What are you finding hardest about being a parent?
"Being a single parent, I feel I have to compensate for my daughter not having a father. So I feel she needs me more than if she had a dad around."
"I quit my job to become a full time mom. The hardest thing for me right now is dealing with my guilt that I'm not contributing enough financially."
"Nothing. But I do find it difficult to get dinner on the table. If I could just have someone do that every night, I'd be happy."
"The hardest part to deal with are crying sessions, as I'm sure other parents would agree. Being a first-time parent, it is very difficult to let the baby cry for any length of time without picking him up."
"Having to have both parents work to make ends meet. We don't seem to have enough time with our child. Having her in day-care makes me feel like I've turned over almost all the responsibility for raising my child to others."
"Children are very demanding of your time, talents and energy levels. Society tends to dictate what a normal child is to be. As a parent this makes you feel pressured to make your child this `normal' child which is unfair to the parent and child. It's also difficult to find a strong support system."
"Time management! As a former executive, I am used to getting things done (often 2 at a time) quickly and efficiently. I've had to learn to put things aside and not be obsessive about schedules while taking care of my daughter."
"I find that giving of myself 100% of the time is the hardest part right now. I feel like I'm not getting much back, but I give constantly. Parenting has shown me how selfish I am."
"Child care. If you can afford it it's not so good and if you feel good about it, it's too expensive and you have to drive across town every morning to get there!"
"Consistency. Kids have a tendency to wear you
down to the point that you give them, or let them do things you wouldn't ordinarily. We feel children need consistency for a guide."
"Accepting imperfection. I must do what I can with the resources at my disposal, keeping priorities in order and not comparing myself with others. I hope to learn along the way how to be more effective and efficient."
"To tell you the truth, about the hardest to do, (or not to do) is when you've had a bad day to not take it out on your babies."
"Keeping complete control at all times. Between our son locking himself in the bathroom and our daughter eating stuff off the floor, I find that I'm not always in control or on top of things. But I do seem to be able to handle most problems in an orderly manner."
"Our baby is only 1 week old....and she has been under home photo-therapy for Jaundice since day 3. This means a very regimented schedule of lights and feedings that put an artificial strain on everyone."
"The 2 year old dawdles, the 3 week old cries. Every age has `stages' which a parent must work through. I am blessed with a husband with whom I can talk to, work out `game-plans' with or simply rely upon to take over the rocking or punishing (we use `time-outs')."
"Certainly the loss of freedom and time. And reining in my jealousy of my husband's seeming ability to carry on his normal routine regardless. At first I was very disappointed he did not come forth with more help, more sharing of parenting. But now I see he is doing that in his own time, as he grows more comfortable and as our son grows more amenable to his care and personality."
"The awesome responsibility of raising another human being is the hardest part of having a baby. We want to try to do everything right, even though we know that isn't possible. We just do our best. Probably the hardest thing is not knowing for sure what she needs and not always being able to satisfy her. Also, lack of sleep is very hard."
"Two children in diapers are frustrating sometimes. This week end, we tried our new camper, the baby girl leaked up to her neck and got everything wet. My two year old son leaked during his nap. The urine went our of his rubber pants even to a sheet on the mattress. Now I'm going to buy plastic sheet covers for our mattresses in the camper. Cleaning up any mess is frustrating to me. After giving my baby medicine yesterday, she threw up all over a seat in the camper."
"Balancing work and parenting - it's impossible to feel like I'm doing my best at either job, and ye financially I have no choice. I'd like more government support for stay-at-home moms. There's basically none now."
"The older children get, the more they challenge you as far as discipline goes. They seem to disobey just to see if what you said was really meant. Sometimes it's hard to stand firm and be consistent."
"Sharing time with all 6 of my children. It is very difficult to give each child his or her own special time. Luckily, my children are good at expressing when they need extra time/attention. Moreover, they are patient and know we are doing all we can to meet their own individual needs."
"The only thing hard about it is my loss of income. But I am starting a day-care so as to stay home with our son and watch him grow."
"Balancing individual time between each child. The baby needs me out of necessity and the 4 year old sometimes simply needs me."
"Returning to work! The way our society is set up now only to accommodate the rich. The one income family is deceased!"
