40 Seemingly Irrational Moments Only Parents Understand

Louisa Leontiades Absurdity, Complicated Roots

My son stole a cola bottle from a sweetie display the other day.  I scolded him for doing such a naughty thing and persuaded him to take the saliva drenched sweet out of his mouth. Where to put it? No tissue, no bin and no chance of putting it back in the display. So I ate it.

He’s two and has no impulse control. I’m forty and supposedly do. It’s not rational. Parenting is frustrating, joyful and hilarious. It is also on occasion highly irrational. These are just some of those moments.

  1. It seems perfect normal to check your boots for plastic angry birds before you put them on.
  2. 6.30 appears like a great lie-in.
  3. You save a miniscule amount of food from the bottom of the saucepan because it might be half a portion for a small child.
  4. Your fridge contains a multitude of small unmarked Tupperware which you open at every mealtime in the hope that your child will eat these half portions, but after 3 days you always throw them away. But you still keep saving them in the hope that one day…
  5. Your normal response to viciously screamed insults is ‘Are you a bit tired darling?’
  6. Spiking dishes with hidden vegetables and lying about it is a good thing to do.
  7. You use food as bribery for good behaviour all the while knowing that this creates unhealthy associations.
  8. You sit boldly sucking the sauce off chicken or dissecting a casserole in a restaurant. Anything to make your child eat it (although they probably won’t).
  9. You don’t order food for yourself in a restaurant or maybe just a starter. There’s a good chance you will have to finish your children’s food and you’re not even ashamed.
  10. You make the choice of restaurant based on how big the pram parking area is and the quality of the play activities given to your children beforehand. The food will probably be shit (but that’s not what restaurants are about nowadays).
  11. You evaluate potential friends not on whether you like them, but on whether they have children to play with yours.
  12. You don’t see the people you actually like because your kid doesn’t get along with theirs.
  13. You carefully balance tiny garments on the laundry line even though you know they will end up falling on the floor as they dry.
  14. Babysitting for a night out is worth so much more if it includes the morning after.
  15. You realize after the fifth ‘why’ that you don’t know very much about how nature does its thing and instead say that thing you promised yourself you would never say ‘because I said so’.
  16. You start referring to your friend as Sarah’s Mum.
  17. …and to your partner as ‘Daddy’ more often than his actual name.
  18. …and to yourself in the third person. Mummy’s cleaning right now.
  19. There is literally no way fair way to decide who gets the toy, so instead you confiscate it. After 10 minutes of screaming you give it back with a ‘I hope you learned a lesson”. What was the lesson? You don’t know.
  20. You lie ridiculously about why they can’t watch television because you don’t really understand ‘why it’s not good for you.’
  21. An ultra expensive parental aid which is blatantly not worth it, becomes a necessity because it will afford you a tiny amount less work (for about two weeks).
  22. You no longer judge other parents whose child is a biter, because you know that if you do the very next week your child will bite someone. It’s called parent karma. It works in mysterious ways.
  23. The bookcase contains extremely small cardboard or fabric books in which cannot be stacked or organized in any way. They do not belong in the bookcase, but for some reason, you still put them there.
  24. You’re not quite sure whether to be proud or ashamed when your child hits someone who hits them first.
  25. Looking after other people’s children also means you have accepted to wipe their bottoms after they’ve gone to the toilet.
  26. You don’t wear a significant proportion of your wardrobe when your children are around because the clothes will get ruined. In two years they will be too small because you have taken to finishing your children’s uneaten food. You will have barely worn them.
  27. After a long day waiting for bedtime so you can get a bit of alone time you get out your phone and watch the videos of them you took earlier that day.
  28. You find miscellaneous small pieces of clothing in your laundry basket and you’re okay with having no idea where they’re from even though this is basically stealing.
  29. You justify spending a lot of money on educational toys on the basis that you will sell them afterwards. Later on you will give them all away for free just to get a little more space in your home.
  30. The amount of prior planning has no direct correlation to whether or not you arrive on time.
  31. You give away perfectly good brand new shoes because your child just won’t wear them. You don’t understand why you cannot ‘force’ them to wear them.
  32. Made up collective nouns like ‘a grobble of straws’ start to make perfect sense.
  33. You agree after the fifth time that ‘diamonds and gold’ can also be pronounced ‘damas and goal’ (and start pronouncing it that way yourself to avoid further argument).
  34. You rejoice about your child turning two so that they can get their own seat on the airplane, but then realize traveling is simply not worth it – not only because you can no longer afford to go anywhere but also because they can move about and you don’t want the stress.
  35. You have learned the surprising art of keeping a straight face when your kid explains to you in front of guests that they just put a finger up their bottom.
  36. 5 minutes of longed for silence can’t be enjoyed because it means you have to go and see what they’re doing.
  37. You feel the utter panic you might if a nuclear war had been announced because your child decides suddenly they don’t like their best friend anymore and they’re only due to go home the next morning.
  38. You turn into a wild screaming maniac because your child is just about to touch some poo in the street (or in their own nappy). DON’T TOUCH THAT IT’S DUTTY. DUTTY.
  39. How-to raise a child manuals only confuse you. The more you read the less you know.
  40. You love another person more than you ever believed possible even though they make your life hell. But somehow this is completely and utterly irrationally… worth it.