Raising a family is a lot of work. Fun, but lots and lots of work. So many things go wrong no matter how carefully you try to make them go right. With the right attitude, it can be funny at times. You can certainly argue that there are Murphy’s laws of parenting.
These are the things that make your day to day life as a parent more difficult. Some of them also make for great stories when talking to other parents, because they all get it. They’ve been there too. And so…
Murphy’s Laws of Parenting
1. Never claim to be done with the laundry. Your children will generate more dirty clothes spontaneously.
2. Your child will outgrow that perfect outfit right before you want them to wear it. This is one of the few rules that applies as well to infants as to teens.
3. You will find that box of handmedown clothes after your child has outgrown that size.
4. Teaching your child to help around the house is harder than doing it yourself. It will pay off eventually, but not as soon as you would like.
5. No, your child doesn’t like their favorite food today. Unless you’re eating it. Then they’ll snag all of it from your plate.
6. That food they tried for the first time off your plate and loved it? They’re never eating that one again.
7. A clean floor will spontaneously generate Legos or other small toys to step on.
8. Your child will discover the magic that is scissors and hair the day before school or family pictures are taken.
9. The length of your child’s nap is inversely proportional to how long you need them to nap.
10. Glitter is forever…. forever in your hair, forever on the floor, the counters….
11. The more important the phone call, the less important the thing your child insists on telling you in the middle of the call will be.
12. Messy crafts are more appealing than ones that are easy to clean up after. Some kids can make any craft messy.
13. Silence is suspicious. They ARE up to something.
14. Your bathroom is no longer a private place. It doesn’t matter who else is around, your kids will want YOU when you’re in the bathroom.
15. The messier your clothes are, the more likely you are to run into someone you know when running errands.
16. That thing you swore your kids would never do back before you had kids? Yeah. They’re going to do it.
17. If you throw away toys they no longer play with, they will want them the next day.
18. The cuter the outfit, the bigger the diaper blowout.
19. Babies will always soil a fresh diaper. Especially when you’re in a hurry.
20. The more diapers you pack for an outing, the more changes your child will need. Usually at least one more change than you brought diapers.
21. The thing you forget to pack will be the thing your child needs most.
22. A diaper will always leak on freshly washed bedding.
23. The box is more interesting than the toy that came in it.
24. The more your child wanted the toy, the faster it will break or lose a piece.
25. A child who naps in the car will not continue that nap at home, no matter how badly needed.
26. The sicker the child, the more they will want to snuggle with you.
27. A clean floor attracts spilled food and drink.
28. The more tired you are, the less tired they are.
29. A sick child will appear healthy at the pediatrician’s office, then be sick again at home.
30. Your child will tell people exactly what you don’t want them to say. Even if that person is a stranger.
Most of these relate to when your kids are small, no doubt because that’s when they have the least control over themselves. Many of these challenges go away as kids get older.
That doesn’t mean you get a break. Older kids mean new challenges.
Teens, in particular, can catch you off guard. They’re testing limits and getting ready for adulthood, but they still need you so much. And the more they need you, the less some of them want to admit it. Which is why they have their own, separate section here. It’s harder to come up with generalized laws for parenting teens because they vary so much!
1. The more supplies a school project needs, the closer to the due date they will inform you.
2. They will make the same mistakes you did, even if you try to help them avoid the mistakes.
3. Plus new mistakes that weren’t even possible when you were young.
4. Their biggest problems come when you are busiest.
5. Even more than when they were little, they notice when you do things you told them not to do.
6. Teens can sleep better than babies.
7. All that time you spent teaching your kids to dress appropriately for the weather when they were younger won’t matter when they’re teens. They’ll wear shorts all winter or a jacket all summer.
8. Some days everything you say to a teen will be the wrong thing to say. Even “Good morning.”
Fortunately, teens can also be a lot of fun to talk with, as they develop opinions of their own. They may challenge your rules, but they’re also learning to face the world on their own.
So many of the little frustrations that come with being a parent of kids at any age will be things you look back on fondly later. Enjoy what you can and don’t let the challenging parts get you too far down.