Two adults, a 3 year old and a 6 month old get into a mini-van to drive 20 hours to Florida and 20 hours back. That right there is the setup and the punchline, folks.
Yesterday I wrote about lawn mower races and poop anomalies. Today I am thinking about grander things. Namely, my worth as a parent. Taking this road trip validated me at my deepest level and here is why: it showed me why I should no longer feel bad about not being able to get shit done in my day to day life.
The only tasks we really needed to accomplish as a family, while driving in this mini-van were:
3. Take potty breaks
That’s it. There was no laundry to fold, no dishes to do, no calendars to keep, checkbooks to balance, rooms to clean, toys to put away, showers to take…you get the idea. The tasks required of us on this trip were the absolute purest, barest minimum. And yet (here is where the validating part comes in) the overall mood inside that van was absolute chaos. Leaky diapers, bunny crackers out of reach, poop blowouts, toys dropped, baby needs to nurse, sunglasses missing, cd not working, gps comes unplugged, water spilled, straw dropped, baby crying, baby wailing, 3 year old mumbling as quietly as possible and over and over again something neither of us can hear, ridiculously annoying toddler-song cd filling the van with modified kids’ voices.
With 2 adults, we were scrambling to maintain calm. With both of us hustling we managed to create some extended times of quiet where one of us could drive and one of us could sleep or read. But, this was short-lived. It made the idea of doing this at home by myself and actually trying to get stuff done seem….heroic. Here we were driving in a 10×5 foot box with literally nothing that needed to be done except eat, sleep, drive and take potty breaks. With 2 of us working at it, we were just barely able to take care of these things and find time to rest. No wonder I feel too tired to make dinner most nights.
No matter how mellow you are, kids make you busy. They bring it. So tonight, I’m raising my glass to those parents who raise their kids and find time to do stuff like make dinner, clean the kitchen floor, and fold pants. I will be thinking of you while we eat take-out food while wearing our pajamas (the only clothes that were clean.)