Rarely do I stray into my mommy life on this blog, but if I’m writing for kids while raising them, then a little parenting humor has its place. Enjoy, mommies! (P.S. This article may or may not be based on actual events!)

flyingclockThis is for all the stay-at-home mothers who are exhausted at the end of the day only to be greeted by the words:

“What did you do all day long?” 

I realize our husbands work hard so that we may stay home and care for our families, and I appreciate their sacrifices.  They sit in traffic jams, discuss process and procedure at redundant meetings, and stress over outsourcing and layoffs.  They eat lunches of bland, bark-dry chicken and imagine the blissful hours we spend in the safe, comfortable confines of our own home, children playing happily at our feet while we page through the latest romance novel. 


To dispell the  soap-opera-and-bon-bon-eating-couch-dweller myth of stay-at-home mothers I present to you an average day in husband perceived time (herein referred to as HPT, not to be confused with home pregnancy test) versus actual time.*

Task: Wake children and get them bathed
HPT: 30 minutes
Actual Time: 60 minutes

First child wishes to remain in the bed she so desperately tried to avoid the night before.  While removing second child’s diaper, she pees all over herself, your pajamas, and the floor.  Throw pajamas in the wash, scrub floor with antibacterial yet environmentally-friendly cleanser, and place children in bath.  Second child makes poop-ready face, so she immediately must come out of bath water with shampoo still in hair.  Wrestle new diaper on, rinse hair, clothe her, bathe first child.  Slip on floor, ice sore ankle, let first child run around wet and naked.

Task: Feed children breakfast (and yourself if you have the chance)
HPT: 15 minutes
Actual Time: 45 minutes

First child refuses to eat and throws food on floor.  Sit child in time-out.  Clean floor.  Second child spits food out like a machine gun.  Clean floor.  First child returns to table, lifts cereal bowl to drink like cat, spills milk.  Calm tears.  Clean floor.  Remove second child from highchair, half the breakfast you thought was eaten falls to the ground.  Slip on floor,  ice sore ankle, let baby lick crumbs off ceramic tile. 

Task: Take preschooler to school
HPT: 10 minutes (even though school is 15 minutes away)
Actual Time: 70 minutes

Spend 15 minutes getting shoes and jackets on children and buckling into Houdini-quality childseats.  Drive to school.  Wrestle stroller out of car, get baby into stroller, carry backpack, lunchbox, stuffed animal du jour and walk (limp) child to classroom.  Get stopped by parent #1 requesting an RSVP to their child’s birthday party.  Get stopped by parent #2 requesting a playdate.  Get stopped by parent #3 requesting you chair a PTA fundraiser.  Preschool director says you did not sign a precious piece of paperwork.  File into her office and wait 10 minutes while she finds crucial document: a pledge to provide a peanut-free lunch.

Task: Put baby down to nap
HPT: 5 minutes
Actual time: 30 minutes

Baby fights sleep.  A cough appears out of nowhere, causing her to awaken just as she is about to fall asleep.  Get in car and drive around neighborhood.

Task: Free time while baby naps
HPT: All day long
Actual time: 37.2 seconds

Chores done in beat to William Tell Overture: sort clothes for laundry, run a wash, put this morning’s soiled jammies in dryer, empty the dishwasher and reload, make yourself a sandwich, go through mail, schedule a doctor’s appointment, return phone calls to your mother-in-law, your babysitter and the YMCA for swim lessons that have been cancelled and rescheduled for a day and time that is most inconvenient for you.  Sit and eat lunch.  Thirty seconds of bliss.  Bite into sandwich as baby wakes from carseat flashnap.

Task: Pick-up preschooler from school
HPT: 0 minutes (you mean she doesn’t take a bus?)
Actual Time: 45 minutes

Preschooler is starving when you arrive.  Examine lunchbox.  Entire lunch remains.  Sit at school while child eats lunch that should have been consumed three hours ago.

Task: Play with kids
HPT: 60 minutes
Actual Time: 60 minutes

Draw with chalk on driveway.  Skip.  Roll on grass.  Blow bubbles.  Have tickle contest.  Giggle and make goofy faces.  Collect acorns; plant them.

Task: Make dinner
HPT: 30 minutes
Actual Time: 60 minutes

“Hey honey, how come Rachael Ray can do it in 30 minutes?”  Like Jane Jetson, you press a button on a little silver box and dinner magically appears in a cloud of steam, hot and ready, on a table already set with placemats, forks, knives, spoons, napkins, plates, glasses and everyone’s favorite beverage.

Task: Prepare for tomorrow
HPT: 0 minutes (what, can’t you do that tomorrow?)
Actual Time: 60 minutes

Make lunch and pack it.  Check weather report and take out clothes for tomorrow, jackets, gloves, hats, boots, gloves.  Throw out junk mail, sort bills, tack invitations on the fridge and check calendar.  Make grocery list.  Fold laundry.  While helping first child go to the potty, baby grabs pile of laundry.  Refold laundry.  Put laundry away.

I’ll skip bedtime and instead point you to this poignant little ditty on YouTube.  This husband’s inner HPT clock is working perfectly.

So, let’s add it all up for the day…drumroll please…

Husband Perceived Time of All Tasks: 1 hour (only playing with the kids counts)
Actual Time of All Tasks (including 30 minutes potty time): 7.7 hours

Hmmm, out of an eight-hour day, that gives us exactly 18 minutes to blog.

*Please note that HPT exists in households where mothers work outside the home as well.  In this case, the HPT may be even more distorted.