Parenting is super-easy. Um, said no mother ever. There are some no-fail truths about parenting that every mama learns at some point or another. Yep. Between the time when that double purple or pink line crosses the pee stick and when your used-to-be-a-baby goes off to college you start to realize that there are universals that you just can’t escape.
Okay, so these “universals” aren’t all bad. Well, some of them kind of are. And, they’re not entirely scientific. Yeah yeah, when you think of universal laws your mind drift back to eleventh grade physics class. You kind of remember learning about gravity, motion and how there are “universal laws” that super-smarties like Newton came up with. So when it comes to parenting, you’re not exactly sure how these truths compare.
Well, the universal laws of parenting aren’t truths on a Newtonian scale. They’re more of irrefutable ideas that just about every mama (and daddy) comes to learn at some point in time. These are the inevitable results of having a baby. You simply can’t avoid them. It doesn’t matter whether you live in the middle of Manhattan or the middle of a dairy farm, these are the same for just about every parent. That’s just how it is. Kids are kids, and they tend to act predictably unpredictable. Um, what?
There’s a controlled chaos in parenting. And here’s how it goes… your kids don’t act in a logical way. Nope. Not at all. EVER. With all of that illogical behavior you’d probably never guess that there’s some order in the irrational. Don’t believe us? Check out these universal laws of parenting!
15 Spit-Up Situation
Your baby looks colossally cute. She’s wearing a totally rad outfit, she’s got a smile on her face and you’re out the door! In record time, no less. Whoa. You kind of can’t believe it.
As your strap her into the car seat you take stock of what’s going on. Baby bag? Check. Extra diapers? Check. A zillion colorfully patterned toys that she won’t pay any attention to? Check, check and check. You climb into the front seat, put on your seat belt, turn the key and then – then you stop what you’re doing. Why? Um, because your precious little one just spit up half of her last feeding all over that sweet outfit of hers.
It never fails. When you’ve wrangled your squirming infant into the ideal outfit and managed to get out the door without hours of prep, you’re stopped cold. If you had skipped the trip, the spit-up probably would have waited. Somehow your baby seems to know the most inopportune time to let lose. And, that’s exactly when she’ll go from pleasantly grinning to a fountain of half-digested formula or breastmilk.
14 Phone Call Disaster
Toddlers aren’t exactly known for their tact. But your tot is pretty pleasant right now. You’re kind of shocked. She’s agreeable, polite and generally a joy to be around.
She’s going about her day, toddling around and giving you cuddles, snuggles, kisses and hugs. Ah, the picture perfect parenting day. And then the phone rings. Suddenly your sweet little kiddo is raging. Okay, you totally know what’s going on here. Your child adores your attention, and she knows that the phone’s ring equals less of it for her.
So what happens? The moment you click “accept” and answer the call your formerly gleeful child is a hot mess. She’s crying, she’s screaming and she’s throwing everything she can get her hands on. Do you want to prove the point that this is a universal law of parenting? Try hanging up the phone. Yep., your toddler tyrant will go back to be super-sweet almost immediately.
13 One Shoe
It’s almost time to leave for daycare. Okay, that happened half an hour ago. You’re majorly late, and your kiddo isn’t nearly ready. Everything is in rush mode now. You’re racing around the house like an Olympic sprinter and you can’t seem to find anything.
You finally get everything together. Your little one is dressed, her jacket is on, her backpack is in your hand and you even remembered to take her lunch out of the fridge. Oh, but there’s one more thing – her shoes. She grabs the shiny pair of patent leather dress shoes that she has to wear every day (even though they’re totally not comfortable). Scratch that. She grans one of her patent leather shoes. Where’s its mate?
Um, obviously you’ve discovered the universal law of children’s shoes. There are never two – especially when you’re in a rush. You’ll search high and low and will never find that second shoe. That is, until you get home at the end of the day or when your child decides she doesn’t want anything to do with them anymore.
12 Menu Switcharoo
You’ve prepared a nutritionally balanced meal. You spent hours in the kitchen. Or, at least you spent part of an hour. Well, whether you spent all day cooking a completely from scratch meal or you tossed some veggies in a bowl and slapped some peanut butter on bread, you took time to make a meal for your child.
And then your kiddo sits down. She looks at what’s in front of her and wrinkles her nose. “No!” she screams. Even though this may be the exact same meal she adored a week ago, right now she wants nothing to do with it.
You made chicken nuggets and now she wants mac and cheese. She asked for pasta, but now she’s into a hamburger. You’ll never get it right. And that means you need a quick fix. It’s one of those parenting truths – any meal you serve your child will always be the wrong one (or at least part of it will be completely off base).
11 Dessert Before Dinner
It never fails…you have half an hour until dinner and your child is begging for a cookie (or cupcake, piece of cake, ice cream or anything equally as sugar-packed). You’re at the grocery store, trying to pick up something for dinner. You stock your cart with healthy options. You’ve got stuff for a salad, lean meat and something that counts as dairy. You rush home and get to cooking.
