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What nobody tells you about parenting

Brandon Billinger holds hands with his two young sons walking away as the cross a walking bridge on a sunny day.

When I became a dad, I had no idea what I was really getting into. The fact of the matter is that I didn’t even know how to change a diaper. Somewhere floating around our piles of videos from our firstborn is a video of me struggling to change a diaper in the hospital room as my wife was recovering. She was laying there laughing while trying to coach me. Eventually, I made it through.

Changing a diaper is one of those things they don’t always teach you in parenting classes. It isn’t like swaddling that you learn on with Cabbage Patch dolls in class. But after one diaper change, you almost become a sort of pro. You soon learn the skills of changing a diaper in the back seat of a car while grocery shopping, or if you are like me the ability to change a diaper while fielding phone calls as I work from home.

Parenting isn’t just about being able to change a diaper and the experience of parenting classes is an important step into parenthood. Anyone that is a soon-to-be parent has probably talked to other parents who give them the same advice of getting sleep now, or it changes your whole life, and that can be difficult to explain. There are many things that nobody tells you about parenting or has a hard time explaining. Many of those you learn along the incredible journey of being a parent, but these are two of the things that no one told me about when I became a parent.

Parenting is much more than babysitting

While in the early years, it may seem that parenting is all about those diaper changes, nighttime feedings and a lifestyle that revolves around naptime, being a dad and a parent may feel like we are at times just babysitting our kids.

Not babysitting your kids is about letting go of the things you’d like to be doing on a Friday night with friends at a bar, so you can get some sleep and wake up the next day to really be involved in your family’s life or knowing that you will be up several times during the evening with a crying baby. Not babysitting our kids is about being there through all their development stages from infants to toddlers, to kids and supporting them and being their constant in life.

Everything can change in a moment

There is not a day that goes by that something frustrates me, whether it is my day job or something my kids have done. My mood might be terrible, and I want nothing more than to just sit and veg-out on the couch to decompress for a few minutes. But the moment my 4-year-old crawls up next to me on the couch and wants to just snuggle, it can completely change my attitude and bring a smile to my face. My 10-year-old can walk into the room and start going on and on about the latest on Fortnite or YouTube, and while I may sit there and nod my head, I’m happy he is talking to me because I know there will come a time when all I will want to do is talk to him. Our kids can change our outlook on everything with just a smile.

I am a father of two boys, who is still figuring out if I’m still a rookie. Follow me on social media for more Dad insights at @TheRookieDad and

father of 2 and popular Kansas City area blogger @TheRookieDad