It doesn't matter who a person is, what their background, their thoughts on religion or politics, or their views on how to raise their kids. Some elements of parenting are universal.
First, we are handed a child to care for. It does not come with a manual, not even an IKEA style piece of paper with fun illustrations, and there is no way to put it into sleep mode when you have had enough.
Then we have to engage in intensive on-the-job training with multiple advisors giving conflicting advice and the constant feeling we are failing as parents. This is common to all of us, and this constant fear of doing it wrong alongside the continued hope that we'll get something right is a bond that unites all parents. Even the ones that manage to leave the house with their hair brushed and makeup on, kids all clean and tidy and not a hint of spit-up on their clothes.
The other thing that unites us all is those moments that most kids go through that feel like the last straw when it happens but manages to be funny in retrospect. Enjoy these moments, frozen in time, and tick off all of the ones your child has done.
20You Told Me To Go Potty
The bathroom has a strange fascination for children. As soon as they are able to, most kids spend an inordinate amount of time trying to flush things away. Generally speaking the more expensive or more likely to block the toilet the better.
Toilet paper is the easy and straightforward choice but children are creative creatures, and they do not always go for the obvious option. Bubble bath is a popular option, and the more you try to flush it away, the more it creates bubbles, it's the gift that keeps on giving.
However, this little one has taken it to a whole new level. Not only has she blocked the toilet by placing herself in it, but she also appears to have wedged a large proportion of her body around the U-bend. Impressive stuff indeed.
19Your Own Fault
All parents know the expression on this child's face. It says "You know this is all your own fault, don't you? You left me in my crib and expected me to nap, don't blame me if this sort of thing happens."
This will happen to you at some point so be prepared. If these parents are lucky, this will all be washable. If they are not, which is more likely, the black will be from a permanent marker or waterproof mascara both of which are an absolute delight to try and wash off of the face of an uncooperative toddler.
Just try to remember, if you think you have put everything out of reach of your child, think again. As soon as you are out of sight those cute little chubby arms extend further than you can imagine and will use anything they can reach to make your quiet afternoon hideous.
18Go With The Flow
When you have been fumbling your way through this parenting thing for a while, you finally get to the stage where you realize you no longer have any control over anything, and you learn to just go with the flow. In this case literally.
This dad is way past the stage where he thinks there is some point in putting on a clean, dry tee-shirt. He knows that whatever he does he is going to end the day covered in food, drink, bodily fluids or a combination of the three. There is no point fighting this.
If you find yourself in this position take this dad's lead. Instead of trying to look presentable and have a whiney little one, just stick 'em on your shoulders, hand them an ice-cream and enjoy the rest of your pee soaked day.
A few of the images on this list involve the bathroom, going to the bathroom or some other scenario associated with this previously private function.
One of the many things that nobody tells you about having children is that as soon as you become a parent, you relinquish your right to privacy. You will not be allowed to pee in peace for several years, and that is in your own home. If you are out and about that ups the ante tenfold.
It will come as no surprise to you that children have no patience but nowhere is this demonstrated better than in a public restroom. You take them in the family washroom so they can pee then you take the opportunity to go. As soon as you are committed, your child will bolt to the door and try to expose you with your knickers down to the entire world. You have been warned.
16You Did This Didn't You?
One delightful side benefit of having children is that you can use them as weapons. This is especially useful when your other half is being really annoying and aggressively sleeping while you have been up since six am with the rugrats.
Give each of your kids a paint pen or similar item and suggest that they give your partner a make-over while they snooze. If you want to be extra creative, you can provide stickers but be careful. If you give them real make-up, you'll pay the price by having to clean it off of them and the bed afterward. This, in turn, will dampen your enjoyment when the one you love gives you this look for waking them up with children.
You can also use them as biological weapons of course, but that often backfires, so I don't recommend it.
15While You Are Out
Sometimes, as a parent, you have to leave your little paradoxical bundle of joy and woe with somebody else. This rarely goes smoothly if you are still in the "things must go exactly as it says on the schedule" phase.
Your child will not sleep when they are supposed to; they will not eat the carefully prepared colorful bento box type lunch you made for them just to show what a fabulous parent you are. They will play with unsuitable toys and be allowed to sit in front of the TV screen or play with a tablet for far longer than you will every permit.
