If you don't have a sense of humor about yourself, parenting is going to kick your ass. Your precious little one will require regular sacrifices of blood, sweat, and tears, all given in the spirit of deep, self-effacing humility. So, f you can't laugh you will go crazy. Even when you can laugh, there will be embarrassing moments that will make you want to quit parenting. It will be a wish with the power of a thousand "Nope" memes.
Here's where kids will always have the upper hand on us parents: in general, they're pretty shameless. They don't know the social rules that instruct us to be embarrassed, and so they can't be encouraged to tone down their insane behavior. They will use that insanity (and our humiliation) to their advantage. But it's not just the kids: parenting in general, no matter what beautifully filtered social media posts show us, is deeply uncool 90 percent of the time. That's not to say it's not fun as hell, but swapping weekend stories with your co-worker is never going to make you, as a parent, sound like a badass. By and large, your badass days are over. Sorry.
Sometimes, just for a minute, the overwhelming chagrin of realizing you're an uncool adult who lives for a tiny dictator — and who, yes, was just singing the theme song to Sofia the First to yourself as you were waiting for your Starbucks order — is going to make you wonder what you've done with your life and encourage you to throw in the towel. It only lasts a split second, of course, but the situations that can prompt them are numerous.
Even the sweetest, best behaved, most easy-going child has had at least one big embarrassing tantrum in public. It almost doesn't matter if it catches you off-guard or if you can see it coming a mile away in slow motion: more often than not, with the really big ones, there's just no way to stop it.
In those moments, the best you can do is remove your child from the situation, hold your head up high, and ignore the judgmental looks you get from people who don't get it or parents who apparently have amnesia from the last time they fell off their high horse when their precious little one had a fit.
Leaking Through A Shirt If You Breastfeed
Yes, there's nothing quite like getting big wet circles on your shirt that leave no room for interpretation about what's really going on in your life and with your body.
Sometimes one side will leak and you think maybe you can shift the shirt over so the wet spot isn't quite so obviously at nipple level and be like "Oh, I must have spilled some water. What a klutz!" But people will know. They always know. It's nothing to be ashamed of, but it's still kind of mortifying.
Your Child Announcing Their Farts
And poops and any other gross body function that (most) adults have learned to politely ignore. If kids just announced every time they farted, that would be embarrassing enough, but they will repeat this fact over and over until you acknowledge it. Like, you're in a grocery store, and usually via the following conversation:
How the hell do they want you to respond? Seriously, I'm asking. Do they want a parade or something? OK, you farted. Chill. Everyone farts, but we don't announce it.
Your Child Announcing Your Farts
When this happens (and it will), a wave of hot shame will wash over you and you will want to crawl into a hole and die. Resist that urge, because life goes on, but it's really embarrassing. #Solidarity
Mismatched Shoes And Other Outfit Pairings Chosen After About 2 Collective Minutes Of Sleep
This is an actual photo from my personal archives. This happened. This happened because my son had been screaming half the night and I was working on basically zero sleep and I got dressed in the dark because the idea of turning on the light would have made me cry.
Fortunately I've established myself as enough of a "free spirit" that people thought it was intentional. It was still embarrassing.
Kid Crud All Over Your Clothing
Even when they don't announce their body functions, kids are just full of all sorts of gross body crud, and it's often leaking out of them in some way. Boogers, spit, spit-up, tears, pee, poop; and all of that, at some point, is going to wind up on your clothing (sometimes without your knowing).
And then a co-worker will point out a spit-up stain on your shoulder that you didn't notice at all and it's pretty awkward. My recommendation? If you wear busy patterns, there's a decent chance you can camouflage all that grossness. You're welcome.
Revealing That There Is Approximately A Serving Of Cheerios In The Bottom Of Your Bag
Moms know that sated child can be the difference between a child kindly complimented by strangers and a child you have to drag back to the car kicking and screaming. As such, snacks must be carried on your person at all times. Cheerios are a good choice, but those suckers spill everywhere. So the bottom of a mom's bag is very likely an uneven terrain of stale Cheerios.
That's our little secret, until someone is like, "Oh, do you have a tissue?" and you're busy and so you're like, "Oh yeah, in my bag." Before you remember what a mess it is in there, your friend has already reached in and disgustedly pulled out a handful of gross, fuzz covered cereal. #momproblems
(And yes, this is also an actual picture from the annals of my adventures in motherhood.)
Inadvertently Talking To Adults Like You Talk To Kids
There should be a word for the mixture of failure and confusion as to who the hell you are when you excuse yourself on the date because you "have to go potty."
Owning A Minivan
You can love it. You can be OK loving it. There are lots of reasons to love it, actually, but it's never going to fill you with pride to roll up in a minivan.
The Caravan Of Stuff Required For Any And All Outings
Seriously, until your kid hits, like, three or so, you and your family are going to look like you're a team of explorers about to scale Mt. Everest. Little ones require so much stuff it's ridiculous, and you're going to look a little ridiculous carrying all of it.
Bringing A Child To A Restaurant
Even if a child is well-behaved in a restaurant, they're still a child in a restaurant. They drop a lot of food. Like, a lot. Probably more food than they eat, actually. It just isn't practical to clean up every piece as it drops, so you just kind of let it all gather until you scoop it up at the end, but before then you just look like the a-hole whose a-hole kid is making a mess.
And if they've also decided to have "an off day?" God have mercy on your soul, because there ain't no judgment like the judgment a parent receives when their kid kicks up in a restaurant (except maybe when a kid kicks up on a plane).
Bringing A Child On A Plane
They don't even have to act up. You already want to die, because the mere presence of a child on a plan is offensive to some people, and they let you know it with eye rolls and audible scoffs.
Getting Drunk After Two Sips Of A Cocktail Because You Never Drink Anymore
This one is a classic. You have your baby. You take a pretty decent social hiatus and then, finally, it comes: a night out.
You're so excited to get adult conversation and delicious drinks and then you discover, within 15 minutes of the outing, that your tolerance is gone. And not only that, you're not really fun drunk, you're just sleepy drunk.
Nodding Off While Out With Friends
Because, seriously, you should have been in bed hours ago. When you realize you could be sleeping, you quickly move from mildly cranky and annoyed to sheepish. Then you think, "Who the hell am I even? I once stayed up 48 hours to fly to New Orleans on a whim and now I'm struggling to keep my eyes open the moment the freakin' sun sets. This baby made me lame. I quit."
Then someone asks to see a picture of your little one, you perk up, whip out your phone, and show them 40 pictures plus a video, because your kid is the best and parenting is awesome.
Beside, if we quit when they're little, we won't have a chance to reap sweet, sweet revenge when they're teenagers. #SilverLining