It’s the little things in life we come to appreciate when things turn to chaos and disorder — which is most days. The times when we could just decide to go out to eat at 7 p.m. and actually enjoy our food are gone for awhile. These days to accomplish anything, there has to be a strategy. A game plan. Things get more complicated after you have kids running around. The little things that were so easy become complicated, and more often than not, too much trouble to bother with, like:
1. Eating Out
Eating out away from home after kids is a challenge. Also known as “planning for how you’ll keep the kids from turning the entire restaurant into a scene from The Lord of the Flies before their macaroni and cheese arrives.”
2. Running Errands
Which requires more strategy and planning than the invasion of Normandy.
3. Making Dinner
Being a successful investor of hedge funds using only a degree in The Politics of Beyoncé is easier than making dinner at my house. Mostly because hedge funds do not latch onto your leg like a barnacle, leaving you to peel them off with a ladle.
4. Drinking Coffee
There are only two strategic options:
-Drink it cold four hours after you brew it.
-Chug it hot and risk the third-degree burns for instant energy.
5. Dentist Appointments
Outside of spending the entire time swinging my arm at my kids from the chair, and bellowing caveman-like noises that no one understands as actual words except the hygienist, I haven’t figured a strategy out for this one yet.
Most of your day chasing kids and hauling laundry around is exercise. So the only strategy you need is speed and hope.
7. Getting the Oil Changed
What was once a thing you just did on a Tuesday around lunchtime has now become an anxiety-inducing heart pumping event that you start losing sleep over around 2000 miles. Grease Monkey has nothing for kids, just an impact wrench that makes a super cool noise, luring children into the garage like moths to a flame.
Showering after everyone goes to bed is the best time because you’re not rushed. But if you’re a morning shower person, bring the party with you.
9. Getting Ready
This is the same strategy a pin ball uses. You bounce from kid to kid, to yourself, back to kids. This goes on until the kids are ready and loaded in the car, forcing you to choose what you will be skipping in order to make it out the door on time: teeth, deodorant, hair, makeup. Dealer’s choice.
10. Grocery Shopping
The only strategy you need these days is a list. If you forget your list and happen to have all your children with you and it’s nap time, you might need four “Hail Mary”s and one “Our Father.”
12. Talking on the Phone
If you aren’t blessed with nap times anymore and you don’t own a full-sized dog kennel, you’ll have to wing this one. The only real strategy you can implement is running away from your kids once tech support takes you off hold. Sure, you’ll be out of breath, and it’ll sound like herds of wild gazelle are chasing you, but you will be able to at least make a partial call and beg them to call you tomorrow.
13. Clothes Shopping
Popcorn and Slurpees. It won’t keep the kids from loudly commenting on your squishy dough belly, but it will keep them from crawling under all the dressing room stall doors. You just have to change fast.
14. Having Guests
If your kids are like mine, they think that everyone who walks through the door has come over to see them — even the exterminator — and after four years at home with kids, he counts as a houseguest. Your children will probably follow him around asking him 4,000 questions about what he’s doing. He will be too polite to tell your kid to buzz off, so basically you will have bought yourself enough time to take that call from tech support.
15. Sitting Down for Five Minutes
Man, we were all so spoiled once, back when we could sit down for as long as we wanted and it wasn’t the pediatric version of the Bat-Signal for “Susie just tossed the cat into the toilet and flushed.” My best strategy for this is to trick my kids into thinking we’re going to play a game like “who can sit still the longest” or do something interesting like counting all the little fiber divots on the couch.
The definition of strategy is, “A method or a plan one chooses to create a desired result. An achievement of a goal or a solution to a problem.” When you become a parent, this is basically the definition for every issue every day of your life. Even sleep needs a strategy. Don’t worry, though, most of us get the hang of this so fast we don’t even realize we’re doing it. Until we have house guests, and they are wondering why they have to watch our kids tap dance to the theme song from Dora while we drink coffee and talk on the phone outside in the dog kennel.