While all this is happening, they will have great fun and enjoy themselves immensely. If you are fortunate, your husband will text you a picture like this while you are in an important meeting at work with the caption "we have so much fun without you." I speak from experience.
14I Wish It Was Chocolate
Another hard learned lesson for parents is that whenever you do something because it is quicker, easier or less hassle in any way, it will end up costing you.
This picture is one such example. Having walked the floor for three hours with a little one who wouldn't sleep, finally at seven am, I put him in his stroller and walked him around the block. He did, of course, fall asleep pretty quickly so I thought it would be easier to leave him in the stroller, asleep, while I made myself some coffee and toast.
He was alone for the amount of time it took for the toaster to brown two slices when I thought I could smell poop. I could. He had poked his hands down his diaper and found it. Needless to say, the toast went uneaten, and I wished I had not taken the "easy route" by leaving him to sleep.
13Always Shop Alone
It has been scientifically proven that it is impossible to go to the mall with small children unless you are only going there to be embarrassed, stressed or reduced to tears.
To anyone under five, stores are just places with amazing new things to play with and fantastic new places to hide. It is bad enough when your child pulls one item off of the shelf, and you have to try and work out what evil secret origami was used to fold it up in the first place. I can't imagine what I would do if this were my kid.
Well, apart from "the stare." You know the one, it says "you are in so much trouble when we get home, but I don't want the world to think I'm a bad mom and scream and shout at you right here."
12This Is Why You Can't Eat Well
Imagine it is that rare moment in the middle of the day. The kids are at school, or asleep, or tied up in the basement because you have had enough (only joking) and you have the opportunity to sit down for a moment and enjoy a quick snack.
You open the refrigerator and discover this. (While we're here, why does 'fridge' have a 'd' in it, but 'refrigerator' doesn't?)
On the one hand, you can get upset at the fact that every last apple has a bite out of it and is probably contaminated with kid cooties rendering them inedible. On the other hand, you can congratulate yourself on the fact that your child has made healthy food choices and developed enough independence to go to the fridge and get their own snack.
Go for the second option because you rock.
11I Didn't Mean To
We have all seen a lot of images and footage of kids who have shaved a patch of their hair off. I have a picture or two of our sons after they have done exactly, that but this little girl's face is what made me include it in this list.
There is something terribly mournful about her eyes, and I almost feel guilty about laughing at her. Almost, but not quite. I know it's mean, but I can't help myself, and anyway, it'll grow back quickly enough, so there's no harm done.
This is reason number 487 on the extensive list of "Reasons you need to put a bolt on the outside of the bathroom door as soon as you know you are going to become a parent."
10A Quick Protein Snack
There comes a time in every parent's life when they realize their child has grown to the stage where they can get out of bed quietly, without disturbing you, and reek all kinds of hideous havoc all around the house.
With our youngest daughter, it was over a week before we realized she was sneaking out of bed in the early morning and helping herself to the chocolate nut spread. Luckily for us though, she was a tidy eater, unlike this little chap who has obviously decided to spread the love.
You will soon learn, as a parent, that the stickiness or oiliness of a substance is directly proportional to how far and how thick your child can spread it over any available surface. At least this little one is still all smiles.
9Babies Are Mini Ninjas
No matter how carefully you childproof your home. No matter how closely you watch them. No matter how incapable you may think your child is of climbing somewhere, they will prove you wrong.
This little chap actually demonstrates a number of parenting issues at once. First of all trying to work at home while you have a child in the house can be next to impossible.
Secondly, when you think your child is safely asleep on the sofa in the other room, they will be somewhere totally inappropriate and quite possibly climbing somewhere they shouldn't.
Finally, perhaps the greatest parenting quandary of our time is "Oh my goodness, that looks dangerous, should I try to grab my child first or should I grab my phone a take a picture of it?"
"Children are born scientists. They are filled with curiosity and wonder, and they love to explore the world around them." This is the happy smiley touchy-feely version of that statement usually made by people who don't have kids or whose kids have grown up and left home.
The more realistic version, used by those who have a child in the house right now is "Children are capable of breaking anything. They don't even have to try, and everything they touch is destroyed. If you ever want to keep anything intact make sure you hold it under lock and key, then hide the key. Otherwise, these little nightmares will get their sticky little hands on it, and they will create a level of destruction and chaos you did not believe was possible."
