17 Parenting Tasks No One Warned You Would Be So Hard

17 Parenting Tasks No One Warned You Would Be So Hard

Moms share some of the surprisingly difficult things parents have to do.


By: Leah Maxwell

No sane person enters parenthood thinking it’s going to be easy. From the moment you decide to welcome a child into your home, other well-meaning parents start telling you tales of sleepless nights, diaper blowouts that register on the Richter scale, and the delicate art of disciplining a teenager. What they might not tell you, however, are the thousands of other, and often surprising, ways parenting is hard. From practical tasks to philosophical minefields, here are 17 things that make parenting harder than you ever expected.

1. “Washing the car seat cover and then putting it back on the car seat. It is like the world's worst jigsaw puzzle.” -- Elizabeth B., Corpus Christie, Texas, mom of a 16-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy

2. “Teaching him to not swallow toothpaste. ‘Put this in your mouth twice a day, rub it around with a brush, then spit it out.’ He looks at us like we have lost our minds. ‘Why do I put it in my mouth only to spit it out again?’” -- Anne F., Chicago, Illinois, mom of a 2-year-old boy

3. “Not laughing when I’m trying to discipline. It’s so funny sometimes! When we say ‘no’ and my son pouts with his lip quivering, I have to look away.” -- Jen B., Dallas, Texas, mom of a 1-year-old boy

4. “Dealing with a tantruming kid in public. Especially when you’re on an errand you MUST DO. I mean, I never figured it was easy, but you know the general childless twenty-something superior attitude: ‘When *I* have a kid...’ Yeah, you, too, will beg them to chill out and offer lavish bribes just to pick up a prescription.” -- Kelly O., Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, mom of a 3-year-old girl

5. “Running errands with them. As in, wishing everything had drive-thru service.” --Heather H., Oakland, California, mom of a 7-year-old girl and a 1-year-old boy

6. “Hair brushing. My gosh, the crying and wailing every morning.” -- Katie Z., Rockford, Illinois, mom of two girls, ages 3 and 7 months

7. “Getting a limp noodle toddler dressed before he ‘accidentally’ flails and breaks your nose.” -- Tamara B., Los Angeles, California, mom of two boys, ages 2 and 10 months

8. “Vomit cleanup has never been something I thought would be easy, per se, but the lengths required sometimes are truly stunning. Hair, sheets, stuffed animals, carpet, BOOKS, pillow, toys, bed frame ... In the middle of the night while exhausted.” -- Rebecca M., Dublin, California, mom of two girls, ages 7 and 5

9. “Hands down, without a doubt, getting the car seat into/out of the car. (Not the click-into-the-base kind, the other kind.)” -- Jennie C., Roanoke, Texas, mom of a 5-year-old boy

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10. “Potty training? Easy. Teaching a child to wipe their own behind? DEATH.” -- Jenna M., Leesburg, Virginia, mom of two girls, ages 8 and 6

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11. “Finding the beloved blankie right before bed!” -- Katrina R., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, mom of a 2-year-old boy

12. “Trimming baby fingernails is the scariest parenting task I have ever encountered.” ---- Kristen D., Monaca, Pennsylvania, mom of a 5-year-old girl and a 2-year-old boy

13. “The 6-month flail phase when I had to PIN MY SON TO THE FLOOR with my feet on his shoulders to change his diaper. Honestly, I would actually break a sweat and quit and he’d run away naked. Laughing.” -- Sky C., Milford, New Hampshire, mom of a 3-year-old girl and a 2-year old boy

14. “Leaving the house, whether with an infant or a 6-year-old. Someone pooped or has to poop. The shoes that were on are off. And the snacks. Oh my, the snacks.” -- Roberta S., Washington, D.C., mom of a 6-year-old girl and a 2-year-old boy

15. “Registering for school. The amount of paperwork really shocked me. I had to track down so much, from car insurance to every doctor’s contact info.” -- Maria M., St. Petersburg, Florida, mom of two boys, ages 8 and 6

16. Discipline. [Counting to three] doesn’t work because my son loves counting and gets SUPER EXCITED about it.” -- Kate W., Denver, Colorado, mom of a 2-year-old boy

17. “Changing crib sheets. Man, that’s like a full-body workout.” -- Blair P., Alexandria, Virginia, mom of a 6-year-old girl and a 3-year-old boy

What parenting tasks have you found to be surprisingly difficult?


Leah Maxwell is a book editor, freelance writer, cereal addict, wife, and mom to two young boys. She has been blogging at A Girl and a Boy since 2003.

Image ©iStock.com/michellegibson


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