Parenting Expectations vs. Reality

We’re teaming up with Clorox to share some of the sweet and sour realities of parenthood.

Imagine if someone was recommending parenthood to you, like a movie recommendation. They might say you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll lay awake sleepless at night (for years probably), you’ll be on the edge of your seat (except you can’t sit down, you have to stand or walk, always), you’ll have to eat leftovers and sandwich crust instead of popcorn, oh and the tickets cost a several tens of thousands of dollars, but the run-time is around 18 years so you’ll get your money’s worth…

M’yeah. Doesn’t sound very appealing. But there’s nothing like it. It’s your own film! Your life, your FAMILY, filled with joy and challenge and adventure.

Sometimes the “trailer” we get for parenting can be a little romanticized. Let’s look and laugh at some major soiled-worthy plot points in Reality Vision, and compare them to the rose-colored glasses of advertising, shows and social media.


Nothing (except maybe war) will prepare a new parent for how little sleep they’ll get or how erratic what’s left of their sleeping habits will become.


Even when kids aren’t being difficult about letting you putting food in their mouths, new kinds or their favorite, they can be spectacular about getting it everywhere else but their mouths.


There’s nothing like that special moment when a parent raises their child up into their arms or onto their shoulders. Or, that moment when the aforementioned special moment unexpectedly becomes much warmer and very moist.


Most parents don’t realize that according to most young children, if they take a bath and wash their hair, everything is terrible and awful and ruined forever and ever for infinity. They will inform their parents of this, though. Often, and loudly.


Hearing stories from other parents of their kid’s wild disasters, new parents can get lulled into a false sense of security about how prepared they are to discover the living room ceiling covered in paper airplanes coated with peanut butter, because “that’s the only way they’d stick.”

Whatever movie your life plays out to be as a parent, it will most assuredly be filled with some unexpected turns. But it’s your story. Yours and your kids’. Binge on it!

How to Be a Dad is a paid contributor to Clorox’s SpinCycle helping you navigate the messiness of parenthood.