You know you’re a parent…

… when darling daughter toddles round your bedroom on  Sunday morning, opens your chest of drawers and takes out one of your tops for the millionth time, and ends up wiping her snotty nose across it.

You really know you’re a parent when you get a damp flannel, wipe it down and put it back in your drawer – there’s really no point in washing it, as it’ll get more snot on it next time you wear it!

This episode reminded me of a great email I received a few years ago, so I’ve dug it out to give you a little giggle on this sunny Monday morning:

Test 1 – Preparation

Women – to prepare for pregnancy:

  1. Put on a dressing gown and stick a beanbag down the front.
  2. Leave it there.
  3. After 9 months remove 5% of the beans.

Men – to prepare for children:

  1. Go to a local chemist, tip the contents of your wallet onto the counter and tell the pharmacist to help himself. 
  2. Go to the supermarket. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.
  3. Go home. Pick up the newspaper and read it for the last time.

Test 2 – Knowledge
Find a couple who are already parents and berate them about their methods of discipline, lack of patience, appallingly low tolerance levels and how they have allowed their children to run wild. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child’s sleeping habits, toilet training, table manners and overall behaviour.  Enjoy it. It will be the last time in your life that you will have all the answers.

Test 3 – Nights

To discover how the nights will feel:

  1. Walk around the living room from 5pm to 10pm carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 4 – 6kg, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. 
  2. At 10pm, put the bag down, set the alarm for midnight and go to sleep. 
  3. Get up at 11pm and walk the bag around the living room until 1am.  
  4. Set the alarm for 3am. 
  5. As you can’t get back to sleep, get up at 2am and make a cup of tea.  
  6. Go to bed at 2.45am. 
  7. Get up again at 3am when the alarm goes off. 
  8. Sing songs in the dark until 4am. 
  9. Put the alarm on for 5am.
  10. Get up when it goes off. 
  11. Make breakfast.  
  12. Keep this up for 5 years.

Test 4 – Dressing Small Children

  1. Buy a live octopus and a string bag.
  2. Attempt to put the octopus into the string bag so that no arms hang out. 
  3. Time Allowed: 5 minutes.

Test 5 – Cars

  1. Forget the BMW. Buy a practical 5-door wagon.
  2. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. 
  3. Leave it there.
  4. Get a coin. Insert it into the CD player.
  5. Take a box of chocolate biscuits; mash them into the back seat.
  6. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.

Test 6 – Going For a Walk 

  1. Wait
  2. Go out the front door
  3. Come back in again
  4. Go out
  5. Come back in again
  6. Go out again
  7. Walk down the front path
  8. Walk back up it
  9. Walk down it again
  10. Walk very slowly down the road for five minutes.
  11. Stop, inspect minutely and ask at least 6 questions about every piece of used chewing gum, dirty tissue and dead insect along the way.
  12. Retrace your steps
  13. Scream that you have had as much as you can stand until the neighbours come out and stare at you
  14. Give up and go back into the house.
  15. You are now just about ready to try taking a small child for a walk.

Test 7
Repeat everything you say at least 5 times.

Test 8 – Grocery Shopping

  1. Go to the local supermarket. Take with you the nearest thing you can find to a pre-school child – a fully grown goat is excellent. If you intend to have more than one child, take more than one goat.
  2. Buy your weekly groceries without letting the goat(s) out of your sight.
  3. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys.

Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having

Test 9 – Feeding a 1 year-old

  1. Hollow out a melon
  2. Make a small hole in the side
  3. Suspend the melon from the ceiling and swing it side to side
  4. Now get a bowl of soggy cornflakes and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon while pretending to be an aeroplane. 
  5. Continue until half the cornflakes are gone. 
  6. Tip the rest into your lap, making sure that a lot of it falls on
    the floor.

Test 10 – TV

1.    Learn the names of every character from the Wiggles, Barney, Teletubbies, In the Night Garden and Waybuloos.
2.    Watch nothing else on television for at least 5 years.

Test 11 – Mess

Can you stand the mess children make? To find out :

  1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains
  2. Hide a fish behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.
  3. Stick your fingers in the flowerbeds and then rub them on clean walls. Cover the stains with crayon. How does that look? 
  4. Empty every drawer/cupboard/storage box in your house onto the floor & leave it there.

