I love nothing more than snuggling up with my man (after our toddler has gone to sleep) and streaming a classic horror flick. A real old school slasher movie like Nightmare on Elm Street or Texas Chainsaw Massacre are our go-to picks; the kind I used to watch from behind a cushion when I was growing up. In fact, I have actually realized that, in many ways, my fascination with horror movies prepared me for parenthood. From the full spectrum of gross diaper offerings, to the crazy thoughts and paranoia that develop after a string of sleepless nights, becoming a mom can often feel like living a real life horror movie.
Just like parenting, these movies can be scary and make you feel a little sick to your stomach at certain points but, in the end, everything seems to work out and the adrenaline rush can even give you an energy boost. After all, life would be boring without a little fear, right? Yeah, let's go with that.
Now that I have survived the first few years of parenting, I know there is nothing any horror movie mogul could cook up to rival the real life gore show that is parenting. Still, being a fan helped me feel more prepared for what was to come:
When Things Came Out Of People's Bodies
Birth is a natural and common phenomenon but, let's be real: it can be horrific, especially when observed from the business end.
No horror movie director has ever created a scene more disturbing than actual birth, to be sure, but at least fan-favorites like Alien put in a solid effort.
When You Learn To Never Turn Your Back
When you finally get your child to sleep and are creeping out of their bedroom, never turn your back (but, you know, don't make direct eye contact with them, either). Otherwise, those little eyelids could spring open like the monster at the end of the movie and attack. Gulp.
When Everything Was Messy
Just like Regan's pea soup projectile vomit from The Exorcist, parenting can get really messy.
From milk spit-up to epic poops to everything in between, having babies always seems to involve something icky leaking from one end or the other. Plus, once your kid catches a cold it can be like sharing your home with Slimer from Ghostbuster's.
When You Could Still Find Something To Laugh At
Most horror films have an element of comedy running through them, in order to provide some light relief from all the blood and gore and terror. Parenthood, of course, is no different.
Sure, motherhood is often a difficult, messy job, but it also features the kind of absurdity and mishaps that one can only laugh at.
When Every Single Kid Is Super Creepy
The reason so many horror movies feature little kids is because they have the capacity to be really creepy. Cute, of course, but really creepy.
When There's Actual Suffering Involved
Pinhead from Hellraiser has nothing in his box of torture tricks to rival some of the tactics employed by toddlers to drive their parents to the brink of sanity.
From sleep regression to potty training, to the completely illogical tantrums common in the under 5 set, being a parent is basically warfare.
When The Toys Are Scary AF
I have to admit, I find toys quite creepy, especially in the dark, and it's no doubt due to watching way too many movies where dolls came to life and attempt to kill their owners.
So I was prepared for the full-on creep factor that is seeing toys silhouetted in the shadows. Eek.
When You Realize It Can Always Be Worse
At the end of a horror movie, as the monster or villain lays bleeding on the ground and the hero is about to get away, the bad guy always gets a little reprieve and launches one last attack.
This plot line essentially proves what every parent already knows: essentially, it can always get worse. If one kid gets sick, it's only a matter of time before every kid (hell, the entire house) is sick.
Then The Hero Always Survives
The characters in horror movies survive mass murder, mayhem ,and terror, whether it's Sidney from the Scream franchise or Dr. Loomis from the Halloween series. If there's one thing you can count on (in most horror films, of course) it's that the hero will survive.
So, I am hopeful that even though parenting is messy and hard, I might just get through it (and so will you).