General Question

hug_of_war's avatar

Is raising your children differet than you thought it would be?

Asked by hug_of_war (9943 points ) July 14th, 2009

Was it harder than you thought? More of a financial burden than you thought? More joyous than you thought?

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22 Answers

cak's avatar

All of the above!

Actually, it comes in stages. I never thought my son would get really sick, especially since I was sick, at the same time. I never thought I would watch him battle a disease that could take his life. He beat it, he’s fine now. You’d never know a thing happened!

I’m waiting for my daughter to go through that horrid teen year experience, knock on wood, it hasn’t happened, yet. I still have a few years to go, though!

Financially, I knew it could be very expensive, but it’s the little things that sneak up and surprise you…oh well, it all gets paid for – things are fine.

More joyous? I never in my life thought I could be surrounded by this much love or joy. So yes, in that sense, it far exceeded my expectations. I love being a mom!

Blondesjon's avatar

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

jonsblond's avatar

Yes it is. I thought I would be the “cool” mom and let my children do whatever they wanted. I never knew that I would worry as much as I do now!

I also never knew how much joy they would bring to my life. It’s a wonderful feeling!

filmfann's avatar

When you come home from work, the dog greets you at the door, excited you’re home.
A dog comes when it is called.
A dog plays with you when you want to play.
Feed a dog, it will eat.
Dogs think you are the smartest, most wonderful person, and they love to show you their affection.

When you come home from work, the cat doesn’t care.
Call a cat, the cat ignores you.
Try to play with a cat, and it ignores you, till it gets angry and snaps at you.
Try to feed a cat, and it may or may not eat. It often just ignores you.
Cats think you don’t know anything. They think it’s best if they pretend you aren’t there.
Cats figure you are at best an incovenience. If they choose to show you any affection, it is probably only for their own personal gain.

Children are born dogs. When they turn 13 or 14, they suddenly turn into cats. They stay cats for 5 or so years, then fade into a middle ground between dog and cat behavior. They never fully become dogs again.

I never realized how frustraiting, painful, difficult, and demoralizing being a parent would be. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Darwin's avatar

As @cak said, all of the above.

Harder: My son has a mental illness so I am learning things I never wanted to learn.

Expensive: My daughter lost her retainers and was too embarrassed (possibly) to tell me, so now she needs braces again. $3000 down the tubes. Again. She is also angry with me because I told her they had to be fixed braces, not removable ones, so she couldn’t lose them, too.

Joyous: Every day.

cak's avatar

@Darwin…oh…that’s bad. Braces, again. Ick.

Darwin's avatar

@cak – Third times a charm, right? At least her senior picture has already been taken, and she should get them off again by prom, but she went for about 6 hours today refusing to admit that I even existed.

cak's avatar

@darwin – Wow, you ranked a 6 hour non-existent streak? That’s good! It’s great that they will before prom and eventually, she’ll thank you. One day…a long time from now. ;)

casheroo's avatar

@Darwin Oh you evil mother and paying for braces! I never appreciated what my parents did for me, when it came to braces, until I learned it was “cosmetic” and not covered by insurance. Very grateful. I wish I had worn my retainer :(

Raising children is actually must different than I expected. I’m not sure what I expected actually. I was a nanny, a mother’s helper, I’ve working in daycares…nothing prepared me for actual parenthood, it seems. You have to take every day as it comes, every hour, every minute.
I have a young son, so I’m still relatively new to parenting, there is so much more for me to learn and how to cope with things.
Teaching another human being the basics and not so basics of life is very draining. You don’t just potty train and say “off to the world you go!” You need to teach respect, humanity, compassion, the ways of the world. You need to lead them to want to learn, and to thrive. You have to be conscious every minute of how things will positively or negatively affect them. Nothing is simple.
Financially? It’s not as bad as I thought actually. It’s what you make of it. We probably spend too much on our child, but when we have another, we’ll definitely have to rationalize much more. I mean, we’re by no means doing well with money, but a child doesn’t need much to be pleased, and neither do I or my husband. We’ll get there one day, and we do it all for our son. Every waking moment is work for our son and his happiness and livelihood.

Darwin's avatar

@casheroo – She is angry with me for financial reasons, too. I decided that since she is going off to college in one short year that she needs to learn how to budget. Starting July 1st she can no longer ask me for money. She will have an allowance deposited directly into her bank account, so if she needs $15 for a school shirt, or $5 for a Grande Tazo┬« Chai Tea Latte or whatever, she needs to go to the bank and get money. If she runs through her money before the first of the month then she needs to either cut back or do some babysitting.

She is resisting it as hard as she can, much like the way a cat suddenly becomes so wide when you are trying to put it in a carrier.

cak's avatar

@Darwin – My parents did that to me, they started in my junior year. I was given a flat amount, each month – earned the prior month. If I wanted more, I had to earn it myself. That was one of the best gifts my parents ever gave me. A sense of independence and financial responsibility.

casheroo's avatar

@Darwin Wow, she gets an allowance? That’s generous of you. I didn’t get one, because I had a job. And got things when I received honor roll, but no money. Does she have her own bank card for the account? She could use that and keep a checking register, so she can manage the money herself?

cookieman's avatar

For the most part, parenting has been much easier than anticipated. But I have a great partner in my wife and my daughter is smart and thoughtful.

It can be frustrating, but I know that comes from me. For example, I love to be alone, and that’s near impossible with a child. On the other hand, my daughter is very well behaved and respectful.

Best of all, she makes me laugh and is such an expressive joy to be around. She sings and dances these beautiful little “interpretive dances” that are charming. She loves crafts and art, having little use for toys.

Really, the best child we could have hoped for.

