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Parenting Perspectives: Motherhood full of pros and cons

Baby smiles, like this one from the author's 11-month-old daughter, are one of the pluses of parenting, says Alicia Strnad Hoalcraft. Alicia Strnad Hoalcraft / The Forum1 / 2
Alicia Strnad Hoalcraft 2 / 2

Parenting is a whirlwind of good and bad all mixed together.

You can be playing with your sweet baby one minute, and covered in baby vomit the next. Likewise, an adorable sleeping child can become a screaming monster in seconds.

Those bad moments are part of why some people decide parenting is not for them – a decision I whole-heartedly respect.

For those on the fence, I offer up this list of some pros and cons of babydom I’ve discovered in my first 11 months as a mother.

Pro: Baby smiles. A baby’s toothless grin is pretty much the most adorable sight ever, and when it’s your baby smiling at you, it’s even more adorable. For one sweet moment, that smile makes everything better.

Con: Baby poop. The smile is great. The smell, not so much.

Pro: Becoming more confident in your abilities. For the past 11 months, my husband and I have had to take care of a tiny human who is completely dependent on us for everything. And we’ve done it. I’d even go so far as to say we’ve done it pretty well. Our daughter is happy and healthy, meeting her milestones and being generally adorable.

The first few months were tough, questioning every decision and wondering if it was the right thing, but now that our daughter has developed more of a personality, it’s great to start to see the fruits of our labor and feel that we’re doing a good job.

Con: Having people question your abilities. When you have a young child, many people feel it’s OK to question everything you do. I’ve been verbally accosted by a stranger at the mall for dressing my daughter in blue. Others have come up to us in a store and told us our child wasn’t dressed appropriately for the weather or accused us of not feeding our child properly because she’s small for her age. These people don’t know anything about us beyond the fact that we have a child, but they feel they have the right to tell us what to do with that child.

Pro: Tax benefits. Our tax refund for 2013 was nearly triple what it was for 2012, all because of additional tax credits for having a child.

Con: Kid costs. Unfortunately, most of that tax refund is going to go toward diapers, food and college savings, not buying Mommy expensive chocolates.

Pro: Milestones. Seeing your baby roll over, crawl or walk for the first time are magical moments. Hearing her say her first word – “Mama” – was enough to make even my stoic Minnesotan-self tear up. Watching your child thrive is an amazing feeling.

Con: Milestones. Unfortunately, those milestones seem to creep up on you and go by quickly. It seems like one moment they’re just learning to roll over and the next moment they’re running around the living room pulling things off shelves. My daughter isn’t even a year old, and she’s already learned to argue with me and run away from me when I tell her “no.”

Con: Co-parenting. Some days, it feels like my husband and I just spend our time arguing over whose kid our daughter is. “Your daughter peed all over.” “Your daughter threw up on me.” “Your daughter hit me in the face.” “Your daughter needs a diaper change.” (Every once in a while, it’s so bad we have to text one of our moms: “Your granddaughter ripped a book!”)

Pro: Having someone who’s always excited to see you. When I get home from work, my daughter’s face lights up. She races to the baby gate, clapping her hands and smiling to see me. It’s a really great feeling to know that someone is so elated to see me.

For me, that love between my baby and me is enough to cancel out any negatives I’ve experienced in parenting – yes, even the poop.

Alicia Strnad Hoalcraft is a page designer at The Forum. She lives in Moorhead with her husband and their daughter, Calliope. She can be reached at Her daughter can be found on Twitter on

Alicia Strnad Hoalcraft

Alicia Strnad Hoalcraft is hub manager for Forum Design Center. She lives in Moorhead with her husband and their daughter, Calliope. She can be reached at