with “wanting a baby” but you never seem to think of “wanting a baby” in the same space as “wanting to be a parent.”

For me, I think that they were two separate things, and I forgot/misplaced a piece of information that wanting a baby also meant/actually meant/really meant becoming a parent.

“Wanting a baby” is doe eyed, soft lighting and all quite marvelous.  You think of that warm milky smell, that sticky chubby hand reaching out to curl itself around your finger.  Wanting a baby is magic and filled with promise and giddiness, and the warm cuddles of an infant against your breast.  And purchasing baby books by the kilogram and buying every soft lighting baby magazine that you can get your soon swelling hands on to.

For some reason being a parent is just not as glamorous.  When I say “just not as glamorous” I actually mean like a case of thrush without access to the one administration of fanny cream!

I can honestly say when I was thinking of having a baby, I was thinking of pink and blue fluffy blankets.  Which compactum to purchase, whether I should buy one of those super stylish baby sling numbers or just wing it and use my arms to clutch the baby to my breast.

Maybe it is only me, but I did not think about how much work “being a parent” was going to be when I was planning my “wanting a baby”.

I just thought about sleepless nights and me crying alone in the bathroom at 2am because I was so damn tired.  Wanting a baby and having a baby never translated into how challenging/difficult/labour of love with very little reward in the short-term being a parent is.

I know when”wanting a baby” becomes “having a baby” – that seems fairly simple. But when having a baby becomes “being a parent” is less clear.

Even with Baby number 3, I was still thinking about the new baby smell and how lovely a pink onesie was going to look and was not thinking about me yelling in the passage about brushing teeth and going the hell to sleep already!

“Wanting a baby” has a huge amount of very very small print in the section marked “being a parent” and can I suggest that if you are thinking about expelling a child from your loins (or via any other route), you give that section a bit of a read through and some thought.  Sober thought!

Trust me it will make the “What to Expect when you are Expecting” look like light reading for amateurs.

Notice there isn’t a “What to Expect … when you are Parenting” …. actually now that I think of that, I could probably hammer away at the first few chapters without breaking in to too much of a sweat.

Leave a comment


  1. Hahaha! Yes. Especially this: “You become consumed with “wanting a baby” but you never seem to think of ”wanting a baby” in the same space as ”wanting to be a parent.””

    Funny, the whole time I was pregnant, I never really considered the whole parenting part of the deal. I devoted all of my energy to worrying about labor.

    I love being a parent for many reasons but damn, it’s hard. And tiring. And there’s no break, and even if you do manage to get someone else to take your child for a week so that you and your significant other can have a nice vacation, you’ll still spend that whole vacation worrying about the child. Whewwwwww it’s tough.

    • (Just had to add that said child in my life is still not asleep. Lesson: do not get too attached to plans of watching Breaking Bad with husband while drinking a glass of wine.)

  2. I have had the worst day ever. Whining toddler, screaming baby who has a shit-fit, if I even think of putting her down. I seriously felt like running very far away. Thank God it’s bed time soon and I can forget that I’m a mom for 12 hours.

  3. What Ciska said! I think the media promotes this totally unrealistic picture of parenting/babies/whatever!

    It is actually a good thing my blog broke – I was left feeling so totally hopeless last night with my children – that I may have used that platform to sell them off!!!!

    • reluctantmom

       /  August 14, 2012

      I am trying to give myself off one night a week, where I “withdraw” at about 18h00 – and have nothing to do with feeding, screaming, bathing, screaming, packing school bags, screaming, negotiating going to sleep time, screaming, going to sleep, screaming, arguing about something …. it really is exhausting this parenting gig.

  4. Ciska

     /  August 14, 2012

    I still find myself shouting ‘Stop promoting that crock of shit image!’ at those Johnson & Johnson’s ads. You know the ones’ with the mum all smiley, skinny, smelling fab and looking at her ‘bundle of joy’ with all this awe!

    They should ban those for false advertising!

    • reluctantmom

       /  August 14, 2012

      Or at the very least strip the mom of makeup, insist she feed the baby something orange and pureed, watch her hair grease up from 5 days of not getting a chance to take a thorough shower, give her a cranky baby who has not slept, and do a photoshoot with harsh overhead flourescent lighting!!!

  5. thecolouredfulwife

     /  August 14, 2012

    LOL I have to agree with Wendy, definitly would be a nice party favour for ladies at kitchen teas/baby showers

    As soon as this gets published, you have to do a big book signing event because I’ll be first in line.

  6. Wendy

     /  August 14, 2012

    I would buy that book and hand it out at kitchen tea’s. They won’t believe me, but at least I tried 🙂

  7. Alexandra

     /  August 14, 2012

    I religiously read my copy of “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” which as you point out didn’t prepare me for parenting. Fortunately I also read Sam Cowan’s “Waiting for Christopher” which gave me an inkling of how bad the first few weeks can be, especially if you don’t bond straight away.

  8. The Blessed Barrenness

     /  August 14, 2012

    I couldn’t agree MORE!
    And in my experience, the longer one is in the “wanting a baby” phase, the less in touch with being a parent one becomes and its my opinion that this is why so many of us mom’s struggle with depression when our “wanting a baby” turns into parenting…. because it is simply just not as we had imagined it.

  9. I totally agree. That moonshine and roses/fairy dust and unicorns are all forgotten once you have to get up for the fkn millionth tim eto feed. Or when you just want to cry cos the baby doesn’t want to sleep/eat/poop/ do what a baby i ssuppose to do.

    Fortunately, I’ve decided that I can’t put myself through all that drama again. PArenting is way harder than pregnancy and labour. My son will be an only child.

  10. Jems

     /  August 14, 2012

    Where can I get a copy?

  11. I smell a literary book success here, published by Penguin…

  12. “Wanting a baby” and actually parenting 2 kids under 5 is as far apart as picking out the wedding dress is to the actual daily business of marriage. HARD WORK with occasional flashes of amazement.


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