Parenting is hard. But adulting is hard too. Put them together and it’s a lifestyle that will make any introvert cringe.
I think the main difference is that when you’re an adult without kids, you can spend a day or two wallowing in self-pity, lounging around the house to nurse a cold, forgoing laundry and dinner because you just don’t feel like it.
As a parent, you can ignore a lot of grown-up things as well but that usually earns you the title of “Bad Parent.” Something about having dependents makes you more inclined to step up to the plate, even when you don’t feel like it. And that’s where I am in my life. Stuck being a responsible adult even when I don’t feel like it.
So here, I present to you the list of the hardest things I find in adulting for you to either judge or commiserate (or both).
1. Filing my tax return.
Remember when you were old enough to actually file your own tax return? It was exciting. A rite of passage, even. I marched down to the library to pick up my 1040EZ form and spent all of about 15 minutes filling it out.
Then I made more money, got married, bought a house, had a kid, starting donating stuff, and became a freelancer. So now, taxes pretty much suck.
2. Mailing anything at the post office.
I have to admit this isn’t just an adult thing for me. While I might be able to put a stamp on an envelope and walk it to my mailbox, even that is a struggle. There’s something about having to box something up, address it, weight it, and all that other stuff. Then going to the post office and waiting in line.
If you’re waiting for me to mail you something, you might as well get on the slow boat to China.
3. Being on time for a morning appointment.
I don’t care that the working world starts at 9am (or earlier). I don’t care that school starts at 9am (or earlier). I am not, and never will be, a morning person. Just because the world starts early doesn’t mean I do.
This will save us all a lot of grief if you just accept I’ll be late for anything that starts before 11am.
4. Making phone calls.
Even as a kid, I hated talking on the phone. Our kitchen phone would ring and ring until my mother would yell, “Fadra, ANSWER THE PHONE!” To this day, I still hate talking on the phone but it’s often a necessary evil.
I will put off calling for appointments, phoning in prescription refills, and will almost certainly let phone calls go to voicemail just so I can avoid the dreaded task of talking on the phone. One exception: I don’t mind making my hair appointment.
5. Talking to school officials.
Whether it’s a teacher, a principal, or even the school secretary, I still feel like the kid that’s getting in trouble. Maybe it’s because I’m often walking my son in late to school.
Let me just be upfront about this. When I’m on vacation, I feel energized. I can walk for miles. Swim until the sun sets. Sprint toward a new restaurant. But at home, forget it. Walking to the mailbox is a chore.
Admittedly, I work from home on a laptop. Breaking out of that shell is tough. I do have a gym membership and every once in a while I get a wild hair and go. But I miss the days where you could go outside and play and ride bikes and explore the woods and never have to worry about consciously moving your body or counting your steps.
7. Following rules.
I am a law & order kind of gal, and I don’t mean the television show. I try to adhere to all traffic laws. I pay attention to the expiration date on my coupons. But I still have this thing about authority.
Why do kids have to be 12 years old to go to the dog park? I mean, I get it. But I don’t like it. If my son comes home from school and tells me about some unfair treatment from a teacher, I don’t try to help him see the value in the lesson. I sit down with him and tell him some teachers are jerks.
Some rules are made to be broken. Or questioned at the very least.
8. Taking care of pets.
I love my pets. Immensely. But it sure was easier when I was a kid. You love them and pet them and play with them and then walk away. As an adult, I’m the one that has to walk and feed them. I have to change the cat box. I have to clean up the vomit stains on the carpet. And I also have to pay for the vet appointments and grooming appointments and premium pet food. None of that is fun.
9. Keeping mental notes about the entire household.
Do we ever run out of toilet paper? Nope. How about aluminum foil? Nope. When is the science fair coming up? Is March the month with teeth cleaning specials? Do our gas points expire at the end of the month? Did we pay the Kohls bill on time?
You have this mental list in your head too. And it’s exhausting. You can write it down all you want but it’s still up there taking up space in your head.
10. Doing the laundry.
When I first went to college, I washed all my clothes with color-safe bleach. No laundry detergent. I honestly didn’t know the difference. I didn’t realize I needed soap for my clothes. And surprisingly, I still was able to snag a boyfriend.
I hated laundry then and I hate it now. But guess what? There’s no one else to do it. It’s all me. I have to wash, fold, and hang not only my clothes but my son’s clothes. Thankfully, my husband takes care of his own.
These are just some of the things I hate about being a grown-up. But it’s not all bad. As adults, we find many advantages come with age: wine, rated R movies, late nights with no bedtime, lots of candy, vacations, and most importantly, the ability to say no.