You Know You’re a Parent When….

  1. The nurse hands you a baby and says with a sneer, “Good luck, suckers!”
  2. You get home with baby and after a few days realize–the baby isn’t going anywhere.
    Probably for the next 30 years.
    If you’re lucky.

    What? So I’ll be living in your basement eating bologna sandwiches and playing Nintendo until I’m 30. You signed up for this, remember?
  3. You never go by your own first name anymore.
    “Hi! I’m Christian’s Mom!” or “Hello! I’m Julia’s full-time domestic slave who lost her name along with her identity about 10 years ago, nice to meet you! Please, help me remember who the hell I am! For the love of God, please!”
  4. You openly discuss puke stories over lunch with friends.
    “Hey….by the way, have you ever seen puke drop from three feet high before? No? well, let me tell you it was epic. I had to hold the bucket up over my head like I was offering up a sacrifice at the fiery altar of vomit volcano hell. I didn’t even flinch. I just turned my head to the side, squeezed my eyes shut to block the spray, and he kept hurling over the side of the top bunk like nobody’s business.
    Now please pass me the guacamole.”
  5. You alternate between serene calmness and explosive fire-breathing rage with ease.
    “Please, you guys really need to start calming down now, okay? Huh? Please?
    I SAID CALM DOWN! RIGHT NOW! OR I WILL DRIVE THIS CAR INTO A TREE SO HELP ME GOD!
    ….thank you.”
  6. You get so beaten down by the constant barrage of questions, “Mom, can I have a cookie? Mom, can I have a piece of candy? Mom, can I have some chocolate milk?” that you finally snap and start screaming, “YES! YES!! FINE! GO AHEAD! YOU CAN HAVE EVERYTHING! ALL OF IT! I DON’T CARE ANYMORE! HAVE AT IT!” only to realize you’ve agreed to letting them drink beer and take the car out for a spin.
  7. You start to schedule meetings with your husband to discuss when to schedule in sex.
  8. This year’s vacation hot-spot?
    Any place you and your spouse don’t have the kids for a few minutes so you can get a tiny shred of sanity back.
    Maybe eat an entire meal uninterrupted for once.
    Listen to your own inner thoughts for a change.
    Could be simply going out for the early-bird special at the local Cracker Barrel, it’s all good.

    Whoa! What sweet bliss is this? Rockers! Everywhere! HOT DAMN!!!
  9. Your go-to emotion is feigned apathy.
    Whenever you have childless friends over for dinner, they’ll have this look of terror on their faces as your kids run around screaming and throwing things like monkeys fresh from a coke binge. And the whole time you’ll  just sit on the couch with a shell-shocked blank look on your face, completely oblivious to the chaos–their loud antics only barely registering as a distant low-buzzing hum. This is a coping mechanism that only comes from years of practice.
  10. You’ve learned society’s acceptable term for your constantly hyped-up, out-of-control kid is ‘spirited’.
    So you use it all the time now as an excuse.
    “Oh, so he dumped an entire bottle of chocolate syrup in your toilet?  He’s spirited!”
    “So you’re telling me he head-butted the gym teacher because he felt like it? Well, now! He sure is spirited!”
  11. You often interrupt important phone calls to yell:
    “Hey! You wipe your OWN butt!”
  12. On any given day you find yourself quoting the best quote ever uttered by a parent:

              “I brought you into this world, I can take you out.” —Bill Cosby

***If any of you weary and worn-down parents out there have any other insights as to when you know you’re a parent, feel free to write them in the comments below so I can laugh at you while offering up my deepest sincerest pity as only a seasoned mom can do.***

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103 thoughts on “You Know You’re a Parent When….

  1. I feel a little sad and a bit proud that I can relate to so much of this. I think pride is a good thing though. Look at what all we can do and still manage to put our clothes on the right way every morning.

