Awkward Moments in Parenting & How to Make Them Far, Far Worse
As told through a series of harrowing, if humorous, real-life anecdotes
Are you a parent or guardian to one or more human children?
Likely you are if you clicked on this headline to begin with. In that case, you know what life is like with kids and you long to revel in the common plight of your compatriots in parenting.
I therefore present for your enjoyment, several vignettes to remind you of how parenting is a delicate balance you must not ever disturb at any cost unless you are an idiot.
Inevitably, you are an idiot. I am also an idiot.
That moment of paranoia when…
Things are bizarrely quiet and peaceful. You’re getting things done while listening to your audiobook. You kinda want to know what your kids are up to, but you really don’t want to remind them of your existence just now, in case they decide they want to come hang out with you instead.
You were enjoying a moment alone but now you wonder if they are ingesting razor blades or decorating the new couch with sharpies.
Why can’t you just relax? Why must you poke the bear?
You silently slide open the pocket-door. Two small Earthlings are quietly reading together in the “reading nook,” (future half bath.) Heads pivot to look up at you from open books. Eyes blink.
They have detected your presence.
Abort the mission! Retreat!
Do not make eye contact. Slide the door closed. Do not speak. Back away slowly. Hide.
That proud, but ill-timed moment when…
Your seven-year-old asks you a thoughtful question that deserves a thoughtful explanation, complete with diagrams, examples, and in-depth discussion.
You know he can handle the truth, but you just don’t have it in you to do all the explaining right now, so you let it pass — or do you?
No…because you promised yourself you’d never lie to your kid and this is a perfect teaching moment, so you launch (cringing inwardly a bit) into a long, complicated, meandering presentation on some subject you don’t really feel qualified to explain to anyone, let alone an astute, precocious child who will pull no punches to call you out on your shit.
You are full of shit.
Nonetheless, you pull out your whiteboard, laser pointer, PowerPoint presentation and notecards, take a deep breath and dive in.
You got this, parent/guardian!
That exasperating moment when…
You had the foresight to extract a promise that the final homework page would be completed before basketball practice, but things go downhill quickly as it sinks in that this just is not the right time to do homework pages, promise or no promise.
Oh, god! He’s spiraling. The voice is shrill and incomprehensible. The tears and snot are flowing à gogo.
Think fast, parent/guardian! You move to save face and let him off the hook — just this once. You offer clemency until tomorrow when there will be no further reprieve because it’s due Friday, come hell or high water.
Cross fingers tightly and ask the universe for strength when the crisis begins again tomorrow.
That off-putting moment when…
Your baby, who loves putting on clothes, shoes, jewelry, and any other accessory she can get her hands on, climbs up on your lap wearing your dirty underwear around her neck, infinity scarf style.
The color suits her. She’s got style.
That endearing, if slightly worrisome moment when…
You find yourself explaining to a despondent big brother that he cannot, under any circumstances, marry his little sister.
Firstly, before she came along, he was going to marry you, and truth be told, you’re a little jealous and indignant about being jilted for a younger woman.
But also, secondly, siblings are not allowed to marry. Nope, that’s the rule. Not even the friend whose brother is adopted is allowed to marry her sibling. Nice try though!
All the talk of why incest is bad and even showing him portraits of the Habsburgs with their effed up jaw does not phase him.
Now he’s just fed up with the government and their stupid laws. At the age of six.
Those moments of inner conflict when…
You’re playing the best game with your baby, but you know you should not be allowing this kind of behavior because it will definitely come back to bite you in the ass very soon.
Your baby loves pushing the faces of loved ones when she’s nursing — or any time really. It’s hilarious. But when to break the news to her that she’s not technically allowed to push people in the face?
Likewise, when she “kisses” people, it’s basically a head butt. Big brother encourages her to smack him on the head — for now.
How long can the fun last?
You do your best to ignore that uneasy feeling of foreboding and lean in for one more face push.
That gut-busting moment when…
Your six-year-old tells you about his day and it goes off the rails immediately.
First he and his best friend kissed at school. Ok, but was your friend ok with that? Are you even allowed to kiss at school?
Next, he and his friend have a playdate after school, pee on a tree together and for the grand finale, she shows him her “uterus.”
You’re torn. Where to begin?
Should you start by explaining that no one can see another person’s uterus unless a game of doctor has gone way too far? Or by suggesting that the back yard may not be the best place to disrobe and urinate. Or perhaps by intimating that there are plenty of board games in the closet upstairs?
Whichever option you choose, you are beyond proud of yourself for how you handled this situation without laughing hysterically in your child’s face over their use of the word uterus.
All that to say, parent/guardian, you’re doing great!
Keep up the good work.
Thanks for reading.
Follow along with my adventures in publishing my first children’s book, Opossum Opposites, by clicking here.
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