A Typical Day in the Life of a Parent, in 6 Words

guest post clay lede art
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Routine? Yeah right.

6 words graphicWe parents know the drill: Every day is a circus. Every day is a carnival. Every day is a prison break wrapped in a mutiny dipped in dirty socks, cracker crumbs and lost homework.

Welcome to parenthood.

Everyone’s flavor is a little different, the smells wafting from the kitchen aren’t the same, and although the noise levels are probably pretty consistent across the board – with decibels that make a Concorde jet sound like a nose-hair trimmer – it’s not a life I’d ever, ever change.

Inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s assertion you can tell any story in a six-word sentence, I again asked bloggers, friends and strangers (and a few strange blogger friends) to sum up a typical day of parenthood in six words. As if one existed. You gave me everything from sacred to profane. As suspected.

Here’s the collection. And during this busy holiday season, keep counting to six on your fingers, because you’ll get another prompt, starting today. Hint: It will post on Christmas.

Thank you everyone for your contributions! Enjoy.

wine challenge

1. Always busy balancing everything, need wine.

Cynthia, of You Signed Up for What?!

2. Eat, clean, play, clean, sleep, repeat!

Jamie J., of Kreyv

3. Pour the wine it’s gone 7 p.m.

Fiona, of Coombe Mill

4. Running practice drills leading to independence.

Michelle N., of A Dish of Daily Life


Kathy G., of Kissing the Frog

6. Every day is a new adventure.

Michelle S.

photo credit: _MG_5729 via photopin (license)

7. And now, I do the Zumba!!

Lesley B., of Time out for Mom

8. Balancing sanity, insanity and indescribable love.

Blair F., of Baby for Scale

9. When does this roller coaster stop?!

Rabia L., of The Liebers

10. Love and hugs mixed with attitude.

Melissa P., children’s author

11. Answering a thousand questions about nothing.

AnnMarie G., of Tidbits from the Queen of Chaos

12. Parenting teenagers: pulling hair, gnashing teeth.

April P., of My Bizarre Family


13. Kisses, laughter, tears, memories. Always learning!

Toni P., of A Daily Dose of Toni 

14. Drive kid here, drive kid there.

Dana H., of Kiss My List

15. Worry, laundry, homework, tantrums, love, repeat.

Ilene E., of Fierce Diva’s Guide to Life

16. Parenting has been a rewarding experience.

Jessica, of the Wondering Brain

17. Do my best – and drink coffee.

Kim, of Co-Pilot Mom

18. I’m going out of my mind!

Marcia D., of Menopausal Mother

kids laughing

19. Two kids, only the strong survive.

Tiffany B., of Gladiator in Heels

20. I consume a lot of chocolate.

Amber M., of Airing My Dirty Laundry One Sock at a Time

21. Not enough coffee, never enough time.

Alison L., of Writing, Wishing

22. ‘Typical’ isn’t in the parenting vocabulary.

Karen B., of Baking in a Tornado

23. Always fear long periods of silence.

Delia J., of Confessions of a Semi-Domesticated Mama

24. Quiet, stirring, chaos, panic, joy, repeat.

Gina V., of The Glamorous Life of the Modern Day Soccer Mom

millennials advice
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25. Advice and love replace wiping bottoms.

Renee H., of Rendezvous with Renee

26. Get Dressed. Eat. Hurry! We’re late!

Jenn S., of Jenn’s Midlife Crisis

27. Early morning quiet, late day chaos.

Kim T., of Day with KT

28. Early mornings, late nights, indescribable joy.

Sara L., of Sweet Silly Sara

29. Never fry bacon without your shirt.

Suzan D., of Welcome to the Nuthouse

30. Mix love and patience, add giggles.

Tracie N., of From Tracie 

wake up
photo credit: time of rEVOLUTION via photopin (license)

31. Wake up and smell the drama.

Toby S, of Real Dumbass News

32. Sniffed an armpit that wasn’t mine.

Ashley M., of Surf and Sunshine

33. Fun adventure mixed with hectic routine.

Leah D., of Raising Flowers and Skids

34. Go shoot your brother somewhere else!

Colleen S., of Mommie Daze

35. Love with a smart heart, be present.

Michelle A., of Tell Me About It

36. A battle of good versus evil.

Allie B., of Vita Train 4 Life

dog pee
photo credit: adamgreenfield via photopin cc

37. Do you have to go pee?

Raine V., of Pursuit of Peace

38. Constant surprises, usually the good kind.

Rivki S., of Life in the Married Lane

39. Walking by faith, I lead them.

Columba Lisa S., of Susanna’s Apron

40. Loving support in all ways, always.

Carrie, of Lead Our Lives

41. Millions of little surprises await me.

Tricia, of Raising Humans

42. Chauffering all day. Snack crumbs everywhere.

Gina T., of Full of It

photo credit: DRESS ME UP! ELLECBEE KITS via photopin (license)