  2. -you know your are a parent when you are happy when the gym teacher describes your 15 year old son as “zesty”–seriously, my son came home with this on his report card
    -you know you are a parent when your son is in kindergarden and the teacher takes you aside and asks you to tell your son to quit chasing the girls at recess and telling them “I want to bite your neck”
    -you know you are a parent when the vice-principal praises your eldest for never darkening his door during elementary school (because he never needed discipline) and never saying it about your youngest
    I have a million of them – my sons are 21 and 26 and I am still alive

    1. ooh, now: Zesty! love that. My son hasn’t been called that. Although my daughter’s been described as ‘feisty’ and even a little ‘bossy’ before. No clue where she gets that from.
      It is such a relief to know you’re still going after surviving your sons teen years. This gives me the tiniest ray of hope.

    1. No doubt. When my kids were babies and eating strained peas, I always had some kind of disgusting stain on my shirt. Once I had a huge chocolate stain and toothpaste all over my shirt and went around in public for hours like that with no clue. This was yesterday.

  3. Another of Bill Cosby’s lines that I love – about Mom being the boss – “I have seen the boss’s job and I can tell you I do not want it.”

    I always thought I would look forward to the empty nest – and there are parts of it that are quite enjoyable (the clothing optional part, especially), but I do miss the pitter patter of little (or not so little feet) and the voice coming from in front of the refrigerator yelling “we don’t have anything good to eat”.

    1. That whole standup of Bill Cosby’s was genius. “Dad is great, he gives us chocolate cake!” was one of my favorites. Or when he describes his wife’s labor. Hilarious.

      And I know I’ll miss my kids terribly someday, but I have a feeling I’ll relish the quiet a bit. I think my problem is I’m just too dang exhausted, Katy. I should have had my kids in my early 20s, not early 40s. What was I thinking? Oh yeah. I didn’t meet Jim until my late 20s so….

  4. You know you’re a parent when there are no longer sharp scissors, working pens, sharpened pencils in the house, selotape on the cardboard tube,nice cookies in the tin and no working tools left in the shed. Our tent used to have pegs to hiold it down, the camping gas stove used to work. Don’t get me going about all the single socks we own.

    Oh, by the way, anyone got any use for about 15 broken Tv remotes?

    1. For my son it’s the broken video game controllers, the Wii ones especially. He throws them all the time. I’m surprised he hasn’t pitched one into my flatscreen TV yet. And I hear you on not having any cookies or brownies or cake or anything remotely sweet around. By the time I get to my share, it’s just a box full of crumbs.

  5. Seriously, you say all these things and they’re so true. Every single parent goes through the same hell. I wonder why we are not extinct. I mean, we act all intelligent, seperating ourselves from animals by calling us human, but I think we’re a bunch of dumbasses. I mean, we need to learn to walk. Have you seen a elephant learning to walk? It takes about 10 seconds!

    I’m jealous of the animal kingdom.

    1. Having a kid is hard. Having two is doubly hard and having more than two, it just doesn’t matter anymore because your normal life is over. I bow down to parents of more than two. The two I have kick my butt on a daily basis. Of course, I love them dearly and would do anything for them but still, I am tired. Old and tired. Those elephants do have it all figured out. But then, aren’t they pregnant for over two years? Yeah, no thanks.

  6. You know you’re a parent when every shoe purchase is followed by the question: “Do any of the kids have a diarama due soon? This Nike box would be perfect”

    You know you’re a parent when part of your decision making process for a car includes figuring out whether siblings will be able to reach and torment one another from adjacent seats.

    As usual, your post was funny and well written. I’m sure you must wonder what literary masterpiece you might crank out if you weren’t busy scraping melted chewing gum off the inside of the dryer.

    1. I still hold on to the shoe boxes. I have a closet full of them now. Oddly enough, I can never find a single shoe for my kids when it’s time to rush off to school…

      The best purchase we ever made was a minivan about six years ago. I knew I could stick one kid in the middle row and one in the back, just far enough away so they could barely bug the hell outta each other.

