I am a mom juggling three kids these days.
And I literally mean "juggling." Toting a 1-year-old, a 3-year-old, and a 7-year-old, plus all their diapers, sippy cups, and random toys, is the equivalent of carrying around 50-lb weights while running a marathon. People ask me how I stay in shape, and I say, "Jillian Michaels DVDs," but I actually mean, "My three children."
So then, I am now armed with lots of parenting wisdom, which I will pass off to you.
1. Kids will play peacefully for a maximum of 2 1/2 minutes. After that, crying will begin because someone got hurt or someone needs something.
2. Always carry wipes, band-aids, Purell, and emergency snacks.
3. The moment kids are dressed in their "nice" clothes is the moment juice will spill or a poop explosion will occur.
4. Stale Cheerios found under the table are an acceptable adult lunch.
5. Do not allow glitter in the house. Ever.
6. If you ever have the impression that you have time to take a shower, use the bathroom, or fix yourself a meal, you are about to be proved wrong.
7. Bribery with candy is a fine survival tactic.
8. Don't wear white until your kids grow up and move out.
9. Kids will need the most attention when you are on the phone. That's why texting was invented.
10. The more you are trying to hurry, the more kids will dawdle and get distracted. Children interpret "Come on, let's go!" as "Now is a great time to look for that one missing toy."
11. Daily baths are unnecessary.
12. If one kid is napping, the other kid is awake. They stagger their naps on purpose.
13. It's okay to have "movie day" so you can get things done.
14. No matter how much you vacuum, babies will find tiny, unidentifiable items to stick in their mouths.
15. Unless you want to say, "No" a thousand times, stay far away from the toy aisles in Target.
16. Make friends with people who are okay with you showing up late.
17. A messy house, undone dishes, and unkempt hair are allowed.
18. Sometimes parents need a time out.
19. A cardboard box and pens make a great afternoon activity. Finger paint, not so much.
20. Vital parenting tools include: iPhones, a helpful spouse, second (or third) cups of coffee, and a good sense of humor.
Larissa Marks is a spiritual director, ministry planter, and Director of Spiritual Formation at Bluewater Mission Church in Honolulu. She is the creator of Spiritual Journey. You can also find her at her personal blog The Larissa Monologues. She lives in Honolulu, Hawaii with her husband and three kids.