One of my favourite shows is The Amazing Race and the Canadian version, Amazing Race Canada. I love watching the teams travel the world while completing interesting and often hilarious tasks.
This, my friends, is just like parenting. How so? Well, I’m glad you asked.
Here are 7 reasons parenting is just like The Amazing Race. (Spoiler: it’s not the money and prizes…unless you are my kid after a visit from his 6 grandparents.)
You are constantly racing against the clock
On the race, teams are racing against each other to perform the tasks and complete the leg. As a parent, every day is one giant race. No matter how prepared you think you are, getting ready in the morning or trying to run an errand during naps is always a race against the clock. Countless obstacles crop up around every turn that slow down your progress. For the racers it usually things like not reading a clue or getting lost. For parents it is things like forgetting where you put their favourite stuffed animal or fighting them to eat breakfast instead of throwing it to the dog.
There is a lot of hurry up and wait
I know the editing on the show makes it look like a non-stop adventure, but the teams do their share of waiting around too. Just think about how much time they spend in the airport or on planes travelling thousands of miles. Parenting is like this too, especially at first. Young children have lots of time where they don’t require any maintenance. We call this magical time post-bedtime. They alternate these periods of waiting around with their waking hours where they need everything NOW and you are racing around to keep up with their demands.
You have all the same types of challenges
In the race, a detour is a choice between two tasks both with their own pros and cons. As a parent I am constantly doing detours. Should I choose the grocery store detour or the dog walking detour? The grocery store option has food, which we need, but also means my kid will spend an hour trying to throw food out of the cart. The dog walking option means time outside so my kid can point excitedly at every car that drives by, but also means we will not be eating. Tough call.
On a roadblock, only one person can perform the task before the teams move onto the next task. I have faced the breastfeeding roadblock many times this year. Since I am the one with boobs, my partner was forced to sit in the waiting area until I completed the task. On the bright side, there are no other teams to worry about.
There are many costume changes
You know how the racers have to wear a costume to do pretty much any challenge? My son also changes clothes about 3 times a day. On a bad day, so will I. The only difference is that our costume changes are not about looking funnier or more authentic completing a task – they are about not walking around with poop on your shirt.
You will fight with your partner
No matter how well you know your partner, you will fight more when you have children. We watch the teams on the Amazing Race fight over losing a clue, or switching detours, all while judging them against our own relationships. We would never have such a stupid fight, we think. This is the same way childless couples watch us fight about who moved the pacifier or whose turn it is to change a diaper.
There is a mandatory 12 hour rest period (If you have young children)
Just to be clear, this does not mean that anyone is actually sleeping 12 hours. While the racers are made to stay at the pit stop to eat, sleep and rest, parents of young children are housebound from 6pm to 6 am everyday in hopes their children will sleep. They will not. You are basically just waiting around until you get to rip open that clue and start another day.
Hitting traffic can be disastrous
Anyone who has travelled with a small child knows how quickly it can get ugly. Being stuck in traffic with a crying baby is a terrible kind of torture. Just like the racers, stuck in traffic, watching their lead evaporate, you sit in traffic watching your patience and sanity disappear. In both cases, it means going home in defeat.
Ugh, can I just U-Turn someone?
If you liked this post, you may also want to read 5 Ways Parenting is Just Like American Ninja Warrior.