Why Socks Suck

As a contributor for Iowa City Moms Blog, I’ve written about some pretty tough topics. This post is no exception. I’m sharing one of the greatest challenges I’ve faced during my 14 years of parenting.



I know socks might seem like a benign concern, but believe me–socks are a major pain point in our household.

Our sock drama unfolds the same way every year. Fall rolls around. I go school shopping with my kids and spend a small fortune on pens, paper, glue sticks, and you guessed it–socks.

These new socks are glorious. They are crisp and clean. They smell nice. They MATCH.

I make a solemn vow with this new batch of socks. This will be the year things change. The socks will be washed, rolled into neat little balls, and kept in one place. My kids will skip off to school every day with perfect, matching socks.

Sadly, this fantasy ends after about two weeks. The once lovely, perfectly matched pairs end up…well, I don’t know where they end up. They get sucked into a horrible sock vortex, never to be seen or heard from again.

I’ve tried everything to maintain a sense of order with my family’s socks. I’ve tried labeling. I’ve tried a separate laundry bin just for socks. I’ve tried washing and drying them in laundry bags so they stay together. I’ve tried special drawers and clipping pairs together with clothes pins. I’ve even tried reframing the narrative of our sock-related chaos. Who cares if their socks match! Our kids are creative! Matching socks are for conformists! Matching socks are for the man!


It may seem like I’ve gone off the deep end with all of this sock venting. But the truth is, for a long time this issue wasn’t really about socks.

The sock angst was extension of my “Other Mom” syndrome. Other Moms are tidy and organized. Other Moms are able to keep up with the laundry. Other Moms would never allow their child to leave the house wearing a purple anklet on one foot and a tube sock on the other.

Little by little, I’ve learned to let go of the “Other Mom” mythology. We moms all have our struggles. We all have strengths and weaknesses, our messes and miracles, our chaos and calm. I may never unlock the mystery of the sock, and that’s okay.

But I’d sure love some advice. How do you keep track of your family’s socks?

Meghann is the mom of 5 kids. She is a Lecturer at the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication and an Owner/Partner at Brand Driven Digital. Meghann was elected to the Coralville City Council in 2017 and is currently serving her first term. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Coralville Community Food Pantry (Vice-Chair) and on the DVIP Board of Directors. She is also a member of Johnson County's Juvenile Justice and Youth Development Policy Board. Meghann is passionate about her family, her community, and is a proud pop culture nerd.


  1. I buy multi packs of the same all white sock. No prints or cuffs here. This way when one (or ahem 4) get lost it doesn’t matter. I don’t matching angst – they ALL match! Well except for sizes, we solved that with marker dots on the inside.

    • Plain socks are a good idea! I’ve actually reached the point where I’ve stopped buying cute, fun socks. They have such adorable ones at Gymboree that match the outfits, but I always resist since I know they’ll probably get lost. 🙂

  2. Unfortunately, I’m with you on this problem, Meghann. I have not found a strategy that works to keep matching pairs together. However, I am fortunate that both of my children prefer (at this point in their lives) to wear two different socks most days, so it hasn’t been a problem recently. I dread the day that they start to care though!

    • My kids are just starting to care, lol! And when by some miracle they actually do find a matching pair, it’s like a treasure to them. “Look! My socks are the same!”

  3. I feel your pain!! I too have bins upon bins of unmatched socks. I have been guilty of buying a new pack of socks instead of taking the time to search the abyss that is my home to find the matches to those oh-so-lonely singles. Why do packs of the nicer socks always always always have to have slight variations in them???? I’ve sent my son to daycare in pink socks. I’ve sent my daughter to school in unmatching socks. I figure, other mom’s may hold the secret to a perfectly running house, and that’s fine. No mom is perfect to the point of a having everything all together. If she does, she has secretly found a way to add hours to the day that comes with free tanks of energy. I’m a working mom of two and I don’t have it all together. But I’m my kids mom, and I love them, and they love me, and that’s what matters.

  4. I’m just glad I’m not the only mom who sends her kids to school in mismatched socks. I agree, we’re all doing the best we can. As long as our kids are happy and healthy, that’s what is important. If their socks match, it’s just an added bonus!

  5. We do 2 things at my house. 1) if I buy a variety pack, I buy two of the same so if one sock is MIA, not all hope is lost. 2) Each kid has their own “laundry bag” (one of the zippered pouches for delicates) that dirty socks go in. Keeps them together thru the wash. If we can get the socks from feet to laundry bag, we’ve had much better luck keeping the lost count to a minimum!


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