Parenting Terms: BabyCenter Vs. The Real World

There is a fine distinction between the world of parenting that BabyCenter depicts and the one that exists in reality. It is similar to the difference between Frozen and The Wire. I believe that there are some key parenting terms that BabyCenter neglects to explain, and a reference is needed to fill in this gap.

Below you will find a glossary of terms that can help new parents understand why their days do not seem to be filled with quite as much preciousness and wonder as BabyCenter would have them believe…

Attachment parenting: This is what happens when you are too lazy to engage with your second or third child, so you put them in the Moby Wrap all day and hope for the best. See: Co-sleeping.

Bath: With child #1, this involves baby massage and lullaby tunes and is videotaped. With subsequent children, it is done when the preschool teacher looks at you sideways when they show up in the morning.

Babysitters: For child #1, this is an energetic, CPR certified, bilingual Masters of Education to whom you assume your child will develop a long-term attachment. For all subsequent children, it is someone who you are not actively sure has a drug problem.

Co-sleeping: How you can stay in bed for an hour or more later each morning but still get public kudos for “being up all night with the baby.” See Attachment parenting.

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Date night: This is when you get to go to Home Depot together alone in the early evening when you can convince someone to watch your kids, and grab a quick bite to eat during which you talk about nothing of intellectual or emotional value.  Confusing to the non-parent as it is generally neither a date or a night. Do not see Sex.

Exercise: Something you don’t do until you realize that when you strap your kids into a jogging stroller, they cannot destroy anything in your home.

Facebook: A way to visually depict the life you wish you were living.

Father’s Day: A day where your wife goes out of her way to be nice to you but only if you don’t say what you really want to be doing on that day, i.e. spending it without the kids.  See Sex.

Flashcards: Something to pick up off the floor when cleaning the toy area, more difficult to pick up due to flat shape; cannot throw out because then it truly means you’ll never use them and you are a failure.

Fun: When you have a stomach bug that is bad enough to keep you holed up in your room while your husband watches the kids, and you can stream Netflix on the iPad for hours with no guilt.

House: Something to throw your money into endlessly and watch your kids destroy on a daily basis.

Mom’s night out: A time to covertly figure out if everyone else is as overwhelmed as you are with parenting and work/life balance, while drinking a mojito.

Money: Something you work to earn and then, in an astounding lack of rationality, spend on toys your kids play with once and child-centered activities that make you want to shoot yourself.  Also: college funds for children that cannot speak yet nevermind tell you whether they are going to be smart enough to get into college.

Mother’s Day: A day where you are forced to not only do everything you usually do, but pretend you enjoy it more and hang out with your own mother who you are fairly certain disapproves of your parenting.  Some lucky women get to hang out with their mothers-in-law as well.  Also an ideal occasion for your husband to disappoint you with his gift or lack thereof.  The worst week of the year in couples counseling generally follows Mother’s Day. Do not see Sex.

Organic food: Something to spend your money on in between the times you let them eat crap.

Playdate: Something you feel obligated to schedule to make up for how much TV you let the kids watch. See TV.

Pregnancy: Something that is really the center of your life with child #1.  With the second, you remember it mostly when others comment how huge you are.

Preschool: A place that you pretend to pick based on massive amounts of cross-referenced data about academics and socialization; in reality you pick the one in between work and the gym.

Reading: The first child learns early.  The second child learns at school.  The third child learns in those prison GED classes.

Siblings: Seemed like a good idea at the time of conception.  Less so when they attack each other violently.

Sex: See Co-sleeping. Good thing you’re too tired to care.  But, rejoice; in less than a year, it will be Father’s Day.

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Sleep-training: Smartest thing you will ever do, assuming you are one of the three people in the world that can be consistent with it.

Toddler: A demonic goblin inhabiting your home that you, an intelligent person otherwise, are somehow supposed to believe is a human being.

Trying to conceive: With first baby, this means having sex all the time.  With the second, it means a divine miracle (see Co-sleeping, Sex).

TV: When pregnant with #1, this is something you were never going to let your kids watch.  With multiple children, when you misplace the remote for a few minutes, you start to itch and shake with panic.

Wonder Weeks: BabyCenter uses this phrase to refer to those magical periods where your baby’s increased fussiness is due to them being about to take a big cognitive or developmental leap.  The parent definition refers to those magical weeks when you wonder why you didn’t postpone having kids and spend another couple of years just hanging out with your spouse on the weekend and figuring out where to get your cappuccino before seeing a movie, going to dinner, and having sex.  Unsurprisingly, Wonder Weeks of both types generally coincide.

Related post: 15 Things Moms Say… And What We Really Mean

About the writer

Samantha Rodman PhD is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Maryland and a mom of three kids under 5.  Visit her at Dr. Psych Mom, on Facebook, or on Twitter. You can order her new book, How to Talk to Your Kids About Your Divorce: Healthy, Effective Communication Techniques for Your Changing Family, on Amazon.


Kristen 12 months ago

Also: working out… Something you didn’t do until you figured out the gym has daycare.

