Emily Writes: The injustices of parenting

Kids won't sleep when they should. You won't have any alone time. And getting your child to eat is agony, no matter how much you've slaved over it.

I want to talk about the great injustices of parenting. This parenting lark is often unfair – there are things that should make sense but just don’t. In a logical mind, before you meet a baby or toddler, there is a natural order to the world that you’re sure cannot be undermined. Yet…when you have kids there is this weird contradiction. The hypocrisy of children. Their inability to stick to the way things should be.

Let’s start with the main one: Sleep.

When a child stays up late, they should sleep in. Clearly. I mean on what planet does it make sense for a child to wake up early after staying up late? Sometimes even earlier than they usually do when they go to sleep at a normal time. This makes no sense whatsoever. If you have a late night – of course you should catch up and sleep longer. Only someone who fundamentally did not understand the joys of sleep would ever turn this true statement on its head. I am picking you know who that someone is – babies and toddlers! The laws of everything don’t apply to children when it comes to sleep.

See also: If you wake numerous times in the night, that should make you sleep past 5am.

See also also: If you refuse naps because you hate sleep (and your parents) that should make you sleep past 5am.

See also also also: If you’re tired, you should bloody well sleep.

Wait, it turns out I have more to say about sleep

If you can’t go to sleep because the sun is still shining, it stands to reason that you should not be able to fall asleep in the car while your mother is wildly singing to try to stop you going to sleep in the car.

It makes no sense whatsoever that you can fall asleep at a table at a café, on a plane (just before landing, never at take-off) or two seconds before arriving at Junglerama, if you simply can’t go to sleep at night unless it’s dark.

See also: Closing your eyes for eight minutes in the car is not a nap! What is wrong with you? Nobody in the world ever has said “I’m going to have a nap” and then only slept for eight minutes. You closed your eyes for a short time. That’s it! Do not suggest otherwise!

If there was any justice in the world there would be rhyme and reason to a child’s sleeping patterns.

Alone time (you will never have it)

Now, as a parent, after a long day of defusing sibling rivalry, getting kids to sleep, cleaning, feeding, keeping your sanity kind of intact, you should get a solid few hours of adult time to acknowledge your service to your children and society as a whole. SHOULD.

It’s just wrong that there seems to be direct correlation between how much you NEED alone time versus the likelihood of actually getting it. Any time you need to do something in the evening, your children will not go to bed on time, or they will fool you into thinking they’re asleep just long enough for you to open your laptop and begin writing something and….

…returns three hours later…

Likewise, if you have an evening where you have to go out (any kind of night-time commitment will do) any routine you have set up to prepare, even if it is months in the making, will fly out the door the night before.

This is a child’s way of ensuring you understand that nothing can be planned ever. You’re at their mercy! Never forget it.

See also: Sleep regressions, milestones, cluster feeding will only occur when you have something you need to do, and not on the nights when your only plan is to sit in front of the TV and watch whatever is on because the remote is on the other couch and you can’t be bothered moving.

The agony of eating

Another injustice, just while we’re making a list: You can slave over any meal and the meal your child will want is a plate of almost past its use-by date luncheon. You could be a Michelin award-winning chef and your toddler would still be like – actually, I want a slice of cheese and nothing else. No, not actual cheese, you misheard me, I prefer my cheese to taste soulless and joyless. I want a cheese SLICE. Oh, I see you’ve unwrapped it? How unfortunate. I can no longer eat it.

Also, at any restaurant it needs to be noted that the more expensive the meal is, the less likely your child is to eat it.

As disputable, ridiculous and defying the laws of anything these points are – they’re all true. And that’s the thing with babies and toddlers. They exist in some kind of weird space/time/reason vacuum in that they destroy most spaces, take up all your time, and ignore all reason.

But we love ‘em don’t we? And can you imagine what no toddlers eating luncheon would do to our economy??

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Emily Writes from 'Mama Said'

Inspired by: Emily Writes

She's our new weekly columnist who calls herself a 'sleep deprived, feminist, ranty mum of two – a toddler and a newborn – living in New Zealand', who likes coffee, Bruce Dickinson, and her kids. Sometimes in that order.