7What Just Happened?
A word of warning to newer parents, never make the mistake of telling your children to "go and amuse yourself for a minute," "make up a game of your own if you're bored," or "keep an eye on your little brother for a moment while I put dinner on the stove."
If you use the first statement, you are asking for trouble. "Amuse yourself" without any follow-up limits is just asking for something like this to happen. If you use the second statement, again without saying what to use to make up your game, then children will do whatever pops into their head to make up their own game.
If you use the third phrase, your older child will let the younger one do whatever they like and when questioned will respond with "you only said watch him, and I watched him do it."
6Don't Let Them Out Of Your Sight.
Picture the scene. You are going out to a special occasion. You have bathed all of the kids, brought their hair under some semblance of control, wrestled them into their best clothes and sat them down on the sofa with strict instructions not to move.
You go upstairs, pull a dress over your head and try to descend the stairs with your shoes, hairbrush, makeup, bag, and jewelry in your hands so you can get ready within earshot of the little horrors. A quick peek into the room shows one of them has escaped and you frantically begin calling out to the missing child.
He appears naked and covered head to foot in the dirt and gives you a massive sh*t eating grin and a big thumbs up. You now resign yourself to staying home for the next fifteen years.
5If It's Good Enough For The Cat...
It will not matter how carefully you try to maintain a healthy, balanced diet for your child; they will find a way to put a spanner in the works for you. If you are lucky, they will do this by desperately stuffing their face with inappropriate foods while they are at the grandparents' house.
If you are less lucky, your little one will find something that takes the unsuitable to the next level. In this case, the little fella has not only discovered and partaken of the dried cat food, but he has also creatively spread it around on the carpet. For those of you who haven't experienced this kind of thing before, do not attempt to vacuum up dried cat/dog food. It crumbles the chunks into slightly finer pieces and a gritty powder that will live on your floors and between your toes for weeks no matter how much you try to clean it up.
4You Do What You Can
There are two alternative explanations for this image.
Number one, this is a father who has been there and done that. This is child number two or three and the misplaced impression that babies are tiny delicate little flowers has been blown away by the experience. He knows that as a parent you have to take the time to cram as much fuel into your mouth as possible when you get the chance because you never know when the opportunity is going to come up again.
Number two. This is a new father who has taken the baby out without his partner. That is the only way he would get away with treating his new baby with a snack tray. If she see's you doing this, you are in so much trouble!
3You Never Said This Would Happen
This image captures the exact moment that this dad realizes that everything he was ever told about parenthood was a lie. It will be wonderful they said. Children are such a joy they said to him. They will light up your life and give you endless hours of fun, love, and pleasure.
This is only half the story though. They can also suck you dry of your will to live. They can stop you having any kind of a life and turn you into a sleep-deprived zombie who will survive for days on end on just coffee and donuts.
This dads face says it all - "YOU got me into this and you lied about how great it would be. Nobody mentioned the permanent marker tattoos on the face to me."
2Don't Let It Dry
This is what happens when you listen to someone who tells you Weetabix is a fabulous food for your little one to feed themselves. The theory was that with just enough milk on them the Weetabix would be firm yet easy for a child to dig a spoon into.
This might work in a perfect world, but in an imperfect world your child will put their hands into the bowl and attempt to make food sculptures before any of it gets anywhere near their mouth.
This was one of those occasions where a child has won the first battle by getting food all over their face before mom could do anything to stop him. So she did what's best in these situations - she waved the white flag, conceded the entire war and sat back to let him enjoy himself.
1Back To The Bathroom
So, we end as we began, with a picture of the bathroom. This time though we are outside looking down on the scene most of us usually experience from the inside.
This is the moment when your butt meets the toilet seat, and your kids mysteriously discover they really need you. Right. Now.
It begins with a few knocks to the door and a whiney voice pleading with you to let them in. Then they start pounding on the door like the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park where they're in pursuit, and the only hope for your child to survive is for you to let them in.
If you don't open up, the fingers begin to appear under the door, and your kids will lay on the floor pleading through the gap at the bottom, for you to open up.
A word of advice, remember not to lock the door in the first place, it saves a world of trouble.
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