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Lala 2 years ago

This is my fav post ever on Scary Mommy!!!! Its so funny! Co sleeping began in our home when it seemed like the safer option than waking to find I was holding my 1st born baby a few nights in a row and not remembering walking to get her from her crib I was so tired. lol I figured, well if she ends up here…I think we are the only ones that use the kids bedroom!

Christie 2 years ago

The “Date Night” one made me laugh out loud. My husband and I had that EXACT date night last month… too funny!

Megan Perkins 2 years ago

Baby Center is the worst! All these moms bragging that their kids walked at like 2 months and can already speak 10 languages…

Christine Vaughan 2 years ago

the baby center forums are such a shit show. Reddit is a million times better.

Suzy Engelhaupt 2 years ago

This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever read.

Karen Fleming 2 years ago

Love this so funny especially definition of a toddler haha x

Brianna Rae Crosby 2 years ago

Hahaha!! I love this I’m still gonna co sleep though.

Gabby 2 years ago

It’s sad that you see your life with kids this way…I have 4 (not sure how many you have) and have found more joy than whatever you call what you’re describing.
More so, I dislike these “you’re wrong, I’m right” type of writing. I call it bs, big time

Karen Buck 2 years ago

I get sarcasm, dearie. This just isn’t funny–read it twice hoping I had missed something–nope! Just not funny.

Julie Reeser Draughon 2 years ago

For sure! BabyCenter can be helpful, but so not at the same time!

Holly Clancy 2 years ago

I wanted to think this one was funny buuuut it’s not.

Tasha Akitobi 2 years ago

This is so perfect!

Michelle Godwin 2 years ago

Wonder Weeks?!? They seriously use that term?!?

DeeDee Seymour 2 years ago

Funny and sometimes true But time goes by too fast enjoy each moment

NURU 2 years ago

I don’t get the humor in this one

Jennifer Byers-Bullivant 2 years ago

Haha!!! Love it! Thought it was just me…. ?

Amy 2 years ago

wow. I feel sorry for all of you who agree with all this. sounds like you are all enjoying parenthood…..

Monika 2 years ago

I love this…A lot! I used to obsess about those ridiculous emails they send you each month and say “OMG, she isn’t *Insert random insane developmental milestone here!* Let me call the doctor and arrange early intervention!” or ” Crap she doesn’t ilke avocado! She’s doomed!” and my wonderful Doctor would talk me off a cliff until the next one. With my second I said “Calm down Doc, he’ll talk when he’s ready to talk!” and “I look at their diet on a weekly, rather than daily basis and they do pretty decent and no doc, this one doesn’t like avocado either.” I do have to say though, in their favor, that they do have an awesome Name database. Picked both my names from their! Also I love co-sleeping because as a night shift working mama, I miss my kids the nights I’m there…and appreciate not having to get out of bed for any reason at night lol!

Sheryl 2 years ago

So very true. Love it!

Megan Brandl 2 years ago

Oh I so needed to read this today! 😀

Roe Minaya 2 years ago

Spot on!

Naomi Brannen 2 years ago

Love it!

Haylee Pond 2 years ago

I left BBC because I got sarcastic rude replies when I was being serious. So many hormones in one place lol

Sharon Reitsma 2 years ago

No shit!

Laura Malins 2 years ago

The TV one was pretty hilarious. The tv got all blurry like it was broken or somwthing the other day and both me and my husband almost panicked.

Rya Williams 2 years ago

I think this is funny b/c BBC is a whiny, dramatic, judgemental shit show of a parenting website. Most of its content is so far from reality which would be funny except that far too many mothers use it as resource.

Kim Smits Foster 2 years ago

This is hysterical and so true! Especially Mother’s Day! You do the same things you do every other day, all day. For me, instead of dealing with a whiny toddler at my house, I dealt with him at a restaurant where I tried to choke down my lunch and get the hell out of there!!

Jennifer Schwartz 2 years ago

Oh so true. I think those that are getting their panties in a wad don’t get sarcasm…or practice a few of these and they hit a little to close to home.

Jacqueline Evans 2 years ago

I am “choosing joy” by laughing heartily at these definitions! Even the most joyful of families needs comic relief.

Aisha 2 years ago

The sibling one is right on point!!!! LOL

Maria Jose Carrasco 2 years ago

Soooooo true!!!! Laughing out loud!!!

Elaine Arrieta Bohn 2 years ago

Frozen and the wire! Lol and oh so true!

Becca 2 years ago

Absolutely perfect! I still get their emails from time to time – they make me twitchy now…

Erin Spry Quackenbush 2 years ago


Jacqueline Evans 2 years ago

This list scares me. GET OUT OF MY HEAD!

Elizabeth White Bauer 2 years ago

Love this!!!

Melissa Lynn Inglis 2 years ago

100% spot on.

Jennifer Timmons 2 years ago

So funny.

Jennifer Demarco 2 years ago

Omg this is so perfect!

