When you have kids, particularly little mobile ones, you must have your eyes on them at all times. Now, my mom is tisking at this post already. I can hear her reprimanding me for not having a play pen. We are not a play pen generation. I've rarely seen a child in a Pack 'N Play for anything other than sleep or a diaper change. We are a continuation of our predecessors-helicopter parents. We hover over our kids and monitor their every move. More or less. And with good reason. It's draining to parent and be "on guard" 24/7 and we've all slipped up every once in awhile and when the cats away, the mouse will play. Honestly, it's not even when I'm being a "bad mom" that the trouble happens. It's not like I'm sitting out in my hammock talking on the phone while Char is inside pulling out knives from the kitchen drawers.
Hell brakes loose in a matter of seconds. I have many decisions to make each day about how to maintain my authority before mutiny on the bounty. For example, say Caro is watching Barbie (eck, I know!) and Char is on the potty. I want to stay nearby to verify the pee and dish out the reward cookie but I also hear the washer beep. I should get the wet clothes out and switch them to the dryer before I forget until hours later when I have to rewash because the clothes now smell like mildew. What do I do? Uh, uh...ok the laundry room is 10 steps away and it will take me 30 seconds to do the switch and then 10 steps back. I risk it. I race down the hall and back just in time to witness Caroline pasting Band Aids all over herself and giggling while Charlotte, now totally naked, swishes the plunger around in the toilet.
Scene two: I fill the tub with perfect temperature water and just the right amount of bubbles and get each of the girls in. Then, the phone rings and I've been waiting for a call to schedule and important appointment. Ring! Ring! Ring! I've been waiting all day for the call. What do I do?! I again, make the mad dash to the nearest phone, the whole time thinking, "A kid can drown in a teaspoon of water. Never move more than an arm's length from a child in water." I answer the phone and run back to the bathroom. The kids are still breathing. As a matter of fact, they are trying to make a tidal wave by standing up and simultaneously jumping and landing cross-legged onto their fannies. There's now an inch of water in the tub and the whole floor is covered with bubbles.
Between breakfast, craft time, snack time, laundry, potty runs, more snacks, lunch, more laundry, riding bikes, cuddles after knee scrapes, tea party play, referreing spats, snack, meltdowns, dinner, bath, story and getting a glass of water, and one more potty run-in addition to stopping multiple attempts to open the front door and escape into yard, hiding the plunger, Q-tips, sanitary napkins, and Chapstick, creating a makeshift lock to the fridge, finding dirty diapers that have been removed and hidden under bed sheets, cleaning kissy marks from the flat screen, and picking up the toys for the millionth time, I just don't seem to have the time to take a shower and gussy myself up for the viewing pleasure of the rest of the world.
Lucky for me, we live upstate and not in some chic metropolitan area where it really would be embarrassing for me to dress this way all day, from the gym to the grocery store to the coffee shop, to pick up Caro at school, or to the pediatrician's office. If anyone here thinks I am tacky, I haven't heard about it.
What I have heard about is this, "Um, excuse me, is that your child over there removing all 200 seed packets from the display rack while you try to buy a bag of mulch?" Good thing I still have my sneakers on for yet another mad dash.