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5 Parenting Truths We Can't Argue With

In second grade, my teacher, Sister Mary Joseph, tried to impress upon us a simple fact of life: There are no guarantees in life except death and taxes. I have no idea why she was telling 7-year-olds about taxes or death, but her lesson stuck inside my head. I still hear its faint echoes today.

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And what I want to tell Sister Mary Joseph, who, by virtue of her vows of celibacy, never had children of her own, is this: There are plenty of guarantees in parenthood. In fact, I’ve come across a solid five absolutes that are as ironclad as Uncle Sam’s tax collection or the grim reaper’s soul gathering.

We parents know that there are immutable truths lurking behind the parent-child relationship. I picked a few in honor of Sister Mary Joseph, who will never know the joy of parenting children in this modern age.

1. You must always pack a snack, even if you are walking less than a block to attend a smorgasbord. If you forget to pack snacks, your child will suddenly teeter on the edge of starvation, begging you for a helping of Pirates Booty or a Goldfish to stave off inevitable death. This is true even if you are on your way to get food or on your way home from eating your child’s favorite dinner at her favorite restaurant.

After a certain age, your children will reject your efforts to cuddle them in public, unless and until they are covered in mud or spaghetti sauce.

2. Your snacks will always suck compared to other kids’ snacks. Other people’s food will always look better than whatever you packed. Period. It’s like a natural law. This is true even if you packed double-fudge chocolate chip cookies, and another child has a handful of organic snap peas and dehydrated Brussels sprouts.

3. No public cuddling unless your child is filthy and you are all dressed up. After a certain age, your children will reject your efforts to cuddle them in public, unless and until they are covered in mud or spaghetti sauce or tempera paint and you, of course, are dressed up for a major life event like a job interview or a funeral or a chance to be in the studio audience of a major talk show. Somehow they just know.

4. They’ll do their best sleeping for someone else. Your children will always sleep better for other people. Grandparents, babysitters, daycare teachers — they will reap the benefits of extra sleep. Never you. And definitely never you on the mornings after you’ve stayed up too late drinking adult beverages and dancing to CeeLo Green like you were still a 20-year-old sorority girl with no curfew or chronic back pain.

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5. They won’t hear you until you try to sneak a snack for yourself. Your children will not hear a word you say for hours — none of your well-reasoned pleas for them to pick up their socks or throw their yogurt wrappers away. But the second you sneak into the kitchen and put your hand in your secret chocolate stash, suddenly they have super-human hearing. They will come running from the far reaches of your house and beg you to share. If you’re smart, you’ll pretend like you don’t hear them.

Image via Getty Images

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