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10 Crazy Parenting Superstitions I Swear Are True

Photograph by Andrea Wada Davies

Before kids, I had a few superstitions. They were mostly ingrained in me by my superstitious grandmother. Don’t count the cars on a train—it’s bad luck. Don’t stab your chopsticks upright into a bowl of rice—really bad luck. (And also, super rude—which, to a Japanese grandma, is almost worse than bad luck.)

To this day, when I see a train pass by, I look at the engine and then look away so that I don’t accidentally count the cars. And my chopsticks have never rested in a bowl of rice. I do those things out of memory of my grandma.

But as I got older, I stopped buying into superstitions because they weren’t based on anything rational. An irrational belief that certain events would bring good or bad luck? That's just sort of silly—until I became a parent. I started to act based on what were normally irrational fears (you really start to question your sanity when you have kids).

Here are 10 of my parenting superstitions that are actually based on fear and a real track record of certain random actions leading to unlucky events.

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1. Don’t cut off the crust, because as soon as you do, she will cry because, well, you just cut off her crust.

Parents know that kids are amazing, but they also know that they (especially toddlers) can be irrational, unpredictable little gremlins just waiting to strike and tantrum when you do something nice for them.

2. Never take a shower before your toddler eats breakfast.

But then after your toddler eats breakfast, you are racing to get her ready and then get her to preschool, and then when you get home, you race around to get all the shit done you can’t get done when the toddler’s home, and then after preschool and running to the supermarket and then post office and the bank, it makes no sense to shower right before making dinner. So, I guess, just never take a shower.

Just as soon as you give away the baby bouncer, you will find out you are pregnant. What the hell?

3. Don’t pull the straw off of a juice box if you want to live to see another day.

Sure, you think it’s helping. Let me facilitate your drinking this delicious juice, my sweet little angel! You think you’re sparing their fumbly, little, clumsy, baby sausage fingers the trouble of sticking that wobbly skinny straw into a pinprick of a hole. But as soon as your tiny cherub-faced babe hears the snap of the straw from the juice box, she goes ballistic, gets Hulk Smash on your ass and you’re so scared you either give her a new juice or try like hell to glue the straw back to the box.

4. Wait at least 10 minutes past the time when you think your toddler has fallen asleep to make your exit.

Just because she seems like she’s fallen asleep doesn’t mean she won’t sit up wide awake and exclaim, “Where are you going, Mom?!” even though you’ve stealthily slipped out of her bed and are tiptoeing for the door.

5. Don’t ever throw that half-eaten lollipop/cookie away. She was saving that for later.

The more it looks like three-day-old, crusty trash, the more upset they will get when you throw it away. But, if you don’t throw it away, they want nothing to do with that old garbage.

6. Never accidentally sing any Disney song out loud, no matter how long it’s been stuck in your head.

This will spark either a full day of “Part of Your World” on repeat and/or requests for the movie from which the song you were singing came, and all of it will have to happen RIGHT NOW!

7. Don’t make eye contact with your toddler when she’s begging for anything.

When she’s pleading with you—for cookies, to stay up later, to have cake for breakfast, to get out the Play-Doh—don’t make eye contact. Those big puppy-dog eyes will possess you.

8. Don’t get rid of all of your baby stuff if you don’t want to get pregnant the next day.

Just as soon as you garage sale, Craigslist or give away the baby bouncer, swing, bassinet and (gasp) the wipe warmer, you will find out you are pregnant with a baby who needs all. those. things. What the hell?

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9. Don’t even say the word “dough” in your home.

It is widely known that Play-Doh is every parent’s arch nemesis, along with Kinetic Sand and Legos, of course. I’m convinced that kids live their life just waiting for the next opportunity to play with Play-Doh. They love that crap! And they also love to shove it into any little crevice and crack they see. Even if it’s your computer’s SD slot. Tears.

10. If you deep clean the house for three hours straight, your toddler will spill fruit juice on nearly every square inch of the floor.

Fruit juice or not, a clean house is an invitation to mess it up.

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