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Reality vs. Fantasy

As a mother, you have expectations. Expectations of what your child will experience, understand, love and hate growing up. As moms, we set the bar high, and have a tendency to have unrealistic expectations of our children. We tend to forget they are kids, not miniature adults. It’s the simple things in life that bring smiles to their faces. A balloon. A chocolate ice cream cone. A kitchen dance party. Don’t get me wrong; I still take mine to the science center. I just try to accept the fact that the first thing they’ll talk about when they get in the car is who got to press the elevator button. A taste of fantasy vs. reality from a mom’s perspective.

Trip to the Museum

Mom’s Fantasy: We are going to meander through the museum, look at the dinosaurs, and tour the butterfly exhibit.

Reality: The kids sprint through the exhibits, tell you it’s boring, but pop a squat for over 20 minutes at the T-Rex exhibit because they like the fake blood. Lunch consists of overpriced hot dogs and chips.

Trip to the Beach

Mom’s Fantasy: We’ll take a relaxing walk down by the beach, look for shells and watch the sunset.

Reality: Your son picks up a condom, your daughter steps on a large stick and now they are both ridiculously hangry, so you leave before sunset.

Movie Theater

Mom’s Fantasy: We’ll eat popcorn and enjoy watching the movie together as a family.

Reality: You are up no fewer than 5 times taking a child to the bathroom, running for more food or drink, and looking for their shoes, which they slipped off after the previews. You apologize for their disruptive habit of talking to everyone within a three-seat radius. Your son also ruins a makeout session between two lovebirds when he yells, ‘Kissy, kissy.’


Mom’s Fantasy: We’re going to relax, get away, catch up on sleep, swim and have fun.

Reality: Car breaks down; you sleep with a different child every night, get woken up at o’dark thirty, get sun poisoning, and want to go home after day two.


Mom’s Fantasy: They will love math, learn how to read, and get better at sharing.

Reality: Hot lunch is the best part of their day.

School Field Trips

Mom’s Fantasy: The kids will learn so much, be exposed to the arts and music, and adore the community theater.

Reality: The bus ride is their favorite part.


Mom’s Fantasy: The kids will enjoy the pool and complimentary breakfast, and have fun sleeping in a different place.

Reality: The kids are scared of ‘weird noises,’ pile in with you and keep switching beds. Because they can. You throw Twizzlers and chips at them while they watch bad TV, so you can get some sleep. You are on the road by 7:30 a.m.


Mom’s Fantasy: Flying is a new adventure! The kids will sit quietly, eat snacks, play games and even watch a movie.

Reality: Your son licks the fold-down tray; both touch every orifice in the airplane bathroom and spill their drink. Twice. They also eat all the snacks you brought in the first 15 minutes of the flight.


Mom’s Fantasy: Family and friends will come over to celebrate, the cupcakes and decorations will all coordinate, and everyone will have fun playing games.

Reality: The cupcakes look like Elmo is drunk, your child stops opening gifts because she wants to play with the first thing she receives, and all the children fight over who gets the pink balloon. Five years later, the children are still fighting over the pink balloon.

Ballet Class

Mom’s Fantasy: My daughter will have fun, emulate her teacher and learn the basics of ballet.

Reality: She just watches herself twirl in the big mirror, admiring her skirt as it flounces.


Mom’s Fantasy: My son will love the competition, spending time with friends, and learning how to pass and shoot.

Reality: He’s obsessed with a big anthill and ends up watching a puppy chase a butterfly more than the soccer ball.

Trip to Chicago

Mom’s Fantasy: Enamored of the architecture, museums, lake and food.

Reality: The hotel pool is phenomenal.

Water Park

Mom’s Fantasy: The kids are going to love all the water slides and cool water features.

Reality: All they want to do is throw quarters at The Claw Machine. Yes, we truly do need another stuffed animal. Disney World

Mom’s Fantasy: They will love every minute of everything.

Reality: OK, they really do love every minute of everything. But, they also think the turnstiles are fun.

We try way too hard as parents. Next time, throw them in the backyard with some Super Soakers and let them eat Nutella with a spoon. Done.

I am an educator by trade...

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