Parenting Terms: BabyCenter Vs. The Real World

by Samantha Rodman
Originally Published: 

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.

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.

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

This article was originally published on