Ten top parenting trials

Some parenting experiences are common to us all. Perhaps it'll help you to understand that you're not alone. Unfortunately, there are no solutions, though: You can run, but you can't hide...

1.    You’ll never sleep again. At least, that’s how it feels, during those first weeks (and sometimes months or even years). Don’t worry, though. At some point, your child’s feeding/bedwetting/nightmares will cease. In the meantime, coffee is your friend.

2.    “I love you, you love me...” Yes, you’ve guessed it: It doesn’t matter if your taste in music formerly ran from classical music to death metal, you’ll be learning the words to the Barney the Purple Dinosaur theme tune, and singing along/humming it at work/cursing it daily.

3.    Soiled and stained: Most of us are relatively clean, before we have children. Afterwards? Not so much. Prepare to discover that there’s a line of baby puke dried on your shoulder, but only after an entire day out in public wearing that dark top.

4.    The Lurch: When your child strays too close to the edge of the sea/the unprotected staircase/a swimming pool- your heart threatens to pound itself out of your chest as enough adrenalin to wake up a brontosaurus surges through your system so that you can grab your child back from the brink of death. Just breathe.

5.    The Sistine Chapel (with crayon): You want your kid to be expressive and artistic, right? If you’re lucky, this will only happen on the walls, at knee eight, with crayon. My own brother used a permanent marker to draw huge hedgehogs on the carpet, and, unforgivably, my parent’s bed. Keep wet-wipes or industrial cleaner handy.

6.    The watery grave: Ever left something valuable in the bathroom? That needs to stop, long before you have kids. Chances are, the temptation to drop it in the loo and flush will strike your experimental infant.  You probably don’t want to get too intimate with your sewage system in order to attempt retrieval.

7.    “Toy not suitable for...”
There’s a reason for this warning label. Despite your best efforts, though, your child will probably, at some time, wedge some toy in their ear/nose/throat. Don’t worry, though, ER doctors are quite good at getting things out, and very helpful when it comes to printing out a bill the size of your entire life’s savings.

8.    “Hello... hello?”
Whether it’s your land-line or your cell phone, and even though you’ve attempted to lock the keys, your kid will one day phone either a relative in Australia, or, mystifyingly, a complete stranger in the Bahamas. When you eventually intercept the call, you will be met with lots of hissing, strange foreign accents, and a bill which rivals the telecommunications budget of a small country.

9.    Death to technology: A sticky biscuit shoved into the DVD player, an iPad dropped in the bath, or just a chewed cell phone- having kids severely limits the life-expectancy of anything you own. Try not to get too attached.

10.    Redemption: In spite of all these trials, we all, as parents, at some point experience an intensity of love so inexpressible that it’s as if we have signed a contract that says we are honour-bound to forgive EVERYTHING, from the gentlest challenge, to the most hair-tearing hurdle. Despite the tears and fears, there’s nothing quite like watching your own child, sweetly snoring, dreaming innocent dreams. At least they can’t cause trouble when they’re asleep. Can they?

What’s your biggest parenting trial so far?

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