Your days spent as a super sleuth begin the day you try to figure out exactly why your infant is crying. Their individuality and unpredictability cause them to be small and complicated puzzles wrapped in a cute package. And it is our jobs as parents to solve these puzzles without the aid of a rulebook or instruction guide.

Yes, there are books, articles, and a lot of motherly advice but raising children is more of an art form than a science. As parents we try to plan, schedule, and prepare but most of the time our children’s ever-changing moods and actions keep us guessing. 

Like good detectives, we moms meet on playgrounds and in coffee shops. Seeking solutions, we whisper about the dilemmas of our latest unsolved kiddo case.

The following are 8 such kiddo conundrums that drive moms mad:

  1. They only sleep in on the days that you can’t-Monday through Friday, they have to up, dressed, fed, and out the door by 8:00 a.m. Putting your ambidextrous skills to the test, you’re dressing one and combing another’s hair at 7:40 a.m. Without fail, however, they are up at 5:45 a.m. every Saturday.
  1. The more tired they are, the more energetic they are—After a full day of playing that rivals Navy Seal training, they should fall into bed exhausted. Instead they run at full speed from one end of the house to the other before jumping on their beds for twenty minutes while singing at the top of their lungs. How is this even physically possible?
  1. Their ability to reach something is relative—Children can scale counters twice their height to reach a cupboard containing well-hidden cutlery yet they can’t reach the cheerio that has dropped next to them.
  1. Their skill for speed never benefits you— Children move so fast so often that “slow down” is a mother’s common refrain. Of course, it’s only in those times when moving quickly is crucial—like when the bus is waiting—that they move at the pace of a sloth riding a tortoise.
  1. Their taste palate is illogical—A child will eat a dead bug off of the floor but gag and turn green when offered broccoli.
  1. They want nothing to do with you until you are busy—You try to color with them, play dolls or cars only to see them sniff uninterestedly and walk away. The moment you are on the phone or doing laundry, however, they are at your feet begging you to play with them.
  1. They only do public performances when you don’t want them to—Your child refuses to show their abilities to those to whom you have just bragged. No recitation of the ABCs, no wobbly new steps, no singing. Nothing. However, they will happily tear off their dress, dance crazily on the neighbor’s couch and burp the alphabet in the moments you wish them to be calm, still, and quiet.
  1. They want you to play with them but are mad when you do—They beg you to play. So you sit, pick up a doll and, in falsetto, do your best Barbie impression only to be faced with your child’s indignant scorn. After being told not to touch anything you sit, silent and confused but unable to move—they won’t let you because, after all, you’re “playing.”

Yes, these and many more mysterious ways of a child drive us mad but I guess trying to figure it out is half the fun, I think.

Sherry Parnell

A full-time writer, personal trainer, and professor, I am the author of Let the Willows Weep and Daughter of the Mountain. An alumnus of Dickinson College and West Chester University, I live with my husband and sons in Glenmoore, Pennsylvania. I am currently working on my third novel entitled The Secrets Mother Told.