9 things that make parents scream


Have you ever felt like the world is out to get you? Why am I even asking this question? Of course you have. You’re human, so at some point or other you’ll have dropped your phone in a puddle, bent down and split your trousers or had a bird do its business on your best work outfit. It sucks when all of these happen. But do you know what sucks even more? Straws. Well, yes, that is technically true. But the answer I was actually looking for was being a parent and having to deal with the following…

1. Tommy Tippee beakers

I like Tommy Tippee as a brand, and think it makes some fantastic stuff. But I’d also really like to know which member of its research and development team felt it was a good idea to create a children’s cup featuring a lid that can only be opened by the strongest 0.1% of the planet’s population? I’m serious. Forget hauling jumbo jets 50m up a road. If the world’s professional strongmen really want to test their capabilities their competitions should include a round where they have to pull apart 10 of these plastic receptacles in as quick a time as possible, without spilling any liquid (impossible) or popping out an eyeball.

2. Those little seat belts kids have to wear on planes

It’s oh so quiet. It’s all so still. You’re all alone and peaceful until… a member of the cabin crew insists that you have to clip one of these devices around your sleeping child’s waist. A hundred parenting points to anyone who achieves this feat without waking their child, inducing the mother of all tantrums and receiving multiple kicks to the groin.

3. Gravity

I have a dream that one day parents will be able to live in a world where they don’t have to pick up 17 books, 11 teething toys and a variety of tiny vehicles after every meal.

4. Couples without kids

Look at them living the highlife with their ironed clothes, their haircuts, their Come Dine With Me competitions, their spontaneous holidays and their crumb-free cars. Still, inside they’re crying, right? Right? RIGHT?

5. Teeth

This is a two-pronged attack. On the one hand, my child is clamping his astonishingly sharp gnashers around my fingers. On the other, I’m so strapped for time that I keep forgetting to do my teeth. The good news is the biting stage will pass and I’ve yet to develop halitosis. The bad news is my fingers and gums are bleeding. Still, I hear dentists are pretty cheap nowadays.

6. Sleepsuit poppers

I presume poppers were invented to make it easier for parents to swap a soiled sleepsuit for a clean one. So it’s a bit of a shame that you need a mechanical engineering degree and fingers that are less than 5mm in diameter just to do one of these tiny buttons up.

7. Flash sales

Check email. Get excited. Rush onto store’s website. Pick clothes. Go to shopping basket. Enter code. Receive error message. Discover that the 24-hour ‘everything must go stock clear out’ you’ve just read about took place last Thursday. Come to terms with the fact that it’s physically impossible for parents to be ahead of the curve on anything.

8. Virgin’s Pendolino trains

These choo-choos may have a cool name. They may have tilting mechanisms that ensure they go round corners quicker. And they may have funny notices in the toilet. But they also have aisles that are too small to accommodate prams. This leaves parents with three options. They can spend the entire journey in the vestibule. They can try to entertain their child in a seat (good luck with that). Or they can chase their pride and joy up and down the train for the duration of their journey. Because the vestibule we ended up in was next to a toilet and our 15-month-old has the attention span of a 15-month-old, we took option three. And do you know what? It was fun right up to the point when… the train tilted round a corner and our little man charged headfirst into an armrest.

9. The family changing room in David Lloyd’s Bushey branch

I’m no architect. But if you’re tasked with designing a changing facility for families, I’d have thought you would: 1. Make it bigger than a shoebox. 2. Not put the only sink in a shower room that doubles as a toilet. 3. Include some kind of mechanism for drying your hands after washing them.

Wow. I came back from my holiday in Scotland with a lot of pent up aggression, didn’t I? Must be the fresh air. Or the Irn-Bru.


  1. Haha this is great, I know exactly what you mean about the tommee tippee beakers, they seem to weld themselves closed.

    One thing that even to this day makes me scream is the simple answer of Why!! Can you tidy your toys before tea, why? Can you brush your teeth, why? Can you design and doodle me a nuclear reactor… Why? Grrr

    • Ha. That’s so true – there is pretty much no way out of a revolving “why?” circle. Thanks for commenting and hope you’re well.

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