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Playing With / Maternally Challenged

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Basic Trope: A mother has no idea how to take care of her baby or child.

  • Straight: Alice has just had a baby. She is constantly asking her mother how to take care of it.
  • Exaggerated: When she gets home from the hospital, the baby is crying. She tries to appease it with a whole cheeseburger instead of milk.
  • Downplayed: Alice is Egg Sitting, and ends up painting the egg she was given.
  • Justified:
    • Alice was never taught to care for a baby and has no experience with babies or small children.
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    • Alice is lacking in emotional maturity and/or common sense.
    • The child(ren) Alice is dealing with have some issues (certain life stages that are tough to deal with, special needs, colic, coming from a Dysfunction Junction if they're adopted or foster kids, etc.)
    • Parenting is very much a learn-as-you-go endeavor.
  • Inverted:
    • The baby is frustrated because Alice hasn't learned the different types of cries for different needs yet, and the baby can't just tell her "I need food," or "I'm tired" or "I'm bored," or "I'm annoyed" "I need a fresh diaper."
    • Alice "just knows" everything there is to know about childcare.
  • Gender Inverted:
  • Subverted:
    • Alice seems to be OK with basic childcare.
    • Alice is babysitting, or just starting a career that involves working with kids.
  • Double Subverted:
    • But then when faced with a more advanced issue (colic, taking care of a special-needs child, the Terrible Twos, the awkward teen years, complaints from teachers about acting out in school, what have you), she is absolutely clueless.
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    • She's still having trouble; the only difference is that she has an escape hatch.
  • Parodied: Alice is Driven to Madness by her baby's crying.
  • Zig Zagged: ???
  • Averted: Alice doesn't have or take care of any babies, children, or teenagers.
  • Enforced:
  • Lampshaded: ???
  • Invoked: Alice has her first child.
  • Exploited: Alice's teacher gives her class an Egg Sitting project to Scare 'em Straight about the possible consequences of sex.
  • Defied: Alice takes parenting classes, and talks to actual parents.
  • Discussed: ???
  • Conversed: ???
  • Played For Drama: Alice grew up with Abusive Parents and/or Parental Neglect and doesn't want to repeat the cycle with her own children. Unfortunately this leaves her with no idea how to raise her own kids, since she can't use her own parents as an example.

Back to Maternally Challenged.

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