The hardest things about being a parent

Posted Wednesday 27th February 2013   By Ericka Waller

My top 16 most challenging bits of parenting

1: Moonsand. Who invented it and why? Was it just to drive us a bit more insane?

2: Grapes – Do you give them or not? Yes they are healthy, but what if your child chokes to death? Should you peel and slice them, or is that too much?

3: Other parents. They always have opinions and advice you never asked to hear and have no intention of following.

4: The hours between 3.30pm – 6.30pm, when your children turn into demonic versions of their former-selves.

5: Mealtimes. The cajoling, the food-throwing, the tantrums, the disgusted faces, the begging, the arguing, the threats, the inevitable tears. Then the cleaning up.

6: Car journeys that last more than ten minutes. After this time all the snacks and drinks you have packed will have gone and they will need a wee or a poo. Even if they don’t they will claim to until you stop.

7: Children’s car seats. Which one is the best one? How do you fit the bloody thing? How do you then fit your child in the bloody thing? What about if they have a coat on? How do you adjust the straps without them escaping? Do the covers come off so you can wash the wee/spew/squashed raisins away?

8: Hair-washing. Do you try and do it nicely or do you go with the water-boarding technique which is cruel, but quick?

9: The school run. It’s like one of those riddles about crossing a river with a wolf, a goat and a cabbage. (This is not a simile for how I see my children)  I (the boat), can only carry one passenger at a time.  If I leave the wolf and the goat alone together, the wolf will eat the goat.  If I leave the goat and the cabbage alone together, the goat will eat the cabbage. Substitute some of these things for lunchboxes, coats and children and you get my drift.

10: Parking. It will begin to take over your life. How early do you leave to get parking? How close will you be able to park? How soon do you need to leave to get back to the car? How dare other people get closer spaces, or park in child and parent parking when they don’t even have kids?

11: Peppa Pig. Watch out for that spoiled sack of sausages. Her insolent manner will soon be replicated in your own living room. Don’t even get me started on bloody muddy puddles.

12: Night-time. Do you leave them to cry? What if there is actually something wrong? What if there is nothing wrong and you are therefore letting them win? How can something so small make such a loud noise? How do you make it stop? Do you give it medicine? Pick it up? Take it for a drive? Put it out in the garden?

13: The national curriculum. Book descriptions will lose all meaning. All that will matter is which colour sticker is on the spine. The answer to this will determine how good a parent you are and how much your child can expect to achieve in life.

14: Your mum, and your mum-in-law. They will always think they know better about everything, even things that were not invented or known when they were first parents. Also, any desirable trait displayed by your child will be ‘passed on from them’. Any less desirable trait will be the fault of the other parent’s genes (depending on which set of parents you are talking to). None of it will come from you.

15: Guilt. Get used to feeling guilty. Guilty if you told them off, guilty if you made them cry. Guilty if you said no. Guilty if you screwed up a crap scribble they did. Guilty if you ever go out without them. Guilty if you ever get a babysitter. Guilty if you hide in the kitchen and scoff a Double Decker without sharing it with them.

16: Plastic toys that make noise. The off-button is always hidden. I remember one plastic dog who cried for bones. We used to have to get up in the night to feed him one. Five minutes later, just as we had got back to sleep he would BARK loudly and shout “I LOVE bones” – we would have thrown it away but it would have made us feel guilty.