After the Superbowl Mark and I debated the quality of the commercials. Since I had said at once point, “There’s really way too much football going on between commercials,” you can assume that I am much more interested in the winner of the year’s biggest marketing competition than I am the winner of a football game.

Mark said the commercials were lame and boring this year and even decided that companies must just not be interested in spending so much money on a 30-second ad anymore. I scoffed at his opinion (like a good wife) and proceeded to name the commercials we’d both laughed at or otherwise appreciated. We don’t agree on everything (surprise!), with me rolling my eyes at both the Doritos ultrasound ad (not for political or religious reasons but because it struck me as stupid and a little creepy) and the car ad with the astronaut (puh-leeze) and him liking them both. But for the most part, we could eventually agree that this year’s Superbowl brought us some good commercials but nothing we’ll remember for years to come.

Now, you might wonder just how many commercials or ads are remembered for years. I mean, really. Years? But I’m going to say yes, years. I want to be so wowed and delighted by commercials airing during the Superbowl that I remember and reference them years from now. Just like I’m going to do in this post

I probably couldn’t name or describe more than half a dozen past Superbowl commercials off the top of my head, honestly. With a little conversation – or Googling, I could easily remember many more. But the ones that have truly stuck with me and even become part of my cultural lens are few and far between.

Herding Cats is one of those few.

Unfortunately for the company that paid millions to air this spot, I can remember where I saw this ad for the first time (in the tiny apartment Mark and I lived in the first year we were married, sitting on my Granny’s floral, hand-me-down couch), but I had no idea what they were selling. No amount of money or trivia points could have pulled the company’s name (EDS) out of my brain!

But the visual of that commercial and the brilliant metaphor that I’ve since used to describe so many things has stuck with me.

Most recently I’ve used the phrase, “herding cats,” to explain how difficult it is to manage my toddler after church. For some reason that child – the very same sweet, reasonably (FINE. occasionally) obedient child I walked to her classroom – morphs into a complete MANIAC a couple short hours later. (WHAT KIND OF GOLDFISH ARE YOU GIVING HER, KIDS CITY LEADERS???)

Necessary side note: I am obviously joking about the Goldfish, and our Kids City leaders are the most amazing, patient, loving, AWESOME people EVER. They just…return a wild child to me EVERY SINGLE SUNDAY. Nope, wait. That’s still not fair. She doesn’t lose her mind until she’s seen me.

Mark picks up a calm, happy baby each Sunday, but the second she sees my face she turns into a live wire who runs around in circles squealing and giggling, stopping only to grin when we instruct her to stand still, let us put on her coat, hold our hands or any number of apparently ridiculous things. Then she takes off again, trying her best to get lost or hurt or who knows what.

It’s cute for about four minutes and then I’m over it. Inevitably I find myself yelling at my children (because don’t you even think for a second that this burst of disobedient energy isn’t contagious) right there in the middle of all our church friends and then hauling a screaming-like-she’s-being-kidnapped toddler out the door to the parking lot.

It’s fun times.

Except it’s not.

It’s like herding cats and I feel ridiculous because there are only TWO of them and yet they are clearly running circles (both literally and figuratively) around us every single dang Sunday.

Now, Mark and I have been talking about some different ways to approach Sundays so this doesn’t keep happening. We have some ideas and they don’t all involve a baby leash (I’m sorry – what are they called? – child harnesses? yes, THOSE. I used to think they were awful but now I totally GET IT.). Our girls are well-behaved for the most part, but Sunday mornings tend to upset their sense of routine and bring out the worst in all of us – which is not exactly the Sunday morning tradition we want to be building as a family.

So I thought I’d throw this dilemma out there today. Like I said, we have some ideas. And this is absolutely not the place to debate spanking or church attendance or, really, even child harnesses. It’s the place to share parenting tips that have worked for you in similar scenarios. Or just the strategies you’ve used to not LOSE YOUR MIND when your kids lose theirs.

How do you herd your cats, I mean kids, fellow parents?


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