15 Ways 'Psycho' Sums Up the Life of a Parent

Damarys Ocaña Perez | Jun 12, 2020 Movies
15 Ways 'Psycho' Sums Up the Life of a Parent
Image: Archive Photos/Getty Images

vera miles in pscyho
Archive Photos/Getty Images

Being a parent is totally like a horror movie sometimes. 

Think about it. We start out with hopes and dreams and perfectly decorated nurseries -- and like, two years later, we're suddenly living in a home that is sometimes full of screaming, and sometimes suspiciously quiet. We turn the corner to the living room, and the walls are red (with tempera paint), and the floors are booby-trapped (with Lego landmines). 

And there's a preschooler on the loose, wielding a dangerous weapon: an open bottle of glitter.

So, of course the movie classic psychological horror flick Psycho, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, rings true for those of us who have multiplied ourselves and become parents.

In all seriousness, in Psycho -- which is about a dude who feels so guilty about killing his controlling mom and her lover that he takes on her personality in order to kill others -- director Alfred Hitchcock really captured the deadly results that can come about because of toxic parenting. There's a lesson to be learned there, and though the critics ridiculed the movie when it first came out, there's a reason it's become a classic. 

And that reason -- aside from the classic, creepy musical theme and the famous shower scene -- is that it rings true on a psychological level.  

But in all lightness, there are certain scenes of the movie that, when we look at them on their own merits, are really the stuff of our parenting GIF dreams. They dominate our text messages and Facebook mom group comments on our most frustrating or exhausting parent days. (What can we say? They get us through.)

Here are 15 ways that Psycho basically showed us something that was totally, hilariously, and horrifyingly familiar in our lives as parents.

  • The Shower Is the Only Place We're Ever Alone


    This is, like, the No. 1 thing they never told us about having kids: We'd never be alone again -- except for those glorious 10 minutes at the end of the day. Every parent knows the feeling. It's been a long, long, long day, and the traces of parenthood are all over our bodies. Our muscles are sore from bending over to pick up runaway toddlers and wayward toys, and our hair is caked with dried-on spaghetti from dinner. The kids are down for the night -- finally -- and we make our long-awaited entrance into the shower. 

    It's the little things, ya know? 

  • Or is it? Nope. Scratch That. We're Never Alone


    We may think of the shower as our own special staycation destination, but spoiler alert: Kids don't care! They have no boundaries, and they are so curious. They want to be close to us to see what's going on and how we soap up, and they're perfectly willing to sit in a steamy room to have entire conversations about how much they hate broccoli. Even those of us who don't follow the attachment parenting philosophy are following the attachment parenting philosophy. 

  • We've Forgotten What Our Actual Name Is


    "Mommy. Mommy. Mommy. Mommy. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mami. Mami. Mami. Mami. Momma. Momma. Momma. Momma. Ma. Ma. Ma. Ma. Mummy. Mummy. Mummy. Mummy. Mama. Mama. Mama. Mama." 



    Apologies to Family Guy, haha.

  • We're All Screaming Inside


    Look, kids, y'all are cute and all, but between turning into crisis homeschoolers and feeding ya'll 20 meals and 15 snacks a day, we're at our wits' end, m'kay? And now it's summer, so this year, we're getting NONE of the breaks. We may be practicing positive parenting on the outside, but on the inside? It's pretty much sounds like this picture looks: equal parts fear and existential horror. 

    We've yet to nail the art of self-care. Y'all are still worth it though!

  • Looking in the Mirror Can Be Its Own Horror Flick


    When's the last time y'all creeped up on a mirror, took a peek, and did the finger guns thing to celebrate how young parenthood is making y'all look and feel? Yup, that never happens.

    Parenting has many rewards, but there's no denying that it's tough on every part of us, inside and out. Midnight feedings, 3 a.m. fevers, 6 a.m. wake-up times -- even on weekends! -- can make us feel like we're 80 years old. 

    We're gonna start bathing in retinol at this point.

  • Time Out Doesn't Always Work


    Some kids are tough, amiright? They do the crime, do their time.....aaaaand go right back to the crime -- even more hardcore this time. (What's a parent to do?) Well, according to the national online parenting university we just made up, nothing. There's pretty much nothing we can do, and yet, somehow, we know we're going to raise a pretty decent human being. 

    All it takes is some patience.

  • Our Lives Can Be Frenetic


    Sometimes, as a parent, we feel exactly like this. We probably don't have to spell it our for y'all, but just in case, we're the wipers, and the rainstorm is everything that gets thrown in our direction. We're doing our best to deal and try to keep up, so we can see the bigger picture. It's such a challenge. 

    Werk, werk, werk!

  • We All Need a Break Sometimes


    People who comment on "vent" posts on Facebook mom groups are forever suggesting that tired moms take a day out for themselves to chill and hear themselves think. Rent a room at a hotel, they say, stay in there watching TV and drinking wine in a bathrobe and slippers, they say. Yeah, we're pretty sure that's what this lady had in mind, too.

  • We've Got Our Eyes & Ears Open 24/7


    No, we're not secretly spying on our kids to catch them texting friends after hours (can y'all say creepy and intrusive?), but as parents, we're constantly on the lookout for everything to make sure our little ones are safe and taken care of -- along with their temperature, their veggie-eating consumption, and their moods. 

    It's just part of the job!

  • We're Heard Every Excuse in the Book


    Teachers who hear that the dog ate a student's homework have nothing on parents who are told by their kid that a well-aimed smack that landed on a sibling's back (that we witnessed) was totally, 100% an accident -- or that their toothbrush is "broken," or that their friends' parents never make them do chores. 

    We've heard it all, and we know it's all kid-sized BS.

  • We Know When to Shove Kids Out of the Nest


    "No, I ain't. Go play with some friends." LOL, OK, we would never actually say that, but if Psycho taught us anything, it's the importance of kids developing social skills. As moms, we know how to comfort our kids when they're feeling scared, sad, mad, or shy. We tuck them in at night, and tell little ones they don't have to kiss relatives if they don't want to -- and that's all great. But, yeah, we also need to know when to nudge them to join the wider world.

  • We're Immune to Noise at This Point


    Parenthood is weird. We become so attuned to our kids' needs, that at night we immediately wake up when we hear their slightest discomfort. But during the day? We're basically deaf by now from all the our kids' screaming, fighting, and jostling for playroom dominance. So when our co-workers hear our little screaming banshees in the background during a Zoom call (hey, sometimes it's just not possible to keep everyone quiet), we're like, "What noise?"

  • 'We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes'


    Yes, we do, Norman. Yes, we freaking diddly-do -- because parenting can make us crazy-pants sometimes. And guess what? Childhood can be a little crazy-pants, too. There's a lot that kids are trying to figure out, and we know that. That's why a big part of it is telling ourselves, "he's just a kid," when LO does something that's completely bananas. 

    And then, we just carry on with our day.

  • We Never Know What We're Going to Find in the Hamper


    A running list of what moms around the world have found in the hamper, courtesy of their toddlers: dirty diapers; clean diapers; a missing box of diapers; plastic toys; a bottle of bubble-making liquid (open, of course); markers; goldfish crackers; goldfish; folded, clean laundry; our favorite watch; napping toddlers. 

    We throw unsorted laundry in the washer at our own peril.  

  • It Sometimes Feels Like We're Stuck in a Loop


    ... especially at a time when we're still mostly staying at home.

    We are reliving a Groundhog Day over and over: home, loud voices, trying to rest, repeat. It can leave us feeling like a deer stuck in the headlights, and the only thing to do is to say to ourselves, "It won't always be this way!" 

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