Parenting and Putting Out Fires

I’ve been keeping a running list of funny, “real life” stories to share with you all. And as I read through it tonight, I couldn’t help it. I just started laughing. Reading it all at once felt like one of those life-with-kids-goes-awry montages from a movie. You know, the ones that have kitchen fires and dogs running through mud — and then on the freshly mopped floors — and naked babies and kids who really should be wearing helmets if they’re going to do that sort of thing?

Yeah, apparently that’s been my life recently.

In our old house we only had one smoke alarm because it was a very small house. And we really only needed one. But in the new house, we have more than that — and THEY ARE TOUCHY. I mean, real trigger happy, these things. Like, I’m browning ground beef on the stove and the steam gets a little out of control and BEEEEEEEP BEEEEEEP BEEEEEEP! (And also, cue one kid crying because she doesn’t like that sound and another one acting like she can’t hear me over the alarm when I ask her, oh-so-politely, to please FORTHELOVE open the back door.)

The funny thing is that we haven’t actually caught any food on fire — but Mark did lose a pot holder to the oven a couple weeks ago. I just laughed when it happened, but I also thought it gave me a good reason to buy new pot holders. Like half our stuff, our matching pot holders were wedding gifts. Sixteen years ago. So one is unraveling, and one has the imprint of a stove burner on it (from a previous incident), and now we have one tossed into the sink because it’s on fire.

Of course I haven’t bought any new pot holders yet. Not because they’re so expensive; they’re what? $2.99 at Walmart? And not because I haven’t been to any stores that sell pot holders. I’ll tell you another day about my recent trips to IKEA (not to mention, I swear I go to the grocery store EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE) (I don’t but I feel like it). But because I keep forgetting. Hashtag mom brain, right?

Last week we had a real meltdown at our house. The late afternoon and evening — already the so-called “witching hour” for kids the world over — feels even more difficult because it’s not just time for homework and dinner and baths and bed. It’s also when Mark is getting up and getting ready for work. So it’s crazy town, all the time. And you add in two little girls pouring a giant bottle of bubbles all over the front porch while one parent showers and the other one works on dinner and dishes? PREPARE FOR THE MELTDOWN, MAN.

In the moment that evening in particular was really stressful for our family. But in hindsight I just have to laugh, just like I did when Mark caught a pot holder on fire. Because that’s just LIFE, isn’t it? Washing a dish, then running to the front door to check on the girls, washing two more dishes, then yelling at the girls to shut the door {again.}, mixing up a marinade and opening a can of green beans, then noticing that one of those girls is squishing when she walks. All over the floor that just got cleaned.

Sometimes life — with kids or without, in movie montages and in real life — is all about putting out fires. Preferably with a fire extinguisher, guys. Not a pot holder.

I know there’s a great metaphor in there about … something. But today I’m just going with the fact that life is crazy and funny and full of a whole lot of fires that need to be put out. And knowing that and accepting that and facing it head on, hopefully with a little humor? Well, that works for me.

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