The Important Question Prospective Parents Must Ask

by Rita Templeton
Originally Published: 
AleksandarNakic / iStock

Conventional wisdom urges us to ask the important questions before we have kids. Are we ready to become parents? Are we financially stable and old enough? Do we have a support system in place? And yes, those are definitely things to ask yourself before you take the parental plunge. But speaking of plunging, there’s one vital question that nobody tells prospective parents they must ask:

Are we good at doing things from the toilet?

You see, anyone can read a book or play with their phone on the john. It takes no special talent. But when you become a parent, you must be capable of taking multitasking to a whole new level. There’s hardly any limit to the things you’ll find yourself doing while you’re…well, doo-dooing.

Kids have literally zero concept of privacy, at least not for a very long time. Even when they do, they apparently conclude that it doesn’t apply to Mom and Dad. That means no matter what you’re trying to accomplish alone — showering, hiding in the closet eating a candy bar, changing clothes, and yes, pooping— it becomes their business. From the moment they first reach their pudgy little fingers underneath the door (and then learn to twist the knob), it’s a safe bet that it’ll be years before you enjoy a solitary jaunt to the crapper.

Additionally, there is some kind of unspoken kid rule that any incidents occurring while a parent is on the toilet are extremely urgent and must be resolved immediately. You want some yogurt? Can’t reach the crayons? Need your back scratched? Just bust into the bathroom and demand that the dilemma be addressed right at this very moment. Parental pooping be damned. (Yet in a twist of irony, legitimate concerns — like the baby eating your lip gloss — typically go unmentioned until the deed is done.)

This teaches us one of our most valuable parenting lessons. We realize that, unless we’re up to spending a huge proportion of our lives yelling, “Can you just hold on a minute?!” we have to learn to deal with things from our post on the porcelain throne. After all, getting it over with and getting them out of there may be our only chance at two minutes of peace while we’re taking care of business.

So for anyone who may be wondering what types of things parents may be required to do from the toilet, here’s a small sampling (your experience may vary):

-Opening fruit snacks, yogurt tubes, raisin boxes, and other food packaging

-Mediating conflicts

-Feeding a baby

-Burping a baby

-Just holding a baby in general so it won’t scream the whole time you’re trying to go

-Fixing broken toys

-Buttoning pants/zipping zippers/tying shoes/dressing the child completely

-Extracting splinters

-Inspecting injuries, both actual and perceived

-Singing songs

-Counting things

-Spelling words

-Answering homework questions

-Making an alien out of play-dough

Also, because kids have an innate knack for making their parents run chronically late, you can go ahead and add “eating your breakfast” and “brushing/flossing your teeth” to the list to account for the inevitable time crunch.

So if you or someone you know are wondering if it’s time to start a family, my advice is this: Just sit on the toilet, and try to do the deed while simultaneously addressing the most random tasks. If you can successfully accomplish them, then go on ahead and ditch that birth control.

But if your idea of multitasking is talking on the phone while you power walk or drink a grande mochaccino without spilling it on your iPad, you’re totally in for it. Just sayin’.

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