"Getting dad to voluntarily help with taking care of baby. he will do it when asked but he doesn't take any initiative."
"The lack of individuality in myself. It has been a quite trying thing at times to pattern virtually everything I do after someone else."
"Keeping the right perspective. Accepting the fact that you can be a `good' parent without doing everything perfectly the first time. Nobody is perfect."
"Finding, or rather trusting, anybody to watch our child. I need to work 4 hours a day, but I just don't trust anyone. What's best? Another mother with children, or do they tend to have their child watch yours?"
"Being creative enough to entertain all my kids from 18 years to 9 months without neglecting anyone or boring anyone. Everyone must have an equal share of mommy."
"You always wonder if your are doing `the right thing' - from the big issues like finding the `right doctor' to the little things like providing the `right' toys."
"Being consistent. Sometimes I'm tired and don't feel like battling with them and other times I have a lot of things to do and don't feel like putting up with letting them do some things I would let them do if I was in a good, happy-go-lucky mood."
"As a single parent there are many difficulties to face. Different days bring different ones to mind. One nagging one is meals. It's difficult enough to find recipes that are quick/easy/cheap for one, but trying to make dinner for 1 1/2 is my toughest daily dilemma. The second one being trying to run a house working 10 to 13 hours a day and doing all the work caring for baby, 2 dogs and 2 cats."
"Dealing with the guilt of having other things that demand my attention taking away time spent with baby."
"Getting any `projects' accomplished at home with a busy, demanding toddler who requires near constant attention. Feel unable to keep up usual household tasks as completely & efficiently as `before children' (let alone personal enrichment time such as reading, music or exercise)."
"Trying to soothe a crying daughter in the middle of the night. Not knowing what to do when she's fed, dry and being held, but still crying".
"The most difficult adjustment for me has been the loss of a lot of my independence. Since I have become a first-time mother at the age of 32. I am amazed at how dependent a young baby is on her parents! Also, how our culture isolates mothers who stay at home is hard to understand."
"I'm 40 with children under two. Being an older parent, I get very tired sometimes."
"The lack of time available to meet my other responsibilities. I own my own business and bring my daughter to the office with me, or try to work at home. Many things just aren't getting done because of the time I spend with her."
"No major difficulties as I have adequate finances, family support, kids that sleep well and are a joy to be with. But without the above, raising kids is very taxing and I empathize with those that are missing these elements."
"The most difficult element is being able to discipline effectively and consistently. I don't mean `punish', I mean being able to constructively teach `good' versus `bad'. To convey the proper messages without destroying self-esteem takes great caution and care. With this, I deliberately struggle the most."
"Worrying about illnesses and dealing with Vaccinations. The feeling that they're so vulnerable."
"Being a mother of 3, I find it hard to give each of them the individual attention they need, without the others getting jealous. With my children ranging from 3 years to 2 months, the youngest needs more. But my 3 year old and 1 1/2 year old need a lot too! How do I do it?"
"Meeting the challenges of training my children to behave in acceptable ways (language, etc.) regardless of what they may hear around them."
"To balance disciplining and teaching my children, so they can become responsible and independent, with allowing them to be children and make mistakes, and not be too hard on them."
"Definitely not having ample time with the baby. Although, working and providing a steady income is also important."
"Scheduling time to do things around his needs and finding `last minute' child care for unplanned activities. We don't have anyone to `trade' sitting with and feel like we're imposing when we leave him with family - but can't afford a sitter."
"Keeping my patience, especially when I know my son is being difficult because of hunger, sleepiness, etc. It's easy to feel like he's just trying to make me mad."
"The fact I can't work as much as I want or when I want. While my kids are young, my every decision revolves around them."
"Initially, nursing, but we've pretty much got the hang of it."
"It's hard to justify giving up my job to stay home. I know it's the best thing for my baby, but I feel too dependent on my husband now. That's a tough concept in today's materialistic society."
"It's sometimes draining, physically and emotionally. We don't have the free and easy life style we used to have, of course. We anticipated that change. We couldn't know that not only would the external aspects of our life be changed, but the very essence of our life, our desires and emotions, would be changed. Not only can't we just pick up and leave for the weekend; If our son can't go, we don't <i>want</i> to! Sometimes this feeling of responsibility weighs a bit heavy."