      Thanks for the compliment, Dave. If only I wasn’t scraping gum, I’d be making loads of money of some kind of book, maybe call it, How I Survived the Vomit Volcano

  7. I can totally relate. Although mine were not half as bad as others. Fortunate for me. I remember stepping on numerous toys barefoot, using normal words as curse words…”Get those TURTLE legos picked up & out of the middle of the TURTLE room.” GDTurtle legos. 😉

  8. I’m a big fan of cosby’s “will you stop touching me!” that whole bit is so classic. and you know you’re a parent when, you don’t even have the energy to go out anymore, just getting the kids to bed at a reasonable time so you can sit on the couch and gorge on ice cream, a glass of wine and housewives shows, is way entertaining and doesn’t cost a cent.

    1. Yes, I LOVE the “stop touching me” parts. And the part where he’s on the plane and Jeffrey “I’m four years old!” is torturing everyone.
      As for not having any energy, tonight, I have a slice of leftover bday cake, a glass of wine and some taped episodes of New Girl all ready to go. I live such a wild life.

  9. When my niece and nephew were much younger, I remember one time as my sister and I were talking, they were both ratcheting up trying to get her attention. Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom MOM, mom mom mom mom, MOM! Mom, mom mom mom, MOOOOOOOMMMMMM! She kept right on talking to me as if she didn’t hear them. Actually I think she probably didn’t hear them. I, on the other hand, couldn’t hear anything else.

    PS – Good news! You won my great book giveaway contest. I’m going to to email you with the deets. (Like my hipster slang lingo?) 🙂

    1. Exactly. The parent won’t even notice the nonstop whining or screaming in the background while the friend with no kids is going absolutely nuts listening to it. I think this does help control the population a bit.

      I am PSYCHED I won! Wahoo! Thank you! Now I just have to carve out time to read the book (I will though, I’m determined)

  10. All of those years area haze. A deep purple one with a few snapshots of birthdays, holidays and trips to the ER thrown in.
    Now I am looking forward to sitting down to the hours of videos in hopes of jogging my memories! 🙂

  11. You know you’re a parent when you stock up all the outrageous, annoying things he’s done in the hopes that one day he’ll have a girlfriend.

    Now about the vomit. I wish my mom had known about the bucket/bunkbed trick. When my brother threw up from his top bunk it ended up on the dog. Who then came into my room.

    1. haha! OH no! The poor poor dog! And your brother, of course. Good lord, that is quite the vision I’m conjuring up right now.

      The vomit thing was unbelievable. It just happened, too. It was my son, a mere few days before Thanksgiving at around 2 am (isn’t it always?) and I did what any quick-thinking mom would do, I rushed in with a trash can and held it above my head to catch it. I stood like that for what seemed like an eternity. My husband walked in, said “Oh. My. GOD” then turned and walked back out. Men. Takes a real woman to handle puke. I didn’t even hesitate.

    1. That would be very wise. Or just never put your kid in a bunk bed. As fast as I was in catching it, it still went everywhere else, the carpet, the pillows, the stuffed animals, my hair, my clothes. I didn’t even flinch though. My husband almost fainted. I’m very proud of myself. I think being a nurse is gonna come naturally to me after all.

  12. I so identify with the loss of name. For years I have been Caleb’s mom. And that’s just fine. But it could explain why I took to writing when he left for college. Perhaps I was looking to get my voice back.

    1. I know, I am totally fine with being Christian’s Mom and all, I am. But after ten years, if I hear someone calling me Darla I almost turn to see who they’re talking to, I need to get Darla back again. Being a mom is the best thing I’ve ever done, but not the only thing I’ll ever do. My kids will move away one day and I want to find my voice just like you said, Renee. Start my life in a new direction.

  13. This morning my child drew all over the walls and furniture of the living room with my Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm. Then she picked apart my yoga mat. Then she licked the paint off the wall right after my husband finished painting the kitchen.

    And we’re taking her to the zoo tonight to see the Christmas light display. Because it’s not fair! I wanted to see the lights and drink hot cocoa and eat mixed nuts. I’ve been looking forward to this!

    1. That is so cute! Burt’s bees does make the best lip balm, I’m sure it’s very colorful all over your freshly painted walls. Ah, yes, I miss those days, I do. When you could scoop them up and give them hugs. Enjoy your mixed nuts and hot cocoa, sounds perfect to me!

