Parenting Hacks That Backfired

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As someone who actively seeks out and writes about parenting hacks every day, I’m always looking for shortcuts and tricks to make your lives (and my own) a tiny bit easier. But not all hacks are created equal, and a hack that works brilliantly for one parent might be a complete waste of time for another. Your mileage, as they say, may vary.

Sometimes a hack simply doesn’t work; sometimes it’s more trouble than its worth; and sometimes they completely backfire—as Paula Kuka illustrates on Instagram:

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I can’t tell you how many times over the last few weeks I’ve created posts and not posted them and created stories, posted them, then deleted them moments later. I’ve been scared about trying to be compassionate but coming off as insincere, trying to spread information but passing on misinformation and basically just getting it wrong. It’s been heart-warming to see how Australians are coming together to help those affected by the bushfires. And I’ve been disappointed to see petty online bickering about the “correct” way to help.  Everyone is giving what they can, whether it be money or skills or a voice. And please know, the cogs are turning and I will be doing everything I can to lend my voice to what I see to be positive action, but for now, I’m going to post this. Because, just quietly, I think it’s pretty funny. And we all need something to smile at. ???????????????? And this from my column, because I also think its pretty funny. ???? “A strange thing happens when you have a child and I believe it’s a hangover from the times when it really did take a village to raise a child and parenting was the collective responsibility of a large extended family.  Everyone has advice for you.  The bank teller, the barista at your local coffee shop, the Woolworths delivery man (although his advice was quite good; “they are expensive, terrible for the environment but sometimes necessary “- though he may have been referring to single-use plastic bags.)”

A post shared by Paula Kuka (@common_wild) on

While writing this post and trying to decide on a good “well that didn’t work, now did it?” example from my own life (there are so many), I texted my husband to weigh in. “What is a parenting hack we tried that really backfired on us,” I asked him. His response came almost immediately: “Cloth diapers.”

Oh right, that one backfired on us so spectacularly that I’d blocked it out. We were going to be such wonderful environmentally conscious parents, you see. And we were going to save So Much Money by not buying disposable diapers for years on end. I did all the research during my pregnancy and bought what I was sure was the exact right type of cloth diaper in a variety of adorably bright colours. Hundreds of dollars worth (an investment!) of cloth diapers.

We used them for three—maybe fourdays before I admitted my true feelings. “I hate these,” I told my husband. “I really, truly hate them.” They didn’t fit quite right. They were messy. And they added even more laundry to the mountain of laundry that already piled up each day.

“Good, me too,” he said. “We’re selling them.”

We did not save money; we lost money. We did not save the environment; we wrecked it a little more. Meanwhile, I had friends who happily clothed-diapered multiple children with zero issues. My mileage varied big time on that one.

We’ve all tried something that sounded good at the time and then blew up in our faces. Tell us: What parenting hacks have backfired on you?


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