Sleepless nights, tantrums and a child's first day at school are among a list of the 50 most challenging things about being a parent, a study has revealed. Coping with a child being unwell, getting into a new routine and bedwetting were all rated as key stresses faced by mums.
Helping a child through their first day at a new school and dealing with competitive parents at the school gates were also common trials.
In fact, almost three quarters of the mums polled admitted that motherhood had been much more challenging than they ever imagined.
Emma Kenny, child psychologist and spokesperson for bedwetting experts DryNites, who commissioned the study, said, "There are some challenges you expect when you embark on parenthood, like the sleepless nights and tantrums. But I don't think anyone can be prepared for how many issues and stressful situations you will face over the years – from the baby and toddler stage and throughout a child’s school life.
"Once the tantrums subside and you are getting more sleep, you then have to face a whole new set of trials, such as your child’s first day at school, which many mums are having to get ready for over the next couple of weeks.
"’And once they are settled into school life, mums have to contend with the worries of bullies, moving up to new classes and schools, as well as a whole range of tests and exams.
"’Even teenagers and young adults seem to come with their own set of challenges for poor mums.’’
Sleepless nights were named the biggest challenge by 2000 mums, followed by toddler tantrums, staying patient and keeping on top of household chores.
Getting children to eat the right foods was named as the fifth most common trial for mums, along with potty training, sibling rivalry, childcare issues and giving your child what you want without spoiling them.
Encouraging youngsters to clean their teeth properly completed the top 10.
Other trials and tribulations faced by millions of mums over their youngster’s childhood include trying to keep them away from computers and games consoles, having to answer a constant stream of questions and tackling bullying.
Researchers also found that 48 percent found their child's school years stressful, with 14 percent even believing that they found it more of a challenge than their son or daughter did.
Making sure they do their homework, avoiding bullies and just getting them to enjoy school were named as the biggest school-time challenges.
A further 18 percent of mums found they had the most trials during their child's pre-school years, around the age of three or four years old, but more than three quarters of mums admitted they worry that things are only going to become more challenging as their children get older.
Almost half of the mums polled also claimed that they find things more challenging than their partner.
"’The upheaval of starting school and dealing with all the new things; new teachers, new friends and the sudden change in sleep patterns, can often couple with your child hitting a bedwetting speed bump," said Stephanie Madrell, DryNites brand manager.
"If your child starts to experience bedwetting it is important to reassure them and offer support and encouragement as they acclimatise to their new routine in the classroom."
Click to page two to see the full list of 50 things parents find most challenging.