  14. Not a parent, so I can’t share those insights, but for single guys, I have a great hint – provided you have a VERY strong ability to listen to only certain segments of a conversation. Find yourself some new moms at work, invite them out to lunch, then ask a question about bottle-feeding. I will guarantee you, the conversation will shift QUICKLY to breast-feeding, and some VERY graphic descriptions of boobs. It’s better than Playboy, ’cause it’s FREE! (You just have to be able to sort through some VERY disturbing chaff to get to the good stuff. 😉 ) 😀

  15. Loved this list! I can definitely relate to number five, “the fire breathing rage with ease.” My kids cause me to go from 0 to 10 in less than sixty seconds. Whenever I say, “That’s it! I’m DONE” my kids know that mama has reached the point of NO return.
    Just one more thing to add . . . You know you’re a parent when you can wolf down your burger and fries while your husband changes your toddler’s poopy diaper on the couch next to you. Poop is so overrated.

  16. You know you’re a parent when your 2nd grader loudly and cheerfully reveals personal family stuff at the bus stop like, “My mommy used to be married to my other dad but my other dad lives in California and he had some problems so my mom took us and left but now she’s married to my NEW dad who’s really nice but farts A LOT.”

    Yeah. Something like that. And like you mentioned — the CONSTANT questions. My kids will stand there and ask me the same question over and over and over. They’re like little robots.

    1. bwah ha ha! OH my. Yikes. Yeah. Bus stop conversations can be scary. You have to be sooo careful what you say around your kids too, because they will inevitably blurt out what you said at the worst possible times. Like my son who said to his friend, “My mom said your mom talks too much and your dad must sit at home drinking beer all day.”

  17. I lost my name identity early on, being (fill in the parent’s name) daughter, and becoming my nephew’s “Tee-Dee,” and I didn’t even birth him! I am shocked and confused when someone actually calls me by my given name.

  18. Darliciousness you got this parenting thing all figured out here! You know you’ve become truly numb when you can discuss vomit and guacamole in the same breath. I’m feeling a little nauseous.

  19. OneHotMess

    Please, just call e Mommy. I even refer to myself as Mommy to other adults. “I will do that tomorrow. Mommy is tired tonight.” Yes, in the third person… I am Mommy 😉

  20. Oh yes, the vomit catching…..

    You know you’re a mom when you actually cup your hands under your puking son’s face, and catch it in your hands. Yep, so many times.

    You know you’re a mom when you let your kids “help” decorate the tree, and when one sits on one of your collectible and retired Disney ornaments, breaking it into 5 pieces, you just calmly pick it up and get out the krazy glue.

    You know you’re a mom when you can sleep through a shock trauma helicopter landing in your backyard pre-kids, but bolt out of bed fully alert if the baby sighs in his crib.

    Oh, and Cracker Barrel’s the bomb!

    1. What kills me about the puke-catching thing, I’m not sure dads can relate. I know my husband runs screaming in the other direction when one of our kids is sick, while I just do my job and clean it up without batting an eye.

      And us moms do have supersonic hearing. Many times I heard my baby crying or sighing in the crib and I’d be wide awake while my husband laid there in bed going “Huh? I didn’t hear anything.” Come to think of it, I bet he was lying, wasn’t he?

      Cracker Barrel does have good lumpy potatoes and meatloaf, just like dear ol’ Ma used to make.

  21. You know you’re a parent when the house is quiet and it feels wrong. Something is going on and it’s not good. Those are the moments when you find the young child’s bedroom door closed and you panic- opening the door to find the kid, scissors in hand- piles of hair on the floor, and not much hair left on top of their head.

      1. The kid did it the first time about 1/2 hr. before I had to take him to preschool. He did it again in first grade. I cut his hair these days. (I’m slow, but I got the message that he doesn’t like going to a barber- too difficult, sensory wise).

  22. I still laughed at this even though I don’t have kids. And I emailed the link to some friends who do have kids, and they heartily agree with you. Bill Cosby really did have the funniest lines about kids and parenting, didn’t he?

