Stores and websites tend to have pretty generous return and exchange policies. Parenthood, not so much. Once you have your kids, they are one hundred percent yours — no matter what sort of defects you discover. At times, their flaws are more glaringly apparent than others and you kinda sorta long for those days when you didn’t have kids. Gasp! These are those times.
- When your kid wakes up you up at some ungodly hour of the night or the morning, and keeps poking you even though you are clearly asleep or, rather, pretending to be asleep.
- At the end of the school year, with it’s a frenetic whirlwind of sports games/dance recitals/music recitals/other activities/parties to celebrate the last sports game of the year/parties to celebrate the other last activities of the year/impromptu BBQs/field trips/buying teacher gifts/buying stuff for camp/OMG.
- Not just when your children whine, but when you tell them to quit whining because whining never gets them anywhere and they whine “Nooooooooo!!!”
- When a long weekend is coming up and child-free friends of yours are going on a romantic getaway to a B&B, while the highlight of your weekend is going to be breaking out the inflatable pool and maybe a trip to the ice-cream store.
- Also: When a friend of yours takes a trip to Nepal, Dubai, Fiji [insert some other fantasy trip you will not get around to for at least the next 20 years, if ever].
- When kids spill fruit punch over your favorite cushy armchair or beloved comforter, color on your wedding photo album, break that award statue from college, dent the antique foyer table that once belonged to your grandma, or do any sort of irrevocable damage to something precious. To be sure, it’s just a material thing but you just so happened to adore that material thing.
- When the kids screech-cry in the backseat as you’re driving or have a pulling-hair fight or kick the back of the driver’s seat because they’re mad about something and you’re all “I AM GOING TO GET INTO AN ACCIDENT!”
- Anytime your child has a school project. Especially when, at 9:00 p.m, your panicked child says to you: “Mommy! I need red poster board for tomorrow! Can you go to the store?” (Equally annoying: Science fair exhibits.)
- At 10:00 at night, when you are exhausted but you decide to neaten up the playroom with its explosion of toys and eleventy billion parts of toys. And you stand in the doorway of said playroom, feeling complete and utter despair, as everyone else in your house is tucked into their beds. And you pity yourself, and your irrepressible organizational impulses.
- Meltdown in aisle 9 because you wouldn’t buy the super-sugary cereal, as everyone in the supermarket stares.
- When kids have a destructive habit — say, swiping all the books off their bookshelf every single morning. And when you finally relocate all the books to some out-of-reach spot, they come up with some other destructive habit, like pulling all of the DVDs out of the cabinet. Repeat repeat repeat.
- When you have offered your child a fifth possible item for dinner and she is still not biting.
- When the kids have the day off school and are at home with the sitter and you are at work and having a stressful day and every 7.5 minutes they call or text with vital questions such as “Can we go to Target this weekend and get new socks?” and “I can’t find the hole puncher, where did u put it?”
- Every single time you read about the cost of sending kids to college.
- When you’re at a nice restaurant with the family for a change instead of the usual We Be Weiners greasy spoon and a poopstorm hits only there’s no changing table so you’re forced to change your child on the bathroom floor and ugh poop on your shirt sleeve and yikes the poop has traveled up onto the onesie only you forgot to bring an extra outfit and whoa you are s**t out of luck and desperately wish for a time machine to transport you away.
- When your little cling-on won’t give you a moment to yourself. Including standing outside the shower stall as you valiantly attempt to wash, forget shampoo, and then she cracks open the door to have a chat and, given that she is on eye-level with your privates, stares intensely at them.
- When your child whomps, scratches, or bites another child and makes him wail as that child’s parents are watching.
- When you would pay a large sum of money to nap for an hour, one measly hour, except your child wants to do a craft project.
And the other time you’d like to return your children? Well, OK, never. Because they are the best thing that ever happened to you, no matter how stressed/tired/upset/frantic/dirty/insane they make you.
But a mom can fantasize.