I know she will go through a stage where she will want nothing to do with me – so I am absorbing as much love as possible now. There’s little that scares me in life, but I dread the day she looks at me with contempt. It will crush me.

Cost has yet to be anything significant. As I said, she hates toys. I barter for her dance classes and her schoolis affordable and conveniently located. So – so far so good. ::knocks wood::

Darwin's avatar

@casheroo- She doesn’t have a bank card but she does have a check book with a check register. She also gets her monthly statements. She should have all the information she needs to handle it. However, she is “afraid” to go into the bank and get money out of her account. I have taken her to do that a few times, and I have told her how to do it. Now she needs to do it.

She is very, very active and I hate to burden her with a job during the school year. Of her seven courses, 5 were either honors or AP. She had a bad year this year, and so her GPA for the year dropped to 3.65, but she is still ranked 42nd out of 785 in her class. She is also varsity in three sports and involved in two others. She is active at church. She is in three honor societies and Athletes for Christ. She has been voted class favorite two years in a row and asked to be in the “in” social organization. All of these are good things for her to be doing so I haven’t pushed getting a job beyond periodic babysitting and a brief bout of being a camp counselor this summer.

She just doesn’t want to take that first step.

Jeruba's avatar

Oh, my, yes. In every way. If people really knew what they were getting into, it would be a natural form of population control. Luckily there are usually some really great moments to balance out the heart-stopping scares and all the times you think they will drive you crazy. And in most cases they turn out just fine and it was all worthwhile.

Tink's avatar

Raising a child is hard, I’m no mom and don’t plan to be soon. But as a “child” I think we give our parents a hard time, or atleast I do.
They are always worrying about us and stuff, it’s nice sometimes too

YARNLADY's avatar

Raising my sons wasn’t much different than I expected. I guess I didn’t have any particular expectations. I thought it was going to be difficult and exciting, and it is.

Jack79's avatar

My actual relationship with my daughter is a lot easier and smoother than I thought it would be. I am a lot stricter than I thought I would be. Unfortunately my relationship with her mother (and also the mother-daughter relationship) is nothing like I expected it to be, and that’s the biggest problem we have to face. It’s a very practical one.

MissAusten's avatar

Raising children is a lot scarier than I thought it would be. So much responsibility, and so little control over the things that happen to them. We have three kids, and they are all different. Our daughter, the oldest, was always the “easiest,” from the time she was born. The boys are, well, boys. All three of them make me laugh so hard I can’t breathe, they make me want to pull all my hair out or lock myself in a soundproof room and scream. They do things that make me almost swoon with relief at the sign that they will grow into decent people. They do things that make me want to cry just from being so proud of them.

One thing I’ve learned is, each kid has his or her own personality from birth. You can’t change that personality, but can help direct it. Yes, they’re expensive. Yes, they’re frustrating and loud. But they’re also great to cuddle with and laugh with. They are also good at learning essential life skills, like armpit farts. Never a dull moment!

ShanEnri's avatar

Yes, again to repeat everyone, all of the above! The expense part was easy to overcome. At least it feels like it now! The joyous part; I feel joy when I see them, when they accomplish something that, for them, was difficult! They are my joy! However raising them is a fine line at which we, my husband and I, balance precariously. There is always bad with any good! They both have gotten into serious trouble. My son is still suffering the consequences of his crimes, my daughter is 18 now and starting to really change! She used to be dark, brooding, and angry. Now she’s bright, happy, and thinking of the future! I would never trade any of the experiences we’ve had though. It is shaping them into the people they will be when they grow up!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I didn’t go into parenthood with expectations. I certainly didn’t expect for postpartum depression to hit me after the birth of my child – that changed my life and getting out of that time split my life into two – before and after postpartum…it eventually led me to see my then husband and my parents for who they truly were…it’s taken me years to gain back my first son because my mother ‘took over’ his care for the 4 months I was suffering…I am a stronger person, I am a stricter parent than I thought I would be…the things I am teaching my children are all the things I always planned to teach them…and they are both bright and beautiful and are my pride and joy…just as expected, they’re not everything that I live for and I am good at finding a balance in life…and I love that my toddler trusts me and thinks I’m nuts and can have fun with me…I never expected to get married again and have a child by another person as well…but I figure, what the hell, roll with it, they’re brothers through and through and the second time around, parenthood is different…having a toddler and an infant at the same time is a challenge but I am so lucky that I didn’t have postpartum the second time around and I am so lucky to have Alex, whom you know, in my life because he’s an amazing parent and is my joy, as well

wundayatta's avatar

I never expected them to have so many interests. I knew they would turn into their own people, but I never thought it would happen so fast and at such a young age.

My daughter is very social, and she is the peacemaker in her class. She is part of every clique there is, and she often settles disputes between various individuals and groups. She has a talent for just about every artistic pursuit there is: writing, art, music, acting, move making, facebook video advice giving (well, she wants to, but I haven’t said yes, yet). On the other hand, her persistent refusal to ride a bike baffles me.

My son has gone through at least a half dozen intense interests. After the talent my daughter showed at drawing, I thought he’d do something different, like music or whatever. For some reason, he started drawing about a year and a half ago, and now he’s doing shading and three dimensional depictions of things, and it is better than I could ever imagine being even if I practiced five days a week. He’s actually taken over the title in our house, which my daughter seems to have ceded to him.

He’s a monkey and a gymnast and he wants to be a ninja. So he’s made us get him gymnastic classes and aikido classes, and he’s working on building his strength—mostly, I think, because he loves TMNT. He also learns about physics and astronomy from TMNT. Who knew? Oh well. Visual science fiction. Not my cup of tea, but he seems to be learning from all that tv watching, and he practices drawing at the same time. I have no idea how he does it. On the other hand, he hates reading and writing. That, I just don’t get.

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