One of the great myths foisted upon humanity is that having kids is a happy, enriching, profoundly moving experience. Sure, there are sleepless nights, dirty diapers, a pile of dishes in the sink, and maybe the occasional "C" on a report card, but parenthood is, by and large, one of life's great joys – something you definitely don't want to miss out on.
That's the sales pitch, anyway. If today's parents and grandparents told you everything involved with raising little human beings to become responsible, healthy, tax-paying adults, no one would ever want to be a mom or a dad again. The species would slowly die off, and then who would be left to explore, populate and ruin a new planet like Mars?
So, forget asking your parents or friends who already have offspring what it's like to have kids. They're not going to be straight with you, but we will. The following comics vividly illustrate what no one will dare say about being a parent. Some of it may be disturbing, but at least you'll go into parenthood with your eyes open.
1. Raising Kids is Harder Than You Think
Just as any home improvement project takes at least three times as long as expected, parenting is about three times as tough as you imagine – and that's when things actually go as planned. So rest up now before you have kids – you won't get much sleep for the first six or eight months (or, in some cases, years).
2. Having a Family is Mostly Chaotic
Those brief, blissful moments of peace and quiet? That just means your kids have escaped the house and are running down the street in their underwear.
3. You'll Take Immense Pleasure in The Little Things
Parenthood is all about celebrating tiny, incremental improvements. You'll be over the moon when your infant learns to smile, roll over, and or utter the word "gah!" And nothing you accomplish for the rest of your life will match the heady blend of ecstasy and relief you'll experience when this finally happens …
4. For the First Several Years, Kids are Kind of Dumb
You'll take peculiar delight in tricking them – making droll remarks that are over their heads, or telling them outlandish things that have no basis in reality. How do you think the whole Santa Claus thing got started? It was a massive, worldwide practical joke intent on giving parents just a small sliver of personal pleasure.
5. Bedtime is a Zero-Sum Game
Know that family down the street whose sweet little three-year-old goes to bed all by himself at 7:30 every night? You're going to learn to hate that family.
6. You Will Never, Ever Be Cool Again
Once you become a parent, you are firmly part of the establishment. Not only will you no longer be able to stay up past 10 o'clock, everything fun that you once held so dear – music, fashion, movies, TV shows, craft beer – will be banished forever to old fogey land. What's an old fogey, you ask? You'll soon find out.
7. You'll Do the Silliest Things Imaginable
And you won't even care, because it's for your wonderful, adorable kids. Besides, you're not cool anymore, anyway, so what is there left to lose?
8. "Nailed It!" is Not in a Parent's Vocabulary
There's no perfection in parenting. Whether you try too hard – or don't try hard enough – you will never, ever master it.
9. Your New Gig as Role Model Will Never End
Children don't seem like they're paying attention, but they are. You've probably heard that their minds are like little sponges, and that's actually true. How you view and respond to life will be constantly watched, and often mimicked. So unplug from your TV or phone, and read them a story once in a while!
10. You Can't Leave Them to Their Own (Digital) Devices
Those rare, golden-hued, goose-bumpy moments when you truly bond with your kids? They don't often happen without a little pushing and prodding. Sometimes you've got to drag them out of bed, take away their iPads, and force them experience the beauty of this world.
Know of any sage parenting advice we missed? Let us know below in the comments section!