Many adults — whether they’re expecting, just want kids in the future, or are looking at other parents in their lives — fantasize about what kind of parent they want to be before they’re given the new title. They’ll be all organic. They’ll never look at their phones. Their kid will never, ever watch Cocomelon! but the reality is that once you’re in it, it’s a totally different ball game. And now, one viral Reddit thread hilariously highlights how even best-laid plans and strongest moral convictions in parenting can quickly be abandoned when you’re thrown into the thick of raising kids
Reddit user u/TreClaire asked, “What was your dumbest ‘I’ll never when I’m a parent’ that you said before you had kids?” in the popular r/Parenting community, and users chimed in with a variety of answers.
“Mine? 100% that I’d NEVER let my kid follow me into the bathroom,” u/TreClaire answered. “I thought it was SO WEIRD how people would just allow their toddler/small child come into the bathroom and just hang out while you used the toilet.”
A quick read through the thousands of comments and it’s clear that all of us were “perfect” parents before we had kids, and so many of us have learned a quick lesson when we were actually thrown into the real thing. Some Redditors were adamant about not using certain baby products; others swore their relationship with their partner wasn’t going to change, and ultimately, if you’re not sure what you’re doing in parenting, this thread is a refreshing reminder that none of us have it figured out. Like, at all.
1. Never calling your spouse “Mom” or “Dad”
We know there is a shift in relationships when a new baby is brought into the mix, including the addition of new titles like “Mom” or “Dad.” And several Redditors swore they weren’t going to be one of those parents who always call their partner by their new title — and hilariously failed.
“I said that I’d never refer to my husband as daddy,” u/Steady-as-she_goes said before admitting that plan went out the window. “At this point he doesn’t even have a first name now it’s just Dad.”
u/riomarde didn’t understand why her grandparents used their titles only, until they became a parent. “I always thought it was so weird that my grandparents would call each other mom and dad, but by the time I rolled around they had been parents for around 40 years,” they wrote. “I’ve been a parent for about 3 and it’s already happening.”
2. Never setting a schedule — and going with the flow
It can be hard to find your footing when you enter into the world of parenting, and things always seem far less complicated until you’re juggling the needs of a baby who is unpredictable.
u/sarabridge78 shared that before they became a parent, they thought would be a go-with-the-flow kind of parent that would never put their kiddo on a schedule. “I wanted to be free and open with our time. To be fair, she scheduled herself, but that schedule COULD NOT be veered from unless you wanted an easy, sweet, and happy child to turn into the biggest demon you ever met,” they wrote.
For another parent, it took them having to care for their own newborn to understand the schedule choices their friend made when they welcomed a new baby.
“I stupidly judged a friend (fortunately, not out loud) who had a baby a few months before me because she was feeding him every hour, when I knew babies were supposed to eat every 3 hours,” u/Ioa_3k admitted. “I even thought the kid had to be crying for some other reason and she was mistaking it for hunger. After my baby was born, I was like ‘ooooooh!’”
3. The products you’ll never try
We hear of baby products that parents swear by but for some reason, as new parents, we don’t think these tried-tested-and-true products are necessary before we learn a hard lesson.
For u/Realistic-Read7779, they swore they would “never let my baby have a pacifier.” But that changed. “She was hooked on her paci for 2.5 years.”
4. You’ll never let the picky eater win
For so many parents, mealtime is a stress point because picky-eating toddlers will declare a food their absolute favorite only to refuse to eat to eat it the next day. And this lesson was quickly learned by several Redditors.
“I swore I wouldn’t be the parent to make a separate meal for my kid. He was gonna eat what I made, no chicken nuggets in my freezer, no sir,” u/yonderposerbreaks responded. Now? “As long as he goes to bed full, I’m happy. It’s just not a battle I want to fight after working all day.”
u/hav0cnz_ was sure they were going to be strict about where their kid ate snacks. “We aren’t going to let him eat in the car,’” was a rule they were going to set. “We just won’t ever start letting him so he shouldn’t ever think it’s a thing we do.’” But, life had other plans. “LOL at my backseat covered in crumbs and raisins,” they admitted.
“My kids were going to eat grownup food and learn to enjoy well-cooked vegetables at a young age,” u/neobeguine swore. “Then he turned two and promptly started to refuse anything that could be described as a vegetable regardless of preparation. I’ve learned how kid dependent this is because while my youngest actually enjoys some vegetables, my oldest still hates even the kid-friendly ones like carrots.”
5. You’ll never let screen time take over
The topic of screen time is always a big one in the parenting world, often discussed as either a necessary tool or one that’s doing more harm than good. But several Redditors admitted to quickly changing their thoughts on screen time when they became a parent.
“‘Why do people just let their kids watch TV? That’s so lazy!’” was a phrase u/daiseikai uttered before becoming a parent. “And then I realized, how else are you supposed to cook dinner?”
And for u/Perfect_Polly, Bluey changed everything. “I said I wouldn’t do screentime until age 2,” they wrote. But what happened? Bluey. “Bluey is a magic elixir that fixes all. Plus I like holding her on my lap while she watches.”
To read the full thread of advice — and to consider how you’d splurge if you could — check out the Reddit community’s post. And remember, we’re all just making it up as we go along.