9 Things Moms Are Supposed to Love That Actually Totally Suck IRL

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mom reading bedtime story
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I looked forward so much to being a mom. I imagined it like this: I would read to my son for hours and hours. We would play blocks together. I would make his stuffed animals talk to each other while he laughed, and he would make the other animals talk back. And then we would skip outside to play on the playground, where I would push him on the swing until dark.

I was so wrong.

Because there are certain things you’re supposed to love when you’re a mom, but in reality, they utterly, completely, and totally suck. You don’t realize it, either, until you’re in the middle of them, until your soul’s being sucked out by the tiny toddler at your side, the one looking at you with wide eyes saying, “More, Mama? More?” and you ever-so-slightly want to run away to Vegas and start a second career as a blackjack dealer because this is your life now. And you can’t complain, because you’re supposed to love it.

The secret is that most moms hate this stuff. Only the sanctimommies will tell you you’re wrong and don’t have the right to dislike what you dislike, because you can’t control your feelings. Sure, you can control your actions, but you can’t control how you feel about them. Hence why most moms keep the fact that they hate stuff a secret: It doesn’t make a difference anyway.

  • 1. Reading aloud.


    There are a few fun, subversive kids’ books, like The Cat in the Hat; One Fish, Two Fish; Dragons Love Tacos; and Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus -- plus all of Shel Silverstein -- that manage to circumvent this principle. But for the most part, reading aloud to kids sucks. The books are boring and repetitive. They’re overly simplistic. The narratives suck; the characters lack sufficient motivation. Half of them are TV-based character crap relatives forced on you, or that you bought in a fit of temporary weakness, so you’re stuck reading about Simba or Octonauts or the freaking Paw Patrol. The books also last forever, and your kids always want you to read another one. You have to do this or they will turn on the TV, which will make you a horrible person.

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  • 2. Pushing them on swings.


    You remember the swings of your youth: the wild lift, the glide over the ground, the second-long hover before the stomach-clenching drop. You remember riding them for hours, dreaming on them, pumping your legs, pretending to go the moon, to Mars, to the clouds. You remember the joy of possessing, for just a little while, the magic of flight. And you want to give this to your children -- except it involves you standing in one spot for tens of minutes on end, and pushing them, which is shockingly hard work, while they squeal with happiness and you can’t even see their damn faces! Apparently the magic has an age limit.

  • 3. Fixing kids’ hair.


    You used to dream of hair bows. In fact, you stocked up on hair bows. Maybe you had a hair bow collection before you even had a child to go with them. You imagined ponytails and French braids, French twists and buns with artful tendrils. But then you got a tender-headed preschooler (all preschoolers are tender-headed), and your dreams sailed out the window. Now, you loathe even brushing your kid’s hair in the morning. Because you know it’ll be a battle. The hair bows are getting dusty. You could not care less.

    And if you have a boy: It’s high and tight, baby. High and tight like God intended, because it’s all that keeps you sane.

  • 4. Playing pretty much anything.


    You imagined getting down on the floor and playing all kinds of things with your kid: tea parties with your little girl. Matchbox cars with your little boy. You thought of playing superheroes and alien battles and rescue the princess and every kind of imaginary game there is.

    And then you did it, and you realized that only kids do this stuff for one particular reason: It’s brain-numbingly boring. But you have to do it anyway, or you are a horrible parent. So put on that cape and go save the planet, anonymous sidekick.

  • 5. Picking up kids from school.


    Yeah, part of you is glad to see them. But part of you is decidedly not, because -- and let’s be honest here -- they are not exactly their best selves after school. They’re hungry. They’re thirsty. They’re wrung out from a long day. They do not want to talk to you. They do not want to engage with you. They want you to drive them home, where they can flop on the couch and turn on the TV. The only emotions they express tend to be exhaustion, anxiety over homework, and untamed rage related to the exhaustion.

    But every day, you pretend to be thrilled to see them. You ask how their day went, knowing you will be greeted only with grunts. This is the way of the world. You are supposed to embrace it.

  • 6. Sharing your favorite movies with your kids.


    You think you will love this. You believe, deeply, that you will love this. This feeling lasts until the popcorn’s popped, everyone’s settled in, and a voice pipes up, “Oh my gosh, doesn’t this come in HD?” They think the jokes are stupid. They think it’s too long. They think the super hunk is super ridiculous, and the funniest thing is the hairstyles.

    When asked about this event, you are supposed to smile and say that the generation gap cracked you up. But you know you’re never doing this ever again.

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  • 7. Library story time.


    This is supposed to be fun! Lots of moms and lots of kids get together and listen to a nice librarian read a nice book. Sounds like a foolproof outing. A chance to meet other moms. A chance for your kid to play with other kids. Maybe make some friends to hook up with later at the park. Maybe everyone can sing “The Wheels on the Bus” together with a side of “Pop Goes the Weasel,” and we’ll all be happier for it, right?

    Wrong.

    Some kid will be hacking all over the place, leaving you in fear of disease. In fact, all these kids are basically germ factories. What were you thinking? These moms are all younger and hotter than you. They are judging you. You know they are judging you. But slap that smile on your face and remember those hand motions while you subtly inch your little one away from the snotty kid.

  • 8. Getting your kid a pet.


    So you got your kids a pet to teach them responsibility, did you? Well, they failed in that department. That means the care of said creature falls to you. You’re supposed to grin and bear it after a grace period of nagging your kids. But you never wanted a damn bearded dragon / iguana / snake / rat / hamster / kitten/ god forbid a dog in the first place, and now it’s basically yours.

    You can periodically complain about how this animal was supposed to be little Billy’s job, but you’re supposed to love all living creatures, so you can’t actually complain for real, something which would take the form of a rant and end with an eviction notice for some critter.

  • 9. Mom’s Day Out.


    You’re free. You’re supposed to be super excited. You can cruise the aisles of Target alone, or go the grocery store alone, or get a pedicure alone. But instead, all you’ll do is worry endlessly about your children.

    Is little Billy crying? Is little Elsa wailing? Have they hit someone, bitten another kid, or otherwise behaved antisocially? Cursed? Told all the other kids what “sex” means? Exposed themselves? The worries are endless. The terror that you actually dropped your kids off with a Satanic cult will linger. Because even if we hate playing and wish we could just have them listen to audiobooks instead of having to read out loud, we still love those kids endlessly.