What Is Parenting?

Life as a parent is such a subjective thing. It means something different to all of us. It all depends on how many children we have, our life situations, our own childhoods… A plethora of variation!


I have compiled a little list of some of the things that define my adventures in parenting. Have a look and see, maybe some of them will resonate for you. And maybe you’ll have some of your own to add. If you do, add them in the comments!

What is parenting?

Parenting is thirteen dandelions slowly decomposing in a murky glass of water in your kitchen.

Parenting is explaining how babies get into a woman’s stomach on the way home from school.

Parenting is saying, “Stop picking your nose!” All day.

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Parenting is googling ‘how to remove lava in Minecraft,’ in order to fix your seven year old’s whole freaking life.

Parenting is knowing just how your children smell. Oh, and recoiling instinctively when they smell ‘wrong.’

Parenting is defining the word ‘pulverise.’ And then ‘pulp.’ And then ‘mush.’ And then concluding that you make a crappy dictionary.

Parenting is cautiously identifying the picture your child has drawn. Get it wrong at your peril! (P.S. It’s a squiggle.)

Parenting is sympathising over invisible, yet agonising injuries.

Parenting is yawning three seconds after your child.

Parenting is dancing the tango with a giggling child in your arms. You don’t know how to dance the tango.

Parenting is sorting through your child’s entire Lego collection for her favourite pieces (which are, of course, the smallest ones.)

Parenting is then going through the whole bloody lot again because the one child destruction system you call ‘Squeak’ dumped them back in. On purpose.


Parenting is knowing all the words to ‘Let It Go.’

Parenting is seventeen conversations about the vulva, in context, before you’ve left for school.

Parenting is spending twice the time you actually need on the toilet, just so you can have some peace.

Parenting is comforting a child who says that, when she is running, it feels like she has a penis. How do you comfort somebody about that? I don’t know!

Parenting is researching the formation of glaciers just so you can answer your child’s burning question with something approaching accuracy.

Parenting is explaining that no, you were not born in 1919. Or 1899. Or 1912. Goddammit, I’m not looking good right now.

Parenting is the heavy sound of a sleeping house in the evening.

Parenting is regretting buying different sized children matching socks.

Parenting is mistaking a yowling cat in heat for your screaming baby and running for the stairs.


Parenting is mistaking a seagull for your screaming baby and running for the stairs.

Parenting is idly pondering whether your child’s cough is croup.

Parenting is knowing that if your kid has croup, there ain’t no pondering about it!

Parenting is sleeping with a child’s arm across your face.

Parenting is knowing how to get vomit out of the carpet.

Parenting is the delicate touch of a child’s loving lips against your cheek.

Parenting is finding laughter, even in sadness.

Parenting is being awoken to a copy of Animalia being waved in your face and a demand to “find the boy!”

Parenting is knowing the difference between the sound of one child going upstairs to the toilet, and one child going upstairs with an unruly toddler sneaking up behind them.

Parenting is loving three small people so deeply, despite their insatiable urge to fuck. your. shit. up.

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What do you think, guys? Did I nail it? Don’t forget to share your experiences!

11 thoughts on “What Is Parenting?

  1. Love this list! It is long but even the longest list can’t cover it! Parenting (usually) rules! x

  2. Lovely, lovely post! Like with the drawings, mine is attempting to translate what my toddler is saying… I feel very guilty if I get it wrong and can sense his disappointment!

    Haha at the or is running!

    • Thank you! And yes! The look on their faces when you decode the absolute wrong message from them. Or, in my case, the enraged glare πŸ˜€

      • Love your list πŸ™‚ parenting is also knowing a complicated, subtle sign language which varies from flaring nostrils to a glance at the ceiling, and the 12 meanings of ‘uhuh’. Parenting is also knowing what smile means ‘happy’, ‘funny’, ‘I’ve been naughty’, ‘you have some goo on your cheek’ or ‘i’m sad but I can’t admit it, please hug me even if I act like I’m too big for hugs’. ❀

  3. Parenting is the need to constantly check your school age kids hair for nits, then not completely traumatising them if the worst happens and you actually find some!

  4. Really enjoyed reading this post, you caught me in a rare moment of reverie I think, it made me really happy to be a parent!

  5. Parenting is being freaked out by a quiet house.

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