Test 12 – Long Trips with Toddlers

  1. Make a recording of someone shouting ‘Mummy’ repeatedly. Important Notes: No more than a 4 second delay between each Mummy. Include occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet. 
  2. Play this tape in your car, everywhere you go for the next 4

You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.

Test 13 – Conversations

  1. Start talking to an adult of your choice.
  2. Have someone else continually tug on your shirt hem or shirt sleeve while playing the Mummy tape listed above. 

You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

Test 14 – Getting ready for work

  1. Pick a day on which you have an important meeting.
  2. Put on your finest work attire. 
  3. Take a cup of cream and put 1 cup of lemon juice in it. 
  4. Stir
  5. Dump half of it on your nice silk shirt
  6. Saturate a towel with the other half of the mixture
  7. Attempt to clean your shirt with the same saturated towel
  8. Do not change (you have no time).
  9. Go directly to work.

You are now ready to have children. ENJOY!!

This entry was posted in Baby, Challenges, Cleaning, Contented Calf, Eating, Food, Life, Parenthood. Bookmark the permalink.

137 Responses to You know you’re a parent…

  1. mc6pack says:

    Feeding a 1-year old is best. Spot-on.

    Congrats on Pressed.

    Chase McFadden

  2. kaymac13 says:

    LOVE IT! I have 5 daughters and this is so true!!!

    • ecimelli says:

      @kaymac13 – Glad you liked it – I liked it when I first received the original email before the babe was even a glimmer in our eye. Now she’s here, I just love all the descriptions!!

  3. runtobefit says:

    lol…this is great!! Now I don’t want to have kids…thank you!!! Just kidding…I enjoyed reading it. So very true I am sure. Don’t worry…I will still have kids.

  4. dtrasler says:

    Some friends gave us a copy of this before our first weasel was born. Scary how much of it was true, although the sleepless nights didn’t come along until the second weasel arrived.
    My mother in law once told us “You just have to put your life on hold for ten years” when we mentioned we were annoyed about the number of things we were finding hard to acheive once the weasels were on the scene. I like to think we’ve proved her wrong, but parenting is HARD WORK, isn’t it? Who’d have thought?

    • ecimelli says:

      @dtrasler – I know what you mean, it’s almost impossible to achieve the things you were able to pre-kids – I certainly find it a constant pre-planning, juggling and timetabling exercise!

      And I also think that it’s one of the things that I have struggled with since the babe’s arrival – how to reconcile your pre and post baby self? I found it only started to come together after nine months (, but in all honestly, I’m still getting used to our new life, nearly 16 months in. Wouldn’t change it for the world though 🙂

  5. jenkline75 says:

    Oh my goodness! This is so funny and I think every one of the tests works perfectly to demonstrate the many joys of parenthood. Thanks for sharing and congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    • ecimelli says:

      @jenkline75 – Glad you enjoyed!! The tests are just brilliant aren’t they? 🙂 And thanks for your congratulations – very exciting being Freshly Pressed!

  6. Kim Pugliano says:

    Awesome! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!!!

  7. stilettoteez says:

    LOL.. that was great.. wish I had read that before I had my own.. whose 15 now.. eek.. it only gets.. er.. better?

  8. Being a parent is the hardest (and best) thing that has ever happened to me. I still remember driving my oldest around and around and around the freeway at 3am in the morning on a work day when he was sick/congested because that was the only way I could get him to sleep (sleeping upright in the car seat and the hum of moving car). I would not change the experience for anything else in the world. Nothing better than when your son/daughter says “I love you”. Never been so tired as when you are a parent.

  9. And this is why I’m not a parent. 😉

  10. So funny! I haven’t read this before. I wish I had read this before I decided to have children. I think there should be an updated version which involves teens. Something like, (1) Go to bank ATM. Withdraw money. Do this daily. (2) Sit a life size blow up doll in passenger seat of car. Have a one-sided conversation with the doll, throughout your commutes to school, sports practice, library, movie theaters. (3) Become an online stalker on Facebook, Formspring, Tumblr, trying to learn what is going on random people’s lives. (4)Become familiar with new terminology by looking at Urban Dictionary.

    • Leanne Wheeler says:

      I like this – but it scares me as I have two babies now.

      • ecimelli says:

        @ lifewellblended – I especially love your number (3)!!! I try to regularly go on a Facebook detox repeating to myself “step away from the computer”

        @Leanne Wheeler – you’ll have to let us know if two means double the trouble, or whether you’re well practised by the time number two comes along

  11. Irene says:

    Yeah, that about sums it up!

