Parenting is a joy, a privilege, a miracle. Except for the times when it’s not. Here, fellow parents divulge which tiresome tasks and doleful duties they would love to live without.

By Real Simple
Updated August 09, 2012
Illustration of a princess jumping on her mom's bed
Credit: Anna Bond

Weekend-morning duty. My side of the bed is closest to the door, and while I love waking up to that pitter-patter, I wish it came much later than 6 A.M.

Amy Reesman

Easthampton, Massachusetts

Can I give up the hours between 4 P.M. and 7 P.M.? Like clockwork, my children go insane, crying about everything under the sun—their home-work, someone looking at them, a kid who took their crayon, or others breathing in their vicinity. The only solution seems to be sleep—preferably for me.

Marsha Ho

Staten Island, New York

Helping out with homework. It’s still boring, even when you’re a grown-up.

Heather Jennings

Oakland, California

This is awful, but I can’t stand playing—especially playing on the playground and assembling toys. I’ll bathe, feed, and nurture my kids, volunteer in their classrooms, drive to the store, and read dozens of books at bedtime. But playing? It’s torture.

Jennifer Barnett

Falls Church, Virginia

Without question, bath time. My three little ones (ages six and under) put up a fight about getting their hair washed. And when that’s finally done, they refuse to get out of the water. One day, when they’ve grown up, I might just miss this daily battle. But that day is definitely not today.

Brenda Brooks

Louisville, Kentucky

Thanks to doctors’ appointments, piano lessons, gymnastics classes, and other commitments, I spend two hours every day chauffeuring my kids. I would love a reprieve from my time behind the wheel.

Cindy Garman

Milford, Ohio

Disciplining is never fun. It makes my life and my kids’ lives miserable, and it’s always evolving, depending on the kid and the age.

Sheila Morreale

Nashville, Tennessee

Getting my kids to brush their teeth correctly. I wish I could hire someone to supervise.

Donna Reeve

Carrboro, North Carolina

Stirring natural peanut butter. Our family goes through at least a jar a week, and I always end up covered with oil.

Liz Fisher

Brooklyn, New York

I still can’t get over how much stuff my family needs when we travel. I swear, I sometimes spend more time packing than I do on the actual vacation.

Elaine R. Hamill

Apex, North Carolina

It’s great that my kids look forward to the homemade lunches I pack them. But some days I find myself begging them to eat a cafeteria taco, just this once.

Kim Mullin

Arlington, Virginia

Definitely sleep training! The process has involved so much crying—on her part and on our part!

Liz Witmer

Arlington, Virginia

“Lecturing” my sons, ages 13 and 16, about major life issues. I always thought I would be able to avoid giving the “STDs are forever” talk or the classic “Do unto others as you would have done to you.” Alas, my kids need to hear this stuff.

Christine Luciano

Mahwah, New Jersey

Cleaning up puke. Need I say more?

Stefanie Bell-Egge

Plymouth, Minnesota

I would love to have an automatic nagging machine for all those times I don’t feel like telling my kids to do their chores over and over and over again.

Melissa Tinker

Yellow Springs, Ohio

Changing diapers. I’m in my eighth year (I have three boys), and I’m ready to move on.

Lydia Cavanaugh

Dublin, Ohio

Life is too short for cleaning. I wish I could spend my time helping my kids make messes instead of picking those messes up.

Kimberly Pellicore

Houston, Texas

Navigating “girl drama.”

Sara Kimbell

New York, New York

It would be nice if someone else could be the banker once in a while. Doling out money constantly gets old in a hurry. And it’s expensive, too!

Marilyn Naito

Tallahassee, Florida

My husband and I would like someone else to explain the “special dance” mommies and daddies do to make babies.

Kathy Sandhu

Greenwich, Connecticut

When my oldest son was 18 months old, he saw me picking the carrots out of my soup and putting them in my napkin. Not surprisingly, he immediately followed suit, so I had to put them back in my bowl and eat them. I’ve been forcing down cooked carrots ever since.

Tina Ruddy

Southington, Connecticut

Waking my 13-year-old daughter in the morning.

Jennifer Hart

Monrovia, California

To my five-year-old son, fingernail and toenail trimming is a fate worse than death. When he was a toddler, I had to chase him and tackle him to complete the task.

Jill Hastie

Kitchener, Ontario

Kids, If You Could Take on One Responsibility, What Would It Be?

Taking care of a cat.

Josh, 7

The job of being an artist.

Hannah, 5

I would like to go to the supermarket by myself, without any adults.

Atlas, 4

New toys!

Jessa, 3

Playing NBA basketball.

Matthew, 8

Telling Mom how late she can stay up watching Glee.

Milo, 6, and Alistair, 4

Giving our dogs a bath, because they’re stinky every day.

Marlena, 7

A zebra!

Ariana, 4

Mama. That’s a responsibility.

Gerrit, 6

Mow the front lawn. I would do that because it’s easier than the backyard and I could get paid good money.

Eli, 11

I would wash the dishes, ’cause I like washing things.

Peyton, 8

I want to spray and clean all the windows in the house all day long.

Samantha, 3

Being the boss of the house, like Mommy is.

Nicholas, 6


Quinn, 4