This weekend, we celebrate the toughest of the tough, the true champions of strength, mental agility, and pure physical endurance. We’re talking about, of course, your mom.
Well not just your mom. Everybody’s mom, really. The women who raised us and showed us what it really looks like to be a Spartan. In fact, every obstacle you crush on the course pales in comparison to what these fearless women are up against.
Think we’re kidding? Here are 18 challenges that moms face every day without breaking a sweat. Don’t try this stuff at home. Unless you’re a mom. In which case, thank you. We stand in awe of your tireless energy and endless patience. Also, what’s for dinner?
1. Traversal Guilt Wall
Your kids watch too much TV. They eat candy instead of vegetables. They don’t know how to write their name in perfect cursive. You’re clearly a horrible parent who has ruined their futures. Good luck sleeping tonight.
2. 24-Hour Feed the Beast
Breastfeeding combines all the excitement of being on the receiving end of cannibalism with all the fun of being judged by strangers. After carrying a human inside you for nine months, you want some alone time? Sorry, for the next six months, you’re food.
3. Pointless Conversation Challenge
You’ve never had so many fascinating conversations about lice and whether you’ve heard the latest Kidz Bop release. Wait, was that a high-pitched scream? Probably. Time will tell if it was a scream of joy or if your kid needs to be rushed to the ER. At least, if you get hungry, there’s a big plastic bowl of Cheetos and juice boxes.
4. Sick Family Gladiator Arena
The kids have a cold, or worse, they’re projectile vomiting like that devil girl from *The Exorcist. *Your husband can’t help because he’s feeling a little under the weather. You’re running a 102 fever and can barely walk, but you’re still the nurse, head physician, and personal janitor of this sick ward. Make sure everybody else is hydrated and comfortable and try not to pass out.
5. Mother-in-Law Fire Jump
It’s not that you don’t know what you’re doing; it’s that she knows how to do it better. And she’ll tell you all about it. All the time. Over and over. Driving each point into the ground as if that’s where you keep your IQ.
6. The Human Spear Throw
It starts like this: A thing grows inside you for nine months. Then push it out through an orifice that’s much, much smaller than the baby’s head. Your husband will help by instructing you to breathe. You will pretend this is useful advice, because you’re the bigger man.
7. Keep the Infant Alive Marathon
Sounds so easy, doesn’t it? But it’s like being in the Secret Service, and your only job is to protect the president, and there are dangers literally everywhere, and the president is a kid with no sense of self-preservation who’s always running toward sharp corners and electrical outlets and pools of broken glass and creepy-looking vans with the windows blacked out.
8. The Atlas Carry: Bedtime Edition
Same as the conventional atlas carry, but instead of a 100-pound stone, you’re carrying a crying, screaming, kicking toddler back to his or her bed, which they refuse to stay in, and they’ll return to you a half-dozen times, growing more adamant that sleep is an affront to their personal belief system, requiring yet another over-the-shoulder carry back to bed. Repeat until exhausted.
9. The Sleep Deprivation Relay
Remember restorative REM sleep? Yeah, that was fun while it lasted. It’s been replaced with self-deprived hallucinations and dozing off in the middle of Pixar movies. How long before you crack from fatigue and finally lose your mind? Could be any minute!
10. The High Road Run
One of the great joys of being alive is swearing with abandon when you damn well feel like it. Sorry, you’re a mom now. Cursing with anything harsher than a “good grief” means you’ve failed as a caregiver.
11. Date Night Ape Hang
Oh, we’re calling sex with the husband “date night” now? Okay … sure … hot. Who wouldn’t be up for that?
12. The Over-Once-Under Diaper Change
Changing a diaper is as much an art form as it is a survival skill. It requires the steady hand of a sushi chef and the tolerance for viscous fluids of an ER doctor. But it’s not just about getting the diaper on a wiggling, poop-covered butt. It’s also about ducking just in time as a stream of pee comes straight at you like the bullet from a sniper’s rifle.
13. The Daycare Relay
The way those little eyes look at you, their lips trembling as they ask, “Why? Why are you leaving me, Mommy?” Didn’t you go through this whole separate anxiety thing yesterday? Why yes, yes you did. And you’ll do it again tomorrow, and the next day, and it’ll be just as soul-crushingly awful.
14. Grocery Store 8-Meter Dash
You’ve got a grocery list longer than a James Joyce novel and a 10-minute window before your kids lose interest and have a full-on meltdown. Can you get everything on your list and get the hell out of there before your ADHD bomb goes off? Well, don’t just stand there wondering. Move, woman, move!
15. Tiny Herculean Hoist
You’ll need more than upper-body strength to tackle this challenge, which requires carrying a kid and stroller through airport security. A stroller and kid in one arm, your tickets and passport in the other free hand, and your bags … well, that’s for you to figure out. Maybe kick them to the gate? Don’t forget your shoes. Oh wait, you already did.
16. Healthy Dinner Family Gauntlet
Serving a meal to kids that doesn’t consist mainly of salt or sugar (or god help us, whatever chemicals are in fast food) is like walking into a crack house and asking, “Who’d like this delicious fresh fruit smoothie instead of crack?” Yeah, good luck with that.
17. “What Happens When You Die?” Slippery Wall
It’s only a matter of time before the unanswerable questions start coming. “Where do babies come from? Why don’t we visit grandpa anymore? Is there really a Santa Claus? Who makes the wind?” Swallow hard and get ready to spew some inspired and vague bullshit.
18. Mother’s Day Disappointment Delta
Well of course you’re delighted that your husband thought to bring you some flowers from the gas station and your kids are currently making a card with some crayons and yesterday’s newspaper. It’s the thought that counts, even if the thought only occurred to them when somebody realized, “Oh crap, it’s Mother’s Day!” So to all moms out there: Have a happy one!