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51 Moments of Parenting That Are Absolutely Terrible

Parenting is great. Except when it's not. Here are 51 moments of parenting

Nothing can prepare you for being a parent. It’s tremendously gratifying and soul-nourishing but it’s also terrifying and exhausting and thankless and, more often than not, you feel like a scraped-out skin suit of a human being who has no energy to do anything let alone have hopes or dreams. A litany of annoyances and indignities await parents every day: Tantrums, 2 a.m. wake ups, surprise diaper blowouts, disgruntled kids, side-eyes from judgmental parents, snack-time disasters  — and that’s all before noon.

So, parenting is wonderful. But it can also be pure hell. To celebrate some of the more infuriating parts about raising kids, here are 51 specific moments of parenting that are just the worst.

  1. When your kid gets up at 4 a.m., thinking it’s real morning and is energized and stoked to get the day started.
  2. When you have to model good food behavior and cook nutritious, healthy meals for your kids, but all you want to do is chase four slices of pizza with a pint of Cherry Garcia.
  3. When your kid becomes obsessed with putting on their own socks and, even though they can’t do it, they’ll yell at you for trying to help until, an hour later, they ask you to fix their crooked sock.
  4. When your toddler has a Level 10 meltdown and you desperately want to know what happened but you realize that it’s impossible to understand what set them off, let alone translate the angry language they’re speaking.
  5. When you’re on the toilet for five seconds and you hear the door open and see a little face poke through.
  6. When you really need your kid to get dressed and out the door quickly and you tell them so but then they decide that jumping on the bed and stripping off their clothes is a much better idea.
  7. When you finally sit down to eat after you’ve fed the kids but then the kids want to eat your food, too.
  8. Realizing that the couch cushions will never not have crumbled remains of crayons and Goldfish and pretzel sticks in the cracks.
  9. When people without kids don’t care or understand any of the 149595495 reasons you might be late.
  10. When your kid is having a playdate and the other child’s parent comes over but doesn’t know how to interact with you so you guys just awkwardly stand in the kitchen making excruciating small talk about work.
  11. Listening to your kid tell the same joke for the 524th time
  12. Listening to the same song/watching the same movie/hearing the same story for the 524th time
  13. When you want to fight with your wife but you can’t because it’s a serious discussion and serious discussions take place when the kid is in bed and so you just stew for the rest of the day.
  14. Looking at your finances and realizing that you might have enough to buy a slice of pizza but, nah, that money should go into a 529.
  15. Trying to get a toddler to do something they don’t want to do, which is basically like negotiating with a domestic terrorist who has limited vocabulary and no sense of rationality.
  16. When you ask if your kid has to pee and they tell you no so you leave and as soon as you start to the car they have to pee right now.
  17. When you ask your kids, for the fourth time, to put on their socks and shoes, or brush their teeth, or whatever basic everyday thing they can’t do, a get a barbaric bark back that sounds like devil-speak.
  18. Thinking that assembling this cool new toy will be a breeze, but you open the directions and see it’s more complicated to build than a WW2 era watch.
  19. Sitting in a crowded, sweaty school auditorium with other parents listening to a band concert that sounds like a bunch of geese yelling at a trashcan.
  20. Realizing that something smells terrible and the only way to figure it out is by sniffing your kids’ asses and clothing as though you were a truffle hog.
  21. Understanding that parenting is introspection, and that, while it’s great to have a better awareness of yourself, you will constantly see your faults reflected back at you.
  22. Popping on Netflix to finally watch a show alone only to see that the algorithm thinks you’re a 5-year-old who’s obsessed with Curious George.
  23. When you spend the day cleaning the whole house only to realize that your kids will destroy it tomorrow in 10 minutes flat.
  24. When your hand becomes the go-to place for your kids to spit out food they think is gross.
  25. Realizing that the back seat of your car will never not be a mess of bottles, wrappers, crumbs, straws, and that one part of the toy your kid was looking for two weeks ago.
  26. When your kid wakes you up from a nap by cannonballing onto you from the top of the couch.