  12. tameeks says:

    lol, I love it..Something to think about. This needs to be posted up every where….lol

  13. Bethany says:

    This had me laughing out loud. Gosh, I’m glad my kids are grown. I had forgotten what it was like to parent small children, but I’ve never forgotten how tired I was for 10 years. Thanks for the smiles! 🙂

    • ecimelli says:

      @Bethany – Glad I could provide some smiles 🙂 But it’s telling that you haven’t forgotten how tired you were! And for TEN YEARS…. oh no….. 😉

      • ecimelli says:

        ps – Great blog. Keep up the good work! I’d love to try Zumba as one of my friends raves about it – will have to find a night when the hubby isn’t at work.

  14. wadingacross says:

    I’m a stay-at-home daddy. I can relate to pretty much all of that. Have two now and two more on the way.

    Love conquers all though. Nothing like going back into their room late at night to tuck them in and give them one last kiss. Or them jumping in bed with you in the morning to snuggle up for a few minutes before it’s time for everyone to start the day. Makes all the other complaints, worries and problems melt away.

    • ecimelli says:

      @wadingacross – Congratulations on your expanding brood! 🙂 Indeed, love does conquer all. I just love sneaking into the babe’s room to watch her sleep for a few minutes on my way into bed.

  15. lmbartelt says:

    Fabulous! Thanks for sharing. I needed a good laugh today.

  16. thypolarlife says:

    You speak the truth. Thanks for making me laugh. great post.

  17. Pingback: Test for Couples Determining to be Parents « Rejoice, Beloved

  18. Oh, this is it exactly. I am almost at the point where I can have conversations with adults while my children in the room but I am finding I cannot do it. I am constantly expecting interuptions and unable to keep track of the conversation.

    • I heard something recently about a friend who has a two year old who was sitting watching the football with his mate. It was late and the baby was asleep but when he stood up to relieve himself he said “Daddy go pee pee”, then shook his head at himself 🙂 Love it.

      • @notesfromrumbleycottage – Spotty Baby’s Mum ( and I have found that we can just about manage an uninterrupted conversation on the walk to nursery, while the babes are in the prams and facing forward, other than that, conversations happen in 10 second snippets and take days! 🙂

  19. Very funny, though it’s a little dismaying, isn’t it? I especially enjoyed the part where you suggested bringing along a goat to approximate going shopping with a toddler. It reminds me of the days that I go shopping without making sure that my toddler is well-rested, or that I forget to bring along his favorite food for a bribe.

    • @Rivki – Yes, my friend loved the goat analogy too! 🙂 The babe found a raisin in the pram this morning, which though maybe days old, she consumed with glee. I didn’t argue as it made getting her strapped in almost a delight.

  20. Tim says:

    Haha hilarious.

  21. Thanks for posting this 🙂 Although I would genuinely feel bad for parents who can’t discipline their kids well enough to not have them tear everything up in sight, this gave me a good laugh; I needed it this morning.

  22. Nancy Casey says:

    i loved that! thanks for the wonderful laugh! and those tests are just right too!

  23. CrystalSpins says:

    I’m pretty sure you know you’re a parent if you squeeze a kid through your vulva.


  24. Evie Garone says:

    FUNNY! Sad but True!!!!!!!!!!

  25. Are you for real? Are you a parent? I raised three boys – 2 were step-children. This may happen occasionally, but more often the disasters where caused by other peaopla at work – certainly not by my kids.

    • @Chef Marc d’Entremont – Yes, I am indeed a parent. The babe is nearly 16 months old now. True, this is an exaggeration of the truth, but personally I can still see so many similarities with my experience of parenthood. Perhaps our little lady is more of a terror than your three? 🙂

  26. Acai says:

    lol. I love this, it is so adorable and true! Oh the love of being a mother and father!

  27. My husband and I are laughing pretty hard at Test 3! Just had my first baby and she is 10 days old. We had a particularly rough night last night.

    • @momintraining13 – Congratulations on your (not so) new arrival! Sorry to hear you had a rough night 😦 I’ve just checked out your blog and it looks like you’re now having to juggle illness too – so hope she gets well soon. It took me a long while to get used to my new role as mummy as you can read about here: And being honest, I’m probably still grappling with it. But with cuddles, smiles and giggles, I’m definitely getting there, though could do with a little more sleep! 😉

  28. Oh, yeah! I can recall all that and more.

    But wait! There’s still more…

    They’re called grandkids!

