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Being a parent is a hard job, there is no doubt about that. As kids, and even sometimes as an adult, we may overlook just how hard our parent’s job is, and while they don’t always tell us the difficulty they experience behind the scenes if they did it would go something like the following.

Throughout my childhood, I always thought my parents were being hard on me. As an adult, I realize more and more each day how hard I was on them. Even still, I sometimes catch myself not fully realizing how amazing my parents are, and how difficult their job was in raising me.

Here are 11 difficult truths our parents never told us about being a parent.

1. They cried for us many, many times.

Throughout our lives, our parents cry for us on many occasions. They cried when we first bumped our knees on the pavement. They cried when we said our first words. They cried on our first day in kindergarten. And they cried when we finally left home.

2. They weren’t trying to control us, they were trying to protect us.

When they told us what to do or to be home by 9, it may have felt like control, but they were only trying to protect us. When they made us wash the dishes each day after school, they didn’t want to be mean, they wanted to teach us responsibility.

3. They sacrificed everything for us.

Even though they were happy to be our parents, and never wanted it any other way, they made sacrifices for us. Instead of going on a luxury trip, they bought us new school clothes. Instead of spending the evening with friends, they held us close when we were sick. Parents sacrifice their entire identity to become someone else: our parents.

4. They never stopped worrying about us ever.

From the moment they knew we were conceived, and even now, a parent never stops worrying. They go to sleep wondering if we are safe and happy, and they wake up wondering the same. Even now at 32 years old, when I get a cold, my mom calls me to check on me, worried relentlessly that I might not be okay.

5. No matter how much we hurt them, they continued to love us.

And even when we lashed back at them, yelled at them, and said hateful things, no matter how much our words hurt, they still loved us. I remember being an angry teen, storming off and throwing things. And I remember my mom loving me just the same.

6. They aren’t perfect.

Parents aren’t perfect and they realize that. Honestly, every mistake they ever made weighs on them, even now. Oftentimes, they wish they were perfect, for us.

7. They never expected us to be perfect either.

And no matter how much it may have seemed like they wanted us to be perfect, they never expected that. They accepted us just the way we were and loved us just the same. They only wanted us to be happy and safe.

8. Their main goal in life was for us to be happy.

Our parents had one main goal in raising us: making us happy. And they went to great lengths to go out of their way to make us as happy as they possibly could.

9. And their job never ends, no matter how old we get.

While many people believe that when children grow up, the parent’s job is over, it’s not. Their job never ends. As long as our parents are alive, they worry about us.

10. Their heart broke each time ours did.

And each time we experienced heartbreak or failure in our lives, our parents felt it too. It’s as though they experienced it right alongside us.

11. When you left the nest, it hurt them deeply.

Even though our parents know that one day we will grow up and leave home, it doesn’t make it any easier on them when we do. Even though they always knew that day would come, when we go off to begin our own lives, it hurts.