There are specific thoughts and feelings that most parents share. The majority of them revolve around food, sleep, and a chronic inability to coordinate even a fraction of the things you need to do each day.
Other favorites are, “Why did I think parenting would be fun?” “Does everybody else feel they are failing as badly as I feel I am failing?” and “I am sure they must have mixed my real child up with the spawn of Satan. How do return the devil's offspring, and I get my real child back?”
Once you have been parenting for a while, you still might not consider yourself a stellar mom or dad, but you will at least be able to laugh at what goes wrong and enjoy the missteps of others.
So in the spirit of solidarity which all parents share, here are some photographs to let you know you are not the only one to spend your days covered in strange fluids, taking your kids out into the world when you are woefully ill-prepared and wondering what you are doing here.
Take heart, by making a mess of things and continually improvising we are giving our children unique life experiences that will help them build character and hopefully make them better parents than we are.
20 Take Him, Please
All of us have those times when we would like a fresh start, an opportunity to reconsider the choices we have made and to clear out everything that is holding us back in our lives. This often begins by going through our closets and cupboards and getting rid of the possessions we haven’t used in forever. Sometimes, by getting rid of one item, we can give away many things that go with it.
Like, for instance, this householder who has apparently decided they would like a cleaner, tidier, uncluttered home and have identified the central hub of the problem, the baby. By getting rid of the baby, they are also able to throw away the floor mop that is required to clean-up the constant flow of pee, poop, vomit, and other undetermined messes on the floor.
19 A Parenting Classic
No roundup of classic parenting photographs would be complete without an image of someone covered in upchuck. This one is particularly fitting because it involves a mom being vomited on in public. This is always so much more fun than having it happen in the privacy of your own home where you can shower reasonably swiftly.
When it happened to my husband, we were at the airport waiting for an eleven-hour flight. Our bags had been checked, and we had nothing for either of them to clean themselves with or into which they could change. We had to go into the only store with clothing and buy my husband and our, then youngest, son souvenir tee-shirts and sweaters. Husband's coat was a fleece and soaked in puke, so that went in the garbage, and we cleaned up dad and son as best we could in the airport washrooms. We then spent eleven hours on a plane with the smell of nasty airport soap overlaying a hint of vomit.
18 You’re Lucky I Remembered The Kids
This mom has twice the excuse that the parents of singletons have. Here she recounted the story that she was trying to rush to the store in between feeds. If you have or have had a baby, you know this window of time can be as little as an hour or two so you really have to shake a tailfeather.
Mom said she arrived at the store to discover she did not have the proper attachments to fix the car seats to the stroller frame and then realized there was only one bassinet in the trunk of her car, so she put both little ones in that.
I don’t think she should feel bad because she had to cram two babies into one bassinet, they look perfectly comfy. Instead, I think she should be commended for managing to get to the store with three kids in tow at all.
17 Your Self Image Is Unreliable
Sometimes, just when your kids are getting that little bit older, you start to imagine you are getting the hang of this parenting stuff and aren’t doing a half-bad job. This is the point where your children will let you know you are, in fact, the worst parent in the world and they will do so in a spectacularly public fashion.
One thing you must always do as a parent before your child starts daycare or kindergarten is coach them on what you like and what you dislike. This may be a strange thing to say but hear me out. At some point, your child will do a drawing at school, or fill in a template that requires them to draw a picture of you and say what you like or don’t like. If they have not been brainwashed into what to say they will embarrass you with tales of wine, shouting and being glued to electronics. You have been warned.
16 This Is My Life
This photo made my list because it is a reminder that what you think other parents are doing and what they are actually doing are two entirely different things. This is especially true when you are browsing the internet and see all of the glorious arts and crafts projects other moms and dads are creating with their children. You know the ones, where they take a bag full of household items that no real person has in their home, and make some spectacular art installation.
I have the crafting skills and patience of a two-year-old, and as a consequence, I am high in good intentions, and low in practical follow through. This usually makes me feel terribly guilty when I see lovely signs announcing the perfect times everyone has when they are creative with their little ones.
15 Shortcuts Are Your Friend
There are many things people will tell you about parenthood. You will hear about how tiring but rewarding it is but you’ll never hear about how darn boring it can be. If you have ever had to listen to the repetitive stories of a two-year-old or sit through children's TV, you will know what I mean.
