.Being a Mother is So Easy.

Despite near-constant whining about how impossible it is to be a mother, really, it’s simple: you just have to be perfect. No, not like that. Not annoyingly perfect, like a show-off or something. You need to be effortless and self-deprecating in your perfection. Not that self-deprecating—is this a joke to you? Are you mocking the moms out there who are struggling? Honestly, how hard is it to be perfect in a precise, scientifically calibrated way designed to be 100 percent infallible without ever being exhausted, needing a break, or losing your cool for a single second from the time your children are born until each one goes to college?

Fine, if you, for whatever reason, cannot do that, if you insist upon having an off day or a tough moment and you feel overwhelmed and need to vent: no. I mean, did you not know what you were getting into having children? Did you not accurately, to the point of clairvoyance, anticipate every single twist and turn of the nearly two-decade-long journey of helping a tiny lump of a baby grow into a fully functional adult? Obviously, you should have figured it all out in advance, like how giving birth would go and any complications you’d have, the specific personalities of your children and how they’d interact, what life-altering historical events you might live through—you know, the basics.

But even if you didn’t make the effort to Nostradamus your way through parenting life, you had to at least understand the unspoken rule that, yes, while it’s normal for everyone else to vent about their days, or jobs, or experiences, if you complain, as a mother, that means either you’re bad at it or you hate your children—right?

It may seem counterintuitive, but you can’t share good things either. No one likes bragging. Or baby photos. Or babies. God, is motherhood your whole personality? You’re boring everyone! Unless, of course, you’re making us laugh, which is also a problem because why are you making up funny things your kids say? Okay, hypothetically, children still figuring out how words work could say weird and silly things, but isn’t it more likely that you spend every spare moment of your time hunched over a desk writing jokes for your kid like your toddler’s the host of a late-night talk show?

Oh, and, small detail: don’t go out in public. We in the extremely progressive and advanced twenty-first century have improved upon the old saying that “children should be seen but not heard”—we’d actually love it if we didn’t see or hear kids. So, just keep your offspring sequestered in some hermetically sealed environment so no one is bothered by any child-related noise, or tears, or happiness, or breathing until your kids reach the notably not annoying age of eighteen. Shouldn’t be a problem—really, I mean, why did you even have kids if you didn’t want to live with them as pariahs in walled-off isolation for the entirety of their childhood? What, did you expect to still be a part of society after having kids? Wait, oh my god, did you think society included children? Yikes. Obviously, no.

But if you must venture into the world of adults, who were never once themselves small or loud or learning, at least make sure your children behave. And by “behave” I mean conform to the standards of adult behavior or conduct themselves in the manner of children from 1950s TV shows. And if they don’t, just, you know, make them. Definitely not with gentle parenting, which is turning this generation of kids into soft, self-centered monsters, but FYI, if you raise your voice to your children by even one decibel, whether in a moment of frustration or to keep them from the path of an oncoming car, it is literally the exact same thing as child abuse, based on what I’ve read (in the captions of some lady’s TikTok). But you shouldn’t need to yell or be a pushover if your child is making a scene. Simply kneel down to eye level and tell your one-year-old in a calm, firm voice: “Stop crying.” Boom. Problem solved.

Now that we’re onto obvious stuff, never go on an airplane, no matter the circumstances, not even if you’re a pilot. Stop being an annoying helicopter parent, selfishly denying your children freedom and fun, but also, if you are ever even eighteen inches away from your kid for a fraction of a second, I will take a photo to shame you on social media and also call 911. Do not send your children to daycare (you want strangers raising your kids?) or stay at home with them (betraying feminism with your tradwife ways much?) and, never, ever, eat with your children at a restaurant. I mean, a restaurant, my god, why would you, as a parent of a growing child, go into a place that serves food? You’re not allowed to enter the hallowed halls of any restaurant unless your kids are endowed with the official How to Act Nicely at Restaurants knowledge, which will be, to my understanding, inserted seamlessly into their psyches at the moment they reach adulthood without any prior restaurant-going experience.

But more than anything you do as a mother, more than preventing your kids from choking or drowning or operating a forklift, never allow them to have even a sideways glance at a screen, or it will ruin their brains forever. Yes, even though plenty of today’s adults watched television as children. Yes, even if you are trying to cook dinner, do homework with your other kids, or are recovering from major abdominal surgery—or all three of those things at once, which is something mothers sometimes have to do. And yes, even if you only need a two-and-a-half-minute distraction so you can quickly use the bathroom in peace. Why would you need to use the bathroom alone anyway? Can you not simply hold your children aloft on your shoulders or back like an orangutan while shitting?

In fact, as a mammal (I can refer to you as a mammal, right?), human mothers could stand to take a page from the moms of the animal kingdom. They live far away in forests or jungles, and you never hear them grumbling about “me time” or “the invisible load”—you don’t hear them complaining at all. True, they don’t speak a language we can understand, but I bet if they could communicate and had access to the human internet, an elephant would type stuff like, “This is fine! I enjoyed all twenty-two months of my pregnancy, and I would never take my calf to a brewery!”

But if this all seems too tough, contradictory, or overwhelming, there’s an easy solution: wait twenty years or so until you seem comparatively better than the mothers and children of the future, who will be screwing things up so much worse than you are now.

It seems impossible to imagine, but somehow, they will.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there. Together we mother.

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