Five parenting moments when I wish the ground had swallowed me up

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Whether you suffer beetroot red embarrassment across your skin's surface or agonise silently on the inside, as parents we've all had moments when we wish the ground would swallow us up.

1. Public tantrum

Cliched as it may be, a child's public tantrum can cause the blood pressure rates for parents to skyrocket. Even if you're an expert at distancing yourself from your child stiff-boarding the floor in the chocolate aisle, their flailing, screaming meltdown over late food arrivals at restaurants, or their very vocal resistance to leaving the park, nobody wants to admit to owning that kid.

Unfortunately, even when you use every ounce of patience and break teeth clenching through your fury and embarrassment, ignoring the tantrumming toddler makes it seem to strangers like you're doing nothing about it.

You're adamant you won't give in to the screamer because that would set a precedent you'll never come back from. However, escalating the situation by carrying a kicking, howling child to the car as an audience gathers is not high on your list of preferences either.

You spend many public outings wishing there was a magical, hidden tunnel that could shoot you straight back to the carpark without a pair of eyeballs noticing.

2. Inappropriate questioning

Your child asks the amputee waiting in line at the post office where his other leg is. You die a little on the inside.

The woman standing next to you at the bus stop has a pot belly so your child points and says, "is there a baby in there?" At this point you're wishing there was such a thing as kid-friendly muzzles.


It's just typical childhood curiosity, you say to yourself as the heat rises in your cheeks.

3. Loud reciting of genitalia and/or swear words

We know it wasn't you who they overheard the swear word from. Must have been the tradies working on the house next door. Dropping the f-bomb in perfect context at the kindergarten open day makes you want to hire the auger that drills the holes and jump right in.

We know it was you who taught your child the correct words for their anatomy. And good on you. The fact your child has recited them and pointed them out in the middle of a meeting with the home loan lender, well, that wasn't part of the biology lesson.

4. Picking their nose and eating the boogers

We all shrink in horror as our child digs deep into his nose during the Christmas concert, finds a winner, inspects it and then pops it in his mouth. All under the spotlight. Thank the fairies that lighting is dim in the audience and that embarrassed cheeks don't glow in the dark.

When you discretely remind your child after the concert not to engage in such uncivilised habits and he yells, "but the boogers taste good", you know you've just outed yourself as that parent.

5. Dressing room commentary

You think it's private in there, with the door shut. Your child commentates loudly on your dressing and undressing for fellow shoppers to enjoy.

"Mummy, why do your boobies point down?"

"Mummy, what are those lines all over your tummy?"

"Whoa Mummy, you have a really big bum!"

As you exit the dressing room, you're tempted to say, "show's over, people!"

I've found the solution to these moments of extreme horror: wear ruby shoes, click your heels three times and say, "There's no place like anywhere but here".