By Jackie Ashton
1. “Have you seen the butter?” heard three times a day per child, caregiver or other “human” who frequents your home. (On any given day, there are at least three sticks of butter in, of all places, the refrigerator.)
2. Just as you are walking out to take a much-deserved yoga class, your first in ages, the babysitter texts in a cancellation: she has been bitten by a spider.
3. “Mommy! Where! Is! My! Bobo!?” screeched at ear-piercing volume, 300 times per day per child. (Note: Bobo, the bright-blue elephant, is usually splayed out on the kitchen floor—right where he was left!—often within eyesight.)
4. Your 2-year-old daughter returns from preschool clutching a bag of clay and detailed homework instructions involving said clay. That’s weird, you think, I didn’t know preschools assigned homework. You cancel wine night with the girls and dutifully follow the instructions, cheerleading and coaching your toddler along with enthusiastic fist-pumps. The next day you help your daughter pack her clay creation ohsocarefully into her backpack. For weeks, you inquire about this important (and unannounced!) clay homework. You receive the same cheerful reply each time, “Oh, that! She never collected it!”
5. Subsequent calls to the now radio silent, spider-bitten babysitter are returned with a text that says “I’m. Just. 2. Emotional. 2 B UR babysitter. I quit. L8R!”
7. You stop at the vet’s office to pick up special “Diarrhea No More” food for the geriatric family dog. You leave your 3-year old son and 4-year old daughter in the car for a blip of time that does not exceed one nanosecond. You return to find a pile of your son’s warm poop perched like a bow on the present you just bought for your nephew’s birthday.
8. In an attempt to be an involved mother, you volunteer to organize the kindergarten end of year party. You receive 47 emails to discuss and re-discuss, hash out and re-hash out, schedule and re-schedule the five tasks that need to take place to pull off a one hour party for five-year-olds.
9. You send your son to school wearing red pants and a black Spiderman T-shirt. He awaits you at pick up wearing shoes, a pull-up that does not belong to him and nothing else in 40-degree weather. No explanation for his strip tease is provided.
10. The mother-loving lice are back. Your children will now wear tea tree oil-dipped ski caps at all times. So. Help. You. God.
11. You are thrilled to receive a last-minute invite to see Phoenix, your favorite indie band. You call your top five babysitters; none are free. You try the B-list babysitters, eight of them: they’ve all been bitten by spiders. Your cousin calls to say that her next door neighbor’s nanny’s ex-husband’s parole officer has a new girlfriend who sort of likes kids and would you like her number?
12. You volunteer to drive some of the children in your daughter’s class to the zoo for a field trip. It’s unclear whether he suffers from the bubonic plague or swine flu, but one of the children assigned to your car is definitely dying.
13. You receive a 5-inch thick packet in the mail from the school your children have attended for three years. “New forms must be filled out by hand each calendar year—thanks in advance!” chirps the letter from the Director.
14. You pay a boatload of money to send your kids to the “Summer Fun Zone,” a June camp marketed as a week of fun-filled outdoor frolicking for your kids while you work. “How was camp?” you ask them on the ride home, hoping for festive tales of water-balloon-tossing and capture the flag. “Awesome!” your 4-year-old son replies, “We didn’t even have to hold hands crossing the street!”
15. It’s your 10th wedding anniversary. You’ve planned a much-anticipated night away with your husband. As you are applying mascara for the first (and quite possibly the last) time in 2015, the just-hired-quadruple-reference-checked babysitter calls (ah-ha! she does have vocal cords): “Jackie, hey, listen, I know this sounds super random and weird, but I think I’ve been bitten by a spi”—CLICK.
Jackie Ashton is a freelance writer based in San Francisco. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Salon and Redbook, among other publications.
Photo: Getty Images