Also high on the boredom list is pushing your child on the swings. Nobody warns you about the tedium of swingsets. You will think it is a good idea at first, putting up some play equipment in the garden. All of that active outdoor fun will be good and healthy for your little ones, but before you do it, think about this, who is going to stand and push the swing?
Luckily for this parent, a little ingenuity saved them from an afternoon of staring at their child's back, pushing them back and forth, and making fake enthusiastic sounds on the upswing.
14 Babies Are Evil
You know you are going to be tired. Everybody laughingly tells you that you will never understand the true meaning of exhaustion until you have a newborn and you laugh politely back because “how bad can it be?” right?
Take a look at this mom's face. That is how bad it can be. Not only is she obviously suffering from sleep deprivation but she has to do so in the face of an evil laughing baby. Look at that little cutie. He knows what he is doing to his mom, and he just doesn’t care. In fact, with a smile that wide and eyes that sparkle I am sure he is enjoying it.
Don’t worry though, that feeling will pass in a few months and will suddenly feel like the best time of your life compared to some of the other aspects of parenting.
13 It's The Truth
There are days when you love your child, enjoy parenthood and want to share your happiness with the world through the medium of photographs on social media. Other days, not so much. This is a beautifully honest image of how you will definitely feel at some point, and that is ok. It doesn’t mean you don’t love your little one it is just an indication that today, the one you love is driving you crazy and seems to be doing everything in their power to drive you insane.
Don’t worry; I am told it gets better as they grow up. Although our two youngest children are still little, our oldest two are in their twenties, and one is almost there, and they can still evoke this feeling in me. Grow out of it? Not in our house.
12 You Can’t Always Be Prepared
When your baby is tiny, you'll obsess over having everything you possibly need at hand at all times. Leaving the house will become an epic event requiring military level planning, and if you are not careful, you will need to employ a team of Sherpas to help carry around everything you think you need.
Fast forward five years. Nobody can keep up that level of planning and alertness, and you will have by now gotten to the stage where, as long as you seem to have everyone with you, that’s good enough. Of course, you may then find yourself in the car with a child who suddenly has a gushing nosebleed and nothing remotely suitable to help you except that one tampon at the bottom of your purse. Just remember to take it out of her nose before she gets out of the car.
11 This Is Your Life Now
You know the story. Child one plus child two plus long car ride equals parental insanity. If you were ever a sibling in the back of a vehicle, you probably behaved like a horrible whiny brat who invariably either wound up their brother or sister or was the one being wound up.
Sometimes all of the threats in the world are not enough to stop the horrors of the backseat, especially if the ride lasts longer than ten minutes. This mom knew what she was in for when they planned the three-hour drive, so she took preemptive action and sat between the two warring factions. This will not make any difference of course, but take heart they’ll have to put up with their own kids doing the same to them one day.
10 Just Because
One of the questions you will become well versed in using as a parent is “Why did you do that?” Let me give you a few words of advice. Save your breath. The answer to this question is usually a variant of “I don’t know” or “because I wanted to see what would happen.”
Child development experts will say that this experimentation is a critical part of growing up, exploring the world around you, and discovering how things work.
I say it is a behavior explicitly designed to test your patience and to make your life as difficult as possible. If that isn’t true then why do these “explorations” always involve doing something that either makes a mess, breaks something, or causes you to spend five hours trying to undo whatever it is they have done?
9 Turn That Frown Upside Down
One of the skills you learn as a parent is to find new ways of looking at things. This is a defense mechanism to prevent you being driven crazy by everything that goes bad during your day. In the scheme of things, the things that go wrong can be huge, or they can be tiny, and this coffee house sign sums up the need for a different perspective on things perfectly.
This is one of the many things you learn in the first week or so of parenting. You can find the time to make yourself a drink. You can find the time to consume some of a drink while it is still hot. However, it is impossible to do both with the same beverage. There is an actual law of physics about this.
8 If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em
You may or may not have heard the phrase “The lunatics have taken over the asylum.” This is often how you will see your life as a parent. Some days, no matter what you do, nothing works, and the little dirt devil you brought into your life seems to be in control and not you.
