You walk into the kitchen and stare at the fridge. Open it, hoping that you’ll remember what you meant to do. A glass left on the edge of the kitchen counter distracts you so you put it in the sink. You hear a noise in the bathroom that sounds worrying, but it turns out to be your son enjoying the acoustics while he
. There’s washing that needs to be hung on the line and an onion waiting to be chopped. The phone rings.
Sound familiar? It’s a wonder we parents get anything done. It’s not that we can’t multi-task - if we couldn’t, we’d be doomed - but rather that we have to multi-multi-task. If you created a mind map of the average parent, a GPS system would get hopelessly lost in the tangled cul-de-sacs and spaghetti junctions.
Some days I walk around for hours with the niggling feeling that something isn’t being done. Other days, everything seems to be running smoothly until that last minute in front of the school when my daughter will give me her aghast-face: Something crucial has been left at home.
We chase our children around the house to get them ready in the morning, wanting to offer them the independence to pack their own school bags, sports kit, lunches
and projects but knowing that they have to be reminded to brush their teeth. Something they should be doing every day. The forgetting isn’t usually too serious, but it can result in extra car trips or tearful fretting that life will be over once the teacher finds out that the homework wasn’t done.
Some parents live by lists and charts. The fridge becomes the war planning office, with each child’s activities listed by the days of the week. A calendar to keep up with everything else. Shopping lists and party invitations
. Phone numbers and email addresses. Other parents use their laptops or phones with annoying pinging reminders of every detail which needs to be addressed.
I don’t. There’s a calendar on the fridge, but the little squares always looks suspiciously empty. Getting the children ready in the morning is like conducting a full orchestra without a score and wearing earmuffs. In their post-sleep fog they struggle to focus, but somehow we manage.
I’ve heard of other parents (not me, of course) who have forgotten their kids in restaurants or supermarkets. Or left nappy bags
on top of the car, only to wonder why everyone they drive past is waving at them. Fortunately, most moments of being absent-minded don’t have too calamitous consequences, unless you include forgetting to pack an extra outfit for a baby who chooses a shopping outing to get wildly and colourfully sick. Or that time you forgot about the eggs boiling on the stove until all the water was gone. Did you know that exploded eggs can scorch ceilings? And that they smell like the sulphurous fires of hell?
And they call parenting creating memories. Ha!What’s your most memorable forgetful moment as a parent? Send your stories to email@example.com and you could win a R250 Kalahari.com voucher.