What You Forget About Parenthood

May 12, 2022

By Amy Coward

It’s been a while since I had young children at home. Other than the occasional visit from grandchildren (an hour here, two hours there), all my children are “flown and grown” as they say and they’re beautifully independent. But having full responsibility for several of the grandchildren recently reminded me just how tough parenthood really is.

We recently had three of our grandchildren, ages 9 months to 4 years, for the better part of 3 days. Oh, how I had forgotten how challenging that is.

You forget how that little cry of discomfort in the night awakens you from a deep sleep. You forget that even in a sleep-deprived state, you can hold them, rocking and praying simultaneously that they’ll fall back asleep quickly.

You forget how toddlers fight with each other, then hug minutes later, only to fight again over meaningless toys and trinkets.

You forget how children fight off sleep even when their eyelids can barely hold their weight, sometimes giving in while in the swing or the highchair or on the potty.

You forget how busy they are, exploring, reaching for new things, tasting. You forget how you can’t turn your attention for a second.

You forget how hard it is to cook dinner or take a shower or fold the laundry. There is so much to do, but the tasks must wait. Because the little ones need you. Every. Single. Minute.

You forget the torrential mess your house becomes. The toys. The cracker crumbs. The raisins ground into the floor. The spills.  (And if you say this doesn’t happen at your house, I do not believe you.)

You forget the never-ending soundtrack of cartoons in the background. The annoying songs. The sound effects. The quirky voices. Why can’t children enjoy the food channel occasionally?

You forget all the drama. Everything is a big deal when you’re a kid. The snatched toy. The skinned knee. The mashed finger. Everything is a “10” on the emergency scale and everything must stop until the incident is resolved, the injuries kissed and bandaged.

If it weren’t for the toothless grins, the outstretched arms and the after bath snuggles, many parents (and grandparents) might run screaming into the woods. But thankfully, there are all those wonderful things about having small children around. The funny questions, the long explanations about cartoon characters that make absolutely no sense, the thrill of a simple trip to the grocery store, the excited calling of your name when you return home, the hugs.

Children are wonderful little humans and it’s amazing to be around them. But it’s also exhausting. Let’s be honest. And it’s true that raising children is for the young because you need all the energy (and caffeine) you can get.

I will welcome any and all visits to “Mimi’s” because that’s what grandparents do (so the parents can remain sane). I’ll hang out with the little ones for grocery store runs, help with bath time and captain the ship for occasional get-aways, but I’ll need a few days of rest afterward.

Parenting is the work of superheroes. It’s easy to forget that after a while. And my hat is off to every mom and dad out there wearing these wonderful, invisible capes.


Amy Coward is a public relations professional in Columbia, SC. When she is not working for her clients at AC Public Relations, she is writing, running and traveling.