"The responsibility of guiding them in the right direction, in such a way that they will accept that guidance."
"The hardest part of parenthood for me is the feeling that I should have written a book or done something spectacular since I'm `just' home with my kids. I love it but I feel guilty that I'm wasting my education."
"Actually the toughest part is that I miss the feeling of competence I had while in the `real' work place. As my daughter grows, her needs change. Consequently, once I get the parenting job done right she changes again. Office work was simple by comparison. At the office, once you knew your job, you could do it."
"To have the patience to look at the same leaf or hear the same story five times."
"Being able to do something just for myself and not feel guilty about it."
"It's almost impossible to wade through reams of information, most of it contradictory to what I read last week, and feel good about the way we have chosen to raise our kids. The food it was OK to feed them last wee, isn't good for them now, etc. It's enough to make you crazy!"
"It is hard to be a working mother. With our first child I felt very guilty. I have had to learn to accept the fact I cannot stay home or do all the things I'd like to with my children."
"A parent has to learn to be schizophrenic, as it were. The days when I could zero in on a project or book are gone; one half - at least - of my mind and attention belong to our daughter."
"Adjusting to the role of `housewife' and the extra jobs expected of the domestic engineer."
"Keeping my patience intact when my 18 month old pushes me to the limit."
"The media - if I didn't know any better I would believe that I'm raising my children wrong because I'm not doing everything that the TV & magazines etc., tell me to."
"Being tired 24 hours a day. I work over 40 hours a week plus I am home with my daughter one week day. My house is a mess, the lawn isn't mowed and I need a nap."
"Trying to keep my patience intact. I am no a very calm person. But I am getting better."
"Getting ready to go places and get there on time."
"The most difficult aspect of parenting is keeping the developmental and emotional needs of more than one child. Meeting those needs simultaneously rarely happens and it then becomes necessary to acknowledge your own shortcomings as a parent. Being gracious and forgiving of yourself, your spouse and your children is a daily choice."
"Not having the social life I was accustomed to before parenthood and not having the time to do a lot of the things I'd like to. The loneliness at times."
"Teaching a child respect of others is harder today than when I was raised. You wouldn't dream of back-talking your parents and live to tell about it 30 years ago."
"Being able to have a happy median in the discipline department. It is very difficult to know if your are being too strict or too lenient in different situations with our son. We try to make him understand and respect our views in child raising."
"Exposing the child to the paradoxes of life. Society seems to value an aggressive, hard and competitive approach, yet compassion, sharing and cooperation are necessary for survival."
"Being able to eat a meal uninterrupted."
"Learning to cope with the unexpected (illness, up at night, temper tantrums) so that we all come out of these episodes with our relationships and self-esteems intact."
"Scheduling. A constant day-to-day communication about who is going to be where, when."
"Trying to be their friend but still maintaining a parental level."
"All the outside family pressure and advice on how to lead our new life as a family."
"Feeling the pain (along with my children) that they must inevitably go through at times during the learning process. Knowing that I (or dad) can't always be there to protect them."
"Keeping my house and life in order - as it was - and excepting it as it is. Also, my small body is temporarily gone."
"I'm always surprised when I think we've go a discipline situation handled, and the child has a growth spurt and adds a new twist."
"Striving to be the best parent I can be to my son. This can be very stressful as I don't feel I always succeed."
"The amount of energy it takes. You have to be very health conscious. Eating well, adequate sleep (if possible) and exercise all help."
"To <i>always</i> be responsible for someone else!"
"I need to not feel guilty when I have to tell my 5 year old son that he can't buy every Ninja Turtle toy in the stores. Or else, I need more money!"
"It's hard to pass on good values and morals in the confusion of today's world. Respect for others, especially elders, seems to be an outmoded concept. (Don't have a cow, Bart!)"
"Finding Patience - Patience - Patience! You have to remember and keep telling yourself that everything is new to them. You have to let them explore!! Let them learn-touch-see-smell. Sometimes it is very hard."
"Time to spend with my husband. He works 70 hours a week and we have a one year old and a 2 1/2 year old. We need time alone."