Heather Adams 2 years ago

This is spot on!

bombinabirdcage 2 years ago

I can’t breathe. I’m laughing so hard. The flash cards. If I throw them away I feel like a Shit mom, so I buy more. Rinse and repeat. Thank the stars for the Dollar Store.

Cynthia G 2 years ago

Yes. All of these. Oh and they forgot the YOU CAN’T FEED YOUR BABY FORMULA YOU STAGNATED HUSSY!!! FORMULA IS EVIL!!1!1!!!!!!

jennifer 2 years ago


Heather Merrill 2 years ago

This is awesome lol

Liz Fey-Adames 2 years ago

This is hilarious and so true!!

Miranda Thomas 2 years ago

I like the exercise one. It’s great! I look like a healthy mom that’s getting her kids outside for fresh air and nature. In reality I’m doing it for quiet and they aren’t able to move

Jaclyn Lowry 2 years ago


Sandy Palmer 2 years ago

Father’s Day….bwahahahahahaha!

Samantha Wellmeier 2 years ago

Ah, too funny. I just read a BabyCenter article about schedules of 3 & 4 month olds. I even got to see a real life example of a Breastfeeding woman of a 3 month olds actual daily schedule. I almost peed myself laughing, there was NO way that was remotely close to reality.

Wendy 2 years ago

I co-sleep with my son, but I’m not lazy…I spend all day every day being engaged with him…reading to him, playing with him, feeding him, singing songs to him, basically giving him my full attention, & all of that continues even after my husband gets home from work. And yes, my son does wake during the night, and no, I do not get to sleep an extra hour.

    Julie 2 years ago

    Wendy must be a first time mom.

    Kylie 2 years ago

    Me too:) but I do get an extra hour because my girl is just like her mama and loves to sleep in!
    And I AM first time mom. You only get one first, got to enjoy it!

Akasha Pearson 2 years ago

I like toddler!!!

Jeanni Day Hardwick 2 years ago


Becky Noel 2 years ago


Kysa Miner Medina 2 years ago


Jennifer Anne Weedon 2 years ago


Colleen Whale 2 years ago

Oh so much of this is true!

Jaclynn Moraski 2 years ago


Thoughts on Psychology, Kids, and Reality TV 2 years ago

Thanks for sharing me! So excited.

Katie Sue 2 years ago


Sophie Farrington 2 years ago


Debra Laukaitis 2 years ago

Hi ar ious !

Tatiana De Los Reyes 2 years ago

Omg! Cheers for that …. You made me laugh

Simona Cassatly 2 years ago

Haha I love the Exercise one!!

Nefertiti Etienne 2 years ago


Glenda Palma 2 years ago

yes, yes, and yes!

Erin Zeeb 2 years ago

I actually laughed out loud… So true!

Christine Pasek 2 years ago

I would say that we are closer to the babycenter definitions of these words than your definitions… To each their own… Parenting can be a joy or a chore, the choice belongs to the parent ultimately….

    Heather Adams 2 years ago

    No one ever mentioned that there was no joy. But we are not afraid to admit there are some less than perfect moments in our lives with children. Kudos to you for having a perfect “babycenter” way of parenting. Why even follow “scary mommy” if you are so perfect?

    Christine Pasek 2 years ago

    You seem a bit irritated by my opinion. I find a lot of stuff on this page interesting, funny and accurate and comment on and like that stuff often. This time, I was simply commenting on a post that I don’t seem to find true for my family… That seems to have hit a “button” for you. We are not perfect by far, and I never said that anyone lacked joy… But I cosleep out of the joy of doing it… Not to get more sleep in the mornings… And I wear my baby to that he can be close to his siblings and I while we do fun things not for the reasons stated in this post. Soooo…. Maybe you can allow me my opinion and I will continue to allow you yours…

    Katelyn Langer 2 years ago

    I like this page, but have to agree with you, Christine. Baby Center isn’t my go-to source, but I kinda like the rosy way they paint things sometimes 😉 haha.

Melissa Overmire Fenton 2 years ago


Allison Chandra 2 years ago

Love this lol 😀

Kate Roettger 2 years ago

Ha! Nailed it! So funny!

Arlee Kunz Crapo 2 years ago

That could be the greatest comparison I have ever heard.

Mary Widdicks 2 years ago


chill 2 years ago

Parenting: With child #1, I regularly went to to figure out that my child is normal. Now, I regularly go to Scarymommy to figure out that *I’m* normal! I <3 SM!!!

    beth 2 years ago

    ^This. Birth month groups were WORST.

    Janette 2 years ago

    Best comment ever!

    lesbomom 2 years ago

    AMEN!!! That is just AWESOME!!!!

    Colleen 2 years ago

    Hahaha…you are so true! The above article is now my all time fav on Scary Mommy. Fun…just happened 3 weeks ago. I didnt watch movies but just, finally, SLEPT all day long guilt free…see attachment parenting thru to wonder weeks lol.

    Jessica 12 months ago

    I wish I could “like” this, so true! Lol


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