  27. Trying to come up with real, authentic reactions to your kids’ playground anecdotes about Pokémon card battles when you have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about.
  28. When another kid is cruel to yours and all you want to do is find this little monster and dunk them in a toilet but you have to be an adult.
  29. Realizing that every electronic you own will be perpetually sticky for the next few years.
  30. When the size 6 shoes you buy are too small for your kid, but then you buy the size 6.5 and they’re too big, so you save the 6.5s and go buy another brand of 6.5 which are too small, so then you get another brand in size 7, which fits, but then when they’re finally too small, those oversize 6.5s are the wrong season, so you now have to buy a pair of 7.5s and, when all is said and done, you’ve spent $150 on shoes that have gotten you through three months.
  31. When you’re in bed at 6am on a Saturday morning and you hear the faint cries of “Hey! I’m all done! I did poop!” not coming from the bathroom.
  32. Waiting to wipe poop in general. When they were in diapers, you wait a few minutes if you needed to. When they’re older and the poop comes, you have to drop everything to go wipe, but then half the time, you drop everything and go and your kid looks at you like, “Oh. I’m not done.”
  33. That feeling of pitying your kid as they play alone rather than with all of the other kids their age who are playing together on the playground.
  34. Coming to the realization that, on the rare night you get out with your buddies, you can’t really relate to those who don’t have kids.
  35. When it takes 15 minutes to walk 50 feet because, Oh, look there’s a stick, and Oh, there’s a stoop to sit on, and Oh, is that an ant?
  36. Going through your backpack to find it is full of twigs, dead leaves, four medium-sized pebbles, a fine coating of playground sand, a toy car that’s missing its roof, a lone sock, two dinosaur figurines, and a Duplo that is apparently a “robot” shoulder pad.
  37. When your kid crawls into bed and wants to sleep so close to you that their head is on your pillow, they’re breathing on your nose, and their hair is in your mouth.
  38. When your kid thinks it’s hilarious to press their bare butt on your face when you’re not looking.
  39. When you have to repeat same routine every single morning on every single day — to remind your kid to eat their cereal, brush their teeth, get dressed, put on sneakers, put their dirty clothes not near the laundry basket, not adjacent to the laundry basket, but inside the laundry basket. Every. Single. Day.
  40. When you make your kid’s lunch but nothing is ever good enough because the apples need to be sliced just so and god help you if you don’t diagonally cut the sandwich or separate the food so that it doesn’t touch one another.
  41. When, after years of never talking down to your kid and treating them with the courtesy of an adult because that’s what you thought was right, they think you are total equals and have an equal say in everything which causes nothing but problems because if you get to have a friend over then why can’t they?
  42. When you realize that pretty much every free moment with your spouse is filled with planning for the next three weeks.
  43. When you realize that there is no status quo and that the only constant is change. Seriously: as soon as you get used to something with your wife and kid, it changes. Like, the second you’re comfortable, sleep patterns, routines, likes, dislikes, etc. all change.
  44. When your “date nights” consist of talking about all the work conversations you don’t get a chance to talk about regularly and then you realize you’re just talking about work instead of the kids.
  45. When you’re hit with an inevitable health emergency of a child that makes you realize how fragile their life actually is and how very little control you have of sustaining it.
  46. The fact that kids demand to collect shit that they ultimately neglect. But, once it’s lost or destroyed, they suddenly decide to care about it again.
  47. When you find skid marks in a little pair of discarded underwear just lying in the middle of the kitchen floor.
  48. When your kid whines about not being able to find a thing that is literally right there next to them, just look down at your feet yes there it is right there what are you blind!??!?
  49. When you realize there’s a trail of half-eaten apple that follows you everywhere — from the front step to the inside of your pillow cases.
  50. When you understand that your kid is simply emotionally limited, but also knowing that you can’t help but see them as a spoiled, no-good, terrible little adult with sociopathic tendencies.
  51. When you realize that, even though your life will never, ever be what it used to be, you’re so extremely thankful for every silly, frustrating, panic-stricken moment you get to spend with your kids.