"Not knowing the decisions I make will turn out to be the best for my child."
"I didn't realize how much `grunt' work (laundry, housework, dishes, etc.) was involved and how hard, very hard, it is to take the time to just play or talk with my children."
"Trying to create an environment that encourages respect for others and the environment in the face of today's over-commercialization and violently oriented culture. The TV is a disgrace in general with mostly mind rotting programs except for the public channel."
"The challenge in creatively dealing with baby's screams of displeasure when contradicted."
"Constantly finding an endless reservoir of patience. Some days my patience starts to wear thin, and I must build it back up by reminding myself that I am dealing with a child!"
"It's difficult to say whether it's the time or the money. I don't begrudge her either of them or course, but there was no way to anticipate the incredible drain on both resources. I think that in past decades, parents had more support from their own families. Now that we are so geographically spread out, and many more of us are working outside of the home (and some of our <i>own</i> mothers have gone back to work), things have grown more complicated. There are no easy answers."
"It's constant and a 24 hour a day job. At first my husband was not as involved as I thought he should be, but I realized that when a baby is nursing, the mom is their main source of comfort. I see that changing dramatically now that the baby is 9 months old and much more interactive in his play."
"The time involved. No `punching out' on the time clock. Not enough support of having relatives, other mom's or friends who are at home during the day to talk, listen, etc."
"Not to get too centered (i.e. - your whole life) around our child. Finding a healthy balance between spending time with our daughter and making time to spend with everyone else (husband, friends and God)."
"The hardest part is trusting my own judgement and going against all the other messages from society, relatives, and the media of the `right' way to raise my child."
"The biggest negative is loss of my free time. But I knew that would happen and I'm just trying to accept it."
"Probably the toll it is taking on my energy! Our baby is incredably alert all day and rarely naps, so I am often `on duty' for 14 straight hours. Phew!"
"The toughest times are when the children are sick. I feel so helpless. You become emotionally and physically drained. I worry that they will get through the illness all right. It's usually tough getting the medications in them and then when they are well, it's just sometimes hard keeping up with their unlimited energy day after day."
"You don't get the same recognition of a job well done that you do when you work outside the home. There are no raises in salary or positive reveiws. You also don't have a `job description' to rely on. You just muddle through and try to raise your kids to be happy, healthy, people. Considering how important the job is, you sometimes recognize the fact that you really have no idea if you're doing it right. And that's a worry."
"Having a `colicky' baby the first time around, my baby needed to be held all the time. She really got used to all the holding. Now that she's 10 months old - she still likes to be held as much as possible. For me, it's hard to get much done while she's awake - but I'm not sure how to break her of this habit."
"I think the hardest part of being a parent is trying to control my emotions during discipline. By disciplining our of need rather than frustration. The two aspects are very hard to separate. Especially since I came from a home where discipline was often carried out as a result of one parent's anger and frustration with him/her self."
"There are so many choices to make in parenting. It's overwhelming sometimes, to think `what if I made the wrong choice?'."
"Patience and listening to my 3 1/2 year old talk and ask questions all day long. It gets tiring but they're learning so much, we must answer and listen."
"When do you change pediatricians! Our daughter was diagnosed with congenital heart defect at about 2 months. But only after we changed pediatricians. She almost died because of the delay in diagnosing and treating her problem. Please tell readers that if there is any doubt, don't be afraid to change pediatricians."
"Finding time for me and not feeling guilty when I do."
"The pressures of being responsible for another person's health and safety. When children are so small (my two are 3 years and 10 months) it is hard to know where a problem area is. If they're sick it sometimes becomes a guessing game of `what's wrong' or `what hurts'."
"Hardest is stress. When mom and dad are both stressed to the limit, boy does our son pick up on it. He'll look for negative attention if he can't get any positive and it's really hard on all three of us. then I feel guilty about not talking and explaining my feelings to him, because he does understand if you give him the chance."
"I have an understanding of the saying `Time fly's', like I never had before."
"The constant changing. But it's a wonderful testimony to the growth and development of normal, healthy children. It's tough to keep up with!"
( What advice would you most like to give about experiencing life with a new baby?"
Send your advice via E-mail to: Editor - BABY EXPERIENCE ADVICE )