5 ways parenting is like college, kind of

Guest post by Amanda Cane
By: Angie GarrettCC BY 2.0

A couple of weeks ago, a guy kissed me all sloppy with his mouth wide open, tried to take my shirt off, and then barfed into my hand, which I promptly wiped on my jeans.

As it turns out, that is not the only way my life as a new parent closely resembles my life as a college student.

Here are some more:


I don’t get nearly enough of it.

Just like in school, I stay up too late, I’m always at least a little tired, and I still have to get up super early. Only now instead of hurtling through 8:00 a.m. Child Psychology discussion in order to get home to nap before 11:00 Anthropology, I’m hurtling through 6:00 a.m. actual child psychology so that I can put us both back down before one or the other of us starts crying. It is also equally likely now as in 1998 that I will wake up at a desk in a puddle of drool.


In what I hope is a temporary condition, I am once again deluded into thinking that rubber duck-print pajama pants, snow boots, and a hair pouf are appropriate items to wear in public. Together.


Just like at school, I read WAYYYYY too many books, only now they are less interesting, all on the same topic, and written in a far more condescending tone. Each of them seems brilliant at the time I read it; I take it as gospel for the 5 1/2 minutes after I put it down (if you rock your baby to sleep, you are an overly indulgent parent and a sap, and your kid will be a PSYCHOPATH). That is, until I move on to the next one, which says the opposite and now seems to make indisputable sense (If you don’t rock your baby to sleep, you lack natural instincts, you are cold and unfeeling, and your kid will be a PSYCHOPATH). Hegelian philosophy, Byzantine mosaic, and Australopithecus Africanus combined are nowhere NEAR as intimidating as deciding whether or not to give your baby a pacifier.


Getting out of the house was almost as hard then as it is now. In college, I had to think: it’s Tuesday, so I have a 9:00, an 11:00,and a 3:30. Am I coming back to the dorms in between? What are the chances I’ll wake up in a strange house and need an extra pair of shoes since it will at some point the night before have made sense to throw mine into the bushes? Am I attending an event that might require a flask?

Now it’s more like, what is my child’s current intestinal situation and how many outfits might that necessitate? How many snacks are reasonable for one trip to Target? How many people will judge me if I take a one-year-old out (again) without shoes on?


I am 100% positive that I look forward to that glass of Barefoot Pinot Grigio (whatever, I’m poor) after the baby goes down every bit as much as I used to look forward to eight solo cups full of Miller Lite. Except that now, instead of dancing on a bar, making out with a strange drummer, or traipsing down Rugby Road dressed as a Spice Girl (it was the 90s, ok?), my idea of drunken splendor is yoga pants, a second glass of wine, and the members of an elite squad known as the Special Victims Unit. God, that sounds awesome.

Comments on 5 ways parenting is like college, kind of

  1. Don’t forget this one (more applicable for the toddler years): you are equally likely to find plastic cups filled with warm leftover beverages all over the house.

  2. We haven’t even had our baby yet, and I’ve already told a friend that I’ve done more research for strollers and car seats than I did through the entirety of my degree program. It hadn’t occurred to me that this is just my freshman year back in school…

  3. Barefoot Vineyards all the way! Would I enjoy getting dressed up and have dinner at a nice restaurant? Sure. But staying in my pajamas with a cheap merlot and bag of ketchup chips is where it’s AT.

  4. I so appreciate the comments, ladies! As I’m sure you all know all too well, this baby thing is no joke. Thank god we have stretchy pants and big-bowl wine glasses to help us through. Do head over to the blog if you’re so inclined!

  5. This is so true is almost hurts. Consider also how much toddlers are like that drunk guy in your dorm; they sometimes pass out in your living space, when they drink too much they throw up – usually on something nearly impossible to clean, it sometimes seems like the best course of action to ignore them when they are crying about nothing, they pee themselves and don’t notice, and a back rub while lying on a floor pillow is pretty much the only thing that makes them happy. My husband and I sometimes imagine our son as a really inconsiderate freshman roommate, and it makes everything funnier!

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