  23. My favorite is to go out with my young college age kiddos and hear them complain about the rugrats whining and running around at the next table.” It makes me roll my eyes with a “You-Just-Wait smile.

  24. Ha, oh DP. I would be such a pushover. “FINE! Take all my money! Take the car! You’re 10, it’s FINE. And stop and get me vodka while you’re at it! But pass the guac first.”

    1. And I know you would be, JD. The best mom. Ever.

      You know, you aren’t really getting the full gist of having crazy kids in the house whenever we talk on the phone. Mainly because I lock myself in a closet with a full glass of wine right before I dial your number. I am dead serious.

  25. Oh, the Bill Cosby line. I recall using that one more than once. On the “spirited” word now in vogue. At our school, they call those same kids ones with “large personalities.” (I think that’s the term.) All I can remember, after hearing that phrase, is some teacher saying, “Is that what we’re calling it now?”

    I loved your column. I really could relate and it made me laugh.

  26. Number 5 was my favorite. You know those celebrities who rant at their kids and it ends up recorded and on the Internet? It’s probably just as well that we’re not celebrities.

    But, Darla, what’s the problem with Cracker Barrel? I love that place, especially breakfast, and the candy section. Especially the candy. And the breakfast. I usually have breakfast, then head straight for the candy. Have we had this conversation before?

    1. It really is pure genius. They stick this gigantic store at the entrance so you get lost in the maze of peppermint candies and Cracker Jack and next thing you know, you’re eating lollipops with your butter-and-syrup-drenched french toast.

      (by the way, your comment made me snort so hard, coffee came out my nose. Thanks, Charles. Thanks)

  27. My son’s father and I are no longer together, but he gets regular holiday visits with the little one. I told him the other day there is a distinct possibility there will be no hand-off at the airport in a few weeks, so much as there will be a full-on throwing our child in his general direction, while shrieking, “For the love of tiny, infant Jesus, TAKE HIM!!!”

    1. Haha! Oh, so you get what I’m talkin’ ’bout here, I take it. yes, we love our kids dearly and at the same time, really enjoy any time we can take a break from them. I think that’s perfectly normal.

      1. I know, I know…

        I made my decision not to be a parent long before I started reading your frightening parenting posts. You can’t take all the blame/credit for preventing me from breeding. 😉

  28. I love when I’m in a group of women and my kids actually call me Shannon. I get lots of disapproving stares and questions about respect and such until some kid calls “Mom” and 10 of us answer. See? They know what works. Of course, I still introduce myself as so-and-so’s-mom or PTA-membership-chair or carnival-manager. Never Shannon.

    Just used Bill Cosby’s famous saying today (or I think my husband said it of me, like, “She brought you in, she can take you out…or make me do it for her!)

    Um, wow. Only “discuss” sex with husband? Did you scribble in some time for actually COMMITTING the act? That’s an important calendar item in order for the 2nd (or 3rd or even 4th) kid to come along. Now we just lock the door and tell the kids plain and simple that we’re going to be making whoopee; they say “ew” and then don’t bother us for a whole hour. Since we only need 5-10 minutes, we use the rest of the time to talk to each other uninterrupted. Score. Totally.

    1. Oh, we’ve been known to do the ol’ “Lock-the-door-and-tell-the-kids-to-go-watch-a-movie” thing. But now it’s a matter of us having the time, also being in the same place at the same time….oh and having any energy to have sex. Just scheduling the sex is exhausting.

      1. Make time. Your sanity — and his — depends upon it. (Unless, of course, you are risking producing a child, then you might be welcoming insanity.)

        You know? That reminds me. Recently, we neglected to lock the door. So there we were, disrobed, in a slightly compromising position, and I said, “Did you lock the door?” and as he looked toward the door and was about to throw the covers off (thank God there were covers), there they were. All four. Standing in the doorway, fighting and looking for a referee.

        It seemed EVERYONE was clueless as to what we were about to be doing — even the 11-yr-old. PHEW. Literally seconds from getting busted. Like REALLY busted.

        We never forget to lock the door anymore. Ever.

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