    Happy, happy. Joy, joy. And I do mean that with a great big smile.

  29. Ahh! This makes having children sound terrifying!

  30. lostdmw says:

    HA! love it…wish I’d had this list pre-baby…but then I probably wouldn’t have believed it.
    Thanks for sharing! and congrats on being Freshly Pressed 🙂

  31. This is my life! (except my kids say Mommy and not Mummy)…I should have showed this to my husband before having kids. He would have been out with number 1! Great post!

  32. Sunflowerdiva says:

    Haha! The goat part cracked me up! All this scares me greatly. I love kids, but taking care of them 24/7 seems like a monster task. Very funny tests though! Congrats on getting Freshly Pressed!

  33. sexydiaries says:

    wow, it looks like a manifesto.
    Sounds like u have to change your whole life politics

  34. Just when you think it’s going to get easier….they get married and have kids annnnnd….you’ve got the grandkids to look after.
    Great piece, laughed my head off…thank you :))

    • @dominiquemaurice – Ah yes, I’m sure I have a lot more parent tests to go through as the babe grows up, and then we’ll be on to the grandchildren! Won’t be for a while yet, though (even though when we went to a wedding when the babe was 3 months old and I cried when the bride walked in because “she’s going to get married one day…..” – hormones were still a bit crazy)!! 🙂

  35. Anyone who does not find this funny obviously does not have kids!

  36. Thank you for that post and the attached email! They were both fabulous and amusing. I needed a chuckle tonight, it was a long day in mommy world.

  37. maryawrites says:

    You know you are a parent, when you are reading this post. Good one! Cheers

  38. gcooky says:

    I’ll need to read this again when I’m deciding whether to get kids or not.

  39. hilarious. exaggerated…but i see what my house looks like after my nephews and neices leave…

  40. jelzmar says:

    As humorous as this is to picture, it is highly exaggerated. Yes, the first six weeks of a baby’s life are pretty sleepless, but it crying for five hours straight? That’s only going to happen if its sick. In that case, just lay down with the baby, there is no reason to carry it.

    And everything else hasn’t happened to me. The money part, sort of, but that would be the same without the children.

    • @jelzmar – You are one lucky lady! What a great baby 🙂 Admittedly it’s fairly exaggerated, but certainly the dressing, the mess, trying to leave the house are all fairly accurate for me! 😉

  41. LOL I love it. So totally true.

  42. ikachanattack says:

    This is downright hilarious! And even more so because it’s largely true (from what I see).

  43. This was very cute, and oh too true. I have a 3 yr old boy and 1 yr old girl. I know exactly how to do all of those

  44. Hilarious!!!! That really sums up the first few years of parenting! For all those not yet parents out there consider yourselves fairly warned!

  45. I simply couldn’t stop laughing on reading this. I have a 7 month old in my possession and I can relate very well to all that has been said 🙂

    Terrific post. Simply loved it 🙂

  46. For all the Filipinos who understand the term, We love our ‘Yaya (s)’ which means nursemaid. Often they become part of the family here in the Philippines because they help with nearly everything you mentioned above. Parenting is very much a shared responsibility in our culture. Which doesn’t mean that parents are less involved. More and more I see parents doing more things to bond, teach and even learn from their children. It’s a big sacrifice and fulfillment. Thank you very much for posting, please visit my blog.

    • @jude bautista – Thank you so much for sharing info on how parenting works in the Phillippines. It’s always so interesting how things work in different countries, and especially, despite some differences, there are many many similarities the world over 🙂

  47. everythingneat says:

    Congratulations on being featured on Freshly Pressed!
    Your tips for preparing for parenthood are terrific….and, sadly, too close to the truth of what it’s really like. I am sure most new moms and dads would agree with you. Love the goat in the grocery store idea! Thanks for sharing.

  48. yetlearning says:

    LOl…. Its so true, I have been thru this…best training tests ever for people who are expecting to be parents.

  49. schnapper says:

    oh my gosh, I’m definitely not having children!

  50. Pingback: What Makes Mommy Mad « After Five at the Lai's

  51. ladylullabuy says:

    Brilliant…. I’m forwarding this to all of my friends with children!

  52. I have four little darlings and I’d say that just about sums it up 😉
    And well done for making it to Freshly Pressed! x

    • @(mostly)yummy mummy – Yes, although I only have one so far, it pretty much sums up my life. I’m slightly scared as to what life might be like with four babes! 😉 And thanks for your congratulations too.

