Parenting is a dash of stone cold reality: Every day brings a new batch of housekeeping, childcare and work challenges that have to be met no matter how badly we want to lie down in front of the TV with a beer. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have rich imaginations though. Below, 10 fantasies all parents of small children have.
1. A motel. I haven’t woken up naturally in six years. I’ve had very few nights where I’ve slept straight through, undisturbed by a yelp on the monitor or someone calling out “Mama” in their sleep. (They don’t really need me, and in fact they’re talking in their sleep, but I still wake up and trudge in there to see what’s up.) When I do sleep, I dream of hotels and blocks of solid shut-eye and waking up and drinking coffee at a leisurely pace.
2. A housecleaner as efficient (and cheap!) as Rosie on The Jetsons. I hate to clean. Our time to clean is limited, and it costs a fair bit of money to pay a cleaning person a fair wage. The result? The house is dirty. I daydream about a Rosie or, in the alternative, somehow developing a burning passion for dusting and vacuuming.
3. A little give in the time-space continuum. And by this, I mean time for sex. But before the time for sex, I’d like enough time to finish all the chores that need to be done, plus a certain amount of time for ourselves for exercising and primping and all the things we did when we were child-free. What I’m saying is, I want more time.
4. Holidays produced by a fairy production team. When you become a mother, a lot of things that were previously hidden now become clear—the scales fall from your eyes, so to speak. An example: the amount of labor that goes into producing festive holidays. I love celebrating holidays, and I’m OK with doing some work to make them happen, but what would really be great is a team of fairies who are experts in brining turkeys and wrapping odd-shaped packages.
5. An Ole Golly or childcare as awesome as the nannies in children’s books. Affordable, well-trained, and well-paid day-care workers are hard to come by, largely because child-care workers aren’t well paid in this country. What I wouldn’t give for a Mary Poppins or Ole Golly from Harriet the Spy—paid a living wage, of course.
6. A space-age solution for hair drying. I often wish for some kind of machine, like a phone booth, or a wind tunnel, or something, that I could step into that would dry my hair in 40 seconds or less. In the absence of that, well, the open air will have to do. And since my hair tends to naturally dry in the shape of a sand dune—weirdly sloped in some places, totally hilly in others, smushed against my forehead in still others—I’m never feeling exactly my best.
7. Healthy, delicious dinners that drop from the sky, already on plates, that please all people, and aren’t too hot or too cold. And the ketchup/milk/water/silverware/napkins/salt are all already on the table too.
8. A self-loading dishwasher or at least a conveyor belt that goes from table to dishwasher.
9. A kitchen floor that has a giant vacuum built in. After dinner, the entire floor opens up, sucks down every crumb, and then reassembles itself again. I mean, if engineers can build a Segway, they can build this, right?
10. A tranquilizer gun that doesn’t hurt anyone. I wished for this recently when both my (boy) children were standing in their beds dancing like Heather Graham in Austin Powers. As they swung their pajamas over their heads, I huddled on the floor, defeated, still in my work clothes, dreaming of my own dinner and a nice glass of Scotch. What I wouldn’t give for an elephant tranq, judiciously employed only when totally necessary, to speed up the bedtime routine.
Of all of these fantasies, I’d settle for just a little more time, and the sleep, and okay, fine, the glass of Scotch.