Being a parent is the proudest, most fulfilling role I’ve ever been gifted. The thing is, I never expected I would be doing this solo. But when life completely knocks down your original plans, the only smart option is to keep moving forward the best you can with the new hand you’ve been dealt. So, between school, running a business, piano lessons, tae kwon do, and teaching, I quickly learned to creatively tackle my daily responsibilities without completely losing my sanity.
From high-powered productivity in the bathroom to taking naps in the school parking lot when I can, I’ve learned that creativity and flexibility is essential if you want to survive and actually enjoy this most rewarding of jobs.
Whether you’re a couple or a single parent like me, chances are you’ll find a few creative parenting strategies below that you’ll need to perfect yourself. Don’t worry, you will.
Here are 32 things every parent must master:
1. Learn to fix broken toys while your child is peeing.
2. Brush your child’s teeth while they’re peeing.
3. Get your child changed for school while they’re peeing.
4. Hold impromptu business meeting on the phone while bathing your child.
5. Discuss your child’s thoughts while you shower and they sit on the toilet.
6. Discuss your child’s thoughts while you sit on the toilet and they sit just outside the bathroom door.
7. Hang already-worn clothes in the bathroom after you’ve taken a hot shower to steam clean.
8. Finally dive into that book you’ve been meaning to start while sitting on the toilet.
9. Get caught up with phone calls and texts while… you get the idea.
10. Have deep and thought-provoking discussions with yourself while waiting in the pickup lane at your child’s school.
11. Release pent-up emotions over YouTube ads of children getting accepted to college and preparing to move out of the house.
12. Release pent-up emotions over cute animal videos on YouTube.
13. Chop more vegetables than your family consumes in a year to help get you into Zen mode when necessary.
14. Get caught up on current events with the maintenance man, the mailman, Jehovah’s Witnesses, solicitors, and other adults who come to your door.
15. Talk out loud about the next actions you’ll be taking. For instance: “I think I got everything on my list”; “Was I supposed to turn there?”; “I think I should try these on.” This in an attempt to separate your immediate thoughts from all the other noise running through your head.
16. Develop diaper-sniffing skills so advanced that you can do it mid-conversation without pausing.
17. Start to have dance parties with the Wiggles and Barney. At least you don’t have to worry about getting hit on by creeps.
18. Accept that “out with my girls” now means Zumba classes at the gym.
19. Eat food that’s fallen out of your child’s mouth.
20. Wipe your child’s nose with your bare hand.
21. Wipe a booger from your child’s face with your bare hand.
22. Saliva — it’s a natural cleaning method.
23. Shower every day? Pshhh… I’m not that fancy, and you don’t have to be either.
24. It’s OK if you pass out on the laundry-room floor, hunched over a clean basket of clothes while the kids are at school.
25. Learn to nap while standing against the kitchen counter and waiting for the water to boil.
26. Sit in the car in your child’s school parking lot for a 15-minute power nap just so you can safely make it home.
27. Read business plans for story time to get two things done at once.
28. Review your to-do list out loud using funny voices to keep your baby entertained.
29. Arrange food on your child’s plate with care so the peas do not touch the mashed potatoes. Meltdown averted.
30. Eat leftovers on the kids’ plates instead of preparing a plate for yourself because you’re thrifty and and an expert in conserving energy.
31. Blow on food that’s in your child’s mouth because he says it’s still hot.
32. Quietly indulge in that delicious $4 candy bar in the coat closet so you don’t have to share.
Being a parent can be crazy at times! We’ve all been there and I truly believe our kids appreciate all we do for them — yes, even as we stuff breakfast in their faces while rushing them half-dressed to their classroom every morning.
What creative parenting skills are you proud of? Make sure to SHARE with us in the comments!
For more from Carmen Sakurai, visit her blog Ninja Mom Diaries and her Facebook page.