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Things We Loved As Kids That Make Us Run Screaming As Parents

Photograph by Twenty20

I've had plenty of experiences where I think about my own mom and what she went through in raising my siblings and me. Some things, you just have to be a mom to understand. Can we talk about annoying stuff that we used to love as kids? I guess I have to endure these things because my mom endured them before me. And thus, the long chain of annoying kid stuff continues.

1. Maracas

Kids: I love this sound, I want to hear it all day.

Moms: I have no one to blame but myself.

You're watching your kid explore the music shop, and you envision all the wondrous stuff that must be happening in their brains. There's a connection between music and math, right? Well, then you're coming home with a pair of maracas. Better get used to the shake-shake-shake, because it's going to be the soundtrack of your life for the next few days. Until the maracas mysteriously disappear. Hey kids, how about we sit and read these nifty books instead?

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2. Glitter

Kids: So pretty, so sparkly!

Moms: It's everywhere, and I'll never be able to get rid of it.

Now I'm the person making the soup, and I realize that the sick days I relished had to be managed by my mom.

Glitter sounds like a good idea—its shimmer adds magic to crafts and art projects. The problem is, it sticks to everything. Whenever my kid uses glitter, a little always ends up on my hands and face. I'm then forced to wear it out in the world so that everyone can know that I, too, am a mother. Or really upping the dazzle.

3. Watching the same movie over and over

Kids: I need to watch my favorite princess movie again!

Moms: Let it go, please let it goooo.

I remember watching the same Disney VHS movies over and over again. My daughter is the same way with her favorite programs—she doesn't want to watch new ones, she wants to watch her favorites on repeat. Did my mom think, “Again, really?” as much as I do?

4. Sugary cereal

Kids: Mom, please!

Moms: I'm avoiding the aisle entirely. You'll get multigrain O's, and you'll like it.

I was a kid during the early nineties, back when companies were already aggressively marketing to kids. We loved all the sugary cereals, and they were a regular part of breakfast. Here, I differ from my mother, because I'm one of those label-reading moms who usually avoids the candy-colored cereal aisle entirely.

As I think back on the annoying stuff my mom withstood for me, I feel grateful.

5. Sick days

Kids: Yay, no school!

Moms: Great, now I need someone to cover me at work and manage emails from home, while also coaxing a child to take medicine and wipe noses. All day.

Sick days used to represent a day in bed, watching TV and your mom's soup. Now I'm the person making the soup, and I realize that the sick days I relished had to be managed by my mom. Not every mom has a flexible employer, which makes me that much more grateful for my mom's ability to make it work.

6. Paint sets

Kids: I'm an artist, look what I did!

Moms: Oh my god.

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Paint sets are the sort of gift idea that sounds great when you're a non-parent (and are lots of fun when you're a kid). But moms are the ones who clean hands and faces, and wash clothes post-artistic expression. I don't want to deprive my kid of a creative outlet, but the clean-up isn't fun at all.

As I think back on the annoying stuff my mom withstood for me, I feel grateful. So the next time my daughter runs up to me excitedly because someone gave her a sticker book (ugh, stickers), I'll smile back in appreciation of what stickers once meant to me.

And maybe one day in the future my daughter will give me a call, like the ones I made to my mom, in which she'll say, "Hey mom, thanks."

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