This post is going to read more like a diary entry than an article. Why? Because I’m attempting to write it in about 5 minutes, rather than the 2-3 hours or more that it often takes me, from thinking through a concept to putting on the final touches, to write for this blog.
I am amazed, lately, at how little people understand about the major time-suck that is parenting babies, toddlers and preschoolers. Not amazed, really, because how would you know if you haven’t been through the experience? But what is amazing to me is how quickly parents forget about this period in time once their children are older than 5.
Like, if you know I’m going to be home all day while the kids are at daycare, you may think I have a half hour for a phone call or 20 minutes to run to the store. And maybe I do. All it takes is a little prioritizing and shuffling things around on the calendar, and if I want or need to get something done, yes, it gets done.
But it’s never easy. Let’s say I don’t manage to get the dishwasher loaded and run before the kids get home. Now it’s dinner time, and I need to wash dishes just to be able to eat, let alone have the space to prepare food and clean pots and pans to cook with. Imagine doing this with screaming kids in the background. And this is on the days I pick them up (like tonight, which is why I only have 5 minutes to get this one up). When Dad picks them up, he doesn’t get in until around 6:00 at the earliest, and either dinner isn’t ready, so our whole nighttime routine gets thrown off (read: kids in bed late, read: less sleep for everyone!). Even if dinner is ready on time, the need to do other stuff immediately after means it’s a sprint, not a marathon, to bedtime. So suffice to say that there are days when I simply must load and run the dishwasher, so that 20 minute trip to the store will need to wait.
“B.S.,” you think. “You can find 20 minutes if you really need it.” Well yeah, that’s what I said above. But even if I operated as efficiently as humanly possible, every single day, and filled every moment of the day with stuff to do, don’t you think I would go a little bit crazy? No one maintains that level of efficiency for days on end. You would snap. Or, you’d be running a Fortune 500 company. Well I’m not, ok? So please don’t judge.
And I never got to the part about potty training. I apologize to those of you who were tricked by Google into thinking this post would have a lot of useful information about potty training. It probably doesn’t, but here goes: My almost three-year-old (next week) suddenly, just like magic, went from not wanting to put peepees in the potty at ALL to using a small, portable potty in our livingroom and — get this — doing Number Two in the potty!!! Break out the freaking champagne!! I followed the suggestion of a friend to let her run around butt-naked from the waist down, cover up the area rugs, and put a small potty near the TV. Yes, we let her watch insane amounts of TV in order to do this. If you don’t have kids yet, feel free to shake your head and tsk. YOU WILL UNDERSTAND SOMEDAY THE GLORY OF A POTTY-TRAINED PRESCHOOLER. IT IS WORTH HOURS AND HOURS OF MINDLESS TV WATCHING.
They say that necessity is the mother of invention. I think a version of that concept is this: when you realize that you have very limited time to work with, you become super efficient out of necessity. But at the same time, you don’t do each and everything that you used to be able to accomplish — at least not well. In my case, the trip to the store gets pushed off (a single roll of toilet paper can last forever, amirite?), and sometimes, even that dishwasher doesn’t get run. But when it comes to taking the time to potty train your kid, and the pressure to do so is on because preschool is (happily) in the near future, you find the time and a way to get it done.