I’m fairly certain the five regular readers I have all know me personally. But, in case you don’t, I am currently raising four kids under the age of 7, and doing my best to remember to feed a Great Dane and a French Bulldog at least once a day.
Ever since kid #2 came along, spending time in my house has been peaceful in the way that curling up inside a snare drum is peaceful. It is eardrum-piercing loud in here.
For the last few years I’ve been running a small custom cake business out of my home. Usually I leave the finished cakes in my garage fridge, to be “picked up at your convenience,” aka “to be picked up when I’m gone so you can’t hear me screaming at my spawn to stop screaming.”
Sometimes my plan falls through, however, and a client will come to pick up a cake when all of my creatures are home. This goes one of two ways. The first is when I fail to see them as they’re pulling in, and they end up at my door. This scenario is less than ideal. As they cross the threshold into my kitchen, their eyes are inevitably drawn to my naked firstborn, who has chosen to leave the bathroom and wipe her butt IN THE KITCHEN because she’s the child that can’t stop talking to me for anything. At anytime.
Next their eyes rest upon the Great Dane who is busy cleaning the table with her sizable tongue.
And then I turn around, holding their cake out like a gift, with the Frenchie strapped to me in a baby carrier.
These clients are generally the ones who don’t place repeat orders.
The second scenario is slightly better, and this happens when I see their car pulling in. The Great Dane is quite helpful in signaling their approach, and by the time I’m out the door, cake in hand on the stoop, she’s towering over me on the other side of the door, foaming at the mouth and making noises you’d usually have to go to a shuttle launch to hear.
These clients are more inclined to order again, but as naked kids 2 and 3 streak past the door trying to convince the other dog to be Sven in their nude remake of Frozen 2, I am asked something along the lines of “How do you do it?”
I have an answer for these curious minds in my back pocket, and that answer is “not well.”
If you haven’t seen it yet, I’ll give you a hint. Shoes. This was a fashion choice I didn’t notice until we arrived at her school this morning, and when questioned she told me she couldn’t find the match so she just put on the next shoe she could find.
I can tell you exactly where the match to the one shoe is — on the roof of their playhouse. I’m pretty sure the other match was thrown away when I was channeling my inner Marie Kondo and decided that constantly picking up little shoes doesn’t bring me joy.
The other answer I give — and I’m hoping I’m not the only work-from-home Mom to say this — is that since the middle of 2018 I’ve been coparenting with YouTube.
And I’ll tell you what, while I am generally too busy (that’s a synonym for Lazy right?) to be the crafty, educational and outdoorsy parent that I set out to be, YouTube picks up the slack.
Their current obsession is two brothers from Indonesia. Or maybe it’s Minneapolis. I know nothing, other than that these two brothers are usually shirtless and digging underground water slides in the jungle, or building four-story structures out of vines.
There is some sort of music involved, but as far as I know there is no “hey kids don’t try this at home” type of warning.
Fast forward to yesterday, when I’m in the kitchen meal prepping for the week and Alex comes in with a bowl full of leaves and asks me to melt them for him them in the microwave.
At the same time, Evelyn comes in wearing rubber gloves and asks me for a rock she can use to grind mushrooms.
The first thing I asked was if these were the kind of mushrooms that would taste good sautéed in butter or if they were the kind that were going to cause her to see Jesus in her bike helmet.
Because from the look on her face, it seemed like she’d maybe already gotten into some of the mushrooms.
She didn’t get my reference, which made me feel like a good parent in that she hasn’t discovered that side of YouTube yet.
As it turns out, they were using the “melted” leaves and the mushrooms to make paint. Paint to be used on the water slide they’re planning to dig in the backyard.
I immediately ripped off my apron, put Alex’s leaves in the microwave, handed Evelyn the biggest rock I could find and asked if I could please be there when they asked my actual co-parent if they could dig a waterslide in the yard he seeded three times this summer.
Which takes me back to my original “how do you do it” answer of “not well.” Feel free to follow me for more parenting tips.