  53. ecimelli says:

    Wow – what a response!! I’m so glad that I dug that email out now to share it.

    Yes – it is for the most part an exaggeration of the truth, but certainly does sum up many of my experiences. Right now we’re in the “Empty every drawer/cupboard/storage box in your house onto the floor & leave it there” zone. Having left the house this morning and not yet returned after the nursery run, I know that my hubby’s swimming goggles and shoe-trees are strewn across our bedroom floor awaiting my return, after the babe’s morning raid of the bottom drawer of his bedside table!

  54. Loved it and shared it in my FB page for all my friends.

  55. adebond says:

    I’ve have a 2 & a half year old daughter. Putting an octopus into a bag is simples compared to getting her dressed. You missed one important test, especially when having a girl.

    1. Go to zoo.
    2. Enter lions’ cage armed with nothing more than a hairbrush & a bottle of de-tangling spray.
    3. Do not leave until you put the King of the Jungle’s mane in bunches.

    You are now ready to comb a toddler’s hair.

  56. your post brought back a lot of precious memories – mine are now 13.5 and almost 15 –
    a lot of my posting still involves them – it’s like the same thing just different issues! Parenting is a wonderful trip! Patty

  57. Mike Raven says:

    Yes, I suppose most of this is true but do I really want to dwell on it? Doesn’t reading all of this just make it harder to be a parent? My wife would disagree — she’d love this article and I’m forwarding it to her but from my perspective, reading this list makes me more mindful of stuff I’d rather not have to think about. An example: When you’re swallowing a liquid dose of some awful-tasting medicine, would you rather down it slowly, centering your taste buds on every drop or just knock the thing back while focusing on something else?

  58. J says:

    Hilarious! I am a parent and I KNOW ALL ABOUT THE SNOT! Want beautiful ready to wear dresses? Visit

  59. theycallmeace says:

    I always knew my mom was lying when she said that my brothers and I were the best things that ever happened to her…

  60. gvanguard says:

    This post was perfect. It helps parents to see that we are not alone with all of these delightful issues. As these examples of proven parenthood help us to know that we weren’t the only ones struggling, not to mention the smiles and laughs your post helped us to remember. Well written. Thank you so much.

  61. evilkettle says:

    wow I am so glad I don’t want kids

  62. LOL! It was great and made my day!

  63. Lovely, daily life all in one posts! ❤

  64. thecookiejarr says:

    applause, applause, applause!!!

  65. thecookiejarr says:


  66. ugg boots says:

    I know this is really boring and you are skipping to the next comment, but I just wanted to throw you a big thanks – you cleared up some things for me!

  67. Awesome topic and i notice that. Thanks for this post.

  68. allsmilesmom says:

    I loved this post. I have a 6 month old and everything that applies to him is spot on! Trying to dress him is pretty much like trying to get that octopus into the bag and I don’t remember the last time I had a full night’s sleep. Those tests should be framed or published in a small book!

  69. Pingback: You know you’re a parent… (via Contented Calf) « Albany Working Mommy

  70. springsparanormal says:

    This would be a great book for would be parents.Honest and truthful and I wish someone would of told me all this before I had my first of three 21 years ago.Thanks for the post.

  71. PureBebe says:

    Thank you – I loved this so much that I included it in PureBebe’s Fantastically Funny Friday post yesterday (you will probably see some traffic from our site). 🙂

    Nice to meet you!

  72. Kids Yoga says:

    “Come on dude, these facts* and proof* i imply who’s posting* lol :P”

  73. Unbelievably true. I wish somebody without kids (particularly snarky ones) would actually takes these tests, follow them to the letter, and then get back to me. My childless aunt would be perfect… she has ALL the answers!

  74. Rollupy says:

    good post, added you to my RSS reader.

  75. Hi good post, im currently studying this at college. I like your blog there’s some real helpful stuff on here. Will check back soon to see if you have posted anymore pages, thanks

  76. @Katalog Strong – Many thanks – glad you liked it!

  77. rosalynflux says:

    Very well thought out! The goat in the super market is definitely correct, especially the part about paying for everything they open or break. Almost every time I hit the grocery store with my own son there are at least 3 items he has managed to get into the cart without my knowledge, and one or two items that have been opened and usually “tasted”. Although the trials and tests are difficult for any parent, kids are the greatest.

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