As much as we all love our children and the joy that is parenting, there are certain things that come with the territory that, quite simply, DRIVE US NUTS. Every parent has their own poison, myself included. Those things that can interrupt a perfectly lovely moment like nails on a chalkboard–our pet peeves. Since confession is the first step toward recovery, I would now like to air out my top mommy pet peeves:
1. Rogue Tiny plastic toys
Whoever decided that it was a good idea to market tiny plastic land-mines-disguised-as-toys to children has got another thing coming to them. I would like to suggest that, before they release a play thing to the free market, all manufacturers should submit themselves to case testing where they are blindfolded and forced to walk barefoot through a room littered in their creation. I can not even tell you how many times I’ve bruised my bare foot on a forgotten Lego or tripped over a miniature plastic army guy on my way up the stairs. I swear, tiny plastic toys are designed with the express intent of inflicting physical pain on unsuspecting parents. I’m coming for you, Mattel.
2. Leaving one square of toilet paper on the roll
We have a house rule that whoever uses up a roll of toilet paper must exchange the empty roll for a fresh one. It’s a common courtesy so that nobody is ever left high and…ahem…NOT dry. Clever people in my house (names withheld to protect the innocent) have found a way around this: just leave one square on the roll. I mean, I get it. They didn’t use up ALL the toilet paper–why on earth should they be expected to replace the WHOLE ROLL? After all, one square is a totally acceptable amount of toilet paper to handle any and all potential bathroom needs the next patron might have.
3. Dishes sitting on the counter next to the dishwasher
God has blessed us with this incredible invention that has revolutionized modern life: the dishwasher. All you have to do is 1) Put your dirty dishes into the dishwasher 2) Pour a little soap into the dishwasher soap receptacle 3) Push a button, and 4) Come back an hour or so later to racks full of pristine dishes. Simple as pie, easy peasy–right? Wrong. As it turns out, step 1) Put your dirty dishes INTO THE DISHWASHER, is mind-blowingly difficult. Approximately 99.9% of the dirty dishes in our household migrate to the counter directly above the dishwasher, and there they sit indefinitely. I can only assume that last bit of opening the dishwasher door and shoving the dishes inside is an overwhelmingly taxing expenditure of energy. My poor family could not possibly be expected to put themselves through that misery. Bless them, they must know deep down in their hearts how much I love the challenge of moving dishes from the counter into the dishwasher, and I can only express my most sincere gratitude to them for helping me to grow in this area.
4. Grocery shopping with children
I would totally avoid this one if I could, but for some reason all of these little mouths keep wanting to be fed. And so, the grocery store must be addressed.
Grocery shopping with children is like playing Russian roulette: when you win, you win BIG but when you lose…well, just don’t ever lose. Throwing kids into the mix means you almost always lose at the grocery store game: Have all the children already eaten, slept, and pottied properly? How is the general mood of my offspring on this fine morning? Where do I put the kids–walking with me so that they knock over every display in every aisle we pass through, or in the cart so that I have nowhere to actually put the groceries? Will my toddler throw a tantrum in the middle of the produce aisle? Will my 4-year old swipe cake decorating supplies (again) and stash them in his pocket, only to be discovered once we have safely returned home? Will the forbidden candy in the check-out line incite the next civil war in the middle of my shopping cart? Did I remember my shopping list, my reusable shopping bags, my coupons, my diaper bag, my wallet, my sanity?
And, if we actually make it through the store in one piece, there’s always the check-out line to look forward to. Because if there is anything I can predict with 100% accuracy on a shopping trip with kids it is this: I will always choose the slowest line.
All I can say is praise you, sweet Jesus, for Amazon Prime and Safeway home delivery.
5. Itty Bitty Socks
There are two problems with itty bitty socks: 1) Itty bitty socks are specifically designed to fall off itty bitty feet, and 2) Itty bitty socks are polarized so that no pair of socks that enter a washing machine may ever exit together. I have baskets and bags and bins full of itty bitty socks that have been found lying off-foot or that are anxiously awaiting the joyful return of their partner. Thank goodness we moved to California so I have a decent excuse for why my children are barefoot year-round.
6. Inopportune Sleep Schedules
Fact: 90% of parenting revolves around an attempt to control your childrens’ sleep. Children either won’t sleep when you want them to, or they will sleep when you don’t want them to.
Here are some typical child sleep scenarios (not that any of them could ever possibly have happened to me personally):
It’s your 2-year old’s nap time and you absolutely positively need to return a critical phone call and fold that growing pile of laundry without “help”: guaranteed he’s climbing up your leg instead of nodding off. Your fridge broke over the weekend so you’ve been without perishable foods for the past 3 days, and now that a new fridge has finally been delivered you absolutely positively must go to the grocery store (your favorite place!) for eggs and milk: guaranteed your 3-year old (who rarely naps any more) and your 4-year old (who hasn’t napped in 2 years) will both fall asleep in the car on the way to the store thus making it impossible to complete the task at hand. It’s 9:00 and you’ve had ONE OF THOSE DAYS and all you want to do is curl up in the fetal position and binge watch HGTV: guaranteed the kids get out of bed 5,000 times. You have 15 minutes to get the kids changed, snacked, and driven to the pool for swimming lessons: guaranteed your preschooler is passed out in a state of hypnosis that can’t be shaken.
Guarantees in parenting are few and far between, but at least we can be assured that some things will remain a constant: those things that drive us nuts. In the end, I guess I will just have to learn how to deal with my own mommy pet peeves–perhaps while wandering kid-free through an empty grocery store with a Starbucks hand.