Over the past 18 months I have heard the phrase “unprecedented times” more than I had heard it in all my 32 years combined. My email inbox is filled with messages from every website I’ve browsed offering their assurances and sympathy during these unprecedented times. You can run, but you can’t hide. Talk of these unprecedented times is being shouted into our ears on every commercial, news broadcast, and radio station. As a mom, the worst use of America’s hottest catchphrase is in relation to school. It’s a hot mess. When they start an email like that, we all know a shake-up to our routine is on the way. I don’t know how many more unprecedented things I can handle.
Today, I want to offer fellow parents a brief reminder of all the things in our lives that are precedented in an attempt to help you feel some sense of security when the world seems to be spinning madly on around us:
1. If you just put a clean diaper on your baby, they’re going to immediately poop in it. They love a fresh canvas, don’t they?
2. Got a date night planned? Or a weekend getaway? Somebody has a fever. Better luck next time.
3. Are you enjoying silently scrolling through your newsfeed while your children play independently? Something is definitely afoot. Just pray you don’t find an uncapped marker.
4. If you take a solo trip to the bathroom, someone will start yelling for Mom 30 seconds later, no matter how long they’ve been ignoring you.
5. Regardless of how late your kid stays up, you can bet your bottom dollar they’re still waking up before your alarm goes off in the morning.
6. If you have to be awake earlier for something important, they’re going to want to sleep in.
7. Even on the roughest parenting days when it feels like you won’t survive until bedtime, when you look at their sweet, sleeping faces it’s hard to remember what was so bad.
8. If you cut the sandwich into triangles, they wanted squares.
9. If you have family pictures scheduled, someone is going to get a head injury. It may be a fall, a ball, or an angry sibling that causes it, but there definitely will be a visible bruise somewhere.
10. Neosporin or peroxide will apparently make a boo boo worse, but there is nothing that an ice cream cone and a hug won’t heal.
11. If you go to a restaurant without your loud children, you will almost certainly be seated near someone else’s loud children.
12. If you bought a new outfit, there’s going to be snot or spit up on it before you leave the house.
13. No matter what your child looks like, they are the most beautiful thing you’ve laid eyes on.
I know we are all longing for a sense of normalcy and for life to be the way it was before all these “unprecedented times” showed up. I don’t think life is ever going back to what it was before, but we have an incredible ability as parents to keep the people we love the most feeling safe and secure despite the circumstances surrounding us. There is power in the small routines we keep, like a story and snuggles before bed, a prayer of thanksgiving before dinner, or a silly song in the car on the way to school.