43. Didn’t I just change that diaper?

Rebecca D., of Diz Mommy

44. Not certain we did that right.

Leanne S., author of Writings and Ruminations

45. Beautiful chaos sprinkled with bear hugs.

Christine Y., of Love Life Surf

46. Extreme joy while also watching clocks.

Tamara B., of Tamara Camera

47. Parents give you wings and chores.

Shawn B., author of the book Grace Awakening: Dreams and Power

48. Get in the car, we’re late!

Lisa, of Notes from the Shallow End

fierce hugs
photo credit: 6_недель алене09 via photopin (license)

49. Teary tantrums turn into fierce hugs.

Nicole G., of Work in Sweats Mama blog

50. Hardest, most rewarding job in life.

Jennifer B., of Mommy B Knows Best 

51. I love you more than sleep.

Jenny K., of In Somnis Veritas

52. Kids! I am only one person!

Kari G., of Miss Bloggypants

53. Good luck. Nice try. I’m sorry.

Amanda, of Mommy is Coo Coo

54. I love you! I hate you!

Kristi B., author of The Blacksheep Mom

photo credit: A Look of Despair on a Nursing Mother via photopin (license)

55. Constantly worried and second guessing yourself.

Elena, of Cropped Stories

56. Parenting is exhausting but so rewarding!

Natalie, of From Corporate to Domestic

57. Chaos, beauty, exhaustion, peace, joy, love.

MaryAnne K., of Mama Smiles

58. Why I am wet? Oh shit.

Kara K., of It’s a Dog Lick Baby World

59. Chauffeuring, cooking, nagging, guiding, role-modeling, loving.

Carrie R., author of The Write Transition

60. Meltdowns, whining, laughter, rinse and repeat!

Janine H., of Confessions of a Mommyaholic

week sleep
photo credit: Drowsy cat via photopin (license)

61. Wipe butts, playtime, never-ending mess, sleep?

Emily K., of Our Knight Life

 62. Life on repeat, yet changes everyday.

Stephanie R., of So I’ve Been Thinking

63. Focus on love, encouragement, and helpfulness.

Amber H., of City Girl on Hicks Farm

64. Drop off, wait, go home…repeat.

Lynn K., of For Love or Funny

65. No such thing as perfect parenting.

Angela K., of Writer Mom

66. Oh God – they’re just like me!

Eli P., of Coach Daddy

photo credit: Yes @tashfrost__ there is a big scary palace behind you!!! #upsticksandgo #palaceofversailles #travel #travellingwithkids #travellingfamily #paris #france #michfrost via photopin (license)

67. Sometimes frustrating, repetitive; always amazed, rewarded.

Janna T., author of Janna T Writes blog

What would your six words be?

parenting changer quote


Perfection Pending

183 thoughts on “A Typical Day in the Life of a Parent, in 6 Words

  1. These are awesome! When I got to Dana’s “Drive kid here, Drive kid there” I thought to myself, that is absolutely perfect. Is that why my car has so much mileage on it? It’s for sure not because I’m going anywhere exciting!

    1. Thanks Michelle! I feel like I could add being a parent to my resume if I applied for a job as a cabbie. We should design the ideal parenting car.

      You’re going lots of exciting places … you’re just not leaving your area code!

  2. After another long night of my little one waking up repeatedly for no apparent reason, this was the perfect start to the day. As Jenny K so eloquently put it, I love ’em more than sleep (#50). It’s awesome to see so many of my fav bloggers together. Can’t pick a favorite, but Toby’s (#31) sticks out because there’s always plenty of drama in my house. And I love that Christine & I are on the same page, although she said it better (#45). Can’t wait for the next prompt!

    But, Eli, where are your six words? That’s my challenge to you for Christmas Day. Give us your best six under the tree!

    1. Maybe your little one kept waking up to hit refresh on my blog to see when this posted. Dads don’t seem to have a problem sleeping – I think it goes back to caveman days, when we’d sleep heavy because if we were going to get eaten in the night by sabertooth tigers, we’d prefer to sleep through it.

      I wonder what prospective parents think when they see a list like this.

      I added my six words late – “oh God – they’re just like me!” I say that with a smile on my face most times.

  3. I feel like you could write a book with JUST these!! OMG so many good ones and ones I so relate too. I’m still laughing from “Sniffed an armpit that wasn’t mine!” Classic. Thanks for including me in this Eli. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!!

