1. You never know your tolerance for bodily fluids until you're a parent. Vomit, poop, pee, drool, mucus and any given combination, which would have grossed you out years ago, is now simply a part of your life (even if it still makes your stomach clench)
2.You never know your capacity to love until you're a parent. This may sound cliche, but it's true, and I think that as a parent you realize that everyday. I mean, who could ever know that someone who demands all your time, abuses you regularly, and is generally unappreciative of all you do, could make you love them more than anyone else ever has?
3. You never know true insanity until you're a parent. Sleep deprivation, food deprivation, and constant harassment equal a level of crazy that you can't appreciate until you're a parent or a P.O.W. Sometimes you hear voices, sometimes you see things, and often times you have paranoid fantasies.
4. You never truly appreciate that children are actually tiny mental patients until you're a parent. They don't sleep, yet keep going. They puke at the worst possible times. They ask questions over and over again, forever expecting a different answer. They can live on peanut butter sandwiches. They are manipulative, skilled liars. They NEVER get tired! They are crazy, and take their parents with them.
5. You never know just how golden silence is until you're a parent.
The quiet, oh the peace and quite. When you're a parent, you pray for those moments, those rare times when everything goes still. When the kids are asleep, when the pets have given up begging for affection, when the spouse is quietly absorbed in a computer game. It's mythical, magical fleeting great white whale. Every parent hunts it, few ever harpoon it.
6. You never know true empathy until you're a parent. When your child hurts, you hurt, plain and simple. No one else's pain can bring you to tears the way your child's can.
7. You never know how to manage money until you're a parent. I love to listen to my childless co-workers talk about how they have no money. They "have no money" but can still go dinner. They "have no money" but can still buy a new pair of boots at Macy's. When you're a parent, you actually know what it means to NO money, and how to creatively stretch a dollar, sideways if need be.
8. You never know how much you love your own parents until you're a parent. Remember when you told your parents you hated them? Those torturous teenage years that you thought they were evil, unfair beasts? Well, becoming a parent gives you a deep respect, a reverence, for your own parents. Now that I have two of my own children, I can't imagine how my parents ever raised four of us. I can't fathom how they juggled work, bills, and all of us kids and our various problems. They were super human. I love you mom and dad. Thank you for loving me, even though I was rotten.