Every day is challenging when you’re a parent but some moments stand out more than others.
They’re the WTF do I do now moments? The times when you do not know how on earth you’re going to handle the situation and the moments when you feel like tearing your hair out.
It’s great to laugh about them afterwards but when you’re in the thick of it these times can make you wish you had the power to speed up the clock and make it bedtime right now.
Here are the 10 most challenging parenting moments:
1. Which fire do you put out first?
For some reason when you have children, even if it’s just the one, multiple things go wrong at the same time.
For example, your baby has swallowed half of a cardboard puzzle piece which she keeps vomiting up then choking on before gulping it back down again. Meanwhile your toddler has decided it’s time for some sofa gymnastics.
She’s clambered on to the back of the couch and is standing up. You don’t know if she plans to dive head first onto the cushions or do a back flip onto the hard floor.
Choking baby or toddler lemming? Argh!
There are multiple things about children and eating that are challenging.
One of the worst is when your toddler has just demanded pasta after being served the amazing roast dinner you’ve slaved over for the last two hours.
She will not touch a bite of the meal and even begins hurling cauliflower and peas on the floor.
3. Nap strike
You’ve been absolutely dying for that one to two hour break in the middle of the day when your child will sleep and you can actually sit down in silence.
But your child has other ideas. The games are too fun to give up now. Your toddler fights and fights the nap with all their might until you realise this is not going to happen. There goes your quiet time.
Plus now you face having an over tired child at bed time. Double whammy.
4. The poo-nami
Newborn poo is very likely to exit the nappy at least once a day.
When it does it’s not just the one layer of baby clothing that gets covered, but also the babygrow, cardigan, whatever blanket or sheet their wrapped in and your clothes too.
Plus when you’re really unlucky it gets on your hands too as you’re pulling the sticky clothes off.
What do you clean or wipe first? The baby, your hands, the changing mat? If you pick the baby, which bit do you wipe first? The back, the front, their legs?
5. Keeping up with the Joneses
An annoying part of growing up is the envy and inadequacy you inevitably feel when you meet someone else who appears to make more money, have a better job, dress better and parent better than you.
Their home is immaculate from the beautiful little topiary trees and tubs of blooming flowers outside to the perfectly decorated interior.
Their kids are always decked out in the best clothes, they wear the most gorgeous clothes that look effortlessly casual but glamorous and they’ve always just got home from a brilliant holiday.
Their kids are off to the local private school and they have three cars, because the other two just don’t suit all their needs.
There’s no chance of competing. However you note with satisfaction and a barely concealed smile when you see their youngest throwing an epic tantrum outside their home before smashing one of those perfectly preened pots of flowers.
6. Go to bed early or enjoy some child-free time
You’re so knackered at the end of every day that it’s often preferable to just go to bed shortly after the kids have finally dropped off rather than attempt to do anything grown up.
7. Not relying too much on kids TV
When your toddler has been relentlessly switching between badgering you for snacks and throwing tantrums because you’ve “built the tower wrong” it can be hard not to just switch CBeebies on and get a few moments peace.
The trouble is that it’s tempting to do this way too often. It’s like a mute button. It can give you valuable quiet time to catch up on stuff or just sit quietly for more than 10 seconds.
Then you feel bad for leaving your child in front of the TV for too long.
8. Answering all of the demands
Your baby won’t stop crying whenever you put them down. This makes doing all the other things you need to do, like read to your toddler, get lunch organised and putting away the washing impossible.
Then your toddler keeps dropping or losing things behind the sofa and wants you to pick them up. Not doing it is not an option if you like your eardrums.
9. Explaining stuff to your toddler
You’re driving along a busy motorway and your toddler demands a snack. You explain that you can’t do anything except drive right now.
They do not understand this concept, however you phrase it. You’re just the mean mummy who won’t give them food when they’re hungry.
10. Remembering all the stuff
When you’re getting ready for a day out there is a lot you need to take with you if you’re to be prepared for every eventuality.
Your ability to get organised is tested further by the screams and demands of excited children who just want to leave the house.
It is inevitable that you will forget something. That will be the one thing you needed most when you’re out.
So these are my most challenging parenting moments. Do you have any to add to the list? I would love to hear them!