    1. They could give the book out at planned parenthood. I think we see ourselves in a lot of these, don’t we? The armpit just epitomizes the fact that we do things in a day that we could never have anticipated when we dragged our butts out of bed.

      Thanks for your contribution, and happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, too.

      1. Your six words were the perfect way to wrap up this edition! I have often uttered those words – sometimes in absolute terror, sometimes in sheer delight. Isn’t that every parent’s wish? For our children to carry on our best qualities and improve on the rest?

      2. Thanks Nicole! The taco doesn’t fall far from the taco truck, in my case. And I love it, because there’s a good lineage of people behind me who live on, too.

        I definitely want these girls to take it to a new level – and they already have.

      1. I added it – late. It’s like being the host of a party, making sure everyone’s drink is topped off, and forgetting to pour yourself a tallish rum and Coke Zero or something.

      1. Me either, usually, but, I just finished my 2 layer pumpkin cake with cream cheese icing, sent the daughter to bed, & sat down for a night cap- coffee with some bailey’s, YUMMY! 😉

      2. Wait a minute, finished *making* a two-layer pumpkin cake with cream cheese icing, or finished *eating* a two-layer pumpkin cake with cream cheese icing?

      3. That’s how it’s done on the farm … and I would have been equally impressed if you’d downed that cake on your own and chased it with some Bailey’s.

  4. I love all of the different perspectives on parenting everyone gave. It really does depend on your view. I’m going to share the heck out of this – so fun! Thank you so much for including me. Hope you and your girls have a wonderful Thanksgiving! xo

    1. Sacred to the profane – that’s why I love my dysfunctional blogging family! The view changes by the day, too. Thanks for sharing it too – others should be warned about this whole parenting gig!

      I’m glad you contributed, Kathy. Happy thanksgiving to you and yours too.

  5. I see a lot of wine and chocolate on this list! These are my people! And coffee. Oh, thank God for coffee. And thank you for recruiting a strange blogger friend like me to play along. It’s always a great time.

    1. it smells like Nestle and Matthew Fox in here, for sure (that’s the cheap stuff). You’ll have to start the pot of coffee, because I have no clue – I’ll get my caffeine the way Jesus intended, through powdered, chemical-heavy drinks.

      Strange blogger friends like you make the world go ’round. thanks for playing along, Ilene.

    1. Thanks Lynn! I appreciate the Facebook love too – it’ll counteract all the last-minute pumpkin pie recipes circulating! Happy thanksgiving to you, too, and thanks for joining in the fracas.

  6. Ahh! These are all so great! #29 made laugh out loud… literally. It was so fun to be a part of this, Eli! Thanks for the invitation and even more for introducing me to a community of awesome people! Can’t wait to check out/meet some of these bloggers. 🙂

    1. There some good stuff out there! And a ready-made list of bloggers to check out – you included – for post-turkey, halftime-of-football-games downtime. Thanks for playing, Leanne.

  7. Some gems in here! What a fantastic idea for a post! It’s encouraging to be reminded that parents go through basically the same joys and struggles. If their kids are turning out OK, mine will too. 🙂

    1. They definitely tell it like it is, Lisa! It was so fun to compile. We’re all in this game together, somehow. Whether it’s wine, pizza or prayer, whatever gets us through!

  8. They are astonishing. I almost looked back and wished mine was funnier, but nah, it is what it is. I said it like I felt it.
    I shared your post on Facebook and made one of my cousins laugh until he cried.
    Well done, Eli. Well done.

    1. Astonishing – that’s what some teachers used to say during parent conferences of mine, and they weren’t always smiling when they said it.

      We love yours, Tamara.

      Thank you for sharing! Love that it made your cousin cry, but I’m aiming high (or low?) this time around: I really want to make someone pee their pants.

      Is that so wrong?

      1. Not even remotely wrong. And I bet it happened! The question is – can we get anyone to cop to it?

  9. Hey there Eli. Wow I had forgotten about this. It turned out nicely and I’m glad I was included. I recently saw this sign “Raising a teenager is like trying to nail jello to a tree.” So true! Awesome post I loved them all. You have some really awesome Mom friends Coach Daddy. Have a blessed Thanksgiving with your sweet family.

    1. Hey Michelle! I know, this one took a while to develop. Glad you liked it! The whole teen-rearing topic could definitely come up for a future 6 Words.

      So far, so good, for me, with two now in that teen range.

      There’s some good stuff in here. This blogging community is incredible, and there’s even a dad or two in the mix.

      Happy thanksgiving!

      1. Oh, that’s ok. We dads cower in the corner near the cookie table anyway.

        This is a blogger potluck – it’s all about what everyone brings, and all I do is provide the tables and background music (and keep the leftovers, of course).

