I was chatting parenting with a parent friend on the weekend (who happens to be a science teacher). We were discussing how things get more difficult and complicated as the number of young kids gets higher. We agreed that the relationship is not linear. In a linear model, each new kid adds a set amount of complexity, or you use the scientific term “faff” to your daily tasks. Here’s how it would look as a graph.

Linear faff

As the title of the graph indicates, we both thought this was BS. Instead the line follows an exponential curve, each kid doesn’t simply increase the degree of difficulty, it multiplies it by itself. It looks like this in a graph:

Note the bigness of the numbers up the Y-Axis on the left hand side of the graph

Note the bigness of the numbers up the Y-Axis on the left hand side of the graph

Thinking about it, and musing over the 1/2 science degree I did in a past life I postulated the “Dadinator’s Theorem”, which I will outline below:



Now. To explain.

Big F is the “Faff Factor”. It represents the amount of faffing around involved in doing something . Going out to the shops. Having a shower. Vacuuming. Whatever. All life involves a degree of faff.

Little f is the normal faff factor of doing the task solo, no kids involved. All tasks have an inate value on the faff scale.

Little n is the number of kids you have.

Now to unleash my inner maths teacher. So if you want to make a tea or coffee, let’s say the normal faff factor -little f- is 2. Here’s how big F would look.

With no kids, F=2 (which makes sense. F is the same as little f)
With one kid, F=4, its twice as hard.
With two kids F=8, twice as hard again.
With three kids F=16 twice as hard once again, see where I’m going with this?


That’s for a simple task with Let’s say it was complex, like changing a tyre on the road, give it a f=10. Doing that solo, no fun but you get by. Put a kid in the mix and it gets harder. Crying, complaining, grizzling, demands for water, boredom, safety etc…

Chuck in an extra youngster and suddenly you don’t have a disgruntled customer, but a full scale class action. The noise level doubles, the demands on your attention doubles and, bless them, they can and will double team you. You also have to ask yourself: Who has the greatest need? What if they set each other off? What if it looks like I’m favouring one over the other? What if I let the toddler out but am looking after the baby and they run off? Etc etc etc….

Its worth noting that the actual difficulty of the task doesn’t really change. A coffee is still a coffee; A tyre is still a tyre; a shower is still a shower. Its more like having to perform the same task while juggling. And the more balls you have to juggle, the more focus juggling takes up….

I’m sure once the kids get a bit older and get out of nappies, don’t need us to put them to bed, learn to make their own breakfast….. This changes. But 2 under 2, The Dadinator’s Theorem holds true….

And for all those out there with multiple births, I salute you.