You’re almost there. It’s almost dinner-time and your kiddo is waiting patiently. Or so you thought. Ha! That could never happen. You know what’s about to come. Your toddler or preschooler strides into the kitchen and announces, “I want a cookie!” You look at what you’re cooking, glance at the table (it’s already set for dinner) and look back at your child. Um, no. No way. Nope. There’s no way in heck that your child is having a sugary treat right now. Sure, you could kind of go for one of those sprinkle-covered mini donuts, but it would totally ruin your appetite. And, it will ruin your child’s too.
Here’s the universal law of making any meal – your child will inevitably beg for a dessert immediately before she’s supposed to eat. Thus, sending her into a tantrum and ruining dinner anyway.
10 Mall Equals Meltdown
There’s so much to look at, do, buy and eat at the mall. Come on. You kind of feel like having a meltdown too. Between the hordes of people pushing by just to get some half-off sale and the sweet, sweet aroma wafting from the food court, you’re ready to start crying (or eat an entire cookie cake). Now imagine how your child feels.
Your child might have been on her best behavior all day long. She didn’t cry, she didn’t have a tantrum and she was perfectly pleasant. And then you went out in public. It never fails that her private adorableness turns into all-out toddler tyranny after 15 minutes of mall time.
Sometimes she spies a toy that she just has to have, and you just aren’t buying her. Sometimes she wants one of those chocolate frosted cookies from the kiosk. And sometimes she just can’t deal with the sensory overload. Whatever the reason is, the mall seems to bring out the worst in your child. Hey, it’s a universal law of parenting. So, if you want to keep your kiddo calm, get a sitter and go shopping solo.
9 Leaky Nip Slip
Breastfeeding? Yes, you are. That’s why your BFF got you nursing pads as part of your baby shower gift. Pads? For nipples? Yep. They’re a must-have. You had no clue that your nipples would periodically turn into little fountains during your post-pregnancy days.
Then you had the baby. And you were completely thankful for those nipple pads that your mommy-friend gifted you with. You stashed them in your maternity bra and kept leaks under wraps.
Oh, but there’s some point in your early parenting life when you’ll forget to put those pads in. of course you will. You were up all night with a crying baby, haven’t slept in days and can’t even remember to put on fresh underwear. So why would you remember to put in your pads? You leave the house, sans pads, and suddenly your shirt has two tell-tale wet marks on the front. You’ve just had a leaky nip slip. Not only will this happen, but it will happen at the worst possible time. It won’t happen when you’re in the car and can quickly turn around to go home and change. It won’t happen when you’re wearing a chunky sweater that hides the leak. It will only happen when you’re wearing a sort of sheer dress while having dinner with your S.O.’s boss and have hours until you’re anywhere near being able to go home and change.
8 Happiness Leads To Disaster
Your tot is happy. Thank goodness! She’s having the perfect day. She woke up smiling, and managed to stay that way. There’s giggling, snuggling, cuddling, laughing and smiles, smiles and more smiles. You’re playing games together, you’re taking long stroller walks together and your kiddo is playing the part of your little helper. Ah, life is good.
Hmm. Maybe it’s too good? Something is going on. Your child is just too happy. In fact, she’s so happy that you feel kind of anxious. Something must be wrong. You rerun the day in your mind and you start to see some things you didn’t notice before. Her happiness wasn’t exuberant in nature, it was more of a calm quietness.
There’s basically a buffet of reasons why a child would be uncharacteristically quiet or complacent. Your child might be getting sick, she might just happen to be in a good mood or she could be going through any number of other changes. Whatever it is, it always seems like the better mood your kiddo is in the greater chance there is of having a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde moment.
7 Pint-Sized Parrot
“OMG. Did you hear about Mara’s mother? Well, that isn’t coffee in that cup she carries with her to soccer practice. If you know what I mean.” That’s the conversation you had with your mommy-BFF. A private conversation. Of course, your preschooler was sitting right next to you. But she wasn’t listening. Right? Um, wrong.
Your child is always listening to you. And beyond that, she’s remembering everything that you say. There’s a universal law of parenting that says your child will perfectly repeat back every embarrassing, private or “adult” thing that you’ve said – and at the absolute worst time possible.
Did you just rag on another mom? Your kid will repeat what you said right in front of her. Did you scream a few not so nice choice words about your S.O. when he “forgot” to do the dishes? Yep, she’ll tell him. Now you’re totally embarrassed and feeling bad. Hmm, maybe there’s a lesson in that.
6 State Of Undress
Aww. Look at that adorable outfit you put on your toddler. He looks kind of like a little sailor, and you’re loving it. Then you leave the house. The moment his feet step outside of the door, his cute clothes are coming off. He tears off his shirt, pants, socks and pull-up (of course).
