Why do parents make parenting sound so god-awful?

The pissed-parent genre follows a reliable template: My life is a waking nightmare and I’ve lost all that I once held dear, but it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me! A popular post titled “So, You Would Like to Have Three Children” published last summer on the site Short-Winded Blog is a fine specimen of the form. The writer offers a “disclaimer” that her three children are “a blessing.” Then she launches into 2,000 words on the logistical trials, financial impossibilities, and emotional traumas of caring for three children at once. The 850 comments on the post reinforce this narrative. As one commenter put it, in a phrase that is the unofficial motto of the form: “[A]s crazy as things get, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Advertisers and publishers are increasingly finding ways to tap into the new let-it-all-hang-out pose. There was this Argentine Coke ad, in which a couple’s work, home, and sleep routines are destroyed by their growing child, and yet they are inexplicably happy when they get pregnant again. There’s Go the F**k to Sleep, and the book version of the massively popular Twitter account Honest Toddler, written in the voice of a toddler who says things like “There are no more carefree nights and weekends. You signed up for a child not a mobile phone.” The Tumblr Reasons My Son Is Crying, to which parents submit photos of their screaming tots accompanied by descriptions of their absurd laments (“The ocean is too loud”), will also be turned into a book soon.