Disclaimer: I mean all of this in a fun-loving, affectionate manner! After all, parenthood is wonderful in all its squishy, panicky splendor. But let's be blunt; it can be downright horrifying. Why else would children's toys be so instinctively ominous to us in horror movies? It's burned into our psyches! Parenthood is scary. Unidentifiable liquids, otherworldly screams and creepily profound questions, oh my! Kids even transform our homes into ramshackle ruins haunted by clutter and monstrous science experiments. But of course, despite all this, we brave the uncharted territory of parenthood, guided by the light of our love. Right?
Despite our wisdom on how to survive an actual horror movie, we'll always come running when we hear strange noises from their chambers. We'll intentionally lock ourselves in closed quarters (like planes) with the (cute) beasts. And yes, we'll taste the fiendish concoctions that they brew up as they cackle over their Easy- Bake ovens. With Halloween lurking just around the corner, let's have fun and draw playful parallels between parenthood and horror flicks. After all, both are spooky and both thrill us!
Here are nine ways that parenting is scarier than a horror film.
- Night Terrors: You wake up, heart galloping at a sickening pace. Dread chills your spine. You know it's there. You know it's watching you. That silhouette at the foot of your bed... The shadowy form of your sleepless child! Or if they're crib-bound - the screaming, oh, the screaming! The sleep deprivation alone can turn your waking moments into a psychological thriller. My horror flick survival tip? Do what you can to tame the "little monsters" by building up to a solid sleep schedule for the whole family.
- Who's Hungry? Sometimes kids hide food. We shudder to think of the reasons; Strange rituals, feeding pet monsters in the closet, crafting grotesque effigies, hoarding to prepare for a zombie apocalypse, and tossing scraps to the imprisoned babysitter under the bed are just a whisper of the chilling possibilities. In all seriousness, hoarding can be a symptom of food anxieties. This article offers many wonderful tips on how to help heal this emotional difficulty.
- Let's Play a Game: Play is an intense ordeal for children. They are learning, exploring, interacting, and defining themselves. What happens if they lose a game? Will the pendulum of their mood swing to catastrophic or carefree? Your fate, or the fate of the offending sibling, hangs in the balance. In reality, play is a wonderful way for children to discover their place in the world (even if that place happens to be atop a throne of BONES).
- The 'H' Word: Utter the forbidden 'H' word, if you dare. Just a whisper will unleash banshee shrieks that pierce your very soul. Is this an exorcism, or is it time for homework? To subdue this ghastly rampage, perform the rituals of "Ample Playtime" and "Proper Sleep". But really, there are natural ways to help your kids focus on schoolwork!
- Cat and Mouse: No matter where you hide, your children will find you. They can smell your fear. No amount of coffee can mask your scent. Clothing racks seem to be their preferred dwelling. Eek, they've got my ankles! Oh no, now they're attacking an innocent stranger!
- Talk in Tongues: Kids babble like scary wind-up dolls. Their wild exploration into the shape and sound of their own voice raises a spine-tingling question. Are they just being cute, or are they communicating with an extraterrestrial race bent on domination? Are they relaying our secrets? Did they tell the aliens that we hide in the bathroom!? The truth (and our sanity) is out there.
- Strange Noises: Was that the fuming rumble of an ancient deep sea behemoth stirred awake by global warming, or your child screaming for you to put on Frozen "RIGHT NOW"? Add "having to determine whether my kid is possessed by a demon or communicating via plate tectonics" to the list of things nobody told you about parenting.
- Stunt Double: Turn your back for just a moment and horror of horrors, your kid scampers up a tree with unearthly vigor and leaps off like screeching bat! Talk about swallowing your pounding heart. Or how about when they hurl themselves down an enclosed slide backwards, flailing their limbs, bumping and banging? Your blood turns to queasy ice. But lo and behold, they emerge with sparkling laughter! How do they do it? No matter how many booboos, their enthusiasm never dampens! Do they feed off of your terror? Quite possibly. On a more positive note, a bit of healthy risk during playtime can be beneficial!
- Who Am I? Parenting uncovers your dark, down-in-the-trenches side. You do things you never imagined you were capable of. You touch freakish sludge without even a grimace. You read the same bedtime book over and over until insanity convinces you that you enjoy it. You stare at walls (covered in cryptic crayon inscriptions). You traverse no-man's-land, AKA the living room armed with Lego land mines. You have nightmares of chasing Dora through the jungle after she stole your coffee pot. But you know what? You love it! You wouldn't exchange parenthood for anything.
As a parent, what "horror stories" do you have to share? I'd absolutely love to hear them in the comments! Even though this blog post is all in good fun, there's a ring of truth. Just like movies of any kind, our children thrill, entertain, frustrate, terrify, excite, and delight us! So we'll take the mini heart attacks and the worrying; parenthood makes us paranormally happy!
For the record: Nothing is more terrifying to me than an abandoned playground. You can imagine why. Play matters!
Find more about the author: Kim Hart