It never fails – your tot will disrobe anytime you’re in public. Maybe he doesn’t like the confines of his clothes. Or maybe he just doesn’t care. In any case, he’s going for that all-natural look. There’s a universal law that your child will refuse to keep his clothes on when he most needs to.
Okay, so it doesn’t always happen out in the open. Sometimes it happens at home. But that’s mostly when you’re not alone. Seriously. Test it. Stay home with your kiddo and watch as he spends the whole day with his shirt neatly tucked in. Then invite a few friends over. Magically he can’t stand wearing his clothes and will shed them in no time flat.
5 Love Knows No Boundaries
The universal laws of parenting aren’t always negative in nature. Some are pretty awesome. Think about how much you love your child. Every mama does. Yes, there are parents who totally screw it up. They do everything wrong and pay for it. It happens. We’re not all perfect – some of us less so than others. But, we all love our kids. That’s just how it is. From the moment they arrive, we realize that we didn’t know what love was. At least, not in our pre-mommy days.
From the first time she wrapped her teeny tiny fingers around your thumb on, you were completely smitten. You fell in love and now you can’t imagine your life without this little person who spits up on you, cries all night, makes you change her poopy diapers and throws tantrums the size of tornados. Yeah, having kids is tough. It’s not all unicorns, rainbows and candy sprinkles. Parenting is a job. Of course, it’s a job you love.
4 Bathroom Buddy
Once upon a time you could go to the bathroom, pull down your pants and pee in complete privacy. Heck, there were plenty of times when you could leave the door wide open and do your business. Now that you’re a parent your days of using the facilities without an audience are long gone.
You’ve got a door on the bathroom. You even have a lock on that door too. But, your little shadow doesn’t care. Sneaking off to the bathroom won’t do the trick either. Dad’s taking care of your tot, so you slip out and close the bathroom door. Okay, maybe you don’t even really have to go. You kind of just want some alone time, and this is (sadly) the only place you can get it. Or at least you thought it was.
The moment she hears the click of the door, your tot is off and running towards the bathroom. She pushes, she pulls and finally she bangs on the door loud enough that you give up and let her in. Face it, it’s a universal law of parenting – you will never go to the bathroom alone again. At least, not for the next few years.
3 Foodie Finds
You’re cleaning the living room. Not just dusting and running the vacuum. You’re doing a deep cleaning. You take the couch cushions off and there you find it – the apple that went missing a few weeks ago.
Oh, and check below the seats of your car. What will you find? Five sippy cups, a handful of crackers, some loose cereal, a melted piece of chocolate and the remains of a peanut butter cookie.
Those oddball food finds are part of childhood. Or rather, they’re part of parenting. It’s kind of a law that your child will drop half of whatever she’s eating, and in the worst place possible. Not only will she drop her treats, goodies and meals, but she won’t tell you about the spill. Okay, so that’s probably because she doesn’t even notice it.
You’ll start smelling the oh-so fragrant scent of rotting food. That’s when you’ll realize your little one has left a trail of half-eaten sandwiches under the living room furniture or that she’s managed to drop a banana behind the couch.
2 Naptime Interruptions
Shhh! The baby’s asleep. That means you should be asleep too. If anyone ever gave you the advice, “Nap when your newborn naps,” chances are that you know to take it by now.
So you nap. Your baby is sound asleep, you’ve actually managed to unload the dishwater and you know it’s time to curl up on the couch and catch a brief (but much needed) cat nap. Ah, sleep. You close your eyes, start to drift off and then…well, then you hear it. The crying. Had you skipped the dishwasher unloading you may have stood a chance. But you dared to clean, and now you’re paying for it.
It never fails – the moment you close your eyes, your baby wakes up. It’s nature’s cruel joke on us mamas. You think you’re about to get some of that blissful sleep for yourself. But your baby has other plans for you. Don’t worry, someday she’ll be one of those “sleep until noon” teenagers and you’ll get the chance to wake her up.
1 Silence Is Scary
It’s quiet. Oh so quiet. There are no random toddler screams, no shrieks, no cries, no crashes, no bangs, no sounds at all. You close your eyes and take in the quiet. The beautiful, beautiful quiet.
Hmm. It’s kind of too quiet. Where are all the screams, shrieks, cries, crashes, bangs and sounds? It’s been five minutes now and you still can’t hear anything. What’s going on.
Silence is scary. Yes, it used to be relaxing. In your pre-parenting days a little bit of silence meant that you could kick back and get some rest. But now that you’re a mama, silence means that something is wrong. Very, very wrong.
You rush upstairs, downstairs, into the other room or wherever your child is. What do you find? She has covered the wall with rainbows. That is, rainbows colored with Sharpies. Yikes! Permanent markers on the walls. And that’s a best-case scenario.