6 Items That Drive All Mothers Insane

by Allison Slater Tate
Originally Published: 

I’m nobody’s definition of a domestic goddess. I never took a class in housekeeping at college. I don’t know how to make a cup of coffee, and I don’t know how to iron. It’s true. I’m not proud. I have strategic dryer removal skills, coupled with a back-up plan of shower steam, to try and keep us all from being wrinkled messes. I would say I’m only mediocre at vacuuming, and I’m at a loss when it comes to mopping. I improvise.

You can imagine, then, how challenged I am by maintaining a house that includes four children — three of them boys — a dog, and a cat. It’s not pretty, people. I am no neatnik, but I have standards. Those standards have lowered exponentially in the past ten years.

While I struggle to manage my daily duties around the house — recognizing that yes, my husband helps too, but is in an office for ten hours a day at a minimum and apparently has poor eyesight when it comes to spotting the detritus of children — there are certain reoccurring menaces that drive me crazy. I would say they drive me to drink, but that wouldn’t be completely honest. They more often drive me to a tub of Nutella and a spoon. Let’s just say that Nutella and Magic Hat never need fear of going out of business as long as I am in charge of running a household and my children refuse to bow to threats and cajoling.

Six common household items that are surely going to leave me in the fetal position, if not my grave:

1. Toothpaste. To keep a better eye on them and to lend an assist when necessary, we have our kids brush their teeth in our bathroom. I have tried every kind of children’s toothpaste delivery system and every kind of toothpaste, and none of them prevent the children from smearing toothpaste all over my bathroom sink every. single. day. I gave up and keep a tub of Clorox wipes next to the sink for my own use, since I don’t like to accidentally brush up against my sink and come away with watermelon-scented green goo on my midsection. But it never ceases to amaze me how much toothpaste my children can leave outside their mouths.

2. Drink box straw wrappers. Surely the road to Hell is paved in juice box straw wrappers. They have that little bit of glue left on them and friction working for them, so they stick to the floor, the sofa, my foot, my pants… and they never, ever make it to the trash can under the power of my little people. Never. I had to start hiding the drink boxes I buy for school lunches high out of sight so the children never drink them at home.

3. Band-Aid wrappers. We all know that small children revel in the ritual act of getting a Band-Aid for their boo-boos, both real and hypothetical. Well, we have a lot of boo-boos around here. I am pretty certain that I am the only person, big or little, that throws my Band-Aid trash away. I am also certain I am the one who requires the least amount of Band-Aids. To add insult to injury, the Band-Aids are stored in my bathroom cabinet, so I am always the one who finds them in my space. And again, they have that weird friction thing going on, so they stick to my hands and the countertops in a frustrating way.

4. Dirty white athletic socks. Three school-age boys. One husband. Countless white athletic socks in the house, all of them discarded after use in various and sundry corners of the house, where they are then picked up by the dog and flung to places near and wide. At night, I have nightmares that involves mountains of dirty white athletic socks, none of which fit the children correctly or are ever in pairs.

5. Shoelaces. My older boys are now convinced that velcro is for babies. However, my older boys are also completely shoelace-challenged and walk around half the time with laces dragging behind them or breaking from extreme knotting. If I have to tell my firstborn to tie his shoes one more time, I am going to lose what is left of my mind. I have heard the shaming of parents for not teaching their kids to tie their shoes, but let me tell you something: if my kids wore velcro for the rest of their lives, I’d be okay with it. Just fine. They could still be productive members of society. I spend my life in ballet flats and flip-flops with the occasional Ugg boot day, so why does it matter so much? Shoelaces are way overrated.

6. Toilets. You know what? I am going to do you a favor and not elaborate. Just know it’s true.

This article was originally published on