Lately, every parent I know feels especially overwhelmed by the never-ending demands of family life. Although February is partly to blame—and it’s almost over! Spring is coming!—it’s also just part of the job. It seems like a good time to re-visit this list (on page 22 of my book). If you’re clinging to the end of your rope, I hope you’ll be inspired to stay strong. At the very least (as always), I hope you’ll feel less alone. We really are in this together. It's a crazy, crappy time, but it's all perfectly normal . . .
Ten Things Your Family Might Ask You When You Are Busy
I'm not saying this actually happened to me. I'm not saying it didn't. I'm just saying, if ever you have carved quiet time away to focus on a project (say, a fund-raiser for your kids' school or tracking down that funny charge on your debit card), your family might interrupt and ask you these things. I'm just saying.
1. Do you know where the shop-vac is?
2. Does this chicken smell okay?
3. Can I take those flowers (just purchased and arranged in vase) to my girlfriend tomorrow? [Also, questions 3a and b: Do you have a different, smaller vase I could use? And could you show me where it is in the basement?]
4. Have you seen the checkbook?
5. Can you re-schedule my orthodontist appointment?
6. Can I go to New York on a school trip in March (commitment money due Monday)?
7. Can you come look at this bank statement right now?
8. Could you please write "Will you go to Homecoming with me" in Russian cursive on this card?
9. Can you make my brother stop de-pantsing me in gym class?
10. Do you want a fajita (it was my understanding that the meal we ate two hours ago would serve as dinner)?
Let me be clear: I am privileged to say my main job is being wife and mother to this family. I don't really mind answering any of these questions or performing any of these services. I am honored, in fact, to do so. But when these ten queries came at me in one night, it was just a tiny reminder of why this job of ours is kind of insane.
When we sit down and try to focus, the interruptions are many, varied, and unpredictable. So it goes with parenting. It is so seldom convenient. It so rarely goes as planned. We are almost never truly prepared, for anything. Hang in there; stay the course; acknowledge the struggle. Our children are worth it in the end. And you might get to practice your high-school Russian. :-)