Nothing galvanizes a reckoning with mortality more than parenthood. We think we’re a little invincible when we have no one to answer to. When I was single, and definitely before I had kids, I was on a little power trip — nothing felt impossible. Then I became a mom, was suddenly responsible for keeping another human being alive (with no more medical training than a basic CPR and First Aid class), and the next thing I knew, everything around me was a death trap. But the scariest things I dealt with as a parent weren’t the obvious stuff, like open manhole covers or uncovered electrical sockets. It was the straight up weird sh*t that only happens when you live with small children.
Like having to explain that the older gentleman, spewing obscenities on our block,with a cigarette butt in his teeth, might not appreciate my 7-year-old’s admonishment about his smoking habit. Kids are charmingly righteous — a testament to our textbook parenting, when we remember how to do it — but come off as obnoxious when putting the goody-two-shoes behavior into practice. I am raising my kids in New York City, and nobody is going to take their lecturing on the Golden Rule.
It scares me that I have to teach my kids to be decent humans, but also maybe keep that to themselves because they might get beat up by people who subscribe to the Me First policy. And when someone cuts in front of us when we’re on line somewhere, my kids want to call out this unjust act, and I have to stifle their outrage so we can stay under the radar. This sucks.But living in fear of how their self-righteousness can go wrong is just one of the many scary things I have to deal with as a parent. And it hasn’t happened half as often as some of these scenarios did:
The Baby Who Refuses To Sleep
It was a period of just a few days, but it felt like a lifetime: our 2-month-old did not sleep. She became superhuman; capable of remaining wide awake and unable to drift off to sleep for hour son end. The longer she was conscious, the more she was pissed off. She ate and raged and that was about it for several days. And then she went back to her usual napping and nighttime sleep schedule without incident. WTF?
Your Son’s Marriage Proposal
Of course it’s adorable that my son is not shy about showing his love for me… it’s just really creepy that he expresses it in the form of a marriage proposal. “You have to marry someone who is not already your family,” my partner and I would explain to him when he was 2-years-old and started to try to woo me and his older sister. This, of course, sent a confusing message since we were always warning about “stranger danger.”
“It’s so great that you love your family,” I’d tell him. “Please show me by picking up your toys.”
It was worth a try.
The Children Foraging For Food In The Carpet…
This was scary for the potential choking factor, as my kids would crawl around and pluck raisins from the shag rug. But it was more frightening for me to face the fact that my partner and I were not doing the best job in keeping the house clean, because we were super busy, with kids and jobs. I can have it all, I just can’t do it all.
… Or The Litter Box
This is why we don’t have pets. The horror of our children learning about the world through their mouths is is one of the worst aspects of parenting.
Kids Wanting To Spend Their Money On Pokémon Cards
There is no endgame here, my friends. There is only more cards. So for monetary gift the kids get for losing a tooth or having a birthday is another stack of cards featuring characters with nonsensical names and mouse type that is too small for me to read.
An Unidentifiable Black Small Furry Thing In The Crib
Is this a piece of a stuffed animal? A remnant of a pilled sweater? A hairball? So many questions that I probably don’t want to know the answer to.
When Your Daughter Wants To Play “Business Woman”
I should feel flattered that my child likes to pretend to go to work, just like mom. I am trying to set a good example for my children of fulfilling my needs outside my home and cultivating an identity outside of motherhood. But when my 9-year-old daughter sets up her pretend office and suddenly has “no time” for me because she has to work all day, I recoil a bit. It’s a look into her perception of my career, and it appears to be a drag. She does enjoy being the boss, though, so I guess that’s something.
A Kid Asking For Snapchat For Christmas
My daughter requested “a snapchat” as a gift. She didn’t even know what it was, only that “everyone” had it and she should, too. She is 9 and has no phone, so this was a ridiculous ask, but it did wake me up to the fact that she will have an online presence one day in the near future and I have got to start paying attention to all the evil — cyberbullying, online harassment, luring techniques — that can come of that.
The only thing worse than my kids talking a mile a minute, and whose speech is usually in the shape of demands and whiny rebuttals against bedtime, is when they don’t make a sound. If I haven’t heard a peep from them in a while, it’s a sure sign they are up to no good.
Second only to purchasing a home, the preschool application process was one of the worst nightmares of my adult life (and I used to ride home on the subway at 2:00 a.m.). It was labor intensive (so much paperwork), time-consuming (tours, registration, chasing after proofs of residence to accompany said paperwork), and anxiety-inducing (what will happen if we don’t get a spot?). Sending kids to a place to socialize with peers, familiarize themselves with letters and numbers, and mostly wash their hands five times a day should not be this stressful.