Parenting is the worst thing in the world and the worst part about it is how fast it goes by.
Such is the paradox every mom and dad must come to terms with as soon as their first child is born. The bad parts are plentiful, the good parts are transcendent, and everything is over before you know it. I bitch a lot about pretty much all of it, but that doesn’t mean I don’t also love it. Personally, if I can’t bitch about something, it might as well not even exist. Which makes every rant against the hassle of child-rearing just further evidence of how important it all is to me.
Which means this list of things I hate about parenting is actually kind of a love letter, if that helps you feel better.
Ten Things I Hate About Parenting
- Bedtime: Everyone goes to bed every single night, why is this such a fucking struggle for children to understand? I can’t wait to sleep, yet my four-year-old resists with screaming and crying and tantrums until he’s completely exhausted, which, since he’s four, is basically never. The energy on these kids! Of course, it’s not so bad once he finally does fall off, especially if I have to cuddle him to get him there. He’s so cute!
- Dinner Time: You need the jaws of life just to open his jaws to eat. And that’s only if you can get the kid to sit at the actual table. It could be his favorite food of all time, bacon dipped in chocolate milk, and he’ll still crawl under the table to avoid putting it in his mouth. Of course, it’s not so bad on those rare nights he decides to cooperate and asks for seconds of one of my favorite meals. A chip off the old block!
- Traveling: As if. Even if you do manage to get away, there’s always a toddler in tow, exhausting you, stressing you out, costing you a fortune, making everything a hassle. Relaxation is not a part of family travel. Of course, it’s not so bad when you have those happy moments as a unit, all together making a sandcastle on the beach or sharing a blanket at the drive-in or playing mini-golf. Precious memories for the scrapbook!
- Watching TV Not only do I have to be careful with what I watch around him, and how often I have the TV on, when I do go to play something for me, my Netflix queue is unrecognizable. It’s filled with “The Magic Kratts” and “Curious Clifford” and “Thomas Tiger’s Neighborhood” and they are all high-pitched and annoying. Of course, it’s not so bad now that he’s starting to watch superhero shows and I can teach him who’s who while we snuggle on the couch. Superman is the best!
- Following Sports: My son isn’t even old enough to play them or even watch them but already I’m conflicted, for health reasons and beyond. What the hell am I supposed to do, raise him to love games full of criminals and misogynists and child abusers? Teach him to play games that could damage his brain? And then when he does play, I’ll have to make sure not to become consumed with competition and ruin all his fun even though I could clearly dominate these ten-year-olds just gimme the bat that wasn’t a strike are you blind! Of course, it’s not so bad when he cheers for a Miami touchdown or crushes a rope off the tee. That’s my boy!
- Disciplining: Not only am I ill-equipped to be an authority figure in general – I don’t even know what’s best for me – he starts wailing and flailing every time I try to lay down the law. Spanking is wrong. Time-outs are wrong. Yelling is wrong. I’m forever doing all the wrong things wrongly! And so I either go too hard or give in too soon and damn him to a lifetime of being scared of me or a lifetime of being a spoiled jerk. Of course, it’s not so bad when you see your lessons actually take hold. He does listen!
- Bath Time: He hates getting in, he hates getting out, he hates getting water in his eyes, he hates shutting his eyes to avoid the water. Is this a joke? Am I being tested? I can’t wait until the kid can take a shower. Of course, it’s not so bad when he has a sudsy mohawk and also doesn’t smell like Pigpen. His skin is so soft!
- The Birthday Parties: I mean, really with these things? You spend weeks planning them, you spend a fortune on decorations and cake and goody bags not to mention presents, and then you sit there and do your best to avoid getting a headache as 15 toddlers run in circles while screeching. And don’t even get me started on half-birthdays. Of course, it’s not so bad when you see his wide eyes and huge grin when he unwraps the gift he really wanted. Stupid happiness!
- The Growing Up:This one doesn’t usually hit me that hard (talk to Mom and Buried for the real angst), but sometimes it’s a real drag. I’m not one of those people who only likes kittens and puppies; I like fully-grown cats and dogs too. They’re still cute and furry! But when children grow up, they stop being adorable and start being assholes. And sometimes that happens in the span of minutes! Of course, it’s not so bad, soon he’ll be able to be my designated driver. Drinks are on me!