The Hardest Part of Parenting… (It Isn’t Just the Sleep Deprivation!)

Photo: Veer / The Bump Photo: Veer / The Bump

Breastfeeding? Painful, at first. Figuring out a new daily routine? Overwhelming. Accepting the changes to your marriage and life? Difficult. Sleep deprivation? Killer.

All these things, and more, have contributed to what has been the most challenging year of my life — my first year as a mother of twins. And yet, none of these things are what I would consider to be the hardest part of parenting.

A few months ago, my mom came to visit. I was so excited to see her and for the babies to see her, but also to get some help. I had no shame about handing over laundry duty while she was here, or asking her to cook every now and then. In my sleep-deprived haze I even had some delusions that she would wake up with me in the night and help me figure out what to do about the twins’ (lack of) sleeping.

We had a great time with my mom, but in case you were wondering, we didn’t get that sleep thing figured out. I don’t know why I thought that my mom would magically fix that problem. Maybe it was just me being incredibly hopeful —  but that’s when it hit me.

The hardest thing about parenting is that nobody else can do it for you.

You might argue that, as a parent, the hardest thing is making a decision that affects your family. You might decide to bottle-feed or let baby cry it out, or you might struggle with going back to work.  But as hard as that might be, the reason it is so difficult is because Y-O-U are the one that has to make that decision.

I remember when being just a kid, impatient to be a grownup so nobody could tell me what to do. Turns out, the weight of that responsibility is sobering. Thankfully, a good decision is incredibly validating. Knowing that I do whatever I can for the good of my family uplifts and strengthens me.

…And a little sleep doesn’t hurt, either.

What have you found is the hardest part of parenting for you?

Plus, more from The Bump:

Best Advice Your Mom Ever Gave You

10 Biggest New Mom Fears

“Before I Had Babies, I Never Appreciated…”