It’s days like these that you have to learn to just go with the flow and join them. Rediscover your inner child by throwing yourself down on the floor and rolling about. Flail your arms and legs about a bit, maybe kick some furniture. Most important is, if you are to have the genuine kiddie experience, to scream at the top of your lungs and get red in the face. Cry so hard you cannot breathe and refuse to be comforted by anything.
7 I Think I Broke Daddy
You cannot help it if suddenly the exhaustion of parenthood takes over and you crash to the ground in a sniveling heap, pausing only to make sure nobody can see your underwear or any jiggly bits of flesh, before going off to sleep.
This may be the picture of a dad at the end of his rope, or it could be a dad who is desperately trying to get his son to mirror his behavior and go to damn sleep already. Either way, the look of concern on the little one's face is a classic, and I would love to know what was going on in his little mind. Knowing how uncaring and evil children could be, he might just be worried because dad is laying on his secret stash of Cheerios and fruit pouches.
6 You Do What You Can
Who said men couldn’t multitask? Apparently, anyone can balance parenting with other essential needs in their life, as long as they have the correct motivation. In this case, the proper motivation is cake, which I can totally understand.
In those first few months, you will often find yourself awkwardly holding your baby or laying in an uncomfortable position. The trouble is that there is a parenting law that says the more uncomfortable you are when your baby falls asleep, the more likely they are to wake up and scream for hours if you even think about moving the tiniest muscle.
This dad obviously learned his lesson about moving a sleeping baby early on and has discovered you can, in fact, balance anything you like on a sleeping child, just don’t mess with their position.
5 This Is Your Life Now
Eventually, as your child ages, you will be able to leave the house as a family without needing a trailer full of baby gear, but that is as good as it gets. No matter how well behaved you think your child is, there is an invisible gas given off by restaurant chairs that turns children into the nightmare offspring of the undead as soon as they enter.
If you think you can go and enjoy a meal at a family eatery and it will be a break for you because you do not have to cook, think again. You will expend three times as much energy helping your child choose their food, cut their food up, slowly coaxing them to eat and watching your own tasty looking dinner go cold.
4 At Least You’re An Individual
By the time your children have started school, 82% of your brain will have shriveled up and become unusable. This may not be a scientific statistic, but it is indeed an accurate representation of how you will feel. Case in point, the parent of this child.
It is easy to become overwhelmed with the dozens of things you have to do and have to remember once your child goes to school. There is always a special day, something you have to bring to the classroom or a theme week in which you have to participate. Is it any wonder this mom got the dates mixed up for photo day and pajama day? This little boy should be grateful, he will get to wear his pj’s to school again, and that’s twice as often as the other kids.
3 Never Let Your Guard Down
Never, ever make the mistake of thinking you are in control. Your child knows they are the center of the world and as such, they are in charge and don’t you forget it. If you do briefly suffer from the delusion that you have got the knack of things and that everything is going just swimmingly, something like this will happen to remind you that at no time can you relax.
Of course, most parents would understand this guy's dilemma and barely give an almost naked child making a bolt for it across a restaurant. I myself am the mother of a child who would feel the need to go to the washroom and if he wasn’t stopped quickly enough, start to pull down his pants and underwear on his way to the washroom.
2 Aw Don’t They Look Cute When They’re Asleep
I don’t think I know a single parent who has not fallen asleep while trying to get their little ones to finally give up and travel to the land of Nod. Personally, I have fallen asleep kneeling at the side of a crib with my arm stuck through the bars as well as laying beside the bed of a toddler with my arm across them.
However, nothing beats the time my husband went upstairs and was trying to get our son to sleep. Roughly half an hour after he went up to them, our toddler came padding down the stairs and sat down on the sofa next to me. I carried him up to his bedroom, and there was dad, flat out on the floor, fast asleep, pretty much like the photo above.
1 You Too Will Shop Quickly
As your kids grow, there are new challenges around shopping. One is that instead of taking forever, you try to do it as quickly as possible because your mini-me will complain the entire time you are out.
That is the situation this mom found herself in when she had to shop with her kids for something for her son to wear an ugly Christmas sweater day at school. This kind of annoying thing happens all of the time because apparently we as parents have all of the time and money in the world to buy stuff for school every two minutes. Sorry, I digress.
It was only when this mom picked her son up from school did she discover, when the teacher so kindly pointed it out to her, Santa is writing Merry Christmas with his pee in the snow.