  10. Frustrating me to no end being without internet up until now all day and not being able to get to this post to read or reply! But, I’m here now!!

    These are all so great …some funny, some serious…but all are about parenting for sure! Thank you so much for including me.

    Now that I have access to internet again, I’ll be posting to Facebook & Twitter. Thanks again, Eli!

    1. When I see the first words as “frustrating me to no end,” the dude in me kicks in and I assume I’ve done something wrong somehow.

      Glad you made it!

      This is what it’s all about, parenting. Glad you did your part!

      Here’s to hoping your shoddy Internet let you back on to share on Twitbook and Facer! Thanks Kari!

  11. Eli, I love this! So glad to be a part of this take on parenting. I’m sitting here, reading through the list and shaking my head up and down, cause I can definitely relate! Especially #’s 9, 15 & 26. I always feel like I am saying ” hurry up!” Hope you have an awesome Thanksgiving!

    1. Thanks Tiffany! Glad you joined in. Oh there’s way too much truth here for the fire marshal. It always feels like we’re down a touchdown (and two-point conversion) to the clock as parents, doesn’t it?

      (We dads sometimes give up that fight.)

      Enjoy your thanksgiving, and look out for the Jags!

  12. Oh my…..they are all so perfect and funny and true. What a talented, creative and fun bunch who gather Coach!
    “beautiful chaos” I think that is just about the best description ever.

    1. From loving to bad words, and everything in between. This group is definitely on the most-wanted list – for what, that remains to be seen.

      This gig is definitely beautiful chaos, isn’t it?

  13. So many great words of wisdom. I think #39 is my favorite.

    This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for bloggers like you, Eli, who keep me reading and writing and laughing and finding God’s abundant grace along the way.

    Have a blessed holiday season, my friend.

    ~ Tony

    1. It turned out to be quite a collection, Tony. Lisa, author of No. 39, has a wonderful blog I know you’d enjoy.

      I’m thankful to have met you through blogging, friend. Not only for your keen writing, but also for your impeccable F-bomb detector!

      Happy holidays, Tony.

  14. Scroll….scroll….scroll…. man you have hit the BIG TIME!!!!! Is your head spinning???!!! Brilliant idea deserves massive attention Eli! Well done, sir Mister Mr. Well done! XO (I must have missed my invite to this party, I know it’s gotta be somewhere!!! Tee hee)

    1. It’s one heckuva holiday potluck, isn’t it? Rather than “big time,” I’m more like that person who meets lots of famous people, convinces them to take a picture of them shaking hands, and then posts them online (why do we want to be pictured shaking hands with famous people? It’s like we’re agreeing on the Louisiana Purchase or something).

      I’m so thankful for all the brilliant writers who racked their brains to boil down a story to six words for this. You’ll be in the next batch, my friend – and just a hint, it’s coming out on Christmas morning.

  15. This is my first time finding you, and wow – what an awesome first read. I’d add my penny’s worth
    “God help us, I’m a mother.”

  16. There’s none of these that aren’t spot on! Guess we parents have a lot in common 🙂 Thanks for the invite!

    1. I should have posted a warning at the top of the post, right? Glad you liked it, Gina, and I’m glad you played along! “Imma share the shit out of this” is the best share proclamation ever.

      I always wondered if anyone ever saw something and said, “I’ll pin the hell outta that!” or “hell, I’mna pin this shit!” I hope that they do, and I don’t even use Pinterest.

      Our thanksgiving – aside from my three interceptions thrown in the family football game – was stellar. I hope yours was too.

      Again, thanks for the contribution and the share!

  17. What a fun post!! And what fun to find so many of my all time favorite writers and bloggers included. You should totally turn this into a book. Thank you for a great way to start my day!!

    1. Glad you liked it Kathy! I was fortunate to get so many beautiful bloggers, but also a lot of excellent book writers in the mix. I need to look up “how to turn a blog post into a book – for idiots” because I wouldn’t have the first clue how to do it!

      Thanks for stopping by – I look forward to your contribution on the next one!

  18. These are so fantastic. I am bookmarking this so that I can come back over and over again and go read some of these awesome blogs!

  19. Haha! These are good; although, I will say I’m scared for teenagers after the comment about gnashing of teeth! 😉 Thanks for including me. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

    1. Glad you liked, Jamie. The teenage gnashing of teeth is really no worse than what they do at age 2, 7, 9 … they’re just louder and can slam doors harder.

      Thanks for playing the game, Jamie. Thanksgiving for me consisted of food other people prepared and about 17 televised football games (and one live) over four days.

      I’d classify that as pretty great. Hope yours was too!

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