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There are aspects of child-raising that we, as parents, grow to love. And hate. But love ’em or hate ’em, we need them. To survive.

6 love-hate relationships that tell the tale of motherhood. #momlife #motherhood @21stcenturysahm Click To Tweet

Editor’s Note: We are happy to have Karen Johnson who is an editor and free-lance writer. on the blog today to talk about motherhood and the love-hate relationship that we share. 

1. The pacifier

Why you love it: This tiny object is magical. There is no greater feeling that popping that sucker (literally) back into your baby’s mouth at 3:00 in the morning. Baby fussing at Sunday brunch? Pacifier in. And… silence! Mommy is trying to catch up with an old friend? Where’s the binky? There it is! “Now where were we? Your husband did WHAT?” (Your gossip sesh can now commence.) Your dependence on the pacifier runs so deep that you now see the value in strategically placing several around the crib so that baby can find her own now at 3 a.m. and Mommy won’t even have to get out of bed. Genius!

Why you hate it: Try taking a 12-hour road trip with that same fussy baby. In her anger at being stuck in her seat, she has thrown or spit out all of her pacifiers. They are gone, lost in the abyss that is your mini-van on hour 8 of the drive. It is the middle of the night. You and your husband are desperately searching for the nearest 24-hour Walgreens or Walmart so you can find more of these tiny rubbery plastic things that wield their power over you and your sanity. And then, once your adorable baby turns into a toddler, guess what, Mommy? It’s time for her to give that sucker up. Society is judging you. Grandmas are making comments at the grocery store, like, “Isn’t she a bit old for that thing?” So now you get to experience the joys of the bye-bye pacifier plan, which brings us to love-hate relationship #2.

2. Coffee

Why you love it: Now that you’ve taken away the holy binky, your toddler hasn’t slept in weeks and refuses to nap. Coffee is now your savior more than ever before. While you love the smell and taste of your morning joe and your fancy pumpkin spice creamer, it is really about the caffeine. Prior to that first sip, your vision is foggy, the toddler battles of the night before seem like a dream, and you stare blankly at the pile of dishes in the sink, wondering how the hell you’ll muster the energy to parent today. But 1/2 cup in, your energy spikes, and you start to feel like Mommy again. By the end of the first cup, you can actually make words, change diapers, and pour milk into cereal bowls.

Why you hate it: Yes, coffee makes it all better, but what if you run out? It is 5:45 in the fucking morning. It is still dark out. You fumble in the dimly lit kitchen for the coffee canister and open it to discover that there is no more. Shit! You now vaguely recall using up the rest yesterday and writing yourself a note to buy more (a note which was then buried under permission slips, fundraising flyers, and a colored picture of Hello Kitty). Holy crap. You would pay $400 for Starbucks delivery right now. Your dependence on this crack-juice is debilitating.

3. Nursing

Why you love it: It’s free. It’s always there. You can’t forget to pack your boobs. You won’t have any “Shit! I forgot the baby’s food” moments because it’s all inside your engorged milk mountains. Baby’s hungry at McDonald’s? In the car? At church? Here’s a nipple. Boom. Done.

Why you hate it: It’s free. It’s always there. You can’t forget to pack your boobs. And baby knows it. You’re a factory, with no vacation, no weekends, no time card to punch in or out. You are the refrigerator, the pantry, and the secret snack drawer all-in-one, for the next 6 months. Want to meet your husband for happy hour on Friday? Hahahaha. Good luck.

4. Netflix

Why you love it: It is instantly available. There are 7,873 choices. The kids (or you) will always find something to watch. Gone are the days of “that isn’t on right now” or “we don’t get that channel.” Chances are, it’s on Netflix. Also, it never ends. One show rolls right on into the next. You can binge-watch Orange is the New Black now that the kids are back in school and never even have to shift in your seat to reach the remote. And if you don’t want to see or hear your kids for 6.5 hours straight, they can do the same (hopefully not with OITNB, but hey — we all parent differently).

Why you hate it: Netflix makes you feel bad about yourself as a parent. It is so easy, as the kids ask for “just one more show?” and you see “The next episode of Pokemon will start in 11 seconds…” on the screen, to say okay. I mean, what’s one more, right? Even though their eyes are starting to gloss over and they’ve lost the ability to speak or move their limbs. Damn you, Netflix! Why must you tempt us parents and be so difficult to turn off?! We want to be better parents. Sometimes.

5. The I-Pad

Why you love it: The I-Pad is the baby’s pacifier 5 years later. It makes your life immensely easier. Going on a long car ride? I-Pad! Done. Mom needs a little quiet time? “Go up to your room. And yes, you can take the I-Pad.” Those are the only words you need to say and, like magic, the house is quiet. And similar to Netflix, it provides instant gratification. What kids, your spoiled little selves are bored with the 843 apps we already have? Sure, download another. What’s $1.99?

Why you hate it: Like other love-hate relationships, your reliance on this toy is crippling. If forgotten, your children are left to entertain themselves out in the world. They stare at each other, and you, in confusion. What do we do now, Mommy? You then realize how much you’ve failed in preparing them for the world outside of Minecraft. You try to engage them in conversation or play fun imaginative games to stimulate brain development. Really, you’re counting down the minutes until you can all return to your pitiful screen-driven worlds again.

6. Nap time

Why you love it: Who doesn’t? What mother is not like Julie Andrews dancing through a meadow once she realizes her kids are asleep? Nap time is bliss. It is sacred. No, I will not call you during nap time. Nap time is Mommy-time, quiet-time, read a book, watch grown up TV, or even sadly fold clothes in peace time. And so help you, Mr. UPS delivery man, if you ring my damn doorbell between 1:00 and 3:00.

Why you hate it: It runs your life. What? Your kindergartener has a school performance at 2:00? WTF?! How will you do that? And what if the toddler falls asleep in the car and will not transfer? This level of despair is unmatched by most other events in life, as you realize your hope for nap time is dissipating. Once your child grows out of nap and you bid farewell to this coveted time of serenity, you find that you do have more freedom, and attending your son’s soccer game at 1:00 is not the end of the world. And bonus: your kid will probably pass out at 7 p.m. in the evening, allowing an extra hour or two of Mommy-wine time!

Motherhood: A time of contradiction, a time when we love and simultaneously loathe the things we rely on most. Rational? No, not always. But don’t tell us that. Just hand us some hot coffee, stick the pacifier in the baby’s mouth, and let us binge-watch Scandal already.

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Karen Johnson is an editor and free-lance writer. Her blog The 21st Century SAHM is a cathartic mix of sarcasm, angry Mama Bear rants, and heartfelt confessions about how she’s screwing up her kids. She has had work featured on Scary Mommy, The Good Men Project, and Sammiches and Psych Meds, among others. She is a contributing writer in Lose the Cape: Never Will I Ever (and then I had kids!) and What Does It Mean to Be White in America? Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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