It’s May and I’ve got a little spring in my step. After a school year with some rocky moments, everyone has settled into a nice groove. Both kids were accepted into new schools for the following academic year, and everyone is excited about the next chapter in their scholastic journey. No one’s had a major illness or injury recently. We’ve gone a few moons without any serious friend drama. We have the occasional moment, but my sons are generally well-behaved, polite, and kind. Aside from the usual everyday struggles (dirty clothes on the floor, toilets left unflushed), the household is running smoothly.

So basically, I’ve been feeling like I’m winning at this parenting gig.

And then I discovered the booger pillow.

We were all snuggled on the couch for family movie night when I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye. I looked over and saw my son dig, roll, and wipe in one smooth, practiced movement.

“Did you just…..Did I just see you…IS THAT THE BOOGER PILLOW?!” I spluttered.

Of course, it was the very pillow upon which I rest my weary head, on the rare occasion when I get to take a quick nap on the couch. I realized with a sinking feeling that what appeared from a distance to be a mottled pattern on the decorative couch pillow was, in fact, TEXTURE. It’s a miracle I haven’t gotten a nasty scratch on my face, because there were some sharp, calcified angles protruding out.

I’ve counted myself lucky, truth be told, to have never had any nose-related issues in the family. Neither of my sons ever really had any fascination with their nose. I’ve seen plenty of other kids do it, but we’ve dodged that issue. Nary a booger-picker or booger-eater in sight in my house.

And I’ve decided that this pretty much sums up parenting. Just when you pause, catch your breath, and pat yourself on the back at the job you’re doing raising little humans, you find the boogers.

I’ve been chuckling about this since the day it happened. I may never settle into a gentle slumber on that couch again. But my oldest enters middle school near year. In the grand scheme of parenting struggles, I’m pretty sure I’ll be praying for boogers on furniture.

Joanna McFarland Owusu is a freelance writer and researcher based in Dallas, Texas. A federal government analyst in a former life, Joanna now spends her time wrangling two little boys and a toddler daughter. Her work has appeared on The Huffington Post,, and


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